Posts Categorized: reviews

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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Book Review: Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken (Or the One With Nonstop Action)

January 27, 2015 books, reviews 4

Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken cover

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?

No spoilers in the review, can’t make promises for the comment section.

Remember how much I loved The Darkest Minds? After I read the first chapter of Never Fade (it was included at the end of my copy of The Darkest Minds), I was a little worried that it would focus more on EPIC LOVE OMG and less on all the awesome people and the interesting plot from the first book. Well. That was SO not the case.

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Book Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (Or the One With All the Friendship)

December 25, 2014 books, reviews 2

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken cover

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control. Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

This book, guys. Okay, let me attempt to bring my notes into a coherent review, so I can convince you to read it. The Darkest Minds is one of those books that stands out from the mass of dystopian YA books in a way so few manage to accomplish. It has great characters, an interesting story and beautiful writing.
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Book Review: Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle (Or the One With Carla the Car)

December 16, 2014 books, reviews 2

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle cover

An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train and sets off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.

A trio of today’s bestselling authors – John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle- brings all the magic of the holidays to life in three hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and kisses that will steal your breath away.

If you want to get on your holiday cheer with an easy read, then this is the book to enjoy while curled up in front of the fireplace.

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Book Review: Orla’s Code by Fiona Pearse (Or the One With the Anonymous Lover)

December 14, 2014 books, reviews 0

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld cover

“If you want to get ahead, get noticed,” is Orla Hanlon’s motto. New to London and the first female programmer at CouperDaye, a global investment bank, she takes on a high-profile but controversial project.
With her new luxury apartment and a work-romance quietly on the side, Orla thinks she has everything under control.
Until a bug in her code causes chaos on the trading floor and Orla finds herself a scapegoat in a corporate game, fighting to save her new life in London.

I bought this book mainly because of the programming aspect and because the blurb sounded intriguing. I’m not an expert on coding, so I can’t tell you whether the author got it right or not, which is why I’m only going to talk about the story itself.

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Book Review: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (Or the One With the Hot Death God)

December 3, 2014 books, reviews 0

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld cover

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings… Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

I have the suspicion that this book is going to inspire a lot of people to write. Which is a good thing because yay, books!

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Book Review: Loop by Karen Akins (Or the One With Female Snape)

November 16, 2014 books, reviews 0

Loop cover by Karen Akins

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels… at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

This review contains spoilers.

You had me at time travel academy! I found this book on Goodreads First Reads a few months ago. I didn’t win it (obviously), but I bought it anyway because the premise sounded fun. I had to struggle through some university books before I finally got around to this one, but it didn’t disappoint! Loop is an entertaining, fast-paced read that contains a lot of action and wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.

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Book Review: Dear Comrade + Childhood Favorites Feature(?)

October 15, 2014 books, psa, reviews 0

I didn’t actually finish this book just now, but I was reminded of it recently and after looking it up on Goodreads, I saw it didn’t even have a review there (now it does). Since this is one of my childhood favorites and it saddens me that not a lot of people seem to know it, I decided it deserves some space on my blog. I’m also toying with starting a Childhood Favorites feature of some sort on my blog so people have a chance to highlight those little almost-forgotten gems that impacted their childhood. If you’d be interested in showcasing a favorite book from you’re childhood/youth, definitely drop me an e-mail at reviewsandcake@gmail.com!

If there’s enough interest, it’ll definitely happen! If not, I’ll delete this part of the post and we’ll never talk about it again.

Okay, so now for the actual review:

Dear Comrade cover

After a party Kate and Paul start to write each other. The letters reveal their very different political convictions, but even so they can’t stop themselves from falling in love with each other.

(Goodreads keeping it short and snappy there.)

The main reason I like this (very short) book is that the two main characters manage to respect each other and establish a relationship despite the fact that they have vastly different world views. Even though their ideological perspectives couldn’t be more different, they don’t just SAY they’ll try to understand each other, they actually DO. Try, that is, not understand each other. There’s still a lot of fighting and casting stones (metaphorically) going on. Couple that with all the confusion and insecurity of first love and you have Dear Comrade.

That’s another thing I like about this book – Paul and Kate’s relationship is sweet without being annoying and develops naturally. Whereas the premise of the book can feel a little constructed at times, their relationship progresses organically as they begin to care more and more about each other. They often struggle to even stay friends, which of course makes it even harder once romantic feelings are involved. But when things get serious, they can rely on each other, which makes this story more romantic than a lot of things I’ve read recently. This book is basically the opposite of instant love. Plus, it’s an epistolary story, so what more can you wish for?

4 out of 5 cupcakes to this novella!

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Book Review: Joss Whedon – The Biography (Or The One With Tom Hiddleston’s E-Mail)

October 13, 2014 books, reviews 0

Joss Whedon: The Biography by Amy Pascale cover

From the cult favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which netted four million viewers per episode, to the summer blockbuster The Avengers, which amassed a box office of $1.5 billion, Joss Whedon has made a name for himself in Hollywood for his penchant for telling meaningful, personal tales about love, death, and redemption even against the most dramatic and larger-than-life backdrops. This biography follows his development from a creative child and teenager who spent years away from his family at an elite English public school, through his early successes—which often turned into frustrating heartbreak in both television (Roseanne) and film (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)—to his breakout turn as the creator, writer, and director of the Buffy television series. Extensive, original interviews with Whedon’s family, friends, collaborators, and stars—and with the man himself—offer candid, behind-the-scenes accounts of the making of groundbreaking series such as Buffy, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse, as well as new stories about his work with Pixar writers and animators during the creation of Toy Story. Most importantly, however, these conversations present an intimate and revealing portrait of a man whose creativity and storytelling ability have manifested themselves in comics, online media, television, and film.

Let me start this review by saying I HATE reading non-fiction books with a passion. I can’t remember a single instance where I managed to read a non-fictional book from start to finish unless it was also meant to entertain in some way or another. I even struggle with essays I have to read for university. Don’t get me wrong, they’re always interesting in some form or another, but where are the DRAGONS? Where’s the MAGIC and the CHARACTERS and the SUSPENSE? I actually love books that contain scientific elements, whether real or made-up, and I only vaguely remember the time frame of the French Revolution because of Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. Wrap it up in a story of some sort and I can retain (fictional) virology and dates of important historical events like no one’s business, but serve it to me as actual facts and I’ll forget it in a min- what was that? I DON’T REMEMBER I WAS READING ABOUT A MAGICAL KINGDOM.

However, this biography is about Joss Whedon. The creator of fictional stories like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, Firefly and to top it all off Avengers and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. All of those I love more than I would my firstborn child (don’t judge me, I hate children – you’re judging me even more now, aren’t you?), so when a friend walked into the room with this book, I just had to borrow it.

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Book Review: Trial by Fire (or The One With a Lot of Aquiline Noses)

October 4, 2014 books, reviews 0

Trial by Fire cover by Josephine Angelini

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily’s other self in this alternate universe.

What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a YA fantasy book that entertained me this much. Let’s talk about the good things first.

This review contains spoilers. Please only read on if you don’t mind or have already read the book.
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Book Review: Throne of Glass (or The One With All The Balls, No Not Those)

October 3, 2014 books, reviews 0

Throne of Glass Cover by Sarah J Maas

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

Initial Impression

I was fully prepared to like this book. Guess it goes to show that you should never trust the hype.

The word that best describes my feelings when reading the first couple of sentences of this book is relief. The author’s writing style didn’t suck, so how bad could it be, right? Wrong. I feel like the gifs in this review express my feelings perfectly, but I’m going to attempt to review it anyway.

Thoughts While Reading

BEWARE, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS

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Book Review: The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer

September 16, 2014 books, reviews 0

I’m back from my holiday in North Germany, which was actually very nice (who would have thought), so have a review! Also check out my guest post at Laura Plus Books, in which I talk about reviewing older books, as well as the best method to review book series when you’re late to the party.

The Dark Wife

Three thousand years ago, a god told a lie. Now, only a goddess can tell the truth. Persephone has everything a daughter of Zeus could want–except for freedom. She lives on the green earth with her mother, Demeter, growing up beneath the ever-watchful eyes of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus. But when Persephone meets the enigmatic Hades, she experiences something new: choice.

Zeus calls Hades “lord” of the dead as a joke. In truth, Hades is the goddess of the underworld, and no friend of Zeus. She offers Persephone sanctuary in her land of the dead, so the young goddess may escape her Olympian destiny. But Persephone finds more than freedom in the underworld. She finds love, and herself.

I really wanted to love this book. I absolutely adore the cover and the description sounded exactly like my kind of thing. Unfortunately, even though I was very excited to read this book, it did not live up to my expectations.

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