The best English titles I've read in 2013

One of my goals this year was to read more English titles than I have read before. I'm happy to say I've found tens of interesting series and new authors. I didn't have time to start all of them, of course, but I wish to read them in the future. I enjoyed all the English titles I read this year, and here are the eight books I loved the most.

8. Shadowlands by Kate Brian

I liked Shadowlands. It was a different, creepy and somehow weird read that stayed on my mind for a long time. The ending shocked me and the cover is still a mystery to me.

7. Heartbeat by Faith Sullivan

I loved Heartbeat. It was a beautiful, heart-breaking book. I love the way Faith describes feelings.

6. Changed by Rose J. Bell

Changed was somehow fresh. And dark. I'm looking forward to the sequel.

5. Come what may by Faith Sullivan

Faith, you're awesome. Come what may surprised me more than once and felt very real. I loved it. I'm going to post a review soon so this is all I say for now.

4. Touch of death by Kelly Hashway

Touch of death is one of my all time favorites. I had never read anything like it before. I love the characters, the plot, the idea of the series, everything. 

3. Stalked by death by Kelly Hashway

Kelly, you did it again. You took my breath away. I LOVED this book! Oh boy. Amazing. Review is coming soon!

2. The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater

I have no words to describe how great this book was. Not yet. I'll tell you in my review.

1. The bone season by Samantha Shannon

The best book of the year. I waited for The Bone Season for over a year and I enjoyed it from the first page to last. Deep, unique, beautiful. Review is coming as soon as I find the words to tell how I felt about this book. Read it, read it, read it!


Plans for holiday

I'm sorry I've been so quiet for long time. I had to put blogging aside because of my studies. This semester was full of work, so it's lovely to be at home an just chill out.

I have some plans for holiday, though. I'm going to write the posts I wanted to write weeks ago: few book reviews, something about music and learning, and something about how writing is going, of course. I also hope I'm able to do a lot of revisions during my holiday. I have some old and some new sources of inspiration with me so I believe I'll get many things done.

That's all for now. Merry Christmas to all of you! <3 


Review: City of bones by Cassandra Clare

City of bones was a confusing read. Did I like it? Yes and no. It's not a bad book, but I had some issues with the way it came out. Let's see what I mean.

Our main character, Clary, first meets Jace, Alec and Isabelle. They're a group of young shadowhunters, who protect the world from evil paranormal creatures, mostly from demons. Then demons attack Clary's home and her mother disappears without a trace. Neither she or the shadowhunters know the reason for the attack, so they start to resolve the mystery together. The fantasy part was what I liked the most about this book: I found the rules and history of shadowhunters interesting, and their weapons were fascinating. I also liked the way the author built the relationship between Clary and Jace.

The plot of the book is full of twists. I didn't mind it at all, but I was surprised by the little time that was given to the events. There was twist after twist and everything happened really quickly. I was also wondering why the characters didn't seem to react to the twists at all. They just moved on. That made it very hard to see if an event was important. The story was lacking in emotion, which was sad.

Clary felt somehow distant. I can't say I disliked her, I just had a hard time trying to figure out how she felt and what she was thinking about the things that happened in her life. It was strange because usually it's the main character you can relate to. Clary left me asking who she really was. Confusing. On the other hand, I liked Jade a lot. I understood him much better than Clary and liked him from the start. His sarcasm is brilliant, and he's sensitive inside. For me, he was the most touching character in the novel.

The last issue was that I felt like the book could have been set almost anywhere. I missed descriptions of New York City, something that makes you think only New York. 

Even though there were many flaws in City of bones, I'm willing to read the whole series and see if things get better. And I definitely want to know how it all ends with Jace and Clary.



Songs from the playlist (2)

I'm revising chapter two, so I think it's time to share another song from my playlist. It's called Louder than ever and it's from Daughtry's third album, Break the spell. Their fourth album comes out soon and I'm so excited! I just can't praise their music enough.

Louder than ever always makes me smile. It's full of happiness and energy. That's why it inspired me when I wrote the Tenerife chapters, and I'm sure it will help me with the revisions, too.

And here are the lyrics:

Heard that song on the radio
and it got my gears turning
Like a real life time machine

You were there in the front seat
Windows down we were burning
It was just like movie scene
Those dashboard lights
and your pale blue eyes cutting through me

Two hearts on the getaway
Feels just like yesterday
Young love on the freeway
Singing louder than ever

Those nights that we used to sing along
We were living in a love song
Those days might be gone
but I hear it louder than ever

We spent that whole summer long
You and me in the moonlight
Chasing dreams in a fast machine

No way it could wrong
When it all felt so right
Feeling like California queen
I cannot get all of the ways that you loved me

Those nights that we used to sing along
We were living in a love song
Those days might be gone
but I hear it louder than ever

Two hearts on the getaway
Feels just like yesterday
Young love on the freeway
Singing louder than ever

I can't help but to turn it up
No it can't get loud enough
Yeah I just wanna hear it
over and over
Over and over

Heard that song on the radio
and it got my gears turnin'
Like a real life time machine

Two hearts on the getaway
Feels just like yesterday
Young love on the freeway
Singing louder than ever

Those nights that we used to sing along
We were living in a love song
Those days might be gone
but I hear it louder than ever


Buying books

Here are the English titles I bought in September and few thoughts of them:

1. The bone season by Samantha Shannon

Oh boy, The bone season. I've waited for this book about eighteen months. There are no words to describe how happy I was to get this one. 

2. Stalked by death by Kelly Hashway

I've missed Jodi and Alex so much! I'm currently reading this and I LOVE it so far!

3. Come what may by Faith Sullivan

Oh, poor Adam. I'm really looking forward to see how he's doing after... Well, read Heartbeat and you'll know what I mean.

4. Take me now by Faith Sullivan

This books sounds so emotional. 

5. The coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen

The story sounds very beautiful. I wish to read it soon.

6. Vampire academy by Richelle Mead

Vampires? Yes please! I've heard so many good things of this so I decided to check it out.

7. Shadow and bone by Leigh Bardugo

I have a feeling that this book is something really unique. I've wanted to read this for ages so I'm glad to have it finally.

8. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I think Jennifer L. Armentrout is an author worth knowing, and I decided to read this one first.

9. Throne of glass by Sarah J. Maas

This series sounds like a must read! I love the cover!

10. Crown of midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Amazing cover. I'm happy I have the sequel too, because I have a feeling I'll want to read it right after Throne of glass.

11. City of glass by Cassandra Clare

I just read City of bones (I'll post my review soon) and I have a little mixed feelings about it. I want read the whole series, though.

12. City of fallen angels by Cassandra Clare

OK, here's for me. Which books make you excited right now?


Dan Brown and my writing

Dan Brown became a part of my writing few years ago when I read The Da Vinci code for the first time. I was thrilled by the way Brown builds the mystery that's solved in the novel and his talent to create many meanings for simple things. I love complicated mysteries and secrets so the novel captured me at once. The choices Brown makes with the plot are brilliant, and it's easy to see he has enjoyed writing the Da Vinci code. Pure joy fills me every time I read it, and in the next minute the only thought in my head is "I want to write, now!". That's why I read it when I need something to remind me of how good it feels to write something really good. That's a feeling that's always worth going for.

My relationship to Dan Brown's work got stronger after reading the first Langdon novel, Angels and demons. This book affects my writing differently. It  makes me think what I'm writing instead of how I'm writing. Angels and demons contains interesting and unusual crimes that are connected to a bigger picture, to a higher goal. These crimes make me think of Young Fighters and the possibilities I have: what kind of crimes the characters could commit, what kind of meaning the crimes could have to a big group of people, how do they differ form other crimes... There are countless questions like these, and Angels and demons constantly makes me think of them. So, reading it is most helpful when I need to think over separate events as parts of a big picture.

Brown's other novels haven't affected my writing process like this because they are not as good as the two I mentioned (The Lost symbol) or because I've read them only once and they haven't had the time to affect me (Deception point, Inferno). I think Inferno might still have something to give, and I'm looking forward what happens in the future.

Also the hard times in the beginning of Dan Brown's career make him interesting. His books didn't sell a lot before the Da Vinci code was published and he had to change the publisher on the way. I admire him because he didn't stop writing (I believe many in his situation would have stopped), and I think he is a great example of that an aspiring writes should never give up.


Hello everyone

I'm sorry I've been so quiet lately. I've had so many things to do: work, meeting friends, packing... Now I'm back in Joensuu and it's time to write the posts I didn't write and read the books I didn't read in summer. I have missed blogging!

I have to tell a funny thing about a book I finished yesterday. Few days ago, I was reading A discovery of witches (it's great, by the way!) by Deborah Harkness. The characters were called Diana, Matthew, Ysabeau, Marthe, Hamish and so on. Suddenly I met an evil, Finnish witch called Satu Järvinen. The funny thing was that the name is like the most ordinary name in Finland. Oh boy how much I laughed! I wonder how the author picked that name.

Next time I'll write few thoughts about Dan Brown and his novels. See you soon!


In a black notebook

I was at work when I suddenly had an idea how to write a difficult scene. I realized I'd forgotten to take a notebook with me, so I had to write my thoughts on a little piece of paper. This happened few weeks ago and made me think of what I've written in the thick, black notebook I usually carry with me.

I've made a lot of notes during the writing process. I scanned through the pages and found two plans for the plot (the first one I made last year and the newest is the one I follow now) and few for chapters that have been difficult to write. I've put down some sentences, ideas, paragraphs and important details that I'm afraid to forget: for example new information of the characters.

There were some surprises in the notebook, too. I didn't remember how much I had written about the progress of my novel - word counts, page counts, plot holes... I also saw notes of a new story I'm slowly planning.

I do all this because it's impossible to remember everything. Especially when you're writing a series there are many details that affect the future of the characters and play a special role in the story. The notes are also great memories that help you to share your writing process with others.

Questions for you: What kind of notes do you make when you write a novel? Do you make notes at all? And if you could choose an author who's notes you'd like to read, who would you pick?


Review: Changed by Rose J.Bell

In a world where hunters and angels reign, war is a daily occurrence and one girl is destined to save them all.

After a brutal murder of her father, Rosa Petrova has dedicated her life to the eradication of angels and the revenge of her father's death. With a gift of fight, she becomes one of the fastest, deadliest and greatest hunters in the world.

As Rosa hunts down who causes her farther's death, two Nephilim, the children and warriors of the archangel, appear in Boston. Rosa has to find out why a Nephilim named Jason and his friends risk their lives in a city full of their enemies where they could be killed.

Not knowing if she should follow her heart or the hunter's code  she has known all her life, she is forced to make a dangerous decision that could change her life forever. Through all the chaos around her, she finds herself falling in love with the one person she is forbidden to love. And this love could kill her...

My thoughts:

Changed is a book that really filled my head with thoughts. There are so many things to mention that I don't know how to put them all in a review. But I'll try anyway, because they all are worth mentioning.

I'll talk about the characters first. I was surprised by how many characters there were in this novel. I think the author handled it very well:  the characters felt real, they all had their place in the story and their personal development was enjoyable to read about. One of the best things in this book was that the characters got nothing too easily.

I absolutely loved Rosa. She's strong, clever, independent and such a great fighter. It's not easy to be a hunter, though. She has lost her father and there's only few people she can truly rely on. Her job is to kill shadow creatures such as vampire, mermaids and Nephilim, the children and warriors of the archangel. Rosa has always obeyed the rules of the hunter clan and is so used to it that she has stopped fighting for her freedom. All these things have made her to hide her feelings - in the beginning she seems to be almost cold inside, but slowly I found out that she's also caring and loyal. One thing I loved about this book was to see how Rosa's life made her break the rules and showed the sides of her that I couldn't see right away. Rosa is very different from the other main characters I've met so far. It's a challenge - an enjoyable challenge  - to find a way the her soul.

Jason. Jason <3 There's no better way to say how I felt about him. I loved the way the author built his character. Jason is a Nephilim so Rosa considers him her enemy. That's the reason why I first couldn't stand him and later found myself loving him. He's not what he seems to be, and the reader is the first to know it. This makes the relationship between Rosa and Jason even more interesting: at the same time, you understand why Rosa doesn't like Jason (at first) and feel sorry for Jason, who's forced to hide his true personality.

Few words about the world building and setting. Rosa's world is cruel and full of paranormal creatures: vampires, mermaids, angels, Nephilim... Again, the author knows what she does. I loved the combination of ordinary problems and the problem's only hunters have in their life. I enjoyed the description of the hunter clan and the powers that hunters have, for example how their body reacted every time they touched a Nephilim. It was interesting that humans knew about hunters, angels and shadow creatures (for example mermaids) - the war between hunters and angels was a part of every day life and humans suffered because of it. Another interesting fact was that angels didn't care about humans at all. This novel really gives a new meaning for the word 'angel'.

The plot of the book is also great. There's a balance between fast and slow pacing, which is an achievement in a story like this. Rosa's world is somehow simple and very complicated at the same time. Changed contains surprising twists, swoon worthy moments between Rosa and Jason, and exciting fighting scenes. This novel made my heart beat fast! To me, the events and the feelings the author described told something important about relationships and motives behind our actions. I think Rosa and Jason had feelings that many readers can relate to. I really enjoyed reading Changed and I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

My rating: 4,5 stars

Thank you, Rose, for this review copy!


Review: Heartbeat by Faith Sullivan

Adam and Katie are afraid of love. 

She carries the scars of a first kiss gone terribly wrong. 

He uproots his life the flee the stinging betrayal of an ex.

When trust is no longer an option, all romance is suspect.

As a young paramedic, Adam rescues people for a living but cannot save himself. Katie, just out of high school, struggles with a tortured home life she cannot escape.

Everything changes when Katie hops into the front seat of Adam's ambulance. Overwhelmed by what they are feeling, neither possess the confidence to make the first move. They walk away from each other, full of regret.

To find her, Adam risks his future. To be with him, Katie sacrifices her safety.

Little do they know, what the little time they have, is  being measured by a heartbeat that is slowly dying out.

My thoughts:

Oh boy how beautiful and sad this story is. I really loved the characters and how emotional the events were. I also loved the surprising beginning - I don't remember that I'd read a beginning like that before.

The lovers of the novel, Adam and Katie, are great persons. It's easy to connect with them, which is always a part of a good book. Katie suffers the behavior of her father, and Adam tries to heal himself after being betrayed. These hard experiences bring them closer to each other and show what kind of people they are. The author introduces them scene by scene, which fits the story really well. Adam and Katie clear their heads  and deal with their emotions slowly. It feels realistic and makes their reunion even better.

Grief walks hand in hand with love in their relationship throughout the novel. It's heartbreaking to see how unfair their life is and how many ways they have to suffer. Their story really makes you feel something. I felt somehow empty after reading this book - I couldn't think of anything after reading the last page. Even though I guessed how the book ends, it shocked me and almost made me cry. 

One of the best things in this book was that it's written both Katie's and Adam's point of view. This made me feel like I was living with them, not only reading about their lives. Heartbeat a great debut that I will enjoy more than once.

My rating: 4,5/5 


My May

My May has been busy. I came back home to Imatra and started at my summer job. I sell strawberries, blueberries, cherries, raspberries, peas and potatoes five days a week, and I love my job! I've had lovely customers so far, and I have great co-workers. Our town is full of Russian tourists so I have a chance to speak English every day, which is also great.

I also received two books for review: Changed by Rose J.Bell and Reaper's novice by Cecilia Robert. I'm currently reading Changed and really enjoying it. I'd like to have more time to read, though.

Writing goes quite well again. The funny thing is, that writing goes better now when I'm working. Maybe my job inspires me or something. When I have a day off, writing gets harder.

That's about my May. How about yours?


Spoiling blurbs

I've seen a lot of spoiling blurbs lately. They're mostly blurbs of sequels and tell, for example, that someone died in the first book or what kind of things the main character will have to deal with in the sequel. I've seen this so much that I think twice before I read the blurb of an interesting book.

What happened? Why do we get so much information before we have a chance to open the book?

All the spoilers make me sad. When I find an interesting series, I'd really love to read more about it. But how can I do that if it costs me the joy of reading the books?

Have you noticed this? If you have, what do you think about it?


Fascinating La Gomera (2)

The trip continued to a restaurant where we ate lunch and heard the famous whistling language that residents of La Gomera have used on the mountains. The language is based on the sound of words so the man who was whistling could whistle Finnish words like 'kiitos' (thank you) even though he couldn't understand their meaning. It sounded really funny! Here's few pictures from the garden:

After lunch we visited the national park of Garajonai. When I saw the park I felt like I had stepped in a fairy tale world. The silence and the way the sun shined between trees was absolutely amazing. When I start to write a fantasy novel I'll definitely use the ideas I got in the park. These pictures won't tell how beautiful it was, but...

Here's two pictures of a huge lava tap and one picture of a rare phenomenon: we saw the top of El Teide but not the island of Tenerife.

So here are the last pictures from La Gomera. Hope you enjoy them! More pictures and stories from Tenerife coming soon.


New books

Today I'll share the books that arrived on Monday. 

I already started to read this one. I'm hooked.

This one sounds a perfect vampire story. I love the cover!

Have you read or heard of these? If you have, what do you think? And tell me which of these books I should read after Heartbeat!


A song from the playlist (1)

I created a playlist for the first Young Fighters novel few months ago, and now I'll talk about the first song on the list, Daughtry's Supernatural.

Supernatural has inspired me since I heard it first time about four years ago. It's the first song on the list because it fits the story so well. It could also be the theme song of the novel. 

Here's the song and the lyrics:


Lost from the start, I might as well be on the moon
Much colder than I thought even in the month of June
No communication makes you feel so alone
Well, all we need is patience of which I've never really known

But now it's too late, it's taking over me, it feels so supernatural
And I'm pulled the other way, it's more than I can take
And I'm losing hold of everything
And no matter how I try you know I can't deny
'cause you feel so supernatural

Every step I've taken has led me here to where you are
But all that I believe in is keeping me from seeing too far
Throwing out the questions, waiting for the right reply
Looking for the answers, tell me will it be tonight

But now it's too late, it's taking over me, it feels so supernatural
And I'm pulled the other way, it's more than I can take
And I'm losing hold of everything
When it's more than physical, it's kind of hard to see beyond the glow

And no matter how I try you know I can't deny
'cause you feel so supernatural

Through the atmosphere I'm seeing
glimpses of the past I'm leaving
Holding on for life as we collide

Now it's too late, it's taking over me, it feels so supernatural
And I'm pulled the other way, it's more than I can take
And I'm losing hold of everything
When it's more than physical, it's kind of hard to see beyond the glow
And no matter how I try you know I can't deny
'cause you feel so supernatural

Feel so supernatural
Feel so supernatural
Feel so supernatural
Feel so supernatural

* * *

What do you think about Supernatural?


In the world of books

I've seen many English YA titles in Finnish bookstores lately. Reading in English is getting very popular here and I'm happy to see that booksellers have noticed it too. Now I'm going to share some of the books I've seen.

Finnish edition of Beautiful creatures released this year

I've read many good reviews of all these books and I can't wait to read them. It's interesting to see if there will be Finnish translations of these in the future.