Top 14 Books of 2014

Mittwoch, 31. Dezember 2014

   Hey guys!
   The year is almost over, only a few more hours are left (at least in my time zone) and so I thought it would be the perfect time to finally talk about my favorite 14 books I've read in 2014. These are not necesserily books that have been published in 2014. They are simply taken out of the 58 books I've read in the past year. If you follow my blog and BookTube channel the book that is on my place nr. 1 will definitely not surprise you.
Anyway, let's get to the list!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 #14 - Riot by Sarah Mussi
   This was a great action packed read set in the near future (2018).  I enjoyed it a whole lot and that cover is amazing!

#13 - Erased by Margaret Chatwin
   So good! This is a not very known YA Contemporary with an amazing and very realistic plotline. The protagonist is a great guy and the things he goes through are great and heartbreaking at time, too.

#12 - Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
   A fun read with hot aliens. I enjoyed Jennifer L. Armentrouts writing a lot and the way Katy and Deamon "function" together is brilliant and funny and super entertaining.

#11 - Killing Sarai by J.A. Redmerski
   This was the only adult book I read in 2014 and, oh boy, was it amazing! At the same time it was a hard read as it deals with quite a few hard topics and violent scenes but all in all it's a great read but definitely not for those who are not adults yet.

#10 - To all the boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han
   My first Jenny Han book and I loved it! It's a cute YA contemporary with a lovable protagonist and a funny and cute plotline. Can't wait for the sequel to finally come out!

#9 - Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
   My first fantasy book in a very long time. I had an amazing time reading this. I love the protagonist because she is just so smart and witty and stays true to herself no matter what. And Sarah J. Maas' writing style is brilliant!

#8 - Slated Trilogy by Teri Terry
   This was a great trilogy which I simply couldn't put down once I started it. I love the different take on the dystopian society with slating terrorists and criminals as means of giving them a second chance. Following Kyla was great and seeing the pieces come together in the end was mind-blowing.

#7 - Ruin by Rachel van Dyken
   A very emotional and amazing read. The two main characters were very lovable and I enjoyed reading about them a lot. Though this book was a little predictable at times it was still exactly what I wanted it to be.

#6 - 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad
   This was so creepy! When I first picked it up I was simply sold on the whole moon part but I totally did not expect the direction this book went in. I definitely couldn't read this one at night (I'm usually not a scardy-cat but this book!). If you are looking for a really creepy book that will blow your mind and happens to play on the moon, well, this is exactly what you are looking for!

#5 - Aristotle and Dante discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
   Very beautiful and philosophical with two very lovable characters and a fantastic ending.

#4 - Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead
   Witty, funny and all round amazing! I have not enjoyed a Vampire book in a long time but this series had be hooked since page one. And, Dimitri! Enough said.

#3 - Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
   Another book that deals with complicated topics but is just fantastic. The writing is beautiful and the two main characters are very unique and great.

#2 - The Martian by Andy Weir
   Much Mars. Such science. Very fun. I finished this book only a few days ago but it was just so brilliant that it simply had to be on this list and on place number two.

#1 - The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
   Amazing finale to the Mara Dyer trilogy. I love this story, the characters and Michelle Hodkin's writing. She is among my top 3 favorite authors and I will definitely read anything and everything she writes. I could not wish for a better ending to this trilogy.

   And that was it. These are my favorite 14 reads of 2014. I am very curious what reads await me in 2015. Tell me in the comments below, or tweet me (@Alice_Reeds), what books made it onto your guy's lists of favorite books.

   I hope you're having a fantastic day and see you guys in 2015!

Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

Freitag, 26. Dezember 2014

The Martian by Andy Weir
Published: February 11th 2014 by Crown (first published 2011)
Number of Pages: 369 (Hardcover)
Series: No
Buy it: Book Depository
 ~ Free shipping worldwide ~

   Apollo 13 meets Cast Away in this grippingly detailed, brilliantly ingenious man-vs-nature survival thriller, set on the surface of Mars.
   Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there.
   It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he's stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to get him first.
   But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

"I'm pretty much fucked."

   This first line perfectly describes the entire novel. I'm not even kidding you. Way to go, Mr. Weir!
   After that opening line, paired with the blurb and the cover, I was sold. I had to get my hands on this book. I had to read it so I decided to buy it for myself for Christmas.
   I did not regret buying a hardcover copy.
   This book is nothing like what I usually read. It doesn't really fit into any of the genres I usually turn to and I loved it. This book was very different from what I have read so far throughout my years of reading. I admit, there was a lot I didn't understand simply because there is a lot of science in this book. A LOT. But, despite all the science, I still enjoyed this book a lot. I had a fantastic time reading it and exploring all these things involved in trying to survive on a planet where everything is out to kill you.

“Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. 
Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.”

   Mark Watney, the protagonist of this breathtaking novel, is a botanist and engineer who flew to Mars with his Crew where he was supposed to stay for 31 days. But, everything came differently and he ended up up there all alone. Through his "diary" entries we explore what is on his mind and how he tries to do everything he can to stay alive. He has an awesome sense of humor and never loses hope, as far as that is possible when you consider the fact that you have no way of telling anyone that you are actually still alive. Mark is a great protagonist and I would gladly read another story from his perspective. 

“As with most of life's problems, this one can be solved by a box of pure radiation.”

   The way this book is written is very unique and captivating, not only because of the extraordinary setting, but because of all the things that happen throughout the story, the science and the humor. There are many things I want to say about this book, point out things I liked most, but that would spoil the story for those who have not yet picked this book up. You definitely should.

“I started the day with some nothin’ tea. Nothin’ tea is easy to make. 
First, get some hot water, then add nothin’.”

   All in all The Martian is a very unique, spectacular and outstanding novel which has a lot to offer and, despite all the science which most humans without a degree in math, chemistry and/or engineering won't really understand, the story is more than just worth it. Don't let the science scare you. Just accept the science because it really isn't completely crucial to understand it. Mark's story is definitely worth reading. And I mean how often do you come across a book set on Mars?

   But, if The Martian still doesn't sound like a book for you, don't worry. The movie starring Matt Damon, Sean Bean and Jessica Chastain is set to come out November 2015 (Wikipedia). I hope they won't mess it up. Either way, I'm super excited.
I give The Martian by Andy Weir 5 out of 5 pirate-ninjas.

Review: The Interview (Movie, 2014)

Donnerstag, 25. Dezember 2014

Title: The Interview
Release: 2014
Runtime: 112 minutes
Cast: James Franco (Dave Skylark)
Seth Rogen (Aaron Rapoport)
Randall Park (Kim Jong-un)

In the action-comedy The Interview, Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show "Skylark Tonight." When they discover that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un. (IMDb)

There was a lot of chaos and concerns around this movie, especially after the Sony hacks and threats. But, many people believe this was merely a public stunt to get more attention. Even if, I don't think it matters if it's true or not. It was a very successful way of getting a great number of people interested in a movie which, despite pulling a lot of topics into ridiculousness, also made them think about it all. Or at least it made me think.
   The Interview tells the story of the TV host Dave Skylark and his producer Aaron Rapoport who go to North Korea to interview Kim Jong-un, because it turns out that he is a big fan of Skylark's show, while the CIA has given them the mission of killing him. Through twists and turns we follow their journey which features many jokes about various topics, pop culture references and more than one ridiculous scene. But, in the end, we still get information's and details which are there to make us think.
   Thanks to the great outcry that the canceling of the movie generated, many people happily watched the movie on the 24th of December 2014 when Sony released it online. Many may say that a movie about a topic like this should be more serious and rather have a drama-like tone to it but, let's be honest, a much smaller number of people would watch it. Not because they would think it's a bad movie but rather because many people are not really into dramas which offer loads of information's, political vibes and seriousness. People prefer light, funny movies which make penis-jokes and such. Therefore I think this movie, starring the currently funniest duo that comedy has to offer, James Franco and Seth Rogen, was a great way to do it.

   The portrayal of the characters these two played was great. James Franco was at his best. Funny and never out of character. Ridiculous while charming and convincing. Same goes for Seth Rogen, whose character maybe wasn't loud and obnoxious the way Franco's was, but he still had a lot to offer. The cautious friend who just wanted their show to have more credibility and also keep his best buddy safe.
   And no one is going to say that Randall Park didn't do a great job of playing Kim Jong-un. Surely he was nothing like the real one, but that wasn't the point. The point wasn't to create a super realistic portrayal of North Korea, of the things going on in the country. The point was to entertain while, even if only very subtly, show the people the propaganda and falseness of what North Korea wants to show the world and what it is actually like. The best example for this would be the grocery shop which is made to look like it is packed with fresh fruits and food for the people, while in reality it is only a picture and fake fruits.

   All in all I think this is a great movie to invite your friends over for quality comedy movie watching time on the sofa, just like the other Franco/Rogen movies were. Which is also why I think that it was a good movie of Sony to directly release it digitally and not in cinemas. This isn't your typical theatre movie but rather a sofa movie.
   Surely this isn't the movie we've all been waiting for, produced at top notch to show us what North Korea is really like and so on, but it was still a well-made, entertaining movie with a strong bromance and lots of funny lines and scenes. And it even has a puppy.
I give The Interview 4 out of 5 Stars. 

Review: Killing Sarai by J.A. Redmerski

Sonntag, 21. Dezember 2014

Killing Sarai by J.A. Redmerski
Published: June 19th 2013 (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)
Number of Pages: 393 (Paperback)
Series: Yes, #1 of the In the Company of Killers Series
Buy it: Book Depository
 ~ Free shipping worldwide ~

   Sarai was only fourteen when her mother uprooted her to live in Mexico with a notorious drug lord. Over time she forgot what it was like to live a normal life, but she never let go of her hope to escape the compound where she has been held for the past nine years.
   Victor is a cold-blooded assassin who, like Sarai, has known only death and violence since he was a young boy. When Victor arrives at the compound to collect details and payment for a hit, Sarai sees him as her only opportunity for escape. But things don’t go as planned and instead of finding transport back to Tucson, she finds herself free from one dangerous man and caught in the clutches of another.
   While on the run, Victor strays from his primal nature as he succumbs to his conscience and resolves to help Sarai. As they grow closer, he finds himself willing to risk everything to keep her alive; even his relationship with his devoted brother and liaison, Niklas, who now like everyone else wants Sarai dead.
   As Victor and Sarai slowly build a trust, the differences between them seem to lessen, and an unlikely attraction intensifies. But Victor’s brutal skills and experience may not be enough in the end to save her, as the power she unknowingly holds over him may ultimately be what gets her killed.
   This is their story…

“There is a stark difference between fear and uncertainty, Sarai. You fear nothing but are uncertain of everything.”

   I rarely read adult books, new adult at most, but when I came across this book I couldn’t resist picking it up and giving it a read. I must admit, at first I wasn’t sure what I thought of it and it did take me quite some time to finally, truly get into it, but when I did, I couldn’t put it down anymore.
   Upon my first try with this book I only made it about 20% or so into the book. After that I put it away and only a few months later, during a train ride, I gave it another try. Let’s just say I spent the entirety of the ride, which was about 5h, reading this book despite the fact that I was supposed to work. I definitely didn’t regret my decision.
   This is not your average easy page turner, this book handles very hard and complicated topics, which almost seem too real, especially when you think about the fact that girls like Sarai exist in real life, too. Most of them unfortunately do not have a Victor like she does. It only gets worse once you realize that most of them will never get a chance to run and live like Sarai did. But, that is material for a very different and long discussion.
   The author created a brilliant story with many twists and turns which will keep you up reading long into the night. It will make you root for Sarai and hope that she will be all right. And it will make you fall in love with Victor, no matter how stoic and dismissive he may seem at first.

   “I thought perhaps I’d get to stay in one place for at least a year this time, but such is the life I lead, a dark and lonely path lined only with the solitude of death.” (Victor)

   Sarai is a very different but very strong character. She has seen hell and she survived in it for years. She knows the world is an ugly place which makes her a female character which, for once, is independent and unafraid. She isn’t naïve and she is brave. The way her character grows over the course of the novel is amazing and believable, which is something we, the readers, do not get often enough. 

“I hate him more every time he speaks.” (Sarai about Victor)

   Victor on the other hand is stoic and cold as steel. He never hesitates before going in for the kill. He is smart and he knows what’s at stake at all times. He never goes off character, which again is something I am very thankful for. Victor does warm up over the course of the novel but it takes him a realistic amount of time while no matter how much he tells us about himself, he never seems less mysterious. It’s rather quite the contrary. The more you get to read about him the more mysterious and intriguing of a character he seems.

     All in all I can definitely say that Killing Sarai is more than just worth a shot. It’s outstandingly crafted with believable characters and an action packet plotline. It will keep you guessing what will happen next and how in the world they will manage to survive one or the other situation. Once you get into the book it will make you addicted and wanting more.
     If action, guns, assassins and realistic characters are what you’re look for, then this is exactly for you, if you are old enough to read things like this, that is. This book is definitely nothing for the weak as it has violence and explicit content, a lot of it.

   I give Killing Sarai by J.A. Redmerski 5 out of 5 Stars.

100k Clicks!

Samstag, 20. Dezember 2014

   Hey guys!
   Just a couple of minutes ago I noticed that we just passed 100k views of this blog! I am so happy; I cannot even really put it into words. When I first started this blog one and a half years ago I would have never thought that I would reach this number any time soon. I would have never expected that it would happen so fast. Back then I expected to maybe hit a thousand views in a year or longer because I never thought people would bother reading my thoughts on movies and books.
   But, it turns out a few people actually do care and check out what I have to say.
   I don't want to make this too long so let me just say THANK YOU for sticking around and reading my posts. Maybe you just discovered my blog, maybe you've been reading my thoughts since post one. However it may be, thank you for coming over!
   Cheers and let's see what the next 100k will bring!

   Hey Leute,
   Vor wenigen Minuten hab ich gesehen, dass wir gerade 100k Klicks auf diesem Blog erreicht haben! Ich bin super glücklich, so sehr das ich es kaum in Worte fassen kann. Als ich den Blog vor anderthalb Jahren erstellt habe, hätte ich nie gedacht, dass ich diese Zahl so schnell erreichen würde. Damals dachte ich, dass ich vielleicht ein tausend Klicks innerhalb eines Jahres oder mehr erreichen würde, da ich nicht glaube, dass irgendjemanden meine Gedanken über Bücher und Filme interessieren würden.
   Aber, es stellt sich heraus dass viele es doch interessiert und sie immer mal wieder vorbeischauen.
   Ich will diesen Post nicht zu lange machen, daher lasst mich nur dies sagen: DANKE SEHR dafür das ihr meine Posts lest. Vielleicht hast du diesen Blog gerade erst entdeckt, vielleicht hast du ihn schon seit dem ersten Post verfolgt. Wie auch immer es sein mag, danke fürs vorbeischauen!
   Cheers und lasst uns sehen was die nächsten 100k bringen werden!

My Bookish Christmas Wish list

Sonntag, 14. Dezember 2014

   Hey guys!
   It's the holiday season and Christmas is just around the corner so I thought today we should talk about the book which have made it onto my Christmas wish list. I saw a lot of BookTubers talk about theirs and so I want to do it, too. And yes, I know, they did it in video form while I am sitting here and writing about it. I know. But somehow I'm currently in a small video-making-slump so bear with me.
   Anyway, let's get to the books on my bookish wish list!

#1 - This Shattered World by Amy Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
   I very much enjoyed This Broken Stars, the first book in the Starbound trilogy, and so I am very much looking forward to reading the sequel. And let's be honest, who wouldn't want to get a book like this for Christmas, I mean did you notice the gorgeous cover?

#2 - Make up Your Life by Michelle Phan
   Michelle Phan is one of my favorite YouTubers out there so when I heard she has a book coming out I knew I have to have it. I am helplessly lost when it comes to make up so who knows, maybe Michelle's book will be able to help and save me?

#3 -  Ed Sheeran: A Visual Journey by Ed Sheeran and Philip Butah
   I love Ed Sheeran and his music. A book about him by him? Sign me up!

#4 - Revolution by Russell Brand
   I like Russell Brand. I enjoyed the movies he plays in and I enjoy watching his YouTube videos. I've heard him read out a few excerpts from his book and they sounded great so I definitely would like to find this book under my non-existent Christmas tree.

#5 - The Martian by Andy Weir
   After reading 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad I am fairly terrified of books set in space and other planets but still this book set on the Mars immediately intrigued me. And that cover? Love it!

#6 - The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
   A 810 pages long book set in Russia? Hell yes please! You guys know how much I love Russia and so I really don't know why I don't own this book yet.

#7 - My True Love Gave To Me by 12 Authors
   A book centered around Christmas? One with a gorgeous cover and pink pages? Sounds like the perfect Christmas gift to me!

#8 - Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover
   I've only read one Colleen Hoover book so far but I've heard so much about her books and this one in particular that I just really want to check it out. And, pssh, don't tell anyone, but I've actually already ordered this one for myself for Christmas.

#9 - My Drunk Kitchen by Hannah Hart
   See a pattern here? I love Hannah and her videos and so how could I say no to a book by her all about food and funny stories?

#10 - Grace's Guide: The Art of Pretending to be a Grown Up by Grace Helbig
   As someone who is 20 years old I should know how to be an adult (in most European countries you are considered an adult from 18 upwards) but I don't so maybe Grace could help me out a bit so I can at least pretend to know what I am doing.

   And that is it, the 10 books that are currently atop my bookish Christmas wish list. Knowing myself this list will change in no time but whatever. But now it's your turn, tell me about the books you wish to find under your Christmas tree below in the comments or over twitter (@Alice_Reeds).

   Have a wonderful day/night,

Insurgent Trailer Reaction/Review

Samstag, 13. Dezember 2014

   Hey guys!
   Yesterday the first real trailer for Insurgent, the second movie in the Divergent movie quartet hit the internet which means that it's just about time to talk about it. But first, if you have not done it already, watch the trailer below:

   As you guys know I am a big fan of the book, Divergent, while I was definitely less than impressed by the movie. I wasn't that big of a fan of Insurgent, the book and, subsequently, I am even less then less than impressed by the trailer we've just received.
   I must admit, it's been a while since I read the book and I don't know if they said they will stick to the book plot or if they'll change up things to make them into better movie. I don't know. But what I do know is, is that this trailer looks more or less nothing like what I remember the book being. If they said they will change up the story line, my bad, I don't know. I stopped following the Divergent movie news after seeing that movie.
   But it does seem like the whole story line surrounding the "box" was completely changed because I don't remember that box being that big of the thing and surely it also not being the reason why Jeanine was hunting down those who are divergent. Then again I do not want get into more detail because, as mentioned previously, my memories of the book are quite vague and I don't want to spoil anyone who has not read the book yet.
   Speaking of things that annoy me, am I the only one who thinks Tris looks awful with the short haircut? I understand that it's because Shailene cut her hair for The Fault in Our Stars and all that, but don't they have a few bucks left to get the girl a wig? Or did I forget something and in the book she also decided to cut her hair? I don't know, and it also doesn't change the fact that she looks awful and now even younger which makes Four, whom you guys know I don't like (aka I'm not a fan of Theo James, the actor and not the character in itself, I know, I'm crazy, right? I know all the girls are going crazy over him), look even older next to her which makes seeing them as couple even more awkward as he looks like he would be at least a decade older than her. Anyways.
   Speaking of age, did someone notice the tiny fact that the actress playing Evelyn looks about Four's age and thus I really don't get how that is possible. I don't wanna spoiler those who have not read the book, but I know that those who have will understand what I mean. Or did they change that up, too? I mean, Theo is supposed to play a 18 year old boy while looking like someone in his late twenties (because that is the case), so maybe they thought they could do the same with Evelyn, take someone who looks in their twenties and make them play the a role of a forty year old charcter or something in that region?

   All in all, I am definitely not a fan of this trailer and where this movie series seems to be going. Then again I didn't like the road the book trilogy went down either, despite the fact that I absolutely loved the first one. I guess we'll simply have to wait and see. Maybe I am completely wrong and this movie will be amazing, while I feel like they already showed us all the key scenes this movie will have to offer in the trailer, but okay. Who knows, maybe the second trailer will be a little better?
   What do you guys think, did you like the trailer? Am I being too hard on the trailer because of the fact that I like my book-to-movie adaptations to actually follow the book's plot line? Tell me in the comment's below or tweet me (@Alice_Reeds).

   Have a wonderful day/night,

November Wrap Up

Mittwoch, 3. Dezember 2014

   Hey guys!
   November is done and so is NaNoWriMo. Let's start with that, shall we? I, just as last year, participated in NaNoWriMo which is also why I haven't been too active on here and on my YouTube during November. I dedicated most of my time to writing and winning, which I ended up doing a week or so early. My finishing word count was 65k words but since then I added a few more so I ended up with a first draft with a length of 67k words. Now I have to go into revision and sometime in the near future it'll again be quary time.
   When it comes to reading I didn't get too much of that done, only two books and two mangas. Not my best result but I guess it's still better than nothing, right?
   This month the Book of the Month and Most Anticipated are one and the same as it is The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. As you guys know I love that trilogy and I've been dying to read it. And I did. And I loved it. I also wrote a review for it, which you can find by clicking on the title in the list below.

   Books read:
   Books acquired:
  • The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  • A Thousnand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
  • God's Buried Children by Daniel Farcas
  • Partials by Dan Wells
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: 1 by Naoko Takeuchi
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: 2 by Naoko Takeuchi
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
  • Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson
  • Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
  • The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson
  • Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
  • Angelfall by Susan Ee
  • Balzhar by M Wolitzer
   ~ In Process ~
  • Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi (24%)
  • God's Buried Children by Daniel Farcas (80%)
  • A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray (9%)
  • The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (61%)
  • and way too many more...
   For the Month of December I am hoping to read a few more books, though I have quite a few things planned and there also is the fact that I need to revise my NaNoWriMo novel, but I will still try my best to get some reading done.
   And that's it for this little post and update.