Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

I have always loved Christmas. I still do, with every beat of my heart; I love the smells, the warmth, the laughter, the decorations, the sweets, the presents... The list goes on and on, but what I most love about Christmas is that you get to be a kid again. Yes, I am still young (not adult, that is) but I don't really feel like a kid. Mostly, I think childhood is just a feeling - one that I happen to love.

But somehow, this time of year always seems to be the busiest one, and so Christmas sort of gets pushed out of sight by half a million exams and everything else life always throws at me in December. I don't want it to happen - my never-ending to-do list steals away my Christmas spirit. But honestly - my entire life would look a lot different if I could choose everything for myself. Reality: I can't.

Here's what I want to be doing:
›› Make Christmas-candy
›› Christmas decorate
›› Read Christmas-themed books
›› Wrap gifts prettily and rhyme
›› Buy a dress for Christmas Eve
›› Enjoy and appreciate my life and everyone in it

Here's what I am doing:
›› Studying
›› Studying
›› Studying

Even stealing a moment to write this post is something I know I really shouldn't be doing - I have a Math test tomorrow. But I'm sick of studying. And I'm sick of the most peaceful time of year becoming the most demanding one, the time when I am the most disrupted.

There are lots of posts I want to write, so hopefully, I can find some time to do that these next few days. Until then, you'll find me with my nose in school books.

Hope your December is wonderful, peaceful and cheerful!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

November Wrap-Up + December TBR

So... December already. November was a pretty busy month for me! Writing, school... Life in general. I only completed one book this month, but I have a few in progress.

Beautiful Sacrifice by Jamie McGuire

Reviews: 3
November-favorite: -
Pages read: 550 aproximately
In Progress: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch/Candide by Voltaire

NaNoWriMo was exciting and time-consuming! I'll write a more detailed post on it later, but generally, it went well! In December I'll continue to edit the story.

›› Christmas!

I'll try to read some Christmas-themed books in December, cause I really want to find my Christmas spirit.

›› A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
›› Prodigy by Marie Lu
›› Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

What have you read in November?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Book Review: Beautiful Redemption by Jamie McGuire

Title: Beautiful Redemption (Maddox Brothers #2)
Author: Jamie McGuire
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Pages: 260
Published: January 27th 2015

SummaryNo-nonsense Liis Lindy is an agent of the FBI. Deciding she is married only to her job, she breaks off her engagement and transfers from Chicago to the field office in San Diego. She loves her desk. She is committed to her laptop. She dreams of promotions and shaking hands with the director after cracking an impossible case. 

Special Agent in Charge Thomas Maddox is arrogant, unforgiving, and ruthless. He is tasked with putting away some of the world’s toughest criminals, and he is one of the best the Bureau has to offer. Though, as many lives as he’s saved, there is one that is beyond his reach. Younger brother Travis is faced with prison time for his involvement in a basement fire that killed dozens of college students, and the media want a conviction. Travis’s only savior is his unusual tie to the mob. In a deal that will spare his brother, Thomas has agreed to recruit Travis into the FBI. 

Liis is stubborn, defiant, and yet somehow softens Thomas’s rough edges, making her the perfect agent to accompany him to the ceremony. Posing as a couple, they must travel to Travis & Abby’s beach vow renewal and give him the news, but when the pretending ends, she finds herself wondering if they were pretending at all. 

Review: (Spoiler-free)

The second - or third really, counting Travis - brother of the Maddox family to have his story put in ink is Thomas, the oldest one. His story is the one I was most excited to read after skimming through the summaries of all the books in this series, because, well, it simply sounded great. And after reading it, I can happily say that it was.

Beautiful Redemption caught me from page one. Maybe even from the first sentence - I loved Liis from the beginning. She doesn't put up with any bullshit and has Thomas on his knees from the start, which isn't saying little considering Thomas gets his way with everybody else. He is different from his brothers - where they're impulsive he's controlled, when they stay in their hometown working simple jobs, he is climbing the ladder as a fed in California. But though he might differ from his brothers, my eyes were glued to the page.

The story is fast-paced and I loved that they worked as feds and that it was present in the story. It's something I have seen in tv-shows but haven't read many books on before and it was really exciting to read about that kind of work. Beautiful Redemption also had more conflict than the first book in the series, Beautiful Oblivion - when reading this I almost felt like the first book was a prequel to this one. It had it's own story and it's own characters, though, so not really. But you definitely want to read these books in the right order.

Which brings me to another thing I really appreciated - the connection to Beautiful Oblivion. Since we follow different characters with completely different lives, it was nice that the storylines still really built on each other. The line connecting the two plots is very clear. No, I won't spoil you, you're just gonna have to go read it for yourself. I also loved seeing Travis and Abby from Beautiful Disaster again, because they might just be my favorite couple ever. So yeah. Needless to say, I recommend this big-time.

Now I'm craving the next book! (Which I'm hopefully ordering this weekend.)

Really, 4.5!

Other books in the series: (Links to Goodreads)
1. Beautiful Oblivion
2. Beautiful Redemption
3. Beautiful Sacrifice
4. Beautiful Burn

Have you read this book? Did you like it?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Book Review: Effortless by S.C. Stephens

Title: Effortless (Thoughtless #2)
Author: S.C. Stephens
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Pages: 487
Published: January 8th 2013

Summary: (Contains spoilers from the first book!)
After being caught in the middle of a love triangle that led to a devastating betrayal, Kiera pledged to learn from the mistakes she made. She was determined to never again inflict that kind of pain on anyone, especially the soulful, talented man who held her heart. 

But life offers new challenges for every relationship, and when Kiera's love is put to the ultimate test, will it survive? Love is easy;trust is hard.


Review: (Spoiler-free)

The first book in this trilogy, Thoughtless, was one of those books that could have been a standalone but wasn't. Things were pretty tied up at the end, the whole triangle-drama got an ending, and though I was excited for this sequel I didn't really know what it would be about.

Like in the first book, and this might be a minor problem I have with Kiera, she makes a bird out of a feather. A problem that could have been solved easily isn't, and that problem is what the story is centered around. Both books portray a problematic relationship, only for different reasons, and while I read I'm thinking, why are you making it so hard? Because it doesn't have to be. This makes me feel, in a way, like the plot is a little thin - or maybe not the plot, but the conflict.

The thing is, though, that I don't mind. While I'm reading, I'm hardly thinking about it, because the characters feel like real, interesting people and I want to know what happens next in their lives even if it is just another day in their everyday life. And though the conflict might be a little weak, the characters feel so strongly about what happens that it doesn't matter, cause believe every word of it.

In this book, Kellan is (for reasons I won't tell you) not always close geographically to Kiera, and I thought this would be weird, since the entire story centers around the two of them. But Stephens is really skilled at what she does and I flew through this book, because it's fast-paced and constantly moving forward, the dialogue is witty and characters keep embarrassing themselves. Mainly Kiera.

This is a New Adult book, so I wouldn't recommend it to readers who are too young, but other than that I think this is something you might enjoy if you like contemporary novels. Just read the first book first, haha.

Other books in this series: (Links to Goodreads page)
1. Thoughtless
1.5 Thoughtful
2. Effortless
3. Reckless
4. Untamed

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Friday, November 13, 2015

NaNoWriMo Day 13 - The Struggle And The Newfound Wisdom

Hi there! Today is November 13th and I'm finally, finally writing the NaNo-update I've been wanting to write for about a week now. NaNo itself has kept me so busy I haven't even read anything this past week, at all. Puh!

But for the past three days I have been sick, and after finally catching up on the chapter I was behind on, I decided it was time to tell you how it's going. Yesterday I started editing the first chapter of the second part, and here's what I've learned during November:

First of all, I've discovered that editing is hard. Truth is, I don't really know what I am doing - I have never before gotten to the stage of editing and it's difficult to decide what to keep and what has to go. In my head, everything is mixed up and detangling it all is a huge process, this giant jungle where I am lost and alone without a map. So yeah, there's that.

There's also the second thing I've discovered: Editing takes time. Since I have a long way to my school, and school five days a week, this is tricky. I squeeze in as much editing as I can at night, basically I have gotten home and gone straight to my computer these past two weeks. Then I've sat there until I can no longer avoid sleep. I've mostly managed to make it work though, mostly managed one chapter a day, which is something I'm really proud of. But I know I'm gonna have to go back through everything again, because though I edit I don't edit everything in the chapters. Then I really wouldn't have enough time.

Picture from my Instagram @teacupreads - My new Favorite Sweater and Notebook of Ides, where I go back and find strength when I need it. 

Third thing, the one I am most delighted to tell you about, is the great support I have found in my new-found writing friends this month, my most cherished ones Amanda and Martine. Last year, I didn't know anyone who participated in NaNo, so I did it all alone. I am completely taken away by the difference it makes to have someone else you can talk to, who is also struggling by their keyboard. Talking to them while writing sometimes takes my focus elsewhere, but also reminds me that it is okay not to know what I am doing or if what I am doing is good or bad, because it's like that for everyone.

If you are doing NaNo, please add me on the site! Over there I'm Teacupreads :) And tell me, how is NaNo going for all of you? What are your biggest struggles right now? Almost half the month has passed!

Also, for the chance that you're reading this, Hanna, I love you for being my biggest supporter in real life, even though you don't even know what I'm writing about <3

Have a great weekend, people!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

October Wrap-up + November TBR

Since I am wrapped up in my writing/editing, this will be a short wrap-up. I didn't have as much time to read in October as I would have wanted, and unfortunately, I won't be reading almost anything in November either because of NaNoWriMo.


An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Fortunately, though, the books I did read I really enjoyed. One of the reviews are up, the other one is in the making.

Reviews: 3
October-favorite: An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Pages read: 850
In Progress: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

During October, my writing was generally slow, but I plan to more than make up for that during NaNoWriMo this month!


  • Candles of all sizes, everywhere
  • My new cozy sweater

Like I mentioned above, I won't be having a TBR this month because of NaNoWriMo. Frankly, I plan to not read anything at all, and instead put all of my spare-time into my writing project. I have already done 1/4 weeks of NaNo and I will post an update here soon.

I hope you are all enjoying the last month of autumn, and reading lots of great books. Are you writing, too?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Book Review: An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Title: An Ember In the Ashes (An Ember In the Ashes #1)
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Pages: 446
Published: April 28th 2015

SummaryLaia is a slave. 

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.


Review: (Spoiler-free)

A few weeks ago I read An Ember In the Ashes with a friend of mine - we both had it at home and thought it would be fun to do a buddy-read. I had ordered it home without really knowing much about it, except that a lot of people loved it and that the cover was stunning.

But there is a lot more to this book than a beautiful cover, although that doesn't hurt, either. We follow the events from two perspectives, Laia's and Elias' - at first their stories were separate but slowly they worked their way towards each other until they were intertwining. Though the two of them come from very different worlds, they have a lot in common and I was hooked from the start.

What I liked most about Laia was that she was scared, because we seldom get to read about scared people and that is what I really can identify myself with the most. The situations they are in are terrifying, and I know I would be scared. Getting to read about a young girl who was scared too, was nice. And inspiring, because she didn't let her fear stop her from doing what she believed was right, and she developed a lot through the book.

I really liked Elias as well, how he had to balance between who he was in his heart and who the people around him forced him to be, how he was searching for a life where he could just be himself. I also liked to read about his relationship to Helene, his best friend, and how it changed and became weird when things started changing between them. At times it bothered me that they kept avoiding it when they obviously should have just talked, but it also felt realistic. Nobody jumps at the chance to lose the people closest to them.

The world was really interesting too - it took me a while to grip it, but I liked the different cultures that existed and how stories were truth in some places and myth in others. Tahir really managed to create something unique, and I can't wait to get answers to all of my questions in the next book. Because I have a lot of questions.

The pace, the suspense, the characters, all of it mixed together in something I would like to call an easy five stars. Pick this book up, you won't regret it!

Other books in the series: (Goodreads links)
1. An Ember In the Ashes
2. A Torch Against the Night

Have you read this book? What did you think?