Review: Inferno

◆ Inferno by Dan Brown
◆ Read December 2013
◆ English Edition
◆ 

❝ In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.
Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.❞
I had a bit of an issue with rating and reviewing Inferno. This is mainly because of a futile mistake Brown made which has probably cost him a lot of readers. You see, the first hundred pages or so of this book literally give you nothing. It describes that the protagonists are being shot at and they are running for their life. Robert Langdon has lost his memories and cannot recall how he ended up in Florence or why he's being chased.

As a reader you are completely left in the dark, with no clue whatsoever about what is going on. And it's perfectly fine to start a book like that, but you're not doing yourself any favors as a writer if your readers don't know what's going on for about 1/4 of the book. The lack of hints or progress bored me. If it wasn't for the fact that I never leave a book unfinished AND that this was a graduating present, I would have definitely put Inferno down.

Review: Scarlet


◆ Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
◆ Read December 2013
◆ English Edition
◆ 
❝ The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth...
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.❞
Apparently I never uploaded my review for Cinder and it has long since been lost. Either way, as much as I loved the first book in The Lunar Chronicles, Scarlet was even better. 

In this second instalment, Cinder's story continues where it left off in prison while Emperor Kai and Queen Levana face a battle of their own. However, it also features the story of our second heroine, Scarlet Benoit, a mysterious street fighter and Cinder's fellow inmate Thorne.

Overview: 2013 in Books

Happy holidays everyone! 

I've decided to use these (relatively) stress free days to try and finish my 2013 Goodreads Reading Challenge, write a few more reviews AND  do an overview of 2013 in terms of books.

Review: The White Queen


◆ The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
◆ Read August 2013
◆ English Edition
◆ 
❝ Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They are the claimants and kings who ruled England before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.
The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown. From her uniquely qualified perspective, Philippa Gregory explores this most famous unsolved mystery of English history, informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills.❞
I decided to read The White Queen after I watched the tv series of the same name, which I loved despite the historical inacurracies. The series - I discovered quickly - is a very literal adaption of every scene in the book. Needless to say this dissapointed me a bit because I had hoped that the novel would give more insight. 

Giveaway Results

Since the first giveaway was quite the success, I'll definitely be doing more in the future. If there's something particular you'd like to see in a giveaway (e.g. a certain book or a giftcard) then just post a comment with your suggestion! 

Sifra

Hooray, a baby boy!

Hello! 

This is a bit of a change from my usual posts because this is a personal update. however, I feel like the big news I have to share deserves at least that. So what is the big news I'm talking about? My darling sister has given birth to a healthy baby boy called Maxim on the 19th of November. My family and I are so happy with him and I'm incredibly proud of my sister because it certainly hasn't been easy. 

Needless to say, I'll be spending a lot of time with my sister and little nephew. Furthermore, I still have university to cope with which is why I might be less active on my blog for a little while. I'll still be reading obviously, but there's a big chance that I might not feel like writing up reviews immediately because of everything that is going on.

That's it for the update! Have a nice evening everyone :)

Review: Allegiant


◆ Allegiant by Veronica Roth
◆ Read November 2013
◆ English Edition
◆ 

❝ The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. 

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.❞
For me, this series has been slowly losing his quality ever since the start of the second book. I therefore anticipated that I wouldn't be very thrilled with the final instalment: Allegiant. However, as much as it has been a dissapointment, there were also some things I really liked.

Review: Looking for Alaska



◆ Looking For Alaska by John Green
◆ Read October 2013
◆ English Edition
◆ 
❝ Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.
The first book I've read by John Green is The Fault in Our Stars. Which is probably why this book - which is also immensely popular and his first book too- dissapointed me a little bit.


October Book Haul

I'm one of those people who buys books even though I still have unread ones on my shelf. So, despite the fact that I have only finished one of the three books from my previous book haul, I decided it was about time for some new books! The release of Allegiant has given me a good excuse, right?

Book Giveway!

In celebration of my new blog, I'm hosting a giveaway! The winner is allowed to choose one book from the list above and will receive it for free. One of these six books might be yours in the near future! 

There are ofcourse some rules to follow. 
  1. You MUST be following Brilliant Bookshelf. (This can be done by email, with your google account of with a bloglovin' account)
  2. As a winner, you will be able to choose ONE book from the six titles above. 
  3. You must be willing to provide me with your address so I can ship the book to you. 
  4. Shipping will go via the book depository, so I can't make any guarantees what your copy will look like (cover-wise)  
  5. The giveaway is worldwide.
  6. Please only reblog (Tumblr) once a day to prevent spamming.
  7. Winner will be contacted by email 48 hours after the giveaway ends. 
  8. The giveaway will end on the 5th of December. 
Feel free to share this giveaway with your friends, the more the merrier. For any questions, send me a message on Tumblr or Goodreads. Good luck! :)

Sifra

Review: Fangirl



Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
◆ Read October 2013
◆ English Edition
◆ 
❝ Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?❞
As someone who has just started university herself and is known to be a bit of a fangirl when it comes to books, films and tv-shows, this book hit really close to home and I absolutely loved it because of it.

It's really easy to relate to the main character. Cath is a bit of an introvert and as far as I could tell she has a certain level of social anxiety. Surprisingly enough, Rowell did not try and glorify these very troubling aspects  like so many other authors have, but instead left it for what it really is. It's hard for Cath to be social and meet new people. Furthermore, for some people it's hard to deal with Cath because of this. It's not cute, and Rowell did not try to make it so. 

Review: UnEnchanted


UnEnchanted by Chanda Hahn
◆ Read September 2013
◆ English Edition
◆ 
❝ Mina Grime is unlucky, unpopular and uncoordinated, that is until she saves her crush's life on a field trip, changing her High School status from loser to hero overnight. But with her newfound fame brings misfortune as an old family curse come to light. For Mina is descended from the Brothers Grimm and has inherited all of their unfinished fairy tale business. Which includes trying to outwit a powerful Story from making her its next fairytale victim.

To break the fairy tale curse on her family and stop these deadly events, Mina must finish the tales until the very Grimm end.❞
I wanted to like this book so badly, mainly because I love the Grimm fairytales a lot and the concept sounded very original. Unfortunately, I did not like it nearly as much as I hoped I would. 

September Book Haul

Living as a student is anything but cheap. However, there was a discount at an online shop I usually  buy my books from that allowed me to buy 3 for the price of 2. Here are my three new purchases!

Welcome

Hi there!

 I've recently started university and moved to a different city. With big changes come new chances and I've therefore chosen to start this bookblog on blogspot! Those of you who are familiar with me on Goodreads or Tumblr know that I already owned a blog on tumblr under the exact same name. I had a lot of fun doing that, however, I felt that tumblr could not offer me everything I wanted to do with my blog. I therefore decided to change websites and try out some new things. And here we are!

I'm currently reuploading (and in some cases rewriting) my reviews. On my other blog you could find quotes, recommendations and tips for writing. In addition I'll be posting frequent updates on the books I'm reading, monthly bookthemes, book vs movie etc.

 More importantly, I MIGHT do a book giveaway once the blog has gained some followers. I'm lacking space in my new appartment and would very much like to make other readers happy by giving away books. Do note that this is still only an idea that I haven't researched. Whether or not I will be doing the giveaway depends entirely on costs AND the popularity of this blog.

 I really do hope that my blog will interest or help you in some way. More than anything I enjoy questions or messages, so don't hesitate to send some!

Without further ado: Welcome to Brilliant Bookshelf and enjoy! :)

Review: The Cuckoo's Calling


◆ The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
◆ Read August 2013
◆ English Edition
◆ 
❝ A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide.

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, thelegendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.
It must be noted that this review was written solely about the plot, characters and writing of this book, regardless of the fact that this was written by the one and only J.K. Rowling. Yes, I bought the book BECAUSE it was written by Rowling (I plead guilty!) but my opinion is not become biased because of it.

Review: The Archived


◆ The Archived by Victoria Schwab
◆ Read August 2013
◆ English Edition
◆ 
❝ Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall. ❞
One of the main reasons why I enjoyed The Archived so much is because it is a real gem among stones in terms of originality, without being a rip-off of other novels in the same genre. The plot and worldbuilding presented itself to me as something completely new and exciting, unlike anything I had read before. I have to admit that it is complex and the concept is hard to understand at first, which is the reason why I gave the book four stars instead of five. It took me a while to figure out what various terms meant.

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight


◆ The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
◆ Read July 2013
◆ English Edition
◆ 
❝ Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it. ❞
Rating a book like The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is hard; writing a review is even harder. If somebody were to ask me to describe the book in one word it would be romantic. The story is like one of those cheesy romantic comedies where there are hardships but everything works out in the end and the guy and girl are reconnected. Don't get me wrong though, this book is like this in a good way. It's entertaining and sweet. Furthermore, it describes a story we would all secretly wish for in one way or another.

Review: Pedalling Backwards


◆ Pedalling Backwards by Julia Russell
◆ Read July 2013
◆ English Edition
◆ 
❝ On a bleak, muddy island in the Blackwater Estuary, Lizzie struggles to come to terms with the loss of her unborn child and the death of her sister. Trapped in a damp cottage with her ineffectual but well-meaning husband, and her aloof parents, the things that are said and left unsaid on this strained family holiday threaten the complex ties between mothers and fathers and their daughters.❞
I wasn't really sure how many stars to give this book, partly because I hated the first 30 pages or so. However, I decided to give it three stars because I thought the story beautiful in the end.

Review: Divergent


◆ Divergent by Veronica Roth
◆ Read June 2013
◆ English Edition
◆ 
❝ In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.❞
Divergent is not the greatest book I've read recently. It is, however, one of the few that I was unable to put down. I wanted to keep reading until the end - and let's admit it - it requires great skill for a writer to be able to captivate a reader like that. The point of view works because of Roth's writing style and above all the pacing was just spot on.

Review: Easy


◆ Easy by Tammara Webber
◆ Read May 2013
◆ English Edition
◆ 
❝ He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior…

The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he’d worked so hard to overcome, and the future she’d put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.

Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth—and find the unexpected power of love.❞
On a superficial level this book is about an unexpected romance between two people. What made me fall in love with this book though, was the underlying message.

The Masterpost for Writers

This is for all of you writers who are in need of tips. This masterpost consists of tips for developing worlds, characters and a plot with the help of various sources I've found on the internet. In addition, I've added five blog recommendations dedicated to writing that you might find interesting AND a writing program I can give you acces to. I hope this helps!

Review: The Selection


◆ The Selection by Kiera Cass
◆ Read May 2013
◆ English Edition
◆ 
❝ For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.❞
I must admit that the beautiful cover got me interested in this book and this has been a mistake. Note to self: Don't judge a book by its cover. I tried my best to pick out the positive things in this book, but truly it was impossible for me to really like it.

Review: The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch, The Wardrobe


◆ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
◆ Re-read April 2013
◆ English Edition
◆ 
❝ Four English schoolchildren find their way through the back of a wardrobe into the magic land of Narnia and assist its ruler, the golden lion Aslan, to triumph over the White Witch, who has cursed the land with eternal winter.❞
I've reread this book after almost ten years and it is still as enjoyable as the first time I read it. I never agree with the notion that fairytales are for kids, but it is often true that I do not enjoy a book from my childhood as much as I used to when I read it years later. The fact that this is not the case with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe only serves as prove that C.S. Lewis has the brilliant ability to engage those of all ages.

Review: Showtime


◆ Showtime by Chloe Kayne
◆ Read February 2013
◆ English Edition
◆ 
❝ The grandeur of the traveling circus is at its peak in the early 1920s when sixteen-year-old Laila Vilonia is searching for an escape from her bleak future. Behind the gates of the legendary Marvelle Circus, she is thrust into a mysterious world she never knew existed—a paradise populated with outcasts. It’s in this glamorous new home that Laila sparks a controversial romance with notorious sideshow performer, "The Disappearing Man," and learns just how dangerous her new life can be.

Touring the picturesque eastern coast of America, Laila’s immersed in friendship, vaudeville, festivals, sequins, and serial killers. But behind the curtain, a sadistic plan is brewing that will crack the very foundation upon which she’s become so dependent.❞
I received a free copy of Showtime from the author and am ever so glad that she was so generous because I enjoyed this book immensely.
 

Brilliant Bookshelf