Thursday, December 31, 2015

My favourite 2015 reads

2015 was an interesting year for me. I joined the book blogging community and had a blast. I met a great bunch of people, was invited to exciting events (and sadly enough couldn't attend). I got to help design TCR new look + bookmark and M's newest blog header.
Then I started back at university and I was forced to take a small break but my love for books and this amazing community was still there.
But most of all 2015 was filled with books! Looking back over the year these 5 books (in no particular order) have stuck with me.

1. Tied Up With Love (review)
‘We’re from KMW. Do exactly as you’re told and you won’t get hurt...' 
Being grabbed off the street, blind folded, tied up and thrown into a van was not what Izzy expected to happen when she stepped out the door that morning. But when an accidental kidnapping at the hands of the sexy Ethan Chase and his 'Kidnap My Wife' sexual fantasy business leads to just that, Izzy seizes the chance to turn her misfortune into a brilliant new job opportunity… 
Since then, life has been one big tangle of new client meetings, fake kidnapping pick-ups, and handling the temperamental, but drop dead gorgeous 'bad boy' Mr Chase. But, as liberating as being tied up in Ethan's life is, Izzy knows the time is fast approaching when she must make some decisions and take charge of her future. The only question is: will Ethan allow himself to be a part of it?
TUWL is great and I would recommend it to anyone with a love for sexy books with great characters.

2. The Day We Disappeared (review)
Annie has a secret. But if she's not going to tell, we won't either. It's a heart-breaking secret she wishes she didn't have - yet Annie isn't broken, not quite yet. Especially now there's someone out there who seems determined to fix her. 
Kate has run away. But she's not going to tell us why - that would defeat the point of running, wouldn't it? It's proving difficult to reinvent herself, however, with one person always on her mind. 
Scratch beneath the surface and nobody is really who they seem. Even Annie and Kate, two old friends, aren't entirely sure who they are any more. Perhaps you can work it out, before their pasts catch up with them for good . . .

A gripping and unpredictable story of two young women running from their pasts. We defy you to guess the twist . . .

Source: Goodreads
The Day We Disappeared deserves every single bit of praise and even more than that!

3. The Piano Man Project (review)
Finding love isn’t always black and white… 
You: kind, piano-playing sex godMe: hopelessly romantic charity shop manager 
Honeysuckle Jones has a problem, and her best friends Nell and Tash are on a mission to help her solve it. She needs a man – a caring, intelligent, funny man. But most importantly, a man who’s good with his hands… 
Luckily Honey’s new neighbour – moody, antisocial ex-chef Hal – fails on almost every count. Even though the chemistry between them is electric, he’s obviously wrong for her in every way. 
But when Honey discovers the devastating reason for his moods she decides to give him another chance. And discovers that the best songs aren’t always in tune… 
Source: Goodreads

The only thing this book is guilty of is pulling me away from social engagements just so I could finish it.

4. Snowflakes on Silver Cove (review)
Libby Joseph is famous for her romantic Christmas stories. Every December, readers devour her books of falling in love against the magical backdrop of the Christmas season. If only Libby believed in the magic herself… 
Struggling to finish her current novel, Libby turns to her best friend and neighbour George Donaldson to cheer her up. But George also needs a bit of support himself. Nervous about getting back into the dating saddle after splitting from his wife, he and Libby strike a deal. She will teach George how to win over the ladies, and Libby will in turn be inspired to inject her novel with a good dose of romance. 
As Libby and George explore the beautiful White Cliff Bay on a series of romantic Christmas-themed dates, Libby finds herself having more fun than she’s had in ages and…discovers feelings that she never knew she had for George. 
But is it too late? Will George win someone else’s heart or can Libby act like the heroine in one of her stories and reach for her own love under the mistletoe this Christmas? 
Snuggle up with a piece of Christmas cake and mulled wine, and spend the festive season at White Cliff Bay. You won’t want to leave! Christmas at Lilac Cottage also out now.  
Source: Goodreads

Snowflakes on Silver Cove was a story that made me wish I could be a fictional character in this story myself!

5. The Night Circus (review)
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

The Night Circus is as amazing as the circus it describes and you'll find yourself reluctant to leave and eager for more.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Book Review: This is Where it Ends

4,5 stars for This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijmkamp.

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve. 
10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class. 
10:03 The auditorium doors won't open. 
10:05 Someone starts shooting.
Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival
Source: Goodreads

I was kindly given a copy through Netgalley with many thanks to the publisher and author.

This was the kind of book that made me stare into the distance and try to make sense of everything I was feeling upon finishing it. 
This is where it ends is about a school shooting and makes you experience it from four different point of views all involving around one person: the boy with the gun.

I like that Nijmkamp chose to portray him not as just the monster he is supposed to be but simply as a human being. As a reader we are given an insight in the person who everyone wants to know about.
As an outsider it's easy be prejudiced about 'the shooter' because he's the obvious monster.

This story is honest and true. It reminds  you of the fact that there is never one truth.
The truth is the boy with the gun is:
- A monster
- A killer
- A friend
- A brother
- A boyfriend
- A caretaker
- A lost soul
- All of the above

It was a fast-paced read with enough tension and interesting stories to keep you gripped from beginning to end. It's a story that makes you stand still and think about things in a new light; Re-evaluate your own life and your relationships with other people. It's a story that makes you pause and stare into the distance while you think 'Wow'.

A Brilliantly heart-breaking and exhilarating read.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

External Giveaway: This is Where it Ends

Sourcebooks is hosting another Giveaway/Promo for 'This is The End'. Sadly Sourcebooks is only focusing on US/CAN readers. However, people from the rest of the world, don't cry just yet! 
Marieke Nijmkamp is our international saving angel and has decided to host an international giveaway herself. Check out both giveaways below or here.


Between now and the book’s on-sale date Sourcebooks is giving away custom "TIME WAS OURS" lanyards, and the chance for one lucky person to win a Polaroid Digital Instant Print Camera!

There are two ways to enter the giveaway:

1 - If you pre-order a copy of This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp, submit your name, mailing address, email address, and order confirmation number via the Rafflecopter widget provided here, OR email

2 - If you have not pre-ordered a copy of This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp, you may enter the giveaway by printing your name, mailing address, email address and the phrase "This Is Where It Ends" on a standard-size postcard and send to: Publicity, c/o Sourcebooks, Inc., 1935 Brookdale Rd., #139, Naperville, IL 60563.

What’s more, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a super awesome Grand Prize: a Polaroid Z2300 10MPDigital Instant Print Camera. I’m especially fond of this grand prize, because I wrote This Is Where It Ends to be a snapshot of life, and this is such an awesome way to celebrate! So hop over to the Tumblr and enter now!



Unfortunately you cannot enter the above giveaway, but I have an alternative! If you pre-order your copy of This Is Where It Ends and send me an email at mariekewrites-at-gmail-dot-com with the subject “pre-order campaign” with your name & address, I will do two things:

1 - I will send a special This Is Where It Ends postcard to the first 10 people to email me with their pre-order, and another 15 randomly selected. That postcard will contain one This Is Where It Ends secret — a song from the playlist, background information about one of the characters, something that you cannot know unless you live in my brain (or read the annotated ARC).
2 - I will enter all of you into a random drawing for my very last annotated ARC of This Is Where It Ends. After that, I will be all out of ARCs, so this is your last chance to get your hands on one of them!

If you want to get a SIGNED copy of This Is Where It Ends, pre-order your copy at Books of Wonder! Not only will I sign copies there on release day, but you’ll also be supporting a magnificent bookstore <3

Pre-order now!

Get your copy of This Is Where It Ends at any of the following places:

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

NaNoWriMo: my favourite month of the year

November is over and for the third consecutive year that generally means that I am sleep deprived, my fingers and eyes are hurting, my brain is fried and for the first time in 30 days I don't know what to do with myself in a fee moment. These are the common symptoms a writer has after finishing NaNoWrimo and writing 50.000 (or more) words in one month.
And even with those withdrawal symptoms, NaNoWriMo is my favourite month of the year.

For the third year in a row, I am counting down halfway October to the start of this monthly adventure. You can feel the tension hanging in the air. Fellow nano participants are starting to buzz with anticipation. You get to decide whether you want to prepare your story before the month starts or if you're going to start on the 1st November without a plan. The Nano offices are turning their heat up and everyone is crossing off the days until that first day. Ready? Set. GO!

And that first day is glorious. You're filled with fresh ideas or are finally freed from the boundaries you felt before. You finally get to write like mad without worrying too much about where you're going and finally able to focus on where the characters are going.
You feel inspired and are determined to get those first 1.667 words down and proof to the entire world that you will be able to tackle this month down like a pro. You're typing like a mad man and reach that first word goal in no time.
But after a while you might falter a little bit and self doubt starts to creep up on you. The smallest distraction is enough to pull you away from behind your computer. You start to appreciate the little things in life, like the way a dust particle can float around in the sunlight.
And then you reach that point where you're completely stuck. Your story won't move an inch forward, you feel frustrated with your characters and time keeps moving on while your word count remains unmoved. You feel tempted to type 'cat' a thousand times just to reach that word goal of the day. You start to get desperate as you might even have to catch up with your word count and you wonder if it's possible in the slightest. You might start banging your head against the desk in frustration or hang upside down in annoyance, but at least it causes an improved blood flow to your brains.
But then after forcing yourself to keep going you are rewarded with that moment where the puzzle pieces start to fall into place and you can tell that the end is near. The light at the tunnel is getting brighter and you are more than ever determined to win this thing. The end of the month is coming closer and you can see that finish line. You crack your fingers and prepare for the last stretch, knowing the end is near.
And then it's there. The purple winner's bar. You have made it and you can finally go back to your normal sleeping pattern and start replying to all the friends you've neglected for a month. You can get back to your regular life, even if it is slightly less interesting than your characters' lives.
However, you have made it and you deserve one hell of a high five as a congratulation!
(doesn't matter if you're still locked up inside, 
not wanting to face the real life yet.)