Posts Categorized: books

Do You Review A Lot of Books You Didn’t Like On Your Blog?

December 17, 2015 books, discussion 26

Talk To Me

is a no-nonsense discussion feature on this blog. No-nonsense means I’m too lazy to make it look pretty. It’s exactly what the title suggests: I’m going to pose a question or tell you my own opinion about something, and I want to know what you think about it! Obviously feel free to write up your own post on the topic and link it in the comments.




Topic

Bloggers, I have a question for you! Recently, I realized I mainly review books, movies and TV shows that I liked, so there’s a much higher percentage of favorable reviews on my blog. Naturally, I was wondering if you do the same, or if I should make more of an effort to share negative reviews as well.
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Morally Ambiguous Characters and Magical Writing

December 15, 2015 books, reviews 6

a darker shade of magic on reviews and cake

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

A Darker Shade of Magic has been on my to read list for ages. I heard about it a couple of times, and I follow Victoria Schwab on twitter, so I kept reading about parallel worlds, magic, and pirates. I read and reviewed Vicious, her adult book, and now I finally got around to this one. And let me tell you – I was intrigued from the start! I think the first few chapters are the strongest of the book, because they’re such a great introduction to the world and the characters of A Darker Shade of Magic. The writing just felt magical (unrelated to the book’s subject) and, like with Vicious, I found it very cinematic. Worldbuilding at its best!
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ALL THE BOOKS

November 29, 2015 books, miscellaneous 7

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What’s New?

Good things that happened this week:

  • dancing and free cocktails
  • fun times with friends
  • new creative ideas

The Shiny



I caved and bought a Kindle Voyage, so obviously I had to fill it with things. Lots of things. All of them have been on my to be read list for a while now though. I have to admit, it’s a bit of a struggle to decide whether I want to buy books on my Kindle or physically now. Forget that whole what’s better debate (it’s literally the same content) the real problem here is that I want to read them on the Kindle, but I ALSO want to ogle them on my shelf.

cinder cover marissa meyer on reviews and cake mortal heart by robin lafevers cover on reviews and cake dumplin by julie murphy cover on reviews and cake

And then there was this. One of the perks during Patrick Ness’s Save the Children fundraiser were signed copies of Alexandra Bracken’s Through the Dark, a collection of short stories set in the world of her The Darkest Minds series. I love that series, but I couldn’t buy the short stories before, because they weren’t available in Germany. I was planning to get the book anyway when it was released, so this was perfect!

Through the Dark by Alexandra Bracken cover on Reviews and Cake

Yes, I have books instead of hands now. Kind of impractical, but I’m making it work.



I didn’t think I was getting a copy, because I didn’t get an e-mail notification when they were sent out (there was a limited number), so imagine my surprise when I went to the post office to ostensibly pick up a boring university book and got this instead!


On the Blog

Tune of the Week



The song that’s been used in about a million fan videos of every TV show ever… Enjoy.

As always, I’m linking up with Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and the Sunday Post hosted by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer!

stacking the shelvessunday post

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Favorite Harry Potter Moments

November 26, 2015 books, fun, miscellaneous 14

I’ve been indulging in my Harry Potter addiction again recently, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite moments of the books/movies with you. I haven’t reread them, so this is a non-comprehensive, random list, but I thought some of you might enjoy it. :)

1. When Hermione hits Draco

I’m generally a very non-violent person, but there’s just something so satisfying about Hermione losing her shit and backhanding Draco. I think she slaps him in the book, but punches him in the movie? Either way, it’s glorious.


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Why I Read Young Adult

November 17, 2015 books, discussion 20

See? See! I’m not only telling you why I DON’T do stuff. Today you can get another unwanted and unasked for insight into how my brain works. Aren’t you excited? I know I am.



I’m 22, and I love reading Young Adult. I’m pretty confident that’s not going to change anytime soon. It’s not the only thing I read, but I think it’s safe to say the majority of books I read are classified as YA. I know a lot of people already outlined their reasons for reading Young Adult as an adult, but I’ll contribute to the discussion, because I feel like it, and because some people still view YA as lesser.
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We’re live in 3… 2… 1…

November 14, 2015 books, fun, miscellaneous, writing 10

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What’s New?

Me and my friend Verena (she blogs in German, but I’ll link to her blog anyway, because you can look at her drawings) are going to have our own radio show soon! As you might or might not remember, I did an internship at a local radio station this summer, and I decided to ask whether I can do my own show. I convinced Verena to join me, because I thought it would be more fun together. We worked on a concept last week and presented it at the monthly meeting yesterday. They all voted yes, so we’ll be going live for an hour every four weeks starting January. I’m really excited about it, because I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of fun, and it’s good practice if I want to do something radio-related after uni. In other news, I’m still doing NaNoWriMo, although slightly less successfully. I’m a bit stuck in my story, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out and persevere.

I also edited my England vlog, so if you’re interested in seeing what I got up to, you can do that here. I know, you’ve been waiting with bated breath.


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Why I Don’t Go To The Library

November 10, 2015 books, discussion, fun, miscellaneous 19

This is sort of a companion post to Why I Don’t Review ARCs. I know it sounds like I’m just trying to be contrary, but I promise it’s more than just a leftover pseudo-rebellious streak from my teenage years. I think.

Let me start this off by saying I love libraries. I think libraries are one of humanity’s greatest inventions, and I spent about 90% of my childhood in one. For a couple of years, we had a library right next to our school, so it was basically get up -> go to school -> go to the library -> read -> go to bed, rinse and repeat. Then the library moved ten minutes away, and I had to walk up a hill to get there. Pretty sure that’s the most continuous exercise I ever got, which is saying something because it was a pretty short walk. I should look into gyms again.

So why haven’t I owned a library card in years and years? Well, my dear reader, much like Voldemort’s soul, the reason comes to you in seven parts. (If you’re asking what the eighth one is, it’s probably you.)

1. I’m lazy.

This should come as no surprise to you. I mean I’d have to actually leave my house and who wants that. Then I’d have to haul approximately fifteen books all the way to the library to return them and another fifteen from the library home. Why so many? BECAUSE BOOKS ARE SHINY AND I NEED OPTIONS. Like, seriously, they’re free no matter how many I take, so why limit myself?



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Why I Don’t Review ARCs

November 5, 2015 books, discussion, miscellaneous 25

Quick confession: part of the reason I started this blog was because I read that book bloggers receive ARCs, and I thought that was so cool. Now I quickly grew out of this, because I love blogging, and I realized I couldn’t care less about ARCs, but still hear a lot about ARCs, so I thought I’d address the subject.

Here’s why I don’t read ARCs:

1. I live in Germany, but I read books written in English. There are more than enough book bloggers in English-speaking countries, so it doesn’t make sense for publishers to send me ARCs.
2. This could easily be remedied by requesting ebooks, but I prefer print books, so that’s not an option for me.
3. I’m the moodiest mood reader in the history of moods. If I had a list of ARCs to read, it would just feel like work instead of fun.
4. I, um, kind of like book shopping. Would I like for books I’m genuinely interested in to randomly appear at my doorstep? Certainly, but I really don’t mind ordering them myself either. It can be costly, but money spent on books is never a waste of money in my head so that’s fine.
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Could You Be A Better Chosen One Than Simon Snow?

November 3, 2015 books, reviews 2


Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

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Ghosting Around

October 31, 2015 books, miscellaneous 16

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What’s New?

I should really change the title of this section already. I always sit here thinking yes, what IS new? Has anything happened? Should I get my memory checked? I mostly just went to work, did a movie review for the radio, and completely neglected university. Business as usual pretty much. I also wrote a couple of posts for November, so keep an eye out for those! And of course A HAPPY HALLOWEEN TO ALL OF YOU. May you spook forth and conquer a small kingdom by stealing souls, or whatever it is you do on Halloween. I’m going to visit my cousin, and we’re going to order some food and watch as many movies on this list as we manage:

1. The Nightmare Before Christmas – it’s such a classic, and I’ve never seen it. Also it looks like there’s Halloween AND Christmas? Sounds like a winner to me.
2. Hocus Pocus – this one’s a bit of a tradition. I watched it with my cousin once when we were young and then we announced we’d watch it together every Halloween. Of course we never did, but we always talk about it, so there you go. Maybe we’ll actually manage this year.
3. Halloweentown – this is another tradition. It runs on TV every year around Halloween, and I think it has about 5000 sequels. It might not be the best when it comes to …everything, but it has sentimental value.
4. The Cabin in the Woods – as you might have guessed by the previous films on this list, I’m not a fan of scary movies (thoughI am a fan of Scary Movie 1), but I figured I’d put at least one real horror film on the list. Mainly because Joss Whedon is one of the writers, but hey, at least I make compromises. The Joss Whedon biography I read spoiled the ending of the movie, but it’s been a while since I read it, so I’m hoping I forgot some of it!


The Shiny


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Carrying On

October 24, 2015 books, miscellaneous 28

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What’s New?

Aloha amig@s de libros! (yes, you may hit me for that)

I hope this post finds you feeling well and spooky. It’s been three weeks since I’ve done one of these, so have a non-comprehensive list of things that happened since then

  • My internship ended, and a new semester at uni started
  • I went to Newcastle for a couple of days last week! I vlogged it, so I’ll upload a video about it within the next weeks
  • While in Newcastle I watched The Martian, which is a GREAT movie and you should definitely see it because it’s hilarious. I’m slightly upset that no one ever recommended the book to me, but now I shall have to read it
  • I watched the first four episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. It’s good so far!
  • Gilmore Girls will be continued with four 90-minute episodes! It’s one of my go-to favorite shows, and I really didn’t expect it, so I’m thrilled-nervous-enthusiastic about this

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Tea and Milk and All Things Silk

October 21, 2015 books, fun, miscellaneous 12

I’ve been logged out of my own blog, so I figured it’s probably time for a new post. Alyssa created the milk tea tag ages a while ago and – in true Vlora fashion – I decided to do it months later. You’re welcome, creators of tags who would have run their course without me bringing them up once the bandwagon has long derailed, caught fire, and crashed into a mine wall. (Why a mine? Because I was on a 4D motion ride last week and the experience imitated driving through a mine in a wagon, which made me think of Gringotts at the time, but NOW whenever I hear wagon I think of mines. I didn’t say my head makes sense.) (Also, by “derailed, caught fire, and crashed into a mine wall” I mean that it is lovingly remembered and has its own Walk of Fame star.)


Tea: the foundation of your reading life

This one’s easy. I’ve read the Harry Potter books more times than I can count (I mean I probably could count it, because despite what my old math teacher thinks I can actually count all the way up to the double digits, but let’s not go there). They have a special place in my heart; Hogwarts is home; no need to call me Sir, Professor; yadda yadda. I’d show you a picture of my HP books, but some of them don’t have a spine anymore, and we’re working on building up their self-esteem at the moment.

seasonally appropriate Hogwarts gif


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The Amazing Post Is Not On Fire

October 9, 2015 books, fun, reviews 10


Hello reader,

In this book is a world. A world created by two awkward guys who share their lives on the internet!

We are Dan and Phil and we invite you on a journey inside our minds! From the stories of our actual births, to exploring Phil’s teenage diary and all the reasons why Dan’s a fail.

Learn how to draw the perfect cat whiskers, get advice on what to do in an awkward situation and discover which of our dining chairs represents you emotionally. With everything from what we text each other, to the time we met One Direction and what really happened in Vegas…

I remember exactly how I discovered Dan and Phil. It was a day like any other on YouTube, and I was watching one of Hank Green’s Sims videos. A lot of people in the comments mentioned these Dan and Phil guys and their owl slide. I had absolutely no clue what they were talking about, but for some reason I was probably procrastinating, I decided to check it out. Fast forward to 5 a.m. and I had watched the entirety of Sims 4 with Dan and Phil. There were about 12 episodes at the time. Despite my lurking on Hank’s gaming channel, I don’t usually watch gaming videos, but these were hilarious. I found out Dan and Phil have YouTube channels other than their gaming account, so I took a look at those as well, but it was more of a cursory glance, and videos like the photo booth challenge don’t really make me stick around.

A couple of months later, I randomly took another look okay fine, I was probably procrastinating again, and that was that. I watched videos like Existential Crisis, I Talk to Myself, Fandoms, and I Mumble, and had one of those OH MY GOD FINALLY SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS ME I’M NOT THE ONLY PERSON WHO DOES THIS moments. I know, I know, you’re never the only person who does this, but sometimes you need some equally weird person on the internet to remind you of that. Dan was that person, which is my excuse for spending an entire day doing nothing but watching his videos.

If you’ve read this far, you might be asking yourself okay, Vlora, but why the eff did you write all of this without even having gotten to the review part of this post yet? and you’d have a good point. I realize not everyone is as obsessed with YouTube as I am, leave alone these two tight trouser aficionados in particular, but I need you to understand something: I really wanted this book to be good. I feel fairly neutral about all the YouTube book deals, and the only book by a YouTuber (apart from John Green) I’ve read was Connor Franta’s, which I didn’t particularly like. I read Dan and Phil’s book the day it came out.
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There Are No Heroes Here

September 23, 2015 books, reviews 6


A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates–brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find–aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge–but who will be left alive at the end?

Superpowers? Villains? Old college roomies with a vendetta? I was sold the first time I read the blurb. Add to that the gorgeous cover, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. I’ve had more than enough time to reflect since I’ve read it now, so let’s dive straight in.
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Children Horror Story

September 12, 2015 books, miscellaneous 24

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What’s New?

I’m not usually a participant in the TGIF crowd, but THANK GOD IT’S FUCKING FRIDAY. Actually I just wrote that and realized it’s Saturday now. That’s what kind of a week it’s been. Still interning at the radio and had to look after children, who were there on some sort of holiday program this week. Me. Children. Who in the hell would think I’m qualified for that? To be honest, they weren’t that bad, but even looking after well-behaved children is exhausting. I appreciate their enthusiasm though! It also seems I have to work Saturdays as well the next couple of weeks, so basically bye bye, term papers, you’re not getting a photo this week (that was a Germany’s Next Topmodel reference, do they do the photo thing on America’s Next Topmodel too?). I did get a compliment at the office I work at though, so that was cool. Also it’s all good, because it’s the weekend, and I have two free days and Possibly Good News That Are Not Confirmed Yet. I’ll keep you posted and until then I hope your week was amazing, and I’ll see you again SOON.

The Shiny


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Awesome Authors and a Bout of Productivity

September 4, 2015 books, miscellaneous 32

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What’s New?

Edit: I’m having a blog party! Check out my blogger friending meme :)

If you’re on twitter, you probably already know this unless you’ve been living under a REALLY heavy rock, but there’s some SERIOUS charity stuff going on over there. Patrick Ness, author of The Rest of Us Just Live Here (which has been on my to-read for a while now) and some other books, started a fundraiser to collect money to give to Save the Children for refugees, because he was tired of only tweeting about it. He offered to match the first 10.000 pounds, and then John Green jumped in and said he’d match the next 10.000, and suddenly it all gained momentum.

SO MANY authors (and Hank Green, but I hear he’s writing a book, so…) participated that we all raised 400.000 pounds (~600.000 dollars) in only 36 hours. Obviously this wouldn’t be possible without all the people who keep giving, so please consider stopping by and giving some money yourself – every little bit helps! I love when humanity actually does something good, and this makes me proud to be a part of the book community. If you’re also a nerdfighter, this whole thing kind of feels like Project for Awesome, but on twitter.


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Rich Worlds and Great Sequels: The Immortal Crown

August 30, 2015 books, reviews 6



Gameboard of the Gods introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out. With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation: Not only are the gods vying for human control, but the elect—special humans marked by the divine—are turning against one another in bloody fashion.

Their mission takes a new twist when they are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin’s old friend and rival, going into Arcadia, the RUNA’s dangerous neighboring country. Here, in a society where women are commodities and religion is intertwined with government, Justin discovers powerful forces at work, even as he struggles to come to terms with his own reluctantly acquired deity.

Meanwhile, Mae—grudgingly posing as Justin’s concubine—has a secret mission of her own: finding the illegitimate niece her family smuggled away years ago. But with Justin and Mae resisting the resurgence of the gods in Arcadia, a reporter’s connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission—and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret. (Goodreads)


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Ou la la! Paris Shenanigans and Fiery Body Parts

August 29, 2015 books, fun, miscellaneous 12

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What’s New?

Bonjour mes amis blogtastique!

As you might be able to tell by my pretentious greetings, I spent last weekend in Paris! Due to the internship and work I don’t have any proper holidays this summer, so when my mum mentioned she was going to Paris for a weekend, I latched onto her like the leech loving daughter I am. I had to venture out of the comforts of my home, but on the plus side, I saw some sights, learned some stuff and only almost got killed on the metro once. I did make a fool of myself trying to use the metro at first also, but at least I didn’t confuse French with Spanish this time, so I’m counting it as a success. I vlogged the whole thing, so take a look if you’re interested!

According to my blogoversary survey results at least half of you don’t know that I also have a YouTube channel, so clearly I need to get better at relentlessly shoving it in your face. Kidding, I’ll try not to, but my fingers might slip from time to time. Speaking of, I’m loving all your feedback (and demands for cake), so I’ll be discussing the results in a bit, but I figured I’d wait until next week to give more people the chance to fill it out. If you haven’t yet and you’d like to please feel free to head over there and let me know what you think!
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Birthday Bash and Books

August 16, 2015 books, miscellaneous 14

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What’s New?

It was my birthday this week! I celebrated with my friends last night, which was awesome. I had a bit of a rough week, so I really enjoyed having drinks with them and just hanging out. It was great, and I got some cool presents as well. I also had a family thing today. Sadly, not everyone could come, but we still had cake for a small army, so it was okay. I brought some over to the neighbours, because I need them to continue accepting ALL THE PACKAGES ALL THE TIME instead of secretely plotting my murder I’m such a nice person.


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Crazy Person On Air!?

August 8, 2015 books, fun, miscellaneous 26

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What’s New?

I started my internship at the radio this week. The start was a bit rocky due to some organizational issues, but I got into it the last couple of days. I’m mainly helping with this live show about local news and event tips (and some music) that they do, and I have to produce two segments for that each week. I was on air for the first time yesterday, and it was really fun! I thought it would be scarier, but the fact that it’s a small station, and you’re not actually talking in front of people who are physically present makes it easier. Plus, there’s a structure to the show and you have your text prepared, so you don’t have to improv everything.


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