Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★★

‘’In the beginning, Orisha was a land where the rare and sacred maji thrived. Each of the ten clans was gifted by the gods above and given a different power to land.’’

It is not every day that you encounter a book that lets you dive in a world of magic, with such intensity as Children of Blood and Bone. A story so beautifully written, that you forget this is not the real world and you are in a fantasy story. This is one of the books I wish I could keep reading it for the first time again and again.

When majis are born with white hair, it means that they are touched by the Gods. They are called Diviners, and when they celebrate their thirteenth birthday, they have the ability to use magic.

Zelie still remembers how Orisha used to have magic. Different clans existed, and they could all control different things: air, water, earth… But Zelie also remembers the night when everything went wrong. When the king and the army came and killed hundreds of people. Zelie remembers, like it was yesterday, how on that night they brutally killed her mother. The night when magic disappeared forever.

And when Zelie realises that she is one of the very few people that can still use magic, and return magic in Orisha, she goes on a quest with her brother. With the help of a princess that escapes the castle, she has to learn to control her magic powers, and also her feelings for an enemy she mustn’t trust.

‘’I longed for the day I would feel the magic of the dead in my bones, but right now all I can feel is an unnerving tingle in my veins.’’

Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The world is so well created, and the characters are all loveable and adorable. The magic story in this book is unique and I loved getting to know more about all clans, what they can do, and reading about people realising they have magic in themselves.

Zelie, as a character, is the protagonist, as all adventures are revolved around her, but the other characters are as much as important, if not in some cases, more important than her. She is a character that many of us can relate to. A person that has been denied the sole purpose of existing. A person that has suffered, because of other people’s choices. For Zelie, this was the denial of magic to her and her people, but for others it could be just anything. What I loved the most was the bravery that she showed, even though inside her she would be so scared. It felt as if fear itself made her to be brave. And I have felt that many times. Sometimes, you don’t really have a choice, but to be brave, no matter how scared you might be.

Then, we have Zelie’s brother, Tzain, who is always the more cautious one and tries to (unsuccessfully) keep Zelie out of trouble. He has so much love for Zelie in his heart and is always the one throwing himself out there to protect her. If I ever had a brother, I would wish for him to be Tzain. I couldn’t explain the love and connection they have together with Zelie. It’s so beautiful!

Then there is Amari, the princess that doesn’t agree with her father’s choices, and decides to follow her heart. I think I loved Amari the most out of all characters, as she was my true hero. Raised in a world of ruthless cruelty, and forced to do things she doesn’t want, her father, the king, always believes that she is weak, and incapable of defending herself and ruling a kingdom. And out there, with Zelie and Tzain, is where Amari finds her true self, and the moment she does is the best scene in this whole book, the beauty of a woman being so powerful, only because she was being belittled her whole life.

‘’It’s like seeing her for the first time: the human behind the maji. Fear embedded in the pain. Tragedy caused in Father’s name.’’

And in the end, we have Inan, the most controversial character in this book. The son of the king, and brother of Amari, dedicated to follow his father and rule the kingdom, but struggling between what is right and wrong. When he realises he has magic as well, he can’t confess, as his father kills those who have magic, but meeting Zelie, he is not so sure anymore of what really is happening in his kingdom, and has to make a decision on whose side he wants to be.

‘’The truth cuts like the sharpest knife I’ve ever known.’’

I loved how the story is focused on both worlds:

The world of Zelie and Tzain, where they live in small town with their father, they have to pay incredible amount of diviner tax, and the taxes get more and more expensive, and become impossible to be paid, so people have to go and do free labor for the king, never to be free again. They are faced with such unfairness and cruelty, but their families and the people in the village are sticking together to survive through everything.

And then we have the world of Amari and Inan, and the King. A world where magic is forbidden and all people that can use magic are being slaughtered. A world where being fierceless and cruel means that you are strong enough to lead a kingdom, and protect Orisha.

The only remark I have on this book were the acknowledgements. As much as I respect that story being told, and appreciate it with all my heart, I also really wished I haven’t read that part as it changed the story in the end for me, in a negative way. As I truly believe that every single person has the ability of magic in themselves. Every single person is powerful, and we all should be Diviners! And Inan having the ability himself proves my point on this as well.

A story about the battle of magic and friendships, a story about wins and losses, a world where magic lives in every single one of us. A world where we all belong. A masterpiece, this is. And a powerful one as well.

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Nights in Rodanthe – Nicholas Sparks [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★

Nicholas Sparks is the romance genius. He is able to create stories of people falling in love, like no author I have read a book from yet. He puts so much emotion and feeling into the pages, that after one of his books, reading another romance seems boring.

Having read almost all of his books, I decided to finish all the ones I haven’t read, and when I suddenly encountered this one in the library, I told myself – ‘’Hey, why not?’’

The synopsis was intriguing, as all of his books are, but unlike the others, Nights in Rodanthe left me disappointed. With his books – this was the first time I ever felt like that. And that is why I need to mention this.

First of all, the story is very predictable. Too predictable – even. I knew what was going to happen from the very first chapters, and I was expecting at least a little bit of a plot twist, but nothing really happened.

Secondly, the romance was fake. The falling in love part? I didn’t see it. I just can’t imagine people falling in love in three days. I am sorry – but it is impossible. Crush, interest, lust, someone paying attention to you, and you feeling goosebumps – I can understand it all. But in three days, I can’t imagine anyone falling so deeply for one another, that you can’t look at another person ever again, and they are all you think about, all day.

Purchase links: AmazonBarnes & Noble

Honestly – how well can you get to know a person in three days? Will you get to know the real person? When you’ve never seen them sad, angry, how they behave in company, how they behave when drunk, when upset, when they are doing daily chores, like going at work (note – this all happened while they were sort-of on vacation).

I can remember how many summers I have spent going on vacation for ten days, and thinking I was in love with someone. I am sure you have gone through the same.

So, knowing all this above, I just couldn’t feel for these people as I used to feel with many from Sparks’s characters in other books. And don’t judge me, that this would be the sole reason why I rate this book the way I do. After all, it’s a romance novel.

On the other side though – it is an emotional novel. If you, for a moment forget how fast this romance happened and how unreal it is, the story is going to deeply hurt your soul, and crush you into pieces. Fake romance or not, you are going to shed a few tears for sure.

To wrap this up – I didn’t like it. I am not into fake, impossible romance. But this book seems to be a hit or miss, so if you like Nicholas Sparks – I still encourage you to read it. You never know, it might be your favourite book from him so far.

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The New Power Eating: More Muslce. More Energy. Less Fat by Susan M. Kleiner and Maggie Greenwood-Robinson [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★

I don’t usually read and review these types of books. I am not the kind of person that reads help books for pleasure. When I need information, I usually only read something I need at the moment, learn a lot about it, and then let go. I don’t go out and buy books for it.

But, with this book, it was different.

For some of you, that know me better, I used to train karate since I was a child. My father was my coach, and I trained hard, more than four days a week. I was a national champion for 8 years, I went on Balkan, Regional and European Championships, the sport enabling me to travel in more than 15 countries, explore the world and make countless number of friends along the way.

And in my whole journey, there were many experts surrounding me. Firstly, my father, who was my coach, showing me the karate world and teaching me everything I know today. Along his side, other coached, psychologists, gym experts, and nutritionists.

‘’The field of sport nutrition practice is both a science and an art.’’

When it comes to nutrition, it is so easy to get it all wrong, while you think you are doing something healthy to your body. It is so easy to mix good with bad fats, and thinking you eat healthy, to get away from your goal and become disappointed. And that is the sole reason why we need people that really know their nutrition, and dedicate their lives to learning what each ingredient does to our body.

This book focuses on nutrition for sports people. A way of life and healthy eating, while you spend a lot of energy exercising. I could easily relate to this, as I myself have been through all of these phases, of being dehydrated, of needing more fat, of needing more protein and vitamins in my body, without even realising it.

‘’When females perform high-intensity training, their need for carbohydrate is easily as high as that of a male athlete, and they have just as much capacity to utilize and store carbohydrate as a male athlete.’’

In this book, you will find explanations on all subjects that are often asked, you will know what builds muscle, what fuels it. Many popular issues will be covered as well, such as the gluten problem that many people face this days.

I loved the section about fats, as I have been introduced to the keto diet recently, and it was good to read and learn more about how fats work in your body, and what happens when you burn them.

I enjoyed the snack and workout plans, that are also split depending on what you want to achieve, whether that be building muscle, losing fat, or power eating.

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‘’Research on sport nutrition in female athletes has long been neglected, but now there is breakthrough scientific knowledge that is changing the game of female athletes, including young girls.’’

If you love working out, and love your healthy food – this is a great book to have along your side, and come back to it from time to time, to remind yourself of everything your body is capable of doing, if you treat it right.

I highly recommend it – I enjoyed it a lot!

Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Human Kinetics for providing me a free copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review. 

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Awaken (Northern Witch #2) – K. S. Marsden [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★

Awaken is book 2 from the Northern Witch Series. Read my review for Winter Trials, book one in the series.

I have enjoyed reading the first book, and I was so eager to get to the second one. This is a story about a young boy Mark and his grandma, who is a witch. This is also a story about Damien, a new guy in town, in which Mark falls in love with.

The second book starts where the first book left off. Mark and Damien have feelings for each other, but Damien is a danger to himself and others, and grandma will try to fix this with her power.

The book is a short and fast read. It is fast-paced, and I kept spinning the pages intensely. It brings you the feelings of home, and winter times, and family moments, and high-school memories. It has all the good vibes put together neatly.

The high-school romance was an addition to the book, and it was a pleasure to read. I enjoyed it a lot, even though we didn’t see as much romance in this book as we do in book one.

And then, there is the word ‘’Dunno.’’ A word that I don’t really mind, unless it’s used too often. And it bothered me, I will admit it.

But then, there was Nanna – a character full of light and power that pierces through. A character full of wittiness, giving life to each scene unlike any character can. A woman I so greatly admire, for her love and dedication to the family, and unconditional love and teaching towards her grandchild.

I read about magic, and high-school, more about high-school than magic. I wish there were more romance scenes, and was terrified when the book finished the way it did. I was afraid, and happy, and excited and sad, and not to forget, annoyed, but this book gave me all the right feels at times, and all the wrong ones too.

Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

It has never been harder to judge a book in-between this space of annoyance and love, and I am struggling. But I love Nanna too much.

I would recommend you to read this (or the first book in the series, if you haven’t yet). If you enjoy LGBT high-school romance and witchcraft adventures, this one will be a pleasurable read for you.

Thank you to the author, K.S. Marsden, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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An Anonymous Girl – Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★

If someone offered you $500 to answer a few personal questions and stay anonymous, would you do it?

The makeup artist, Jessica Farris goes into a client’s house to do her job. Just the usual. And then she hears her teenage client mentioning the survey that gives you huge amounts of money for a few anonymous questions. When the teenager says she won’t be able to attend, and she is too lazy to let them know, Jessica decided to use this chance and go instead.

But what happens when after a  few simple questions a woman starts telling her deepest secrets? And the money will increase, but so will the difficulty of the tasks she needs to do.

”It’s easy to judge other people’s choices.”

I was hyped about this book before I even started to read it. I read the synopsis, and it intrigued me from the very first moment. Of all the mysteries and thrillers, I have enjoyed the psychological the most. Something about how a twisted mind works triggers my pleasure senses. It’s creepy, but I wish you all get that feeling for a genre.

Right after the first chapter of the book I was satisfied, and happy. This book was all I needed right then, and it just kept getting better and better.

We get to meet Jessica and see how she thinks, follow her as she answers question after question, revealing secret after a secret. With each question, and each task, and each secret being revealed, the book kept becoming darker and darker, better and better.

It reminded me of the Harry Potter series, with the content getting darker after time. If you remember the first Harry Potter book, it is Children’s fiction, but the significantly darker compared to the first. Same happens with the movies as well.

I loved the questions that were asked on the survey – they are really meant to make you think through and try and give your answers.

Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?

Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?

The relationship between the people in this book is twisted. It’s all about playing games. It’s all about the cat and mouse chase. As much as I loved it, it also annoyed me at times, as I wanted it to stop.

The twists, cliff hangers and unexpected moments were brilliant. Pure skill, I tell you that. I haven’t been so surprised, excited, thrilled at the same time by any book I’ve recently read.

And with such twisted moments, and thrills throughout the book, and chapters ending leaving you breathless, you would expect the most thrilling ending.

I did. I expected it.

And I was very disappointed. It ended… rather bland. Like a Sunday Roast without gravy.

”We all have reasons for our actions. Even if we hide the reason from those who think they know us best. Even if the reasons are so deeply buried we can’t recognise them ourselves.”

I have a hard time judging this book now, as it was all hype and thrill, until it stopped dead. Maybe the authors wanted to ensure that we experiences exactly this feeling – I am not sure. Maybe for such a twisted book, calmness is all it needs to end with. I’ll leave this judgement up to you, as you experience the book and its ending on your own.

At this time, I feel like giving it 4 stars, as the ending was the only things that bothered me. This book is still a gem, and deserves to be read by people that enjoy psychological thrillers.

This book comes out on 7th February 2019, so make sure you pre-order your copy.

Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Barnes & Noble (signed copy)

Thank you to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for giving me a free copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

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The Last Seven Months Of Anne Frank by Willy Lindwer [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★

When I went to the library to pick up the Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, I also picked up this book. I wanted to learn more about her last months, as Anne didn’t write in her diary after she was found and brought to the camps.

If you, just like me, are looking for books to help you find this info, please skip this one.

The title is completely misleading, as Anne Frank is barely mentioned in the book, and these women that claim to know her seem to not have known her at all. If I see a person on the far end of the fence, or sit together while the guards are counting us, I wouldn’t consider them a friend. Just a fellow unfortunate companion.

Don’t get me wrong – these six women, that went through all this traumatized period, and are brave enough to tell the story are worth mentioning, and are worth of great recognitions. And this book is also a great value to history of what happened in those cruel places.

But when people use a famous person’s name in order to sell a book, on such painful basis, this is beyond me to comment, so I will leave it to you to make a conclusion on your own.

Among this part, the stories of these six women were heartbreaking, and so well-described, it felt as if I was there for a moment. The things they went through and the families they lost is so sad.

I also liked the old images that were in the middle of the book. They added a real image to the words.

If you want to read more about Anne Frank – choose another book. But if you want to find out about other people’s stories from this time period – grab this book.

Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★

We have all heard about or read this book. I remember reading it in high-school as a project. And since I never had written a proper book review, I decided to read it again.

I went to the library, and they only had the short Penguin version, with the most important diary entries of Anne Frank. It is only 65 pages. So, I decided to also grab another book – The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank by Willy Lindwer, so I can write a full overview.

This is a diary of a young girl, and she was writing these stories during two years of hiding. Anne Frank and her family are jews and they live in The Netherlands. After the Germans invade, many people are captured and go to designated camps. A few manage to escape and go into hiding. Anne’s family hides in her father’s office.

If you are reading this diary, without knowing anything about history – this could be a happy story. These diary entries are filled with love and hope, dreams of a young girl, beliefs, opinions, descriptions of her first crush and planning a future.

But this is not a happy story. This girl doesn’t get the chance to grow up. This girl doesn’t get the chance to experience freedom, and live to get to know her grandchildren. This is a sad story of not just Anne Frank, but all these people that have gone through that painful journey.

While this book deserves to be read by every person, and this history needs to keep being told many years after us, I feel the need to make a proper book review.

This is not a well-written book, with a great plot and amazing description. So based on that, this doesn’t stand up to the standards. But this book has a meaning that makes up for all the amateur writing. After all, this was a teenager writing it, without even knowing this will someday be shared with the world.

To all of you that haven’t read it yet – I highly recommend it. If you don’t want to go with the long version, read the short Penguin one, like I did.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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The Psychology of Time Travel – Kate Mascarenhas [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★

I love the idea of time travelling and I love the idea of time travelling books. That is the main reason why I chose to read this ARC copy. The synopsis sounded intriguing, and the cover was gorgeous. I don’t have much experience reading time travelling books. I still believe the synopsis is intriguing and the cover is gorgeous, but I am not satisfied with the feelings this book left me, after I read the last chapter.

The story begins when four ladies in the early 1960s work together and build the first time travel machine. And they are surrounded by curious people and media, and one of them has a breakdown and is expelled from the project, as she is a risk to herself and others. But they don’t just exclude her from their project, but from their whole lives, and time travelling altogether.

”Sometimes we want proximity and a crowd gives us the excuse.”

And many years after, when time travelling is something everyone knows about, secrets start to be revealed, little by little, and a murder happens without explanation. A few young women, completely unrelated and with different missions will try to get their way into the whole time-travel business, and try to figure the answers to their questions.

In The Psychology of Time Travel, one is certain – you will flow through time and places like never before. One chapter it’s 1967, and the next one, it’s 2015. You will meet a lady and her young self, her old self, and her current self, all at one place, talking to each other, or simultaneously performing a dancing act. You will get to see a world very well created, a complex structure of how time travel might work, and details that you wouldn’t thought of checking twice.

I couldn’t connect to any character. Maybe there were too many. The chapters were very short, and they travelled through years so quickly, that I couldn’t catch up. Catching up with the plot of a book, and figuring out what is going on while being presented things so fast is very frustrating. It’s like watching a movie in a foreign language, the subtitles being your only way of gathering information, and they disappear instantly, without you having a chance to understand.

The romance in this book was another thing that bothered me. While we get a lot of romantic relationships going around, one particularly threw me off my feet. A love story where one girl is in love with another. This is the completely realistic part. But the unrealistic one was that one girl lives in the present, and the other is a time-traveller in the past – so even though they are currently (technically) the same age, in reality one is in the mid 20s, and the other in the mid 80s. I couldn’t process this, or agree with it.

”You couldn’t get involved with someone who spent most of their life in a different time period from you.”

I am sure I would have loved the characters, have I had more chances to get to know them. They showed signs of bravery, and goals and hopes for a better tomorrow, with a spark unlike any others. But it all lasted so short, before we switched to another character, and so on.

Even though this one didn’t work for me – I still encourage you to give it a go, if you are a fan of time travel. The idea of time travelling is very well done, and deserves to be discussed.

 Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books, for providing me an ARC copy of The Psychology of Time Travel in exchange for an honest review.

Here’s to better books, and here’s to a better tomorrow! 

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The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★

I haven’t read much classic reads this year, and a few days before the end of 2018, I decided to go for a classic short story, and I chose The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

This classic has been written by a woman in the 19th century. A time when women weren’t treated the same way as today. A difficult time, where women couldn’t express their opinion as they wished, but they were suppressed by the male authority in the family.

When The Yellow Wallpaper came out, it was considered a Gothic Horror Tale. It is hard to believe for me, knowing the world we live in today, and how we, as women can express our opinions openly. But back in the days, this is how it was. It wasn’t easy for the woman, and I am glad we have a lot of brave women from that time, that gathered the courage to tell stories for the next generations.

This is a story about a woman, who seems to suffer of post-partum depression (a type of mood disorder associated with childbirth). She has been forced by her husband and doctor to stay in her room until she is ”mentally capable” again to take care of her baby. I am not a mother, but I can imagine the pain and suffering of not being allowed to see and hold your unborn child. And people thought this was okay?

The woman is constantly staring at the yellow wallpaper and the window, constantly reassuring herself that this is all happening for her own good, and that the husband and doctor know best, until a point where we are not actually sure if she is in her right mind anymore.

She starts to see a woman inside the wallpaper, and believes the woman is struggling to break free. I loved the metaphor used, as her subconscious knows she is trapped, and the end is so painful to read, but oh, so powerful.

Even though such a short read, The Yellow Wallpaper is an impressive view on cultural traditions, and the position of women in the family. A classic and a must-have for every woman!

Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Do you know any stories similar to this? I would love to explore them?

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Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★

It happened, people. I finally did it. I have officially read Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, and I have mixed feelings about it.

After years of you guys begging me to read this book, I have finally managed to dig into this vampire world with Lissa – the Moroi (mortal) vampire and Rose – her guardian, sworn to protect her.

These two best friends are on the run, after Lissa’s family has been killed. Now, they unwillingly return to the Vampire Academy, and try to live their normal lives, but danger is on their doorstep.

I loved the plot, and the idea of the world building, even though, I have to admit, I wish we had more pages of the Vampire Academy description. Or maybe this is just me screaming – ”I want a vampire Hogwarts description right here, right now!”

I loved their friendship, and I loved how both of them would sacrifice so much for each other. It is a character quality we rarely see, and it was so well delivered that it gave me shivers for a few scenes.

However, the characters themselves weren’t much likeable. Lissa, well, we hardly get to really know her. She is mostly a shadow of Rose’s opinions of herself. And as of Rose, as much as I admired her bravery and wisdom, sometimes she was just so dumb for her own good.

I loved the plot twists, and the cliffhangers, especially the few ones right at the very end, but it took so long for them to come. Despite that, this book was still such a fast read, and you can’t take your hands off it.

”For they (women) are strange and mysterious creatures,” he continued in his scholarly voice, ”and a man must be a mind reader if he ever wishes to make them happy.”

I wanted to not mention the romance bit of the novel, but I have to stay honest to myself and do it. Unrealistic romances will happen that will make you cringe. I won’t spoil it for you, but I happened to love these two people together, even though their so called love happened instantly.

”And sometimes, if I was really, really lucky, he’d smile at me. A real smile too – not the dry one that accompanied the sarcasm we tossed around so often.”

A typical high-school fantasy novel, with vampires included, this will be a great addition to your shelves if you love this genre. I greatly enjoyed it, but being older I think these things stuck a bit to me.

If you haven’t read this, I do recommend it. Even though it had a few weak points, I would definitely read the second book of the series.

Purchase links:

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Have you read Vampire Academy? Is it on your TBR?        I would love to see what you think! 

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