Friday, January 31, 2014

My Life...

Monthly Rewind


My Pic of January


January in One Word 

January brought a lot of exams, finals week and work. So my month was really uneventful and I did hardly anything else besides studying and working. I have even been absent from blogging for a while. I scheduled some posts but I did not write any posts after the 10th of January. I missed it a lot!

3 Things that Happened in January

  1. I finally managed to stick to my studying schedule - that really is a big deal for me :)
  2. My best friend celebrated his birthday and we had a lovely evening. 
  3. Since the boys in my group of friends are huge American Football fans we watched to Conference Finals and will also watch the Superbowl together on Sunday. 

3 Songs that Were Popular on My i-Pod
I love this accoustic version of Sunrise Avenue's Lifesaver

 Do It by The Boss Hoss

Rubber Duckie sung by Ernie from The Sesame Street
a post about my relationship with this series will go online soon 

Book I Read this Month

Ally Carter - Uncommon Criminals
Ally Carter - Double Crossed
Ali McNamara - Breakfast at Darcy's
Kady Cross - The Strange Case of Finely Jayne
Gerhard Elfers - 111 Reasons to love London (German book)
Kady Cross - The Girl in the Steel Corset
Katie Fforde - Recipe for Love
Derek Landy - Skulduggery Pleasant
Richard Castle - Heat Wave
Shannon Stacey - Exclusively Yours
Gervase Phinn - Trouble at the Little Village School

  11 books

3403 pages 

a TV series I liked this month 

I got the sixth season of The Big Bang Theory on DVD from my grandpa for Christmas and I spent many evenings watching it with my mum. 

Things I'm Looking Forward to in February
  • My Birthday on the 1st :) 
  • Finally have time to blog again. 
  • Doing a readalong of Rae Carson's books with Alexa, Judith and some other bloggers. 
  • Reading Shatter Me for the first time and discuss it with two of my most favorite bookish friends.

Felix in January
 Snow and Felix are an amazing combination. 
He loves rolling around in it, chasing snowflakes and eat it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.
This week the girls want to know my
Top Ten Worlds I'd Never Want To Live In 
or my
Top Ten Characters I'd Never Want To Trade Places With  
 I really liked both these questions so I will do both!

Top Five Worlds I'd Never Want To Live In
Trenton, New Jersey from Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series
Ankh-Morpork from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series
the surreal Great Britain from Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series
St. Vladimir’s Academy from Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series
Lucky Harbour from Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbour series 
because who wants to live in a city where there are people murdered right under your nose and you always get your car blown up, a city full of witches, wizards and a stinky river, an academy full of vampires and Lucky Harbour because there everyone finds a man and I really don't want to be the only single girl there ;)
Top Five Characters I'd Never Want To Trade Places With
Alexia Tarabotti from Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series
Holly from Marni Bates' book Decked with Holly
Clary Fray from Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series
Kate from Amy Plum's Revenant series
Rose Hathaway from Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series
because I don't want to be alpha of a pack of werewolves, motherless like Clary or Kate, bullied by my family like Holly or a bodyguard and willing to die for my protégé like Rose

Monday, January 27, 2014 books

A Taste For It
by Monica McInerney

First sentences:
Maura picked up her wineglass and spoke in a low sexy voice. “I'm rich and full-bodied and you'll savour my taste for a long, long time.”

‘Céad Míle Fáilte,’ the Irish tourist brochures said. A hundred thousand welcomes.’
A hundred thousand nightmares, more like it!

Maura Carmody’s off on the trip of a lifetime. A talented chef, she’s travelling around Ireland for a month to promote Australian food and wine.
Maura’s expecting a straightforward business trip. But what she gets is a whirlwind of mishaps, misunderstandings, rivals and revelations – and Dominic Hanrahan, who’s giving her plenty of food for thought.
source: Goodreads

My opinion:
I love reading Monica McInerney's books and have quite a lot but this one will always have a special place in my heart.

Many years ago, I would say when I was about 14or 15 years old, I bought the German translation from A Taste For It on a whim and devoured it in a day or two. I always was a fast reader but this book captured me, even though it is a romance novel, and awakened my love for books dealing with food one way or another. I read it many many times and my German edition is well loved. I now also have a signed copy sent to me from Monica as a thank you for a blog post I wrote about her (you can read it here) and one edition I bought second hand after I wasn't able to find it anywhere.

A Taste For It tells the story of Maura, an Australian cook, whose brother owns a winery, who gets the chance of going to Ireland to promote her brother's wines and give cooking lessons afterwards. There she comes across Dominic whom she served awful food back Down Under due to confusing him with a food critic who ruined her friend Gemma's restaurant which, understandably, leads to a lot of embarrassing moments, snappish comments from a friend of Dominic and a little bit of chaos.

The storyline mainly focuses on Maura's adventures in Ireland and you can already see the strong focus on the importance of family that becomes more obvious in Monica's later novels. Maura was adopted when she was a baby and her mother emigrated from Ireland to Australia. As with a lot of adopted kids, at least that's what I think, Maura also wants to know a bit more about her roots and with some small pushes from her brother over the phone she starts looking for some answers in her mother's native land.

All the people we meet in this book are lovely people, some with an interesting back story. I loved Maura and could sympathize with her. She goes on a trip thinking she will meet a good friend in Ireland and spend some time with her but due to an accident this isn't possible and from one moment to another she is alone in a country she doesn't know and has to deal with a guy she drenched in water from a vase of flowers the last time she saw him. She is also leaving her brother and her heavily pregnant sister-in-law, who had some difficulties during the pregnancy, behind for a month not knowing what will happen while she is gone.

A Taste For It may seem like a light fluffy romance at first but for me it is so much more. It is a family story, a story about growing (up) and dealing with life, a love story and a story about friendship. It was Monica's first published novel and if you know other books by her you can see glimpses of the later themes she writes about.

If you want to read an entertaining novel about wine, food, growing up and fighting for what you believe in and are not reluctant to a sweet little love story, then I can highly recommend A Taste For It.

For more information about Monica McInerney visit her Homepage, her Facebook or Twitter page.

Friday, January 24, 2014 books

Booktube Love 
Part One

Today I want to share something with you. I love watching Booktubers on YouTube and today I want to tell you a bit about my favorite ones. I am subscribed to a lot of Booktubers and I love watching their videos and get inspiration from them. Since I want to share all my favorite Booktubers with you I will make this a recurring feature here on the blog so that I can not only share the links to their channel with you but also tell you a bit about them.
Alita is the Bootuber behind A Book Affair. She recently started university and even though she is faced with an enormous workload she is still managing to make videos. Her videos vary between reviews, book hauls, wrap-ups, giveaways, discussions and many more. I love her relaxed way of talking to the camera and if you want to know more about her visit her channel or add her on Twitter.
Kat is the bubbly mastermind behind Katytastic. Her videos are always fun and super interesting to watch. Her bookshelves are amazing and her taste in books is really similar to mine. After watching her videos I always have a huge list of books I need to check out immediatly and she not only does book hauls, reviews, TBR videos and other brilliant videos. Kat is also on Twitter if you want to add her.
The wonderful Sarah does brilliant videos on her channel. She lives in Wales and has one of the cutest accents. I only discovered her videos recently and I am so glad that I did. She has a quiet and direct way of telling you her opinion about books. Whenever I watch one of her videos I can feel her love for books and reading and I would really love to meet her one day. She's just great. Her Twitter account can be found here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014 books

Heist Society
by Ally Carter

First sentence:
No one knew for certain when the trouble started at the Colgan School. 
When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own – scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.
Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.
For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family's history and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way
source: Goodreads

My opinion:
I am a huge fan of heist and spy stories and Ally Carter's book really impressed me. It impressed me so much that I read it twice in 2013.

The characters Ally created are so amazing. I love each and every one of them – the good (are there good people in heist stories?) and the evil ones. Kat, the main character, is a fifteen year old girl who wants nothing more than living a normal life, going to school, having friends, enjoy being young but she comes from a family of thieves and conmen. So when she gets kicked out of school for something she didn't do and is picked up by her former companion Hale she knows there is something wrong.

Kat trying to live a normal life and being overtaken by who she is, W. W. Hale the Fifth who is desperatly trying to find his place in the world and who struggles with not being part of the family daily, Kat's cousin Gabrielle and all her other friends are such a lovely bunch of people, trying their best and helping Kat restore her father's reputation – I adored them all. Kat, who is struggling with being away from the family business for only a couple months and who feels a bit left out and not part of the family anymore, tries to save her father from Arturo Taccone's revenge and does not always confide in Hale, who takes this really personal. Kat and Hale have a really strong friendship with some sparks flying between the two. It's pretty obvious for the reader that the two care a lot about each other but Kat and Hale do not realize how important they are for the other one.

Kat Bishop is also a girl after my own taste. She is determined and if she wants something she tries everything to achieve it. She has great friends who'll do everything for her and she can count on them every day. Strange as it may sound now but Kat, even though she's a fictional character, she is kind of a role model for me. For years now I personally am struggling with being more determined and going through with what I planned. So maybe I will channel my inner Kat in 2014 and will reach some of my long-term goals next year.

There is one thing that really bothers me about this book. It is nothing really but it still annoys me a bit. As you may know, I'm living in Vienna and since there are hardly any books set in or around Austria in the Young Adult genre I got excited when I saw that Kat travels to Vienna in Heist Society but then a major mistake happens. When Kat and Hale are standing in front of a bakery in Vienna the scene that is described tells us that Kat turns around and sees snowcapped mountains and ornate 18th century buildings stretching out in every direction and that is just not possible. I've been living in Vienna my entire life and I can tell you that there is now way that you can see snowcapped mountains anywhere near the city. There are more than enough 18th century buildings around but just no mountains anywhere. Yes, I know, it is a small mistake but one that really bugs me.

But apart from that minor mistake Heist Society is an amazing novel and an entertaining read. I cannot wait to read the second and third books in the series.

The books in the Heist Society series are:
  • Heist Society
  • Uncommon Criminals
  • Perfect Scoundrels
Ally Carter also wrote the amazing Gallagher Girls series about an all girl spy school which I can highly recommend too.

For more information about Ally Carter visit her Homepage, Blog, Facebook or Twitter page.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.
This week the girls want to know my 
Top Five Things On My Reading Wishlist 
If you could make authors write about these things you would. 
Could be a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a time period, a certain plot, etc.
  1. I would love to read more books about cooking and food.
  2. I would also love to read more books about teachers and teaching. Not non-fiction books but more retellings of situations that happened while the authors were teaching. I love those kind of books. 
  3. I also love reading books set in Victorian England. I don't know why but this time period just appeals to me.
  4. Sticking with books set in specific settings: more books set in Tuscany, Italy! That would be my biggest dream.
  5. I also haven't read many books about travelling and travel adventours. I know there are a lot out there but I would love to get some recommendations from you guys. Do you know great books about travelling?

Sunday, January 19, 2014 books

Showcase Sunday is weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits & Tea which was inspired by In My Mailbox from Kristie at The Story Siren.
It is a possibility for us to show what amazing books we got during the week.
During the last two weeks I got some book. I really didn't want to buy any books between Christmas and my birthday on February 1st but I caved. Here's what I added to my ever growing collection of unread books :)
Bitter Sweet Love by Jennifer L. Armentrout 
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin 
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen 
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
Always On My Mind by Jill Shalvis
My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss
all 6 books in the Gallagher Girl series by Ally Carter:

Friday, January 17, 2014 books

by Gail Carriger

Changeless is the second book in Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series!
You don't have to read Soulless before reading this one
but I highly recommend it!

First sentence:
They are what?”

Alexia Maccon, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears; leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.
But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. So even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can. She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.
Changeless is the second book of the Parasol Protectorate series: a comedy of manners set in Victorian London, full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.
source: Goodreads

My opinion:
It is a Gail Carriger Steampunk novel – do I really have to tell you how amazing it is? Whatever, I'll tell you anyway!

Changeless is the second book in the Parasol Protectorate series and starts shortly after where we left Alexia at the end of Soulless. Married to Conall Maccon, werewolf, head of BUR and Alpha to the Woolsey pack, Alexia tries to adapt to living between a pack of werewolves and to her new position in Queen Victoria's Shadow Council. She also has to deal with her friend Ivy Hisselpenny, who is fond of extremely ugly hats and one of the Woolsey pack claviger, and a strange plague like illness that affects all the London paranormals for just one day. Due to this plague werewolves can not change, ghosts get exorcised and vampires become human.

Alexia is still the head-strong female leader who is curious, sometimes more than it's good for her, interested in new inventions and is not told what to do from anyone. Since being the alpha female of a pack of werewolves she might have become even more head-strong than before.

When her husband leaves for a trip back to his home ground Scotland without even saying goodbye to her (a big mistake) she and a whole entourage set up North by dirigible. Not only is Alexia accompanied by her maid, her husband's claviger, Ivy and her sister but also by Madame Lefoux, a French inventor about which she is not sure. Alexia likes her but she is still French and does not reveal too much about herself which makes Alexia wary.

As all of Gail Carriger's books Changeless is also set in Victorian London featuring many steampunk elements and wins you over with a wonderful way storyline and fascinating characters. For me this series is the perfect mixture of paranormal and steampunk and if you are not sure you would like full-on paranormal stories try one of Gail's books first. It will give you a glimpse into a fascinating and amazing world.

The books in the Parasol Protectorate series are:
  • Soulless (read my review here)
  • Changeless
  • Blameless
  • Heartless
  • Timeless
For more information about Gail Carriger visit her Homepage, Blog, Facebook or Twitter page.

Monday, January 13, 2014 books

Bout of Books 

Last week was the Bout of Books Read-a-Thon!

Bout of Books is my favorite readathon! There's so much love going around the Blogosphere and on Twitter. You get cheered on and pushed to read more by people but when you don't do that well fellow book lovers are there to listen to your whining too. It feels as if the Bout of Books participants form a strong community for a week. Yes, I know, webook lovers/addicts are a community already but during bout of books it feels closer (at least for me).

Bout of Books Read-a-thons are hosted by the lovely Amanda from On a Book Bender and Kelly from Reading the Paranormal. For all information about Bout of Books visit the Bout of Books blog. I highly recommend participating in the next one!

Last Saturday I posted my goals for the Bout of Books 9.0 but I didn't expect my week getting CRAZY from Wednesday on. My goals were:

  • I want to read at least 1 hour a day.
  • I want to visit more blogs during Bout of Books and comment. 
  • I don't want to stress about how many pages I read, etc.
  • I want to enjoy this week of reading, rambling and being surrounded by bookish people.  
  • I want to try to participate in at least one Twitter chat.   
Unfortunately I missed the first Twitter chat, the second one was in the middle of the night for me and during the last one I was at a friend's birthday party. So I didn't participate in a Twitter chat which I'm really sad about because they are always so much fun. As I told you so in this post, my semester at university ends at the end of January and I finally got all my exam dates and organized my study time this week and now I am crazy busy and only have limited time to read,blog, tweet, which annoys me tremendously. I hate not being able to chat with my friends and other fellow book lovers. That's also why I wasn't able to reach allmy goals. I didn't even manage to read for at least 1 hour each day but the time I spent reading I enjoyed and I would still call the readathon a sucess since I finished 2 book, started 2 more and put 1 bok aside for a later date.

Here are my stats for the Bout of Books 9.0 readathon:

Number of pages I've read:  696 pages 

Books I finished:

Breakfast at Darcy's by Ali McNamara

The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross

Books I started:

111 Reasons to love London by Gerhard Elfers

 The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson 
(which I put aside to read at a later date, I liked it but it didn't feel right at the moment)

I enjoyed the Bout of Books 9.0 readathon and I will defintely participate in the next one which will be from May 12th till May 18th 2014 and a HUGE thank you to Amanda and Kelly for organizing it!

Friday, January 10, 2014

My Life...

It's January (which is the end of our semester here in Austria) and as a student I'm right in the middle of final exams and studying! I won't go into this whole "see how they put dying in studying" thing even though it's constantly on my mind.

I want to become a teacher for English and Geographie someday (soon) and this unfortunately means taking a lot of exams. There are about a thousand things I would much rather do than studying but sometimes it is just not an option.

So right now I am channeling my inner Rory Gilmore (hope I'll find her soon) and made a monthly overview of all the different exams I have during the last two weeks of January, how much I need to study for each and what I'll need to review each day. Sadly this leaves me not that much time for reading and blogging. I will try my best to write and schedule as many posts as possible for the remaining three weeks of this month so that you won't have to go without my reviews and rambly posts but there is a chance that I won't be as present as I usually am on the blog and on Twitter too.

When I'm cramming for exams I tend to divide my time betwen revising my notes and reading a book. It just helps me relax. I know that I won't stay away from Twitter or my beloved little corner of the Internet for the whole month but I need to focus on what's really important right now and so I will minimize the temptation.

I wish I could do that :)

This is just a heads-up for you guys so that if I'm not able to schedule all the posts this weekend (with studying and a family visit) you will know that I would love to be talking books with you but that unfortunately it's Janaury and I'm thinking of you.

If you see me whine on Twitter during the rest of the month please feel bad for me. No, don't! Weirdly I'm enjoying studing at the moment. Let's hope this'll last till the end of January!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 books

Lucky in Love
by Jill Shalvis

Lucky in Love is book 4 in the Lucky Harbor series and
I highly recommend reading the other books in the series before reading this one.
Otherwise you will spoil yourself.

First sentences:
Lightning sent a jagged bolt across Ty Garrison's closed lids. Thunder boomed and the earth shuddered, and he jerked straight up in bed, gasping as if he'd just run a marathon.

Mallory Quinn has had enough of playing it safe. As a nurse and devoted daughter, she takes care of everyone but herself. And as the local good girl, she's expected to date Mr. Right. But for once, she'd like to take a risk on Mr. Wrong. And who could be more wrong than Ty Garrison? The mysterious new guy in town has made it clear that he's only passing through, which suits Mallory just fine. Besides, his lean, hard body and sexy smile will give her plenty to remember once he's gone . . .
For the first time in his life, Ty can't bear to leave. Helping this sexy seductress-in-training walk on the wild side is making him desire things he shouldn't including leaving the military for good. As their just-for-fun fling becomes something more, Mallory and Ty wonder if they could really be this lucky in love. After all . . . anything can happen in a town called Lucky Harbor.
source: Goodreads

My opinion:
Lucky in Love is the fourth book in the Lucky Harbor series by Jill Shalvis and with this we get introduced to a whole new set of main characters.

Mallory Quinn, nurse and chocolate lover, takes care of everyone. She tries to pleases the whole town and do what is expected from her but sometimes even the good girl has to break free and do something crazy.

Ty is Mallory's man for doing something crazy with. There is an undeniable attraction between them from the beginning on but both of them try to ignore that and keep telling themselves that there are no feelings involved in whatever they got themselves into.

With the whole town watching Mallory and Ty need to decide if they are willing to take a risk or if Ty really is just passing through.

Lucky in Love is another great book in the Lucky Harbor series and told in Jill's beautiful way of painting a picture. Her writing makes the story really come to life for me and I can honestly say that whenever I fell like I need a pick me up I gravitate towards one of her books.

I adored Maddie, Tara and Chloe, the main characters of the first three books and wasn't so sure if I would love the new ones just as much as those three but I do. Mallory is like the girl next door. She's nice and attentive, she takes care of everyone and everything and puts herself last on her list of priorities. I think this is a character trade many girls have and we should be a little more selfish throughout life. No, I'm not saying be a bitch and take whatever you want. I'm just saying that maybe sometimes we should look a little bit more after ourselves before we take care of others and their feelings. I think it would make things easier.

I never thought I'd say that but from Mallory's development throughout the book I really took some advice for myself. Being nice is always good but sometimes taking what you want will bring you just where you want to be.

The books in the Lucky Harbor series are:
  • Simply Irresistible (read my review here)
  • The Sweetest Thing (read my review here)
  • Head Over Heels (read my review here)
  • Lucky In Love
  • At Last
  • Forever And A Day
  • Under The Mistletoe
  • It Had To Be You
  • Always On My Mind
  • Once Upon A Time (expected publication: February, 2014)
For more information about Jill Shalvis visit her Homepage, her Blog and herFacebook and Twitter page.

Sunday, January 5, 2014 books

Showcase Sunday is weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits & Tea which was inspired by In My Mailbox from Kristie at The Story Siren.
It is a possibility for us to show what amazing books we got during the week.
My parents got me four books for Christmas and since I am really hard to buy books for because I buy a lot of books over the year I am really grateful for these four. 
I adore reading cozy mysteries and since I cannot get them in bookstores in Vienna I usually receive one or two each Christmas and this year my mum bought me the first two in a new to me series. 

I have a crime series problem! I love watching crime series on TV and I watch a lot of them. Castle is definitely one of my favorites and I picked up the Nikky Heat novels quite often when I saw them in stores but I never knew for sure if I wanted them. Finally my mum saved me and got me Heat Wave and Naked Heat by Richard Castle for Christmas.

After Christmas Amazon had a HUGE Kindle e-books offer and I got some books.

I got nine Kindle deals for about 15 Euro :)