Posted in Fun Lists

Books I Would Like Better as Movies/Shows

The great horn sounded.

First line in The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett

I know a lot of readers deem it to be sacrilege to say that any movie was better than the book. I’m not one of those readers. You see, if I don’t like the book, there’s quite a big opportunity for the movie to be better. The most popular example is The Lord of the Rings.

A movie or a show has the opportunity to fix some of the issues I have with the book, especially in terms of writing style and sexism in books published (what feels like) 5000 years ago. So that’s what I’m talking about today. I’m going to be talking about books I gave 3 stars or less, that I think I would enjoy more if they hit the big screen. This was inspired by a recent Top Ten Tuesday post where I talked about all the books I love I would like to see adapted.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

My rating: 2 stars

I know I’m not the only one who found this book very confusing, but I would still be very intrigued to see it turned into a Netflix series. It has enough interesting characters and a world writers can play around with. Especially the many inventions introduced in the book could be portrayed better in a TV series. In the book, I missed some background information about these things and why they existed, besides the fact that the characters needed them.

Master of Sorrows by Justin Travis Call

My rating: 2 stars

This book was too slow. And it was slow in the wrong way. For example, it spent a lot of time setting the scene every time we changed location. Those 2-3 pages-long descriptions of a room every so often would just be a single shot in a movie, meaning there could be room for so much more story.

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

My rating: 3 stars

It’s not that I disliked this book. It just wasn’t anything special. I think that I personally prefer these cutesy romance stories in movie format. You know, with music in the background and generally beautiful cinematography to really make me feel all the feels.

Vicious by V. E. Schwab

My rating: 3 stars

This would need a major makeover as a movie to be something I liked, but it can be done. Fewer flashbacks and more present-time interactions between Victor and Eli would make it much more entertaining for me. A little more action, too, please. They have superpowers!

Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

My rating (book 1-3): 2-4 stars

I know we’re already getting an adaption of this, so this is me saying I have high hopes for it! I’m positive the show will do something about the awful gender stereotyping and generally give the characters a little more depth. The show format will also mean that I don’t have to trudge through long-winded descriptions of inns that look exactly the same.

The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett

My rating: 3 stars

This book has so many cool concepts that were sadly overshadowed by the worst case of “men writing women” I’ve ever seen. Watching a movie version would mean less eye-rolling for me and quite possibly make me much more interested in this world where demons rule the night.

That was this week’s fun little post. Let me know what you think of book-to-movie adaptions. Am I completely wrong in saying that the movie is sometimes better? Is there a movie you like better than the book or maybe predict you would if it existed? I would love to discuss it in the comments!

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – September 16th 2020

Today was the day a thousand dreams would die and a single dream would be born.

First line in The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Hi, guys. I hope you’re all doing great. Today I’m using WWW Wednesday to give you a reading update. WWW Wednesday a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words, and it’s meant to give you all a little insight into my reading this week. I’ll answer the 3 questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish?
  • What do you think you’ll read next

What did you recently finish?

I finished The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, which I gave 3 stars. It was such a middle-of-the-road book for me that I don’t have much to say about it. There wasn’t anything I loved or hated in particular. I do see some potential in the series and that ending kind of forced me to continue.

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading The Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare, and I’m 32% into that one. It’s weird. It makes me think about how the main critique of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is that the characters act older than their age. In The Lost Book of the White, it’s the same problem but in reverse. The characters are adult but act like teenagers because it’s YA. So yeah, the characters aren’t that great but so far the plot has kept me intrigued, so I’m still excited to continue reading and see where that goes.

I’m also still working on my reread of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I’m 60% in so I might be able to finish that before next Wednesday.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m hoping the library will come through for me and give me The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan, book 4 in Wheel of Time. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll start A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden. I’ve read a lot of YA fantasy lately, so I’m in need of something adult.

Posted in Book Tags

The Liebster Award

“Telsin!” Waxillium hissed as he crept out of the training hut.

First line in The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

I nominated for an award! This time it was for The Liebster Award, and I was nominated by Naemi from A Book Owl’s Corner, so thank you very much! If you’re not already following her, you need to. She’s preparing for some seriously intimidating exams at the moment so please head over there and cheer her up.

What is the Liebster Award?

“The Liebster Award is an award that exists only on the internet and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The earliest case of the award goes as far back as 2011. Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.”

Rules:

  • Say thank you to the person who has nominated you for the Award.
  • Answer the 11 questions the person has asked you
  • Nominate 11 people
  • Ask the people who you have nominated 11 questions

Now let’s jump into the question I was asked by Naemi!

What is a trope you can’t help but love, even though it’s overused?

I will forever be in love with the chosen one trope. It’s not possible to overuse it. However, I don’t think I can explain why I love it. I just find that the chosen one character often is my favorite in whichever book they feature.

Describe your perfect quarantine day!

A quick trip to the store as early as possible (to avoid people) to shop for snacks. Then sit and read for most of the day. Taking breaks to write blog posts or gathering the courage to comment on others. I have been into playing Football Manager a lot lately, so that would also be a break from reading. Of course, I would order take-out for dinner and probably watch a Marvel movie in the evening. Perfect day!

If you could have any fictional pet, what would you choose?

I want Manchee from A Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. If you haven’t read it, Manchee is the cutest, most adorable dog ever. I’m actually not allowed to have pets where I live, but I’m sure I can figure something out with my landlord. When I tell him that I could have picked a dragon, I’m sure he’ll come around and see that a dog is actually a compromise.

What is your favorite and least favorite thing about blogging?

My favorite thing about blogging is that I get to be creative and write. And that I decide what that means. Some of the posts I’ve made have either been very weird or very niche. Like how would I ever in real life talk about how some book titles work as band names? It’s fun to be creative.
My least favorite thing is the social side of it. You sort of need to interact with other bloggers to really be a part of the community. And yeah, if you don’t know what social anxiety is, then let me you tell about how talking to people is my worst nightmare. It’s not too bad when people comment on my own posts, and I just have to answer them. Invading other people’s spaces and forcing them to talk to me, though? I want to throw up. But I still want to show my love for what other bloggers do, so I always try to comment. Just not succeeding a whole lot.

If you were stranded on a deserted island all alone, which fictional character and which author would you choose to join you and why?

My choice of fictional character is Ronan Lynch from the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater because he has a special ability that I guess is a spoiler to talk about. Let’s just say he would solve a lot of the problems that would arise from living on a deserted island.

My choice of author is Erin Morgenstern for two reasons. I want to ask her about all of the hidden meanings in The Starless Sea, and I also just think she could come up with some interesting stories to pass the time.

Describe your favorite book using emojis or GIFs, but don’t tell us what it is. Let’s see if someone can guess it in the comments!

I don’t have a single favorite book so I just picked one of my favorites. See if you can guess.

If you could have any character from a book teach you one skill, what would you learn and who would be your mentor?

I’m simple. I just want Peeta to teach me how to bake. Anything really. I’m not worth much in a kitchen, but I love cake.

Have you ever dressed up as a character from a book?

No, not a specific character at least. As a child, I dressed up either as a witch or a princess (I know, incredibly original). Since then, I haven’t had many opportunities where it would be fitting to dress up as a book character.

What book are you proudest of forcing on other people? (For their own good, of course…)

I don’t know. I don’t get the feeling that I’m “powerful” enough to make people read something. Friends and family don’t even read what I recommend them lol. I’ve been trying to get my mom to read Harry Potter for the past 15 years, but she won’t touch them 😂.
I may have gotten a few people to read The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith, which I’m immensely proud of. If I haven’t forced it on you yet, here’s my review 😉

What is your favorite blog post that you’ve ever written and why?

The real question is: do I actually like anything I’ve written? 😅

I gave it some thought and figured I had to mention two because I have a favorite serious-post and a favorite funny-post.
The serious one is my discussion on cancel culture and its alternative solutions because that was really hard for me to write and post. I think it turned out great, though, and I was glad to get some things off my chest.
The fun one is a Top Ten Tuesday post about book characters I’d follow on social media. I put way too much effort into that, but it was such a fun creative challenge.

Which post that someone else wrote have you enjoyed recently?

I really liked a post Ikram @Readlogy did recently, which was a guide for non-English speakers who want to start reading books in English. Not that it was relevant to myself, but I thought it was very well put together, and I recognized some tips that I used when I started reading in English.

Another recent post combined my two favorite things: books and football. Nefeli @BiblioNebula told us about which football clubs book characters would support. She gave some very convincing reasons for every choice and had such a fun time reading it. Although, seeing Harry Potter as a Manchester United supporter hurt me a little.

Those were some fun questions to answer. Now, I’ve decided to make my own rules and not nominate anyone else. I very recently answered questions and tagged 11 people for The Sunshine Blogger Award and have generally tagged quite a few people recently. That social anxiety I was talking about is yelling at me to stop, so I hope that’s okay. I would love to know your answers to some of Naemi’s questions in the comments instead. Especially the one about your favorite blog post. Feel free to link it and I’ll check it out. Happy reading, guys!

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – September 9th 2020

Fie was taking too long to cut the girl’s throat.

First line in The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen

Hi, guys. I hope you’re all doing great. Today I’m using WWW Wednesday to give you a reading update. WWW Wednesday a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words, and it’s meant to give you all a little insight into my reading this week. I’ll answer the 3 questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish?
  • What do you think you’ll read next

What did you recently finish?

Two books! First I finished The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley, which I posted my review of yesterday. I ended up rating it 4 stars because it was such an enjoyable read. It contained many of my favorite things in books such as deep friendships and a slow-moving plot. I was also very intrigued by the themes surrounding disability which the book explored and it opened my eyes to some new aspects.

I also finished The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen, the sequel to The Merciful Crow, but sadly couldn’t give that one more than 2 stars. Everything was just wrong. All side-characters were pretty much reduced to glorified extras, and everything was about the MC instead. That was a shame because her main personality trait seemed to be “angst”. That gets boring pretty fast. Also, the magic system in here seemed to develop in a very convenient way. There weren’t really any hard rules explained about it so it just worked the way the characters wanted it to work. That’s probably my least favorite fantasy trope.

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, which I’m 52% into. I don’t know what to think other than I enjoyed the very beginning of the book. It introduced an intriguing world and some character dynamics I’m very interested in seeing more of. Unfortunately, I was then spoiled for the big mystery of the book because I glanced at a supposedly spoiler-free review on Goodreads… so now I’m kind of bummed. But well, I’m trying to enjoy it anyway, but have to admit that some of the excitement is gone.

I’m also working on my reread of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which I’m 22% into. It’s my favorite in the series, and for some reason, I always forget why until I pick it up and can’t stop reading.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m considering taking a short break from The Kiss of Deception, and pick up The Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare. It’s the second book in The Eldest Curses series and I’m craving some Cassandra Clare.

Posted in Book Review

The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley – Book Review

Although I hadn’t been shot at for years, it took me a long time to understand that the bang wasn’t artillery.

First line in The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley

Author: Natasha Pulley

Published: July 13th 2017

Genre: Historical Fiction/Magical Realism

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Peru, disabled MC, friendship, culture clash

Synopsis: In 1859, ex-East India Company smuggler Merrick Tremayne is trapped at home in Cornwall after sustaining an injury that almost cost him his leg and something is wrong; a statue moves, his grandfather’s pines explode, and his brother accuses him of madness.

When the India Office recruits Merrick for an expedition to fetch quinine—essential for the treatment of malaria—from deep within Peru, he knows it’s a terrible idea. Nearly every able-bodied expeditionary who’s made the attempt has died, and he can barely walk. But Merrick is desperate to escape everything at home, so he sets off, against his better judgment, for a tiny mission colony on the edge of the Amazon where a salt line on the ground separates town from forest. Anyone who crosses is killed by something that watches from the trees, but somewhere beyond the salt are the quinine woods, and the way around is blocked.

Surrounded by local stories of lost time, cursed woods, and living rock, Merrick must separate truth from fairy tale and find out what befell the last expeditions; why the villagers are forbidden to go into the forest; and what is happening to Raphael, the young priest who seems to have known Merrick’s grandfather, who visited Peru many decades before. The Bedlam Stacks is the story of a profound friendship that grows in a place that seems just this side of magical.

Goodreads

Review

Through The Bedlam Stacks author Natasha Pulley takes the reader on a journey to a far-out village in Peru in the year 1859. We follow Merrick as he hesitantly has agreed to help his friend Clem and the India Office collect cuttings from some very special trees that can treat malaria. They only grow in Peru but are heavily guarded to keep a monopoly in place, which makes the mission one of high risk.

Disability Rep

Merrick is recruited because of his great knowledge of plants, but he worries about the strain the journey and danger of the mission will put on his leg. You see, he was previously injured and now has trouble walking without a cane. His disability is one of the major topics of the book. I haven’t been able to find any own-voice reviews of this book to gauge the quality of the disability representation in here. However, in my own humble opinion, it was done in a way that was both respectful and educational. Very much one of my favorite aspects about the book. He’s also not the only character with a disability.

Slower Than Slow

Patience is a keyword should you decide to read The Bedlam Stacks. It is so slow that it almost grinds to a halt. Luckily, you’re rewarded for your patience when you get to the end. It’s the kind of book that if you DNF it midway through, you have no idea what it’s about. Just trust that there’s a point to it all.

Friendships

The way this book explores different kinds of friendships was what really made me love the reading experience. It goes into how friendships aren’t necessarily logical. Sometimes it just works, and other times it’s way more complicated than that.
I also just adore when characters show affection for each other, and The Bedlam Stacks very much delivered in that area.

He laughed. It showed how he had been when he was younger. Mild-mannered and handsome. In a shilling-spin of an instant, I realised that he wasn’t crude work but the ruin of something fine.

The Landscape of Peru

A lot of time is spent describing the landscape of Peru that Merrick travels through, and here we get to the reason why I only rated this book 4 stars and not 5. This description-heavy style of writing isn’t exactly my favorite. I have a hard time picturing what I’m reading, which means that these descriptions do nothing for me. Some of the magical realism aspects also went a little over my head because of this, but not to the extent that I wasn’t able to understand the story. I would have loved a more atmospheric writing style to make me feel like I was in that little village in Peru. I’m sure that would have made me love the book even more.

Overall

A book that took me out of my comfort zone, but nonetheless, gave me a reading experience I haven’t been able to stop thinking about. Natasha Pulley has woven an incredible story that slowly but deliberately pulls you in through deep character interactions and a desire to uncover the secrets of a small village.
My last attempt to convince you to read The Bedlam Stacks is this quote:

It’s good for a person to be terrorized by a goat. Hard to get high and mighty when there’s something chasing you for vegetables.

I hope you found this review useful. It’s a book I highly recommend, but it’s also very much a book that isn’t to everyone’s liking. I’m just very happy I read it, so let me know if you plan to. Or already have. I definitely plan to read more from this author.

Posted in Recommendations

Patrick Ness – Author Appreciation and How To Get Started

“Adam would have to get the flowers himself.”

First line in Release by Patrick Ness

I have counted Patrick Ness among my favorite authors for quite a few years now since I first dove into his Chaos Walking trilogy. Ness has been writing novels, and even a few screenplays, since 2003, and is mainly known for his Young Adult works. His books have earned him several awards, including two Carnegie Medals.

So what is it that he does so well? If you ask me, it’s a lot of things, of course, but mostly the very emotional way he writes his characters. He will transport the reader into the mind of the character and will not only make you see their reasonings and motivations but will make you understand them as well. Even when the character isn’t necessarily the “good guy”. But this is especially important as a few of his books feature a protagonist with mental health issues. He’s often showing the how and the why behind these struggles.

What you also need to know about Ness is that he creates some very unique and original stories. You won’t find the most generic tropes in his books, and if you do, it’s only because he’s decided to take a creative spin on it like in “The Rest of Us Just Live Here” where we follow a group of ordinary teenagers who are living their lives around the ‘Chosen Ones’.
This brings me to the topic of how most of his books can be said to be contemporaries or at least give off a contemporary feel, but they all have a sci-fi or fantasy twist to them. To me, that is part of why his books feel so unique. His imagination and how he uses these twists are what keep me guessing all the way through.

Finally, we have his writing, which really is what makes him one of the absolute best YA authors out there. It is both beautiful without being purple prose and smart in the way that it allows the readers to think for themselves. In other words, it’s simple and to the point. His writing is also why I think many of his books will work for readers who primarily read adult books and wants to try out some YA. Patrick Ness is a great choice to start with.

Below I have a list of all of his works with links to Goodreads in case you’re interested in a synopsis. After that, I’m going to try and recommend which book to start with if you’re completely new to the author.

Books

The Crash of Hennington (2003)Adult

Topics I Know Nothing About (2004)Short Story Collection

The Chaos Walking Trilogy (2008-2010) – Young Adult
The Knife of Never Letting Go
The Ask and the Answer
Monsters of Men

A Monster Calls (2011)Young Adult

The Crane Wife (2013)Adult

More Than This (2013)Young Adult

The Rest of Us Just Live Here (2015)Young Adult

Release (2017)Young Adult

And the Ocean Was Our Sky (2018)Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Burn (2020)Young Adult

Where to Start Reading Patrick Ness

Before I start recommending books to start with, I will highlight that I haven’t read his adult books or the graphic novel, so I naturally won’t be recommending those. This will only focus on his YA novels.

Which book of his fits best for you is, of course, very much down to personal preference. I wouldn’t say that there is a wrong place to start so if you’ve found a synopsis you think sounds extremely cool, then I would say just go for it. If you on the other hand is completely lost, here are some recommendations based on your reading tastes:

You like SFF:

🥇 Chaos Walking trilogy – An entire village of only men that can hear each other’s thoughts. Every. Single. Thought. The Mayor keeps secrets and a girl shows up.

🥈 Burn – Dragons that co-exist with humans in a 1950’s Washington to the extent that they have a cult-following. Prejudice still exists, and a prophecy might destroy everything.

You like contemporaries:

🥇 The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Those Chosen Ones can really mess up other people’s lives with their chosen-one-ness. A guy just wants to finish high school and deal with his OCD.

🥈 Release – A book that shows you just how many problems you can have in a single day. A boy from a religious family deals with being gay and life in general, and there is a ghost.

You like something sad:

🥇 A Monster Calls – Prepare yourself for an ugly-cry. A monster shows up at a boy’s window to teach us all how to deal with life when a loved one suffers from a long-term illness.

You like something uplifting:

🥇 Release – A book that shows you just how many problems you can have in a single day, but also how to overcome them. A boy from a religious family deals with being gay and life in general, and there is a ghost.

🥈 The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Those Chosen Ones can really mess up other people’s lives with their chosen-one-ness. A guy just wants to finish high school and deal with his OCD.

You like something weird:

🥇 More Than This – A boy wakes up and has no idea what’s going on and neither should you when starting the book.

🥈 Chaos Walking trilogy – An entire village of only men that can hear each other’s thoughts. Every. Single. Thought. The Mayor keeps secrets and a girl shows up.

In case I haven’t made it clear, I love Patrick Ness and his amazing YA stories. This was a post that hopefully managed to help you figure out if he’s also an author for you. Let me know what you think in the comments.




Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – September 2nd 2020

“Give me your hat.”

First line in The Bone Ships by R. J. Barker

Hi, guys. I hope you’re all doing great. Today I’m using WWW Wednesday to give you a reading update. WWW Wednesday a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words, and it’s meant to give you all a little insight into my reading this week. I’ll answer the 3 questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish?
  • What do you think you’ll read next

What did you recently finish?

I made my way all the way through The Bone Ships by R. J. Barker, which I gave 4 stars. My enjoyment level went down a little bit towards the end due to reasons I have difficulties putting into words. I already reviewed the book for my August Reading Wrap Up, so go check it out if you missed it.
I also just need to draw attention to how much I love this book’s first line: “Give me your hat.”
You don’t need to read much further into the book to know that it’s not only a great, snappy line but also incredibly impactful. A more fitting first line for this book doesn’t exist.

What are you currently reading?

My commute book is The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley, which I’m halfway through at the moment. I haven’t been able to decide what I think of it so far. It’s very odd. A lovely comment on last week’s post told me it had a very slow beginning, and that has definitely been the case. It hasn’t been a problem for me, although there are moments where it gets a little too description-heavy. I also think I might have just reached the point where it gets really interesting.
My favorite thing so far has been these small moments of humor sprinkled throughout an otherwise very serious story. They are very minor moments, but I really like how effective they still are in terms of lightening the mood and relationships between the characters.

On Saturday, I made the spontaneous decision to start The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen, which is the sequel to The Merciful Crow. I’d forgotten it was published in August and figured I better finish this duology before I forget too much from the first book. I was in a rare need for an audiobook because I’m spending my late afternoons watching the Tour de France (our commentators are morons, so I need to have the tv muted unless I want to throw stuff at it).
I’m 54% into the audiobook, and I’m not really loving it. I keep wishing for the book to turn into a dual-perspective story because I think I’ve had enough of that MC now. She a little too annoying and doesn’t otherwise have many appealing character traits. I’m a little confused because I don’t remember having a problem with her in the first book.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I have about 10 books I should be starting this next week, so I need to force myself to make a decision now. I have The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson from the library, so that will have to be a priority. An old popular YA fantasy that I’m anxious to see what I think about. The second book I plan to start is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which is a reread. It’s my favorite in the series, so I have been anticipating this since I started this series-reread.

Posted in Wrap up

August 2020 Reading Wrap Up

“Oh dear,” said Linus Baker, wiping sweat from his brow.

First line in The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune

We’ve completed another month this year (yay), and so it’s time for my reading wrap up for August. This is where I share mini-reviews for the books I read this past month and share some statistics on my reading. So let’s start with the stats.

As you can tell, I had a pretty extraordinary reading month. I read 7 books instead of my usual 5, but funnily enough, it didn’t translate to more pages read. I actually read 80 less than in July. It was a month of short books for me, which isn’t unexpected since I read Oathbringer (1,220 pages) in July. In even better news, though, is that the quality of my reading was amazing. Out of the 7 books, there was only one that I didn’t really love, but I’m okay with that when the rest turned out to be so brilliant.
Personally, I’m also proud of myself for finishing two series this month. That means I get to start new ones, right? (Don’t worry, I already did). But enough about stats.

I finished my reread of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban this month, and there will not be a mini-review for that. It means that I have 6 mini-reviews for you so enjoy.

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

Author: Caroline Criado Perez

Published: March 7th 2019

Genre: Non-Fiction

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Feminism, people in power forgetting women exist

Synopsis: Imagine a world where your phone is too big for your hand, where your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body, where in a car accident you are 47% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued. If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you’re a woman.

Invisible Women shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives.

Goodreads

My thoughts

I don’t usually read non-fiction so don’t take my rating too seriously. It’s merely a reflection of how much I want other people to read this book! It talks so much about how many aspects of our daily life are designed to benefit men and not women because it’s assumed that if something works for men it must work for all. And the author provides so many examples. Each example might seem small and insignificant, but when you have 100 small things that complicate women’s lives, you can’t just ignore everything.

As a woman, this was a very frustrating read because it really made me aware of how much work we still have left to do to reach gender equality. I’m personally very privileged to be living in Denmark where I’m not as disadvantaged for being a woman as women elsewhere. However, a lot of the issues in this book are not country-specific but matter worldwide, such as the lack of research in women’s bodies.

If you’re interested in learning more about feminism, I highly recommend this read.

Firestarter (Timekeeper #3)

Author: Tara Sim

Published: January 15th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read the synopsis for the first book in the series, Timekeeper, on Goodreads.

My thoughts

There was something about this book that kept it from reaching the same awesomeness level as the first two books in the trilogy. Which is quite sad really. I especially felt that the plot was a little bit of a mess as there was never a clear direction to it. New plot lines were introduced in the last half of the book and those we had been working on in book two were discarded. There was also a certain trope involving the villain in this that I just never like so that dampened my enjoyment a bit.

What I still love about the series and this book are its characters and its magic system. Those were still great in the final book and we got to see a lot of development in both. There were also a lot of new characters introduced in this one, and I could tell that Sim wanted me to care about them by giving me their backstory… but I didn’t. They were fine but they weren’t necessary in my opinion.

It’s still a trilogy I highly recommend. Even though this final book was lacking in some areas it never failed to keep my attention. There were high stakes and action all the way through.

Burn

Author: Patrick Ness

Published: June 2nd 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Buzzwords: DRAGONS!, 1950’s

Synopsis: Sarah Dewhurst and her father, outcasts in their little town of Frome, Washington, are forced to hire a dragon to work their farm, something only the poorest of the poor ever have to resort to.

The dragon, Kazimir, has more to him than meets the eye, though. Sarah can’t help but be curious about him, an animal who supposedly doesn’t have a soul, but who is seemingly intent on keeping her safe.

Because the dragon knows something she doesn’t. He has arrived at the farm with a prophecy on his mind. A prophecy that involves a deadly assassin, a cult of dragon worshippers, two FBI agents in hot pursuit—and somehow, Sarah Dewhurst herself.

Goodreads

My thoughts

I loved this! And I was so surprised by that. It has a synopsis that doesn’t really give you much, and I would also definitely recommend going into it knowing as little as possible. Just trust that Patrick Ness will mesmerize you. If that’s not quite enough, I have a review to let you know about more of my thoughts.

Drowned Country (The Greenhollow Duology #2)

Author: Emily Tesh

Published: August 18th 2020

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read the synopsis for the first book in the series, Silver in the Wood, on Goodreads.

My thoughts

I want more!

There’s a change of POV character from the first book which means that the feel and focus of the book are a little different. Not bad different, though. It explores different aspects of what it means to be human and thereby feels like a natural continuation of the first book.

It still portrays a dark and magical atmosphere that will draw you in and make you wonder why you don’t already live in a forest. Tesh also really took the fairy tale concept and ran with it when she created this story. She explores it in quite a unique way by going back to its roots.

Obviously going to read whatever Tesh publishes in the future.

The House in the Cerulean Sea

Author: T. J. Klune

Published: March 17th 2020

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Buzzwords: magical children, orphanage, fighting prejudice

Synopsis: A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

Goodreads

My thoughts

Yes, everyone else has been giving this book 5 stars, but not me, of course. I really wanted to love it so I’m incredibly disappointed that I only found it… okay. My biggest issue is probably that it’s a Middle Grade disguised as an adult book, and I don’t care for Middle Grade books. I don’t want to read about children and they play a very significant role in this book. The story in itself also seems very juvenile and simple. It was very easy for me to predict what was going to happen and the “conflicts” weren’t actually conflicts. Everything was solved fairly easily, and it left me quite bored because why should I care then?

But it is a very sweet book. If that all you require of a book, then yes, you should read this. If you’re an adult who loves reading Middle Grade, this would probably be perfect. I only had a few problems with the writing style as I sometimes felt the author gave too much unnecessary information that would either make to story drag or ruin a perfectly good joke by over-explaining it.

This was my first book by T. J. Klune and even though it wasn’t a complete hit, I’m willing to try something else by him in the future.

The Bone Ships (The Tide Child #1)

Author: R. J. Barker

Published: September 24th 2019

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Naval adventure, sea dragons, violence everywhere, society outcasts

Synopsis: Two nations at war. A prize beyond compare.

For generations, the Hundred Isles have built their ships from the bones of ancient dragons to fight an endless war.

The dragons disappeared, but the battles for supremacy persisted.

Now the first dragon in centuries has been spotted in far-off waters, and both sides see a chance to shift the balance of power in their favour. Because whoever catches it will win not only glory, but the war.

Goodreads

My thoughts

I’m a little conflicted because, for the first half of this book, I was sure I was giving it 5 stars. The world-building is amazing. There was so much to learn about this unique world of sea-faring warriors that I was always eager to continue reading. It’s very much a world that looks at gender differently than we’re used to. That aside, it’s also a very brutal world in a way that I would almost classify as Grimdark (although I don’t know much about the sub-genre). The characters in here aren’t nice. They’re not sweet cinnamon rolls… but I liked them anyway? It’s very unusual for me, which I think is a testament to how well they’re written.

I took off a star because the latter half fell a little flat. Here I feel like I need to say that I don’t usually enjoy naval stories, so when the story shifted to be more about ship battles, it kind of lost me. Not that I hated the last part, but my level of excitement wasn’t anywhere what it was for the first part. It’s difficult for me to tell whether that was due to my own reading taste or something about the book. It’s still a book I highly recommend. Of course, especially if you like fantasy books about ships. I’ll definitely be reading the second book.

That was an incredible month for me. Really happy with what I read and hope I can carry that spirit into September. Let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you plan to. Happy reading!

Posted in Book Tags

Medieval Queens Book Tag

“Guilt is a hunter.”

First line in Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

It’s time for a tag and it’s the Medieval Queens Book Tag. I was tagged by Jess from Jessticulates who is also the creator of this tag. Please, go check out her blog. She writes some very interesting posts! But let’s start the tag.


Empress Matilda (1102-1167)

After her father, Henry I, died naming her his heir, Matilda’s cousin, Stephen, subsequently took the throne for himself. Matilda never stopped fighting for what was rightfully hers. Though she would never be named Queen of England in her own right, she was able to convince Stephen to name her son, the future Henry II, his successor over his own children.
Choose a book with a protagonist who stands their ground.

I have to choose Vasya from the Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden. She lives in a world where women are meant to either marry and have children or go live in a monastery. No other option exists, but Vasya continuously demands her right to go on adventures and be free no matter how many people tell her that she shouldn’t.

Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204)

Before she married Henry II and became Queen of England in 1152, Eleanor was Queen of France as the wife of Louis VII. She sought an annulment from her marriage to Louis and he eventually agreed because 15 years of marriage had produced no sons, only for Eleanor to go on to have eight children with Henry—five of whom were sons. Ouch!
Choose a book or series in which the heroine has more than one romantic relationship.

In The Broken Earth by N. K. Jemisin we follow the woman Essun throughout a large part of her life so it’s not surprising that we see her in more than one relationship. It’s been a while since I’ve read it so I can’t remember the exact number of relationships but I believe we see about 3 or 4 that are all very distinct and mean different things to Essun.

Eleanor of Castile (1241-1290)

A keen patron of literature and a successful businesswoman in her own right, Eleanor was Edward I’s first wife. He was so heartbroken when she died that he erected the Eleanor Crosses, 12 stone crosses marking the places where her body rested over night on its journey from Lincolnshire, where she died, to her burial place in London. Three of the crosses still survive today.
Choose a bittersweet book.

Most World War II books would probably fit this prompt, but I think Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys is especially fitting. Mainly because of its ending so I’m, of course, not going into too many details. It manages to be both sad and uplifting.

Isabella of France (1295-1358)

Often known as the ‘She-Wolf of France’, Isabella was Edward II’s wife. Unfortunately for Edward he wasn’t particularly good at being king, and Isabella soon grew tired of his (possibly homosexual) relationship with his favourite, Hugh Despenser. After she began an affair with English nobleman Roger Mortimer while on a diplomatic mission to France, the pair returned to England with an army and she deposed Edward and acted as regent until their son, the future Edward III, came of age.
Choose a book where the romance overtook the plot.

I guess it could be positive for the romance to overtake the plot, but I’ve picked an answer where the romance ruined the book for me. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken is an example of a book in which the first half was so exciting. I was completely invested. Then the two main characters meet and fall in love very quickly, and the last half of the book was such a struggle for me to get through. All the interesting personality traits of those two characters went out the window, and everything was just about how much the two loved each other. I didn’t care.

Philippa of Hainault (1310/15-1369)

Queen of England as the wife of Edward III, Philippa was beloved by the English people for her compassion and kindness. The Queen’s College, Oxford, founded in 1341, is named in her honour.
Choose a book set at a university.

I’m only cheating a tiny bit by going with The Magicians by Lev Grossman because it’s not set at just any university. It’s set at a magic university, which is, naturally, so much better. This is a fantasy blog after all.

Joan of Navarre (1368-1437)

Joan was Henry IV’s second wife. Six years after his death, Joan was accused of attempting to poison her stepson, Henry V, through witchcraft and was imprisoned for four years until he ordered her release, just six weeks before he suddenly died.
Choose a book about witches.

Apparently, I don’t read very many books about witches, but one of my favorite series ever is the Half Bad trilogy by Sally Green. The witches here are a little different from what you would typically think of as a witch as they have different abilities, almost like superpowers. They’re supposedly also born either good or evil, which is an aspect the books explore quite a lot.

Those were my answers for this very educational book tag. Who knew there were so many bad-ass English Queens. The people I’m tagging are:

And anyone else who feels inclined to do it, of course. Happy reading!

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – August 26th 2020

“Thorngroves shrouded Greenhallow Hall.”

First line in Drowned Country by Emily Tesh

Hi, guys. I hope you’re all doing great. Today I’m using WWW Wednesday to give you a reading update. WWW Wednesday a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words, and it’s meant to give you all a little insight into my reading this week. I’ll answer the 3 questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish?
  • What do you think you’ll read next

What did you recently finish?

I finished Drowned Country by Emily Tesh, and no one should be surprised by the fact that I gave it 5 stars! It was so beautiful. It was different in voice and tone compared to the first book because of a POV change, but it worked so well. It meant that it dealt with some of the same topics but were able to explore them from a new angle. The characters are still brilliant and it was tough saying goodbye to them.

I also finished The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune. A highly loved book that I only gave 3 stars… sorry. It’s a very, very sweet and adorable story. I agree with other people on that but I couldn’t help but think that that was all it was. There’s not much else to it. I also personally don’t like reading about children, and they turned out to be the main focus of this book so I was quite bored. But yeah, I think it’s the sort of book that adult readers who love Middle Grade would really enjoy. Highly recommend if that’s you. It’s just not me.

What are you currently reading?

Only reading one book at the moment but what a book it is! The Bone Ships by R. J. Barker has swept me off my feet and I’m only halfway through. It has such intricate world building that flips some of our standardized norms around, and I’m so intrigued. I also really have to pay attention because there’s so much to learn about this world. It has been so well developed so far. I enjoy the characters as well which is surprising to me because I wouldn’t describe a single one of them as likable.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m so addicted to The Bone Ships at the moment so I’m going to just be reading that one for a little while. However, before next Wednesday I’ll have started The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley.