Posted in TBR Posts

2021 Reading Goals

“It was the largest gathering of the Spirit clans Raisa had ever seen.”

First line in The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima

Hello, you lovely people. Hope you all enjoyed the holidays how ever the current situation forced you to spend them. I’m here to let you know about some of the books I plan to read in 2021. I’m mainly making this to hold myself accountable because these books will never be read otherwise. I’ve divided my picks into sections, so it’s not just one long list. I’ve also decided that when talking about series, I’m only sharing the series I plan to start. The sequels in series I plan to read are mainly new releases in 2021, so that’s a different post. We’re starting with the adult fantasy series.

Adult Fantasy Series

  • The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb

This series is my top priority in 2021! I really want to read all three because I just know I’m going to love it. I’ve heard that these books get quite dark and depressing, and those are exactly my kind of buzzwords.

  • The Winnowing Flame Trilogy by Jen Williams

These books get so much praise everywhere, and I really want to know what all the fuss is about.

These are the two adult fantasy series I’m going to prioritize, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only adult fantasy books I’m going to be reading. I will probably start other series but these are the ones I want to also have finished by the end of the year.

YA Fantasy Series

  • Shattered Realms by Cinda Williams Chima

This is the companion series to The Seven Realms series which I read in 2020, so it only seems fitting to continue on with Shattered Realms in 2021.

  • The Age of Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

The synopsis of the first book just screams “the chosen one”-trope, so it’s of course a trilogy I need to read. The third book isn’t out yet but is supposed to be released in September.

  • Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

This is an old series that everyone seems to have read already. Now I’m going to give it a try. There are five books in the series if I’m not mistaken, but I don’t foresee myself reading more than three in 2021.

Standalones

I need some breaks from all these series I’m going to be reading, and I actually have a lot of standalones on my TBR. Here are a few I really want to read in 2021:

  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
  • The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri
  • The Betrayals by Bridget Collins
  • Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Absolutist by John Boyne

I know Warbreaker is getting a sequel some time in the future, but right now I’m considering it a standalone.

Beat the Backlist 2021

I’ve also decided to take part in the Beat the Backlist 2021 reading challenge. It’s all about reading the books released before 2021, and it is hosted by Novelknight. It seemed a very relaxed reading challenge with some fun prompts, and since I almost only read backlist anyway, this shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for me. Just a little fun to help me decide what to read throughout the year. Here are the prompts:

This is the one with 24 prompts, but you can also get one with 52 if you’re feeling ambitious. But as you can tell from these prompts, I can’t pick everything beforehand. Then there’s also ones like ‘has a map’ *laughs in fantasy* and ‘standalone’ where I have too many options to choose from. I’m still going to share some of my picks with you, so here we go:

📚 Genre you never/rarely read: Quite: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain (non-fiction)

📚 Picked by a friend/trusted reviewer: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (friend recommendation)

📚 Person on the cover: A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir (two people even)

📚 Banned book: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (Apparently, that one was a little too sexual back in the day)

📚 A book with illustrations: The Wicker King by K. Ancrum (I think this counts)

I probably won’t hit all prompts because I have no intention of adding books to my TBR just to fulfill a prompt. I still might come across something throughout the year, so maybe it’ll happen.

That was some of the books I plan to read in 2021. I am so very excited by so many of them and can’t wait to get started. Do you have any reading plans for the year? Have you read any of these? Please let me know in the comments!

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – December 23rd 2020

“Dawn was coming. “

First line in The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Merry Christmas, guys! Hope you’re all doing well. 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 months later and I’ve finally completed The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss! Sadly, I couldn’t give it more than 2 stars as I was especially disappointed with the last third. Kvothe grew even more worthy of being slapped, which I hadn’t thought possible, but here we are. I would have been able to see past something like that if the book had other things going for it, but you really have to look hard to find it. The plot is basically non-existent at this point, and there aren’t other characters to distract me from Kvothe’s enormous self-love.

What are you currently reading?

I am so very close to being done with The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab. I’m only missing about 60 pages. It still hasn’t made me all excited, though. I had hoped a shift midway through the book would help, but it didn’t. With the way the story is going at the moment, I also cannot foresee this ending in a way I’m going to like. Now it’s more a question of it ending in a way that’s going to make me mad or indifferent, although it’s difficult to talk about spoiler-free. I should say that I don’t hate the book so far. I just find it highly unremarkable.

…I’m also reading Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson, and that was definitely not planned. My library decided to give me the e-book 4 weeks early, which royally screwed with my reading plans. I considered postponing it, but then again… it’s Rhythm of War! So I’m an entire 7% into that beast of a book. I had heard it had a very action-packed beginning, but I have to say that I wasn’t prepared for that. I almost had a heart attack. Twice!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Well, it’s going to be while, but it’s still going to be Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, which I mentioned last week too.

Posted in Book Tags

The Black Cat Blue Sea Award #2

“Dragons,” said Mollander.

First line in A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin

It’s another award post! I needed a bit of an easy one this week and remembered that Nefeli from Biblionebula had nominated me for my second Black Cat Blue Sea Award a little while ago now.

What is The Black Cat Blue Sea Award?

“This award is for bloggers who strive to write for everybody, and no matter how many viewers they get, make an impact on a reader. This award is an expression of gratitude to the nominee. It should be awarded to anybody that you choose deserves it, and it doesn’t mean that they must have hundreds of followers and likes.”

The Rules

  • Anybody nominated can nominate seven (lucky number) other bloggers.
  • Anybody nominated answers three questions.
  • The questions you ask while nominating can be any three questions.
  • If any of the questions asked are offending or the nominee simply does not want to answer them, the nominee does not have to answer them to earn the award.

Nefeli’s Questions

If you had to listen to only one song for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?

THIS IS A MEAN QUESTION, NEFELI!

I love music, and I listen to some type of music almost every day. However, even I can get tired of listening to the same song over and over again, no matter how much I like it. So I’m picking a song I have a strong emotional attachment to. It is First Like by the Danish artist Christopher. The title is English but the rest of the song is in Danish, unfortunately, so I will tell you a little about it instead.
It’s a song that he wrote on a Danish talk-show where he had to make the lyrics out of fans’ comments on some of his music videos on YouTube, I believe. That means that we have lyrics such as “OMG you’re too hot” and “If you die then I will die”. It’s all a joke, and it’s so hilarious!
Now the thing is that I’ve attended a lot of his concerts, and First Like has become something of a fan-favorite. It’s now primarily a song that the audience sings, which means I have so many memories of just screaming out these ridiculous lyrics at the top of my lungs alongside my best friend and a few thousand other crazy fans. That is what I think about every time I hear this song, so that is the one song I choose to listen to for the rest of my life.

You’re having five literary figures (real or fictional, or both) over for dinner. Who are they and what are you serving?

This is such an unrealistic scenario for me that I have a hard time picturing it 😅 You see, I don’t cook (especially not for other people), and therefore don’t exactly have people over for dinner. And then those people need to be five literary characters? Well, let me think.

If it wasn’t clear what I’m serving it is obviously take-away pizza. I do have a really good pizza-place, though, so they shouldn’t complain.

The five characters:

  1. Ginny Weasley (Harry Potter) – My favorite childhood character needs to be there of course. She’s also quite talkative and will keep the conversation going.
  2. Magnus Bane (The Mortal Instruments) – You can’t have a dinner party without Magnus Bane. With him there you’re guaranteed entertainment.
  3. Arya Stark ( A Song of Ice and Fire) – Look, I get that Arya would probably rather kill me than attend my dinner party, but I really think her and Ginny could bond. Maybe she’d also be willing to teach me some tricks on how to be no one, although hopefully less violently than in the books.
  4. Thaniel (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street) – I have no reason for this other than he’s a genuinely nice person. Okay, maybe it’s because I hope he brings Katsu, but I still really love Thaniel.
  5. Vasya (Winternight Trilogy) – Of course I also need my all-time favorite character. I think she’ll have some great stories to tell, and she can also let me know if there are strange invisible creatures living in my apartment.

Will all of these characters kill each other when put in the same room? Well, I would say the possibility is there, but doesn’t that only make it all a little exciting? I think this would be a great dinner party.

What’s your go-to activity when you want to lift your spirits?

Listening to the song from above? It definitely always puts a smile on my face, and music is generally what I turn to to feel better. If I’m really down, I’ll often bake some kind of cake, and while doing that I’ll be listening to some upbeat, happy music and dance around in the kitchen. Yes, I spill stuff everywhere so cake-baking and dance is often followed by cleaning and dance. Less fun, but then I have cake.


I posted my first The Black Cat Blue Sea Award not so long ago where I tagged a bunch of people, so I’m skipping that part this time. This week has also been kind of hellish at work, so I’m too tired to think of some creative and fun questions for you to answer. I would love to know your answers to Nefeli’s questions, though. And please go check out her blog if you haven’t already! She writes some killer blog posts over there. Happy reading, guys.

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – December 16th 2020

“It was nearing midnight and the Prime Minister was sitting alone in his office, reading a long memo that was slipping through his brain without leaving the slightest trace of meaning behind. “

First line in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

Hi, guys. Hope you’re all doing well. 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 my reread of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It’s far from my favorite one in the series, but it still has some good and iconic moments. Nevertheless, my Lost in Translation post for it is already up if you’re interested in knowing why Slughorn is German in the Danish translation of the book.

What are you currently reading?

Well, I bet some of you can guess one of the books I’m reading because I’ve been reading it for so long now. Yes, The Wise Man’s Fear is still my commute book, and I’ve now made it to 78%. Since last week, I’ve read a very weird part that I very much wish I could forget. So still bored, but now I’m also somewhere between appalled and disgusted. Yeah, I’m sorry, I do not like this book, but I’m determined to finish it before Christmas!

I’m also reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab, which I’m 45% into. Sad to say that it hasn’t been my kind of book so far. I didn’t know this was a book with such a heavy use of flashbacks because knowing that would have lowered my expectations significantly. They’re just lazy info-dumps, and I don’t like them. It breaks up the present-day storyline too much, which in itself is already incredibly slow because 90% of it is Addie walking aimlessly around thinking up metaphors. I’ve also been reminded how much Schwab loves the “not like other girls”-trope, which is the one trope I have a hard time ignoring. Really sorry to be this negative about this book. However, the last half could still turn it around for me if it’s really strong, so crossing my fingers.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I very much doubt I’ll start anything new within the next week, but if I do, it’s going to be Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman.

Posted in Book Memes

Top Ten Tuesday: My Winter 2020-2021 TBR

“Give me your hat.”

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

It’s Tuesday, and today it’s time to look at the books I plan to read but won’t *cough* I mean that I will for sure read this winter. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, so head over there to check out the future topics.

If we start by looking back on my fall TBR, I’ve read 4 out the 8 books I put on that. However, I’m currently reading a fifth. Yes, more than half is a win. The 3 books I didn’t manage to get to were: The Martian by Andy Weir, Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman and The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix. All of these will carry on to my winter TBR.

As usual, I only put 8 books on my seasonal TBRs and not 10 because even 8 is clearly a challenge for me. I refuse to go lower than that, though. The last 5 books on this TBR are all books I really need to read. They are all sequels that I need to get to before I forget too much of the previous books. But no more talking. Here are the 8 books I plan to read in winter:

The big challenge is without a doubt Rhythm of War because that is going to take me weeks to finish. However, I’m determined to finally read all 8 books from a seasonal TBR. Let me know what you plan to read in the near future and which of these books you think I should prioritize.

Posted in Lost In Translation

Lost in Translation: A Look at Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in Danish

“It was nearing midnight and the Prime Minister was sitting alone in his office, reading a long memo that was slipping through his brain without leaving the slightest trace of meaning behind.”

First line in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

We’re nearing the end as we today are looking at the second to last book in the Harry Potter series and how it was translated into my native language, Danish. I’m taking a closer look at Harry Potter-specific terms, names, and places that changed or lost meaning in the translation process. This is all just for fun as I greatly admire and appreciate translators of books, especially fantasy books. If you missed the other posts in this series, you can find the first one here.

As always, we start by taking a look at the cover for the Danish edition, so here is the cover for the first paperback edition:

⚡ It’s the most popular scene to depict on all other covers for this book that I’ve seen. Nevertheless, I still feel like the Danish one is a little more spoilery than the others because we actually see Harry touch the water. However, you could also argue that we already know he’s going to touch the water the moment he’s told he’s not allowed to. It’s Harry after all.

⚡ I notice how Dumbledore has magically disappeared, although he should be in this scene. They probably thought that would be too much of a spoiler.

⚡ It’s one of my least favorite of the Danish covers as it’s more creepy than it’s pretty, and not a lot happens in the picture.

I also need to show you the back of this book because that gave me nightmares for years:

⚡ WHAT! IS! THAT?!?

⚡ My only guess is that it’s a werewolf, and no, I don’t know why it looks like a pomeranian either. Is Fenrir Greyback actually a were-pomeranian? And those tiny hands look so creepy!

Horace Slughorn = Horatio Schnobbevom

The new Potions Master is given a new last name, and it is quite funny. ‘Slughorn’ doesn’t carry much meaning that makes sense in this context other than the ‘slug’ might be a jab at his appearance. His Danish last name can be split into two separate words: ‘Schnobbe’ and ‘Vom’. The latter, ‘vom’, literally means big belly… which he has.
‘Schnobbe’ on the other hand is a little more difficult to explain. It is very reminiscent of the word ‘snob’, which means the exact same in Danish as in English. My guess is that the ‘ch’ is added to make it sound more German. And why is that? It’s not something that changes the pronunciation a whole lot (especially not when pronounced by a Dane), but it still adds meaning to his name. Or rather, it underlines the snobbishness of his character with a big marker. You see, we have a thing here in Denmark where we will often name a character something German-sounding if that character is a rich snob and generally unaware of their privilege. You know the type. It’s most often used to make fun of said character. The reason behind this, I’m guessing, is historical. It so happens that back in the day a lot of the nobles in Denmark were Germans or at least had German ancestry. Later on, we also had the Occupation during World War II, so Germans have often been in positions of power in Denmark, and thereby deserving of their ‘snob title’ in the eyes of the common Dane. And it’s just so tempting to make fun of people in power. That naturally affected our language and our culture, and that’s why Slughorn is German.

(To the Germans: I’m sorry!)

Libatius Borage = Homøopartus Hjulkrone

The author of Advanced Potion-Making, and I’m going to be totally honest with you: I have no idea how to pronounce his Danish first name. It looks just as odd to me as it probably does to you. Libatius is assumed to be derived from ‘libation’ which is some kind of ritual offering. That ‘Homøopartus’ translates to homeopathy, which is a kind of alternative medicine. Not exactly the same as the English version, but I’m not sure it matters all that much when children (and maybe most adults) don’t know the meanings behind these words anyway. The last name is a direct translation of the herb borage.

Gaunt = Barsk

Even though Gaunt seemed a very fitting name for Voldemort’s family, they don’t get to keep it in the Danish version. The reason: We don’t know what it means, and we can’t say it. ‘Barsk’ is not a direct translation because that would sound stupid, so instead ‘Barsk’ means harsh/rough. It works quite well, especially since the chapter title of their introduction-chapter is changed from ‘The House of Gaunt’ to “A Harsh (Barsk) Visit”, giving it a double meaning. Seeing how Merope was treated in that chapter, nothing about that title strikes anyone as odd.

Ambrosius Flume = Ambrosius Sukkerroe

The owner of Honeydukes doesn’t have a last name that is particularly fitting as ‘flume’ is an artificial channel made for carrying water (maybe a channel of candy instead?). His Danish name, though, means to highlight his work with sweets as ‘Sukkerroe’ means sugar beet.

Apparition = Spektral Transferens

Yeah, so apparently, Danish needed two words to describe this uncomfortable method of transportation. The original name ‘apparition’ is derived from the Latin word ‘appareo’, which means ‘appear’ or ‘becoming visible’. My first Google-search of ‘spektral transferens’ told me it’s a spell in World of Warcraft… weird cross-over, but okay.
When looking at each word individually, it was difficult for me to find a meaning behind ‘spektral’. One source states it is derived from the Latin word ‘spectralis’, which means to look at/to observe. It’s most often used as ‘spectral analysis’, which is something very sciencey I’m not going to bore you with. Still not sure how it relates to apparition, though.

Then we have ‘transferens’, which is just another version of the word transfer. That makes a lot more sense in an apparition context. The curious thing is that this would have worked just fine on its own. No need for that ‘spektral’ to be included. Even when characters talk about how they apparated somewhere, the Danish version will say that they just ‘transferred’ there. The ‘spektral’ is often omitted. So what’s the point of it?

Barnabas Cuffe = Barnabas Skåneærme

We’re on a roll with the name changes in this one. Here we have the editor of the Daily Prophet who is mentioned very casually, but I had to include him. His original name could just be a reference to standard cuffs on sleeves, or it could refer to some metaphorical (hand)cuffs that the ministry has put him and his newspaper in so that they don’t write anything they aren’t allowed to.
I had a hard time finding a translation of his Danish name ‘Skåneærmer’ (which I’ve never heard before), but my own attempt would be sleeve protectors. Apparently, that’s a thing, so I found a picture for you, of course:

Look at all that pink. Not sure what the point of ‘protectors’ is when you’re not wearing something with long sleeves, though. I think it is a very odd name for the editor of the Daily Prophet.

Bonus

This is the section where I talk about how certain translations change over the course of the seven books because why would something be translated the same way every time? I don’t know why you would assume that.

If you read my post for Chamber of Secrets, you know that Voldemort’s real name, Tom Riddle, was changed to Romeo Gåde Detlev Junior to make the anagram work. That hasn’t changed in Half-Blood Prince (unfortunately), but we hear a lot more about his father in this one. His father who is supposed to have the same name, right? Well, he did in Goblet of Fire when we were first introduced to him. Back then his name was also Romeo. In Half-Blood Prince, he is suddenly Tom again, which made me all kinds of confused. The reason for this is a small, insignificant comment from Dumbledore when he visits child-Romeo at the orphanage and explains to him how to get to Diagon Alley: “Ask for the barman Tom – easy enough name to remember, right?” You can almost hear the translator cursing when reading that.
Now our Romeo suddenly needed to have a connection to the name Tom for him to have the negative reaction he has upon hearing the name. So the translator was left with the option of either changing his father’s name to Tom or changing to barman’s to Romeo. The latter would without a doubt have been easier but oh so wrong! Luckily they went with the difficult option of changing the father’s name to Tom, and by difficult I mean that a lot of the dialogue about the father had to be changed completely to make it all make sense. Completely new sentences were added, and stuff was rearranged. For example, Merope still names her son but explains Romeo as the name she used to call her husband (yikes). However, I would almost say that the biggest problem with this translation is that the ‘junior’ in Romeo’s name now clearly shouldn’t be there. I’m not sure about the exact rules, but I believe there needs to be a Romeo Senior somewhere for that to make sense.

I hope you all enjoyed this little insight into the Danish version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Only one more book left. Please let me know what you thought of the translation-choices made, especially the problem about Voldemort’s father. Was there a better way to solve the problem?

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – December 9th 2020

“Unlike others who claim to be well-informed, I am an eyewitness to the events I describe, and I write this history so that future scholars will not have to rely, as do so many staring into the past in my day, on secondhand memories passed down over the years, details worn away by time and retelling. “

First line in Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Hi, guys. Hope you’re all doing well. 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 Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, and I gave it 4 stars. I’m kind of sad because this was the last book in the The Queen’s Thief series, but I also think it was a very satisfying conclusion. There were only a few questions still left unanswered but I think the author did that intentionally to have to reader think up their own answers. Other than that it’s a book where we spend a lot of time waiting. That’s very normal for books in this series but we’ve also been taught that there’s a payoff worth waiting for in the end. This was no exception. And Turner continues to be an expert in writing characters I would die for.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve picked up The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss again, and I’m 57% in. Do I have thoughts about this? Other than I’m so bored, no, not really.

I’m almost done with my reread of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I have about 100 pages left, so I hope to have my Lost in Translation post for it up this weekend.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Guys, it’s time. I’m going to start The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab. This book has gotten so much hype already that I’m honestly a little afraid to read it, but crossing my fingers I actually share the popular opinion this time.

Posted in Book Review

Why You Should Read The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley (Series Review)

“The Home Office telegraphy department always smelled of tea.”

First line in The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

I’m here to tell you why you need to read The Watchmaker of Filigree Street series by Natasha Pulley because those books have recently blown me away with their awesomeness. However, I’m willing to admit that they aren’t for everyone, so through this post, I hope to shed some light on what aspects of the books I think work so well, all to help you decide whether they are books for you. First, a little bit on what they’re about.

Synopsis of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

1883. Thaniel Steepleton returns home to his tiny London apartment to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow. Six months later, the mysterious timepiece saves his life, drawing him away from a blast that destroys Scotland Yard. At last, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori, a kind, lonely immigrant from Japan. Although Mori seems harmless, a chain of unexplainable events soon suggests he must be hiding something. When Grace Carrow, an Oxford physicist, unwittingly interferes, Thaniel is torn between opposing loyalties.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a sweeping, atmospheric narrative that takes the reader on an unexpected journey through Victorian London, Japan as its civil war crumbles long-standing traditions, and beyond. Blending historical events with dazzling flights of fancy, it opens doors to a strange and magical past.

Goodreads

In case this synopsis didn’t convince you to read this historical fiction and magical realism story, I’m here to provide even more reasons to pick it up. Enjoy!


Each Book is a Contained Story

No need to worry about those pesky cliffhangers. Each book basically works as a standalone with its own contained plot. You should still read them in order, though, because we’re dealing with the same characters in both.

Magical Realism Element Gives Unique Twists

It would be a spoiler to tell you what the magical realism element is, but I’m going to hail it anyway because it manages to affect every little part of the story. It makes the author able to include plotlines you might have seen before. The magical realism element gives these familiar stories a unique twist that is guaranteed to hold your attention and keep you guessing all the way through.

An Atmospheric and Clever Writing Style

If you love a writing style that doesn’t force-feed you all the information but instead lets you make your own assumptions, you need to read a book by Natasha Pulley. She is so subtle in her style of writing, and it requires that you pay attention while reading. It’s not something you speed through. However, catching on to hints and suddenly understanding what’s written between the lines is such a rewarding reading experience.

Soft and Sassy Characters

Soft and sassy, also known as the best character-traits-combination anyone can have. They are ones you root for, and if you enjoy reading about such characters, they are going to march right into your heart and settle down there. It doesn’t mean that they are perfect. A lot of time is actually dedicated to exploring their flaws, which is done in a very cool way where the author doesn’t pass judgement on them. She simply presents them as they are and allows the reader to decide what to think. Bonus: You also get the best animal companion I’ve ever come across.

A Victorian London with a Touch of Japan

The words “Victorian London” are the only words a lot of readers need to hear before picking up a book, myself included. However, these books expand on that trope by giving it a Japanese twist. Personally, it was an unexpected but delightful splash of color to this world since I’m don’t know much about Japanese culture. The second book especially dives into this topic with great fervor, so I highly recommend these books to readers who enjoy reading about Japan. Or just want to know more.


I think that’s all I can say without going into spoilers. If you want more than these two books, there is also a companion novel called The Bedlam Stacks. I have a review for that right here if you’re interested. It takes place long before The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, but I still recommend you at least read Watchmaker first because The Bedlam Stacks include some backstory on a character from that one. Other than that, The Bedlam Stacks is pretty much its own story.

I hope you had some use out of this review. Let me know if you intend to read them or if you already have.

Posted in Wrap up

November 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

“It’s easy to think that nobody could really arrange the world like clockwork.”

First line in The Lost Future of Pepperharrow by Natasha Pulley

IT’S DECEMBER!!

We’ve finally reached the best month of the year! I love the Christmas feeling of December, but it’s also always a month of stress. I happen to work for the postal service here and we’re preeetty busy for about a month and a half. Like, I’m already constantly exhausted and it’s only getting worse. Just letting you know because it might affect my blogging. I don’t have that much energy left in the evenings, so I’m pretty much only writing posts on the weekends. It’s stressing me out a little bit because there are so many end-of-the-year-posts I want to start working on. And I still want to read other bloggers’ posts. And I also need to read books. And buy Christmas presents. Help.

Oh well, let’s wrap up November first, shall we? Here are the stats:

Well, the amount I read is better than last month even though I’m still not living up to my usual standards. December is probably not going to change that either. In terms of quality, there were some very book good books and some very bad books, which gives me that middle-of-the-road average rating. But that’s all I have to say for now, so let’s jump into the mini-reviews for the month.

The Shadow Rising (Wheel of Time #4)

Author: Robert Jordan

Published: September 15th 1992

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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

My thoughts

This felt like a chore to get through. My copy was 1,001 pages long and again I feel like half would have been enough. We spend a lot of time building up to something, and it’s like the characters are going in circles with the only purpose of making this book 1,000 pages long. I had the same criticism of book 3, but at least the pay-off at the end in book 4 was better. Just not enough to overshadow all that meandering.

I will say that I loved the first 200 pages. There were some politics and a feeling that we were dealing with important aspects of the overall plot. Apparently, that was just to trick me into thinking that we were back on track with the good stuff from book 2.

This is a series where I’m really interested in the overall plot and find that incredibly exciting. But when the plot disappears (which it does a lot), it leaves repetitive writing and badly written YA-romances in its wake. I’m not sure it’s worth it anymore.

The Golem and the Jinni

Author: Helene Wecker

Published: April 1st 2013

Genre: Historical Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Multi-cultural New York, opposites attract, multiple POVs

Synopsis: Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic, created to be the wife of a man who dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free.

Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker’s debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.

Goodreads

My thoughts

This was a very interesting read that mixed historical fiction and fantasy really well. I was particularly intrigued by the Middle Eastern aspect to this book and all the many different characters’ lives we follow. I have a full review for this if you’re interested in more of my thoughts.

The Lost Future of Pepperharrow (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street #2)

Author: Natasha Pulley

Published: February 18th 2020

Genre: Historical Fiction/Magical Realism

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Go to Goodreads to read the synopsis of the first book in the series, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street.

My thoughts

It’s very difficult for me to review this book, not only because it’s a sequel but also because I had no idea what was going on for the first 95% of it. And I loved it! The characters I fell in love with in the first book are back, and they’re given even more depth throughout the book. I’m going to miss reading about them so much.

The progression of the plot had me guessing all the way through, and I ran headfirst into all the traps the author has laid out for the reader. I really thought I’d figured stuff out several times until I realized that’s how Pulley writes. And oh how I love her writing style! I don’t think I’ll ever forget this one particular scene where she has spent quite some time making me feel all hopeful and warm after so much misery. I was finally smiling over this book… but then three simple words broke my heart into a thousand pieces. How does one do that?!? I am in awe. I highly recommend this series and this author if you like historical fiction with a twist.

And Robin Hobb has rated this one 5 stars on Goodreads, so maybe that’s a sign I need to read her books.

The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2)

Author: Mary E. Pearson

Published: July 15th 2015

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Go to Goodreads to read the synopsis for the first book in the series, The Kiss of Deception.

My thoughts

This one was a very big miss for me, and that’s not a good sign for the trilogy overall because I usually love the second book the most. However, this one suffers heavily from middle book syndrome. What was the point of most of this book? I was so bored because we weren’t doing anything! I could tell that the author was trying to fill the book with politicking and world-building, but it was done so poorly that it failed to keep my interest. What I was left with was that awful love triangle drama that so rarely is made intriguing in literature, and that isn’t the case here either.

Also hated the ending.

I’m probably still going to read the final book because the completionist in me says it’s just one more book.

That was all I read in November. Only one more month left of this year that has lasted a decade, and I hope to finish it off reading some good books. Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought.

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – December 2nd 2020

“One swift act.”

First line in The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Hi, guys. Hope you’re all doing well. 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 Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson, which I gave 2 stars. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a book suffer this much from middle book syndrome. It was like the whole book was just one long wait for something. When the event finally occurred, I realized it wasn’t all that important and the true purpose of the book was to set up the third and final one. That left me feeling incredibly bored through the whole thing. While reading book 1, I was hoping for some more world-building, which I guess we did get here in the second one. It just wasn’t very good or interesting, which is a shame because I felt that the world had so much potential. Now I just feel like all places and characters were reduced to something one-dimensional.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve picked up one of my most anticipated reads of the year: Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner! It’s the sixth and final book in The Queen’s Thief series, and I’m only 20% into it, although it is very short. It’s difficult to update you on my feelings towards it so far because of the way these books are structured. They are known for their big plot twists at the end, and those really change how you view the book. At the moment I’m just desperately trying to pick up on little clues along the way because I’m determined to guess the plot twist this time.

I’m also about a third of the way into my reread of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Not exactly starting a new book but I’m continuing by read of The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. I took a break after reading the first half, although I hadn’t planned for the break to be this long. The library did a sneak attack on me and ruined my plans as usual, but I think I have time to squeeze it in now.