Monday, June 4, 2018

Eliza and her Monsters, by Francesca Zappia

Guess who's back, back again
Caro's back, call a friend

I swear I'm sane

Hey, all! 

I had the weekend off from my thesis (the draft is being reviewed wish me luck!) so I had the time to read, finally. So of all the books I have in my crushingly large TBR list, I picked out Eliza and her Monsters, by Francesca Zappia. 




"In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart."





Let's see if I can remember how to write one of these ^^ 

Eliza and her Monsters is a book that resonated with me, that made me really understand the characters, and that was impossible to put down. Francesca Zappia must be a fangirl herself to be able to understand what its like to be a part of a fandom at such a deep level. 

I'm not gonna give anything spoiler-free with this review, it was just too good not to get into the details right away! 

Let's start with my favorite part - the characters. Each of the characters - even the side ones that were mentioned once or twice, felt important and well thought-out. One of my favorite parts of the whole story was actually when Sully made their parents come face-to-face with how popular Eliza's webcomic was after they exposed her to the world. I felt bad for the parents because they really had no way of understanding the amplitude of this until Sully confessed that he loved reading his sister's work and explained how big it was. 

Eliza was an interesting protagonist to have - I love how the narration was basically her thought process ninety percent of the time - it was messy at times,  and counter-intuitive, just like any thought process is. I also really liked her 'realization' moments where she would see that she doesn't know her brothers as much as she's like, or why her parents don't understand. There's some mental health involved, but it's never put in the light of 'she has anxiety'. Her social awkwardness is just a part of who she is. 

Wallace is an odd one - I loved him and his relationship with Eliza... until the part where he basically ghosts her for weeks, just to bully her into finishing her story, when she didn't have it in her, for his own benefit. That was not okay - it pushed her almost to doing something she couldn't come back from. Also, why was he so upset at her keeping things from him? He had just admitted to her via that email that most of what he was telling her was a lie. He gave her zero support during one of the hardest moments of her life out of basically pettiness. Not cool, Wallace. 

The plot was constantly shifting and moving all while staying relatively simple - there were re-occuring elements to the story that you held on to and that ended up meaning a lot to both character development and the story itself. There was also a whole procession of events that kept things rolling step by step. 

Also, short chapters <3 

Personally, I haven't read a contemporatry novel that resonated so much with me in a very long time, and I have zero regrets reading it! I highly reccomend it. 

I'm giving Eliza and her Monsters a 4.5/5 feathers - minus 0.5 cus not cool, Wallace!


 Stay Bookish! 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

JABB? Are you there?

Hello..?

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Is anyone running this page..? 

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WE WANT BOOKS! 


I can't agree with you more! 

Hey everyone! 
So some of you may have noticed that Just Another Bookish Blog hasn't exactly been an active blog since I kind of vanished from the face of the Internet in February. Did I travel? Did I meet someone and get super distracted? Did I die?! Did our wifi provider shut down making my blog inaccessible and ARCs un-requestable until we got a new provider?!?!?!

Actually, none of these happened: still haven't seen the world, still haven't met anyone, I'm still around (thank goodness), and our wifi, although iffy at times, didn't send us into the pre-internet era. 


So where on this Earth have you been!!? Or other planets, how can we know, to be fair?


... In my house? And at uni. 

I'm in my final round of classes before graduation. Although it's downright terrifying to think that in two months I need to hand in a thesis and in three months I'll be graduated, I haven't been letting that fear get to me too much. Actually, it's giving me an adrenaline boost! Between researching theoretical astrophysics for my thesis and taking very math-heavy courses (let's just say my math is no better than a 15-year-old's and now I'm thrown into integrals by parts and cylindrical coordinates), I've been spending a lot of time purely working, mostly in the common room of the university. 

Thank goodness I have the ability to ignore my friends when I need to. 

After long study days, I sometimes have dinner with my friends (thanks guys :) ) before going back home and falling asleep in a second out of mental exhaustion. WHICH I must say is an amazing change of pace from my usual insomnia. 

OH and my dreams lately have kind of been all forming one big story! I may or may not be taking notes when I wake up to participate in NaNoWriMo ;) 


Oh wow... so NO READING?! How are you still sane?


Eeeh that's not totally true! I've actually had some time to read, between big assignments and on the bus, mostly. So I am reading, but very, very slowly. 

Recent-ish insta post! <3 

So what, we're not good enough for your reviews? Fine, we see how it is! 


Naw, you guys deserve all the good bookish content that can be provided! (If you consider my reviews good content, hah. There are so many reviewers that are pure goals, my site is just a mess of brain-to-screen thoughts). Of course, I still review when I finish new books! 

When I finish new books! 

When I finish NNNNEEEEWWWW books... (imagine exaggerated slow-mo)

I have been re-reading a lot this year. Yes, I finished one new book: Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton (it was glorious, 5 feathers!), and am planning to read Obsidio in the next weeks (Illuminae book 3), but all the books in between were all re-reads, that were already featured. 

And for Hero at the Fall I kept forgetting to post and now it's slightly late ^^ Sorry Alwyn! 


Ok, so when's our next bookish post? 

Hopefully, it'll be whenever I finish Obsido! I've heard only incredible things about it. Then I have two ARCs for you to discover (after I discover them myself), then - wait for it - ... 

A Giant Book Unhaul.  


WHY WOULD YOU GET RID OF YOUR CHILDREN?!

I recently got news that my family is moving from Maastricht (in the Netherlands) to Paris in August. The problem is that I'm staying in the Netherlands, and will be moving to Nijmegen myself. I'll need to split my books between what I have in my student room and what I send to France, and from all of those, I need to get rid of some, as I don't really have the space for the three bookshelves I now have, well, anywhere. 

But it's ok! It's a chance to freshen up my shelves and to potentially have room for new releases! (It's gotten to the point where every Buzzfeed, EpicReads or Goodreads list or quiz basically only has YA books that I've never read. Yeah, I haven't bought hyped books in ages if they don't finish a series... I'm a bad blogger I know). 


That's understandable

I hope it is! :) I love blogging and the people I have met through it, and I can't imagine stopping for good any time soon! I'll make sure to keep you updated on my news and reviews in the upcoming months :)

Stay Bookish!






Sunday, February 25, 2018

Rebel of the Sands Read-Along & Giveaway!

Hey, all! 


So I'm doing a thing. If you've been following me a while you know that I adore Rebel of the Sands, by Alwyn Hamilton! Well, since the last book - Hero at the Fall- was recently published, I organized a huge read-along! It has already staInstagramnstagram, which I'm happy to see people participate in! Here's what in store for you lovely bloggers and other book enthusiasts! 


                            

1. Reading the Books! 


This is a great opportunity for us to rave about the books! I hope to see some of you add it to goodreads, or maybe start reading it! I'll be doing an entire series review rather than reviews of each book (except for Hero at the Fall!), but I would LOVE to see your reviews, thoughts and opinions on them! 



2. Challenges

While on Instagram I post semi-regular photo challenges, I'm going to create a tag for us bloggers! It's almost done, I just want a few more questions. Everyone who participates will get a little surprise... 


3. Giveaway

I'm organizing a really huge giveaway! I am so honored to be able to work with FaberChildrens on this, who sent me some incredible prizes for you to win! The giveaway linky is below! 

NOTE: every Instagram entry is also worth 1 entry, I will add those in manually :) 

The Large pack includes...
A SIGNED copy of the entire trilogy! All three books are signed by Alwyn! 
A tote bag
Pins
Book Cards
A quote card by Letters and Lights
A bookmark by Oriandle
A candle by Light the Pages


The Medium pack (2 winners!) includes... 
A tote bag
Pins
Book cards
A quote card by Letters and Lights
A bookmark by Oriandle 


The Small pack (2 winners!) includes... 
Book cards
Pins
A quote card by Letters and Lights


a Rafflecopter giveaway


I can't wait to see your entries! There are more ways to enter through instagram. Also, make sure to do the following! (I couldn't add them to Rafflecopter for some reason). For any following points, let me know your handle! 
- Follow me on Bloglovin' 
- Follow me on Instagram
- Tell me your favorite trilogy 



Stay bookish! 




Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Life and Death Parade ARC REVIEW, by Eliza Wass

Hey all! 

I just finished reading an ARC of The Life and Death Parade, by Eliza Wass! I received this from Disney Hyperion through Netgalley, thank you! This does not change my opinion of the book in any way. 

"One year ago, Kitty's boyfriend Nikki Bramley visited a psychic who told him he had no future. Now, he's dead.

With the Bramley family grieving in separate corners of their home, Kitty sets out to find the psychic who read Nikki his fate. Instead she finds Roan, an enigmatic boy posing as a medium who belongs to the Life and Death Parade--a group of supposed charlatans that explore, and exploit, the thin veil between this world and the next. A group whose members include the psychic... and Kitty's late mother.

Desperate to learn more about the group and their connection to Nikki, Kitty convinces Roan to return to the Bramley house with her and secures a position for him within the household. Roan quickly ingratiates himself with the Bramleys, and soon enough it seems like everyone is ready to move on. Kitty, however, increasingly suspects Roan knows more about Nikki than he's letting on. And when they finally locate the Life and Death Parade, and the psychic who made that fateful prophecy to Nikki, Kitty uncovers a secret about Roan that changes everything.

From rising star Eliza Wass comes a sophisticated, mesmerizing meditation on the depths of grief and the magic of faith. After all, it only works if you believe it.
 "


This book was incredible, in a way that I did not expect. I knew it was a magical realism story, but that was it. This book felt like a My Chemical Romance song - dark, twisted and surprising. 

Kitty is a girl who lives with a somewhat foster family in a castle. Her boyfriend, Nikki, died under mysterious circumstances. This death really affects the family, so Kitty does what she can to make them feel better, including hiring Roan, a member of the Life and Death Parade who can talk to ghosts. Through this, she gets more accustomed to the Life and Death Parade, a group of individuals who perform dark magic tricks for tourists, and who can also perform real dark magic, such as fortune telling and raising the dead. Of course, one runs into problems when meddling with dark magic...

What I found incredible is that this book wanted to make you believe in this magic, all while wanting you to doubt it. It played with contrasts a lot. It never fell into the obvious or the cliche - for example there easily could have been a love triangle, yet Wass wrote the potential love interest as gay, making the love story a part of the background of the book rather than its center. And yet again, it was vital to the plot. Wass is a master weaver - pulling ideas back and forth through the novel, creating a beautiful work of art. 

This book is set to be very hyped as soon as it's published. The writing was dark yet elegant and graceful, with intricately woven ideas and metaphors about life and death. The ending was explosive and something I could not have seen coming if I tried. 

I really liked the characters! They were each peculiar in their own way, and made for an odd harmonious cast. Holiday was creepy, Macklin was elegant, Kitty is spirited and Nikki was unusual. They have a strong yet eerie relationship. The characters from the Parade were very original, with just the right dose of creepiness to feel the unsettled atmosphere of the Parade (which was more of a carnival). 

I was amazed by the author's ability to simply use word choice and sentence structure to create an atmosphere of any kind. This book was not about young love, it was about how people react to death, which made for a fascinating read, unlike any YA I have read so far.

I don't want to give away too much about this book, as I really think that it is something you should fully discover for yourself once it is released, in July of this year! 

I'm giving this a 4.5 / 5 feathers!  

Stay bookish,


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Chemistry Lessons, by Meredith Goldstein ARC

Hey all!
I recently finished reading Chemistry Lessons, by Meredith Goldstein!
Oh look, I finished this book right on time for Valentine's day
Note: I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley! This does not affect my opinion on the storyline, plot, writing, or any other point of interest. Thank you for sending it to me!
This will be published on June 19th, 2018 


"For seventeen-year-old Maya, the equation for happiness is simple: a dream internship at MIT + two new science nerd friends + a perfect boyfriend = one amazing summer. Then Whit dumps her out of the blue. 

Maya is miserable until she discovers that her scientist mother, before she died, was conducting research on manipulating pheromones to enhance human attraction. If Maya can finish her mother’s work, maybe she can get Whit back. But when her experiment creates chaos in her love life, she realizes that maybe love and loss can’t be understood using the scientific method. Can she learn to trust the unmeasurables of love and attraction instead?"



This book was not what I expected, in any way! You have Maya, a student working on her internship before joining MIT to study epigenetics. Her mother died and dedicated her laboratory research to her - using a love interest's genes to alter your own genes to increase attraction via pheromones. Maya continues on this work on her own, testing the formula on three test subject - her friend, a stranger, and her ex. This secret project makes her realize the value of personal relationships of all kinds, and tests her in many situations that may happen to anyone.

This book was easily readable - it was smooth, there were no empty chapters, and the scientific ideas were easy understandable and well explained. Easy-reading contemporaries make for really nice summer reads!

I did have a little problem when it comes to the plot of the book, at first. It struck me as odd that the main character saw nothing strange in altering her own chemical signature in order to see if unknowing test subjects would feel any unusual romantic attraction to her. As someone who even finds online dating to be an uncomfortable idea, her lack of realization in the ethics of the experiment surprised me. Not only that, but as a scientist, it was obvious to me that the experiment had many flaws, namely the lack of regularity in the experiments. Her friend Bryan often had the same mindset as I did throughout the book, regarding Maya' s actions and decisions. However, Maya realizes all of this by the end of the book, and makes it up to everyone in various ways. This redeemed the book for me, however did not get rid of the fact that the first 90% of the book seemed odd both ethically and scientifically.

The book was overall a very light read. Where some contemporaries are heavy on mental illness or other topics, this was simply a college girl science-ing the hell out of trying to get back with her ex, and growing on the way. It was a cute, light read, good for anyone who wants to read something that is technically a science fiction but is disguised in a contemporary form. The mix of sub-genres including science, family, theater, love and growing up was a lovely blend that showed that anyone can find themselves in this story.

Finally, I appreciated the realism of the side characters in this book - they were a good representation of the people you may meet in college. Diverse characters, the best friend, the flamboyant guy who doesn't mind who he spends time with at a party, the unrealized crush, the one having a hard time getting over their ex, the ambitious one... it made it easy to find a place in the book as a reader!

I'm giving this book a 3.5/5 Feathers! 



Stay bookish! 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Just Some Discounts and Announcements!

Hey, all! 

I'm sorry I haven't been online in a while, guys. To make it up to you, I have some fun little things for you. 


1. Magic Chest Subscription box 

I recently became a rep for Magic Chest! This is a European YA subscription box that I found to be absolutely beautiful! The owner is the sweetest and puts a lot of effort into making each Chest as magical as possible. 

The February box has a Fairy Tales theme and I cannot wait for it! 
The book is a new fairy tale style story & the book is yet to be released!

In this box are all items except one Magic Chest item are exclusives made by small businesses. One of those is a magnetic bookmark by @idlestuff.
There will be even more Disney and ACOMAF items! 

If you are interested, I have a rep code for you that'll give you a discount on any subscription to the boxes! 

Code: CAROLINE


2. Letters and Lights

I adore bookish candles, so I was super happy when I was chosen to be a rep for Letters and Lights

They make handmade candles, soaps, and beautifully drawn cards and posters! Emmy lives in the Netherlands but ships worldwide. 

There are now 3 boxes available for order as well - their themes are Harry Potter, Sarah J Maas, and Superheroes. 

Interested? Use my code for a discount!

Code: JustAnother10

3. 3-years giveaway! 
So, on April 23rd, I would have been blogging and in the bookworld for 3 years! To celebrate, I am organizing an international, multi-fandom giveaway! More details will be posted later, but this will be big. I'll include my blog, goodreads and instagram, a book and possibly some collaborations? We'll see how that plays out with my thesis starting next week... 

I know I haven't posted reviews lately, but I've been re-reading books I enjoyed when I was little that I have either already reviewed once (or twice ^^), or books that are more comfort reads than good reads. It doesn't make sense to review them. But I will be back soon with Hero at the Fall! :D 

Stay bookish! 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Conjuring of Light, by V.E. Schwab

Hey all! 

I just finished reading a Conjuring of Light, by V.E. Schwab! 






"The precarious equilibrium among the four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise. Kell begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. Meanwhile, an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown and a fallen hero is desperate to save a decaying world…"









I would like to start by saying that I didn't know what I was getting into when I read this series, but I knew there was a huge hype surrounding it. I really enjoyed the series as a whole! The world, the magic system and the story building was incredible. The characters spoke to me, each for a different reason. I have reviews of the first two books of this series up from last year! 

From now on, I'll be mentioning spoilers. If you have not read this book, or any of the other installments, I would suggest coming back another time! 

I'm going to review this in a set of points rather than how I usually do it - I really wish I could actually make a video for this because a lot of feelings I have are difficult to write in words, but I'll do my best! 

So this book was really, really good! It was a very satisfying ending to a series that I had heard a lot of hype about, it was difficult to put down, and it had a satisfying ending! 

Going through the book, I actually started taking notes! Granted, most of these notes include things like "Rhy please don't die" and "Kell I love you but you're an idiot sometimes" and "Lila has a deathwish but they would all be dead without her", but that already should be able to give you a nice overview of A Conjuring of Light.


So we start with the confirmation that Lila is an Antari - something I had figured out the minute she said she had a fake eye in book 1. But this acts as a key to unlock a whole load of really good plot devices and creates a whole trust triangle between Kell, Lila and Holland. 

Holland became a lot more understandable in this book. I won't stretch it to say I love his character, but you can completely sympathize with his past and can really see his motives and reasonings. The three Antari balance perfectly! 

This book has a shadow cast over Red London, full of dark magic from Osaron, who wants to rule once again. This was an interesting concept as the darkness had a different effect on different people, depending on their relationship with magic. Antari are immune, as are people related in some way to one. Some strong magic users absorb some magic and become 'silvers', while others turn to ash completely once they let the magic it. It was so sad when Calla died, but I really enjoyed it when Alucard became a silver. 

Alucard quickly became one of my favorite characters. He always seems very uncaring... until someone he cares about is in trouble. Then he becomes the sweetest person in all of Red London, the most attentive and the most protective. He and Rhy are really sweet together, I must say! 

I also love Kell and Lila. His steady nature and her fire are really complementary, and I love 
how they keep saving each other I'm so happy that they're endgame with each other, and that they go explore the world when the book ends! 

About the ending of the book, I thought it was phenomenal - there were no major deaths, and the world got restored to a better state. 

The only thing that bothered me about this finale was the fact that, even though they were touched upon, there was no explanation as to who Kell was in the past. There was a mention as to where the jacket came from, but not what KL means, or about his real parents. I kinda wish the same idea was explained for Lila as well! 

The intrigue in this book was really great! I don't want to go into too many details, but it was a wonderful mix of politics, magic, belief in ones self and societal ranking. There were several points that amazed me, while others didn't come as much of a surprise. 

My for my final point - I appreciate the fact that Rhy never died, I really do! But he really should have died so many times! Kell's link that kept him alive could have broken somehow, or maybe after escaping death a certain number of times it starts to fade. Instead, there were situations in which is body could not possibly have survived an event, yet Rhy lived on. I feel like that pushed the immortal card a bit too far. 

I could talk about this book and this series for a long time, but then I'll start rambling too much. 

I'm giving this finale a 4.5/5 feathers! 

Have you read A Conjuring of Light? What did you think of it? Let me know! 

Stay bookish!