Posts Categorized: reviews

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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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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Faith: Suits Mid-Season Finale Review

August 28, 2015 reviews, tv shows 2

Let’s talk about Suits. I thought I reviewed this show before, but it must have been on another blog in another time (either that or I didn’t tag it right, but who could be bothered to search), because I didn’t find it in my reviews section.

This gif has no relation other than that it’s from the show, but I’m finding it hilarious.



I love the show as a whole – the characters, the cinematography and set design and the plot are all on point – but I just watched the mid-season finale of Season 5 (what is it with these stupid mid-season finales?? I don’t want to wait until January!), so that’s what I’ll mostly be talking about.

SPOILERS UP UNTIL SEASON 5 EPISODE 10 FROM HERE ON ONWARDS
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Starships Are Meant to Fly (So It Sucks When They Come Crashing Down)

June 24, 2015 books, reviews 14

These Broken Stars cover on Reviews and Cake

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive — alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

Okay, confession time: I know everyone loves this cover – and I like it too – BUT it does look slightly cheesy. I don’t remember why I bought this book initially, but despite the good ratings I expected it to be a lot soppier than it was. There IS a lot of romance, but it develops slowly and there’s bickering and banter, and it’s basically perfect. That’s not all though! I wanted sci-fi, and I was not disappointed. I don’t think the book is very heavy on technical explanations and – due to the fact that most of the book is set on an abandoned planet – there isn’t TONS of worldbuilding, but the stuff there was I liked. I do think that people who aren’t really into sci-fi would enjoy it too.
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This Book Will Make You Smile

May 29, 2015 books, reviews 14

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda cover by Becky Albertalli

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Contemporary books are always a little hit or miss for me. There’s no magic, there are no ancient castles, fiery dragons, nor even some good old throne usurpation by an evil uncle who has to be defeated. It’s all quite dreadful really. EXCEPT. Except there are some books that hit home precisely because they’re set in our world. With contemporary books, it’s all about the characters for me. If I love the characters, I love the book. And Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda had some GREAT characters.
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We All Looked Up

May 15, 2015 books, reviews 12

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach on Reviews and Cake


We All Looked Up is overdramatic and beautiful and frustrating and poignant. It’s about growing up and finding yourself and your purpose in life. It’s also about the apocalypse, but let’s not get caught up in little things like that.

Before the asteroid we let ourselves be defined by labels:
The athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever.

But then we all looked up and everything changed.

They said it would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we’d been, something that would last even after the end.

Two months to really live

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Modern Family

May 14, 2015 recs, reviews, tv shows 6

TV Show Thursdays on Reviews and Cake

Welcome to TV Show Thursdays, where I discuss TV Shows, review episodes and give my commentary on anything TV Show related!


Yesterday was the worst day. Why am I whining about it on the internet? Because I can. But also because I want to tell you a little something about Modern Family. When I don’t feel good, a new episode of Modern Family will almost certainly cheer me up. On a sucky day, it’s one of my go-to comfort sources. And so it was yesterday.

Modern_Family-Logo.svg


So why is it such a feel good show? Mostly, it’s because you know that (with maybe one exception) at the end of the episode everything’s going to be alright, and everyone’s going to love each other. That’s true for a lot of shows like this though. What makes Modern Family stand out is that it’s also clever. It’s not just flat humor and stupid jokes (even though you could probably make an argument for that too), it’s satire and social commentary and loveable characters. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that’s why it’s seriously fun.

Another thing that sets it apart is the style. It’s hard to explain the brilliance of it if you’ve never seen it, but it’s a “mockumentary”, which means it’s filmed in the style of a documentary, but completely fictional. This means you get the characters’ commentary on their own actions, but it’s so seamlessly a part of the show that it never throws me out. I probably didn’t even notice it was unusual the first time I watched the show.

Like with most shows, you probably need a couple of episodes to really get into it, but once you do the characters grow on you like no one’s business. You see the kids grow up, the family grow together and the characters growing into better versions of themselves. If you’re in the mood for something lighthearted and fun, then you should definitely give Modern Family a try – you won’t regret it!

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Do You Wanna Play a Game?

May 5, 2015 books, reviews 9

Ready Player One book cover on Reviews and Cake


Imagine the WORLD AT STAKE.

An EPIC STRUGGLE between good and evil.

The GREATEST QUEST in history.

The FATE OF HUMANITY resting in your hands.

ARE YOU READY?



Ready Player One REALLY wasn’t what I expected. I was under the impression it’s a scifi adventure kind of story, but to me it felt more like a bleak dystopia for 3/4 of the book. I loved all of the 80s references (even though I probably only got about 3% of them), and the premise is awesome, but it took some time before the book grew on me. One of my main problems was the long, LONG passages of nothing but exposition. The world did need some explaining, but I felt like 50% of the book were expository text. In the book, what we as the readers read is actually supposed to be written by Wade, the protagonist, so I didn’t understand why he felt the need to explain things that are completely common in his time and age, like how the OASIS (a mix of the internet and a massive multiplayer online game) works. I mean obviously we need the information, but the way it was delivered didn’t necessarily make sense to me.
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Why Bambi Is Actually A Horror Movie

May 4, 2015 discussion, fun, movies, reviews 15

Remember Bambi? Bunnies hopping, birds singing, deer frolicking,… or that’s what you think. I watched Bambi with my roommate last week, and we spent about 20 minutes curled up in little trauma balls afterwards. Since my way of processing things is to write about them, you get to find out EXACTLY why.



Rape, death, annoying little children… this movie has it all. Let’s make a list! Do I need to warn for spoilers for Bambi? Consider yourself warned. Where was I? Right, list.
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How to Lead a Life of Crime (One Shocking Plot Twist At a Time)

April 12, 2015 books, reviews 6

How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller book


A meth dealer. A prostitute. A serial killer.

Anywhere else, they’d be vermin. At the Mandel Academy, they’re called prodigies. The most exclusive school in New York City has been training young criminals for over a century. Only the most ruthless students are allowed to graduate. The rest disappear.



This books is EXCELLENT. I can’t fathom why I never heard about it before I read Cait’s con artist post. I’m not usually a crime reader, but, despite its title, this isn’t exactly a traditional crime novel and I love a good con as much as the next person. I can only assume it didn’t have a high marketing budget, because once you’ve read it you’re going to talk about it. So let’s do that!
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Agent Carter

March 26, 2015 reviews, tv shows 9

TV Show Thursdays on Reviews and Cake

Welcome to TV Show Thursdays, where I discuss TV Shows, recap episodes and give my commentary on anything TV Show related!


I’ve known about Agent Carter for a while now, but sometimes I prefer to watch shows when all the episodes have aired, so I can watch without having to wait a week (or months, in case of mid-season breaks). The show centers around the life and secret missions of Peggy Carter, who first appeared as Steve Rogers’s love interest in Captain America: The First Avenger, and is based on the Agent Carter one shot that was produced a while ago. It’s absolutely not necessary to have seen any of the Marvel movies to watch this show, but I think the connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe definitely helps to enjoy the show.

Agent Peggy Carter Poster
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Eleanor and Park (Or the One With The Great Beginning)

March 13, 2015 books, reviews 12

Eleanor and Park Rainbow Rowell book cover on Reviews and Cake

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book – he thinks he’s made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor… never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

It has now been several weeks since I’ve read Eleanor and Park and I STILL can’t decide how I feel about it. Some parts of the book were phenomenal and others were… not. Let’s break it down!
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The 100 Season 2 Finale: Clarke Became Death (Again)

March 12, 2015 reviews, tv shows 5

TV Show Thursdays on Reviews and Cake

Welcome to TV Show Thursdays, where I discuss TV Shows, review episodes and give my commentary on anything TV Show related!


Today’s TV Show Thursday comes to you in an episode discussion of the latest The 100 episode, because what else could possibly be more important? I love that there’s such a disproportionate amount of book bloggers watching this show. I have no clue why that’s the case, but I APPROVE.

DON’T READ ON IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED SEASON 2 EPISODE 16 YET.
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In The Afterlight (Or The One With All My Favorite Characters)

March 6, 2015 books, reviews 8

In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken cover

Ruby can’t look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government’s attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America’s children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the “rehabilitation camps” housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

If you’ve read my reviews for The Darkest Minds and Never Fade, you know I think very highly of this series. I love that it dares to be dark, but has some light moments as well. I’m always a sucker for books with a focus on friendship, and The Darkest Minds does it very well. So as you can see, I already had high expectations of In The Afterlight. But did it live up to them?
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The 100 (Best Looking People Get Saved)

February 28, 2015 reviews, tv shows 8

TV Show Thursdays on Reviews and Cake

Welcome to TV Show Thursdays, where I discuss TV Shows, recap episodes and give my commentary on anything TV Show related!


If you’re following me on twitter, you might have noticed that I’ve been talking about little else but The 100 the last couple of days. I started watching the show last week, and I’m all caught up in time to watch the finale with everyone else next week. You know the people who watch an episode a time and then get back to their life? Yeah, that’s not me. When I like something, I’ll binge watch until I’ve seen everything there is to see, and that’s what happened with this show. I kept hearing about it the last few weeks, so I thought I’d give it a try. Then it took over my life.

The 100
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Book Review: City of Heavenly Fire (Or The One With Deja Vu)

February 25, 2015 books, reviews 4

ALT TEXT

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee – even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned. Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments.

This review might contain spoilers for the previous books in the series.

Guys! I FINALLY read this book. I read the first three books years and years ago. I loved them back then, and I knew there was going to be a spin off series, but then the series just randomly continued, which threw me a little. I didn’t love City of Fallen Angels to be honest, and I struggled a lot with the first half of City of Lost Souls (books 4 and 5 in the series, if all the City titles are confusing you too). It felt like the story was past the point where it should have naturally ended, and the writing bothered me a little as well. At one point I took three sample pages from City of Lost Souls and counted how many times the words “gold” and “silver” were used to describe random body parts of Jace or Sebastian. Trust me, it was a lot. HOWEVER, I did care about the characters and the story enough to want to finish the series. Little did I know there were going to be 18329 more books in the Shadowhunter world, but let’s not digress.
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Movie Review: The Imitation Game

February 18, 2015 movies, recs, reviews 10

Remember waaaay back in December when I talked about wanting to watch The Imitation Game? If you need a quick refresher on the basic premise of the movie, check out that post. Anyways, I finally watched it!

benedict cumberbatch the imitation game poster


…and OH MY GOD WAS THIS MOVIE GOOD.

It was everything I expected and more.

Great Acting? Check.

Coding? Check.

Frenemies? Check.

A TEAR MY HEART OUT BECAUSE I’M DYING OF ALL THE FEELS story? Doublecheck.

It’s no surprise that Ben rocked the role like Axl Rose on his best day, but I was really suprised that Keira Knightley was right up there with him in terms of quality acting. Now I knew she can’t just play the damsel in distress and she’s had some good roles before, but out of all the movies I’ve watched with her, this was definitely her best performance.

I’m not going to go into the end of the movie or the great twists and turns throughout because I want you all to enjoy the full experience, but trust me when I say it’s great storytelling. At times I knew I was being emotionally manipulated (okay basically the entire point of a movie is to emotionally manipulate you, but you know what I mean), but I didn’t care. It was just heartbreaking and awesome and did I mention it’s a good movie? It’s somewhat anachronological and it took me until the middle of the movie until I understood the exact timeline, but I think it was mostly well done. The soundtrack wasn’t revolutionary, but in this case I don’t think it was a mistake to go with what worked before.

For some reason I kept being reminded of other movies while I watched it. Like, at the very beginning of the movie there’s a scene where a newspaper boy calls out 800 000 children evacuated and you can see the station with the trains leaving and I couldn’t help but think meanwhile in Narnia. And then later you can see kids with gas masks and how can that NOT remind someone of Are you my mummy? (unless that person has never watched Doctor Who, I guess, but in that case what are you even doing with your life)? Then there’s this revelatory scene in a bar that reminded me of A Beautiful Mind (which, by the way, is also a very good movie).

The Imitation Game is nominated for 8 Oscars, a fact I’m very happy about. I never cared much about the Oscars, but I’m planning to watch them this year, and I will SO be rooting for this movie to win a couple of awards.

Have you watched the movie yet? Are you planning to? And what do you think about the Oscars – must watch or totally irrelevant?

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Book Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (Or the One That Surprised Me)

February 12, 2015 books, reviews 8

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins cover

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tag-along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

I’m not sure how to describe this book. It’s like some bizarre mixture of Vampire Academy, St Trinian’s and Winx. To be honest, I almost gave up after the first couple of chapters. The writing felt immature, the story borrowed and the characters flat. Maybe I’m spoiled after reading The Darkest Minds, but I expect more from YA. But then something happened. I started to really enjoy it and time flew by as I read until I got to the ending – and boy, was that an ending. It exceeded my expectations by far. Some aspects were predictable, sure, but all in all the book went places I didn’t think it would go and I loved it.
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