You know when you read a first book in the series and you like it so much that you pray the second book is at least half that good?
Waking Gods blows Sleeping Giants out of the water.
It's funny, but as with the first book it took me a little bit to get completely sucked into it. About thirty pages. I feel like Neuvel eases the reader in slowly at the beginning of every book.
Because when the things start happening - they don't stop until the very last page. So I hope you're good at holding your breath for the long amounts of time, because you will be doing that a lot here.
It's a specialty of mine to not being able to write a proper and coherent review for books that I really, really, really enjoyed. I just can't find words.
In terms of writing, in terms of plotting, in terms of characters - this book improved so much from the first one. And I already thought that the first one was perfect. So, we're breaking physics over here, really. Waking Gods gave me a lot of feelings. I still can't believe that the author did what he did. And he did it so off handedly too!
What I loved the most is how brutally honest everything is - this book highlights everything that is wrong with humanity and everything that could be right, but because of our humongous egos and selfish nature, just can't be. This book has so much food for thought that you will need a to-go box!
You know when you read a book that makes all the other books out there obsolete?
THIS IS THAT BOOK
I gave it 5 stars, but really I wish I could have given it 6 stars, 7 stars, 8 million stars.
Also, can we talk about how aesthetically pleasing the cover is? It's all green and trees and it just radiates warmths - totally my jam!
Orange deals with a topic that I am usually not comfortable reading about. Mostly because it's almost never handled well in books (at least the ones I read). But this, this is BEAUTIFUL. I am still at a loss for words. Which is curious, because this being manga, it also didn't have that many words in it (relative to its 500+ page count), but it relayed emotions and feelings in the strongest, most heart wrenching and best possible way.
It is true what they say - a picture is worth a thousand words.
The cast of characters is amazing. They all have very unique personalities, and the way they come together is absolutely beautiful. Hands down the best portrayal of a large group friendship in a book.
And while at times the main character Naho, was a bit hard to read because of her extreme timidness and indecisiveness - in the end I realized that she couldn't have been any other way. She was shy to start with, but the burden which was put on her, made all of her decisions that much harder for her.
There were many small details in the book which would resurface later and hit you right in the feels. Orange is a masterpiece.
Will I ever love anything as much as I love this?
Orange volume 2 not only lived up to my expectations, it exceeded them. I don't know how, but it managed to be sad, sweet, heartbreaking and uplifting all at once.
This cast of characters will stay with me for a very long time.
Naho, who's sweet and timid, but possesses quiet strength and kind heart.
Suwa, who is the most selfless character I've ever had the pleasure of reading.
Kakeru, who is so sad and troubled, but also loving and gentle.
Azu, who is loud and cheerful, and loved expressing herself.
Hagita, who's always grumbling and complaining, but a wonderful friend.
Takako, who is quiet, independent and strong, and will always have your back.
I love each and every one of them with all my heart.
What I loved the most was how the group of friends was willing to do everything they absolutely could to save their friend. Not once they thought that maybe it was his choice, that they should leave him to it and respect his wishes. No. They gripped him with all they could, they loved him, they hugged him when he needed it, they made him smile, they cheered him on. They always had his back. They fought for him and they showed him that life was worth living.
Never think that leaving a depressed and suicidal person to their own devices is a good idea. Never think that they know better what they want and what's best for them. They hurt. They hurt so much that they don't see any future beyond a fleeting moment. The can't see or know what's good for them, because they don't see good in anything. If you have that friend - be their light, be their goodness, be their reason to live. No matter what it takes. Always save your friend.
*If you feel confused by jumpy timelines - follow Suwa's necklace! If he's wearing it - it's a throwback. If he's not - it's a present time.*
It felt so good being back in Orange world. Being with these characters. Seeing them cry, seeing them smile. I love all of them with my whole heart. They are all precious little dandelions and they need to be protected at all costs.
This volume wasn't as strong as the previous ones for one reason - the whole gang wasn't in it enough. I missed their dynamic, I missed the jokes and their interactions and Yuza's cutesy outfits. There was some of it here, but not nearly enough.
I loved seeing Suwa's perspective. He was always my favorite and he still is. Behind his cheerfulness there is so much sadness, so much insecurity and regrets. He's so beautiful inside and out, even if he himself doesn't believe that.
While Orange Future doesn't add anything new plot wise to the story, it adds another dimension. It adds another set of emotions.
This is definitely a series that I will re-read a lot in the future. So much love.
You know what's great?
Picking up a book that you had decent expectations for and having that book blow your mind by exceeding those expectations tenfold.
Also, beautiful minimalistic covers are also pretty darn great.
It took me about two chapters to get into this. After prologue I was maybe intrigued. After chapter one I was definitely intrigued, but due to the format I didn't think that I'd relate or feel any feelings towards the characters. Somewhere in the middle of chapter two I was suddenly invested, intrigued and feeling all the feels! So, Sylvain Neuvel, bravo.
The format is fascinating. It's told in interviews, journal entries, news recordings and scientific reports. Sounds boring? You're wrong! It makes the story so multidimensional that you might feel like you're in the middle of it. You might want to check the view from your window, to make sure that there are no aliens invading earth. Just in case.
Also, I don't believe in aliens. So, for me to love a book about that topic so much, is definitely saying something.
The characters! Ohh, the characters.
Kara Resnik is.... quite a character! Pardon my word repetition. But she really is. She is also my favorite female character. Like probably ever. I don't even have to describe her, if you read the book you will understand Kara from the very first page of her chapters. She doesn't waste any time on petty introductions.
Then there's Mister Fun and Fluffy. That isn't his name, but he doesn't have one. So calling him whatever Kara calls him seems sufficient to me. He's quite a mystery.
There's Rose. Rose is a driving force of this story. She started it, forgetter or for worse.
And there's the Canadian. He's cocky and arrogant and doesn't spend much time with you in the beginning, but maybe he will warm up to you. And you to him.
There's more people involved, but I'm not here to give everything away. I'm here to tell you that this was impossible to put down. This felt like a movie, but also very life like. This is also one of my new favorites. And I'm about to binge the rest of the series. That's all I'm saying.
Well, this is going to be a short blog post!
In my 2019 reading goals and resolutions I mentioned that "if I don't read a single ya book in 2019, I'd be perfectly okay." And it still stands. However. I recently became a patron of the library again, so I wouldn't have to spend money on those books and there are few I had my eyes on for a while. Kind of.
The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1)by
So, I started this book in 2018. Like, ummm, October of. And got stuck at 16%. It may partially be because I was reading an e-book of it, and it just wasn't cutting it. Or maybe because the book is so boring, and quite generic. I don't know.
I want to check out a physical copy, to see if I will finish this, or if I will finally DNF it.
Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor
I wasn't the biggest fan of Strange the Dreamer.
But, I am kind of curious where Laini Taylor is going to take this story. Plus, it's only a duo-logy, so it's not like I am investing in large series or anything.
Hopefully it will be over quickly and painlessly. Maybe I will even enjoy it.
King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1)by Leigh Bardugo
I don't have high hopes for this anymore.
It's way too hyped. Also, the book is over 500 pages long - what for? When I read Grisha Trilogy I LOVED Nikolai. But, it was 3 years ago, and I also loved Grisha Trilogy, and now when I think about how generic and annoying it actually is, I cringe. Hard.
But, I made my library order this, so hopefully it's worth it at least a bit.
The Bear and the Nightingale(Winternight Trilogy #1)by Katherine Arden
Now, my library has this shelved as adult fantasy, but Goodreads has it as young adult. So I'm not sure?
But it's better to have low expectations and shelve it as ya, so when I'm disappointed I have something to blame it on.
And that's it, folks.
This book was ... disappointment. I was very excited to read this trilogy (I own all the books too!), but alas, let down I was once again. It's not even the hype that Im blaming this time. No. This time I'm blaming Foundryside.
“Scars are windows to bitterness—it is best to leave them untouched.”
Foundryside is Bennett's most recent fantasy book and it is amazing. And I've read it and I've loved it. So I guess what I'm saying is that going from Foundryside to City of Stairs was like going backwards in time. Back when plots weren't really cohesive, characters not very engaging and writing very, very unpolished.
“Forgetting... is a beautiful thing. When you forget, you remake yourself... For a caterpillar to become a butterfly, it must forget it was a caterpillar at all. Then it will be as if the caterpillar never was & there was only ever a butterfly.”
Shara could have been my favorite character. When I started reading her I thought "this girl drinks just as much tea as I do. I love her!". But I didn't, not really. Something was missing for me. I just couldn't connect. But I did enjoy her machinations at the end of the book ,and am interested where she could take book 2. Or where the book 2 could take her, I suppose.
Sigrud was a singular saving grace of this book. Sigrud is great. Sigrud is amazing. he's got character, he's got back story - yes! If book 2 has a lot of Sigrud I will read it! The cover of the book promised that readers would love Sigrud, and hey, at least it delivered that!
The fighting scenes were a bit too unpolished. I could definitely see a lot of Mistborn and even Elantris influences. So I think that Sanderson was a big inspiration, and I love Sanderson, but it still wasn't enough for me to enjoy the book. I felt disconnected, and bored at times.
I'm not even going to get into religion and politics this book builds upon, because this is Internet and we would be here for days just talking about it. It's definitely up to the reader how they want to interpret those musings, but I did feel that they were quite one sided and even biased at times.
I think the highlight of this book (besides Sigrud, of course) was Oslos, for me. That was a great turn of events and a great scene. Very calm, after the storm.
That said, I decided to continue on with the series, but not right away, as I originally planned (I thought I'd binge read the whole thing). But hopefully book 2 picks things up to the next level.
“Historians, I think, should be keepers of truth. We must tell things as they are - honestly, and without subversion. That is the greatest good one can do.”
Ahhh, Blake Crouch and his time/mind bending games. He's very good at it! If you pick up Dark Matter, or Recursion (when it comes out) I suggest you clear your schedule, because his books demand to be finished in one siting. Two at the most.
My feelings for this book can be broken down into two parts. First part of the book- when I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. When I wanted to highlight every sentence because it contained profound wisdom.
And the second part of the book, when I lost the character connections. When the plot blew up too big, tried to be too much. And what with that ending? Inception much?
I say Inception (the movie) because this book has the same vibes. Bending time, traveling through time, trying to fix time, and trying to fix things that would fix time, while holding onto your human feelings that are the only things tethering you to this earth by that point.
I enjoyed Recursion. It certainly wasn't as strong, or as engaging as Dark Matter was to me, but it was still page turning good. Dark Matter, besides having fantastic plot, had a lot of feelings. And that's where Recursion fell short for me. It definitely tried, and while it really worked at some instances, at others I just didn't feel it. I can pinpoint the exact point in the book when I lost all emotional connection to the characters. I gained it back by the end, but it wasn't nearly strong enough.
In conclusion, the two halves of the book felt like completely different books to me. The objective was different at the beginning. The story was going one way, but then it went completely opposite way. It's clever, but it didn't exactly work for me. I still very much recommend it though. It's definitely a ride worth riding.
Big thanks to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for an electronic arc of this book. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart. Recursion comes out on June 11,2019.
“The best books... are those that tell you what you know already.”
It's 2019, and that quote is more true than it's ever been. It's truly terrifying to read a book in which some things are so real, that for a moment you don't know which reality is yours. Sure, our food isn't rationed and we have enough razors for shaving, but the collective mindset is very much the same.
If only Orwell knew how prophetic his book turned out to be. He meant it as a warning, but it tuned out to be more of a manual. The idea of Newspeak is especially funny to me, because although it isn't called that - English language nowadays is definitely at a stage that is more slang than an actual language. and it's only getting worse with years. I mean if we already add words such as "selfie" "derp" and most embarrassingly "twerk" into the Oxford dictionary, what is next? No, no, don't tell me, it's too horrible even to imagine.
“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”
With the social media being the monster it currently is, we long forgotten any right or even need for privacy. People catalog everything about themselves on the web - engagements, weddings, births, divorces. Nothing is secret, nothing is sacred anymore. And the worst part? We enjoy doing it. We enjoy sharing. We tell ourselves we share, so our relatives in other states, or countries, can see it, but in reality we all pine for likes. For some stranger to adore our lives, to think that we have it so good.
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
I never had to read 1984 in high school, I didn't grow up in the United States, but I know many of you did. I am surprised that this book was only only allowed, but required for reading. This book is a mirror for many current political and economical tactics and machinations. But maybe we are too comfortable to listen. Maybe the horrible things that happened to Winston are too bizarre for our pampered and spoiled minds?
If not for the many info-dumps, this book unfortunately (writing wise) subjects the reader to, I'd have given it 5 stars. 1984 is brilliant. Scary so. It also doesn't read like a classic. For being written in 1949, it's very modern (albeit boring at times) in its language and execution of ideas on paper.
Having never read this book before, I didn't know what to expect from the plot, but there was no happy ending. And if we aren't careful, we might end up just like Winston, drinking bad alcohol, starting mutely at a tv screen and believing everything the "big brother" tells us.
“Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”
“The world is full enough of hurts and mischances without wars to multiply them.”
I read this months and months ago, yet somehow I forgot to write a review on it. Not that this book needs another review. So here is a very short one.
The Return of the King is personally my least favorite one of the trilogy. It's not a weak book per say, but the pacing is all over the place, and it really dampened the mood of the story for me. I wanted more depth to the things that were glossed over, and some things that were overly explained I wanted way less of.
“And then her heart changed, or at least she understood it; and the winter passed, and the sun shone upon her.”
I was very grateful for book's version of the love story between Eowyn and Faramir. They both are my absolute favorite side characters, and obviously my absolute favorite couple to ever walk the Middle Earth. Faramir is the purest soul ever created, and Eowyn is the embodiment of female grace and strength.
I absolutely love how their love story wasn't instant. How it took Eowyn a long time to realize that what she wanted wasn't at all what she needed. That she was able to admit her first love for another person and then grow as a character and turn around to find her true love. I don't know any other character in any other book who does that. On the battle field and in her heart, Eowun is a true warrior, and I adore her. And Faramir is a precious dandelion and I love him.
On the other hand I wish Aragorn and Arwen's love story wasn't fitted into two sentences. Literally. The movie expanded it beautifully though (at the price of cutting back on Faramir and Eowyn, so I guess you can't have both, ever?).
I found the ending chapter tedious and unnecessary. It felt like the story was over about two chapters ago and yet it kept going. I understood the resigning behind it, but I just wanted to be done at that point. In all honesty I skimmed on the chapter where the hobbits take back the Shire. I know they had to prove themselves, without the company and magic, and all the help, but did it have to be so tedious?
“But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.”
On the whole, Lord of the Rings trilogy holds a special place in my heart. It is the standing stone of classic fantasy, and it's also the epitome of it. The writing, the setting, the ultimate battle between good and evil - it has it all. And despite there only being a very few female characters, they are all very important to the story. I am still surprised that in the midst of all this male dominance here, Eowyn managed to get such a good story arc. You go, Tolkien!
Also, Sam is the true hero of the whole story. I mean, how could he not be?
“Your time may come. Do not be too sad, Sam. You cannot be always torn in two. You will have to be one and whole, for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do.”
5/5 OR more accurately all the stars in the world!
“To live is to have worries and uncertainties. Keep them inside, and they will destroy you for certain--leaving behind a person so callused that emotion can find no root in his heart.”
I will be honest. I expected to like this. I knew I would. I just didn't expect to love it so, so much. Elantris might just have jumped to be my #1 favorite Sanderson book. Sure, I adore the first Mistborn trilogy (I'm not comparing them, but I think Mistborn is the first thing people think of when they hear Sanderson's name). It's breathtaking. I love Kell, and Vin, and Sazed and all of the gang with all of my heart. They are my favorite, they are irreplaceable. But I spent three books with them. Three very hefty books at that. Raoden and Sarene stole my heart completely and unabashedly in just one book.
“Is human nature to believe that other places and other times are better than the here and now.”
Elantris is a story of a city, yes, but first it's a story of three amazingly different characters. Raoden, who is the most pure and beautiful soul in probably all of the universe. And not just Cosmere. Sarene who is so headstrong and stubborn, she would probably move a wall with just her will if she had to. And Hrathen, who seems intimidating and scary, but in reality is lost and scared. Their stories are so different, but they intertwine in the best of ways.
Elantris also has a very cool magic system, but it isn't explored much until about the last third of the book - which plot wise makes the perfect sense, but also leaves the reader hungry to know more. Which now we can, because Elantris 2 is a thing that will happen. One day. I loved that it was inspired by Chinese lettering, something that has always fascinated me.
Did I mention that a lot of dialog is positively hilarious?
“So, using his pride like a shield against despair, dejection, and-most important—self-pity, Raoden raised his head to stare damnation in the eyes.”
I can see how Elantris can be a bit hard to get into in the beginning, because of the extensive terminology that is thrown at the reader. All of it is of either religious or political nature - two forces that drive the book. But it isn't confusing, it's just a lot to take in, but once you do - you will feel as if you are yourself are a part of all of the schemes.
Elantris made me cry, and it made me laugh. A lot. It's a story about how our parentage doesn't define us. It's a story about being lost without a purpose, and finding it in the most unexpected places. It's abut coming together and building a better community. It's about embracing who you are and believing that people who truly love you, will love you no matter what. And as weird as it feels for me to say - the romance in here will make your heart turn to goo, because it's so beautiful.
“One cannot seperate truth from actions...Physically inevitable or not, truth stands above all things. It is independant of who has the best army, who can deliver the longest sermons, or even who has the most priests. It can be pushed down, but it will always surface. Truth is the one thing you can never intimidate.”
It's January already, but better late than never. I just realized that picking the best book of 2018 is so hard for me, because there weren't that many. Almost half of the 5 star books were re-reads for me! Which his very sad. I really did not have a good reading year.
I'm going to very quickly mention the re-reads:
I read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte for the very first time in 2018 and fell in love with it.
The writing is exquisite.
The story is fascinating.
And I'd love to read more books by her.
Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson is a prime example of how to write a second generation series that doesn't suck, but quite the opposite - shines almost as bright as the original. Did I miss the original cast: Elend, Vin, Breeze and the rest of them? Of course I did! I love them all to pieces. Did I wish for them to be in this book instead of the new characters? Heck NO! I loved the new ones right off the bat, and now I have more characters to add to my ever-growing bucket of ...well favorites.
Ohh, look another Brandon Sanderson book. This time it's a Warbreaker.
The problem with reading Brandon Sanderson is that after you want to read more Brandon Sanderson. I've tried reading two books after, but nothing just holds up.
If there ever was a book that played me for a fool - this is it. I spent 60 percent of the book rooting for the wrong guy and hating a very decent character. I still don't know how I let myself to be so blinded.
I mean I'm already on Brandon Sanderson roll, so here's one more. This is technically 3 novellas in 1. And each one is my favorite.
The writing is as always - amazing. And the ending of the third book broke me completely.
I still prefer his fantasy books from him, but this sci-fi was done so well.
Sci-fi with a lot of heart if you will.
“We always think there's enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like 'if'.”
Some books make me tear up, some books made me cry, and some books make me wail like a baby. The man called Ove by Fredrik Backman is definitely in that last category. I had trouble seeing the last couple of pages of this book I was crying so hard. Did this book break my heart? Absolutely! But in the best possible way.
Since we are talking about grumpy old men, here's another prime example.
I don't know what's it with me and books about old depressed people. But I love it! I really identify with them. I know I'm internally actually a 70 year old grumpy woman myself, so.
Hendrik Groen is as funny as he is insightful. I loved this book from start to finish.
Lying in Wait was so much fun. Sick and twisted, but fun nonetheless!
Is there anything worse than smother-mother? No. And apparently there is also nothing more terrifying than a smother-mother either. The format is quite different, as the main murder and its murderers is given away right in the beginning, so in the sense the mystery is already known to the reader.
With that said, I devoured this book in 24 hours.
You do the math!
This was my last book of 2018 and what a great way to end the year! The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was just the sci-fi mind bend that I was so craving!
In the acknowledgments of this book it says that the author wished to write a novel worthy of Agatha Christie. When I was reading this I literally described it as "Agatha Christie on steroids with a sci-fi twist". So, Mister Turton, mission accomplished.
There is hope for YA dystopian books! And that hope is Scythe.
Never have I read 400+ pages book so fast. I just couldn't stop - it was readable, entertaining, unpredictable and just plain awesome.
“Everyone is guilty of something, and everyone still harbors a memory of childhood innocence, no matter how many layers of life wrap around it. Humanity is innocent; humanity is guilty, and both states are undeniably true.”
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 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!
I do not like young adult books much anymore, especially contemporary young adult, and especially young adult contemporary coming of age stories with romance (whew, that was a mouthful). And The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants series is all of those things. And somehow I really enjoy it. Girls in Pants is the 3rd book in the series, and so far my favorite one. I lost some faith in the book 2 (I didn't like it much), but book 3 came back and definitely brought it home for me.
I'm not saying that this trumps Jane Eyre for me, but it's on the same level! Wow! Why did I wait so long to read this book I have no idea. I might have read something by Wilde in high school, but that was so long time ago and in another language that I just can't remember. But no matter because I will definitely read more by him from now on.
The Picture of Dorian Gray is simply a masterpiece. The writing, ohhh the writing! Think of gooey, dark and smooth chocolate being poured gently and delicately over some fresh strawberries - that's what his writing feels like!
Last day of the year! Crazy. Here are some pointers for the new year.
Quality over quantity.
Reading a lot is good. Taking breaks is good. Pushing your limits is good. Giving yourself a break is good.
Comparison is a thief of joy.
Other people's opinions are just that - opinions. So are your own.
Now, let's get into some stats.
I had quite a few 1 and 2 stars, but most books reside in a happy 4 star zone. Comparing to 2017, I have way less5 star books, which is both sad and good. Sad, because this reading year haven't been the greatest and good, because I am a more selective reader now.
I think it's wonderful how my shortest and longest books are by the same author. A favorite author! I am on his 9th book this year, in case you are wondering.
To be honest my average rating is surprising. I thought it was going to be much lower. I was giving 1 and 2 stars left and right it felt like.
Also, I cannot believe that only 39 people read The Grave at Storm's End - this trilogy is pretty awesome (if you are a grim dark fantasy fan)!
Both The Hunger Games and Crooked Kingdom were re-reads for me this year.
My first book of the year was by Brandon Sanderson (surprise, surprise) I actually read it on the plane. This was such a great start into Mistborn era 2 (it did kinda went downhill after that, oops)
My last book of the year would also have been by Brandon Sanderson, if I finished Elantris. But I didn't, and will not push myself to finish it just because the year is ending. I'm enjoying that book way too much. Thus my last book of the year was The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and it's a great one to finish the year off. I loved it!
So there you have it.
Here is to 2019!
Today I decided to go back on my 2018 reading goals and see how I actually did with them. Shall we?
1. Be more picky with my books - and for me that means reading less YA books.
- this was my goal in 2018, and I think I did okay with it. I tried to limit my ya consumption in 2018, and while I still read many, I didn't read too many I guess. I read The Black Witch, which was good, and I tried reading The Iron Flower which was garbage. I read both Scythe and Thunder Head and enjoyed both of them a lot. I re-read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom and still loved them the 2nd time around. I tried reading Wicked like A wildfire which was garbage, but We are Okay was a pleasant surprise. I even attempted a ya contemporary Simon vs. which was a big mistake, but A forest of a Thousand Lanterns became one of my favorites. I also read Dry which was okay-ish, and Skyward which was good but could have been better. There were more, really, but I don't feel like naming them all. Looking back I read quite a few, but I was certainly picky and only had a few very bad plops, which I just dnf'd.
2. Reading more of women fiction genre (something along the lines of Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine).
- women fiction is a genre that I might be addicted to, at times. I read The Lio, which was a great surprise. I also read quite a few books by Liane Moriarty, and while not all of them were good, most were: The Hypnotists' love story (loved), Truly Madly Guilty (mehhh), Three wishes (pretty good!), Big Little Lies (loved),The Last Anniversary (nope). The Cast, Not Her Daughter and Open Your Eyes were all from NetGalley and they were pretty good reads, especially Not Her Daughter I could not put that down. I also read Seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and despite popular opinion I did not like it, I found quite problematic. All the good parts was garbage, but Life on the leash was good (dogs!). This genre is such a hit or miss for me - it's a total gamble (even from authors I know).
3. Lower my Goodreads reading goal.
- 52 is a good number. And I'm sticking to it in 2019 as well.
4. Read more Brandon Sanderson books.
- I'm on my 9th Sanderson book. I think I did pretty well!! Alloy of Law (loved), Shadows of Self (really liked a lot), The Bands of Mourning (err nope), Warbreaker (loved), 3 Steven Legion novellas (adored all of them), Skyward (pretty good) and currently reading Elantris.
5. Re-read some of my favorites.
- I think the only re-read this year were Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. Ohh, and the Hunger Games trilogy. And I'm happy to say that I still love all of those books.
6. Read some classics - particularly I'd like to read Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Little Women and The picture of Dorian Grey in 2018.
- Okay, so I did read Jane Eyre and The Picture of Darien Grey. I also read Agnes Grey. But that's it. Therefore this goal is my top priority for 2019 - read more classics.
It seems like I did really well with my goals, and while it's true, I also read a lot of crappy books in between those goals. But I also read some very good books too. I'd rate my 2018 reading year as "it was good, but could have been much better".
Should I start with the usual "I can't believe it's going to be 2019 soon"? I mean I really can't, but I also can't turn back time so here we are.
So, 2018 was somewhat of a bust. I wanted to be more picky with my books, and I kinda was, but then I discovered NetGalley and all went to hell. I obviously went crazy with requesting titles and reading them (must get all of those badges!). So because of this I ended up reading a lot of crap. But I also found some of my absolute favorites on there as well (stay tuned for 2018 favorites). In 2019 I'm planning on using NetGalley sparingly, and only for the titles I really, really want to read. I love that platform so much, but it also cane a black hole in which I get so easily sucked in.
Here is a link to my 2018 reading plans, just so we can compare. For fun.
So here are my reading plans for 2019.
1. Here are the genres I want to read in 2019: adult fantasy, sci-fi, urban adult fantasy, classics plus some women fiction. In a nutshell. If some random genre wonders in and gets my full attention I'm not going to say no. Wow, I sound like a drunk in bar.
2. Not to be scared of big books. I know I keep saying quality over quantity, but sometimes it's still hard. Especially with that Goodreads goal looming over us, although I've been doing much better with that lately. Thankfully big books for me are mostly epic fantasy and that is my number 1 on the list, so I should not be afraid to read them.
3. Read, once again, more classics. I didn't do too good, but I didn't do too bad in 2018. I've read, ummm, 3 classic books? Yeah, okay I did worse than I thought. Jane Eyre, Picture of Dorian Grey and Agnes Grey - was all that I've read this year. thankfully I loved all 3 of them. For 2019, I'm going to be very ambitious with my classic reads because I want particularly to read some Russian classics (looking at you Dostoevski), as wells some Dumas, and more of Bronte sisters. Maybe even squeeze in some Jane Austen, even though I'm almost sure she isn't of my taste. More Wilde, too.
4. If I don't read a single YA book in 2019 I will be perfectly happy. It's kind of funny, because before I started my Goodreads seriously and then book blogging, I haven't read much of YA. Then I read lots of YA. And 2 years later I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the same tropes, same pit falls, same dumbed down female characters that pretend to be strong and independent but really aren't. Same plot lines, ya books that pretend to be fantasy but really are just romance. No, thank you. Of course, there are exceptions to everything, so if a gem of gems comes into my hands I will give it a chance. Also, this excludes classic young adult books, which in my eyes mostly means Ann Brashares because I'd like to read every book that woman wrote. I am almost there, too.
5. Read more of specific authors: If I say Brandon Sanderson, would you be surprised? I've actually read 8 of his books in 2018, whoah I just now counted and I am impressed!!! Sure, 3 of those were novellas, but hey, still! And if I finish the book I'm currently reading in 2018 it will be 9 in total. I also want to read some Steven King, I feel like I haven't in the longest time, and I kinda miss it. As I previously mentioned, some more by Ann Brashares. And Robert Jackson Bennett, which I mostly mean his other trilogy (as you will see in #6).
6. Keeping bmy reading book goal at 52. 52 is a good number. Also, quality over quantity.
7. And lastly here are some specific fantasy titles I'm hoping to read in 2019.
I'm feeling ambitious, but will see how it will actually play out through the year, as I am going be much busier than I was last year. Also, in Farseer Trilogy I've already read the 1st book, so yay head start.
In the acknowledgments of this book it says that the author wished to write a novel worthy of Agatha Christie. When I was reading this I literally described it as "Agatha Christie on steroids with a sci-fi twist". So, Mister Turton, mission accomplished.
Despite this book being quite hefty, 506 pages, I never felt bored, or felt that things were redundant or unnecessary. Not even once. I just gave myself to this book completely and savored it bit by bit.
I've heard people saying that this book takes a bit to get used to, because of how complicated it is, and all I have to say to that is "ummm what?". Because unless you've never in your life read a mystery book, or a book with time hops, this is in no way a complicated book. The writing propels the story forward and the time hops gradually make a lot of sense once you get to know more and more of the characters.
“So many memories and secrets, so many burdens. Every life has such weight. I don’t know how anybody carries even one.”
“What use is rearranging the furniture if you burn the house down doing it?”
I don't want to talk much about the plot (or at all really) because I feel that it's best to go into this book blindly. Which is normally the case with mystery books - the less you know the better. What I want to talk about is the mount of work it took to write this book. Recently I've been trying to always read author notes, because I feel like it lets me know them and the book better and on a deeper level.
The amount of time it took to plan this book is astonishing to me. The author had different ideas brewing for years, but the right idea struck him much, much later and of course, very randomly. Just the mapping out of the book took 3 months, and then that stretched into more months and then years. And 10 years later this masterpiece was born.
“The future isn’t a warning my friend, it’s a promise, and it won’t be broken by us. That’s the nature of the trap we’re caught in.”
So does this mean that we will have to wait 10 years for his next book? I sure as hell hope not!
For the mystery lover - I cannot recommend this book enough. For a lover of beautiful writing (the writing is very refined and classic, without ever being boring)- I cannot recommend this book enough. For those who love sci-fi, especially one where a day is relived times and times again - yes, Cannot recommend this book enough.
Also, not to be morbid or anything, but I hope that Agatha Christie and Stuart Turton meet in an afterlife, so she can tell him herself just how good of a job he did.
Because I am salty and grumpy reader I needed to split my let downs into 2 parts, I jus had so many.
1. Fawkes by Nadine Brandes
DNF and 2 stars
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.
2. The Forgotten Guide to Happiness by Sophie Jenkins
1 star and DNF at 71%
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?
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.
3. The Waiter by Matias Faldbakken, Alice Menzies (Translator)
My reaction when I was finished with the book? "What in the world did I just read??"
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.
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.
4. One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan, Aniruddhan Vasudevan (Translation)
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 (according to the reviews). 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.
5. All the Good Parts by Loretta Nyhan
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.
6. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
( I have a lengthy review on this, so click the link to be taken to Goodreads to read it if you wish)
Enjoyed the diversity - hated pretty much everything else.
I'm going to tell myself that this is the last time I'm reading hyped book that everybody absolutely loved, but we all know it isn't true and I will never learn.
I bought the book because of the raving reviews and then it just kinda sat on my shelf for a couple of weeks, because I had an inkling that I wasn't going to like it. And look, I was correct. At least I know myself.
Main reason for me suspecting from the bat that I won't like this was the setting - I can't think of something I care less about than Hollywood (old Hollywood in this case). That's just not my thing. And while my opinion about the "stars" who would do anything (and I mean anything) just to get a little bit of spotlight was already very low, this book lowered it even more.
Writing - I enjoyed it - it went really well with the tone of the book, and did a great job at describing shocking parts about the "glamour of Hollywood" But, to me it held no emotion. People kept promising tears with this book and I didn't even tear up once. I'd call myself a cold hearted bitch, but I cry at videos of puppies eating carrots, so I know it isn't me this time. The way things were written gave away a lot of the things that were going to happen, so when the sad thing happened, I already knew it would and thus had no emotion to show for it any longer.
7. The Iron Flower(The Black Witch Chronicles #2) by Laurie Forest
DNF at 33 %
So not the rating I thought I was going to be giving this book, I was pretty sure that this would have been a 5 star, boy was I wrong. Gorgeous cover though, so that's something.
To start off, I'm not giving this 1 star, despite having dnf-d it, because I only save 1 stars for books I really did not like. And I just didn't care for Iron Flower, it's not a bad book, but it isn't a book for me, unfortunately. The Black Witch was though, so I honestly have no idea how the book went from that to this...
So, let me summarize this book for you:
"Oh Yvan! Oh Lucas! Oh Yvan! Let me make out with Lucas. But Yvan is so beautiful! But I can't have him. Oh Lucas! blah blah blerhhh!!"
In other words, ya fantasy is dead because ya romance has killed it.
8. I'll Be There For You: The One About Friends by Kelsey Miller
I was quite excited about this one. Mainly because I'm a big Friends fan - when I say I watched the TV show 20 times, I really mean 20 times. At least. Although every time I re-watch it I find something else that's problematic which I haven't noticed the first time. Which is totally fine, because the times back then and right now were so, so different. I also felt like reading some non-fiction so this was perfect timing.
So why such low rating?
Because this book really didn't bring anything new to the table. Which is so, so disappointing. I wanted to find things that I've never heard of before, I wanted more insight on episodes, on actors themselves, maybe even some piece of juicy gossip. Instead, literally 80% of everything in this book can be found on Pinterest and Instagram 'fact' posts about Friends.
9. Daughters of the Lake by Wendy Webb
DNF at 41% and 1 star
So I was in the mood for something thrilling, suspenseful and fast paced. Obviously, from my low rating you can tell that I got none of those things from this book. That is unfortunate, because despite never reading anything by this author I was excited for this book. It's the cover probably (I am always a victim of pretty or intriguing covers).
The premise was interesting enough, but as I started reading, and reading and reading... I really couldn't tell what the point of this book was. There was little to no plot development and I got to 41 percent, so I feel like I gave this book all of the chances I could.
So I had quite a few blunders in 2018, book wise. I would really like to choose my books better next year. Thank you Santa.