Posted in Recommendations

Hogwarts House Recommendations: Gryffindor

“Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways.”

First line in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling

As you probably know, this is in no way an original idea of mine. Recommending books based on people’s Hogwarts House is a very popular thing and as a true Potterhead, I need to do it. I’m starting with Gryffindor, and in case you’ve never read Harry Potter and don’t know anything about those houses with weird names, here are a few characteristics of a typical Gryffindor:

  • Bravery
  • Nerve
  • Arrogance
  • Recklessness
  • A strong urge to fight for what is right
  • Determination

I’ve picked out 5 books in which the main characters exhibit some of those traits. In that sense, this is a list of recommendations if you want to read books about Gryffindors. You don’t need to be a Gryffindor yourself. As I see it, one’s personality and one’s reading tastes don’t necessarily match in that way. But let’s get onto the books.  

All for the Game by Nora Sakavic

This is a very odd series that mixes a fictional sport called Exy with the mob. We follow Neil Josten as he joins an Exy team at Palmetto State University all while he’s on the run from some very scary people. The Exy team is really the main reason why I think this is a book fit for Gryffindor. They are willing to do whatever they can to win and that includes picking each other up and making the tough decisions. Something about the team just makes me think about the Gryffindor Quidditch team in book 3. Neil is also very protective of his teammates and is willing to sacrifice himself if he has to. That’s something a Gryffindor would do in my opinion.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

A very slow paced and atmospheric book about Vasilisa (Vasya) and her family. The story takes place in Russia in the 14th century but it’s a fantasy and therefore incorporates a lot of Russian folklore into the story. Vasya is very much a Gryffindor in my mind. She’s daring and adventurous which sometimes leads to recklessness but she manages to handle the situations. When her family is threatened, she doesn’t hesitate in her effort the save them.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the Sea is a book about a group of refugees hoping to find safety during World War II. The group is a mix of people that didn’t know one another before the War but end up fighting together to survive bombs and difficult soldiers. There are so many Gryffindors in that group, and they portray all of the best qualities of that house. Especially one of the characters shows immense bravery to help a member of the group. It’s also a hard-hitting book with important themes and I can’t recommend it enough.

Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness

The main character of the Chaos Walking trilogy, Todd, is that perfect example of a Gryffindor who’s very brave and headstrong but seems to have left their brain at home. Well, you can’t have everything. One of the traits I really like in Todd is his determination to defend himself and not just turn the other cheek even when he should. He’s also very confident in himself which just signifies a true Gryffindor to me. The trilogy itself is one of my absolute favorites because it deals with some themes surrounding gender and also because it has the craziest villain.   

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Another book set during World War II although this is a quite popular one. We’re in Germany and follow Liesel who’s just moved in with her foster family. Throughout the book, Liesel shows many of the classic Gryffindor characteristics. She can be very determined and doesn’t back away from a challenge or a fight. Also, when her mind is set, she is willing to take risks to get what she wants. On top of that, she goes to great lengths to help her friends and family in any way she can. She’s really an amazing female protagonist.

This was actually kind of difficult. I feel like some of these books also work for other houses but I decided that Gryffindor was the best fit. I’d love to know if you agree or not if you’ve read any of them.

That was one down and three to go. I’ve decided to do these posts alphabetically so the next one will be about Hufflepuff (my own house!) so look forward to that.

Posted in Discussions

Why I Use the Library and Not the Bookstore

“The Queen waited.”

First line in The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

Hi, fellow readers. Today I want to talk about the topic of borrowing books vs. buying them. Since I discovered booktube and book blogging, it’s come to my attention how many people buy everything they read. Or almost everything. I’m so astounded every time I see those giant book shelves in the background of booktubers’ videos or in a blog post. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with owning so many books (it’s awesome actually), but it has made me realize how I’m the odd one out.

About 95% of the books I read, I borrow from the library. I do own books but only the ones I really like and therefore might want to reread. It means that I most often borrow the books first time I read them and then decide if I want to buy them based on how much I liked them.

In this post I want to discuss some points about borrowing books vs. buying them. There are drawbacks to both but there are also arguments that make both completely valid. In the book community, it can sometimes feel like there’s this great pressure to buy every book you hear about. This post is mainly just to say that’s it okay if you do, but it also perfectly fine is you don’t want to or are able to do that. You can still be a successful blogger, booktuber etc. Let’s discuss some of the problems with using the library but also some of the advantages.

Affordability

Yes, here we have a very strong drawback to buying books. They are kind of expensive, at least if you buy everything you read and need to have the hardback editions with the new beautiful cover (I know the temptation). A trip to the library is just the cheapest solution.

I also want to make a point here about the importance of supporting your local library. The level of funding and people’s usage of the library often go together. So even if you’re able to afford all the books you want, I still urge you to go to your library once in a while to support it. Not everyone can afford to buy their favorite books, and everyone should have the opportunity to read.

Blogging Life

When running a blog or a Youtube channel about books, your life is so much easier if you actually own the books you’re talking about. For example, if you’re going to review a book, you can annotate by using stickers or write in the margins. Those notes are also perfect if you want to reread some of your favorite parts of a book years later.

I also want to mention the problem of borrowing books if you want to participate in readathons. It’s doable but requires so much planning and maybe also some luck. The books you put on hold at the library might be unavailable and won’t come into your possession until after the readathon is over. I haven’t participated in any readathons because of this but I plan to try it out. My solution is to research when readathons are happening and hope the hosts publish the list of prompts early. I also want to focus on the month-long readathons instead of the very short ones.

The same problem goes for TBR posts. I mean, the library decides what I read. I basically just make some suggestions to it.

Shelf Space

Books can take up a lot of space in your apartment/house and that’s awesome. Who doesn’t want their own private library? I want it but I can’t help but think “What do I do when I need to move to a new apartment?”. The sheer workload of that makes me a little bit more hesitant when buying books. When I love a book, I don’t care about that. I will gladly destroy my back to move them.

A problem can also arise if you live with someone who’s oblivious to the magnificence of books. I live alone so my books take up the exact amount of space I want them to. I imagine not everyone’s partners would accept an entire wall or room dedicated to bookshelves. Maybe that’s the actual test of true love?

Supporting Authors

By buying books you support the authors in a very important way: financially. Being an author doesn’t exactly make you rich (unless you’re J. K. Rowling), and therefore sales are crucial for them to continue writing books.

Authors also get paid when a library buy their book but not as much obviously as if it was bought in a bookstore. I live in Denmark and here authors also get a small commission every year as long as the library has their book on their shelves. The more books you have, the more money you get. In that sense, it’s not dependent upon how many times people borrow those books. Such rules differ a lot from country to country, so I think it’s a good idea to check up on the conditions for your country. You could be supporting authors financially without giving them your own money.

You can also support authors in other ways that don’t include buying their book at the bookstore. Rating their book on Goodreads and generally talking about it helps create buzz around the book so that more people hear about it. Maybe you reach someone who’ll want to buy it. 

Unhauling

Unhauling books is a very convenient tool if you end up with too many books on your shelves. Maybe you bought a highly anticipated new release that turned out to be horrible, so you want it off your shelf. Popular places to turn in your unwanted books are the library and used bookstores.

My own difficulties here lie in the fact that I’m a Dane reading books in English, which means that the books I would unhaul aren’t in very high demand. Sometimes I’m able to donate some books to charities that for a period of time will accept anything. Otherwise, finding new homes for my books can be quite time consuming which is again why I prefer to borrow them from the library.

I hope you enjoyed this first discussion post from me. It was just a topic I felt I had to touch upon because I sometimes feel like the weird one for using the library so much. I wanted to explain why. I just love going there and almost consider it to be my second home. I hope you want to chat with me in the comments about this whether you prefer to buy or borrow.

Posted in First Impression Friday

First Impression Friday – The Way of Kings

“Kalak rounded a rocky stone ridge and stumbled to a stop before the body of a dying thunderclast.”

First line in The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Hey, guys. This is my first post for the weekly meme First Impression Friday which is hosted by J. W. Martin. The point of it is to talk about a book you’ve just started to give your initial thoughts and predict whether you’ll end up loving the book or not.

It sounded very interesting to me because I have a tendency to love beginnings of books. Then it might go downhill from there but I love learning what the book is about. This meme is a way for me to articulate those initial feelings.

Today I’m talking about The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.

So, I’m on page 84 out of 1001 meaning that I’ve barely started this behemoth of a book. It also took a while for it to start properly because it has a prelude AND a prologue. I was a bit confused while reading those, because there was just so much information. Both in terms of the world but also the magic, and I sort of panicked in my effort to remember it all. However, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t like what I read. I still found it very cool.

When I finally got to the actual chapters, I was seriously intriqued by one of the characters from the get-go. I’m very interested in following him and learning more about him. The other POV-character I’ve read from so far hasn’t captured my attention in the same way yet but I’m expecting that to change.

My prediction for this book is that I’ll love it. So many people do! I’ve read Sanderson before so I know that I really enjoy his writing style. I think The Way of Kings will end up with a rating between 4 and 5 stars.

Posted in Fun Lists

Popular Books I Don’t Want to Read

“I try not to think of her.”

First line in Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

It’s time for everyone to hate me. Well, I hope you won’t, but this post might have some unpopular opinions sprinkled throughout. I want to talk about some of those very hyped books that are probably very good, but I just don’t have any interest in. I’ve learned that you just can’t read all the popular books because there are so (!!) many. I’ve also too often read a book only because it was extremely hyped and found that I hated it. This post is me trying to avoid that.

(The first line at the beginning of this post is from Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. A very hyped book I read and hated.)

I’ve picked 7 books/series that I don’t want to read. There are more of course, but I’ve tried to find the most popular ones so enjoy (hopefully).  

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Yeah, I’m starting with the one most people love, I guess. It’s great that so many people love it and I’ve heard/read so many reviews for it. It’s just that nothing in those reviews has made me go “Oh, that sounds very interesting.” Just by reading the synopsis, I can tell that I’ll be bored out of my mind if I ever read this so it’s a no. It’s just not for me.

The Lightbringer Series by Brent Weeks

As with most other epic fantasy series, it’s difficult to tell what this is actually about. I just know from other people’s reviews that sexism and detestable characters are very prevalent. I’m reading so many other popular (and long!) fantasy series at the moment so I’m okay with skipping this one.

Anything by Sarah J. Maas

Let me just say that until I discovered booktube last year, I had never heard about Sarah J. Maas or any of her books. That has been rectified now because WOW that’s a topic. I’ve learned that they aren’t for me. I’m not very much into fantasy with a huge romance plot in between. I want my books to either be fantasy or romance. No mixing it up which I understand that Maas does a lot.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

I’m in a complicated relationship with YA contemporaries. Either I love them to death, or they kill my will to read ever again. For that reason, I spend a lot of time learning as much about the books as possible without getting spoiled. What I’ve learned about To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before hasn’t made me excited to read it. I also tend to steer clear of the fluffy contemporaries and I feel this is one of those. I need them to be more hard-hitting to enjoy them.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

I’m just very frightened by the formatting of this book. Everybody is praising it for exactly that, but I just want normal pages with paragraphs of text, okay. I also rarely read science fiction that isn’t dystopian. It’s just not my genre and so I have no interest in this book.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

I used to be somewhat interested in this series when I first heard of it because it’s fairytale retellings. However, I learned that they are very romance-heavy and therefore not something I feel a great need to read. Again, it’s also science-fiction which just makes me wary.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

I’m really not into assassins, guys. I just don’t like them and therefore I steer clear of books with assassin main characters. From the reviews of this, I also feel like it’s very much a hit or miss. People either love it or they hate it which makes me think that Nevernight is not for me. It also has one of my least favorite tropes which is a school setting.

Those were some of the popular books I don’t have any interest in reading. I really want to know if you feel the same way about some of these, but I also want to hear if you really love them and why. Just let your frustrations out in the comments. One could have a change of heart of course with enough persuasion.

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

“Wax crept along the ragged fence in a crouch, his boots scraping the dry ground.”

First line in The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Mistborn: The Alloy Era (Book 1)

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.

One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will.

After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.

Goodreads

Review

I finally picked up this book which is a follow up to Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy. As you can tell from my rating, it was a bit of a let down without being a horrible book. It takes place 300 years after the events in The Hero of Ages and therefore, it has a completely new cast of characters. It also means that the world has progressed to a western inspired setting. I think this book has taught me that I don’t like westerns.  Just keep that in mind.

I’ll split this review up into what I liked and disliked about the book because there’s a bit of both. We start negative to end on a positive note.

Dislikes:

  • Pacing of the plot

I felt the plot was unnecessarily slow for such a short book. The edition I read was only 324 pages long, so I was actually expecting it to be very gripping and exhilarating from start to finish. That’s not what I got. A lot of time is spent on world building (which I’ll get back to) and so the plot almost felt like a side note. Like Sanderson forgot that plot is a thing and just quickly thought of something. In my opinion, the problems could have been resolved much faster but was drawn out to flesh out the world and the characters.

  • Awkward dialogue

Yes, this is weird, I know. Some of things the characters said just made me cringe to hard. Especially Wax when the topics just resembled anything romantic. Definitely not where Sanderson is strongest.

  • The main character Waxillium

We follow Wax for most of the book with a few short POV’s from other characters. That just means that your level of enjoyment is very dependent upon whether you like Wax or not. Well, I didn’t hate him. I just didn’t care very much about him and found him kind of boring. He’s very dry and always very responsible. He lightened up a bit when he had interactions with Wayne but there were very few of those.

Likes:

  • Wayne

Wayne was just a joy to read about. He was a necessary opposite to Wax’ gloominess and I just wish he’d had a more central role to play in the plot. I hope to see more of him in the next books. I need more of his amazing lines and quick wit.

  • Worldbuilding

Absolute favorite thing about this book and the reason I still liked it despite the dislikes I mentioned. Sanderson spends a lot of this book showing how the world and also the magic have evolved. I found it so intriguing to read about and just wanted more. It clearly opened up so many possibilities for the progression of the plot in the next books which I can’t wait to read.

Overall

The Alloy of Law very much functions as an introduction to the next Mistborn Era and it’s clearly meant to set up the next books. Maybe that’s why I overall found it a little underwhelming. Especially for a Sanderson novel. I wanted to be tricked and surprised, but I wasn’t because the plot felt very straightforward and predictable in my opinion.

I’m going to continue with the series and hope Sanderson returns to his earlier amazing storytelling.

Posted in Top 5 Tuesday

Top 5 Books Under 300 Pages

“The monster showed up just after midnight.”

First line in A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

It’s already Tuesday again? Oh well, this week’s topic for Top 5 Tuesday is books under 300 pages. I thought this would be very difficult for me because of my love for the fantasy genre. As you know, that genre tend to have some very, very long books but I actually managed to find 5 books pretty easily. There are even a couple of fantasy books in there.

Top 5 Tuesday is hosted by Shanah from Bionic Book Worm and if you’re interested in participating you can find the topics for August right here. Let’s get onto the books.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

This very short book follows Conor whose mother is ill and don’t seem to be getting better. One night, Conor gets a visit from a monster who tells him stories. Sounds alright but the monster wants something from Conor in return. The truth.

This is one of my favorite books of all time because I’ve never cried like that over a book. I was for real ugly crying over this. I’m never reading it again because it was too painful and made me remember some personal things I want to forget.

Deltora Quest by Emily Rodda

This is technically a series and not a single book but all of the books in this series are less than 150 pages. It’s a middle grade fantasy series and we follow Lief and his friends as they hunt for the lost gems of the Belt of Deltora. There are monsters and adventure in every book, so you’re guaranteed a very exciting read every time.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

I was so surprised to find out that this is only 293 pages long. I don’t remember it as a super short book when I read it a last year. I still think this is my favorite book by Adam Silvera. In a world where you can get a procedure to make you forget certain things, we follow Aaron who’s just experienced a family tragedy.  

I liked this book for dealing with some heavy topics and because it managed to surprise me with it’s ending.

The Queen’s Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Again, we have an entire series and not just a book. The books in The Queen’s Thief are all very short and then it’s fantasy which just seems so rare. You’d think they might feel too short but in my opinion they’re exactly the length they need to be. I love this series so much for its originality, so if you’re tired of seeing the same YA fantasy story over and over again, I’ll recommend you give this a try.

Release by Patrick Ness

Another one by Patrick Ness. A contemporary with a pinch of paranormal about a single day in the life of Adam Thorn. Let’s just say it’s not easiest day for him as he needs to have many important conversations with the people closest to him.

I really enjoyed this obviously as Patrick Ness is one of my favorite authors. I like Adam as a character and found his struggles quite interesting to follow. I also feel it worked really well that the story takes place during a single day. It could easily have been unnecessarily meandering otherwise.

I hope you found this enjoyable. I didn’t have much time to do this post because of a week-long visit from a friend but feel free to discuss these books with me in the comments if you like.

Posted in Fun Lists

Tropes I Don’t Like in Books

“Kell wore a very peculiar coat.”

First line in A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

In July, I did a post about some of favorite book tropes, so now I figured it was time to share some of the tropes that I don’t enjoy. This doesn’t mean that I hate every book that has these tropes but I’ll be more wary of picking up the book.

Just to clarify: Tropes are certain elements or themes that appear in a wide range of books. Many tropes are even adherent to specific genres. A trope doesn’t equal something bad but some can feel like that because of overuse and unoriginality.

In this post, I’ll define some of my most disliked tropes and why I dislike them. If I’ve enjoyed a book despite one of these tropes, I’ll also let you know which ones.

The Competition

Definition: A competition or a tournament takes place and lasts for the majority of the book.

Why I don’t like it: This might seem like a weird one but stay with me for a second. To me, a competition is there to define when the action can happen. Mainly in the way that the climactic point of the book can’t happen till the competition is close to ending or over completely. I want to be surprised. I’ll end up just waiting impatiently for the competition to come to a close so the exciting thing can happen. It hinders my enjoyment of the other elements in the book which I might have liked.

Here are some exceptions:

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling – Fun story: I really struggled with this book the first time I read it because of the tournament. I got through it and now it’s my favorite in the series.
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – I think this is an exception because the Games doesn’t have a defined ending. It could literally end at any moment and thereby it maintains the element of surprise for me.

The not-like-other-girls female characters

Definition: Female characters who go out of their way to appear the least feminine as possible because apparently, it’s cool to be masculine. This include hate towards other girls for being feminine and liking “typical” girl things. This is also that “strong” female character who’s mainly considered strong because she can hit people.

Why I don’t like it: I struggled a bit with the name for this trope but if it helps you, I was basically just trying to describe Lila Bard from A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. It’s that kind of character I don’t enjoy reading about. I don’t mind a masculine female character as along as the author makes me believe that’s actually who they are. That’s just rarely the case, and the façade implies that it’s wrong or weak to be feminine.

 I have no exceptions for this trope.

School Setting in Fantasy

Definition: Our main character spends the majority of the book at a school in a fantasy world to learn magic, science, assassination etc.

Why I don’t like it: This seems like a very popular trope that many people like but I will actively avoid it if the entire book takes place at a school. I find it a bit boring to have that kind of fixed setting because I see it as restricting to the story. It’s also bit too much like real life. You often have the bully, the popular group and so on. I don’t want that kind of predictability when reading fantasy.

I have the one exception you’re all excepting me to have:

  • Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling – Yeah, this is the perfect school setting because anything can happen at Hogwarts so it’s never boring.

Redemption Arc for the Villain

Definition: The villain ends up being one of the good guys. This can come about in different ways. The villain could turn out to have been misunderstood or realizes their mistakes and are reeled in by the hero.

Why I don’t like it: The villain needs to stay bad! Otherwise, what’s the point? Sometimes it can feel like all that was necessary was a conversation. And not that extravagant plot we just went through.

I won’t give exceptions for this one because that would be spoilers.

The Mentor Who Dies

Definition: Our main character has a mentor/father figure typically from the beginning of the book. He or she teaches our main character about life, magic etc. for then to die about half way through the book or by the end of the first book in a series. This is done so that our main character is able to test what they’ve learned and stand on their own.

Why I don’t like it: The predictability. In 10 out 10 books, the mentor character dies. We know it from the moment they are introduced that we shouldn’t get too attached to them. I know it’s necessary for the story progression but don’t make it that obvious.

I have exceptions but again, it will be quite a big spoiler to mention.

Those were the tropes that I don’t particularly enjoy finding in books. Do you agree with me on some of them? What is your most hated trope?

Posted in Wrap up

July Wrap Up

“He wont get out of there, I’m telling you,” the pockmarked man said, shaking his head with conviction.”

First line in Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski

Another month has gone. July was not the best reading month for me but I sort of expected that. My vacation from work was at the beginning of the month so you’d think that would give me more time to read. That’s not what happened. You see, I get most of my reading done on my commute to work so with that gone, I didn’t read that much.

I still managed to read 4 books in July. 3 fantasy and 1 historical fiction and let’s just say that my enjoyment level varied a lot. So, here you have four mini-reviews of the books I read in July.

The Red Scrolls of Magic (Book 1 in The Eldest Curses)

Author: Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

Genre: YA urban fantasy

My rating: 3/5 stars

Synopsis: All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.

Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand and its elusive new leader before the cult can cause any more damage. As if it wasn’t bad enough that their romantic getaway has been sidetracked, demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever—even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping (Goodreads).

My thoughts

It was very sweet but still quite far from being the best entry in the Shadowhunter World. It’s the book to read if you really love Magnus and Alec. If that’s not the case, you’re not missing out on much by not reading it. I have a full review up for it here if you want to know more about my mixed feelings concerning this book.

Salt to the Sea

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Genre: YA historical fiction

My rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis: World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety (Goodreads).

My thoughts

I enjoyed this very much. Even though the characters are fictional, the rest of it is real and that’s horrible to think about. It’s still an important story that needs to be told and I think that’s mainly the reason why this book stands out from other World War II books.

We follow four perspectives and those four characters have widely different backgrounds and stories. Their chapters are very short, so it was a bit confusing to begin with to tell them apart, but it got very clear along the way. I’m not sure the book needed four main characters though. One of them was very much cut off from the others and never really played a part in their story. He was mainly there to give information to the reader even though he was interesting enough. That’s just the only criticism I have of the book. The rest was so good, and people need to read it.

The Republic of Thieves (Book 3 in Gentleman Bastard)

Author: Scott Lynch

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis: With what should have been the greatest heist of their career gone spectacularly sour, Locke and his trusted partner, Jean, have barely escaped with their lives. Or at least Jean has. But Locke is slowly succumbing to a deadly poison that no alchemist or physiker can cure. Yet just as the end is near, a mysterious Bondsmage offers Locke an opportunity that will either save him or finish him off once and for all.

Magi political elections are imminent, and the factions are in need of a pawn. If Locke agrees to play the role, sorcery will be used to purge the venom from his body—though the process will be so excruciating he may well wish for death. Locke is opposed, but two factors cause his will to crumble: Jean’s imploring—and the Bondsmage’s mention of a woman from Locke’s past: Sabetha. She is the love of his life, his equal in skill and wit, and now, his greatest rival.

Locke was smitten with Sabetha from his first glimpse of her as a young fellow orphan and thief-in-training. But after a tumultuous courtship, Sabetha broke away. Now they will reunite in yet another clash of wills. For faced with his one and only match in both love and trickery, Locke must choose whether to fight Sabetha—or to woo her. It is a decision on which both their lives may depend (Goodreads).

My thoughts

This third book in the Gentleman Bastard just confirms that the series is still among my all-time favorites. I loved the introduction of Sabetha in this one even though I’d feared her arrival. We’ve gotten so many hints to her romance with Locke and I was afraid it would take over the plot but that wasn’t the case in my opinion. The writing is also just as great as in the previous books. I have a full review up for this if you want to know more about my thoughts.

Sword of Destiny (Book 2 in The Witcher)

Author: Andrzej Sapkowski

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 2/5 stars

Synopsis: Geralt is a Witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent (Goodreads).

My thoughts

I was SO bored! The reason for this is probably because Sapkowski hasn’t made me care about anyone or anything. If something bad happened I only ever thought “okay”. I don’t particularly like any of the characters so I didn’t root for them either.

I’m not saying it’s a bad book necessarily but it just didn’t make me feel anything. I didn’t love anything but I didn’t hate anything either. Okay, I did hate the oversexualization of female characters but the first book had the same problem so I was expecting it. Please let me know if you liked this book and why.

That was it. Hopefully, I’ll be able to read some more in August but I’m planning to start some big books this month so my total number of books might not be much higher. Still, hope you enjoyed this. Let’s chat in the comments.

Posted in Top 5 Tuesday

Top 5 Tuesday // U to Z

“First the colours.”

First line in The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It’s the last week of the alphabet challenge! As you may know, the Top 5 Tuesday topics for July were the letters of the alphabet and we’ve reached the final 6. Top 5 Tuesday is hosted by Shanah from Bionic Book Worm so go check out her blog if you’re interested in knowing the topics for August and want to participate.

To say this week was a challenge is a bit of an understatement. We have 6 letters and I have read books beginning with 2 of them… I had to get creative and I’ll explain how for each of the letters I had problems with. Let’s begin.

U is for Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Yes, I can see that’s an M but there is a ‘you’ (U) in there so this is the book I’m going with. I’ve never read a book starting with ‘U’. Me before You is the kind of book, I read a long time ago. I gave it 5 stars but I don’t think the rating would be the same if I read it today.

I remember liking it for giving an insight into what it’s like to be stuck to a wheel chair and need help with so many things. Other than that, the book has some sweet moments and then some not so sweet moments.

V is for Vicious by V. E. Schwab

It was either this or the sequel, Vengeful, so I picked the first in the series obviously. I love Victoria Schwab. However, Vicious was not for me. I gave it 3 stars so not bad but to me this book was just fine. I rarely like it when authors use flashbacks to such a great extent. It creates two storylines and I will just automatically be most interested in the present one. The chapters from the past feel too much like breaks in the story to me.

Still, if you enjoy morally gray characters who are explored throughout a slow-paced book, you should definitely read this.

W is for We are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

I really liked this book although it was very weird. It’s a YA contemporary with a sci-fi twist because our main character Henry keeps getting abducted by aliens. He’s quite used to it so no big deal but that is until the aliens tell him that the world will end in 144 days and that he can prevent it. Henry just has a very shitty life so he’s not sure if he wants to.

It’s a very interesting concept. It makes you wonder whether you yourself would save the world or not if your life sucked like Henry’s does. This is also a bit of a heavy contemporary as it deals with suicide and grief among other things. I really enjoy reading those kinds of books.

X (S) is for The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

You know in math class and you had to find out what X is? Yeah, I did the math and this X is S (not going to explain how I got that result). Therefore, I picked The Song of Achilles.

I will read every book Madeline Miller ever publishes. Her writing is so beautiful, and it almost feels like you’re reading a dream. You don’t get every single detail of scene but you get what you need to feel the atmosphere.

The Song of Achilles is the reimagined life story of Achilles and Patroclus and it’s now the only version of their story that I’ll acknowledge. If you’re just the slightest bit interested in mythology, I think this is a must-read.

Y is for A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

The author’s last name begins with a Y and that’s why. I’ve realized it’s very hard for me to make a post and not mention this book. I swear, I’m trying not to. I read it in February this year and I still find myself thinking about it. I can’t imagine that it’s not going to be my favorite book of the year.

Z is for The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The last name again coming in to save me. A very popular and beloved book set in Germany during World War II. By being narrated by Death, this book is both horrifying and heartwarming at the same time. It’s a really cool narrative choice that has made this book into a kind of modern classic. I also really liked this book for its portrayal of everyday life for the ordinary German during the war. It showed how the entire country suffered, even those who weren’t involved in the war itself.  

We made it! Well, not a 100% success but close. I hope you still found this fun and want to chat with me about these books in the comments.

Posted in Book Tags

The Disney Book Tag

“One summer night I fell asleep, hoping the world would be different when I woke up.”

First line in Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

I wanted to do a tag and had come across this one a couple of weeks ago. I really like Disney so that was the only excuse I needed. The Disney Book Tag was originally created by Kat from the booktube channel Katytastic and you can see her video here. Let’s get onto the questions.

Answer: Enne Salta from Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

A character out of their element is a typical thing to come across especially in fantasy books. However, no one is more perfect for this than Enne. She’s spent all her life trying to become a proper lady. You know, she’s polite, knows what all the cutlery is for etc. In the beginning of the book, she arrives at New Reynes which is the complete opposite of what she’s used to. There’s crime, violence and gangs which she then has to navigate to find her mother.

Bonus answer: Eugenides in The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. It’s the third book in the series and therefore too spoilery to talk about but if you’ve read it, you know what I mean.

Answer: Vin from Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

I struggled a bit with this one but decided to go with Vin. I can’t think of anyone else having as much character development as her. She’s a completely different person by the end of book three. Also, she kind of gets the whole Cinderella transformation in the first book so she needs to be my answer here.  

Answer: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

SO many characters in this one both good, bad and everything in between.

Answer: Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

The third book in The Inheritance Cycle about Eragon who finds a dragon egg. I remember that this quartet was supposed to be a trilogy but Brisingr was added because Paolini couldn’t contain the story to only three books. In my opinion, Brisingr shouldn’t exist. As far as I remember, NOTHING happened in it and I was so bored the entire time. I really like the other three books but this one was just pointless.

Answer: Jude St. Francis from A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Let’s just not talk about that because I’ll just cry again.

Answer: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

I feared this book because so many people love it but the synopsis didn’t sound like something I would like. I don’t normally enjoy that storytelling narrative that this is so heavily based on but I actually ended up enjoying it. The writing kept me hooked because that was just beautiful.

Answer: Lazlo Strange from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Lazlo almost seemed to obvious to me. His entire character is based upon his wish to find the lost city of Weep and someone happens to show up to take him to it. I definitely think his life improved by getting his wish granted.

Answer: Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin.

At first, I thought this question would be really difficult but then I remembered Arya. When is she actually Arya Stark in these books? She most often goes by other names (Arry, Weasel), and Martin puts emphasis on how she becomes those names/people. She is even more appropriate for this question in the later books.

Answer: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I want to be able to talk to Cath and be a nerd with her. I also just want a guy like Levi to exist in real life because he’s just so sweet.

Answer: Ruin from Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

I feel like I often go with The Mayor from Chaos Walking for this type of question so I wanted to pick someone else. Ruin is almost all-powerful and that is the kind of villains I love. I need to actually fear for the characters and feel like the villain could trick me at any moment.  

I hope you enjoyed this little tag. If you want to do it yourself, consider yourself tagged. Otherwise, happy reading!