As the title suggests I am doing a tag. I honestly don't know who originally created the tag (sorry) and I am way too lazy to look it up. Also the tag has 15 questions but I will only answer the ones I find most interesting (lazy again).
1. Best book you've read so far?
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
I read quite a few good ones but I will go with A man called Ove. This book made me cry so hard I couldn't see the pages. So good. So good!
A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.
Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?
2. Best sequel you've read so far?
The Gods of Vice (The Vengeance Trilogy #2) by Devin Madson
This was such a good read, I couldn't put it down!
Two emperors. One empire.
The war for the Crimson Throne has split Kisia. In the north Otako supporters rally around their champion, but Katashi Otako wants only vengeance. Caught in the middle, Hana must decide between her family and her heart. Is the true emperor the man the people want? Or the one they need?
3. A release you are looking forward to reading?
Dry by Neal Shusterman
When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman.
The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.
Until the taps run dry.
Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.
4. Biggest surprise?
Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman
I was beyond surprised at just how much I enjoyed this book. I practically inhaled it!
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.
Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.
5. Biggest disappointment?
The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6) by Brandon Sanderson
I honestly had A LOT of disappointments this year, but I am still bitter about this one.
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.
The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metal minds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.
6. Favorite new author?
I found her a couple of weeks ago and already read 4 of her books. Oops! I started with this novella, which I absolutely recommend!!
In Shadows We Fall by Devin Madson
Winner of the 2017 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novella
You will die. Your children will die. The empire will burn.
Empress Li is out of favour at court. Foreign-born and past her prime, she is to be set aside. But she won't go quietly. With nothing left to lose, Li will do anything to stop Emperor Lan signing a secret alliance that could tear the empire apart. Yet when her life is threatened, old mistakes come back to haunt her and only a three-year-old boy can change the course of history.
With everything at stake, could an innocent child be the best assassin?
7. Favorite new fictional character?
I am a minor character type of reader. I don't know why. I just am, and always been.
8. Book that made you cry?
Yes, I am using the same book twice, but what are you gonna do?
This book made me weep!
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour made me tear up and so did The Lido by
9. Favorite NetGalley book?
Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent
This was so perfectly messed up!
From the international bestselling author of Unraveling Oliver, an “unputdownable psychological thriller with an ending that lingers long after turning the final page” (The Irish Times) about a Dublin family whose dark secrets and twisted relationships are suddenly revealed.
My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.
On the surface, Lydia Fitzsimons has the perfect life—wife of a respected, successful judge, mother to a beloved son, mistress of a beautiful house in Dublin. That beautiful house, however, holds a secret. And when Lydia’s son, Laurence, discovers its secret, wheels are set in motion that lead to an increasingly claustrophobic and devastatingly dark climax.
This book can be renamed All the Stupid Things Leona Did. It's been a while since I really disliked a women fiction book, but here we are. I had quite high hopes for this (for some reason). The premise sounded interesting and I am always in the market for a good book revolving around women and children.
For startes Leona is the stupidest main character, I'm sorry but she really is. I get it, there are people who don't know what they want to do with their lives (I mean, I don't!), people who don't finish things, people who hide from the world all the time - and I have a feeling that Leona was supposed to be a character that reader identifies with, but the whole execution was so poor, that all I could do was just roll my eyes at her constant stupidity.
The whole premise of the book, while at first sounding very endearing quickly turned out into something very wrong. The book takes methods that women who can't get pregnant would use in hopes to conceive a baby and turn it into a stupid game of Leona choosing her sperm donor. It was quite insulting actually. All the while she tumbles from one poor and unprofessional decision to another.
The whole plot was very unrealistic and from the whole array of characters I only liked Maura. The ending was kind of sweet, but also very impractical - there were so many questions left open that the book felt unfinished.
I had another book by Loretta Nyhan on my TBR, but I went ahead and removed it - it was clear from this book that this author is not for me, even if the writing was quite good.
I am in a huge mood for thrillers/suspense/mystery books! So when I saw the description for this book I was more than intrigued. Open Your Eyes has everything you want in a good thriller - pace, suspense and a good dose of daily life. It was also an extremely fast read. But it also falls short on many other things.
The main character, Jane, is compelling and I sympathized with her a lot, but she's also not very bright. There were some things she did in regards to her family and kids that left me thinking "no way a mother would ever act like that".
I also had trouble connecting to the age of kids, her daughter was supposedly 3 years old, but in the book she was left to act as if she was at least 5. I just thought that it was a big disconnect in that sense and therefore the novel didn't feel authentic and real life like.
The first 10% of the book were also very, well not good. The writing felt childish and the dialog ridiculous - I almost gave it up. But I'm so glad that I didn't, because from then on I couldn't put it down.
The plot was limpy at times as well - there were some things put in there that didn't have any significance whatsoever to the main story, and while sometimes a secondary story line works - it just didn't in here. But only because in a thriller I want every little detail to matter, every little noose to come unraveled - and when I get led on by secondary plot lines I just get fidgety because I just want to know how the story will end!
Despite that Open Your Eyes was still a compelling, quick and quite thrilling read. I felt fear at times and I was a bit surprised at the outcome of the mystery, but I definitely wasn't wowed. I'm happy I picked it up, but I wouldn't re-read it or anything.
Big thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for a digital advanced reader copy provided for a review. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart.
I am a middle book person. They tend to be slower, they tend to have more background and usually by the end they escalate so fast, having left you hungry for more. In Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson book 2 was my absolute favorite, in Hunger Games book 2 was the best one in my opinion. And now The gods of Vice - I just couldn't get enough of this book, and when it was over I jumped into the 3rd one right away.
The pace really suited me - it was both action packed and slow, it had story, it had flashbacks - it was just so dimensional all around. The characters got most of their development done in this installment and I truly enjoyed learning all of the little secrets that came out to the surface.
The best secret was kept till the very end, but it was well worth it, because it blew my mind. Literally. Brain explosion! Kaboom! Just when I thought I knew characters and was beginning to trust them - things got turned around 360 degrees and I didn't know what to think anymore!
That is also the ongoing theme with this book - I never knew what will happen or even how all of this would end. And I loved that! I usually can see endings and twists a mile away (but that might be because I also read a lot of generic fantasy in the past two years), but this kept me guessing. Well, to be honest I even gave up on guessing - I just went with it and enjoyed the wild ride.
This is also not a book in which you can pick up a favorite character, call him or her "a precious dandelion" and root for them till the end. Because the moment you start feeling something for a character they turn around and mess up in the worst possible ways. It's stressful! But it's also very fun. I cannot wait to see how this madness of a trilogy will end.
(DNF at 51%)
I feel like I am doing myself and this book a disservice by reading a much shortened, translated version of it. The original book is about 500 pages, and this version is 288.
I peaked at other reviews of this book on Goodreads, because the book got a lot of glowing 5 star reviews (and I just couldn't understand why). But now I know that the translation is the reason.
The original, Madhorubdagan, is poetic, lush and beautiful. One Part Woman is dry, choppy and repetitive. Which saddens me to no end, because I don't speak the language the book was written in, so I guess I will never be able to experience the true beauty of it.
I loved the new cover, I loved the topic and I loved that I had the chance to read something by a foreign author. I wanted to learn more about Indian culture, their religion and customs, but due to the horrible translation I really couldn't.
Sure, all of those things were in the book, but they weren't catered to an average reader - there were no explanations as to who was who, and what god came from where. There were no explanations of temples, or rituals - names were just thrown around and I drowned trying to decipher what means what.
I also really hope that this book is not a correct representation of Indian culture as a whole and its people. Because if it is you will be hard pressed to find one single nice person in India, which I'm sure is not true. In the book they all were just horrible people! Jealous, crude, self-centered and worse. The only person I felt bad for was Ponna, because not only she suffered the most, but also because Kali (in my opinion) was a total prick.
I am sad that I wasn't able to enjoy this book, nor learn anything from it. I firmly believe that if book gets translated it should be translated in a way that is the closest to the original, but also in a way that is accessible and understandable to everyone. People who live in that environment and people who don't should all be able to experience the book in the same way. Otherwise why translate it at all?
Big thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for a digital galley copy provided for a review. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart.
3.75-4 / 5 stars
I feel like it is impossible to review this book without mentioning the drama that erupted over it about a year ago (not sure exactly when). I also do not remember WHO started it, or WHY they started it for that matter.
Then hundreds of people started jumping on the band wagon by condemning this book without even reading it (gasp!! I know, I know...) and it just became a whole big mess - which frankly is probably the most embarrassing thing I've ever seen a community of readers and intellectuals do. Embarrassing! If you want to hate on the book just because somebody else told you to - then maybe you shouldn't be reading books at all. Because books are for people who have their own opinions.
I've also seen so many people pull quotes out of the contest and use them to "prove" their negative points about the book. That's just messed up, and you know it.
The book was labeled racist, ableist and some other vile things. But I am here to laugh into all of those people's faces - because it's not. I do see how it could be mistakenly viewed as one (if one wants to skew the reality and see only what they want to see), but there is a big difference between a book being racist and a book being set in a racist, close minded, prejudiced world. Just because the book talks about those things (and goodness those things NEED to be talked about!) doesn't mean that the book IS those things. How somebody couldn't make that distinction is beyond me, but I digress - let's talk about the actual book!
I've seen The Black Witch being compared to Harry Potter and I definitely see why. The magic school setting, the pure bloods vs. everybody else, the white wand and many other things are definitely similar. The lessons that those books are trying to teach are very similar too - prejudice, choosing your own friends, the magic community wanting to be pure blooded and so on.
I could also definitely see why so many people gave up on the book very early on - the society in which Elloren finds herself is beyond toxic. Yes, the society is racist! Yes, it is prejudiced! Yes, it is absolutely horrid and cruel and mockingly pure blooded. It's like being in a company of many Hitlers and many Malfoys - at all times. But it is also shockingly, and sadly, similar to the society we now live in.
Also, if you thought that Harry Potter got bullied a lot - wait till you read this. Elloren gets bullied on another level. It's quite painful.
Elloren comes from a very sheltered village, where she lived a beyond sheltered life with her gentle uncle, who hid a lot of things from her. Then she finds herself in a world of which she knows nothing, except things that her exceptionally cruel aunt tells her. It takes Elloren a long time to realize what really is going on. It takes her a long time to see the lies she's been fed, to see the truth beyond all of those shimmering facades. She makes many mistakes, and many bad decisions - but her journey is a beautiful one. Elloren is flawed, Elloren is confused and scared, but despite all of that she denies the life of privileges because the price is not what she wants to pay, and finds her own way to the truth.
I gave the book 3.75-4 (I really couldn't decide) stars because I didn't realize it was going to be set in a magical school setting. While I do enjoy those, I also think that they are a bit overused and just don't do much for me. Sure, it was fun in Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but sometimes enough is enough. I wanted something more grown up (I know this is ya, but still). There was also way too much "glaring" from a certain character for me - he literally "glared" at her about 100 times, and that just gets old, people.
But there were so many things that I loved! For example, when Elloren finds out about how her clothes are made - this fantasy book actually talked about ethical fashion! I literally whooped with happiness because I was so pleased. Ethical fashion is very important to me - fair wages, fair working environment, no child labor - I refuse to shop at the malls and "fast fashion stores" such as forever21, because of how horrid they actually are. If you don't know the horrors of fast fashion please google it - you will never look at your clothes the same ever again. So to have it talked about in a fantasy book was amazing - more people need to be aware what they are supporting with their money.
Animal abuse, interracial marriage, underage marriage, arranged marriage, unfair working wages, favoritism, corrupted politicians - this book has so much to say, and it saddens me that so many people chose not to listen. There was also a heartbreaking example of how parents corrupt their children with their prejudiced views.
There was a lot of girl power in this book, which I loved - my favorite side character was Diana - a super strong, confident girl who didn't give a flying shit about what anybody else thought. Every scene in which she was present was hilarious. I definitely need more Diana in my life, or to be more like Diana. There's a lovable bookworm, who goes through many transformations and her journey, while similar to Elloren's is beautiful in its own way. A lot of side characters are really good, but some could use a little more dimension.
The Black Witch has a lot to offer - the plot, while not very original, sure has many things that make it very appealing. The writing is phenomenal, if you ignore few words that definitely got overused here and there - the script is absolutely beautiful. I cannot believe that this was Forest's first book. She absolutely has the talent!
The book also makes you think - it throws you into uncomfortable situations and makes you draw parallels with the real world - who would you believe, what would you do, what would you change?
I thoroughly enjoyed The Black Witch and will be reading the next installment, The Iron Flower very soon (was very lucky to get an ARC of it, whaaaaat). There are so many ways the story could go and I cannot wait to explore it.
I would have swallowed this book up in one day, but horrendous headache made me wait. In other words this book was so hard to put down! I just had to keep reading, I just had to know how everything would end.
This is a fantastic debut novel, it's actually hard to believe that this is just a debut - everything flows so nicely, and Frey's writing is simply addicting.
This is such a creative take on a kidnapping story! I've never read anything like this and this book just didn't want to let me go.
Is kidnapping wrong? This book will change your perspective and flip your world upside down.
I loved how Not Her Daughter portrayed media attention in this book - how all of those TV stories only show you what's on the surface, only what they want you to see - twisting the truth just so they can make the headlines more shocking. But what if in some instances kidnapping is actually. good thing? What if it's not kidnapping, but saving?
The bond between Emma and Sarah in this book was so tender and real, and full of love it seeped through the pages. Amy's insecurities, and anger and hate were so strong - frankly, it was very hard not to wish for her to die the most painful death imaginable.
If not for the few plot flops that I just couldn't overlook this book would have been a shining 5 stars, but 4.5 coming from me (so critical!) is a high praise too. I just couldn't understand some of the decisions Sarah made - why would she stay at the cabin for so long, why would she trust Ethan, how come he didn't just turn her in (he knew her name and much more). Also the plot line with Charlie's father went nowhere, and I felt like I needed a little bit more closure there.
If you want an impossible-to-put-down summer book - read this. If you want a perfect book club discussion novel - read this. If you want a perfect women fiction book - read this. Not Her Daughter will make you sad, happy and angry - all at once, so don't miss this little rollercoaster of a read.
Big thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an e-arc copy provided for a review. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart. Not Her Daughter comes out on August 21st!.
It is a shame when such a pretty cover hides such a useless book. My reaction when I was finished with the book? "What in the world did I just read??"
Like living in a snow globe, The Waiter is a captivating study in miniature. Everything is just so, and that’s exactly how the waiter needs it to be. One can understand why he becomes anxious when things begin to change. In fact, given the circumstances, anxiety just might be the most sensible response...
Sure, the synopsis sold me on this book, even though I was already so intrigued by the beautiful cover, but did the book deliver? Absolutely not.
It wasn't a study in miniature, it wasn't study of chaos as it erupted around an anxious waiter - it was a mess of neurotic thoughts, random encounters, angry and derogatory ramblings and bunch of "important" names thrown around. Add the unresolved ending on topped all you have is a big floppy mess of nothing.
My first problem with this book was that it made you feel left out - the waiter would ramble on about things, and places and names that I knew nothing about, or barely knew, and honestly a person who hasn't ever been to Europe probably wouldn't know either. It felt as if the book was written for a very small, specific audience, and at times it even felt as if the reader wasn't necessary at all.
Surprisingly, there were things that I really liked. I liked waiters views on clothing - how we like to wear brand clothing because we think it makes us original, that it creates our own personal style, but in reality we are just parading somebody else's ideas, specifically a designers who made the clothing. So instead of being original and distinguished we are no more than just a walking commercial for those clothes. I thought that was absolutely brilliant way to look at it and I definitely agree with it.
I decided to read the whole thing because I wanted to see how it would play out. Now that I did, I wish I just abandoned it (I had to skim the last 30% - I was quite bored). The ending didn't wrap anything up, didn't close any loops or holes, and it did't explain anything at all. Which made the whole reading experience pointless to me.
Big thanks to NetGalley and Gallery, Threshold, Pocket books for providing an advanced e-ARC for a review. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart.
I am quite surprised that this book isn't talked about more, on Goodreads specifically. It is the epitome of a perfect summer read - I ate it up in one day (and this book isn't small - 448 pages).
Also, I had no expectations whatsoever when I started reading it, so I think that contributed to me being very pleasantly surprised by this debut.
The beginning of the book has very strong Pretty Little Liars vibes, but much, much better executed. However, as the book progressed I started comparing it to The Secret Garden by Kate Morton (which I recently also read). The comparison is due to the story branching out through two generations- past and present colliding, and that is something Morton does in her every book. But, while The Secret Garden almost put me to sleep, All These Beautiful Strangers hooked me and didn't let go till the very end.
Mostly, we follow the story through Charlie in the present day, but we also get glimpses into the past from her parents' points of view. The overlapping was done really well, and the story flow felt very natural. And if I put you off by comparing this to Pretty Little Liars, don't worry All These Beautiful Strangers is far superior to PLL in every sense - structural, grammatical and just in general the writing is quite good.
Charlie is a great main character to follow around - she doesn't pull her punches, she says what she thinks and never takes it back. Sure, she might be a bit antisocial, but I was actually able to relate to that. The story is set in a prestige boarding school, but despite that it wasn't tacky in a way college novels can be.
By the end it did get pretty intense and I loved it! The book that makes me feel things (and I felt scared for the character) is a book worth reading my opinion! All These Beautiful Strangers is a perfect summer read, and as far as young adult mystery books go - this one is one of the best I've read so far.
Big thanks to the publisher, William Morrow, for providing an advanced reader copy for a review. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart.
Ohh, pretty covers - how many times am I going to be hurt by you? Obviously the cover caught my eye. The description was very lovely, and I was expecting something along the lines of The Lido by Libby Page (loved that one!). But this wasn't anything like that. It probably wasn't meant to be anything like it, but I think my expectations got in the way.
I could tell from the very first pages that I wasn't going to like this book, but I kept giving it chances - hoping with all my heart that something would change my mind - but alas, that didn't happen.
My main problem was that I couldn't see the point of this book - not at 20%, not at 51% and not at 71%. I just didn't know why I was reading it and what the book was trying to make me feel. Because I didn't feel anything. Nothing. And if the book doesn't make you feel then what is even the point?
It didn't help that Lana wasn't a very interesting, or for that matter a nice main character to follow. And don't get me wrong, I love unlikable protagonists, but I just couldn't stand Lana. To start off she was as bland as white bread.
She was also very selfish, petty and "know it all". She tried teaching a class, but the students had way more insight on the subject than she did. She violated Nancy's privacy and read her journal because she selfishly hoped to find a story in there. I'm sure she was meant to come off as relatable to the readers, because she had so many flaws, but to me she didn't.
Because Lana was so self-centered the whole book had the voice of conceited stiffness. Everything she did was for self gain - all she cared about was her book, which in hind sight didn't sound like a good book at all.
The plot also didn't make much sense - a random guy encounter who offers to be her "hero" and they go on bunch of fake dates - that's just so unrealistic. Once again I'm sure the goal here was to come off as "sweet" and "different", but to me the whole thing was just weird.
I'm happy for all the people who enjoyed the book, but for me it lacked depth, and I just wasn't the fan of the whole thing altogether. It offered little nourishment and no emotional value to me and that is definitely something I look for in a book.
Big thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for providing me with a digital arc for review. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart.
Having previously read the novella by Devin Madson, In Shadows we Fall I immediately wanted more. So I just went ahead and got the 1st book of The Vengeance Trilogy - and here we are.
From the very first words of the novella I knew I loved the writing, so it was no surprise at just how much I enjoyed it in the full pledge novel as well.
Before I forget I do recommend reading the novella prior to the trilogy - you don't have to, but trust me it will bring an extra dimension to everything. It will also make you feel as if you're in on a secret - for you will know things that characters themselves don't know yet.
The Blood of Whispers is told from 3 main points of view - from characters so morally grey and driven by vengeance that you don't know whom to make your favorite, or even if you should pick a favorite or just abandon all of them to their blood thirstiness.
I think that it was absolutely genius to have story told from such characters - every time I'd start liking one they would do something and I would be like "maybe not?". The plot is intricate enough that by the end of the novel you don't know whose views are good and who is right and who is wrong?
The world is explored through Endymion, Darius and Hana's points of view and while I don't have a certain favorite I'd have to say that Darius is the closest choice. Mysterious, quietly suffering and very secretive - who doesn't like one of those in a fantasy novel, right?
Hana would have been my favorite if only she would abandon her stupid notion that being a woman is useless, that being a woman is a defect. It is honestly the only thing that rubbed me wrong (very wrong) in the book. I am just hoping that by the end of the trilogy she realizes her potential as a woman, and realizes that you don't need to wear trousers and shun all things feminine to be strong. She has potential, but she herself dwarfs it with her barbaric way of thinking.
The ending left a great potential for the second book, and at this point I don't know how things would unfold at all. Thought the whole book I felt engaged and never once was I bored. I was also scared a lot, as Madson is not gentle to her characters.
I am honestly very surprised that this series isn't more popular. It's much better than lots of "fantasy" novels out there who just follow the same cookie-cutter plot. While The Blood of Whispers is not completely original in any way it does brings new things to the table and it definitely deserves more attention.
Can't wait to read book 2!
There is nothing like a used bookstore, nothing! The thrill of the hunt itself is exhilarating, not to mention that shelves of books upon books are quite intoxicating.
Here is my little haul - all of these together were 5$.
1. The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace
Did I get this book solely for its beautiful cover? Yes, I did.
An iridescent jewel of a novel that proves love is the mother of invention
In the early 1800s, a young Italian contessa, Carolina Fantoni, realizes she is going blind shortly before she marries the town's most sought-after bachelor. Her parents don't believe her, nor does her fiancé. The only one who understands is the eccentric local inventor and her longtime companion, Turri. When her eyesight dims forever, Carolina can no longer see her beloved lake or the rich hues of her own dresses. But as darkness erases her world, she discovers one place she can still see-in her dreams. Carolina creates a vivid dreaming life, in which she can not only see, but also fly, exploring lands she had never known.
2. House on the River: A Summer Journey by Nessa Rapoport
This just caught my eye because the cover looked so old and antique.
A nostalgic summer vacation resulted in this beautifully written and evocative memoir, which explores the deep bonds across generations, the power of memory to shape a person's life, and the way loss can be distilled into a source of consolation.
3. Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez, Gregory Rabassa (translator)
I have been so good with my bookish resolutions this year - read more foreign authors - check and check!
A man returns to the town where a baffling murder took place 27 years earlier, determined to get to the bottom of the story. Just hours after marrying the beautiful Angela Vicario, everyone agrees, Bayardo San Roman returned his bride in disgrace to her parents. Her distraught family forced her to name her first lover; and her twin brothers announced their intention to murder Santiago Nasar for dishonoring their sister.
Yet if everyone knew the murder was going to happen, why did no one intervene to stop it? The more that is learned, the less is understood, and as the story races to its inexplicable conclusion, an entire society--not just a pair of murderers—is put on trial.
4. Villette by Charlotte Brontë
Picked up another copy of Villette because I am collecting Brontes.
With her final novel, Villette, Charlotte Brontë reached the height of her artistic power. First published in 1853, Villette is Brontë's most accomplished and deeply felt work, eclipsing even Jane Eyre in critical acclaim. Her narrator, the autobiographical Lucy Snowe, flees England and a tragic past to become an instructor in a French boarding school in the town of Villette. There, she unexpectedly her feelings of love and longing as she witnesses the fitful romance between Dr. John, a handsome young Englishman, and Gineva Fanshawe, a beautiful coquette. The first pain brings others, and with them comes the heartache Lucy has tried so long to escape. Yet in spite of adversity and disappointment, Lucy Snowe survives to recount the unstinting vision of a turbulent life's journey - a journey that is one of the most insightful fictional studies of a woman's consciousness in English literature
5. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Caught my eye with its description.
On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's Syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this story that unfolds over a quarter of a century - in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that long-ago winter night. Norah Henry, who knows only that her daughter died at birth, remains inconsolable; her grief weighs heavily on their marriage. And Paul, their son, raises himself as best he can, in a house grown cold with mourning. Meanwhile, Phoebe, the lost daughter, grows from a sunny child to a vibrant young woman whose mother loves her as fiercely as if she were her own.
6. The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman
From the bestselling author of Practical Magic, a miraculous, enthralling tale of a woman who is struck by lightning, and finds her frozen heart is suddenly burning.
Be careful what you wish for. A small town librarian lives a quiet life without much excitement. One day, she mutters an idle wish and, while standing in her house, is struck by lightning. But instead of ending her life, this cataclysmic event sparks it into a new beginning.
She goes in search of Lazarus Jones, a fellow survivor who was struck dead, then simply got up and walked away. Perhaps this stranger who has seen death face to face can teach her to live without fear. When she finds him, he is her opposite, a burning man whose breath can boil water and whose touch scorches. As an obsessive love affair begins between them, both are forced to hide their most dangerous secrets--what turned one to ice and the other to fire.
A magical story of passion, loss, and renewal, The Ice Queen is Alice Hoffman at her electrifying best.
7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Been on my TBR for a while.
The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic
8. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
In my review of the Secret Garden I said that I won't read anymore of Morton, but this book was in mint condition for 50c, so here I am.
A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WWII. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941.
Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it.
Morton once again enthralls readers with an atmospheric story featuring unforgettable characters beset by love and circumstance and haunted by memory, that reminds us of the rich power of storytelling.
I love me a good fantasy novella - I think that they are a sure sign of how talented the author is. It is no easy feat to comprise something tangible and complete in so little pages.
This novella is a prequel to author's The Vengeance Trilogy and it does a great job of making the reader crave more of this world, more of the setting, more of the beautiful writing and to just know what happens next??
Obviously, I already purchased the first book in the trilogy - I mean how could you not?
I've been craving more asian inspired fantasy books and this honestly couldn't have come at a better time. In Shadows we Fall is a perfect mix of power hungry delusional emperor, a conspiracy, a mother who would do anything for her children and magic that puts fear into your bones.
Being a novella it is short, like very short. And that's probably my only complaint with it - because I really, really wanted more! Even 10 more pages would have done the trick, but instead I am left with millions of questions and a burning desire to read the next book immediately (I just might to be honest).
The writing pulled me in from page one - it was seamless, simple but descriptive. The characters are so morally conflictive that you don't know who to root for, or even if you should be rooting for anybody at all.
Is it fair to leave the reader hungry for more? Is it fair to tease and give nothing away? Sure - this is a brutal fantasy world, and here all and nothing is fair.
Like I've said before - a good mystery book shouldn't be longer than 300 pages. In this case 288 was perfectly enough.
I picked Mind's Eye randomly in a second hand book shop because the cover and then a description caught my eye. It being written by a Swedish author was a gigantic plus because 2018 is a year in which I'm trying to read a lot of foreign authors. Speaking of foreign, the translation for this was superb - really, really enjoyed it.
As it usually goes with mystery novels - it's hard to review them without giving anything away, so I will just be very general here. The writing was blunt and very refreshing and therefore the book was a breeze to read through. Even a little bit addicting at some points. The opening was fantastic - it lures the reader right in and doesn't want to let go.
I love myself some cold European sarcasm and boy did this book deliver - I laughed out loud quite a few times, which was such a pleasant surprise.
Van Veeteren is a "lovely" character to follow. The description on the back cover that compares him to Dr. House is quite spot on. Yes, you can definitely call him Dr. House of the investigation scene. Grumpy, snarky and with no regards to other people's feelings. Although to be honest he could have cranked up his grumpiness a few notches (or a lot) and I would have enjoyed it even more.
We don't really get to divulge into Von's detective style - there's a lot of conversation, interrogation and coffee drinking, but he doesn't reveal much of his thoughts until the very end. Which both is good and kind of annoying. It's good because it keeps the reader guessing, but it's also annoying because who likes to be in the dark??
The plot is nothing special, but despite of that there wasn't a point in which I felt bored o wanted to speed things up. I will definitely try to pick up more of his books in the future.
It boggles my mind how a book that supposedly has everything I love in books ended up being the book that I didn't love.
Historical fiction? - check!
Beautiful cover? - check!
Magic woven into history? - check!
YA book that doesn't have any unnecessary and annoying sex scenes? - check!
The execution of all of those things together? - ehhh...
I honestly don't know what, or even how that happened? The premise seemed so promising. The cover obviously caught my cover-whore loving eye. But from the very first pages I was very uninterested, and to be honest, pretty bored.
For starters the story drops us into the historical setting of Guy Fawkes' son and into the era in which Guy Fawkes was famous for something. Who is Guy Fawkes? What did he actually do? I have absolutely no idea - my point is that if the reader is not already familiar with history of that era - will be just as lost as I was. And probably uninterested, because if guy Fawkes had any significance, I didn't know it, thus I really didn't care for his character.
His son, Thomas, and our main character was the most bland, whiny and illogical character ever. Emma is honestly the only character that had any potential. The plot wasn't holding my attention at all, but the biggest mess of this book was "the magic system".
If I tried to explain "the magic" - I couldn't. Because it wasn't explained in the book. The ideas, the premises were so good, so much potential! But in the end it was just too much, or too little? Too undefined, too underdeveloped - just messy.
My disappointment in this book is quite sad - when I got approved for my request for it I literally squealed with glee because I was so excited for it. But, alas.
Big thanks to NetGalley and THOMAS- Nelson Fiction for my e-ARC for a review. All of the opinions are mine, honest and come from the heart.