Friday, February 28, 2014

On where to go and places to visit in Estonia

This month's Fridays have all been about Estonia and while the last two topics were provided by Mel [The Daily Prophecy] and Rachel [The Reader's Den], the final topic was provided by Lauren [Love is Not a Triangle] and she asked this: "Are there any important historic or cultural sites in Estonia?"

Yesterday [Wednesday] I had the longest day in lab with a friend of mine and I asked her to think about some answers for Lauren's questions and together we came up with the following.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

Title: Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3)
Author: Veronica Rossi
Published: January 28th 2014
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do--and they are just as determined to stay together.
Within the confines of a cave they're using as a makeshift refuge, they struggle to reconcile their people, Dwellers and Outsiders, who are united only in their hatred of their desperate situation. Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. Then Roar arrives in a grief-stricken fury, endangering all with his need for revenge.
Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble an unlikely team for an impossible rescue mission. Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival--he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

This series is like a futuristic, youthful version of the Game of Thrones what with its tribes, traditions, power hungry rulers, betrayals, alliances, family, love and, most of all, fighting for survival. It has quickly become one of my favorite series and I will recommend it to everyone who takes a minute to listen. Into the Still Blue was basically everything I hoped for and in some ways even more.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mini-reviews: Roar & Liv; Brooke by Veronica Rossi

Title: Liv and Roar (Under the Never Sky #0.5)
Author: Veronica Rossi
Published: October 30th 2012
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon Barnes & Noble

Before Perry and Aria, there was Roar and Liv. After a childhood spent wandering the borderlands, Roar finally feels like he has a home with the Tides. His best friend Perry is like a brother to him, and Perry's sister, Liv, is the love of his life. But Perry and Liv's unpredictable older brother, Vale, is the Blood Lord of the Tides, and he has never looked kindly on Roar and Liv's union. Normally, Roar couldn't care less about Vale's opinion. But with food running low and conditions worsening every day, Vale's leadership is more vital—and more brutal—than ever. Desperate to protect his tribe, Vale makes a decision that will shatter the life Roar knew and change the fate of the Tides forever.

They say that your heart is the size of your fist. I have very small hands. My thoughts after finishing Roar and Liv’s novella were something along like this: “I think I [just] broke my already tiny heart into a million, even smaller pieces. What kind of a cruel joke is this???” I loved being inside Roar’s head and seeing his POV on things. His relationship with Perry got a whole new meaning and this one quote made me smile while at the same time want to sob like crazy:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Blogger Interview: Nick's Book Blog

I love my blogging friends and have been thinking a while about how I want to introduce them to you. If you’re new to this blog, you’ll meet some very cool people throughout the following months and if you’re a regular visitor, then you most likely already know some of these lovelies, but what’s better than getting to know each other more closely ;) My interview forms will be the same for everyone to even the playing field. (So if you're a regular here and haven't been interviewed so far on Little Pieces of Imaginations, set yourself ready to answer some questions sometime during this year :)) Oh, and since I wanted to make this as good as I possibly can, I also added the profile bio at the beginning of the interview forms and the inspiration came from Isabel [Sab The Book Eater] whose blogger interviews I once stumbled upon.

Today I'll be interviewing Nick who is one of the most wonderful people I know. She makes me laugh and always listens to my rants (and vice versa) and she is just.. Gahhh. I don't have any words to describe her, because she's nothing short of amazing. Want to get to know her a little better? :) Here you go!


Name: Nick
Age: 20
Origin: Mauritius. It’s this tiny little island in the Indian Ocean that most people haven’t heard of because it’s so small and doesn’t even appear on maps.
Blog name: Nick’s Book Blog
Blog’s age: 2 years 2 months
Favorite book of all time: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Title: Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2)
Author: Veronica Rossi
Published: January 8th 2013
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

It's been months since Aria learned of her mother's death.
Months since Perry became Blood Lord of the Tides, and months since Aria last saw him.
Now Aria and Perry are about to be reunited. It's a moment they've been longing for with countless expectations. And it's a moment that lives up to all of them. At least, at first.
Then it slips away. The Tides don't take kindly to former Dwellers like Aria. And the tribe is swirling out of Perry's control. With the Aether storms worsening every day, the only remaining hope for peace and safety is the Still Blue. But does this haven truly exist?
Threatened by false friends and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

When I first read Under the Never Sky, I wasn’t blown away. Yeah, it was original, had pretty cool characters, the romance was good, but it was just good, nothing amazing. Then, as time passed, I became to realize that I was head-over-heels in love with this world and the characters. They didn’t let their grip on me go and even held on stronger than ever before. As the release date for Into the Still Blue came closer, I finally decided to read Through the Ever Night and binge read the series in two days. Hellllllls yeah! UtNS was better than ever and TtEN was just as amazing if not better.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Book Haul #31

Since last week I showcased all of the books I have received since December, there's nothing much to really show you this week. Only 2 physical books and 2 ebooks. Still, if you have read any of these, let me know what you thought! Also, leave your links below so I can visit you back:) Have a great weekend! x

Physical Books

Already read Into the Still Blue and my review will be up next week!


It's free on Amazon. My mini-review will be up soon.
Graceling (Graceling Realm #1) by Kristin Cashore

Annnnd that's it for me this week. Not much, but I'm so very glad to own these. Oh, one more thing: if you want to participate in the Valentine's Day Giveaway to win a book of your choice from this extremely cute selection, you can do so here.

What did you get this week? Leave your links below and I'll check out your goodies :)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Friday, February 21, 2014

On Estonian Artists and Artists in Estonia

So the ever-adorable Rachel wanted to know what kind of artists pass through Estonia. Since our country is so very tiny and, again, with only 1,3 mln people it's pretty hard to get the extremely famous bands and musicians to perform here, but for some unknown reason a few of them find their way here. Today's post will be about which artists have found their way here and since I'm already at it, I'm going to share some of my favorite local artists with you:)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: The Temptation of Lila and Ethan by Jessica Sorensen

Title: The Temptation of Lila and Ethan (The Secret #3)
Author: Jessica Sorensen
Published: October 22nd 2013
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

On the surface, Lila Summers is flawless: good looks, expensive clothes, and a big, beautiful smile. But a dark past and even darker secrets are threatening to bubble over her perfect façade. She'll do anything to keep the emptiness inside hidden-which leads her into situations that always end badly. Whenever she hits bottom, there's only one person who's there to pull her out: Ethan Gregory.
Ethan set the rules a long time ago: he and Lila are just friends. He doesn't do relationships. Although his tattooed, bad boy exterior is a far cry from Lila's pretty princess image, Ethan can't deny they have a deeper connection than he's used to. If he's not careful, he could be in serious danger of becoming attached-and he's learned the hard way that attachment only leads to heartbreak.
When Lila falls farther than she ever has before, can Ethan continue to help as a friend? Or is he also getting close to falling . . . for her?

I first noticed Jessica Sorensen’s work when Ella and Micha’s books had the original covers. They were so eye-catching and the blurbs sounded so amazingly good. (Well, I was surfing on the wave of New Adult back then.) Then the raving reviews started to surface. I am not quite sure why I didn’t pick ‘em up, but I have wanted to for the longest time. Since Ella and Micha's story didn't have a conclusion back when I felt the urge to read something by Jessica (yes, I had heard of the cliff hanger syndrome her books seem to be suffering from), I decided to give Ethan and Lila a try. Luckily, this companion stand-alone did not disappoint.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Author Interview and an Exclusive Teaser: Krista and Becca Ritchie

For the past two years, I have gotten to know Krista and Becca as fellow bloggers. Last year they published their debut novel Addicted to You and I was one of the people who got to read it early. Boy did it blow me away, but it has nothing against the novels published after that. Krista and Becca are taking the New Adult romance world by a storm with their quirky humour, original storylines and amazing characters. Today I get to host them here on Little Pieces of Imagination for an extremely fun and insightful interview AND what's best? You get to see an exclusive first teaser for their next stand-alone novel Hothouse Flower. Enjoy, loves!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: April 12th 2012
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.
Wow! What a year 2013 was for Rainbow Rowell. Eleanor and Park really put her on the most wanted list (in the best possible way) all over the reading world. Not only are the covers of her books extremely cute and adorable, but people talk about them like crazy. You know the saying curiosity killed the cat? I was curious and even though it wasn’t a total miss for me, I can’t exactly say that it was a hit either.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Book Haul #30

It's been a while, again. I can never seem to get caught up with my haul posts. The ones showcased today have accumulated throughout a long period of time (from the beginning of December, I think). If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably already seen all the physical books, but in any case, let me know what you have read out of these and what you thought of them. Also, leave your links below in the comments so I can visit all of you lovelies back! Have a great weekend! x

Friday, February 14, 2014

3 in 1: On Valentine's Day, Estonian Sweets and a Celebration Giveaway

Hey you all! Since this month is all about Estonian Fridays on Little Pieces of Imagination, I was planning on talking about how Valentine's Day is celebrated here and what it means etc. Also, since Mel asked about sweets and stuff, I could perhaps include this into the post. Because Valentine's Day and sweets go together like salt and pepper. Ok, yes, I couldn't come up with a better example, but still. Anyhow, moving on...

Valentine's Day

While Valentine's Day is usually known as a romantic holiday and lovers all across the world declare their undying love and care for each other, gift flowers and make romantic gestures etc. Do we have it? Yes, absolutely! If you're dating someone, live together or are married--whichever it is, you will most likely be spending the evening with them. As you can imagine, there are lots of um, romance packets like a romantic weekend at a spa (this was actually offered as a winning prize on one of the radio channels' Valentine's Day game this year) or a luxuriuos dinner somewhere etc.

However, for us, single people (and even the ones who aren't single), Valentine's Day here means the celebration of any kind of love not just romance wise. Whether it's your parents or siblings or friends, especially friends, you let them know how much you care. I used to start a week early with all the card making and baked all kinds of cakes, cupcakes, sweets for my friends and brought them to school and to swimming practice (if you didn't know, I went swimming for 8 years until the end of HS and was on the team for many years) etc. I still do that, but not so excessively. I just let people know that I care and think about them via text, phone call, face to face conversations etc. I still own a big card collection that I have collected over the years and it's so awesome to read these years later. Here are some of them:

This year I'm spending my Valentine's Day evening at work and then I have no plans whatsoever. We'll see how it rolls after I get off from work.


So, sweets? I went a little crazy yesterday after my lecture was done at uni by going to the supermarket and finding all sorts of Estonian sweets for you to look at. My favorite Estonian sweets are definitely by Kalev. It's a huge sweets factory that makes all kinds of chocolate, candy and other sweets. I think it's also the oldest here as well. Every time I go somewhere abroad where I know that people will have to host me, I always bring something by Kalev. And people eat them like it's the last food left on Earth lol, because it's so good. You can check out their home page here. They have all their products listed there and even recipes to try at home etc. Anyhow, pictures, right? (Lol! I went to the mall yesterday and took pictures, people looked at me like I was nuts, but whatever! What I wouldn't do for blogging and you guys, right? ;))

There are lots of cakes in the big (and small, if you're lucky) supermarkets and depending on the supermarket, they can be extremely delicious! Some of them are made in the supermarket while some are bought in. One bakery Pagaripoisid (in English meaning Bakery Boys) makes some of the best cakes I have ever tasted and you can never go wrong with theirs. BTW! They have their own shop in the Old Town and when you're a tourist, you'll most likely be visiting the Old Town so be sure to look for their little shop. You won't regret going there!

On the right you can see some of Kalev's sweets. There were just so many that I couldn't have put them to one picture to save my life lol, plus there were so many people in that aisle and I didn't want to bother them, so yes. Imagine it being about 5-6 times bigger just for this brand.

So I made pictures of my favorites. The left one--that's my current favorite. Almond in mint flavoured milk chocolate. They just melt in your mouth and are so so so good! On the right I took a picture of my childhood favorite--the chocolate buttons. They're covered with these sweet little pearls and that's one of the things my grandma used to get me for my birthdays.

Then there is the legendary Maiuspala (which in translation means Sweet Piece). It's a praline candy covered with Indian nuts that have been coloured green with natural food colours. It's one of the most loved sweets here and if you're expecting an Estonian to visit you, you can almost always be certain that this will be one of the sweets that one's going to bring you ;) The picture with the back of the box on it has a story about the product. I hope you can read it when you click on it.

Then there are these--a bit more expensive candies than the ones showcased above. There were lots of others, but far too many to take pictures of and usually there's a wide selection of them so you can choose one to your liking. The Vana Tallinn one is um, with liquor. It's like this, um.. legendary liquor that is put into ice creams and candies in addition to just, you know.. drinking it lol.

Then I took two pictures above. These are the kids' favorites. Draakoni (Dragon) and Mesikäpp (Honey Paw) are extremely popular among kids. The Dragon one is this.. I'm not sure how you call it. Like a mix between a candy and a gum, but you can swallow it, so it's not really a gum.. It's weird, but they're tasty and I loved them when I was a kid. If you know how to call them, tell me below in the comments lol. Then the Honey Paw line includes waffles, candies, chocolate and even oreo-alike cookies with chocolate and vanilla fillings.

And LOL. I took a picture of two of my favorite ice creams. The upper one is vanilla flavour with maple syrup and Greek nuts and the one below as you can guess is chocolate-mint flavoured ice cream with chocolate filling. Yummm!!!! Also, since I bought some bread I took a picture of the black bread. I know that people in UK/US (and elswhere) think that they know what black bread is, but oh, no! You do not, trust me :D There are so many types of bread here--white, brown, black, in all forms and sizes and flavours. Like, when you come here, you must try the black bread because it's most likely not like anything you have tasted before. If you're from Skandinavia or the Baltic region, yes, that's basically the same here and there, but if you're from anywhere else? Try it! :)


So since today, for me, is a celebration of friendship among other things, I wanted to thank you all for making blogging amazing and just being plain awesome in general and what better way to celebrate than offering books, right? ;) Right! Here are some of the sweetest romances I have ever read and which also feature some other important topics not just an adorable romance. I'll be offering a paperback to one lucky winner who will get to choose a book to one's liking. International as long as The Book Depository ships to you.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Published: January 3rd 2012
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

I wasn't aware of this book until I saw Jenni's [Xpresso Reads] book haul in 2012 (I think) where she got an arc of Scarlet and she raved and raved and raved about it and then some. Sci-fi isn't really my thing, but at the time Jenni and I liked some of the same books so when I finally started noticing Cinder on the shelves of my local bookstore, I couldn't walk by anymore. I got it. Gave it a try and stopped half way through, because I wasn't enjoying myself. I was bored, the world and the characters weren't as awesome etc. Then last fall, 2013, I decided to try again. HOLY SMOKE, PEOPLE! What was I thinking before? O____O

“Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.” 

The world Marissa Meyer has created is mind-blowing because it's crafted with original ideas even to the tiniest details and still manages to remind you the original story of Cinderella and Prince Charming. It reminds us why we all love them, though most of the time it marches to its own beat and a completely unique one at that. The scenery of New Beijing is fascinating and vivid, compelling us to turn page after page to know more.

The characters, starting with Cinder, Kai (aka Prince Charming if you weren't aware) and IkoCinder's best friend and confidante, who also happens to be an android, were all amazing. Yes, Cinder's POV is very scientific. That was the part which put me off, because I'm in no way technology savvy and I'm lucky I know how to click something on/off and idk.. Know what a HDMI is. I found it hard to follow all the technical stuff, but at the same time, Cinder as a mechanic would be pretty pointless if she didn't think or talk in terms of science and technology. So, I guess if I want her quick mind and snarky attitude, I must take the incredible technology savvy brain as well? Heh.

I found there to be some pacing issues, because I still wasn't as excited to pick it up every night or whenever I had time to spare, but I did thoroughly enjoy the plot. It follows the original story pretty closely, but as I said before, manages to be unique in every way that matters and takes the original Cinderella story to new heights. The book is divided into four separate books and I found the last part to be the best, because it just grabs your attention and you cannot put the book down anymore. I did guess the big shocking reveal way before since it was hinted at multiple times, but it didn't bother me, because I needed the confirmation. I guess the revelation makes sense since that's how the very first original story by Basile is as well.

Anyhow, it's another example in addition to Anna and the French Kiss where I previously thought I disliked the book, but after a year or even more, it turns out that it's the book for me. I enjoyed every single moment of Cinder and I will most definitely follow this series through to the very end. If you haven't started this series yet, do so, please.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0
Stars: ★★★★

Meet the author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review: Masquerade by Nyrae Dawn

Title: Masquerade (Games #3)
Author: Nyrae Dawn
Published: January 7th
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
*An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review*

A biker. A tattoo artist. A love to last a lifetime.
Maddox Cross has always had to be tough. When his father went to jail for murder, the teenager took care of his sister and mother. Now on his own and working security at a night club, Maddox wants to become a tattoo artist-a dream that comes closer to reality when he falls for the hottest, most tatted woman he's ever seen. She's wild and beautiful, and Maddox will do anything to be with her.
Bee Malone came to town to open up her new tattoo parlor, Masquerade. Since being kidnapped as a young girl, Bee has had trouble getting close to anyone. But when she meets Maddox, she sees that under his hard biker's body is the sensitive soul of an artist. What starts out as a sizzling one-night stand soon becomes so much more.
Bee wants Maddox to join her tattoo business, but letting him into her life means revealing all her most intimate secrets. And as the past begins to intertwine with her present, Bee fears their love may not be as permanent as their ink.

I read Charade basically when it first came out. I remember raving about it, loving Colt and Cheyenne to pieces. Recommending it to everyone who took time to listen. Then came Adrian and Laney’s story. Façade was decent, but it missed that spark for me that I felt in Charade. Plus, the narratives were very similar to the first book. Then I read Masquerade. *sigh*

"Life is fucked up, it hurts, and it's not always pretty, but damned if it can't be beautiful too." 

Maddox was a character I very much liked in Façade and I was eagerly looking forward to his story, especially after having read the little teaser chapter at the end of Façade. I expected great things from him. I did get some of them, but mostly… it all fell flat in my eyes. Bee was seemingly a great addition to this cast of broken characters and I liked that she didn’t let anyone walk over her and the best thing about her? The tattoo shop, for sure. I’m pretty convinced that I won’t ever get a tattoo myself, but I love them on others. The first couple of chapters were great. They have a one night stand and expect not to see each other in the future. Well, Ms. Future here had other plans.

I usually love these kind of stories—broken hearts being mended, complete opposites (or, as it later turns out, not so very opposite after all) coming to care about one another and alllllll the physical attraction tension, of course. I found myself only caring about the latter, to be honest. Why? Well… it’s hard to explain. The make out sessions were hot, I’m not going to lie, but the parts where they took their time to heal from some pretty big wounds dragged so much that I really did not care. Plus, we have already seen almost the same story through Maddox’s sister Laney’s eyes. They went through the same thing in the past and now it’s Maddox’s turn to learn how to live with it. I, again, found myself not caring much.

Bee’s story was very different from what we have seen from the rest of the group. At first I thought it was rape or something, but once I realized it was not, her story really became interesting and it went down a route that we don’t see much of in New Adult literature. In any age group lit, for that matter. I appreciated that, but, again, found myself not caring much. It may as well have been the writing, because the narratives are so similar in every book in this series. They’re basically the same and that’s why I found myself wanting to skim the second half of the book, because I felt like I had already read this story.

There were some pretty quotes and thoughts in this book though and the example is in the quote above. If you’re a fan of Nyrae, I’m sure you’ll be pleased with it. If you like New Adult, angst, hot romances, lots of physical attraction and tension? Go and give this book a try. I don’t think that anything in this series lives up to the amazingness that was Charade, though. For me, this book fell flat and my high expectations weren’t fulfilled. For that, I feel sorry, but I’m not giving up on Nyrae’s books. Masquerade is the exception for me when it comes to her writing. 

Overall rating: 1.8 out of 5.0
Thank you to Grand Central Publishing, Forever Romance and Netgalley for providing a review copy. 

Meet the author

Website Facebook Twitter Goodreads

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will Make You Swoon

After long considerations, I'm going to jump on waggon and start doing Top Ten Tuesdays again. I love seeing other people's posts and it's so fun to discuss all the books and authors that make our top tens on different lists. Today we're discussing books that make us swoon and it was so hard to choose from. Here are some of mine:

Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi. Whether it’s the romantic moments between Roar and Liv or Perry and Aria, there are swoony friendship moments, bromance moments, family moments—everything Rossi writes about is heartfelt, emotional and very character-driven. My favorite relationship is, of course, Perry and Aria’s romance, but Roar and Aria’s friendship and Perry and Roar’s bromance are close on its heels.

Easy by Tammara Webber. Can we all take a moment and appreciate the amazingness that is Lucas? Ha, when I think back to it, one scene makes Lucas sound like a creep (where he says that he used to watch Jacqueline before when he spotted her on campus and stuff), but without that one dialogue moment, everything else about him is perfection. He has brains, he’s brave, thoughtful, has great artistic skills and knows his material arts. He makes the best swoon moments in Easy.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. Heh. Wolf and Scarlet. ‘Nuff said.

Anything by Krista and Becca Ritchie. I just love everything they write and their concepts, jokes, character building—everything is amazeballs. Their books have some of the best swoon moments ever! Nick can agree with that wholeheartedly. I'm even gtting swoons from people who don't have their own book, so, what does this tell you? :D

On Dublin Street series by Samantha Young. Braden Carmichael—my favorite man of Scottish origin. He is absolutely swoon-worthy and Samantha sure knows how to write her scenes with the right dose of wicked humor and all things smexy. Aman approves, I'm sure :)

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West. If you’re looking for a sweet romance and self-searching, pick this up! There are lots of swoon moments by Caymen and Xander.

ANYTHING by Colleen Hoover. I think we have established that Colleen Hoover is one of my favorite authors. Ever. My favorite first non-kiss is written (in Hopeless and Losing Hope) by her and it’s amazing how a non-kiss can make you feel ALL THE FEELS. Then there’s Will Cooper and his slams. My favorite lines by him being:

“If I were a carpenter, I would build you a window to my soul. But I would leave that window shut and locked, so that every time you tried to look through it all you would see is your own reflection. You would see that my soul is a reflection of you.”

The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski. Absolutely everything in this book is mad of swoon. Well, the beginning excluded. Andrew and Camryn bring swoon to a new level.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. If I wasn’t team Chaol, I would be team Dorian. That’s how good SJM is with swoon, ladies and gents. She doesn’t only give you the romance swoon, but just as Veronica Rossi, she gives you friendship swoon and bromance swoon. Even the villain swoon lol. The puppy scene, the books scenes, the ball scene, the falling asleep scene, the training scenes, the hug scene at the very end with a small thank you—everything in this book is made of swoon.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. 
Last but not least, Cricket Bell, my lovelies. Most of you love Étienne St. Clair, but my heart and respect belongs to this young inventor with a heart of gold. He is made of perfection and gave me so many swoon moments that I almost couldn’t handle it. The stars people!!! THE. STARS.

Which books have made you swoon? Do we have any in common? :) Let me know!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted @ The Broke and the Bookish.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Title: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1)
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Published: December 18th 2012
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." She might have survived the mysterious disease that's killed most of America's children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.
When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she's on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her-East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.
When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

With dystopians becoming sort of a joke around blogosphere, this book has managed something that very few accomplish—raving reviews and fans everywhere you turn. I was hesitant, to say the least. I was all: “Why did I purchase The Darkest Minds and pre-order the sequel on top of that? Dystopians seem to be not my thing lately.. Why did I follow the hype yet again? It’s going to be bad, I know it.” Fortunately, I had to eat my words, because this book was anything but bad.

“The Darkest Minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.”

Let’s start with the characters. We get to know Ruby—the protagonist—in a pretty intimate way before we jump into big action scenes and get to know her companions for the rest of the book. With dystopians, we usually have main characters who are strong, independent, selfless and pretty kick-a from the start. While Ruby became all of these, she wasn’t heroine-material throughout the first 100 pages and even after that. She was scared to great lengths and who wouldn’t?! The world she lives in is absolutely crazy. We watch her go through immense character growth though and it made me believe in her abilities to become the heart of the story and perhaps even pull off a revolution of sorts.

My favorite  character by far was Zu. Oh, gawd. This little girl with the cutest personality was so humbling and adorable to watch. While Chubs and Liam were great and brought smile after smile on my face, Zu was the real ray of sunshine in this story. The scenes where Zu and Ruby were sharing the stage were really cute to read and I will remember their shopping spree for quite a while. The last thing Zu said wrote to Ruby still haunts my mind and I hope that we will get to the bottom of it soon.

Good news to insta-love haters—no insta-love in sight whatsoever. The relationship between Ruby and her love interest is the very definition of slow-build and had me dying of swoon by the end of the book and, of course, sharing crocodile tears for obvious reasons. *tries not to sob*

The dialogue is written very well and brings fits of giggles and big smiles to this otherwise quite dark tale. With dystopians, we often see books follow this sort of unwritten guideline. While I can’t say that The Darkest Minds didn’t have dystopian characteristics, it was most definitely an original, creative and unique world with a character-driven plot. Not only does Ruby evolve from a scared little duck to a beautiful, brave and strong swan so to speak, we also get to see progress in the secondary characters and it was probably one of my favorite aspects of this book. I also loved the aspect of super powers. BIIIIIIIG superheroes fan here so yes, me approves!

Perhaps I wasn’t as invested in Ruby’s emotional state as I could have been at the beginning. I didn’t cry nor get teary-eyed, but there wasn’t much of a chance either. The first quarter of the book excluded, the rest of it was packed with fast-paced plot and didn’t really slow down with building the world and the characters. While I wasn’t taken aback by all of the revelations, I did find myself turning page after page, eager to find out more.

All in all, I’ll say what almost every other person has been saying since this book came out: READ THIS. I don’t regret for a second that I purchased The Darkest Minds and Never Fade in hardcover and get to read them time and time again. I have marked so many places that made me either swoon, laugh or think. This is most certainly a book, and author, not to be missed and I’m eagerly anticipating what’s next to come.

Overall rating: 4.4 out of 5.0 
Stars: ★★★★

Meet the author

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Friday, February 7, 2014

On My Home Country. Welcome to Estonia!

Since February is the month of love AND it’s also Estonia’s birthday month (February 24th), I thought I’d share something about my home country with you on each Friday this month. Most of you know it’s in Europe, but I’m pretty sure that except for Jenny, who visited Tallinn last summer [her recap post], none of you have ever visited Estonia before.

It’s one of the smallest countries in Europe as well in the world. We have only 1.3 million people, but there’s a saying that there’s an Estonian in every port in the world. Why? LOL. When you’re travelling and thinking that no one will understand what you’re saying and you can say whatever you want? Haha. That’s not exactly true, because there’s always an Estonian next to you asking: “Tere! Kas te olete Eestist?” which in translation means “Hello! Are you from Estonia?” Oh, no, I’m just practicing for an Estonian test I’m about to take tomorrow. Well, obviously we’re from Estonia lol. Oh, that reminds me, when you go to Egypt or even Gran Canaria aka Spain (true stories) then in every store you go to, the shopkeeper tells you “Tere, tere, vanakere” which means “Hello, hello, old body/person”. It’s an old saying in Estonian to greet one another like that though people rarely use it. The last time I did was when I was in kindergarten because I found the word vanakere to be extremely funny. *eyeroll*

Estonian flag has 3 colours on it: blue (the sky, lakes and the sea), black (the soil) and white (symbol of trying to achieve happiness and all things made of light). I'm under that flag, btw! It was captured last year during the play-offs of European Championships 2015 in basketball (the um.. where you fight for a place on the ECs.) We got the place and it was literally one of the most incredible things I have ever witnessed. The way the people sang and cheered, it was pretty much amazing and being in the fan sector with my family was the best thing ever. (Our family is big on sports.)

Supposedly Estonian is the second most beautiful language in the world after Italian (based on some survey, but I don't remember where, it was years ago when I read the results). Estonian is very similar to Finnish. If you want to listen to it, you can listen to the song below which talks about how important it is to listen to wind, darkness, light, rainbows, silence, the earth, shadows, your heart and everything that is in the simple moments and tiny details. The guy singing is one of the most loved Estonian singers and he has a voice that really makes you listen. He also won the third (I think) season of Estonian Idol lol.

Estonians are considered to be very cold and reserved. I remember when we I spent 3 weeks with a host family in Torquay, England, there were 5 more girls with me: Austrian (2), Swedish (2) and one girl from Spain. When it was time to say goodbye and ride back to London, the Spanish girl cried like a baby. I basically didn't even know her, I spent my time with other people and she hugged me and sobbed like I was dying while I just stood there and gave an awkward hug back. It was plenty of weird for me. I didn't cry a single tear, but I was still sad. Though, you should see me when I'm reading Point of Retreat or watching Marley & Me, for instance. When we went to see M&M in a theatre with my friends, I laughed over the whole room, because I cried so much it was funny. I couldn't even see the screen lol. Cold and reserved? You betcha! Since I'm adding pictures to illustrate the post, here's me (at 16) that summer with two other Estonian girls and two of our teachers (it was a language camp basically) Phil and Phillip. (I'm the middle one. In case you didn't know.)

Um, what else? We have 4 seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter. Most of us aren’t religious at all. I think there was a survey carried out where Estonians were declares as the most pagan or atheistic people in the entire world. I’m not sure if that holds any water, but there are very few people I know who are even the tiniest bit religious. We do celebrate Christmas though—it’s more like a holiday to celebrate friends, family, love, closeness. Me and my family always spend it with our extended family: we are either at our house (like this year) or at my aunt’s house or my uncle’s place. I know that many countries have 3 Christmas holiday days, but we only have 2. Which reminds me that some say that Estonians are work people—we are supposedly always working. During Chrismas the Old Town looks like this:


I happened to watch this um.. interview or something with people who had just came off a cruise ship, people from Canada, the States, UK, Denmark, Japan—everywhere actually, and they were asked different questions about Estonia. LOL. People thought that we lived in huts and basically didn’t have any technology whatsoever and were surprised by how modern Tallinn looks like. Well, you know, among the guys who invented/founded Skype were two Estonians and we did have the first e-elections in the world, so. LOL, one of my best friends was a tutor to foreign exchange students in her college last year and people e-mailed her asking if they should bring their own pillows because they didn’t know if we sold these here or not. You have no idea how hard I laughed when my friend told me that.

Ok, that’s it for now, because this post is getting very, very long. If you have any topics you want me to tackle or talk about, just leave them in the comments. I have something planned for Feb 14th, but not for the rest of the month, so anything you want to read about or ask or whatever, I’m basically down with everything. I may talk about local cuisines and people, some you might know or discover (like music artists etc), the Song- and Danceparties etc. I need to think about it, but yes, if you have any ideas, let me know! :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published: January 1st 2012
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

Honestly, I have kept my eye on this series ever since I discovered it on Goodreads during summer 2012. I’m not quite sure what has kept me from reading it so far, but there’s no excuse since this book... This book was brilliant! My review is mostly about the characters because that’s what makes this thrilling read so special. There are a million things I liked about Throne of Glass, but since I don’t want to bore you all to death, I’m going to name a few. *My apologies though, after writing my review, I couldn't help but notice that it's forever long. I am truly, terribly SORRY, BUT NOT THAT SORRY, my friends:)*

“Sometimes, the wicked will tell us things just to confuse us–to haunt our thoughts long after we've faced them.” 

Main characters

It isn’t a New Adult novel per se, but I really appreciate the fact that the characters are all older than 16. Celaena is 18, Dorian is 19 (if I’m not mistaken) and Chaol is 22. They are still young, but they aren’t in their teenage years. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still searching themselves, but they are way past the beginning of the search. There were five points of views in this book, but the king and Kaltain rarely spoke to us. 

Most of the story is told by Celaena who is an amazing heroine. Her strength was so inspiring. What she has had to endure in her life have made her a captive inside her emotional walls and I enjoyed reading about Dorian, Chaol and Nehemiah breaking these walls down piece by piece. Also, her character is full of contradictions and I love it! The way she can kill a man without breaking a sweat is just one side of this wonderful girl. Celaena is a great friend; she has a wicked sense of humor, drools over books, loves to dress well and come on! She devours a half bag of chocolate in one sitting. What’s not to like?!

Dorian and Chaol. What can I say about these two young men? I really came to care about both of them and even though I’ve been team Chaol from the beginning, I have no issues with Dorian. He’s a prince while Chaol doesn’t have that privilege and they’re still friends. They’re honorable, great and caring. I think that Celaena is the best thing that could have happened to either of them since she brings out the best qualities about them and vice versa. My only problem is that I wish there had been more Chaol POV. Oh, and after that thank you hug in ch. 53? I can’t wait to read Crown of Midnight.

Side characters

There were three side characters I truly enjoyed. One of them was Nox—the evercharming fellow competitor of Celaena. He brought brightness to the training and these Tests for the king’s amusement and I wonder if we’ll see him in the future. I sure hope so. 

Then we have Nehemiah. She was absolutely stunning as a person and her fierce loyalty to her people and her country was breathtakingly beautiful. I adored her friendship with Celaena. You know, there were two times my eyes got misty during the process of reading Throne of Glass and both of them were when I read about these two girls. It’s rare to find a friend like that. 

The third character I found absolutely compelling was Duke Perrington. Say whaaat???? O_O “But Siiri, how could you find that appalling man appealing in any way?” Well, my dear, I’d say that I wasn’t charmed by him in any meaning of the word, but his cunning personality just intrigues me to no end. I wonder what his end game is and I can’t wait to see what he and the king have planned for next. It’s going to be bloody, I’m sure of it.

World, plot and writing

I won’t start telling you about the world because it’s something you have to experience yourself. If you’ve read the book, you know what I’m talking about. I also adored the writing which was intimate even though it was from third person point of view. I rarely enjoy these kinds of narratives, but Maas made me feel like a character in the book rather than a reader outside the book. What’s more, the plot was rather nicely paced. I did feel a bit forced to pick it up when I was about halfway through, but I guess it was needed for character development, because despite being fantasy, this novel is very character-driven. From what I’ve heard, the sequel is non-stop action and plot-twists so… you probably get my excitement. 

So... Should you read it?

I think my last review with such length was Clockwork Princess, but I hope you don’t mind a tad longer review this time. There was truly so much going on and the book was magical just as everyone claims it to be. I can’t believe these books won’t stop until 2017. I know, right? That’s plenty of goodness to look forward to ;) If you haven’t read Throne of Glass yet and love fantasy, swoon-worthy romance, kick-a characters and a great plot, I don’t know why you're still sitting here, reading this review. Go grab it!!!

Overall rating: 4.6 out of 5.0 
Stars: ★★★★★

Meet the author

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

January Wrap Up

For the past year I've watched people among blogosphere and booktube wrap up their previous months when it comes to reading, set goals for the next and just talk and gush about all things bookish. I always love reading two of them especially: Amber's [Books of Amber] and Rachel & Jasprit's [The Reader's Den]. Edit: since I forgot to add the giveaway and poll, then these will be added in the next month's wrap up post with double amount of books to choose from. 

January reviews (click on the covers for the links)

Books read in total? The total amount of books I read in January is 20. A LOT, I know. For me it is, at least. I just kind of had the month off except for work, because I managed to do so well last semester that I had zero exams. Plus, three of the books I read were novellas which read extremely fast. February will be a lot more laid back for me.

Lowest and highest ratings were 4.9 and DNF. I gave 5.0 to Under the Never Sky when I re-read it, because I realized that I love absolutely everything about it (even though I gave 3.5 when I first read it.. yep, I don't know how that happened...), but since it's a re-read then it doesn't count in my eyes, so 4.9 it is.

Book boyfriend of the month is a tie between Perry and Roar. I just love them both equally and you cannot make me choose to save my life. The runner-up is Braden Carmichael which Aman totally approves of, I'm sure ;)

Love triangles? There was only one book that had a decent love triangle and that is Hallowed by Cynthia Hand where Christian Prescott *scowls* and Tucker Avery *beams* fight for Clara's heart. Other than that, there were books that held some love-triangely tension, but I wouldn't call them love triangles because the choice is very, very obvious.

What I'm planning on reading... I'm so bad with tbr-s, you have no idea. If I make a tbr, you can be certain that I won't read anything from the list. Though, since Nick is reading The Bone Season this month, I'm planning on reading it with her. Perhaps I'll join the Angelfall readalong with Aman and Janhvi. Perhaps I'll read Cress right away depending on how bad I need it after Scarlet. What's for certain though is that I will read Into the Still Blue BECAUSE. Because!!! I need it more than my next breath basically. So I'm definitely reading this pretty thing:

That's it for me on January. I think I'll take it slow this month, because it's the beginning of spring semester and my final one (hopefully) before I get my BA degree. I need to work on my thesis, finish the semester, graduate, go to work (hopefully more often than last fall), hopefully read some awesome books and hopefully blog without taking huge breaks. Anyhow, I have some questions for you, because I'm nosy like that and want to know :) ...

What were your favorite books last month? Any new book boyfriends I should know about? (Or any old crushes returning to the pages you were reading?) ;) How many books did you read? What are you planning on reading this month?