August 2014 – Recap

I set out to read a lot this month. At least 10 books! I am happy to report that so far I have read 13 books :D. At the beginning of the month I was a little behind on my Goodreads goal for this year (which is 100 books) but I am now happily on track again :).

In my August goal post, here, I set out the following general goals:
(1) I would like to read 10 books –> I read 13
(2) I would like to post 4 times a week here on Jirrine Reads Fiction –> I posted an average of 5 posts a week!
(3) I would like to finish a series –> Finished the future trilogy by Thea Beckman

In my goal post I mentioned 10 books that were on my tbr for August. Of those 10 I have read 4 and started 2 other ones. Logically I read quite a few other books this month as well, that weren’t part of my tbr. I really try to alternate my reads: new, old, new, old. In this way I hope to prevent that new books I ordered, books I really want to read, disappear on my bookshelf, to be read in a 2 years. I buy them for a reason right?

Books I read and reviewed this month:
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray BradburySecond Chance Summer - Morgan MatsonOne for the Money - Stephanie PlumThe Last Song - Nicholas SparksVoyager - Diana GabaldonAnna Dressed in Blood - Kendare BlakeMarvelous Misadventures of Sebastian - Lloyd AlexanderTwo for the Dough - Stephanie PlumCarrier - Anne Tibbits4327066

You can click the books to go the reviews!

Other books I read:
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Useless Statistics:
Gender: 5 male authors and 7 female authors
Pages read: 4571 pages
Formats: 3 audiobooks, 1 eBook and 9 print books
Target audience: 1 middle grade, 6 young adult, 1 new adult, 5 adult
Genre’s: 4 dystopian, 3 contemporary, 2 mystery, 2 historical fiction, 1 horror, 1 fantasy.
Goodreads goal: 66/100 read

Overall I am really happy with what I have read this month. I especially like the diversity of the books I read. I just want to try out everything just to make sure that I don’t let books lie because I think that I don’t like the genre. Anna Dressed in Blood was my first horror book and One for the Money was my first mystery books. Two new genres! I have big plans for September :). Stay tuned for that post, it will publish tomorrow!

PS. Today is the last day to enter my giveaway for Tomorrow When the War Began. You can find it here.

Stacking the Shelves (9)

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

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I am still doing really well with my book buying! Only one book this week, The Girl Who Soared over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente. This is book 3 in the Fairyland series. I also ordered book 2 but that one hasn’t arrived yet. I have read book 1 in the series, The Girl Who Flew Over Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and really enjoyed that one a lot! With books 2/3 I have will finish the first part of the series. From book 4 on, the narrator will be a different character.

Won
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I won a giveaway! I am super excited because this is a signed cope of Ascension of the Whyte by Karen Wrighton! It also came with a lot of swag, two bookmarks and a necklace. I am curious to see what significance the necklace has :). I am really looking forward to reading the book!

Q: What did you get this week?

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

4327066Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Publication date: February 2, 1999 (first published 1999)
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre/themes: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, LGBT, Coming of Age, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Borrowed from my sister
Series?: No, this book is a standalone

Goodreads Synopsis:
“I walk around the school hallways and look at the people. I look at the teachers and wonder why they’re here. Not in a mean way. In a curious way. It’s like looking at all the students and wondering who’s had their heart broken that day…or wondering who did the heart breaking and wondering why.”

Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

My thoughts:
Charlie is a wallflower. He does not participate in life. He has been like that ever since his Aunt died. He is the boy on the sidelines. Then one day he just decided to walk up to Patrick and Sam. The three of them become the most beautiful friends. That part of the book I really liked. Charlie cares deeply for his friends, especially Sam, whom he is (not so secretly) crushing on. Their relationship is natural. They are there for each other when they need to be but know when to give space as well. Charlie finally learns that there is more to life that just being

That is the mean message I got from this book. There is just so much more to life that going with the flow and doing what is expected of you. By deciding your own direction, so many beautiful things can happen. Bit by bit, Charlie blossoms and becomes his own person. There is, however, always a little something that holds him back. The moment he reached complete happiness, there is always the fall. Then he goes to a place where no one can reach him. For me this is where the trouble started. I just can’t understand why exactly he does not allow himself to be happy. It might be somewhere in the book, somewhere between the lines and I just didn’t catch it but still, there was no ‘ahah’ moment at the end of the book. No big reveal which would clear up some of the unexplained thing.

This book is in letter form, letters Charlie has been writing to an anonymous friend. This friend never writes back (at least not that I know of) and it never becomes clear who this person actually is. I find it kind of weird that Charlie pours his heart out to this stranger by writing letter after letter, but I seems to help him. I really wanted to know who this person was. It think that hints to the bigger problem I have with this book. There were just too many mysteries left to solve and I don’t like when books do that.

I also found it a bit unrealistic that all of his friends were so much older than him (15 versus 18). I know I doesn’t seem a lot now, but certainly in High School there is a big difference in maturity. I do believe that Charlie was mature enough to be Sam and Patrick’s friend. I do however, not think that he would be so readily accepted by seniors. Especially because he is really shy and awkward at times. That makes Charlie a really likeable person and Sam and Patrick very good friends but it’s a friendship that only happens to one in a million. Which could of course make it all the more beautiful ;)!

The reason I give this book 3 stars is because I really, really like the friendship part. It left me with too many questions to really be satisfied when I was done. And despite liking Charlie a lot, it just couldn’t get swept away. Despite it being only a 230 page book, it took me 4 days to read. Normally I would blaze through in 2 days max. I haven’t seen the movie yet, so that is next on my to do list. I hope things get a little clearer then.

3 Stars
This book was the first book I read for the LGBT challenge hosted by Cayce from Fighting Dreamer. You can find my sign-up post here.

LGBT Challenge - Fighting Dreamer

Catching up with the Neighbors (2)

Welcome to this new feature on Jirrine Reads Fiction! For now it will be a two-weekly feature in which I round up blog posts from bloggers I follow that caught my attention. Thes posts can be reviews (4/5 star reviews) or discussion posts. In the future I hope to feature more bookish things. Please let me know in the comments if you like a post like this or if you have other tips that would make it better :)!

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POSTS I LIKED THIS WEEK:

  • Lili from Lili’s Reflections went on summer internship in the publishing world. Want to know more about what agents do? Check out her post.
  • Alison at Alison Can Read introduced a very fun new feature: TV for Book Addicts. She has up some super fun recommendations 🙂
  • Kathleen makes super gorgeous pictures of her new books, all with individual backgrounds! Check her stacking the shelf post at Read and Shelved.
  • New blog that I found this week was Of Dragons and Hearts, after Kaja left a comment. She has this really interesting confession post on DNF’ing good books. What is your opinion? Let her know!

I have only a few this week as I did not spend a lot of time on the internet. Hope you see something cool :)!

 

Review: Carrier – Anne Tibbets

Carrier - Anne TibbitsTitle: Carrier
Author: Anne Tibbets
Publication Date: June 16, 2014
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre/themes: New Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Source: My iPad (ebook)
Series: Yes, this is book 1 in The Line series. Book 2 is scheduled to be published in December 2014.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Twenty-two -year-old Naya has spent nearly half her life as a sex slave in a government institution called The Line. When she’s kicked out after getting pregnant with twins, she’s got no way to earn a living and a horrifying choice to make: find someone to replace her, or have her babies taken in her stead.

A doctor with a history of aiding ex-Line girls, Ric Bennett, wants to help. He runs a team of rebels that can delete Naya’s records and free her forever. But when The Line sniffs out his plan, things get bloody, fast. Naya means more to them than just a chance at fresh faces—her twins are part of the government’s larger plan.

As they hide from government search parties, Ric comes to admire Naya’s quiet strength. And Naya realizes Ric might be a man she can trust. If they make it off the grid, they could build a new life. But first they’ll have to survive the long, vicious reach of The Line.

My thoughts:
Yes, where to begin with this one. Although I finished this book a couple of days ago I still have problems formulating my thoughts. I am however going to try.

The first chapter had me jumping up and down in my chair because it was so darn good. In chapter 1 we are introduced to Naya, who basically works as a sex slave for Central government. It was so unlike anything I’ve ever read and I like how things stayed ‘clean’. In mean with that that there were not vivid descriptions of things Naya had to do, but somehow Anne Tibbets painted a very realistic image of what happens on The Line. I think that things went a little bit downhill for me. I was so excited by chapter 1, and I expected this book to really go places and be different. Instead this felt, despite its bold subject, to be a standard dystopian.

I did really like the age groups these characters were in. Their actions made more sense because they felt more mature. Although Naya and Ric, her savior, are still relatively young (early twenties) they though things through, and where they did act on instinct they made logical decisions. I liked that, because I could identify with the characters. I am in my early twenties, so I could be them so to say. I did not like the the back and forth Naya had with her emotions. Her feelings seem both detached and fake. This could be because she had been working for the Line for 10 years and I can only imagine how much of a human shell you become. But still, I would have liked to like Naya more.

The setting was really interesting. They were in this place called Central, surrounded by four sectors called East, West, North & South. Might seem kind of inspiration-less but it actually makes a lot of sense. The government is not really a government but a corporation. Everything in Central is just a commodity. The sectors don’t need fancy names because that would give meaning to something that is not supposed to have meaning. The government remains faceless, and there is not one specific enemy. This is actually quite scary. Naya and Ric don’t really know who to take out. I hope to learn more in the sequel.

I really hoped that they were going to go places and do things. But instead they did not do a whole lot. There were some action scenes at the end that got things going again and which certainly make things interesting again. This is not to say that I don’t like the book. I had just expected more from it. The next book is scheduled to release this year and when it does I will read what is going to happen. I hope that Anne Tibbets is going to prove me entirely wrong and wow me with that one. So what I would like to say. Try this, because there are lot of people out that there that really, really liked The Carrier. If I felt a stronger connection to Naya, things might have be different.

3 Stars

Bout of Books 11.0 – Day 7 update & wrap-up

Bout of Books
It is done. Finished. Bout of Books 11.0 is already over. That went fast. I had been looking forward to this for weeks and now it gone by. I certainly know that I will be participating in the next Bout of Books! So here are the stats of my last day. Not that good but I did finally get into a book again that I really enjoy. Hope to finish that one soon :).

Day 7
Starting page: Page 55 of The Passage & Page 0 of Purple Hibiscus & 25% of Romeo and Juliet
Finishing page: Page 71 of The Passage & Page 71 of Purple Hibiscus & 33% of Romeo and Juliet
Time spend reading: 1 hour and 35 minutes
Pages read: 96 pages
Book finished:
The trend of the last few days have been to not read but I am still really happy with what I managed to read in total. So without further ado:Totals for Bout of Books 11.0
Time spend reading: 16 hours and 40 minutes
Pages read: 1246 pages
Books finished: Het Gulden Vlies van Thule +

Two for the Dough - Stephanie Plum4327066Carrier - Anne Tibbits

My goals were the following:
1) Finish 5 books – I finished 4, pretty good!
2) Read at least 1500 pages – Read 1246 out of 1500. Almost..
3) Comment on as many blogs as I can! – Total fail. Only on the first day did I comment actively. But I still have time, so this week is going to be dedicated to visit everyone’s wrap-up post! I am glad I participated and I am totally reading to break my records next read-a-thon!

Don’t forget to celebrate with me. I am two months old and I am hosting a giveaway here.

Happy 2 month Blogoversary + Giveaway

Yeah! 2 months! Does not sound like a lot compared to many other bloggers out there but it is a big deal for me. If there is one issue in my life that I am constantly dealing with, it is is discipline. I start so many things and than I fail to finish all of them. So the fact that this blog managed to still exist after 2 months is awesome! To celebrate I am giving a way the first book in the Tomorrow Series by John Marsden.
10812458This giveaway will be Europe only, because I cannot really afford the postage to the rest of the world. I hope to host international giveaways in the future though!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Wordpress hosted blogs do not allow embedded widgets so to enter the giveaway just click the link. The rest will speak for itself.

Bout of Books 11.0 – Day 5 + 6 updates

The last two days have been terrible reading wise. I read barely nothing. At all. I just couldn’t get into a book and then I just gave up. I felt like I already reached a limit of some sorts this month. There is only so much book that my brain can handle, lol. So here are the abysmal stats of the last two days:

Day 5 + 6
Starting page: Page 78 of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, 10% of Romeo and Juliet
Finishing page: Page 231 of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. 25% of Romeo and Juliet
Time spend reading: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Pages read: 173 pages
Book finished: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

See what I am talking about? Nothing really good went on here. I just couldn’t for the life of me get into The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Else this would have been a 1 day read. Now I had to force myself to finish it. Not that I thought it was bad, it just couldn’t interest me very much.

Totals (Day 1 – 6)
Time spend reading: 15 hours and 5 minutes
Pages read: 1150 pages
Books finished: Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich + Het Gulden Vlies van Thule by Thea Beckman+ The Carrier by Anne Tibbets + The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Cbosky (4)

Hopefully I’ll get some reading done on day 7. My goals was to read 1500 pages so I’ll have to read 350 to reach that. I don’t think I will but I am going to try anyway :). Did your days go better than mine??

Stacking the Shelves (8)

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 e-books!

Library

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This week I did not buy anything, but loaned two books from the library instead. The first one is an audiobook of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I have noticed that listening to classics, really works for me because I often cannot keep myself focused when actually reading them. I have already listened to an audiobook of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and that worked out really well. The other book is a The Twelve by Justin Cronin, the sequel to The Passage, a book I am currently reading. I own The Passage in Dutch but really wanted to read it in English, so I just borrowed them both from the library. This is it for this week.

Q: What did you get this week?

Review: Two for the Dough – Janet Evanovich

Two for the Dough - Stephanie PlumTitle: Two for the Dough
Author: Janet Evanovich
Publication Date: June 1996
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre/themes: Mystery, Crime, Humor
Source: From my own bookshelf
Series?: Yes, book 2 in the Stephanie Plum series

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

Goodreads Synopsis:
This one’s double the fun!

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is still learning the ropes at her cousin Vinnie’s bail bond office, so when she sets out on the trail of Kenny Mancuso – a suspiciously wealthy, working class Trenton boy who has just shot his best friend – the stakes are higher than ever. That Mancuso is distantly related to vice cop Joe Morelli – who is trying to beat Stephanie to the punch – only makes the hunt more thrilling…

Taking pointers from her bounty hunter pal, Ranger, and using her pistol packing Grandma Mazur as a decoy, Stephanie is soon closing in on her mark. But Morelli and his libido are worthy foes. And a more sinister kind of enemy has made his first move… and his next move might be Stephanie’s last.

My thoughts:
I am really a fan of Stephanie Plum. She has amazing attitude at the right moment but is caring and reasonable at other times. She is funny and dedicated, all the while getting better and better at the bounty hunting thing. One of the things I really like about One for the Money was that is was obvious that Stephanie was still in a learning process. Well, in this one she is still learning although already a lot better than book 1. I like that Janet Evanovich kept that realistic. It is not normal to become a bounty hunter out of the blue and that be super good at everything. Stephanie Plum isn’t and that makes her so endearing. She wants to try things herself and isn’t afraid to pursue the dangerous leads but she knows where here limits are and calls in help if she needs it.

In Two for the Dough Stephanie is asked to bring back Kenny Mancuso. He started out normal enough, but that guy has a twisted character. Kenny Mancuso is totally different from the bad guy in the first book so that is also good. I feel that it is very easy to become repetitive with mysteries, and I hope that Janet Evanovich keeps on proving me wrong. This one was a little bit more predicable than One for the Dough, but it made up for it in excitement and humor.

I was very happy with the return of Grandma Mazur. She is definitely the most fun side-character in this series. We only see a little of her in One for the Dough, but she plays a much bigger role in this one. She even packs her own gun! Talk about a feisty grandmother! She does the crazy things and although it seems that sometimes she is working against Stephanie, she discovered some pretty big things without which Stephanie would probably not have solved the case. I really hope that Grandma Mazur will remain a much seen character because she really makes the book so much more fun!

Lastly there is Morelli. Morelli’s past with Stephanie is pretty dark and I think Stephanie is right to keep him at a distance. Again, it more realistic that they just work together, he is a cop after all, rather than them being a couple. Maybe that will happen in later books, I don’t know. But for now I like that there is a little romance but that it is not the focus of the books.

In short, this was again a really nice book. If the mystery was just a little more mysterious I would have given this 5 stars, but this is still a pretty good book 🙂
4 Stars