The Real Neat Blog Award

Hello friends, happy Wednesday! I hope your week has been good so far, filled with books and love! Today I’m coming back with… 

Well, first, before coming to the subject of this blog post, I have to say that I have been experimenting some issues with commenting on your blogs lately, and I am ending up in a lot of SPAMS on other blogs, apparently I might comment too much?! Like, I wasn’t aware that was actually a thing?!! PLEASE if you could check your spams and free me from it, if I left a comment on your blog, I’ll be forever grateful. If you recently – like, in the past two days – commented on my blog, it’s very most likely to have happened, since I, 99,9% of the time, comment back (that 0,1% is because no one is perfect, especially not my memory). Someone wants to prevent me from sharing my love in the community lately, and THIS IS NOT OKAY. Alright, now onto the next part…

A lovely award, thanks to the incredibly sweet Beth @ Reading Every Night! If you don’t know her or her blog by now, I suggest you check it out right away and flood her with all of your love. She’s one of the best bloggers out there, and sweetest people I’m proud to call by now a friend. Alright, now onto this award…

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If you could pick one book to read again for the first time what would it be?

more than thisHm this is such a great question! There are so many books I’d love to experience for the first time all over again. I was astonished by More than this, that book hit me and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. That craziness died down a bit by now, but still… Don’t you just love when a book has that impact on you?delirium

I could have told you about the first time I read Delirium, as well. That book HIT ME SO HARD, really. Right now it just seems like another average dystopian novels for many people, but that ending just had me crying.

You find a genie in a lamp, what three things would you wish for?

Finding what I want to do, where I belong and basically just being happy. That’s three wishes there, isn’t it?

If you could pluck any one character out of any book for an hour so you could meet them in real life who would you choose and why?wrath and the dawn

Hmmm interesting question… Since I talked about Jalal (from The Wrath and The Dawn) before with a lovely blogger, I’m going to say him. He’s just so easy-going and funny, I bet an hour with him would make me smile.

Where is your next travel destination. If you haven’t got any holidays planned where would you love to go more than anywhere else in the world?

Hm to be completely honest right now there’s nothing too exciting planned, which is why I might slowly go down into the biggest depression hole ever, haha. Maybe a little weekend away somewhere in France with my sister? I’m still doing plans in my mind for great travel destinations for the next months. Whenever life figures itself out on its own. Oh, I miss being a student.

Which book world would you not want to live in and why?

witherA pretty obvious choice would be The Hunger Games, and kind of a generic answer as well… Oh, I could quote tons of dystopian novels here, haha, but since I just finished reading it, I would go with Wither. A world where everyone dies so young is just chilling.

What is one item on your bucket list that you want to do before you die?

One? HOW am I supposed to choose, Beth?! Going to Canada, going to Australia, New Zealand, basically doing all the travelling in the world, write a book, READ ALL THE BOOKS.

As for my questions, I hope Beth won’t be mad because I’m going to steal those from her, I just had so much fun answering these, and now I’d love to see YOUR answers

I’d love to know: what’s ONE item on your bucket list you’d love to do before you die?

Which book would you like to re-read for the first time? Let’s chat in comments! 💬

Do NOT touch my books: a bookworm pet peeve

Good morning, good afternoon, hello friends, how are you in this lovely Sunday? I hope you had a wonderful week filled with love and all the books. I really don’t want to talk about mine so I’ll just head into today’s subject… it’s time for another bookish discussion! Warning: this one will be full of feelings.

I don’t know if it’s me, or if anyone a tiny little bit in love with books and the written word has to act this way, but, if you ask me, books are precious creatures. You need to pet them, love them, feed them (no, okay, I’m going too far here). Just take care of them, and when someone casually takes a book off my bookshelf in their greasy hands or whatever, it gives me chills and make me want to scream. At them, for thinking they can touch my books without prior authorization, and WITH dirty hands as well. Just like when I left my book on the living room table, and suddenly I’m seeing my mom coming dangerously with her HOT MUG FULL OF TEA. Tea is good, and tea and a book are sometimes a perfect combinaison, especially with fall coming and bla, bla, bla. Yeah, but what about keeping the hot, menacing mug a REASONABLE DISTANCE AWAY from my books?

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Books are fragile. Well, they’re not if you ask anyone, but if you’re just a tiny bit like me, you like to take care of your books. Books are used to being taken care of, and WELL. But what happens when you bond with some friend over a story, and suddenly she / he eyes your bookshelf with envy, daring to take a step closer, but yet not daring to ask if he or she can take that book home for a while? Just to read it, and then it’ll come back, just like it never left. Don’t take me wrong, I am a nice person – really, sometimes, I’m too nice. But when it comes to my books, well… I’m sometimes turning into this CRAZY person. Because no matter how sweet and gentle this friend might be, well, who knows what they’re going to do to your book when you left? Leave it on a table to be FORGOTTEN? Casually dog-ear the pages, just because why not? WRITE in it? Okay. Those aren’t the worst thing, though the forgotten issue gives me chills. PAGES CAN  BE TORN. Oh, the friends’ dog might come by and think of the book as a toy. TEA can be spilled, words and WORLDS might be ruined. And there it is, the worst of it all: the book might never come back.

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You know how you don’t feel like going into the water after seeing that movie filled with sharks? Well, the bookworm’s issue with lending books is kind of the same things. Except humans are books, and the sharks are your friends, acquaintances, anyone wanting to take them home. They don’t want it. Okay, I don’t want it anymore. Because once someone gets you your book back with pages torn, then asks you if they can borrow the sequel, I can’t help but scream a BIG FAT “NO”. It’s not even because it’s one of my favorite books (at the time). It’s because people should be CAREFUL, and because books are babies, and just because… HOW ABOUT YOU don’t touch my books anymore?dont-touch-my-book

Thankfully, I know some people are trustworthy when it comes to my books. My family knows not to come forward with a hot mug when there’s a book on the table anymore. I know some people will take care of my books and my sister knows my craziness about all of it. So I guess I’m good, now. Taking a breath or two, and sharing my books with the ones knowing how close I hold them to my heart.

Do you share your books with your friends, family? Are you especially careful when it comes to your books?

Do you dog-ear pages, write in books or like to keep them in a great condition? Did you ever SCREAM at someone because of a book? (spoiler alert: I did. More than once.) Let’s chat in comments 💬

Review: Cress, Marissa Meyer

You know these series you’re scared to go on with, because what if the next book is terrible, and what if the finale is just awful and I wish I stopped at the first book? Well, if you’re considering reading The Lunar Chronicles series, or haven’t yet -what are you waiting for?-, or still wondering whether to go on with it, or not… WAIT NO MORE. And go read it all now. I’m saying this while I’m still waiting to read Winter, but I feel like, after reading Cress, I can safely say, this is one of these series that just keeps on getting BETTER. .

CINDERELLA, RED RIDING HOOD AND…RAPUNZEL?

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“He leaned forward to inspect her closer. “Is that all hair?”

If you don’t know it by now, Marissa Meyer is kind of having fun with some original fairytales in this series, turning Cinderella into Cinder -with well, lots of changes obviously, but you can see the stepmother, even the glass shoe-, The Little Red Riding Hood into Scarlet-with the big bad Wolf turning out to be oh so wonderfully sweet, slightly possessive and criminal but still loving as hell-. With Cress, we’re seeing more of the Rapunzel fairytale. You remember, the girl with impossibly long hair, locked up in a tower? Well, that’s it, except she’s stuck in a spaceship, but…technicalities, I guess? I’m loving how this series is making me think about these old stories and turning them completely upside down, surprising us with twists and a completely different, incredibly thoughtful world-building. I always said in my previous reviews that I was amazed about this world-building, and well, I still am. In all of its complexities, rules, potential wars and multi-layered leaders, The Lunar Chronicles is such a fantastic series, and Cress definitely takes it to a whole other level of love in my heart.

CRESS: NEW FAVORITE CHARACTER ALERT

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“Maybe there isn’t such a thing as fate. Maybe it’s just the opportunities we’re given, and what we do with them. I’m beginning to think that maybe great, epic romances don’t just happen. We have to make them ourselves.”

Something I really loved in Cress, is how much more of Cinder we get to see. I was a bit frustrated that, in the second installment of this series, we seemed to get a bit less of Cinder, despite her being, well, the main character and everything, she fell in the background. Here, we have more place, more room for her to develop and change as the world around her goes darker and every decision she makes might change everything around her, and everyone’s fate. I loved to see her grow, struggle and face her future with pride and a bit of anxiety as well. As it’s a tradition in this series, in this third book, we’re introduced to a whole new character, Cress. And oh, how I LOVED Cress, I don’t even know where to begin. Stuck in a spaceship, forced to work for someone she hates, didn’t see the ground or the world -Lunar, or Earthen- in YEARS. Professional hacker. Okay maybe we won’t be twins of the year, but I could relate to her so, so much. She was adorable, realistic, looked at the world with some kind of naivete at first, yet she showed strength when she needed to. She was PERFECT and I loved her.

A PERFECT CREW.

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“Hello?” A girl again. “I know you can hear me. I’m sorry my friend is such a wing nut. You can just ignore him.”

“That’s usually what we do,” said the other feminine voice.”

If you’re going on an adventure, or dreaming about it, you’re always thinking about the crew to take along with you. Hopping on the ship, and sharing these 400 and something pages with Cinder’s crew was incredibly breath-taking, for two reasons. One, because I couldn’t get my breath back, literally. Action-packed, filled with surprises and emotions at every corner, you have no idea where the story is going to take you next, and, more scary, no idea if everything or everyone is going to be okay. Two, because all of the relationships are slowly-built, realistically, and making me ship everything and everyone like a melting marshmallow. We meet Cress in that story, and we meet her with Thorne, and I think I have found one of my favorite ships of EVER. Her dreaminess and his sarcasm, his way of caring for her, every single one of their conversations made me smile like a crazy idiot.

OVERALL

I laughed, and I wanted to cry, I threw the book away, and at the end, I stared. Eyes wide open, not quite believing how it could end like this. A rollercoaster of emotions for a series that just keeps on getting better. Winter, I’m coming for you soon, and if this goes on like this, well… I’m ready for the fireworks. And the tears. And emotions. And, oh, I just need that book RIGHT NOW.

Final rating:  It’s a hurricane!

Did you read Cress? Did you enjoy it? Do you want to read it?

What’s your favorite book in The Lunar Chronicles series? If you haven’t read it, do you want to? Share your thoughts in comments!


 

Marissa Meyer, Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3),  Published by Feiwel & Friends, February 4th 2014.

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In this third book in Marissa Meyer’s bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she’s just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she’d ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

#SFATW: What I Love About France and Alsace

Good morning, good afternoon, good night everyone! How are you? I hope you had a wonderful week. I’m back today and very, very excited (but also slightly nervous) to kick off this Souvenirs From Across The World feature!

Souvenirs from across the world(3)

For those of you unaware of what it is, here’s a quick recap: Souvenirs From Across The World (SFATW) is a feature created to get to know each other a bit better, especially where we are all from, share a bit of our countries, cities, cultures, traditions, writers, authors. The main goal of Souvenirs From Across The World is to create a link between all bloggers, from everywhere, and to share a bit of the diversity that makes everyone unique on the blogosphere.
➡️ For more info on the feature, it’s here.
➡️ To see the themes for the upcoming SFATW blog posts, it’s here!

This month’s theme is Things I love about my country and/ or hometown. If you didn’t know it by now, I am French (yes, I have an accent and everything… ugh), and I’m living in a lovely region called, Alsace. I already took you more than once to my hometowns (here, and here), and today I will both focus on the country as a whole, and on Alsace because we have some pretty unique things as well. So, WHY do I love my country, I asked myself, and DAMN this was a hard question to answer, but I managed to find a couple reasons. And I’ll make a list, because let’s LOVE LISTS.

Reason 1: FOOD

ratatouille

Okay, I don’t know if it’s the best thing to start with, but I will do it anyway, because if there’s one thing I LOVE unconditionally about my hometown, and my country as a whole, it’s food. Or, gastronomie, as we say it in French. Anytime I am travelling, I’m thrilled to come back home to eat baguette, fromage (cheese) and just ALL THE FOOD. Since I’m very, very nice, I’ll obviously give you some mouth-watering pictures of some specialties…

SFATW food
Top: croissants and other French pastries, cheese soufflé / Bottom: Ratatouille, French Cheese, macaroons. (None of these photos are mine, all credits to the owners)

I’m not going to stay on that point very long, because next month’s theme is ALL FOOD RELATED -and I’ll give you some French recipies and secrets and ALL THE GLORIOUS FOOD IN THE WORLD. So, onto reason number two!

Reason 2: Architecture, monuments, and things to stare at occasionally

If everything doesn’t look like it’s right out of a fairytale – as some people would naively think, I have to admit that somedays, I feel pretty lucky to live in a place where, wherever I go, I’m always surprised by the architecture….and the monuments.

I will be very, very honest here. The Eiffel Tower is just one just tower made of metal. So what makes it so impressive, and how come everytime I look at it I feel… little and overwhelmed? Ugh, crazy.

paris

I could quote all the parisian monuments but… okay. Just one more.

The Sacré Coeur, in Paris.
The Sacré Coeur, in Paris.

Why don’t we STOP talking about Paris and highlight some lovely wonders of other places?

Saint Paul's Church, Strasbourg, France.
Saint Paul’s Church, Strasbourg, France.
montpellier
The Château d’Eau, Montpellier, France.
La Petite Venise (The Little Venice), Colmar, France.

Reason 4: DIVERSITY

I know, we keep on praising diverse books, well let me get the hang of this and apply it to my own country because, erm, WHY NOT? I love the diversity of landscapes we have in France. North, South, East, West, nothing really is alike, in the architecture, the streets, the people, the monuments, the places, climate… Everything slightly changes, and I love it.

You have the typical little narrow streets of the South of France, sometimes with stairs and just overall cuteness.

a street in montpellier

The lovely, very hot yet slightly crowded beaches in the summer…beach i montpellier

The colorful houses from my hometown…colorful houses colmar

The typical red bricks houses from the North of France…

red bricks houses North of France

The places inspiring ghost and fantasy stories…

France park

Squares with stunning architecture… la grand place Lille

And so on…

Reason 5: Lifestyle

I don’t know if we French people are lazy, or bothering. We’re supposed to love going on strike (not really), complain A LOT (…okay, I’ll give you that), drink lots of wine (…okay, I know some people), walk around with bérets on our heads, and girls having a crazy French gorgeous wardrobe (no, and…not so much either).

nothing-to-wear-wardrobe

I’m no Cinderella, I don’t even own a béret,  and I’d rather spend my money on books than spend 1000 €, dollars or whatever on a pair of shoes. THAT BEING SAID, I have a nice compliment coming here, and something I love about France: it’s basically, I’ll call it, the lifestyle.

It’s how we have one-hour lunch break at least when we’re working. How we are allowed much more days-off (…yes, fingers crossed it stays this way). How we LOVE to meet around for café, dinner, how we love to reunite for holidays with the family, and gather for Christmas and other celebrations together, around a great table filled with food, wine (yes), baguette, cheese and every French-cliché-food you can think of.

wine

It’s also how, here in France, we have a special law protecting books. The price of books, actually, limiting the discount on books. Because I love books. Though I wouldn’t be against more English bookshops.

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Alright, I hope you enjoyed this little blog post starting the SFATW feature, and that you’ll want to write about this as well! More bookish, food and fun subjects are coming with this feature, so stay tuned and THANK YOU for reading!

What do YOU love about your country and your hometown? Anything special about it you’d like to share? Let’s chat in comments! 💬

➡️ Are you participating in this month’s SFATW blog post? YOU CAN! You have until October 9th to write your own blog post on that theme, and don’t forget to come back here and share the link in comments!

Dailey Downing 🌎 the Finger Lakes region of New York State, USA
Jamie Wu @ Watch Game Read 🌎 Malaysia
Pamela @ A Writer’s Tales 🌎 Ecuador
Emma Kath @ Llady Literary 🌎 Canada
Salha @ The Journeys of a girl 🌎 Ecuador
your link here (…)

Review: The Square Root of Summer, Harriet Reuter Hapgood

When I first heard about The Square Root of Summer, I was fascinated by the whole concept of this story, and really, really eager to get into it. A childhood friend coming back? A mix between past and present? Two of my favorite things ever combined in this story, plus, that cover is gorgeous. I couldn’t resist.

PAST, PRESENT, AND THE WORLD IN-BETWEEN

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“ But perhaps it’s that Grey is dead. It still feels like the moon fell out of the sky.”

It’s been almost a year since Margot lost her grandfather Grey, got her heart broken by Jason the musician and best friends’ with her brother. It’s been years and years that her best friend Thomas, the guy next door, left for Canada (here, we are in lovely England, countryside, YES PLEASE). The past left behind has a way to come back though, and in the strangest of places, in the strangest ways…when one day, Margot a.k.a Gottie (don’t ask me why, this sounds a bit weird. Or is it just me?) stumbles into the past. Literally. Head first into a wormhole, where she revisits events in her past, while time is still passing by in the real world. You’re still here? Let me make this maybe a bit clearer: she stumbles into the past, relives one moment that happened in the past. Meanwhile, present Gottie is still here, keeps on living. But we, as a reader, don’t see the present: we re-live the past with her. Basically, we read flashbacks. Hours later, sometimes even days later, Gottie comes back from this weird flashbacks, completely confused, disoriented, losing time in the past but also losing her time in the present, since she is not actually living it. Does that make sense? Yeah. It’s all kinds of complicated, and I think that’s one of the reasons I couldn’t enjoy this book fully: because I was as lost as Gottie is. Half lost in her past, half lost in the present, and me in between, confused eyes while reading this story.

AN AMBITIOUS STORY, BUT A BIT TOO TECHNICAL FOR ME

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“ The Uncertainty Principle states that you can know where a particle is, or you can know where it’s going, but you can’t know both at the same time. The same, it turns out, is true of people. And when you try, when you look too closely, you get the Observer Effect. By trying to work out what’s going on, you’re interfering with destiny. A particle can be in two places at once. A particle can interfere with its own past. It can have multiple futures, and multiple pasts. The universe is complicated.”

I think the main issue here doesn’t have to deal with the idea behind this story. Really, if you ask me, the idea is brilliant. As a huge fan of flashbacks in stories, I really enjoyed getting a glimpse of her past, see what happened before between the characters and how their relationships are affected now. My problem was that the story was getting a bit too technical for my taste. See, Gottie is a maths and physics nerd, and she is trying to work out what really is happening to her. Because she believes she is not losing her mind, and physicians theories, a bit of maths, graphics and calculations might allow her to understand why and how the time just rips off her hands like that. While we are following the story, we are also following Gottie as she is trying to understand this whole mess. Reading books, drawing little schemes of space and time and wormholes where past and present collide. That technical part of the book was certainly an ambitious choice, because the author chose not to let this book go into some sort of magical realism, and instead be based on science and theories explained, grounded on real physicians and actual theories (from what little I know and how it felt while reading the story). I admire ambition, but… I’m not the biggest friends with maths and theories, and all of these things kind of slowed down my reading, and just left me here staring into space, CONFUSED.

CHARACTERS: ADORABLE.

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“ But I like sleepy. I like nothing-ever-happens. I buy the same chocolate bar from the same shop every day, next to our village pond with its minimalist duck population of three, and then I check the Holksea village newsletter with no news in it. It’s comforting. I can wrap my whole life up in a blanket.”

Despite the confusion of it all, I could enjoy this story because the characters were overwhelmingly adorable. This story wasn’t plot-driven, if you ask me. We are just following Gottie trying to get over her past, her grief, her broken heart and her struggles, and move on. As the main character, Gottie was…well, she was mainly confused about everything and everyone around her. But this was not something that annoyed me, as it might have in other stories. She’s struggling to figure out how she feels, which way she should go, and I could relate to her, even if sometimes she felt a bit disconnected from everything. I loved that she was surrounded by her family during the whole story, and that each of them had their own struggles, and their thing. Her brothers’ thing is music, her father owns a bookshop, and this was all just sweet. Another great thing was: they live in England, but are from Germany, and we have every now and then actual German words in the story, which was both amusing – as I learned the language, yet was thankful for all the little translations haha -, and realistic. And Thomas. The adorable childhood friend suddenly coming back was my favorite of the whole story. He’s sweet, caring, and he BAKES, what more can you ask for, really?

“Faced with a choice between this–stopping time, making my world so small I can wrap my life up in a blanket–and smashing my heart to pieces, well. Pass me the hammer.”

One of the most interesting things about this story, was the friendships building, growing back again. After her grandfather’s death, Gottie kind of grew apart from her female best friend, and we can definitely see in the story how long-time friendships can subtly, day by day, change, to the point that you’re almost strangers to each other. (Yeah. Speaking by experience. Can you tell?) It was actually GOOD to see that kind of friendship portrayed in a book, and how two people growing apart try to grow back together again. The slowly re-building of friendship with Thomas happens as well, if a little faster than the other, but it still was great to see each other getting together, growing feelings, and…just, FEELINGS.

OVERALL

The Square Root of Summer is an ambitious story, but kind of lost me with all the technicalities. The characters, the friendships and family stories got to me, however, and the writing was beautiful and engaging, keeping me turning the pages despite the obscure maths. A solid contemporary about dealing with grief, and finding yourself again.

Final rating:  3 drops!

Did you read The Square Root Of Summer? Did you enjoy it? Do you want to read it?

What’s the most confusing book you’ve ever read?! Share your thoughts in comments!


 

Harriet Reuter Hapgood, The Square Root of Summer,  Published by Roaring Brook Press, May 3rd 2016.

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This is what it means to love someone. This is what it means to grieve someone. It’s a little bit like a black hole. It’s a little bit like infinity.

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she’s hurtled through wormholes to her past:

To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn’t even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.

Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie’s past, present, and future are about to collide—and someone’s heart is about to be broken.

With time travel, quantum physics, and sweeping romance, The Square Root of Summer is an exponentially enthralling story about love, loss, and trying to figure it all out, from stunning debut YA voice, Harriet Reuter Hapgood.

Young Adult Books, travelling, and a whole lot of bookish feelings.