2017 · November · Wrap-Ups

Wrap-Up | November 2017

This month, I only read two books ^.^’ . One was for fun, the other was for class. But I thought that I’d put up this post anyway, just to sum up what I read.

“Norra Latin”, by Sara Bergmark Elfgren
4 feathers
Full review can be found here

I liked this book a lot! I flew through it, and I think I read it at the exact right time. It was definitely the type of book I needed to pick up when I read it. Also, it was really nice to read something set in an environment I’m familiar with.

“Candide”, by Voltaire
3 feathers

This was for class, and it was so random. I get that it’s the point, but how much shit is it even possible to put your characters through??? I appreciate having read it, though.

That was everything I had to talk about today. In December, I will try to post a little bit more regularly, both here on the blog and on my Instagram. Also, if you check in later this afternoon, there will be a post over on my second blog as well 🙂 .

2017 · November · Reviews

Book Review: “Norra Latin”, by Sara Bergmark Elfgren

Published in 2017 by Rabén & Sjögren | Stockholmsserien #1 | 4 feathers

Summary:

“Norra Latin” follows two girls, Tamar and Clea, who start high school at Norra Latin in central Stockholm. Tamar moved from Östersund to fulfill her dream of becoming an actress. while Clea grew up on the stage. They’re as different as can be, but their first year didn’t turn out the way they expected. There’s something evil lurking in the shadows of Norra Latin…

Review:

I read the Engelsfors trilogy several years ago and liked it a lot, so when I discovered that Sara was publishing a new book and after reading a bit about it, I knew that I needed to read it. I’m so glad I did.

The book drew me in from the beginning. I couldn’t put it down. I think that’s my favourite part of the book; just the fact that I hadn’t read anything in a while that I couldn’t stop thinking about until I finished reading it.

It’s also been a while since I read anything in Swedish, not to mention that it’s been ages since I was excited for a new Swedish release. It was nice reading about an environment that I have to some extent experienced myself; not that I have ever gone to one of the “innerstadsskolor” in Stockholm (how do you even translate that? “Central schools”? Anyhow, it’s the schools in central Stockholm ^.^’), but I have visited the city a few times and I have gone to school in Sweden, so I could relate to the entire environment. That felt refreshing after reading a lot in English.

Another thing I appreciated a lot is that Clea was one of the popular kids, but she wasn’t a douche. Normally, it’s as if you can’t be both popular and nice, you have to be either popular or nice. In Norra Latin, though, Clea was both, which was great reading about.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t been translated into English yet, but if you understand Swedish, I have three words for you: go read it!

2017 · October · Wrap-Ups

Wrap-Up | October 2017

Here we are again, with a written wrap-up. I haven’t really had the time to film and edit a video this month either, so I decided to write it down instead. So here it is! I only read two books this month ^.^’ .

The first one was Drakskeppet, by Maj Bylock. This was for my children’s literature class, and I thought it was okay. I would have loved it if I had read it when I was ten, and I think that if you have children around that age they would enjoy this book. Sadly, it wasn’t really for me anymore. So I ended up rating this 3 feathers.

Then I read Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which was for my antiquity-to-renaissance class. As I said in my most recent Currently Reading-post, I’m not that big a fan of Shakespeare, because I don’t alway get his plays. That was partly the case here as well, but I liked the story and the themes this play dealt with. This got 2.5 feathers from me.

That was everything I had to talk about today! See you guys soon with a new post 🙂 .

2017 · Films · October · Reviews

Film Review: “The Circle”

Directed by James Ponsoldt | 2017 | 2.5 feathers

Summary:

This is the story about a young girl who starts working at a tech company called The Circle. Soon, it turns out that everything’s not as it seems to be…

Review:

I was really excited to watch this movie, because it stars some good actors, the trailer was great, and the story seemed like something I would like. And to some degree it is the type of film I usually like. The Circle raises some interesting issues about the internet and social media and technology and censorship.

What really brought the movie down for me, though, was the ending. It’s as if the film doesn’t have a punchline – it raised all these interesting questions and issues, but then it doesn’t have anything specific to say about them.  That’s why I only gave it a 2.5 feathers. I want stories to know where they want to end, and if they’re going to talk about something specific, I want them to know what they want to say about those questions or issues. This film only does so to a certain extent, and it doesn’t seem to know what the overall message was, which was super annoying. Also, it just ended. As a viewer, you didn’t know that the film had reached its end until the credits suddenly began rolling. So, overall, I was pretty disappointed in The Circle.

2017 · September · Wrap-Ups

Wrap-Up | September 2017

I was going to make a video wrap-up for my YouTube channel this month as well, but I haven’t gotten around to finishing filming it. Here it is in text form instead, just so it won’t be super late ^.^ . I read three books in September.

Mrs Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf
2 feathers

I actually finished this in August, but I forgot to mention it in my August wrap-up, so here it is instead! I’m sort of glad that I’ve read it, but for the most part I just found it a bit confusing.

Den allvarsamma leken, by Hjalmar Söderberg
3.5 feathers

This has been called “the great Swedish love story”, which I don’t really get, because everyone’s just lying and cheating on each other. However, it was wort the read and it did get better after discussing it in class. I also want to watch the most recent film adaptation now.

The Secrets of Islayne, by Kari Lynn West
3 feathers
My full review can be found here.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Overall, I thought the idea with people who can bring back forgotten memories was really cool, but it fell flat. The author shone through slightly too much, and although it is set in Scotland, everything felt very Americanized. So I didn’t end up liking it as much as I hoped I would.

Eliza and her Monsters, by Francesca Zappia
Five feathers
My full review can be found here.

I loved this book so much ❤ . Eliza was very relatable, and felt realistic. I also loved that it’s centred around fandom and an online community.

That was everything I read during September! I’ll be back soon with a compilation of some films I’ve watched recently, and in the future I might include movies in my monthly wrap-ups as well 🙂 .

2017 · October · Reviews · September

Book Review: “Eliza and her Monsters”, by Francesca Zappia

Published in 2017 by Greenwillow | Five feathers

Summary:

Eliza Mirk is the creator of “Monstrous Sea”, which is an extremely popular webcomic. One day, a new boy transfers into her class, and he turns out to be the most popular fan fiction writer of her webcomic.

Review:

I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! Eliza was very relatable and felt realistic – she reminded me of both myself and other people that I know in real life. I also really liked how it was centered around fandom and online community. That detail makes it so much more relatable.

Actually, I can’t think of anything that I disliked about this book. It even deals with anxiety and going to therapy for it, which is another thing I thought was great. So I guess that all I can say is that if you haven’t read this book yet: go get a copy and pick it up immediately! 🙂

2017 · August · Reviews

Book Review: “The Sun is Also a Star”, by Nicola Yoon

Published in 2016 by Corgi | 2.5 stars

Summary:

This is set over the course of 24 hours, and follows Natasha and Daniel. Natasha’s family are illegal immigrants and are about to be deported to Jamaica that very same evening, so Natasha is trying one last time to convince the authorities to let her family stay. Daniel, on the other hand, is Korean-American and has a Yale interview that he doesn’t really want to go to. Over the course of the day, these two characters’ lives intertwine.

Review:

I started this immediately after finishing Everything, Everything, hoping that I would like it just as much. Everyone had been saying that they liked The Sun is Also a Star even more than Everything, Everything, so I really thought I was going to love this.

That did not end up happening. Daniel was so annoying and borderline creepy – it’s as if he was set on becoming Natasha’s boyfriend already from the start, and then spent the day ogling her body. Not cool. He barely even corrected his family when they assumed that they were a couple. Then he rescheduled his Yale interview for this girl he just met. I get that he didn’t want to go to Yale, but they literally met only a few hours earlier. I’m not sure I would be that into someone I just met, and I don’t find Daniel’s behaviour romantic at all.

I did like the ending, though, and I also liked how we got some insights into other characters’ lives, even if I thought the other characters’ chapters were going to take up a much larger portion of the book than they did. These two were my favourite parts of the book, however, which actually says quite a lot about my experience with it.

2017 · August · Reviews

Book Review: “Everything, Everything”, by Nicola Yoon

Published in 2015 by Corgi | Four feathers

Summary:

This book is about Madeline, who is allergic to the world and cannot leave the house. She’s fairly content with her lonely life, until she gets to know the new neighbour who moves in next door.

Review:

I liked this book so much! My sister and I buddy-read it while we were on vacation, and it was a perfect beach read. I even liked the romance in it – it felt like the type of book where the romance would be super-insta-lovey, but this time I was actually okay with it.

However, I did predict that everything wasn’t perhaps 100% right with Maddy’s situation. Also, it was a little bit weird that nobody noticed that some weird shit was going on with Maddy’s situation.

Nevertheless, I flew through this and actually really did like it. I’m so excited to watch the movie now! 🙂

2017 · Reviews · September

Book Review: “The Secrets of Islayne”, by Kari Lynne West

Self-published in 2017 | Three feathers

*The author sent me an e-book copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

Summary from Goodreads:

A powerful island. A dangerous mystery. An impossible choice.

For centuries, the island of Islayne has given certain residents the ability to revive other people’s memories. These gifted individuals are known as luminators, and sixteen-year-old Ronan Saunders desperately desires to join their illustrious ranks. As he struggles against the prejudice of the old, powerful families who have an iron grip on the trade, Ronan falls under the tutelage of a reclusive luminator, rumored to be insane.

Just when his long-desired future is within reach, Ronan and his three friends discover a deadly secret on the island. As they delve deeper into the mystery, what they find forces them to question their loyalties, doubt long-held beliefs, and wrestle with the dire consequences of revealing the truth. Ronan finds himself torn between everything he loves and the only future he’s ever wanted. The entire fate of the lumination trade hangs in the balance of his decision.

Review:

First and foremost, the concept behind this book is really cool. I loved the idea of a special group of people being able to revive half-forgotten memories. That’s what made me want to read this in the first place.

There were a few things that bothered me a little bit while reading, though. Firstly, I wasn’t entirely on board with the writing, as the author shone through too much. This was especially true when it came to the characters – it was as if the author has an idea of how she wants teenagers to be like that she applies to the characters and, as a result, they didn’t feel entirely realistic.

Secondly, the novel had a very American viewpoint (well, obviously, since it was written by an American author), but it became very clear as it was applied to a non-American environment. The characters were 16 or 17 and drove cars, when, in reality, you can’t actually get your license until you’re 18 in the majority of Europe. Also, and this might be me focusing a little bit too much on details, but the school system was also talked about in American terms.

Overall, I enjoyed this, apart from some minor inconsistencies, and really liked the concept.


Book links:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iTunes
Goodreads

Author bio:
Kari Lynn West writes contemporary YA fantasy—normally while drinking far too much coffee. She likes to create character-driven stories that are set in the real world with a twist, weaving fantastical elements into everyday life. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two daughters.

Author links:
Website: www.karilynnwest.com
Twitter: @karilynnwest
Facebook: www.facebook.com/karilynnwestwrites/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16870760.Kari_Lynn_West