Posted in Wrap up

January Reading Wrap Up

“There is a pirate in the basement.”

First line in The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Hi, guys. January is over so here you get the wrap up of the reading I did this past month. January always feels like the longest month of year to me. I’ve been telling myself that we’re close to February since the 7th. However, I did read some amazing books this month so that sort of made up for it. In fact, I’m 99% sure I’ve already read my favorite book of the year. I hope something even better comes along of course but a high bar has been set already in January. The other 4 books I read this month were also good as my lowest rating was 3 stars. 
Before we get into the mini-review part, I just want to mention that I spent a large part of the month reading Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. However, as that book is so long a.k.a I didn’t finish it this month, it won’t appear in this wrap up. It will for sure be in my February wrap up though. 

The Starless Sea

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Published: November 5th 2019

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 5 stars!!

Buzzwords: book about books, secret libraries, whimsical storytelling

Synopsis: Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues — a bee, a key, and a sword — that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians — it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.

Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

Goodreads

My thoughts

Holy shit…this book is magical in a way I never thought a book could be. It quite literally takes you down the rabbit hole to a world of beautifully woven stories and doors that lead to new adventures. The sheer imagination and creative storytelling in this book leaves me wanting to give a standing round of applause to Erin Morgenstern.

I really like the main character, Zachary. It’s very much emphasized that he is a reader but also a gamer. I feel that’s pretty rare in books to have a main character who is interested in both but with Zachary it seemed so natural. However, the reading aspect is definitely the main focus. There were so many sentences that I felt were written directly to those of us who are addicted to books. And they hit home. I think I was smiling half the time while reading this book because it was all so relatable. Also, quite unique ones that weren’t your typical “Oh, you can never have too many books”-kind of comments.

I truly loved reading this book and I was so sad when it was over. It’s a book for you if you love books about books and don’t mind that it gets a little abstract sometimes. Not everything makes sense and not everything will be explained to you, but if you don’t mind that I think this is a must read. I will definitely be rereading it soon.

Pumpkinheads

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Illustrator: Faith Erin Hicks

Published: August 27th 2019

Genre: YA Contemporary

My rating: 4 stars

Buzzwords: Graphic novel, friendship, Halloween

Synopsis: Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?

Goodreads

My thoughts

This was so sweet and fun. I loved the friendship banter between Josiah and Deja. It really made their connection feel real right from the start. Almost from their first interaction, I had no doubt about them being best friends. It was such a joy to read about.

I gave this 4 stars but don’t take that too much to heart. I considered not rating it because this is my first ever graphic novel and I’m not sure how to rate those. I don’t really have anything to compare it to but I know that I loved reading it. I now understand why people read these during readthons. I got through that so damn fast. Probably not my last graphic novel.

Norse Mythology

Author: Neil Gaiman

Published: February 7th 2017

Genre: Mythology

My rating: No rating

Buzzwords: Mythology-nerdness, Thor and Loki, short stories

Synopsis: Introducing an instant classic—master storyteller Neil Gaiman presents a dazzling version of the great Norse myths.Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of giants, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerges the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

Goodreads

My thoughts

This book was fun and weird at the same time which, I guess, is sort of a trademark for Neil Gaiman. The weird part for me was reading these stories in a book by a very popular author. I’ve learned about these myths in school to an excessive extent so it’s quite surreal that someone like Gaiman loves them so much.

However, I’ve decided not to give this book a rating because I’m not sure what to judge. I mean, Gaiman didn’t come up with the stories. He’s just collected them. He also didn’t change anything major about them. That’s not criticism of any kind but it doesn’t feel fair to give a rating. These are simply stories from Norse mythology which I would recommend if you’re interested in those.

The Demon King (Book 1 in Seven Realms)

Author: Cinda Williams Chima

Published: October 6th 2009

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating: 3 stars

Buzzwords: Old-school YA, a rebellious princess, political intrigue

Synopsis: Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell—the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.

One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana’Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her…

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

Goodreads

My thoughts

I don’t want to say much about this as I have a review and spoiler talk up for it. It’s a book I really enjoyed although my rating is only 3 stars. My enjoyment was more of the “I see a lot of potential here” kind. So that means I have great hopes for the rest of the series although this one had some flaws. 

Peter Pan

Author: J. M. Barrie

Published: December 27th 1904

Genre: Childrens Classic

My rating: 3 stars

Buzzwords: classic, original story

Synopsis: One starry night, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell lead the three Darling children over the rooftops of London and away to Neverland – the island where lost boys play, mermaids splash and fairies make mischief. But a villainous-looking gang of pirates lurk in the docks, led by the terrifying Captain James Hook. Magic and excitement are in the air, but if Captain Hook has his way, before long, someone will be walking the plank and swimming with the crocodiles…

Goodreads

My thoughts

I don’t have much to say about this. It wasn’t a spectacular thing for me but I’m still glad I read it. At least because it’ll be more fun for me to read all the retellings now. Please recommend me some if you know any because I’m REALLY interested in those.

The book itself is something I’ll only recommend if you’re really into Peter Pan. Then you’ll probably love it. If you’re only semi-interested, it recommend just watching the movie (from 2003) because it’s better than the book, and it added some more interesting aspects to the story.

That was it for my reading in January. If it wasn’t clear… that favorite book I was talkning about in the beginning was The Starless Sea and I’m not going to stop talking about it for the rest of the year.

I hope your month was great too. Let me know your favorite of the month in the comments. 

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Posted in Wrap up

December Reading Wrap Up

“This is it, you guys,” I say as we approach.”

First line in Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Hi, guys and welcome to my final wrap up of 2019. December turned out to be the best month of the year in terms of the number of books I read. I hit a total of 7 books which is kind of awesome for someone like me who has an average of 5 books per month. It was a super stressful month so I have no idea how I found the time to read that much. However, I think it helped that I participated in the Winter Magical Readathon which was so much fun but also probably pushed me to read some more.

My ratings for the month was a little bit all over the place although there were nothing truly horrible. Nonetheless, here you have the 7 mini-reviews of the books I read in December.

Ninth House (Book 1 in Alex Stern)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Published: October 8th 2019

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Buzzwords: secret societies, ghosts, creepy magic

Synopsis: Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

Goodreads

My thoughts

It’s difficult for me tell you exactly what was wrong with this book, because I don’t believe it’s a bad book. It’s just filled to the brim with tropes I hate. Ghosts? Check. Murder mystery? Check. Annoying MC who is somehow better at police work than the actual detectives? Check. And so many others that are too spoilery to talk about so I’ll spare you.

A general problem I had throughout the entire book was that I didn’t care about the characters. I especially had trouble connecting with Alex, our MC, and just found her more and more annoying. As the book is very character focused that was kind of a big problem. We get quite a few flashbacks to her teenage years which put these breaks in the current story. I loved when Bardugo did that in Six of Crows, but in Ninth House they mostly felt boring.

The most interesting character for me was Darlington but he was barely there. He was what kept me reading because I was always hoping he would pop up.

As I said, this isn’t a bad book by any means but it was just so wrong for me. If you find the synopsis interesting, I still think you should give it a go.

The Toll (Book 3 in Arc of a Scythe)

Author: Neal Shusterman

Published: November 5th 2019

Genre: YA Science Fiction

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

Buzzwords: Dystopia, AI, exploration of morality and humanity

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

My thoughts

I refuse to acknowledge that this series is over. It is too good the end! Nonetheless, The Toll was a perfect and satisfying conclusion to a trilogy that kept being relevant even though it takes place in the far future. This book continued the trend of the first two books and made me question humanity’s nature even more.

This last book is quite a long one but I’m not complaining. Even though it was a bit slow at times, the book needed to be this long. There aren’t a scene or a character that aren’t there for a reason and every little thing they do matters. Shusterman is especially good at making you understand every character and he doesn’t need many pages to do it. That was really important as we’re introduced to quite a few new characters in this one. It might seem counterproductive to do so in the final book but that is so not the case. Because Shusterman introduces them so effectively, it honestly seems like they’ve been a part of the story the whole time.

I also just briefly have to mention the plot because that is also amazing. Shusterman takes his time to develop it by going back and forth between characters, places and also years. He keeps you guessing all the way through, and it all in all made The Toll such a spectacular read.

The Fever King (Book 1 in Feverwake)

Author: Victoria Lee

Published: March 1st 2019

Genre: YA Science Fiction Fantasy

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buzzwords: Cool magic system, LGBTQ+, undocumented immigrants in the future

Synopsis: In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

Goodreads

My thoughts

This book has such an interesting world and magic system. It’s set in the future but certain people have magical abilities that are heavily tied to a person’s knowledge of physics, biology ect. I love a magic system that encourages learning.

This book also has some compelling characters and serious themes that are very relevant to our world today. If you want to know more about my thoughts on The Fever King, I have a full review for you to check out.

The Bands of Mourning (Book 6 in Mistborn)

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Published: January 26th 2016

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Buzzwords: Gun fights, a developing fantasy world, complicated magic

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

My thoughts

I must admit that this is a series that I really, really want to love… but it just keeps letting me down. It’s not even that there’s something inherently wrong with it. I just think that it could be so much more than what it actually is. Does that make sense? Probably not.

I think the characters and the plot are too simplistic and predictable. The simple characters mean that I’m not very attached to them and the simple plot means that I’m never really excited or fearful about what’s going to happen. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad book. It was just alright. I’m also still going to read the next book in the series when it’s published because I want to see how the world evolves.

Queens of Geek

Author: Jen Wilde

Published: March 17th 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Buzzwords: fandom culture, social anxiety rep, romance

Synopsis: Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, is an empowering novel for anyone who has ever felt that fandom is family.

Goodreads

My thoughts

Prepare for some mixed feelings. Queens of Geek is a very, very fluffy contemporary and I think it was too much for me. Too many things in this book just seem way too perfect. Especially the conversations between the characters. We follow teenagers who apparently always know the correct thing to say. As in you couldn’t say it better. It’s very unrealistic, and that bothered me quite a bit because it’s a book that’s trying very hard to be real and relatable.

This perfectness also meant that I missed just a little bit of conflict. Any kind of problem was quickly quenched by those perfect conversations and that just got a little boring by the halfway mark.

However, I thoroughly enjoyed the social anxiety rep and how fandom culture can play a role in that regard. Those things were combined really well and I related to it so much. The social anxiety was also my main reason for picking this book up so I’m still really glad I read it. I just can’t quite look past my problems with the book mentioned above.

Dry

Authors: Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

Published: October 1st 2018

Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopia

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buzzwords: Disastrous near-future, human nature in a crisis, water shortage, standalone

Synopsis: Everyone’s going to remember where they were when the taps ran dry.

The drought—or the tap-out, as everyone calls it – has been going on for a while. Life has become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t take long showers, don’t panic. But now there is no water left at all.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation and violence. When her parents go missing, she and her younger brother must team up with an unlikely group in search of water. Each of them will need to make impossible choices to survive.

Goodreads

My thoughts

This was just what I needed after finishing The Toll. It made me realize that I genuinely love Neal Shusterman’s writing style.

In Dry we follow a group of characters that are trying the survive in a world with no water. I really liked Shusterman’s character work in this one because he really makes you understand the characters and their decisions. Even those that are the tough decisions that this world inevitably provokes. If you want to know more about my thoughts, I have a full review for it.

Call Down the Hawk (Book 1 Dreamer Trilogy)

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Published: November 5th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Buzzwords: The Raven Cycle sequel, beautiful writing, whimsical, Ronan (yes, that’s a buzzword)

Synopsis: The dreamers walk among us . . . and so do the dreamed. Those who dream cannot stop dreaming – they can only try to control it. Those who are dreamed cannot have their own lives – they will sleep forever if their dreamers die.

And then there are those who are drawn to the dreamers. To use them. To trap them. To kill them before their dreams destroy us all.

Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. He can pull both curiosities and catastrophes out of his dreams and into his compromised reality.

Jordan Hennessy is a thief. The closer she comes to the dream object she is after, the more inextricably she becomes tied to it.

Carmen Farooq-Lane is a hunter. Her brother was a dreamer . . . and a killer. She has seen what dreaming can do to a person. And she has seen the damage that dreamers can do. But that is nothing compared to the destruction that is about to be unleashed. . . .

Goodreads

My thoughts

I’ve been putting off writing this review as long as I can, hoping that my feelings about this book would change. They didn’t meaning that I’m slightly disappointed by this first book in the new Dreamer Trilogy. My expectations were also very high.

The entire book felt very introductory. I kept waiting for it to start but I had to wait until the last 30 pages or so. That gave me hope for the rest of the trilogy though.

Other reviewer’s main critique of the book seems to be: not enough Adam (will there ever be enough though?). I feel that one too but I was prepared for it and understand that this isn’t about Adam. However, I want to add that there wasn’t enough Ronan. I feel like some of the new characters took over and I just wanted a Ronan-centered story.

However, Ronan’s parts of the book are the reason I still gave this a high rating. It felt sooo good to read about him again because he is such a unique character. And the few times Adam appeared too… I think my heart was about to burst.

I still have high hopes for the series and can’t wait for the second book.

Those were the 7 books I read in December which was a tough month for me personally, but apparently that means I read more. It was also a month were I found a new favorite author, Neal Shusterman. The two books I read by him this month were amazing and I want more of his writing style.

How was your Decemeber? Were there any books that managed to sneak their way onto your favorite books of the year list? Let me know in the comments.

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

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.