2017 · July · Uncategorized · Wrap-Ups

Wrap-Up | July

I had a very good reading month in July, and didn’t rate a single book under four stars. I also ended up finishing six books this month, which I’m very proud of.

Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo
5 feathers
Review here

I loved this book, and the best thing was that I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. It was also unexpectedly funny, and Nina was my favourite character. I much prefer this to the original Grisha trilogy, although I never actually finished that series.

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life, by Benjamin Alire Sàenz
5 feathers
Review here

I loved this as well, and my favourite part was the focus on friendship and family. It was great to see that the main character had such a positive relationship to his dad. My main problem with this was, though, that there were some questions that were left unanswered that I would have liked to see answered, but other than that, this book was amazing <3.

Småtrollen och den stora översvämningen, by Tove Jansson
4 feathers

This was the very first Moomin book, and I’ve been wanting to read it just to be able to say that I’ve read all the Moomin chapter books. This particular one is out of print, though, but I found the audiobook version on Spotify and since it was less than an hour long, I listened to it on my way to and from work one day. I never wrote a full review because I didn’t think I had enough to say. I liked it a lot, though – it was a cute little book, and definitely worth the read it you like Moomin.

Unfiltered, by Lily Collins
4 feathers
Review here

Unfiltered was an easy and accessible read, almost to the point that I felt as if it was directed towards a slightly younger audience. But Collins seems to be a very positive person, and I still took away something from reading this book.

Crooked Kingdom, by Leigh Bardugo
5 feathers
Review here

This definitely lived up to its predecessor, and I ended up loving this just as much as Six of Crows! I wasn’t expecting the ending to be quite so open and melancholy, but it actually suited the story. The duology will most definitely make my yearly favourites list <3.

Muminpappans memoarer, by Tove Jansson
4 feathers
Review here

The last book I finished in July was Muminpappans memoarer, yet another Moomin book. It was a little bit different than the other Moomin books I’ve read, and the characters came across as slightly different than they’ve seemed in the other books. I think the reason is that it’s told from Moominpappa’s perspective. I still liked it though.

2017 · July · Reviews

Book Review: “Muminpappans Memoarer”, by Tove Jansson

Published in 2014 by Rabén & Sjögren | Originally published in 1950/1968 | Four feathers

This has been translated into English as “Moominpappa’s Memoirs” or “The Exploits of Moominpappa”

Summary from Goodreads:

Before he had a family, before he met Moominmamma, Moominpappa led a life of adventure and intrigue. But he’s never told his story until now.
Now Moominpappa has a bad cold, and it’s the perfect time to remember his youthful endeavors and to ponder the Experiences which have made him the remarkable Moomin he is. As he reads each chapter aloud to Moomintroll, Snufkin, and Sniff, they, and we, learn of his triumphs and tribulations, and his momentous meetings with the Joxter, the Muddler, and a cast of other characters too incredible (especially Edward the Booble) to list here.

Review:

This was a little bit different than the other Moomin books I’ve read. It’s not as melancholy, and the characters also felt slightly different than they usually are. I guess that because it’s told from Moominpappa’s perspective, Moomin, Snufkin, and Sniff come across more as kids than they usually do because that’s how he sees them, and that is probably the main reason why the characters seem different.

I love Moomin so much. All these absurd things happen, but the characters just shrug and go with it. I found myself giggling aloud several times throughout this novel, but I docked a feather because I think it lacked some of the depth that I’ve seen in other books in the series. If you want to ease yourself into Moomin, maybe this could be a good place to start. However, be aware of Moominpappa’s slightly annoying personality.

2017 · July · Reviews

Book Review: “Crooked Kingdom”, by Leigh Bardugo

Published in 2016 by Henry Holt and Company | Six of Crows #2 | Five feathers

Summary from Goodreads:

When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

Review:

I loved this just as much as I loved Six of Crows. I still like all the characters a lot, and it was nice to see how all the events played out and tied together. The ending was slightly melancholy and to some extent a little sad, which I wasn’t entirely expecting, but it suited the story and I actually quite liked the fact that it didn’t have an entirely happy ending.

If you like fantasy novels based around heists with a group of clever misfits as protagonists, I would definitely recommend this series. It’s one of my absolute favourites of this year *heart-eye emoji*.

2017 · July · Lists

Releases I’m looking forward to July-December 2017

I did a similar list back in January with book releases I was looking forward to during the first half of 2017, so I thought I’d do something similar now, but focus on July to December.

  • Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green (published 10 October)

I don’t even know what this book is about, but it’s a new book by John Green, so of course I have to read it! I cannot wait for it to be released.

  • The illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling, with illustrations by Jim Kay (published 3 October)

I love the other two illustrated editions of the Harry Potter books that I have at home, so of course I need to add this to my collection.

  • The illustrated edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, by J.K. Rowling, with illustrations by Olivia Lomenech Gill (published 7 November)

I already own a copy of this book, but the Fantastic Beasts film was one of my favourite movies last year and the illustrations look gorgeous, so I can’t wait to add this to my library.

  • All the Crooked Saints, by Maggie Stiefvater (published 10 October)

I read The Raven Cycle last year, and found it slightly strange. I was also a little bit disappointed by the ending. However, I am curious to find out what Maggie Stiefvater has up her sleeve next.

  • They Both Die at the End, by Adam Silvera (published 5 September)

I have never read anything by Adam Silvera before, but this book seems really interesting – it’s set in a world where you get a phone call 24 hours before you die, and in this novel we follow two people who get that phone call and get to know each other through an app called Last Friend. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Adam Silvera’s books, so I’m looking forward to read something by him.

2017 · Currently Reading · July

Currently Reading

It’s time for this month’s Currently Reading-post! I am reading three books at the moment. The first one is Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I read Six of Crows a couple of weeks ago and loved it, so I ordered Crooked Kingdom right away and began reading it as soon as it arrived in the mail. Now I’ve read a little bit more than half, and I’m liking this one too! Nina is still my favourite character, and I love Wylan too. I also like how funny it is.

I’m also currently reading Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweet Shop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan. I started this while I waited for Crooked Kingdom to arrive, but I haven’t read very much yet. I put it aside to read CK, and now I’m not in the mood for it anymore. So I think that I will put it aside for now and bring it with me when my sister and I go on vacation later this summer.

The third and last book is The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. To be honest, I’m losing interest in this. It’s too long, and Rothfuss spends very much time on events that don’t always seem very significant. I usually listen to this when I’m going somewhere, but now I can’t always be bothered to start listening to it to and from work, even though it’s 20 minutes by bike one way. It’s weird (and actually a bit sad) how much I loved the first book, and now I don’t like this nearly as much.

That’s it for today! Happy tuesday, everyone 🙂 .

2017 · July · Reviews

Book Review: “Unfiltered”, by Lily Collins

Published in 2017 by Harper | Four feathers

Summary:

This is an essay collection about self confidence and self love and finding your own voice.

Review:

Lily Collins seems to be a very positive person! That was literally my first thought after finishing this. Unfiltered was definitely worth the read, and it deals with important topics about not letting anyone else dictate your life. It was very accessible and easy to read, almost to the point that it was a little bit too colloquial. For example, there were some essays that contained annoyingly many exclamation marks. Maybe the book is directed at a slightly younger audience – I’m turning 22 in a couple of weeks, so I’m thinking that perhaps it was written more for high school students. It also got pretty cheesy at times.

That said, I am happy that I read it, and it’s definitely worth reading.

2017 · July · Reviews

Book Review: “The Inexplicable Logic of My Life”, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Published in 2017 by Clarion Books | Five feathers

Summary from Goodreads:

The first day of senior year:

Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.

Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

Review:

If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll know that I loved this author’s other book Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and I’m happy to say that I liked this a lot as well! My first thought after finishing it was that it was beautiful <3. I think that if you like John Green’s books, you’ll probably like this one too. It has the same feel to it and it does occasionally come across as a teensy bit pretentious, but that’s part of what I like about John Green’s books as well, so I guess it wasn’t entirely unexpected that I should like this too. What I enjoyed the most was the focus on friendship and family – it was amazing to see good friendships and family relationships presented alongside the ones that weren’t as good. I think that focus is a bit lacking in young adult literature as a whole, so it was great seeing it here.

There were a few questions that were left unanswered, though. I wanted to know who Sal’s biological father was, and I wanted to know if he ended up going to Columbia. I see that those plot points would probably have made the story even longer, but it would have been nice to have seen them answered as well. Also, I understand that people might question whether it is possible for so much shit to happen to such a small group of people, but I think it was handled well here, and to me, it wasn’t a problem.

As you will have noticed, I loved this <3. Maybe it just made its way onto a favourites list! 🙂

2016 · July · Reviews

Book Review: “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”, by Jack Thorne

Published in 2016 by Little, Brown UK | Two feathers

This review contains spoilers.
If you would like to know my spoiler-free thoughts, I wrote a short review on Goodreads, which you can find here.

Summary from Goodreads:

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Review:

That is the official summary of the book. Before you start reading the play, I would like you to know that it gives a wrong view of what it is actually about. After reading the summary, I had expected to get to see a post-Voldemort Hogwarts. I expected hot chocolates in Hogsmeade. I expected to see a reestablished Ministry for Magic. I expected to get to revisit all the old characters, to meet their children and see the relationships between them and their parents. Maybe even some Harry-Dudley interaction.

Instead, we were presented with some weird time-travelling business to save Cedric, whose importance in this particular story I didn’t entirely understand, and a world in which Voldemort and Bellatrix had a daughter, which does not make sense as it implies that there is a giant plot hole in the remaining seven books. By the end of it, I was left wondering what the hell I had just read, the text feeling like some form of B-type fan fiction.

There were some plot holes within this story as well. If it was that easy to transfigure into someone else, why did the Trio have to spend time making a Polyjuice Potion to get into the Ministry in The Deathly Hallows? How could Delphi be so sure that Albus and Scorpius were going to agree to her plan that she had prepared Polyjuice Potion, which takes ages to make? We could also mention again that Voldemort and Bellatrix have a daughter. Sure, she might have been a devoted groupie, but to have a daughter with Voldemort? Just no. And can we please talk about the Trolley Witch? What was that even?

Also, the characters didn’t act as themselves. Hermione wasn’t as smartass as usual, and Ron’s jokes were often off-kilter with bad timing. It felt very out of character for Harry to be angry at Albus for ending up in Slytherin and being unpopular in school. Draco and Harry were not supposed to be friends – mutual respect, yes, but friends? No.
And don’t even get me started on McGonagall.

I was not impressed. And I am so disappointed, because I was so happy that we were getting a new Harry Potter book and I really wanted to like it. Instead, I am going to see this as something completely separate and pretend that the series ended with The Deathly Hallows.

2016 · July · Wrap-Ups

Wrap Up: July 2016

I haven’t read as much in July as I normally do during this time of year. I only actually read three books during the month, finished one I started in June and began reading one that I didn’t have time to finish before the month was over. Then again, I have generally liked the books I read, and I have also been working, so I haven’t had that much time over.

Heir of Fire, by Sarah J. Maas
Four Feathers
Review here

Looking back, this feels like one long passageway to get to what would happen in the end of Queen of Shadows. That said, this is where the story began going where I had wanted it to go after reading The Assassin’s Blade, which I personally think that Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight detoured a bit from.

Queen of Shadows, by Sarah J. Maas
Four Feathers
Review here

Finally the story is going somewhere again. Half of this was still pretty much build-up for what is to come, but this is the best yet.

Sent i November, by Tove Jansson
4.5 Feathers
Review here

After finishing Queen of Shadows, I wanted to read something that I could get through quickly, but still knew I would love. This is what I ended up reading. And I loved it so much. There is such a melancholiness to the Moomin books, and a darkness and a gloominess that feels very unusual in children’s books, but that is also why this series is so good. Both children and adults can enjoy them, which also means that these are books you can take with you for a long time.

The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne M. Valente
3 Feathers
Review here

I should have loved this book. However, it contained several not-so-subtle references to other, famous, works. Had these not been so obvious, I might have liked it better. I will continue on with the series, though.

[Currently Reading: “The View from the Cheap Seats”, by Neil Gaiman]
Published in 2016 by Headline

[Currently Listening To: “The Name of the Wind”, by Patrick Rothfuss]
Published in 2009 by Brilliance Audio/Audible Audio | Originally published in 2007 | Read by Rupert Degas

2016 · July · Reviews

Book Review: “The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making”, by Catherynne M. Valente

Published in 2013 by Corsair | Originally published in 2011 | 3 stars

Summary:

This is the story about September, who has a dad who is away fighting in a war and a mum who works at a factory making aeroplanes. One day, she is whisked away to Fairyland by a harsh green wind and a flying leopard, and is drawn into an adventure involving a magical Spoon and a special sword.

Review:

I normally love this type of books, because of the whimsicality and wyverns and magical adventures. And to some extent I do. It’s a lovely tale with a lovely title, and I really wish that I had liked it more. I thought I would, too, considering that Neil Gaiman apparently said it is “glorious”, and I like Neil Gaiman’s writing a lot.

However, I felt as if it contained several too-obvious references to other, very famous, works. For example, there are people who come through wardrobes and become rulers. Time flows more quickly in Fairyland than it does in the real world (you can be gone from Fairyland for a year, but when you return, all your friends have grown old). And when September enters the capital of Fairyland, she does so on a Red Road of Cloth. Had these references been a bit more subtle I would have been fine with it, but they stood out so clearly that I was a teensy bit annoyed by it.

It wasn’t a bad story. Had I read it when I was twelve, I would have adored it. But now those references were too clear for me give it a higher rating.