May 31, 2013

Make It Sound Adult and I Promise I Won't Read It - Armchair BEA Day 4

Ummm...for those of you who have not yet figured it out by my choice of books or occasional rant about the classics I had to read for school, I'll make it short: I hate reading anything that doesn't sound like pure YA enjoyment. and it's not only that I don't like books set anytime before the 21st century - I especially despise books that call themselves nonfictional.
Now, before you run at me and throw all your Charles Dickens novels and J.F. Kennedy autobiographies at me, let me explain a few things.

1) I usually do what I'm told - especially in school
I'm pretty sure I can proudly call myself among the only ten people of our 200 pupils class that actually read every. single. novel. we were supposed to read in 12 years of school. If it's required (for a good grade) I will read it. However, it will take me hours and hours of moaning and ranting before I actually start. I want to read what sounds good to me. And maybe that's Brave New World (someday), but right now, it's mostly funny/quirky/action - packed YA. There you have it. 

2) It's never as bad as it sounds
Another true highschool fact? None of the novels I was forced to read was actually bad. Not a single one of them. In the end, I usually at least liked the book. And I liked working with it in class. Because, let's face it, books are amazing!!!!

3) Nonfictional Sounds Like Textbooks. Almost.
It's a fact. If there's no story, but just plain information, it's like  a school book - just without the example problems.

Bildung. Alles, was man wissen muß

I have read a couple (but really, just a few!!) biographies. Mostly German ones, though. One was from a former politician here in Germany, Helmut Schmidt, the other one about a pretty famous German author, Erich Kästner. Both books were amazing and stayed in my head until now. Then, I read parts of a huge nonfictional book. The German title is "Bildung" and the English translation would probably be something like "Education". That's what it does, too. Gives you a bunch of information about history, languages, literature, music and art. You definitely feel educated after reading it. And it is absolutely amazingly interesting. Why - despite my dislike to read books that seem more educational than fun - did I pick those books up? Out of pure interest, my darlings, without a teacher forcing them on me.

Oh, oh, oh! I have a last one! Nonfictional it is,too. Well, kind of.
It's the Princess Lessons by Mia Thermopolis, her friends, her stylist and her grandmére. It taught me pretty much everything I need to know about life. 

Princess Lessons: A Princess Diaries Book

Bottom Line of this? I hate stereotyping and I won't do it. Also, I have read enough nonfictional books to know that they can be nothing but amazing - most of them probably are. Anyway, having just escaped school, I don't feel ready (just ignore that choice of words. Please. ) to so some serious reading. Reading serious books, I mean. Oh, you know what I mean. 
If you do have suggestions for nonfiction that rocked your socks, though, then puh-lease leave those down there in the comments! I'd love to know and expand my horizones!

May Wrap Up & June TBR

Ah, yes. When I said I had to catch up on my Goodreads Challenge that sounded so easy. And it turned out being utterly, cruelly hard work. Bout of Books helped, of course, but still. To read all those books and novellas this month I really had to sit down for hours and just read  - and without the school bus and that soothing noise around me. It was a challenge -and I'm still two books behind. But, I mean, two is better than nine, right?


Crossing the Line (Pushing the Limits, #1.5)Hunting Kat (Darkest Powers, # 0.02)The Queen's ArmyThe Witch of Duva (The Grisha, #0.5)

The novellas were all really enjoyable, but for different reasons. Crossing the Line I loved for the characters and swoonworty characters, The Witch of Duva for Bardugo's unique writing style and Hunting Kat was a nice intro into a world I really want to explore (aka read the real series). The only novella I was disappointed with was The Queen's Army. To much blood and fur, if you ask me.

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)The Daughters (The Daughters, #1)The Elite (The Selection, #2)Blue Moon (The Immortals, #2)Love Is HellThe Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver (Ruby Oliver, #1)My Name Is MemoryThe Jelly Bean Crisis
Shadowland (The Immortals, #3)Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2)

Very good mix this month! I don't even know where to begin! On top was - of course - Dare You To...and then there's nothing for a pretty long time. The Elite and My Name is Memory, I enjoyed. They were entertaining, but not life-changing. I kind of had to fight my way through Paranormalcy, The Daughters, Blue Moon, Love is Hell, The Jelly Bean Crisis and The Boyfriend List. On the sunny side, I really liked Shadowland and plan on continuing with that series.


LucidThe Book Thief

Both awesome! I had to get used to the Lucid narrators, but both novels were just brilliant. Reviews to come!

On to June: 

June is my birthday month!!! And as I am turning eighteen, it's quite  a special one for me, as well. Therefore, I want to read a couple of books that "ease" me into that adult-ish state. 

Just One Day by Gayle Forman
52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody

Then there's this book from Netgalley I'm super excited for:

Ink by Amanda Sun (DAC)

And a few books to shrink my TBR pile.

The Diviners by Libba Bray (TBR Challenge)
Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick (TBR)
Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick (TBR, Sequel Challenge)

May 30, 2013

It's like a soap opera...almost! - Armchair BEA Day 3

After shying away from the genre discussions these past few days, I thought I should just give it a try and hop into the cold water - since I am not exactly what you'd call familiar with genre classification. From what I read on other blogs today, I figure Literary Fiction - today's topic - is what we'd call life-changing contemporary in YA, yes? Can I please be right and not completely embarass myself? 

How To Save a Life by Sara Zarr

How to Save a Life

I didn't expect to connect with this book a bit as much as I eventually did. It was supposed to be about grief and teenage pregnancy, but a major theme that came along with that was fear. Fear of life, fear of making decisions and being afraid of the future - which was something I could relate to very well. Also, Sara Zarr's writing is unbelievably awesome.

Perfect by Ellen Hopkins

Perfect (Impulse, #2)

This book should be required reading for every teenager on this planet. The theme of perfection and society's obsession with it is presented in I'd like to say every way possible. It's about body image and living up to your parent's expectations and trying to get into colleges and score scholarships...and the message at the ending is strong, loud and clear - without ever being preachy.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

The Truth About Forever

Sarah Dessen had to be mentioned. The Truth About Forever is special to me personally since it states very clearly how a new group of friends, a new environment, just one step out of your comfort zone can make your whole life brighter, happier and a nicer place to be.

May 29, 2013

Taking Baby Steps - Armchair BEA Wednesday

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So you want to be  a book blogger. To be quite honest I have not yet discussed this topic with any other blogger, ever, so I don't know how it was for everyone else. 
My thinking process went like this.

Day 1: I really want to blog about books, too.
Day 2: I'm way too dumb to get that done.
Day 3: I don't even have the time.
Day 4: Whatever. I'll just do it. Can't hurt.

So, I looked up The Story Siren's blogging tips, went to blogger and created a blog with the title Booksmartie. I still like the name, because it's short and it fits me and my blog.
What happened after the creating the blog was writing my first review. About Sarah Dessen's This Lullaby. And, oh my, did it suck. Not the book, the review, I mean. I just couldn't do it. I didn't even finish writing it, that's how much I hated what I'd written.
All of that happened in February 2012. I stopped working on my blog (it wasn't online then) until the end of March 2012. That was when I finished Divergent and just. wrote. that. damn. review.
And I uploaded the whole thing. And then I just went from there. Read, review and repeat.
I started linking the book covers to Goodreads, I started summarizing my opinion of the book at the beginning of the review to make it easier for the busy people, I created a Twitter account ... and so on and so forth.
Those are all the things you just do. It's like babies breathe without really being told or taught. Trust me, it happens. 
The next few things were what I struggled with - and still struggle with today.

The classic. I'm lucky enough to actually like commenting. If I read something, I usually have an opinion on it - and the desire to utter that opinion. My problem is - how do I remember where I commented to see if someone responded to the comment? I honestly don't know. So, I comment on a lot of blogs, actually, but I seldom come back because I just don't remember which blogs I commented on.

I mean, it's getting better. I used to be horrible at Twitter consistency. I'd go months without even looking at Twitter. If I use it, I love it. It's easy, it's organized, people are nice and funny on Twitter but still I find myself overwhelmed with the Twitter feed. It does get better, though, as I said. Oh, and one thing I love about Twitter are the Twitter chats/parties. They're a blast!

Attention!!!! Red Flag!!! Every experienced blogger who ever posted about HTML always has this lecturing tone when they say learning HTML (for blogging use only) is nothing more than a lot of patience and endurance, and Google. The problem? I still find myself way too lazy to even try and understand HTML. It is one of my 2013 goals, though. If only because it's so cool when people can use it.

And by this I really mean hosting anything. A challenge, a giveaway, a Read-A-Long, a Read-a-thon. Those are the kinds of things big bloggers (in my opinion) do - and I'm terrified of the idea. I guess it's just something you grow into...once you take your fear and throw it over board :)

This is something I've always been tinkering with. I love Youtube, I think I would love making videos. But it's so, SO easy to just sit here and write where noone knows who I am and where noone who knows me in real life can find out that I have a slight obsession with the Vampire Academy's Dimitri.

So, that's it. The steps I've taken, the steps I still have to take. Which of these experiences have you made already? Do you have any tips or advice for me? Or questions about the few things I did manage to do? I'd love to hear!

May 28, 2013

Mini Review: Shadowland by Alyson Noel

Shadowland (The Immortals, #3)

Enter the realm of the Immortals - the #1 New York Times bestselling series that's been acclaimed as breathtaking, mesmerizing, flawless and extraordinary.
Ever and Damen have traveled through countless past lives - and fought off the world's darkest enemies - so they could be together forever. But just when their long-awaited destiny is finally within reach, a powerful curse falls upon that could destroy everything. Now a single touch of their hands or a soft brush of their lips could mean sudden death - plunging Damen into the Shadowland. Desperate to break the curse and save Damen, Ever immerses herself in magick - and gets help from an unexpected source - a surfer named Jude.
Although she and Jude have only just met, he feels startlingly familiar. Despite her fierce loyalty to Damen, Ever is drawn to Jude, a green-eyed golden boy with magical talents and a mysterious past. She's always believed Damen to be her soul mate and one true love - and she still believes it to be true. But as Damen pulls away to save them, Ever's connection with Jude grows stronger - and tests her love for Damen like never before....

Hardcover, 339 pages
Published November 17th 2009 by St. Martin's Griffin

2/3 Smarties


I'm torn about this one. I LOVED Damen - he was such a nice and sweet guy and then again really funny and...ahh, I guess I do get all the swooning over him. I was on good terms with the side characters, too. I thought Jude was very well done and included in the story, Haven and Miles gained some personality - even if they were still thrown in at random. The only one I could not stand throughout the whole entire book was Ever. Woah, annoying!


It's weird how the romance always seems to come short in this Paranormal Romance novel. There's always something getting between these two. Then again, if they are together and everything's fine, they make a great couple, I think.


It rocked. Seriously. Nothing more to say. The book did not drag a bit. There was always something happening, always new problems to figure out and plot twists very well done. Applause, please!


As always, I find Noel's writing style by no means as special and out there as, for example, Lauren Oliver's or Maggie Stiefvater's. Then again, those two are prone to overdoing it sometimes,too. With Noel we always get enjoyable, fluent writing that keeps the story vivid. She seems to focus more on plot and characters and in my opinion, that's totally fine and works for her stories.

Much, much, much better than the first two. I really liked this one and coming from a Paranormal Romance hater that means something, too. After reading Blue Moon, I was sure I'd stop reading the series, but now I just have to find out what happens next! Then ending, guys!! I died, no kidding!

Who am I? - Armchair BEA Introduction

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Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

My name is Laura or - online - I like to go by the Booksmartie. I live in Germany, have just finished our equivalent to highschool and will probably go to university in the fall. I have been blogging for a bit longer than a year now (which, by the way) is still unbelievable to me. I am obsessed with the Internet and the possibillities it offers us all - especially sites like tumblr and Pinterest just amaze me. My way into blogging went from my obsession over Youtube Beauty Gurus over Youtube book tubers to the discovery of book blogs. I considered starting one on my own for about four months and then just went with it :)

Where in the world are you blogging from? Tell a random fact or something special about your current location. Feel free to share pictures.

I am blogging from Germany. And right now, Germany deserves a serious slap in the face. Because it just won't get warmer. We had no spring (just snow. masses of snow) and now that it's supposed to be hot and sunny out, we get rain (it hasn't stopped for ONCE) the whole entire day, every day. So, no pictures. It's just depressing.

Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.

I have mentioned it a few times, but one of my passions besides reading is running. I started doing it the summer I turned fourteen. I haven't stopped in four years. I run every day if I can. I ran when it was wayyy below freezing outside, in snow storms and in the pouring rain. The only thing I need to have on my runs is music and my Ipod. Another fact that goes along with that? I have the worst taste in music - and movies. I didn't watch or listen to anything but Highschool Musical and Hannah Montana for years and though I do listen to some artists besides that now, I have never really moved on from my tween years :D

Name your favorite blog(s) and explain why they are your favorite(s).

Such a difficult question, but I chose it anyway since I there are so many blogs I should mention way more often in my posts!

This is it, guys. I have no idea how they come up with all their post and feature ideas, but CB is probably the most diverse book blog I've ever stumbled upon. I don't always (almost never, actually) fully agree with their reviews, but then again they are so eloquent and fantastically written that I read them for the joy of it!

My Not So Real Life and Singing and Reading in the Rain
Singing and Reading in the RainBlogButton

Aneequah and Eileen are both super funny and I like reading their reviews and book recommendations. They are not too short, not too long and although I find it awesome that so many adults blog about YA books, sometimes I like hearing the opinion of someone my age :)

I just "met" her during Bout of Books 7.0 and she's a really fun blogger! We tried pulling an all-nighter to get even more reading done. I failed miserably, but she succeeded! And she's participating in Armchair BEA, too :)

What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?
Hogwarts....Is that literary or fictional? If that doesn't count as literary, I will go with BEA because visiting that would also mean travelling to the USA and that would be...all my dreams come true!

May 27, 2013

Review: Love is Hell (Anthology)

In these supernatural stories by five of today's hottest writers--Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely), Scott Westerfeld (Specials), Justine Larbalestier (Magic or Madness), Gabrielle Zevin (Elsewhere), and Laurie Faria Stolarz (Blue Is for Nightmares)--love may be twisted and turned around, but it's more potent than ever on its quest to conquer all.

From two students who let the power of attraction guide them to break the hard-and-fast rules of their world to the girl who falls hard for a good-looking ghost with a score to settle, the clever, quirky characters in this exciting collection will break your heart, then leave you believing in love more than ever

Paperback263 pages
Published November 25th 2008 by HarperTeen

Love Is Hell

RATING: 1/3 Smarties

There certainly is one word that describes this anthology perfectly: weird.
And when I say it, I mean it. Each of the stories in this book had a very random element to them - sometimes that element made them unique and wonderful, other times it was too much for my rational brain and I had to really work my way through the story bit by bit.
Anthologies, just like short stories in general and novellas, are something you have to be in the mood for. They are the type of writing you turn to when you are sick of good ol' 300 pages YA, but don't have the time or the endurance to devour something a bit more...intense? In depth? You know what I mean...I hope.
What I liked about Love is Hell were the different Paranormal or - in Scott Westerfeld's case - dystopian worlds we got to see. And the authors all did a very good job at squeezing just enough worldbuilding in while still keeping the short stories at reasonable and appropriate length. 
I even think some Paranormal Romance authors should turn their novels in short stories. The most important details and plot twists were definitely present in all of these stories - but all the waiting and asking and despairing that usually comes with PNR is cut out.
Then again, with so many different authors and such a variety of stories it is almost inevitable that readers who like one story probably won't fall for the other one. I, for example, loved Scott Westerfield's. Yup, that's it. The others were okay, in my opinion, but some of them just
 freaked me out and seriously gave me nightmares. 
To cut it short - if you're up to just explore all the facettes YA has to offer and if you want to read something special without spending too much time, you should try Love is Hell. Although it's not something I'll reread or a book that will stay in my head for long, it sure was a nice distraction from the usual. And if you are craving a beach read that's a bit different from the usual you might want to check this book out of your library...

May 26, 2013

Mini Review: Blue Moon by Alyson Noel

Blue Moon (The Immortals, #2)

Just as Ever is learning everything she can about her new abilities as an immortal, initiated into the dark, seductive world by her beloved Damen, something terrible is happening to him. As Ever's powers are increasing, Damen's begin to fade after he is stricken by a mysterious illness that threatens his memory, his identity, his life.
Desperate to save him, Ever travels to the mystical dimension of Summerland, where she uncovers not only the secrets of Damen's past - the brutal, tortured history he hoped to keep hidden - but also an ancient text revealing the workings of time. With the approaching blue moon heralding her only window for travel, Ever is forced to decide between turning back the clock and saving her family from the accident that claimed them - or staying in the present and saving Damen, who grows weaker each day....

Paperback, 1st Edition, 284 pages
Published July 7th 2009 by St. Martin's Griffin

1/3 Smarties


If you've read the book, you know why there's not much to say about them. If you haven't read it, I won't spoil it for you, you'll have to see for yourself :)


Again, can't say much about that. Only, that I found it super-cute in the beginning and the lack of it in the middle endured TOO LONG!


Dragging. For my taste. I hoped for a bit more action, which I got, in the end. I just don't understand why Paranormal Romance always has to be so incredibly slow. We never learn something new until the very end of the book!

Background story:

Mhm...yes, we got a lot more info about the paranormal "science" behind Ever and Damen...It's just that sometimes I didn't care so much. What was interesting was to get to know more about Damen's past.


Alyson Noel has a very nice writing style. By which I mean, I enjoy reading her stories, because she really knows how to transfer emotions while still being funny and witty from time to time.

I am not a Paranormal Romance fan, so I wasn't absolutely into it from the start. Blue Moon was not as good as Evermore, though. In my opinion, the one thing that really pulled this novel down was the dragging plot. It made it hard wanting to pick it up again after I had put it down.
UPDATE: I finished the third book in the series, Shadowland, and have to tell you - that book is totally worth working through Blue Moon! I wasn't sure if I'd continue the series after the secong book, but now I can only recommend you read this novel and then go ahead and devour Shadowland :)

Review: The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Elite (The Selection, #2)

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.
Hardcover, 323 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by Harper Teen

Long Story Short:

If you crave a lighter read, fluent writing and not too much detail, you should check out this trilogy. Also, if you liked The Selection, give The Elite  a try. Some of the characters actually do develop in this book and the plot didn't fail to surprise me once or twice. Especially in the summer time, you might not feel like devouring a heavy dystopian novel, but might also be fed up with the usual contemporary romance, "beach reads". The Selection and The Elite are unique and entertaining enough to spend one whole entire day by the pool with.

2/3 Smarties

Review for You:

There seems to be something about this trilogy that gives it the absolute love it/hate it quality. I mean, I was torn. After finishing The Selection last year I wasn't immensely impressed by how the book turned out, but man, it wasn't as bad as some people claimed, either!
It had a very unique premise, a nice setting, and - gotta admit it - Maxon, who made everything better, always! And OK, neither The Selection nor The Elite could actually convince with the characters or plot. America, just like Marlee and Aspen, May and pretty much all of the side characters seriously lacked depth or surprising elements. They continued to be the a little bit flat beings that they were. One exeption was Maxon. His story -as revealed toward the end - really caught me off guard and let me see him in a very different way.
The plot did pick up  in The Elite. It's still not the fastest paced dystopian novel I've ever read (by no means, actually), but there were some twists and turns that kept things interesting.
Sometimes it seemed a bit forced, I'll give the critics that. Cass certainly made it quite easy for herself sometimes, simply giving Maxon the power to change everything whenever he wanted to.
However, a good book does not always have to have unique characters or plot or a detailed background or whatever the usual reviewing aspects are. Sometimes, it's enough to just enjoy the story that unfolds in front of you.
I'm going to be honest, I didn't want to spend a lot of time on The Elite. It wasn't on my TBR list originally and I just got it on Netgalley, pretty unexpectedly, and decided to squeeze it in. Also, at the time I was ten books behind on my Goodreads challenge and really hadn't any time to waste.
And in that situation, The Elite was great. Exactly what I needed. Quick and light, but not contemporary. No endless highschool drama and blabla (which, if you know me, I love when the time is right), but a completely different world to sink into. Literally like a reality show, it confronted me with entertaining problems and fights that I didn't have to find a solution to. It had a nice little love story (and yes, a love triangle) that I didn't have to wrap my brain around, either (weird imagery, by the way...)
To cut it short, The Elite - like The Selection - did have its flaws, it's by no means for everyone. If you crave something on the lighter side, something unique. And if you like authors who do not spend three hours describing a tree that has nothing to do with the actual story (am I getting a littly cynical here?), but who simply tell their story, fluently and to the point, then you should try this trilogy.
Especially compared to other books, I really don't understand why these novels seem to get so much hate. 

May 25, 2013

What would You do if You weren't Afraid???

It's weird, somehow, how time flies. It seems to go faster and faster with every year that passes. This post is about what happens when you find yourself at a point in your life where the path you've been walking on parts. And you have to decide which way to go.
As I  mentioned way too many times throughout the last few weeks/month, I've officially completeted all the exams of my last year of school. In Germany, that means you don't go to school anymore. You just wait for the exam results, going on vacation, taking on a job or watching reality TV 24 hours a day.
Or - in my case - stressing about the one question that is: What happens next?
Clearly, I have been thinking about it a lot. When I was in elementary school my biggest wish was to become an author someday. Later, in 7th and 8th grade, I thought it would be cool to be an actress. Or a journalist for a magazine to, you know, be able to buy myself some food and pay rent.
From my 10th year of School on until now, I spent some time every few months scrolling through random University websites and reading about their subjects.
Without presentable results, of course.
I have to start applying to Universities at the beginning of July (at the latest) and I'm confronted with the biggest decision in my life (so far).
I mean, I could study law and become a lawyer and noone in my family would be worried about my future. Or I could take Media Studies and learn about journalism (print, radio, TV and online) and the influence of media in our everyday lives for the next three years.
The first option sounds boring, but safe. The second one exciting, but insecure.
As my brain is running out of fuel from all the thinking I've been doing, I thought that this would be a good topic for the blog. Something, many of us probably have to face. It might not be about your future career right now, it might be about taking a certain subject in highschool or choosing if you want to marry or not.
No, really. There is one question we always have to ask ourselves - do I take the safe path? Or am I going to be bold?
Let's talk about safe. Safe is not always bad. I dedicated my last four years of school to studying my butt off instead of drinking my head numb. That was definitely the safe and not the fun decision. As a result, I now face a bunch of great career/ University opportunities. I have those good grades and noone can take them away from me. My family is really proud of me. The people in my town respect me. I got a lot of good stuff out of being focused on school.
Anyway, I didn't get to party hard - ever. I canceled sleepovers with my friends and family get-togethers. I stopped watching TV and - for a while - listening to music. I never went on a vacation and I have not had a boyfriend. During our final exams this past semester, my blog suffered a lot and I went days and weeks without reading a book for pleasure - although I really wanted to.
To cut it short - I missed out on life. Big time.
Do I regret making school the priority, always? No. I needed that confirmation that I was good enough, strong enough, intelligent enough to excel in something.
However, do I want to do it again? I honestly don't know.
If anyone of you has read The Jelly Bean Crisis, you know what I'm talking about. That book practically threw it in my face : success and happiness are not always the same thing.
I always believed if I did well in school and University and then got a great job, I could be happy. I could have - and care for - a family. I imagined a big house a caring husband, a bunch of children and never, ever worries about money.
Anyway, if I picture my future as a law student now, I have doubts. I see me, stressed out and anxious, hauled over textbooks with no social life, almost no hobbies and nothing to hold on to but the next excellent mark.
Each of us only gets one chance, one opportunity, one life. What should we make of it? Should we do for a living what we love to do most in our free time? Or should we aim high and higher, always reaching for success in numbers?
Maybe I'd be happier with a career in media. Maybe that's what I would really enjoy doing. Maybe that's the kind of person I am.
The problem is - how do I find out? How does one make a decision that big? It's not only about me and my University decision - it's about everyone and their lives. How do we want it to be? Do we always want to go the path that feels right in our hearts? Or is that too naive to survive this world? Should we go into the direction that seems safe and secure?
What do you guys think? Which decisions for your life (big or small) did you have to make in the past? I'd love to know!

May 23, 2013

Feature & Follow Friday

Gain New Blog Followers

Q: The #FF is 150 weeks old! And we want to hear from you! What would you change about the hop? What do you like about it? Or just suggest a question to be used for next week!

150 weeks? Really? That's amazing! Congratulations to the hosts, for keeping it up for so long and also for the variety of questions they come up with every week! Actually, the only thing I'd change about the hop is related to the participants. I really think it's such a great opportunity to start conversations and make new friends, but many people just comment, follow and leave for good. I'd rather have it less about the following and more about getting to know each other. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend :) 
the Booksmartie

Review: The Daughters by Joanna Philbin

The Daughters (The Daughters, #1)

The only daughter of supermodel Katia Summers, witty and thoughtful Lizzie Summers likes to stick to the sidelines.
The sole heir to Metronome Media and the daughter of billionaire Karl Jurgensen, outspoken Carina Jurgensen would rather climb mountains than social ladders.
Daughter of chart-topping pop icon Holla Jones, stylish and sensitive Hudson Jones is on the brink of her own music breakthrough.
By the time freshman year begins, unconventional-looking Lizzie Summers has come to expect fawning photographers and adoring fans to surround her gorgeous supermodel mother. But when Lizzie is approached by a fashion photographer who believes she’s “the new face of beauty,” Lizzie surprises herself and her family by becoming the newest Summers woman to capture the media spotlight.
In this debut young adult series tailored for younger teens, author Joanna Philbin explores what it’s really like to grow up in the thick of the celebrity world. As Lizzie and her two best friends (and fellow daughters-of-celebrities) juggle normal high school events with glamorous family functions, they discover the pitfalls of fame and the importance of friendship.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by Poppy (first published April 11th 2010)

Long Story Short:

I think it's been a long time since I despised a book as much as this one. In my opinion, it didn't have depth, a realistic plot, good characters or fantastic writing. For ages 14 and up I would consider this novel way too shallow. The messages that The Daughters contains are certainly valuable - but transferred very weakly. It might be an entertaining story for everyone under the age of fourteen, but in general, I'd suggest you try other novels that contain similar messages, but come with great heroines and witty writing, as well.

No Smarties - sorry!

Review for You:

Mhm. Now, that was quite something. I mean, I knew this wouldn't be the next  brilliant work of literary art or something. I was quite sure that The Daughters would be predictable, girly and a bit infantile. The problem is, books like this one - with a girly cover, seemingly shallow synopsis and your typical main characters (you know, the ones you're supposed to identify with, because there appearently are only those three types of teen girls: sporty, dreamy and opinionated) can bare not one but several surprises if you actually give them a shot. 
Let's talk the obvious example. Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries series.
The criteria:
Girly cover? Check!
 Seemingly shallow synopsis? Check!
Typical main characers? Mhm...not quite.
So, as you see, The Princess Diaries series has a lot in common with The Daughters at first view.
If you start reading Cabot's books (and any of her books, really), you realize there is so much more to them than meets the eye, though. There are characters going through more or less serious teen problems, struggling with confidence, body image and finding their place in the world. At the end of every PD novel we get a good lecture. We get humor and the advice to not take life and ourselves too seriously, to believe and to hope and to make the best of what you have.
My point is, The Daughters had the potential to touch me. Every book has the potential to change my life, simply because it's a book. The problem with The Daughters was that it's so cliché, so unrealistic and so dragging that it couldn't impress as either: a fluffy summer novel or a serious growing of age story.
First of all, the main character followed motives I clearly didn't understand. I mean, yes, teens can be moody, but they are usually not completely out of their minds. One day, she hates the spotlight, the next she loves it. And why? Because she can be "herself" as she is photographed?
The first time I really got annoyed by the book and the characters was when I stumbled upon this dialogue at the end of Lizzie's first "real" photoshoot:
"That was amazing! Did you have fun?"
"That was the most fun I've ever had in my life!", Lizzie said, "Thank You!"
"No, Lizzie, thank you!", Andrea said, giving her a hug. "You're a natural. I knew you would be!"

Okay...I'd have let that one pass,although it was pretty hard for me to believe that a change of scenery and photographers made Lizzie not only completely comfortable in front of a camera but also a natural model...

Throughout the book, I endured various moments when I wanted to throw The Daughters against a wall. Or, at least, slap one of them. For example, that misunderstanding between the MC and her love interest? So, SO fake! And it took way too long to clear that up. It's okay for some stories to be unrealistic, but I want to at least have the feeling that the author cared about the plot and thought it out.
Also, Carina? She seemed like a nice person at first, but I found her to be very bitchy and ungrateful towards the ending. 
In general, Lizzie's friends seemed to never have a real opinion. If Lizzie changed her mind, so did they. They encouraged her with pretty much everything she did -and their apparent lack of brain also became visible whenever they tried speaking. Usually, the only type of sentence that came out was "Totally." or "You're right" or "Exactly!" or something similar to that. They got on my nerves.
The "plot twists" were by no means predictable -but I think that could have something to do with the fact that they were also completely unrealistic. 
Lastly, I had a serious problem with Lizzie's parents. For that they were the main problem in her life at that point, they were absent surprisingly often - without saying so much as Goodbye.
I don't know if it's just me, but whenever I don't like a book and still decide to finish it, I start seeing so many things that annoy me even more. One of them clearly was Philbin's writing. I mean, throughout most of the novel it was okay. Nothing special, not bad, but it lacked individual elements that would make me recognize her. Quite a few times, though, I stumbled upon passages that annoyed me. Like this one:
"She was so annoyed that she barely felt her Iphone vibrate as she stalked down the hall"
Uhu. That happens to me all the time, too. I get in a serious fight with a teacher and - by the way - behave like the exact spoiled brat I try so hard not to seem like. And then I am so emotionally out of it that the very sensation of a vibrating phone in my jeans pocket is too much for my brain to handle.
Admittedly, I could have just looked over that one. But then again, someone could have just thought about if that sentence made any sense at all and come to the desision to delete it. That, at least, probably happens with most of the books I read and like, so that I don't have to get all worked up about annoying sentences.
Overall, I found this book to be very shallow, boring and disappointing. If you do crave a story that is set in the "New Yorker High Society" you might want to check out the Gossip Girl series - endless novels with juicy drama and intrigues, but with a way more entertaining plot and significant writing skills. As I mentioned before, The Princess Diaries series would be the perfect choice for younger readers 

May 21, 2013

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