Tanja @ Ja čitam, a ti?

Hi guys! It's Tanja and you might have heard of my blog Ja čitam, a ti? (which would mean I'm a reader, what about you?). Anyhow looking forward meeting some new people here. 

Needless to say I'm a book lover. :)

Crown of Ice by Vicki L. Weavil

Crown of Ice - Vicki L. Weavil

 As a kid I really was fortunate enough to get and read many of H. C. Anderson's fairy tales. I loved them and had a nice collection of them. But somehow "The Snow Queen" was never among them and it wasn't before Frozen exploded worldwide that I have heard of this tale. Now with Crown of Ice I think I've got to understand it better.

      The first thing I noticed while reading Crown of Ice was how much it stick to the real story. There were a lot of new elements, which I'll mention later on, but basic is there. We've got a boy and a girl, Gerda and Kai, who are a bit older than in fairy tale. But they've been friends forever and during that time Gerda saw Kai as her future and her safe harbor, something that was written in start. At the same time Kai even though incredibly smart still aware that it's likely that he will stay in village despite his desires to go to University. It was all as planed until our Thyra returns to their lives, but now as the Snow Queen and lures Kai into her castle where he is bound to help her. They have little time and lots of things to figure out.

      Despite the base that was somewhat similar to the original this story presents some fresh elements as well. Even though the cover will tell you different story, Crown of Ice was dark and at moments really cruel. The line between good and evil was always present and while I could understand Thyra and her behavior I couldn't connect with her at the same time. That's actually the main reason why I couldn't enjoy this one fully, but everything except that was nicely done. I loved how the story was even unpredictable even though the background was familiar to me.

      All in all, even though story was a bit low at moments, it still was nicely organized and well written.

Rating: 3.5 stars.

Storms of Lazarus

Storms of Lazarus - Karen Kincy Review to come..

Sweet Unrest

Sweet Unrest - Lisa   Maxwell Review to come..

City of Fallen Angels

City of Fallen Angels - Cassandra Clare This series should have ended with the previous book. Review to come...

City of Glass

City of Glass - Cassandra Clare Review to come..

Ruin and Rising

Ruin and Rising - Leigh Bardugo I just keep shelving books from this series, I might as well pick the first one from my shelf and start with it.

I'll cherish the day when I bought this one just because I could hug it after I finished it!

Review to come..

Of Scars and Stardust

Of Scars and Stardust - Andrea Hannah Review to come...

Chasing the Star Garden

Chasing the Star Garden - Melanie Karsak Review to come...


Sinner - Maggie Stiefvater *Buddy-read with my one and only Glass*

Review also posted at Ja čitam, a ti?

Tanja: You of all people know how much I love Maggie's writing and how I drive people crazy with it. So I can't help but wonder where did it go. I couldn't find it here, which makes me rather sad.
Glass: I was always raving about how amazing this woman writes, but I have to agree with you and say that I am rather disappointed with Cole's story. I expected epic conclusion, but left hanging dry. What happened?
Tanja: I have no idea where all the magic disappeared. But to organize our thoughts better I propose we list pros and cons here. So would you like to start?
Glass: Perfect! Let's see...

What we liked:

Glass: I was so happy with how Maggie Stiefvater managed to avoid all stereotypes of genre and gave us a story which is this amazing crossover between young adult and new adult. I didn't expect anything else from a woman who wrote Scorpio Races.
Tanja: I totally agree with that. I also liked how Maggie kept this story apart from The Wolves of Mercy Falls. Sinner is set in LA which put both characters away from everything that happened before. You can read this story on its own, but at the same time I suggest you read the first series.
Glass: That is true, most of the companion novels are about same events but usually told from a point of view of a supporting character. Speaking about characters, that is one more plus - both Cole and Isabel are different than in previous novels. At moments I even wondered if I had missed something important between Forever and Sinner.
Tanja: I felt the same. My favorite thing or better said moment in this story was when Cole came to pick Isabel up after that party. I could feel bits of old Cole and Isabel then. But even though they did behave like before it was brought to the limit where I didn't enjoy it.

What we didn't like:

Tanja: Like I said at the start there is the writing which was nothing like that poetic sort we had in the previous books. I missed it and my heard ached for it. But still my biggest problem was to determine the point of this story. I didn't see it then and I still cannot see it now.
Glass: Also, it had this really weird atmosphere - like a mix of Reckless by S.C. Stephens and Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald. One second I love how she pulls me into Cole's head, it's like I am right there with him and everything he feels, I feel. But then comes this big eye-roll moment and it's like I'm reading completely different book.
Tanja: Yes, both characters were taken to their extreme and we could see that their relationship was too destructive. It wasn't balanced and that's why the ending itself felt a bit off for me. Everything happened so fast that at moment I though that was it, the next chapter things turned out of sudden. Drama, and hot and cold moments were too much and I didn't like it.
Glass: Well, I've read about more destructive relationships and you know that melodrama is my guilty pleasure, so I didn't have much issues with that. What did bother me is something I usually say for John Green's novels - pretentious writing and characters that try too hard to sound "witty" and "cool". And I can't believe that I am describing that way something Maggie Stiefvater wrote.

In the end...

We are not sorry for reading this book because it was wonderful to get back to our favorite series, but other than being enjoyable and quick read, Sinner was not what we expected. Fans of The Wolves of Mercy Falls might read it "just because", but in the end, we doubt that it will be a memorable read.


Jackaby - William Ritter Review to come...

The Dream Thieves (Raven Boys Quartet)

The Dream Thieves (Raven Boys Quartet) - Maggie Stiefvater Review also posted at Ja čitam, a ti?

I was really torn after reading this book and I will never stop blaming myself for reading this book during the times I was under so much stress. It reflected on my reading and feelings for this book, but giving this book anything less than 3.5 stars would be like putting a dagger through my heart.

The Dream Thieves continues in the fashion of The Raven Boys. It still possesses that amazing world-building and that already well-known writing that I cannot stop loving it seems. It also possesses boys (yes, boys as in plural) which still continue to entertain and it still has Blue, the girl I adore. After their discovery of ley lines they are even more bound. They have plans and things to do and while they still work together on this, it's evident that each one of them has other problems they have to deal with. Ronan, most of all. Gansey's obsession is continuing to grow and Blue still has that puzzle to solve. While Adam is Adam you feel for.

This book is everything I could ask for. Nicely written as in Maggie doesn't disappoint. Still amazing characters and their even better development. More mystery which puts pieces of the puzzle in place. Still only pieces, we have a whole bunch of them we have to put together. Which will have to wait till Blue Lily, Lily Blue. The best of all this book possesses magic, the best kind. One that is like a dream, you know it's fiction but damn, it feels real.

But in all that I was an idiot and I shall never forgive myself this. I picked this book when I was in the mood that you should not be while reading this book. Stress was running through my veins and it reflected on my mood. So I struggled a lot at the start of this book. I couldn't read more than a chapter a day and it took me too long to finally get into the story. I did, eventually, and enjoyed the last part of the book, but still it wasn't what this book deserves. So in October I'll be ready!

Rating: 3.5 stars.

The Diamond Thief

The Diamond Thief - Sharon Gosling Review to come..

Kiss Kill Vanish

Kiss Kill Vanish - Jessica Martinez Review also posted at Ja čitam, a ti?

You've all seen this pretty cover around. You have, haven't you? Well, we did and it was hard not to press that request button at Edelweiss. It might have been better if we did not. But not everything is that bad, at least we were part of an amazing read-a-long, with even more amazing Emma and Rashika. The have already posted their reviews and you can find them here:
Rashika's review at The Social Potato and
Emma's review at Never Judge a Book by Its Cover.
And now, it's time for us to answer those questions!

How did you feel about Valentina as a character?
Tanja: I was devoid of any feelings for her. Basically annoyance was there at the start but as soon as I got to be in her head for some time, I lost interest. I couldn't care less for that spoiled brat. Even though you could find justifications for her behavior as she is raised as that, it was hard to understand that during her so-called exile. Basically she was lacking logic and often compassion for others. Not to mention her blind love for certain someone.
I never felt any character growth either. That and her lack of feelings for any sort of justice, bothered me the most.

Glass: I honestly do not remember last time when one of the young adult characters made me want to scream out of complete frustration like Valentina. She wants to be a child and the gown up at the same time. She thinks that the whole world owes her something (but pretends that she is selfless and different from other little snobs). Daddy's little girl. Spoiled brat. Miss Know It All. I didn't like her at all.

Was the plot well developed and believable?
Tanja: No and NO! About the development, basically the first half of the book was at times even too slow and then everything started going places and in the meantime creating plenty of loop-holes. About this story being believable - it's a bit complex. Yes the whole idea was there and something existing in this world. It's something I can see happening, but the problem is that non of the characters fit the role they play. They are too young and with all that too naive for everything that's going on. So they don't tell the story in believable way.

Glass: Kiss Kill Vanish was based on great idea, but unfortunately it failed to deliver equally great story. As Tanja said, it is probably because characters are too young, but maybe that wouldn't be such a big problem if the whole thing wasn't told from perspective of one character. I wanted to know much more about her father and sisters, I felt like they didn't get enough attention and a lot of plot holes would have been explained if we got to hear their side of the story too.

Was the romance more than a plot device?
Glass: In my opinion, no. There were few scenes that were kind of romantic, but they failed to make me feel anything other than one short swoon-moment and that is that. Things are going too slow in one minute and in the other way too fast. I had a feeling like I missed something because of the way characters were portrayed at the beginning and the middle of the book.

Tanja: Depends which one, as yes this book also has some sort of love triangle. One is definitely just a plot device. It was without feelings and utterly emotionless, at least from my side. The one I refer to is with how I like to call him - Valentina's puppy. The other one was a plot device but it's the point of it. But still in any case, the answer is no.

Describe Emilo in one word.
Glass: Frustrating.

Tanja: Mysterious. (I wanted to say Rashika totally has a crush on him, but that's more than one word. Did I just say that? OOPS!)

To sum up?
Tanja: If right now you're asking yourself "Where the heck did she find that one star?" here's the answer - writing. That and page-turning. Let me put it this way - the writing was nothing extraordinary or something you'll remember the rest of your life, but it was to the point and neatly done. I see that Ms. Martinez has the talent but with characters as this it's not enough.

Glass: I believe that a lot of YA fans will enjoy this book, especially younger readers. Jessica Martinez has captivating writing style and I loved her previous novels, but unfortunately, this one didn't work out for me. On the plus side, Kiss Kill Vanish is fun and quick read despite all of the things I didn't like.

Rating: We need to say that after the reading we book gave this book 3 starts, but after our discussion we counted pros and cons and it turned out to be not so good. So our rating at the end is:
2 stars.

The Moment Collector

The Moment Collector - Jodi Lynn Anderson Review also posted at Ja čitam, a ti?

Before I start sorting out my feelings for this book I might first tell you that the blurb (the one you see here or the one for The Vanishing Season - the same book just different title) are misleading. Yes this book has ghosts, mystery and serial killer, but this book is not only about that. Instead the focus of this book is on Maggie, her moving to different town and trying to fit it, meeting Pauline and Liam and the dynamic in relationships between them.

Like I said, Maggie our main character moves into a small down, due to financial issues her family is faced with. Grill Creek is a small, everyone-know-everyone town so when murders of young girls start it causes confusion and panic among the citizens. It creates fear, one you can feel while turning the pages of this book, but at the same time you can see that Maggie won't be burden by it. The story turn into a tale about friendship and growing up and trying to belong.

If I'm to describe Ms. Anderson's writing I'd say it hits all the right notes and created the symphony my ears what to hear. It's something I rarely experience but when I do I cherish it. Not only writing but characters are built so that they are real, Maggie was me and I was Maggie so many times. Both Pauline and Liam were there, and while I do not approve of some of their actions they were believable and something, when you think about it, you could expect. Then there is that ending, the one that I didn't see coming and the one that shook me to the core.

While reading and reviewing mostly, I come to realize that the degree of feelings you have for a book depend on how far you're ready to go to understand the story. How willing are you to think it through. Somehow I could find explanation for each and every decision in this book and that is also why not everyone will love this book as much as I did.

Kiss of Broken Glass

Kiss of Broken Glass - Madeleine Kuderick Review to come...

Alias Hook

Alias Hook - Lisa Jensen Review also posted at Ja čitam, a ti?

With this book being actually the second retelling of my favorite childhood story about Peter Pan and portraying him like a bad character I though that this time it won't suit my ideas about Peter. But once again, I found myself believing the story and actually rooting for my last favorite childhood character, Mr. Hook.

"The Neverland must have its wildness, its terrors," she tells me. "Here, children must find not only their happiest fantasies, but their most violent and terrible nightmares. They must face their demons and laugh at them. That is the key to growing up."

The quote from above tells you a lot about this story. This is not a fairy tale we all grew to love, but rather a different take on the story. Different take about Hook and his life. While reading this story you find out why Peter and Hook are really enemies and what actually happened to Hook to be the only adult in the Neverland. Or at least what he though before we meet Stella, a woman who is not Wendy but still is in Neverland. "How is that possible?" he wondered.

Hook cannot answer that question but he knows one thing and one thing only. He must save her from Peter who will do everything to make her life miserable like he made his. But he never dreamed that she will be what he was waiting for. What will keep him sane in the never-ending cycles of his life which is cursed to last forever.

"That is everything," she rebukes me gently, dark eyes glittery in the firelight. "Kindness freely offered that asks for no reward, love that values another above yourself, the wisdom to live without fear. That is the best of life."

This is not only a story about Hook and Stella, even mostly it is just that. But it's also a different take on Peter and the Lost Boys and even Wendy. But this story despite being dark and mysterious is also romantic and vivid. It's about redemption and finding oneself in hopeless situations.

Surprisingly, I did enjoy this story very much. I loved the writing and the whole world-building. Neverland seems closer than ever now. However, it took me some time to get into this story and actually start to like Hook. It was a bit slow at the start.

Needless to say, this book has one of the prettiest endings out there. I loved it how the author left us some space to imagine how everything went on, but at the same time there are no doubts in your mind.

P.S. Hook, you are a great character and all, but sorry, Peter has my heart and some part of it will always be his.

**Quotes have been taken from the uncorrected proof. They might change in the final version of the book.