Posted in Wrap up

November Reading Wrap Up

“Dusk at the end of winter, and two men crossed the dooryard of a palace scarred by fire.”

First line in Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

Hello, friends. Welcome to my November Wrap where I give you some exicting mini-reviews for the books I read in the month of November. I read a total of 5 books which seems to be my number. 3 of those were perfect, one was okay and my last read of the month was a waste of time.

This was also the month I managed to reach my Goodreads goal of 55 books. Always great. I’m the kind of reader who set my Goodreads goal to something I’m absolutely sure I’ll achieve because I just want to feel acomplished. Silly, I know. Let me know what you consider when setting your reading goal for the year.

As something new in my wrap ups, I’m going to give you “buzzwords” for each book. Words to grab your attention and help you decide whether it is a book for you. I’m still figuring out how to do it properly, but I’m working on it.

Let’s talk about some books.

Thick as Thieves (Book 5 in The Queen’s Thief)

Author: Megan Whalen Turner

Published: May 16th 2017

Genre: YA fantasy

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Buzzwords: Friendship, escaped slave, complex characters, political intrigue

Go to Goodreads to read the synopsis of the first book in the series, The Thief.

My thoughts

Honestly, I’m mindblown. Again. I’m so mesmerized with the way Turner writes her characters and their slow but steady development. For some reason, I’m always a bit wary before starting books in this series because they each have their own POV character. As a character-driven reader, I need to love that POV character to love the book so maybe you understand my hesitation. It took me 5 books to realize that I never need to worry about that when it’s Megan Whalen Turner who writes the characters.

Our main character in Thick As Thieves, Kamet, starts out with quite a few flaws. He’s stubborn and a bit of an annoying know-it-all, but I loved reading from his perspective anyway right from the start.

Besides her characters, Turner is also famous for her plot twists. I was so sure that by the fifth book, I’d figured her out and knew what to look out for. Did she trick me again? Yes. Several times.

Basically, I think Thick as Thieves might be my new favorite book in the series.

The Girl in the Tower (Book 2 in Winternight Trilogy)

Author: Katherine Arden

Published: December 5th 2017

Genre: Historical fantasy

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Buzzwords: Russia, atmospheric, empowering female characters, winter

Go to Goodreads to read the synopsis of the first book in the series, The Bear and the Nightingale.

My thoughts

Let me tell you, I did not expect to love this. I gave the first book in the series 3 stars, and I mainly continued with the series because the writing was beautiful. The writing is still beautiful , but the book also gave me so much more!

Even though the story is very character-driven, The Girl in the Tower also had a really great plot which I was sort of missing in the first book. It wasn’t always at the forefront, but I was completely mesmerized by the revelations at the end.

My favorite part of the book is our main character Vasya. THAT is a strong female character if I ever saw one. Her motivations are so inspiring. She knows what she wants and won’t compromise even though people tell her again and again that she should. I can’t tell you how much I loved reading about her in this book.

Author: Laura Silverman

Published: March 5th 2019

Genre: YA contemporary

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Buzzwords: High school, living up to society’s expectations, diversity

Synopsis: Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray.

Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options.

Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.

Goodreads

My thoughts

3 star books are just the hardest to review. I liked the last half of the book quite a bit more than the first half. In the beginning, it felt a lot like the book needed to check some things off a list in terms of diversity. It was all very rushed so I didn’t have time to appreciate everything. In general, I think the book could have benefited from being longer. There were some time jumps that made me go: “Wait.. didn’t we skip something important?”.

It’s a book that also heavily feature Judaism, because our main character is Jewish. The author herself is also Jewish so I expect that the religious aspects are pretty accurate. Definitely a book I will recommend if you’re interested in that perspective. However, I don’t care for any religion in any book, so that brought my rating down a bit.

The themes of the book is what kept me reading. It deals a lot with the pressure of being good in school and have a functioning social life at the same time. That’s what the last half of the book really got into and I like the way it was handled. If you’ve read Radio Silence by Alice Oseman, you’ll definitely see the parallels. I still prefer Radio Silence over You Asked for Perfect, but if you crave more Radio Silence, I think this is a good choice.

The Winter of the Witch (Book 3 in Winternight Trilogy)

Author: Katherine Arden

Published: January 8th 2019

Genre: Historical fantasy

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Buzzwords: Russia, atmospheric, empowering female characters, winter

Go to Goodreads to read the synopsis of the first book in the series, The Bear and the Nightingale.

My thoughts

First of all: I finished a series! And completed my Goodreads goal of 55 with this book. Second of all: I already praised the second book in the series further up in this wrap up. I could copy-paste all of that here because the third book was just as amazing.

However, I want to add that I especially appreciate this book a lot for its overall fairy tale feeling. Yes, it’s magical but also a bit sinister like those original fairy tales. I really think it’s amazing how Arden balanced that. Also, that I was able to get this feeling without knowing anything about Russian fairy tales. I could tell that parts of the story was probably based on fairy tales but I didn’t know what and how much. I loved that.

It’s not a full 5 stars, however, because there were parts of the book that dragged a little. Especially around the middle I was a little impatient to get the story moving.

The Nickel Boys

Author: Colson Whitehead

Published: July 16th 2019

Genre: Historical fiction

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Buzzwords: Civil Rights movement, POC main character, reform school

Synopsis:

As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is “as good as anyone.” Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South in the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called The Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides “physical, intellectual and moral training” so the delinquent boys in their charge can become “honorable and honest men.”

In reality, The Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors, where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear “out back.” Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr. King’s ringing assertion “Throw us in jail and we will still love you.” His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked and the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble.

The tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys’ fates will be determined by what they endured at The Nickel Academy.

Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative.

Goodreads

My thoughts

Of course I end up disliking a book that is a National Book Award Nominee *sigh*. I’m sorry but I was so bored all the way through, and it wasn’t until the last 15 pages that I got a little exicted. The ending is basically the only thing I really liked about this as the plot twist was quite clever. It wasn’t good enough the redeem the entire book though, but it made me glad I pushed through.

I think the writing put me off because it felt quite detached from the events in the book. I kept being told that these awful things were happening but I wouldn’t see it. More importantly, I wouldn’t feel it either. Whitehead doesn’t go much into the character’s emotions about these horrible things and that just made it hard for me to connect to it all.

I also couldn’t help thinking that I’d heard this story before. These stories about the so-called reform schools where the students were abused have been told before. Both in books and movies, and I don’t think The Nickel Boys did anything special to differentiate itself from the others.

This is it for my reading month. I’m really happy that I was able to finish/get caught up with two series! That’s kind of a big deal. So, now I can start some new ones right? Oh, don’t worry. I’ve already done that.

My favorite read of the month ended up being The Girl in the Tower. I’d love to know what your favorite of the month was.

Posted in Wrap up

October Reading Wrap Up

“On that day in 1914, a young girl banged on the door of the Hopital de la Miséricorde in Montreal.”

First line in The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

Hi, guys. I hope you’ve had a great month, maybe with some spooky reads. I don’t read horror or anything close to it, so there’s no spookiness about this wrap up. I’m not much of a seasonal reader anyway, so the 6 books I’m going to talk about in this post have nothing to do with Halloween or anything scary.

First a little recap of my life this month.

I hate October. It’s the worst month of the year. It’s the first month to make to realize that Summer is over and you know have to survive Winter for 6 months. The only good thing about Winter, Christmas, is still so far away in October that it is just a horrible month.

It was also the month my dad went to the hospital because of problems with his heart. He’s been there for a week and a half now, and my life has been pretty chaotic the whole time. He’s alright at the moment and it seems like the problem is something they can fix with a somewhat simple surgery. However, that’s the reason why I’ve been failing at blogging lately. I hate that because I love doing it. I just don’t have the time.

Now, I think it’s time to talk about some books. I had a whole of 2 5-star reads this month. However, I noticed that I didn’t give out any 3 stars this month, meaning that there were some very good books and some very bad books. Nothing really hit in the middle. Well, here are 6 mini-reviews for the books I read in October.

Carry On (Book 1 in Simon Snow) REREAD

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Published: October 6th 2015

Genre: YA fantasy

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

Synopsis: Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

Goodreads

My thoughts

Oh god. My heart!

Deciding to spontaneously reread Carry On is probably in my top 3 of best decisions I’ve made all year. Let me begin by telling you about my previous experience with this book. I read this for the first time in February last year and gave it 3 stars. I thought it was alright but a little too ridiculous for my taste. Fast forward a few months to when I decide to pick up Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (Carry On is a companion novel to Fangirl). Yes, I read Carry On before Fangirl and now in October 2019 I can definitely say: THAT was a mistake. I think I needed to understand Cath and her love for these characters before I was able to appreciate Carry On for what it is.

I now LOVED that it was a parody of Harry Potter. There were so many hilarious references that it almost felt like a love letter to Rowling’s beloved series. But what else did I love? I loved the jokes, the banter, the friendships, the pinning (!!) and of course Simon Snow. Rainbow Rowell is just able to make you care. She writes emotions so well and she doesn’t shy way from the very powerful emotions of her characters. I can’t not feel what they feel and that is masterful writing. Also, the character development for Simon and Baz is astonishing and heartwarming. I don’t think I’m able to describe how much I love them and their interactions.

I needed the sequel 5 minutes before I finished this (and I didn’t have it until 3 weeks later).

The Great Hunt (Book 2 in The Wheel of Time)

Author: Robert Jordan

Published: 1990

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Link to the first book in the series, The Eye of the World on Goodreads.

My thoughts

I enjoyed this quite a bit more than the first book in the series. I think the plot was progressed a lot faster and we didn’t go around in circles like in the first one. That meant that I was a lot more engaged in the story and was actually looking forward to reading it when I wasn’t. I also liked that there was a greater focus on the villain(s) to the extent that one was even given a POV. However, that ties into what I still don’t really like about Jordan’s writing. He does a lot of foreshadowing which normally isn’t bad but he’s VERY obvious about it. It’s like he’s yelling at you: CAN YOU TELL THIS PERSON IS EVIL? Yeah, I got that. It’s a preference thing I guess, but I enjoy having about the same amount of information as the characters do. I want to be just as surprised by plot twists as they are.

I was quite surprised by what turned out to be my favorite part of the book: the female friendships. I didn’t see them coming and I didn’t expect them to be as profound as they were. They were only a little stereotypical – a pillow was thrown and men were discussed – but I really want to applaud Jordan for giving the friendships justice anyway. It’s rare to find good and healthy female friendships in adult fantasy, especially when it’s written by a male author. I can’t wait to read more about them.

Wayward Son (Book 2 in Simon Snow)

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Published: September 24th 2019

Genre: YA/NA (?) fantasy

My rating: 4.5 out 5 stars (rounded up to 5)

Read a synopsis for the first book at the top of this post.

My thoughts

This was a wonderful reading experience. I love these characters so much and even though the rating is a little lower than my rating for Carry On, I still think this is a great sequel. The tone is a little darker and more depressing which is a contrast to the funny and playful ride that was Carry On. Of course, I have a full review for this if you’re interested in more of my thoughts.

Blood of Elves (Book 3 in The Witcher)

Author: Andrzej Sapkowski

Published: 1994

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Link to the first book in the series, The Last Wish, on Goodreads.

My thoughts

I’m not continuing with the series. I liked practically nothing about this book, and it has really just been going downhill since book 1. There was a scene in the beginning that I liked and I thought “finally!”. We quickly moved on from that however, and I hated the rest of the book.

There was a lot of set up to a some plot I still don’t understand, but this book on its own didn’t have a plot. Instead we spent a lot of time with unimportant characters who were just there to info-dump. And that in a very dull and confusing way. I don’t always mind info-dumps because I love getting to know more, but this is not the way to do it.

I don’t want to make this review too long, but I also just want to mention that probably my biggest problem with these books are the way women are treated. A lot of the female characters are only there so serve some purpose for the men and progress their storylines. It’s also thrown in your face all time that women have no power in this world and also shouldn’t have it. Not everyone has a problem with reading about those things in books but it just made me so angry. I don’t want to excuse it with “well, it’s an old series and people didn’t know better back then”. It’s from the 90’s, not the Middle Ages.

The Way of Kings (Book 1 in The Stormlight Archive)

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Published: August 31st 2010

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis:

I long for the days before the Last Desolation.

The age before the Heralds abandoned us and the Knights Radiant turned against us. A time when there was still magic in the world and honor in the hearts of men.

The world became ours, and yet we lost it. Victory proved to be the greatest test of all. Or was that victory illusory? Did our enemies come to recognize that the harder they fought, the fiercer our resistance? Fire and hammer will forge steel into a weapon, but if you abandon your sword, it eventually rusts away.

There are four whom we watch. The first is the surgeon, forced to forsake healing to fight in the most brutal war of our time. The second is the assassin, a murderer who weeps as he kills. The third is the liar, a young woman who wears a scholar’s mantle over the heart of a thief. The last is the prince, a warlord whose eyes have opened to the ancient past as his thirst for battle wanes.

The world can change. Surgebinding and Shardwielding can return; the magics of ancient days become ours again. These four people are key.

One of them may redeem us. And one of them will destroy us.

Goodreads

My thoughts

OMG!

Another book where Sanderson proves what a genius he is. Every little detail has a purpose, and it’s so amazing to follow how all the pieces fit together. Also, his plot twists are perfect. He makes it possible for the reader to guess them, but I never do (I try so hard!). That’s how to do it. It’s both annoying and amazing at the same time.

I think Sanderson is a must-read for all fantasy readers, and Stormlight seems like his best work so far (although I haven’t read everything). It has a bit of a slow start, but I think that’s necessary for such a big series. I promise that it’s worth pushing through.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel

Author: Heather O’Neill

Published: February 7th 2017

Genre: Historical fiction

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Synopsis:

With echoes of The Night Circus, a spellbinding story about two gifted orphans in love with each other since they can remember whose childhood talents allow them to rewrite their future.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a love story with the power of legend. An unparalleled tale of charismatic pianos, invisible dance partners, radicalized chorus girls, drug-addicted musicians, brooding clowns, and an underworld whose economy hinges on the price of a kiss. In a landscape like this, it takes great creative gifts to thwart one’s origins. It might also take true love.

Two babies are abandoned in a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1910. Before long, their talents emerge: Pierrot is a piano prodigy; Rose lights up even the dreariest room with her dancing and comedy. As they travel around the city performing clown routines, the children fall in love with each other and dream up a plan for the most extraordinary and seductive circus show the world has ever seen.

Separated as teenagers, sent off to work as servants during the Great Depression, both descend into the city’s underworld, dabbling in sex, drugs and theft in order to survive. But when Rose and Pierrot finally reunite beneath the snowflakes after years of searching and desperate poverty the possibilities of their childhood dreams are renewed, and they’ll go to extreme lengths to make them come true. Soon, Rose, Pierrot and their troupe of clowns and chorus girls have hit New York, commanding the stage as well as the alleys, and neither the theater nor the underworld will ever look the same.

Goodreads

My thoughts

Well… this was not good. I had several problems with this book, but the main one is the writing. The book is filled to the brim with similes and more than half of them don’t need to be there. To me, a simile should be there to give the reader an easy time picturing the scene in their mind instead of the author explaining everything thing in detail. O’Neill would do both. First, she spends a long time describing a scene or a feeling, and then would she would give me a simile to portray the exact same thing. Just choose one. I don’t care which. Sometimes, I also got a simile and then the explanation of the simile which was even weirder.

I also didn’t care for ALL the plot conveniences. When reading a historical fiction novel, I highly value a somewhat realistic portrayal of life at that time. This book seemed so unrealistic because the characters were insanely lucky in so many instances. They also seemed to be highly intelligent at the right moments and incredibly stupid at others. We follow them through their whole life, and I wouldn’t be able to explain to you why they were suddenly so smart. It sort of made me hate the main characters and I therefore wasn’t able to enjoy the book.

I will say that I liked what the book was trying to tell about the women’s role in society at that point in time (1920’s and 1930’s). I just didn’t like the execution of it.

There you have 6 short reviews of the books I read in October. I’d love to discuss them in the comments.

Posted in Wrap up

September Reading Wrap Up

“Waxillium Ladrian, lawman for hire, swung off his horse and turned to face the saloon.”

First line in Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson

Hi guys and welcome to my wrap up of the most pitiful reading month I’ve had in years. I finished… 3 books. 3!?!? I even had a TBR for this month because I wanted to read all the sequels for Sequel September. I only read 2.

However, I’ve also been reading 3 others books this month that I just wasn’t able to finish. Those include The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (reread). I will definitely finish the last two of those very soon.

My personal life has partly been what kept me from reading very much this month. I took a big step and started seeing a therapist for my social anxiety, which I probably should have done 10 years ago. I hope it will end up making my life just a little bit easier but we’ll see. So far, so good. Enough of that. Let me tell you about those infamous 3 books I read this month.

Shadows of Self (Book 5 in Mistborn)

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.

Goodreads.

My thoughts

I enjoyed this one a lot more than the previous installment in the series, The Alloy of Law. It felt more like Mistborn. Like we actually came back to the world we spent the first three books in. The plot was amazing and detailed. I kept guessing what the ending would be but I didn’t get it right of course. As usual, Sanderson threw in a plot twist that made me question my own sanity but that’s how it’s supposed to be. I still don’t care to much for the western and detective-solving-a-crime vibes from it. I still love Wayne dearly, but I hate how he’s being reduced to a comic relief. There’s really not much of a point to his character.

The Stone Sky (Book 3 in The Broken Earth)

Author: N. K. Jemisin

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: This is the way the world ends… for the last time.

The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.

Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.

For Nassun, her mother’s mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.

Goodreads

My thoughts

This final book in the trilogy is probably my favorite one. I definitely liked it a lot more than book 2 which just seemed like a filler book to me. In The Stone Sky, I really liked how it all came together although the ending itself was a little underwhelming. The lead-up to it was great. I think my favorite part of the book was seeing Essun’s complete character arc. How she has developed through her life really made me feel something. I’m still not a fan of the writing style but the story and especially its modern themes has kept me reading. It’s honestly magnificent how Jemisin has incorporated these themes of racism and love of nature into a fantasy story.

Timekeeper (Book 1 in Timekeeper)

Author: Tara Sim

Genre: YA fantasy/steampunk

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars!!!

Synopsis: Two o’clock was missing.

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time – and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that 17-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors. And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems.

Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: He is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target, or he’ll lose not only his father but the boy he loves – forever.

Goodreads

My thoughts

Timekeeper was such a surprisingly good read for me. It’s has a very sweet romance and the plot revolves around a very cool concept about clocktowers. It felt very unique to me which I really appreciated. When reading YA I often get the feeling that I’ve read the story before but not this time. Also, even though it had a bit of a slow start, the ending was magnificent. I was so enthralled that I couldn’t put the book down. If you want to know more of my thoughts on Timekeeper, I have a full review for it right here.

That was it for my reading in September. It can only get better from here lol. Maybe this was proof that I should never make a TBR again. I felt so limited and because I use my library so much, it also felt kind of stressful. I learned a lot but I’m not doing that again so hopefully you won’t miss it.

I hope you had a great reading month. What was your favorite book of the month? Also, what is your experiences with TBRs? Let me know what you think of them.

Posted in Wrap up

August Reading Wrap Up

“The king of Attolia was passing through his city, on his way to the port to great ambassadors newly arrived from distant parts of the world.”

First line in A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

August is over so here is my reading wrap up for the month. I finished 5 books which is pretty much my average. Besides these 5 books, I also started The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, and I’m about 300 pages into that. I probably won’t be able to finish it before I have to return it to the library, so it will be a while before it shows up in a wrap up as finished. I’m really enjoying it though! But enough of that, let’s get onto the books I managed to complete. The first one is another Sanderson novel because why not.

The Alloy of Law (Book 1 in Mistborn: The Alloy Era)

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 3.5/5 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

My thoughts

I don’t think I like westerns. At first, I found this book super interesting because of how the world had evolved since we left it in Hero of Ages. It’s a fantasy world where they actually managed to invent stuff like electricity and guns. It showed how the world is progressing instead of just showing a finished product. I found the plot somewhat underwhelming for a Sanderson novel which is why my rating is a little low. If you want more of my thoughts on The Alloy of Law, I have a full review right here.

A Conspiracy of Kings (Book 4 in The Queen’s Thief)

Author: Megan Whalen Turner

Genre: YA fantasy

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: After an attempted assassination and kidnapping, Sophos, heir to the throne of Sounis, disappears. Those who care for him—including the thief Eugenides and the Queen of Eddis—are left to wonder if he is alive and if they will ever see him again.

Goodreads

My thoughts

It felt so good to be back in this world. And we get to see Sophos again after he’s been gone since book 1. I really enjoyed reading from his perspective, so I didn’t mind an absent Eugenides for most of the book. The first half the book was definitely my favorite because that’s really where we got to know Sophos a bit better. The more political plotline took over in the latter half and I wasn’t as impressed with it as I’ve been in the previous books.

I’ll Give You the Sun

Author: Jandy Nelson

Genre: YA contemporary

My rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: Jude and her twin Noah are close until a tragedy drives them apart. Now they are barely speaking – and both are falling for boys they can’t have. Love’s complicated.

Goodreads

My thoughts

A very sweet story that I imagine many people can somewhat relate to if they have a sibling. Jude and Noah are so different and yet so similar that it was really heartwarming to see them grow. It’s very much a story about grief and different ways of dealing with it. And not dealing with it. I don’t have any experiences of my own that could relate to what Jude and Noah went through and I think that made my experience of this book a little different that others. I felt detached from the story when I think I was supposed to cry. Odd feeling really but that is why this is not a 5-star book. I think it will be just that to others.  

The Eye of the World (Book 1 in The Wheel of Time)

Author: Robert Jordan

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: Yeah, that’s not really possible without spoiling stuff. Even the Goodreads page doesn’t tell you much.

My thoughts

I’m a bit conflicted. I loved the beginning of this book and the potential it presented. I imagined so many possible plot lines that just didn’t end up happening. That meant that the first 200-300 pages had me hooked and I couldn’t put the book down. Then it became very, very dull. I might go insane if I read another page-long description of an insignificant inn. That leads me to my main problem with the book: the writing style. It’s so not me. I don’t mind when books are slow paced as long as the time is spent depicting character emotions and thought processes. Jordan spends more time on buildings, clothes and general surroundings which I just don’t care about.

I still gave the book a bit of a high rating because I’m really intrigued about the world and I want to learn more about the magic. The characters are also very good and realistic with much room for development in the next 13 books (!).   

Station Eleven

Author: Emily St. John Mandel

Genre: Dystopian/Science Fiction/Fiction (I don’t know what to call this!)

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

Goodreads

My thoughts

This a case of a hyped book not living up the hype for me. It’s a fine book and I enjoyed reading it, but it didn’t make me feel anything spectacular. I liked the way the collapse of civilization was described. It was done in a way that was connected to characters and I thought that was very inspiring. We follow a lot of characters and I liked pretty much everyone but I didn’t love them, so that kept me a bit detached. I plan to have a review up for this very soon and I hope my thoughts will be a little more clear and constructed by then.

That’s it for my reading in August. It was very much a 4 star month for me. Pretty much all the books were around that rating. It’s been a while since I’ve read a 5 star and I’m feeling the desperation creeping up. Next month, I’m participating in Sequel September which was created by Kathy from Books and Munches and hopefully that will give me a 5 star book. If you’re interested in knowing what I’m reading, my TBR is right here.

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 Wrap up

June Wrap Up

When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

First line To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

It’s the end of the month, people. So, here’s a wrap up. I read quite a wide range of different genres this month and my enjoyment of them was equally very varied.

I read a total of 7 books which surprised me when I counted them up. I thought I’d had a bad reading month, but I normally only read 5 or 6. The bad feeling might be because I was close to falling into a reading slump during the month. I was reading two books that I wasn’t really enjoying so when I had time to read, I chose to do something else. Then I picked up a third book that was so perfect that I would read until I couldn’t stay awake any longer. That helped me to finish the other books so in general, it was a very mixed month for me. No more talking. Here are the books I read in June.

The Last Wish (Book 1 in The Witcher)

Author: Andrzej Sapkowski

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 3/5 stars

Synopsis: Geralt of Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin. And a cold-blooded killer. His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world. But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good… and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

A collection of short stories introducing Geralt of Rivia, to be followed by the first novel in the actual series, The Blood of Elves. Note that, while The Last Wish was published after The Sword of Destiny, the stories contained in The Last Wish take place first chronologically, and many of the individual stories were published before The Sword of Destiny (Goodreads).

My thoughts

This isn’t going to be very coherent because I can’t decide what I think about this book. First of all, it’s a collection of short stories so it’s very difficult to review as whole. One of the stories I really liked because it’s was a very interesting retelling of The Beauty and The Beast. And that is the main aspect I liked in the stories. They were all inspired by fairytales and other folklore stories and I had a good time trying to identify each one. Other than that, it didn’t have much else going for it and if I were to describe it in one word it would be: Fine. I will still continue to the read the series and definitely get past the short stories.

Radio Silence

Author: Alice Oseman

Genre: YA contemporary

My rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis: What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances is been a study machine with one goal. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside. Then Frances meets Aled, and for the first time she’s unafraid to be herself.

So when the fragile trust between them is broken, Frances is caught between who she was and who she longs to be. Now Frances knows that she has to confront her past. To confess why Carys disappeared…

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has (Goodreads).

My thoughts

I’m very happy to have read this book. It wasn’t perfect, but it had some very important themes and an interesting way of presenting them. The main characters felt unique and I really enjoyed reading about their dilemmas. I have a full review for this book if you want to know more about my thoughts and it’s right here.

Thunderhead (Book 2 in Arc of a Scythe)

Author: Neal Shusterman

Genre: YA dystopian

My rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis: Rowan has gone rogue and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now— “Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish”, so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline? (Goodreads).

My thoughts

INCREDIBLE! I’m in awe of how well-crafted this world is. Shusterman seemingly has thought of everything in detail in this futuristic version of Earth. I really like these kinds of dystopias that examine how humans would behave if critical things about our life was different. So many aspects of life are changed in Arc of a Scythe but Shusterman still manages to teach us moral lessons. In Thunderhead, I especially appreciated these lessons coming from an AI.

You might think that YA dystopias aren’t your thing anymore, but I’m telling you to give this series a try. It’s not like anything else you’ve read. I definitely need to read more of Shusterman’s books.  

The Binding

Author: Bridget Collins

Genre: Historical fantasy

My rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis: Imagine you could erase grief.
Imagine you could remove pain.
Imagine you could hide the darkest, most horrifying secret.
Forever.


Young Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a strange letter arrives summoning him away from his family. He is to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder—a vocation that arouses fear, superstition, and prejudice among their small community but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

For as long as he can recall, Emmett has been drawn to books, even though they are strictly forbidden. Bookbinding is a sacred calling, Seredith informs her new apprentice, and he is a binder born. Under the old woman’s watchful eye, Emmett learns to hand-craft the elegant leather-bound volumes. Within each one they will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, a binder can help. If there’s something you need to erase, they can assist. Within the pages of the books they create, secrets are concealed, and the past is locked away. In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, rows upon rows of books are meticulously stored.

But while Seredith is an artisan, there are others of their kind, avaricious and amoral tradesman who use their talents for dark ends—and just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: one of the books has his name on it. Soon, everything he thought he understood about his life will be dramatically rewritten (Goodreads).

My thoughts

I loved the last 2 out of 3 parts of this book mainly because of the romance. It’s so beautifully written that I was completely lost in their lives and the story that unfolded. I couldn’t put the book down. I’m not a romance reader so it surprised quite a lot that this was my reaction. I encourage you to check out my full review for The Binding if you want to know more about my thoughts.

The Mark of Athena (Book 3 in The Heroes of Olympus)

Author: Rick Riordan

Genre: Middle grade/YA fantasy

My rating:

Synopsis: Can Percy Jackson and the Half-blood Heroes succeed on their quest to find The Doors of Death or will the Greek Gods of chaos win their battle to stop them? Percy and his fellow demi-gods face the most important quest of all – the Prophecy of Seva (Goodreads).

My thoughts

Well…I’m not overly excited by this series. I’m mainly reading them to know what happens to Percy and that’s it. I’ve not rated this book because I haven’t been able to find a definitive answer to whether this is middle grade or YA. Let me just say that I have issues with the book either way. If it’s middle grade, I think the focus on relationships is waaay too high. The characters are 15-16 years old. You’re not supposed to be in a relationship at that age. What a way to give your young readers anxiety.

If it’s YA, I’m going to bash the writing. The writing is middle grade level and that’s just a fact. There’s too much telling instead of showing. As a reader, you’re not expected to think for yourself. Everything is explained to you which is common and perfect for a middle grade book. Not a YA. Sorry, rant over.

Red, White and Royal Blue

Author: Casey McQuiston

Genre: New adult contemporary

My rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis: First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you? (Goodreads)

My thoughts

WHAT is this book? How is it real? Does this mean love is real too?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It’s just too adorable (and hot) not to like. McQuiston made me feel very invested in the lives of Alex and Henry and I was just rooting for them to be together the entire time. When we’re on the topic of characters, one of them reads Harry Potter for comfort. If that’s not the most relatable thing, I don’t know what is. In general, I enjoyed the level of pop-culture references. I feel that can easily be overdone, but in this one, it was just a fun element used to tell the story.

I think you can tell that McQuiston had a clear goal and purpose with this book. It becomes a little predictable, but the book does what it sets out to do, so not the biggest problem. It’s just the reason why I didn’t give it a full 5-star rating. You still need to read it though (or don’t if you don’t want to. I’m not forcing you, I promise).

To Kill a Mockingbird

Author: Harper Lee

Genre: Classic fiction

My rating:

Synopsis: The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature (Goodreads).

My thoughts

I understand why this is a classic. It’s very impactful and gives the reader an educational insight into American history. I kept thinking that it’s the perfect book to read in school which I also guess most people do. There are so many small hints and suggestions that can be unpacked in a classroom and discussed further.

I don’t know how to rate classics really. I mean it’s a very important book, but I was also slightly bored a lot of the time. I’m still glad I read it though. Even if you don’t read classics, I think you should at least consider reading this one.

That was 7 mini-reviews for you. If you hadn’t guessed it, Red, White and Royal Blue was the book that prevented the reading slump. A hyped book that actually deserve the hype. Let’s chat in the comments if you’ve read any of these or intend to.

Happy reading,

Line

Posted in Wrap up

Books I Read in May

Sometimes, I worry that I’m not the hero everyone thinks I am. . . .

First line in The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

May has been a bit of a tough one for me. I was extremely busy at work for the last half of the month, so I often felt too tired to read when I got home. However, what I managed to read was quite amazing. I ended on a total of 5 books. All fantasy. All sequels (beware of spoilers for the previous books in the synopsis). Let’s talk about them.

The King of Attolia (Book 3 in The Queen’s Thief)

Author: Megan Whalen Turner

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis: (SPOILERS for the first two books in the series) By scheming and theft, the Thief of Eddis has become King of Attolia. Eugenides wanted the queen, not the crown, but he finds himself trapped in a web of his own making.

Then he drags a naive young guard into the center of the political maelstrom. Poor Costis knows he is the victim of the king’s caprice, but his contempt for Eugenides slowly turns to grudging respect. Though struggling against his fate, the newly crowned king is much more than he appears. Soon the corrupt Attolian court will learn that its subtle and dangerous intrigue is no match for Eugenides (Goodreads).

My thoughts:

I adore Eugenides. That’s it. Well, I love other aspects of the series as well but mainly Eugenides. He’s such a layered character and I feel like each book in the series adds to his complexity. In this third book, he’s not the POV character but we get to observe him through another. It’s an interesting idea but I think that might have been what hindered my enjoyment of the book. We sort of start over with a completely new character, Costis, and I found that I didn’t really connect with him. He became too much of an observer and lacked some personality in my opinion.

The plot that he observes, however, is just as great as in The Queen of Attolia (my favorite in the series). The political scheming is elaborate and so well hidden that you can’t possibly figure it out. Not that you don’t get hints, but Turner writes them so well in between the lines that you think you know, but you don’t. I will continue with the series.

The Obelisk Gate (Book 2 in The Broken Earth)

Author: N. K. Jemisin

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 3 stars

Synopsis: The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring – madman, world-crusher, savior – has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever.
It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy.

It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last.
The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken (Goodreads).

My thoughts:

Let me start by saying that I’m not positive this series is for me. I think the plot is quite interesting and there are many thought-provoking statements in there that are relevant to our real world. The world is vast and detailed which I appreciate. I enjoy reading worlds and feeling like the author has thought of everything which is the case in The Broken Earth.

My main critique of the series is the writing style. It just really puts me off to be reading from a second-person perspective. Sometimes, it was also very confusing to me whose perspective I was actually reading from and it prevented me from being immersed in the story. On top of that, the magic system is a bit difficult to understand so I spent a lot of time being frustrated by it.

So, my problems with this book are mainly of a personal preference so I wouldn’t call it a bad book. I would still recommend people to read the series if they find the synopsis interesting.

Before the Devil Breaks You (Book 3 in The Diviners)

Author: Libba Bray

Genre: YA historical fantasy

My rating: 4 stars

Synopsis: After battling a sleeping sickness, The Diviners are up against a group of new and malevolent foes–ghosts! Out in Ward’s Island sits a mental hospital full of lost souls from people long forgotten. Ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the Man in the Stovepipe Hat also known as the King of Crows. With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over New York City, the Diviners must band together and brave the ghosts haunting the asylum to bring down the King of Crows (Goodreads).

My thoughts:

I listened to this as an audiobook and let me tell you: I’m NOT an audiobook person. Somehow though, this really worked for me. I normally have difficulties staying focused on the audiobook as my mind tend to wander. Before the Devil Breaks You managed to keep my attention because the narrator was really good and also because the writing just kept me interested. Bray manages to create suspense and an eerie atmosphere in such a unique way, especially through her chapters from non-main-characters. The setting being in the 1920’s is just a genius move and she literally makes you feel like you’re actually there.   The only thing I disliked has to do with the characters. All the characters are amazing and so well thought out and developed but there are a lot of them. There isn’t time to follow everyone and in this book it’s especially obvious how some characters take a backseat and are just there when they are needed by the others. Over all though, it’s a book and a series that I really enjoy reading and I need the fourth book right this second.

A Dance with Dragons (Book 5 in A Song of Ice and Fire)

Author: George R. R. Martin

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 4 stars

Synopsis: From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all (Goodreads).

My thoughts:

This book is a step up from the previous book, A Feast for Crows, which I really didn’t care for. The stakes seem higher in this one although not a lot of action happens. It’s a slow build-up and development of these exceptionally gray characters and I love it. Even the characters that I don’t really like, I love as characters. Martin can also make me care immensely about even minor characters through a single chapter while keeping it relevant to the plot. In short, his character work gets a 5 star rating.

I’m still not a huge fan of his writing style which is why I haven’t given any of the books in the series 5 stars. It’s very dense and (unnecessarily) detailed. However, I’m a fan of everything else about these books and I will keep reading them.

Red Seas under Red Skies (Book 2 in Gentleman Bastard)

Author: Scott Lynch

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis: After a brutal battle with the underworld, Locke and his sidekick, Jean, fled to the exotic shores of Tal Verrar to nurse their wounds. But they are soon back to what they do best–stealing from the rich and pocketing the proceeds. Now, however, they have targeted the grandest prize of all: the Sinspire, the world’s most exclusive, most heavily guarded gambling house. But there is one cardinal rule: it is death to cheat at any game.

Brazenly undeterred, Locke and Jean have orchestrated an elaborate plan to lie, trick, and swindle their way straight to the Sinspire’s teeming vault. But someone knows the duo’s secret–and has every intention of making them pay for their sins (Goodreads).

My thoughts:

THIS FRIENDSHIP! I can’t express how much I appreciate the friendship between Locke and Jean. It’s tender. It’s caring. It’s something I’ve never seen in books between two male friends. To other authors: please copy this.

While Locke and Jean are the highlights for me in this book, the plot is almost equally amazing. It’s so complex and just keeps you hooked because you want to know how it all resolves. Sprinkled through it all are lessons in piracy and moments of humor. I personally appreciated the role of cats in this book. It literally made me laugh out loud several times.

I had a minor problem with the writing. It appears very important to Lynch to describe every outfit of every character in great detail. I understand that it adds to the atmosphere and environment they are in, but I often caught myself thinking: “Okay I get it. Can we move on now?”

It’s a small thing so I still absolutely adore these books and everyone who likes fantasy should read them.

Those were all the books I read in May. Have you read any of them? Or maybe intended to read them?

Hope you’re having a perfect day. I’ll be back again with another post very soon.  

Line