Review: Shattered – Teri Terry

Shattered - Teri TerryTitle: Shattered
Author: Teri Terry
Publication date: March 6, 2014
Publisher: Orchard Books
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Series: Yes, the third book in the Slated trilogy

You can add this book to Goodreads by clicking the cover.

WARNING: This is book 3 in a series, so this review will contain spoilers.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Kyla is in danger from both the government Lorders who erased her memory and the terrorists who tried to use her. So now she’s on the run. Sporting a new identity and desperate to fill in the blank spaces of her life pre-Slating, Kyla heads to a remote mountain town to try to reunite with the birth mother she was kidnapped from as a child. There she is hoping all the pieces of her life will come together and she can finally take charge of her own future. But even in the idyllic wilderness and the heart of her original family, Kyla realizes there is no escape from the oppressive Lorders. Someone close to her may be one of them, and even more frighteningly, her birth mother has been keeping secrets of her own.

My thoughts:
This was a solid ending to a good trilogy! I feel that the tendency with most YA trilogies is that the last book is just a dump of information and a maze of twist and turns to get all the loose ends tied up and the story neatly finished. Luckily this was not the case with Shattered! Rather, I felt that the ending was logically although some pieces of the puzzle were a little bit far fetched.

We begin this book with Lucy/Kyla/Rain travelling to her birthmother, finally finding out where she came from. It is certainly necessary to keep your focus when reading this trilogy because there are different people associated with different stages of Kyla’s life. I liked that throughout the first chapters of Shattered the events of the previous two books were incorporated. For me these bits were not really needed as I read the books basically back to back but they are very convenient when there is longer time in between the books. The recap was done over several pages, whenever it was necessary to fill in some gaps.

I most of all liked Kyla. I was afraid that she was going to be overrun by all these other people who had an interest in her but she remained very independent, not letting her actions get guided by anyone accept her own judgment. I also liked how she adapted her behaviour towards some of the other main characters with every bit of new information. It happens too often that a main character keeps clinging to their own believes despite contradiction information.

Despite all the good things and how much I liked Kayla, I felt that the ending, although good, was a little rushed. This book was somewhat shorter than the previous two books and with an extra 40 pages the book would have been better.  I do  feel that for hardcore dystopian lovers this world is not super original. I still give Shattered 4 stars, because it was a good trilogy that is definitely worth checking out.

4 Stars

LGBT Challenge

Ideally I would read books from all kinds of authors and with all kinds of characters, regardless of ethnicity, gender or sexual preference. The reality is, however, that the majority of the books I read up until 2014 where from white, female authors. Luckily more people in this book world think that is neccessary to diversy our reading. When perusing Lola’s blog Hit or Miss Books last week I came across a challenge that is perfect to do this!

LGBT Challenge - Fighting DreamerThe challenge is hosted by Cayce from Fighting Dreamer and you can still sign up until November 30th, 2014! The challenge is to read at least 3 books that have LGBT characters, which as far as I know is something I’ve never done. Sofar, I have only one book figured out and that is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. My sister read it last month and she loved it! So far as other books are concerned it would love to hear some recommendations! Keep an eye out for the reviews that will come later this year :).

Life’s Snapshots 28/7/2014

Life's Snap ShotsBooks are big part of my life. I love them! But there is more to my life than just books. Since I would like to share more than just books and reviews this is going to be a weekly feature, on Monday, in which I share some fun things and facts of the last week or things that are currently happening in my life.

  • Our youngest kitty, Bakso, managed to scare the life out of us again. Yesterday he stayed out long, not responding to our calls. I even walked around the neighborhood a couple of times to see if I could find him. When he finally did come home, he was very slow to respond and breathing abnormally fast. We took no risk and called the vet who asked us to come by. Naturally the minute we put him in the cat carrier his breathing returned to normal. To be sure we went to the vet anyway. Luckily he only has a little fever, so the vet gave him an injection and some pills. The downside for him is that he cannot go outside for a couple of days and he does not agree. He has been meowing like crazy today. But luckily he is back to his old self again :). IMG_2804[1]
  • I just finished my seventh series this year. I have some many first books of series on my shelf so I vowed at the beginning of this year to finish some. So far it has been really good :). If I keep this up I can hopefully finish 12 in total. That would be awesome! I’ve finished:
    (1) Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth
    (2) Percy Jackson & Olympians series by Rick Riordan
    (3) Incarceron duology by Catherine Fisher
    (4) Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver
    (5) Legend trilogy by Marie Lu
    (6) Under the Never Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi
    (7) Slated trilogy by Teri Terry
  • I don’t really like cooking that much. However, I have been trying to make an effort to cook more often instead of just relying on boxed meals or my boyfriend’s cooking. Some things are horrible but others turn out to be really great. Yesterday we had a delicious spaghetti with a ricotta cheese sauce and some bacon. Earlier in the week we had a really nice caesar salad. It was jummie!
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  • I’ve been sorting out my courses for the coming semester of university. I was a mess. I still need about 85 credits this year to get my Bachelor’s degree in American Studies. Since I wanted them to be evenly spread throughout the year I had some difficulties finding good ones. Unfortunately, there was one course I really wanted to do, called War & Peace, but that course is not longer taught :(. It seems that I have unrolled for all the right courses now but I still need to have them approved by the exam board via our studyadvisor. Super fun to find out that our studyadvisor had quit and there is no new one yet. When I called the Student Office I was directed to email someone for information only to get an email back that she is out of office until August 19th. Seriously, those people can drive you crazy. Luckily I have a month left to make sure everything is approved but still, sooner would be better than later!
  • For the rest of the week I really just did nothing. I mainly hung around a lot, watching some tv (Sleepy Hollow, anyone?) and read some books. I am not working currently and obviously uni has not started yet. I am kinda bored at times but once the new semester stars I’ll be wishing it was vacation again ;).

Q. This was my week! Did you do anything fun last week? Tell me about it in the comments :)!

DNF: All These Countries We’ve Invaded & Lonely Souls

I just used to think that I had to finish all the books I started. After all: I had either gone through the hassle of buying or borrowing them. Then I realized that there are so many books out there! I just don’t have the will and time anymore to push through something I don’t like. Especially if I am reading just for me. Here are to books I have tried to read in the past couple of months that were just not for me:

Lonely Souls - Karice Bolton Title: Lonely Souls (Witch Avenue Series #1)
Author: Karice Bolton

This is a ebook that I picked up on Amazon as a freebie. I wanted to read something with witches and this was the first thing I found on my iPad. My biggest problem with this book was that there were so many grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and run-on sentences. I tried to read over them but it annoyed me so much. I feel that however good this book can be, the writing is not good enough to compel me to finish it. My second problem was the main character, Triss. She does not know what she is doing. Her mother dissappears in chapter one and their is just zilch emotion. It was just so unbelievable. Just as unbelievable as her relationship with Logan. Huge case of insta-love, which I hate. Everypage was like: I like him but I shouldn’t and then everytime she gave in. She had no backbone at all. I managed to read about 90 pages before I gave up. I don’t have to like so I just don’t.

 

All The Countries We've Invaded - Stuart LaycockTitle: All These Countries We’ve Invaded
Author: Stuart Laycock

I picked this book up on a whim in a Book Depository 24 hour sale. It was really the title that made me buy it. This book is basically summing up all countries the UK has invaded. And that was all it was: a sum-up. The author was just throwing facts at me. He summed up some actors and some dates and that was it. I had hoped for some funny anecdotes and interesting tidbits of the different conflicts the UK faced over the centuries. Instead I just felt that the Laycock just put a bunch of wikipedia articles in a book, without adding anything new. I was done after 25 pages. I just could not stand another page.

Q: What is the lastest book you DNF?

Stacking the Shelves (4)

Stacking The Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Bought
Beautiful Redemption - Kami Garcia & Margaret StohlVictorie! - Theo Hoogstraten & Simone van der VlugtThe Dark Army - Marcus AlexanderInkdeath - Cornelia Funke
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl is the 4th book in the Beautiful Creatures series. I picked up Beautiful Chaos in hardcover last summer and luckily saw this is the sales section at American Book Centre in Amsterdam. Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke is the last book in the Inkheart trilogy and The Dark Army by Marcus Alexander were both also sales finds from ABC. Victorie! by Theo Hoogstraten & Simone van der Vlugt is a Dutch Middle Grade historical fiction book. Simone van der Vlugt is one of my favorite Dutch authors and I’ve read most of her books when I was younger. I now try to buy hard copies whenever I see them somewhere cheap. This book I found in a pop-up store of our local bookstore for only 3 euro and it is a harcover!

Freebie
Wolf Hall - Hillary Mantel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel has been on my wishlist for a long time but I had no intention of buying it yet. When however I had to get out at a different trainstation that usual (some maintenance was being done further up the track) I came across a cool intiative of a local library. At the bottom of the stairs there was a cupboard with books that you could grab and read. You can than either return the read book or put a new book there. A little library of sorts. This book caught my eye and it was a weird coincidence as I just checked out the audiobook earlier this month. Needless to say I returned the audiobook!

Q: What did you get this week?

Review: Fractured – Teri Terry

Fractured - Teri TerryTitle: Fractured
Author: Teri Terry
Publication Date: March 2013
Publisher: Orchard Books
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia
Series: Yes, this is book 2 in the Slated Trilogy

You can add this book to Goodreads by clicking the cover.

WARNING: This is book 2 in a series, so this review will contain spoilers.

Goodreads Synopsis:
How do you know where to go when you don’t remember where you came from?

Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

Or so she thought.

Kyla shouldn’t be able to remember anything. But she can – and she’s beginning to realise that there are a lot of dark secrets locked away in her memories. When a mysterious man from her past comes back into her life, she thinks she’s on her way to finding the truth. But the more she learns about her history, the more confusing her future becomes…

My thoughts:
I immensely enjoyed Slated so I did not want to wait too long to dive into Fractured. At the end of Slated there was just so much mystery. You get the overwhelming sense that there is no one you can trust. As a reader I felt just as confused Kyla (that’s a good thing) so I just needed to know more.

This book was just as amazing as Slated. It was fast-paced and every single moment had a point. The issue of ‘who to trust’ again plays a major role. In Slated we found out that Mr. Hatten is really Nico, someone from Lucy’s/Kyla’s past but now we find out where he fits. I was really intrigued by the relationship between Nico and Kyla because over course of the book you get to see the through nature of their relationship. For so many characters there is more than meets the eyes which makes the book so much more original. Each character has ulterior motives, and with each page their backstories are pierced together as well.

What really stands by me after finishing this book is 1) I need to know what happens in Shattered and 2) there is no such thing as good versus evil. Above all, I feel that Teri Terry want to point out that we are all human and thus we all are inherently both good and evil. That makes some of the decisions Kyla has to make in the book even more difficult. Sometimes it is just a choice between evil and a lesser evil. I am eager to find out in what way Teri Terry is going to find a ‘human’ ending to book 3.

I give this book 5 stars. I am still in love with Kyla because she has so many layers to her. With every page there is a new detail about her that just makes sense and explains more why she does, what she does. I also like that romance is not the main focus of this book. There are multiple male characters of Kyla’s age in this book but the just remain friends. No awkward love triangles sofar. And I like that, because so many YA make the romantical aspect the pinnacle of the book. This book is more focused on the actual dystopian society, showing the reader just how grey the world often is.

5 Stars

Review: A Shory History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill BrysonTitle: A Short History of Nearly Everything
Author:
Bill Bryson
Publication Date:
2003
Publisher:
Black Swan
Genre:
Non-fiction, popular science
Series:
No, this is a standalone

You can add this book to Goodreads by clicking the cover.

Goodreads Synopsis:
From primordial nothingness to this very moment, A Short History of Nearly Everything reports what happened and how humans figured it out. To accomplish this daunting literary task, Bill Bryson uses hundreds of sources, from popular science books to interviews with luminaries in various fields. His aim is to help people like him, who rejected stale school textbooks and dry explanations, to appreciate how we have used science to understand the smallest particles and the unimaginably vast expanses of space. With his distinctive prose style and wit, Bryson succeeds admirably.

Though A Short History clocks in at a daunting 500-plus pages and covers the same material as every science book before it, it reads something like a particularly detailed novel (albeit without a plot). Each longish chapter is devoted to a topic like the age of our planet or how cells work, and these chapters are grouped into larger sections such as “The Size of the Earth” and “Life Itself.” Bryson chats with experts like Richard Fortey (author of Life and Trilobite) and these interviews are charming. But it’s when Bryson dives into some of science’s best and most embarrassing fights–Cope vs. Marsh, Conway Morris vs. Gould–that he finds literary gold.

My thoughts:
First off, I took me a very long time to read this book. I started it in March 2013 and read about 30% in the following two months. I had a hard time concentrating on it so I put it away. I picked it back up again about 2 weeks ago and this time around it was much easier to read. I don’t know if that is because the last chapters were more interesting or because I am a more mature reader right now. What I do know is that non-fiction requieres an entirely different reading technique. I usually read non-fiction next to a fiction book, and never on its own. Mainly because I feel that non-fiction needs a different level of devotion, so to say. I have to really pay attention so as not to glance over details.

It was not different in this book. Before reading this I was already familiar with Bill Bryson’s writing style. It is very funny! That humour was much needed in this book. This book consists of 30 chapters and in it Bryson tries to give a to the point overview of the history of the Earth. The book is therefore mainly focused on geology, chemistry, biology and paleontology rather than outright historical narration. I know the most basic things about these subjects, as I had them in High School, but certainly not enough to fully grasp everything Bill Bryson was trying to explain.

Still this book was not wasted on me. Especially the topics that I was interested in, such as evolution and geology, where explained very clearly. I especially liked how he tried to give concrete examples. Instead of saying that a cell has somemany millions of DNA in them, he explained that is roughly 2km in each cell. He tried to make thing clear by drawing examples from real life. For a non-expert like me this was very convenient. I think this book works best if you read what interests you. The few chapters on chemistry and physics were totally lost on me. After page 1 of these chapters I was already wondering what the heck they were talking about. And that is fine. I learned a lot from the other chapters!

Overall, I would say that this is a really interesting and convenient book to own. To read a couple of chapters from and maybe get intrigued into others works of popular science that are out there. Especially the bibliography can prove really useful to point you in new directions. Keep in mind though that science is constranly progressing and that this book was written in 2003. Some theories might be out of date or disproved. Still, it is a book that is worth reading.

Life’s Snapshots 21/7/2014

Life's Snap ShotsBooks are big part of my life. I love them! But there is more to my life than just books. Since I would like to share more than just books and reviews this is going to be a weekly feature, on Monday, in which I share some fun things and facts of the last week or things that are currently happening in my life.

  • I am back home. It was very unexpected to say the least because we had not planned on coming home for at least a couple of days. Last Thursday we decided we wanted to go someplace else and instead of going farther south we opted of going to Antwerp in Belgium to stay a couple days. When we arrived, we contacted some campsites and they were all fully booked. We were less than an hour away from home and we were so tired so we just decided to drive to my parents house. All in all we had an 11 day vacation instead of 15/16 days but I am quite happy to be home. We went camping for the first time so in hindsight it was a good time to go home. We’ll probably go on a minibreak at the end of August to get some extra vacation in before the next semester begins!
  • My younger sister is staying with me right now. It is awesome to have her here :). I have two younger sisters, aged 20 and 18. The eldest does not come over a lot so it is perfect to have her here for a couple of days. I don’t know how long she’ll be staying but we are going to do fun things!
  • The last place we visited befor heading home was Avignon. Avignon is most famous for its bridge (now only 4 pillars are left standing!) and its Pope Palace. In the 14th 9 popes were seated in Avignon rather than in Rome. For their benefit they constructed a large palace which is now on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It is absolutely stunning and one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen! I wish I could travel back in time and see it in all its splendour.
    DSC05956This picture does certainly not do it justice so if you’re every nearby you should visit it because it is well worth it!
  • I loved this vacation with my boyfriend. We decided to just do everything we wanted to and we would just go home when the vacation fund was empty. We had delicious food and we did such fun things! Because we went home earlier we even have money left over 🙂
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  • Now I am looking forward to an evening of reading. The boyfriend and my sister are going to movies and I plan on finishing A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, which I started in March 2013. I know, it is an utter shame. It is non-fiction though we makes a little less ridiculous.. I have some other non-fiction books lined up and I am looking forward to those. I am also reading Voyager, the third book in the Outlander series which I really quite like. I need to read the books closer together though. I noticed that I forgot a lot of what happened in book 1/2..

So this was my week! What have you been up to?

Stacking the Shelves (3)

Stacking The Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Bought
England - John Lewis-Stempel Nothing to Lose - Lee Child

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week I added two books to my shelves. Last week I was on holiday in France and in France it is very hard to find English books. When visiting Avignon, I decided to try my luck in a secondhand English bookstore that I had found online prior to our visit. There were a lot of paperbacks that I didn’t know but I did find these two. Nothing to Lose is the 12th book in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. I have read book 1 and book 2 is waiting on my shelves. I saw to this for cheap and in the right cover, so it was a no-brainer. The other book, England – The Autobiography by John Lewis-Stempel, I found in the History section and looks really new! It is the history of England told through all kinds of noteworthy events and since I am getting more into non-fiction this seems like a fun read!

Q: What did you get this week?

Review: Sapphique – Catherine Fisher

Sapphique - Catherine FischerTitle: Sapphique
Author: Catherine Fisher
Publication date: September 18, 2008
Publisher: Hodder
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: Yes, book 2 of the Incarceron series

You can add this book to Goodreads by clicking the cover.

WARNING: This is book 2 in a series, so this review will contain spoilers.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Finn has escaped from the terrible living Prison of Incarceron, but its memory torments him, because his brother Keiro is still inside. Outside, Claudia insists he must be king, but he doubts even his own identity. Is he the lost prince Giles? Or are his memories no more than another construct of his imprisonment?

My thoughts:
Since I liked Incarceron I was really looking forward to reading this book. This book starts about 2 months after the closure of Incarceron which gave the Realm and the Prison some time to develop. From the start the characters felt different to me. I was highly annoyed by the arrogance of Claudia, one of the main characters. Despite being prison born herself she is highly inconsiderate of others. Finn, it seems, is only a means to an end; there was no real care for him, whereas I felt that Finn really did care for Claudia.

I had the same problem with the relationship between Attia and Keiro. Despite the obvious maliciousness of Keiro, Attia remained loyal when she had every reason to abandon him. Keito feels high and mighty, and everyone is supposedly indebted to him. I feel that he serves little purpose except reminding Finn that there are people in the Prison that need to get out.

So, characters that I had no problems with in book one where no not so likable anymore. I did however very much like the world of Sapphique. As I already mentioned in the review of Incarceron, the world Catherine Fisher makes is gradual and this greatly adds to the mystery of the place. Illusions and the art of perceiving plays a huge role in Sapphique, which means you have to pay attention as to what is real and what is not. This made the book more mysterious but also a little more tedious to read.

Overall I feel that this book is not as good as Incarceron. I did not connect with the characters and I felt confused at times about what was happening. Also, the shift in narrator that worked really well in Incarceron added to the confusion in Sapphique. But since I liked the world so much I still give this book 3 stars.

3 Stars