Reign the Earth by A. C. Gaughen | Book Review

Reign the Earth by A. C. Gaughen | Book Review

Reign the Earth by A. C. Gaughen | Book ReviewReign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen
Series: The Elementae #1
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing on January 30th 2018
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 438
Format: Hardcover
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five-stars

Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands.

But she soon learns that her husband, Calix, is motivated only by his desire to exterminate the Elementae—mystical people who can control earth, wind, air, and fire. Even more unsettling are Shalia’s feelings for her husband’s brother, which unleash a power over the earth she never knew she possessed—a power that could get her killed. As rumors of a rebellion against Calix spread, Shalia must choose between the last chance for peace and her own future as an Elementae.

Reign the Earth is such a richly spun tale full of amazingness that I am having trouble forming cohesive sentences about it, let alone write a full review. However, I decided that I am going to try because I want nothing more than to persuade you to read this book as well. I want to see this book on your shelves, your TBRs, and in your lives, period.

Why you need to read Reign the Earth

The main character, Shalia, is fiercely loyal and brave. She is such a selfless individual who, when faced with tough decisions, isn’t above doing everything in her powers to do the right thing. I loved getting to know her and seeing how she tackled the struggles that came her way (and believe me, there are plenty). Her story isn’t always easy to take. Especially her marriage with Callix and their relationship was very hard to read about. There is a very thin line that Shalia is walking and the smallest mishap could destroy all that she’d sacrificed.

The very best thing about Reign the Earth though is its setting and the variety of cultures. The worldbuilding was so well executed and an absolute joy to read about!

And if that isn’t enough, it all builds up to a finale that will give you feels aplenty! It’s devastating, it’s powerful, and it’s everything you want from such a powerhouse of a book.

Reign the Earth is a well-crafted and BEAUTIFUL book! If all things mentioned above won’t sway you to read it, then I have one last trick up my sleeve:  the cover alone is enough reason to pick Reign the Earth up. I am not above saying that if you occasionally fall prey to buying books for the cover, let Reign the Earth be one of them. I promise you that you will not regret it.

five-stars
Epic Love Stories to Turn to in Times of Need

Epic Love Stories to Turn to in Times of Need

If I got paid for every time I get asked ‘what’s up’ with ‘my love life’, I’d surely be a millionaire by now. Whether it be by a meddling aunt, your parents, or by curious friends that particular question always manages to exhaust me. So for everyone that’s still wondering: the ‘love life’ is non-existent. There’s no man (or woman) in my life. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure Prince Charming took a detour in getting here (a serious error in judgment on his end). To everyone who lives through the same, this post is for you!

Most days I am totally fine with my single way of life. But some days, the lack of that epic love story makes me feel a little ‘meh.’ A friend of mine just got married and my god, it was a beautiful day that had me wiping away tears like mad. There’s just something about weddings that make you crave a little slice of that for yourself (you know, for when that detoured Prince Charming finally finds his way out of the woods).

For those ‘meh’ days:

So, for those ‘meh’ days… When your cat, best friend, dog, or sister isn’t enough to keep you company: here is a short list of books (YA and NA) with great epic love stories that I turn to when I need a reminder that my one is (somewhere) out there:

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Let’s be honest, Simon vs.the Homo Sapiens Agenda can’t really miss from this list. I only recently read this book (in anticipation of Love, Simon) and LOVED it. It is such a beautiful and meaningful story about falling in love for the first time. This book will make you laugh, cry, and laugh again.

Wait for You by Jennifer Armentrout

The Wait for You series was one of the first NA series I read (I mean, I read EVERYTHING by Jennifer Armentrout) and I wholly recommend not just the first book, but the entire series. It deals with some heavy themes, without becoming too heavy and losing that feelgood vibe. The third book in the series, Stay with Me is my favorite book in the SIX book series.

Havoc by Jamie Shaw

A rockstar romance, need I say more? Havoc is the fourth and last book in this series and my absolute favorite. Although all other books in the Mayhem series are thoroughly enjoyable, this is the one that gives me the most feels. This love story is one that builds slowly and develops beautifully (and the love-interest is so damn sweet).

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer Armentrout

Hey! Another Jennifer Armentrout book! And this time a YA. This one is a little heavier than her previously mentioned series. A lot heavier actually, but so good! It’s about pushing yourself to go beyond your past, getting to know yourself, and finding love in the process. The Problem with Forever will wreak havoc (see what I did there?) on your emotions, but it can’t miss from this list. Because if this isn’t an epic love story, then what is?

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Whoah, it’s been a while since I read Eleanor & Park… This is not really a simple love story. It’s a story about two star-crossed lovers that aren’t really given a chance. It’s a love story, but at the same time, it’s not (it is so much more). All I can say is that if you haven’t read this book, you’re seriously missing out!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Yup! Two Rainbow Rowell books! Because ‘Rainbow Rowell’ and ‘epic love story’ pretty much go together. Fangirl holds a special place in my heart, as it is the book that helped me greatly when I was seriously anxious about starting university. It’s a wonderful coming of age story with a lovable heroine (who develops greatly throughout the story) and a fun love-interest. This entire book is so relatable!

What epic love stories do you turn to when you need a reminder to believe in love?
Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young | Book Review

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young | Book Review

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young | Book ReviewSky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Published by Wednesday Books on April 24th 2018
Genres: Action & Adventure, Historical Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
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five-stars

OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield — her brother, fighting with the enemy — the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

I am always up for a good and solid Viking type of story! As a part of my studies revolved around studying their culture, I always find it hard to fall in love with these type of books because so many stories don’t really do their culture justice. Lucky for me (and you!) Sky in the Deep delivered, and how!

If you are not into lots of action and (some) gore, this book might not be for you. It is fast paced and action packed from the start, as you’re immediately thrown into a battle between two rival clans. And, for the rest of the story, that fast paced and action-packed vibe doesn’t let up! (Yay!)

Eelyn, the main character in Sky in the Deep, is hard and tough, not because circumstances forced her to be, but just because she is. And guys, you wouldn’t believe how refreshing that is! She develops a lot throughout the story as the foundation of everything she’s always believed in is shaken. She has to rediscover her place in her world and accept that maybe not everything is as black and white as she previously believed to be.

The romance, guys, is a slow burner! (Que fist pump!) I love me a good slow-burner, and THIS BOOK HAS IT! It is so good, it is forbidden, and it is intense. What isn’t to like?

Another thing I really enjoyed is that Sky in the Deep dives into the subject of what makes a family. The concept of which is something Eelyn redefines as she changes throughout the story. View Spoiler » It is all about who you let into your heart. Eelyn might be a badass, but you cannot deny that she has heart!

Fast paced and action-packed until the end! If you love the former and you don’t mind (some) gore, then Sky in the Deep is for you! For all the Viking-type-of-story fans out there: I can’t recommend this book enough!

five-stars
Book vs Movie: Love, Simon

Book vs Movie: Love, Simon

Many of you might already have seen the Love, Simon film months ago. Guess what, even though the film is already out on DVD in the US, in the Netherlands the film isn’t in theatres until 14 June. However, as I managed to snag a ticket for a pre-screening, my mom and I saw the film in May and it is about high time I dedicated a post to it.

Let’s rewind a bit: I didn’t actually read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (or any other Becky Albertalli book for that matter) until a few months ago… I know, THE SHAME. But that doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that I fell head over heels with the story and have been firmly established in the Becky Albertalli fanbase ever since.

Now, I am always a bit hesitant when books are turned into a film. There’s always going to be differences. And I don’t mind them, as long as the film stays true to the story, its characters, and message. That, strengthened by good, solid acting is bound to be a great film. And I was absolutely thrilled that Love, Simon delivered!

I don’t want this post to turn into a recounting of the differences between book and film. Mainly because I don’t think those differences should define the story. So instead I will talk a bit about the three characteristics I mentioned above: the story, its characters, and message. If you haven’t read the book or watched the film you might want to skip the following bit. Everyone should be able to experience Love, Simon for itself, and I don’t want to be the cause of spoiling even once second of it. If you don’t mind minor spoilers, then feel free to go ahead!

The story

The main storyline of the book really just two boys falling in love over email. That might be an oversimplified way of seeing it (as there’s more happening), but that simply is the red line in the story. And I am so happy that this wasn’t changed in any manner in the film. I had thought the email aspect might be difficult to do in a film, but watching the film it appeared to be a flawless transition. Nothing difficult about it, and I loved that. The heart of the story remained intact during the transition from book to film and that was just absolutely perfect.

The characters

All so very lovable! There might be some small differences between the characters in the book and how they’re represented in the film, but one thing that remained blissfully unchanged is the dynamic between the entire bunch. Simon and his friends have such a cool dynamic going and I love how that friendship was felt from the pages as well as the screen. Every minor difference is just that: minor.

The message

Everyone deserves a great love story

The film might have some cliches, but in a world where we’re aiming for better representation, this (both the film and the book) sure hit the mark. I love the message of self-love attached to the story and definitely had to wipe away a lone tear (or two, or three). Both the book and the film describe the intricacies of high school SO WELL. The story is so heartwarming and I think the filmmakers completely aced it in bringing the same message to the screen.

In the end, there really is one thing left to say: read the book, and go see the film! Let the dynamic between Simon and his friends warm you up, and watch a great love story unfold (because we all deserve one)!

The Big Blogging Then vs Now

The Big Blogging Then vs Now


There are a lot of comparisons I can draw between 2013 and now. Smal ones and very big ones. But today I would like to start with a brief recount of what prompted me to start this blog. Back in 2013 I – and believe me, I had to think back real hard for this – I was still in high school. Or rather, I was in my last year of high school. A year I had to retake because I failed my year by 0.1 points. I was angry, hurt, and above all insecure that even my best wasn’t good enough. That year I learned that sometimes, even though you work really, really hard for something, things don’t always work out just because you put in the effort. That sometimes you just have to take a deep breath, take a step back and then go at it again. During that particular year (in March) I decided to start my own blog: a little piece of the big and unknown interwebs carved out for me, to share with you. And although I have been many things as a blogger; passionate, consistent, chaotic, struggling motivated, inconsistent, and more; starting this blog is a decision I will never regret.

Blogging Then vs Now: Differences

When I look back at the girl I was then, I see some things I still recognize in myself nowadays, but there are also some things that I lost along the way. As I am feeling a bit sentimental (blame it on all the hard work getting this blog GDPR proof) I really feel like sharing some with you.

Books were my everything. Let me clarify this. Back in 2013, I think reading was a way of escapism for me. I spent most of my time with my nose in a book, instead of going out and experiencing things for myself. I was really insecure and wanted to avoid situations that made me uncomfortable by simply reading about them (it is very easy not to get hurt or your ego bruised that way). But over the course of that initial year, I realized that I, like those characters, wanted more for myself. I wanted a career, experience an epic love story, have badass friends that I could count on, and, above all, be more daring. If you add checkboxes in front of that list, most of those would be checked off (except for that epic love story, maybe all those books have set the bar too high). Books still are a huge part of my life: I am aiming for a career in publishing and I still read a lot of books, but my life is no longer wholly made out of books.

I used to be a (somewhat) consistent blogger. Unfortunately, that is proving to be rather difficult for me nowadays. I am officially amongst the top 10 of most inconsistent bloggers… Which my inner control freak loathes, but I am grudgingly coming to the realization that this is just how it is at the moment. Frankly, I am quite happy I can still call myself a blogger. And who knows, maybe in another few years I’ll do another one of these posts and will be the amongst the top 10 of organized bloggers. (Probably right around the same time when hell freezes over…)

The sheer amount of books I read for my blog is another thing that has really changed. I used to read and review ANYTHING I could get my hands on. Boy, do I have respect for people who are able to do that for all this time! Looking back I also realize that I felt like I had to review everything as well. And I really just don’t have the heart or time to do that anymore. Some books I want to review and write about, and others I just don’t. So that’s what I do. Blogging should always remain fun, and in order to do this, I incorporated other types of posts. Now, amongst those bookish post, you’ll also be able to find a plethora of post dedicated to other subjects.

Blogging Then vs Now: Similarities

Aside from all those differences, there is one thing that will probably always remain the same: my love and gratefulness for blogging. For without blogging I would never have taken the step to study English Language and Culture. Without it, I would never have interned at not only one, but two publishing houses. Without it, my love for books would have probably been something that I would have kept to myself and I would never have gotten to meet so many other readers (and authors!) that share the same passion.

So, sorry – not sorry – for the sentimental downpour in this post, but I can’t help but come to the conclusion that, to me, blogging is and will forever be something to cherish. I might be terribly inconsistent and sometimes feel so uninspired that I want to bang my head on a table, but there has never been a moment that I have wanted to pull the plug. Because, in the end, blogging played a huge part in shaping the person I am today, and that person I am pretty damn proud of!

 

Books I Keep Rereading

Books I Keep Rereading

As one book addict extraordinaire to another I probably don’t have to tell you that we all have our favorite books. Whether that book is part of a series or a standalone, some books are simply made for rereading. Today I am sharing my favorite books with you, ones I’ve read over and over again and will probably continue to reread over and over again.

First things first, why read the same book so often you ask? Glad you did, because I made a list:

  1. I simply love the story and want to bask in its amazingness again.
  2. There are ALWAYS details you miss the first time around. When you read it that second time, that little detail of awesomeness you missed the first time around will slap you in the face and make you fall in love with the story EVEN MORE (even though you didn’t think that was possible).
  3. You can appreciate the way an author structured his or her plot, even more, when you know how the story goes. You might miss that subtle hint of what’s to come when you first read a story, but when you know how the story ends you’ll see it for what it truly is.
  4. The next book in a series is releasing soon and you want to brush up on ALL the details.
  5. I just feel like it.

Now you know the reasons why I reread, it’s time to share some of my favorite books (and series) that I keep rereading over and over again!

A Court of Thorns of Roses

From the very first book and onwards I have loved this series. I make no secret of the fact that I have an infinite amount of love for Sarah J. Maas’s writing, but the second book in this series, A Court of Mist and Fury, holds a special place in my heart. It is so beautifully written and this book wrecks my heart every single time before putting it together again. Sometimes I reread only the second book, and sometimes I do the whole series. Do I even have to express my excitement about A Court of Frost and Starlight? Cause I am ALL over that when it releases!

The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit

I always like to say that my love for all things Tolkien was passed down from generation to generation. My grandfather LOVED Tolkien’s work. I’m not kidding; his old, worn, well-loved, beat-up copies are proof of this. After my grandfather came my mother, who shared her love for this beautiful series with me. I knew the stories and I can still recall that sense of wonder after having finished the books and then being introduced to the films. I even did my BA thesis on Tolkien (which proved to be the perfect excuse to reread all the books (yet) again.

Harry Potter

You did not think Harry Potter would be missing from this list, did you? This magical series pretty much sums up my youth. Whether I reread this series to convince my niece and nephew to read it or just because I need some magic in my life, Harry Potter is the answer!

Anything Jennifer Armentrout

Whether it’s aliens in the Lux series, demons and whatnot in the The Dark Elements series, or some good old romance in the Wait for You series. Jennifer Armentrout is a jack-of-all-trades, and the very best one there is! Her writing is the best and her dialogues are even greater. I love her books (as much as I love the witty author herself) and sometimes I just feel like reading her stories because I know they’ll make me laugh and feel good.

So there you go, these are (just) four of my favorite books to reread. There are many, many more books I could mention, but I think these are the ones I reread most. As we’ve come to the end of this post, there’s just one more thing left to say: you never need an excuse (even though I sometimes like to pretend I do) to reread a book!

What are your favorite books or series to reread?