Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – October 21th 2020

It was Felling night, and the usual crowd had gathered at the Waystone Inn.

First line in The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

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

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

What did you recently finish?

Absolutely nothing. Here’s a cute dog instead:

What are you currently reading?

I’m still working on the beast called The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss because for all of my efforts, I’m only 36% in. There has been a shift in the story which I’m grateful for. Not that it has gotten incredibly exciting, but at least we’re doing something new. Since last week’s update, I’ve experienced being immensely frustrated with Kvothe as a storyteller a couple of times. Whenever we seem to be getting close to some exciting events, we jump forward and barely dedicate a page to those events. WHAT?!? We have to hear about every single menial thing of his everyday life, and when something finally happens, HE SKIPS IT?? I’m sorry, I just don’t understand. But well, the writing is still great so it isn’t difficult for me to continue reading. But it’s going very slowly.

The second big book of the week is still Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but I only have about 150 pages left of that one. Those are going to go by quickly, I expect.

What do you think you’ll read next?

It’s crazy, but I finally got The Shadow Rising from the library! The timing is horrible because I’m really not feeling another huge book right now. But I’m going to start it and see how it goes.

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – October 14th 2020

The Home Office telegraphy department always smelled of tea.

First line in The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

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

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

What did you recently finish?

My first read of October turned out to be a contender for best book I’ve read in 2020. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley turned out to be a book that just worked for me on so many levels, so I naturally rated it 5 stars. It takes place in the same literary universe as her other novel, The Bedlam Stacks, which I also recently read. In Watchmaker, we’re following characters in a Victorian London, but it’s mixed with quite a lot Japanese culture with some flashbacks even taking place in Japan. It felt quite unique to me and added a lot of color to the story. However, my favorite thing about the book is the writing style. Pulley counts on her reader to catch onto hints and figure stuff out on their own. Characters “say” a lot outside of dialogue, and I love interpreting these little signs along the way.

It’s funnily enough also a book I could find quite a few flaws in if I decided to be really critical, which I can only assume is the reason behind its preposterously low rating on Goodreads (3.73). What can I say? I loved reading it and have been thinking about it every day for the past week.

What are you currently reading?

My commute book is The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, book 2 in the Kingkiller Chronicle. I feel like I’ve been reading a lot, but I’m only 17% in. It’s such a big book! So far it’s fine. It’s incredibly meandering and I think it’s only getting worse. It’s interesting enough, but it’s all going in circles, so I’m really hoping for a change of scenery soon.

I’m also still working on my reread of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and I’m currently at 43%. In case you noticed then, yes, the two books I’m reading are both over 900 pages, and yes, I’ve made a mistake.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m paying for that previously mentioned mistake, so I doubt I’ll be starting anything new within the next week. I do plan on taking a break from The Wise Man’s Fear at some point, but I really want to get a good chunk of it done first. It shouldn’t be a secret, though, that I’ve been eyeing the sequel to The Watchmaker of Filigree Street for a few days now… but I should wait. Probably.

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – October 7 2020

I’m halfway to the nurse’s office when I hear the gunshots.

First line in The Nephilim Protocol by J. D. Kloosterman

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

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

What did you recently finish?

I recently finished The Nephilim Protocol by J. D. Kloosterman, which I rated 2 stars. You can find my review of it in my September wrap up.

What are you currently reading?

My commute book is The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley, which I’m 62% into. This is the second book I’m reading from this author after I really enjoyed The Bedlam Stacks last month, and I think I’ve found a new author to add to my list of favorites. I’m loving this book so much! It’s a beautiful story so far, with characters (and an octopus) I would already die for. It also takes place in a beautifully described Victorian London, which is just always a win. I try to read it slowly so savor this amazing atmosphere, but I’ll probably finish in a few days.

I’ve also been working on my reread of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, so now I’m at 23%.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m positive my library hates me. They’re not giving me any of the books I’ve been waiting for, even though I’ve been first in line for almost two months for some of them. It’s making it very hard to plan my reading. I can get ebooks though, so I’ll finally be starting The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.

Posted in Wrap up

September 2020 Reading Wrap Up

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

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

I’m here with another wrap up because somehow September ended. It was a weird month for me blogging-wise. I haven’t had a lot of motivation to write anything deep and profound lately, even though I’ve had the ideas. I feel like all my posts have been “easy posts” that don’t require a whole lot of effort on my part. I know it’s completely fine to just write those posts, but I miss writing something I’m really proud of. Part of the problem is that I really want something to go up every week, but at the moment, I’m finishing posts the day before they go up, so I don’t feel like I have the time to work on a longer post. I really want to work on that in October, even if I might have to skip a week or two.

But how was my reading in September? Pretty awful, actually, in terms of quality at least. Just take a look at my stats:

Look at that 3.1 average rating, and it doesn’t even tell the whole story. It doesn’t tell you that my only 5-star read of the month was a reread (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). It also doesn’t include the DNF I had this month because I don’t rate those. So not a great month although, it started good. I was also pleasantly surprised by the number of books and pages I read. I had the feeling that I was reading less than normally, but I was actually well above my average.

But 7 books read minus one reread means I have 6 mini-reviews for you this month. Prepare to feel my disappointment in so many of them.

The Bedlam Stacks

Author: Natasha Pulley

Published: July 13th 2017

Genre: Historical Fiction/Magical Realism

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Peru, disabled MC, friendships, culture clashes

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

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

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

My thoughts

A slow-paced book that explored some fascinating themes such as complicated friendships, and how a disabled individual still can go on an adventure. I wrote a full review filled with all of my complicated thoughts about this book.

The Faithless Hawk (The Merciful Crow #2)

Author: Margaret Own

Published: August 18th 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Go to Goodreads to read the synopsis for the first book in the duology, The Merciful Crow.

My thoughts

Just no.

I was incredibly disappointed by this as I loved its predecessor. The action-packed plot from the first book had turned more meandering in this one, so a lot of time was spent waiting for stuff to happen. I kept thinking that the author had created this very interesting world… but didn’t know what to do with it. It wasn’t expanded upon enough to create minor plot-lines to fill in the gaps, and the main plot was mediocre and unoriginal.

I was also disappointed in the way that important side-characters from the first book were sort of cast aside in this one. They didn’t have much of an arc and was really just there for the MC to interact with. Because this book is all about her. And she was annoying. Too much angst and not enough personality. Also gotta say that there was something about the romance that rubbed me the wrong way, but I can’t go into details about it.

But I completed a series so that’s something, at least.

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1)

Author: Mary E. Pearson

Published: July 8th 2014

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Love triangle, runaway princess,

Synopsis: In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

My thoughts

I honestly don’t have much to say about this. It was fine. Nothing I really loved or hated about it. Romance is a major theme, but I wasn’t that invested in that part of the story. I was more into the political aspects although, we didn’t get much it that in this book. However, I predict it will be more prevalent in the next books, so I’m excited to continue the trilogy. That ending also really didn’t give me much of a choice.

The Lost Book of the White (The Eldest Curses #2)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Published: September 1st 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Synopsis: Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood are settling into domestic life with their son Max when the warlocks Ragnor Fell and Shinyun Jung break into their loft and steal a powerful spell book. Realizing that Ragnor and Shinyun are being controlled by a more sinister force, Magnus and Alec set out to stop them and recover the book before they can cause any more harm. With the help of Clary Fairchild, Jace Herondale, Isabelle Lightwood, and Simon Lovelace (who is fresh from the Shadowhunter Academy), they track the warlocks to Shanghai.

But nothing is as it seems. Ragnor and Shinyun are working at the behest of a Greater Demon. Their goal is to open a Portal from the demon realms to Earth, flooding the city of Shanghai with dangerous demons. When a violent encounter causes Magnus’s magic to grow increasingly unstable, Alec and Magnus rally their friends to strike at the heart of the demon’s power. But what they find there is far stranger and more nefarious than they ever could have expected…

Goodreads

My thoughts

Yeah, this book still didn’t make it clear why we need this series in the Shadowhunter world. It’s sweet seeing Magnus and Alec being all domestic, but I don’t think the rest of the story justifies a full-length novel. What this accomplishes could just as easily have been accomplished through a novella. I wouldn’t even call this necessary reading for the world overall (except maybe for the epilogue, and that statement tells you all you need to know about this book).

What bothered me most about the book is the decision to drag all of the Mortal Instruments characters into it. I don’t know why because the authors clearly didn’t know what to do with them. Their stories are over. We’re done with them. Their most important job in this book was to deliver “funny” one-liners.

As with the previous book, it’s hard to fear for the characters when books set later on have told me they’re fine. And the book really tries to raise the stakes, but it didn’t manage to make me care.

A Gathering of Ravens (Grimnir #1)

Author: Scott Oden

Published: June 20th 2017

Genre: Historical Fantasy

My rating: DNF at 53%

Buzzwords: Vikings, Norse mythology vs. Christianity,

Synopsis: To the Danes, he is skraelingr; to the English, he is orcneas; to the Irish, he is fomoraig. He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. He is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind–the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days.

Drawn from his lair by a thirst for vengeance against the Dane who slew his brother, Grimnir emerges into a world that’s changed. A new faith has arisen. The Old Ways are dying, and their followers retreating into the shadows; even still, Grimnir’s vengeance cannot be denied.

Taking a young Christian hostage to be his guide, Grimnir embarks on a journey that takes him from the hinterlands of Denmark, where the wisdom of the ancient dwarves has given way to madness, to the war-torn heart of southern England, where the spirits of the land make violence on one another. And thence to the green shores of Ireland and the Viking stronghold of Dubhlinn, where his enemy awaits.

But, unless Grimnir can set aside his hatreds, his dream of retribution will come to nothing. For Dubhlinn is set to be the site of a reckoning–the Old Ways versus the New–and Grimnir, the last of his kind left to plague mankind, must choose: stand with the Christian King of Ireland and see his vengeance done or stand against him and see it slip away?

Goodreads

My thoughts

I very rarely DNF books. I don’t like doing it, but I could tell I would fall into a reading slump if I kept going. It’s not even that I hate the book. I was just so incredibly bored. With a great focus on Norse mythology and the interesting premise of Christianity’s arrival in the North, this book sounded like a different take on the old standard Viking stories. However, it seems like the author forgot to add a plot. Not that every book needs a plot, but this one does.

Instead of plot, we got a lot of atmospheric landscape descriptions and dreamlike visions that slowed the story down too much. I do love atmospheric books, and I would also say this is very well written. There was just too much of it, and it was too repetitive at times. Reeling it in would have helped. Also, characters having prophetic dreams that reveal some big secrets aren’t exactly a trope I enjoy all that much.

The Nephilim Protocol (The Solomon Code #1)

Author: J. D. Kloosterman

Published: September 7th 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Half angels, superpowers, confined to remote island

A received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Everyone in his life has always seemed to hate him. Chad doesn’t know why. He never can do the right thing to please anyone. He doesn’t understand what he’s supposed to be guilty of, or why everyone assumes he’s so dangerous.  When a friend tries to shoot up the school, Chad smashes through a brick wall in the fight to stop him.  And then he knows. 

Descended from the race of the half-angel Nephilim, Chad has gained massive strength, quick reflexes, and varied strange abilities.  Once, his ancestors were kings, Templars, demigods; ruling the Earth with cruel indifference.   Now, their descendants are imprisoned on the most remote location in Alaska—Attu Island, hundreds of miles out in the ocean.

Up against the camp’s guards, the fatal Alaskan weather, and even his fellow Nephilim campers, simply surviving is a challenge for Chad. He doesn’t want to die at the camp, but at the frozen edge of the world, can even an angel escape?

Goodreads

My thoughts

This is a book that’s very much not written for me. What sounded like a cool concept about half angels being imprisoned on an island turned out to be lacking in its execution because it, apparently, was more important for the reader to know how racist and sexist the characters were. The book goes for the narrative of how it is oh so hard for teenage boys not to be racist and sexist. But the main character is trying, so that’s okay. It’s really not, though. Overall, it made this book very uncomfortable to read, and it definitely made it hard for me to root for these characters even they weren’t displaying that despicable behavior.

In the positive section, I will say that it had some very action-packed scenes that were quite well written. It definitely made sure I wasn’t bored. There are also some interesting powers for these half angels that I wish would have been explored more. I generally could have used a bit more world-building.

That was my September. Really hoping that my October reading will be better. Please share your favorite read of September in the comments, so we can get some positive vibes going. Happy reading!

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – September 30 2020

The storm howled out of the west like the terrible voice of God, shouting down the heretics who doubted the coming Apocalypse.

First line in A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden

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

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

What did you recently finish?

Well, technically I didn’t finish it because I decided to DNF A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden after reading 53%. I was frustrated with a lot of things about it without outright hating the book. It has very beautiful writing, but I feel like the author was more preoccupied with setting the scene e.g. showing the landscape, describing a culture, than actually using that scene to further the story. It became a little repetitive since it’s a story with a lot of travel. New scenes to describe all the time.
I also stopped because I could tell it was leading up to an event I didn’t want to happen. Like, that would have made me hate the book. Now I can just stay happily ignorant.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently working on a book I’ve accepted for review called The Nephilim Protocol by J. D. Kloosterman. It’s a YA Fantasy about a half-angel boy who is being held prisoner on an island along with many others of his kind. It sounded really cool, but the reality is that I do not like it. There is a surprisingly big amount of racism and sexism in this book that make certain parts of it quite uncomfortable to read. If you ignore those parts (it’s difficult), then the book does show some potential, as I can see how it’s trying to fill the gap in the YA Fantasy market for books with male protagonists. I just wish it had a different angle and focused more the angel aspects.

I guess I’m also reading The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley, but I’ve literally only read one chapter. I’m already tentatively loving it, though, because that writing style just pulls you in, and I can’t wait to dive in further.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’ll probably start Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix just to get it going.

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – September 23rd 2020

It was not quite dawn when Magnus Bane rode into the low clearing with death on his mind.

First line in The Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare

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

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

What did you recently finish?

I’ve been good this past week. I finished two books and the first one was The Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare. It’s the second book in the Eldest Curses series, but there’s a major time-jump from the first to the second. I ended up rating it 2.5 stars, and that might have been a little generous. I don’t see the point. This one should have been a novella, or it should have been written right after The Mortal Instruments ended. Now later books have told me that the characters are going to be fine and are not going to go through any major character development so why should I care?

I also just finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which means it’s time for me to write another Lost in Translation post. It’s going to be a very long one this time.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve picked up A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden, but I’m only 10% into this Viking-esque story. However, we’ve already hit the first plot twist. Not one I particularly liked, though. It tricked me into thinking that the story was going in one direction but then changed completely. I was so invested in that first direction already, so now I have to adjust my expectations.
It partly takes place in Denmark, which is a huge reason why I wanted to read it. What I want to say in connection to that is that so far, the author has been name-dropping a lot. It’s cool enough for me because I know the meaning and significance behind the names… but I doubt many other readers will.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Well, I’m still waiting for The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan from the library. I have no idea what I’m going to pick up next if not that one. I might just go down to the library this weekend to take a look around and find something at random.

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – September 16th 2020

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

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

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

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

What did you recently finish?

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

What are you currently reading?

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

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

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – September 9th 2020

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

First line in The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen

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

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

What did you recently finish?

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

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

What are you currently reading?

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

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

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – September 2nd 2020

“Give me your hat.”

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

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

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

What did you recently finish?

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

What are you currently reading?

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

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

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

Posted in Wrap up

August 2020 Reading Wrap Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author: Caroline Criado Perez

Published: March 7th 2019

Genre: Non-Fiction

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Feminism, people in power forgetting women exist

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

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

Goodreads

My thoughts

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

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

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

Firestarter (Timekeeper #3)

Author: Tara Sim

Published: January 15th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

My thoughts

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

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

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

Burn

Author: Patrick Ness

Published: June 2nd 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Buzzwords: DRAGONS!, 1950’s

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

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

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

Goodreads

My thoughts

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

Drowned Country (The Greenhollow Duology #2)

Author: Emily Tesh

Published: August 18th 2020

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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

My thoughts

I want more!

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

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

Obviously going to read whatever Tesh publishes in the future.

The House in the Cerulean Sea

Author: T. J. Klune

Published: March 17th 2020

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Buzzwords: magical children, orphanage, fighting prejudice

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

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

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

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

Goodreads

My thoughts

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

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

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

The Bone Ships (The Tide Child #1)

Author: R. J. Barker

Published: September 24th 2019

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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

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

The dragons disappeared, but the battles for supremacy persisted.

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

Goodreads

My thoughts

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

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

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