2017 · August · Reviews

Book Review: “Lola and the Boy Next Door”, by Stephanie Perkins

Published in 2014 by Usborne Publishing | Originally published in 2011 | Anna and the French Kiss #2 | 3 feathers

Summary from Goodreads:

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion… she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit – the more sparkly, more wild – the better. And life is pretty close to perfect for Lola, especially with her hot rocker boyfriend.

That is, until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket return to the neighbourhood and unearth a past of hurt that Lola thought was long buried. So when talented inventor Cricket steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally face up to a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. Could the boy from Lola’s past be the love of her future?

Review:

This was such a cute love story. It’s one of those books that are perfect to read on the beach, so I’m very glad that I brought it with me on vacation!

I did find it somewhat info-dumpy, though. It was too much tell and too little show in some places. Also, it’s so typical that Cricket – the love interest – was the nice guy, while his twin sister was the mean one. This led to Lola and Calliope essentially fighting over a boy, and their relationship did not evolve from that for the entire duration of the novel. I found that super annoying.

Another aspect that annoyed me a bit with this novel was that Lola and Cricket stopped being friends for a really weird reason – Calliope didn’t invite Lola to their birthday party, and then the Bells moved away soon afterwards. If Lola had just talked to Cricket about it, she would have known that it wasn’t Cricket’s fault, and then things wouldn’t have been so awkward between them. Characters in books should just talk to each other more, and their lives would be so much easier.

However, this was a great beach read, so I ended up finding it okay, but not more than that.

2017 · August · Reviews

Book Review: “Flame in the Mist”, by Renée Ahdieh

Published in 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton | Flame in the Mist #1 | 3 stars

Summary from Goodreads:

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

Review:

To begin with, I thought that the idea of this book was awesome. I’ve seen some comparisons to Mulan floating around, but this book is nothing like Mulan apart from the fact that the main character dresses up as a boy, and that’s the part I liked the most about Flame in the Mist. Mariko took it into her own hands to find the people who were trying to kill her, which I liked.

However, there were a few things that definitely pulled the rating down. Firstly, the language was slightly annoying at times. Some parts, and even entire chapters, would consist entirely of very short sentences, which grated on my nerves quite a lot. I can see the point in trying to make it seem more like a legend or separate from the main story, but it was almost difficult to read after a while.

Also, the romance came from out of nowhere. I wouldn’t have minded the romance if it had had more build-up, but as it was, it didn’t. It would have been great if we had gotten something more beforehand.

The last thing that disappointed me doesn’t actually have to do with the book per se, but I didn’t realise until perhaps two thirds of the way into the book that it’s the first part of a series. I was convinced that it was a standalone novel. When I realised that it wasn’t and that I wouldn’t find out the end of the story in this particular novel, I was just so disappointed. I’m not interested enough in the story to actually pick up another book in the series, so finding out that Flame in the Mist isn’t a standalone drew the rating down quite a lot. As I said, it doesn’t have to do with the book as such, but still.

This turned into quite a long review ^.^’ . Hope y’all enjoyed it 🙂 .

2017 · August · Reviews

Book Review: “Heartless”, by Marissa Meyer

Published in 2016 by Feiwel and Friends | 3.5 feathers

Summary from Goodreads:

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Review:

I liked Heartless a lot better than I thought I would. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favourite classics, and I was wondering whether it would actually live up to the whimsy. And though it did lack some of that whimsy, there were other aspects I think it did really well. It was a nice idea with a background story to the Queen of Hearts, and I liked most of the characters (especially Hatta). I also loved that Cath’s biggest hobby was baking, and that her dream was to open a bakery. There were also instances where Cath’s feeling of being trapped was almost tangible, and I felt with her in those moments.

However, the insta-love is real -.-‘ . It felt very weird that Cath ended up turning her back to Mary Ann when they had been best friends for their entire lives, only to become this crazy, blood-thirsty, “off with their heads”–queen because of Jest who she only just met. That’s what made me pull down the rating. I did give it 4 stars on Goodreads, but in reality, it is closer to a 3.5.

2017 · August · To Read

5 Books I’m Taking with Me on Vacation

Tomorrow, my sister and I are going to Corsica on vacation, so obviously I’m taking some books with me! As I’m still reading Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh, it’s a given among the books I’m bringing with me, so I’m not including it on this list. Instead, here are 5 other books I’m brining on vacation:

  • Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this, and I’m really in the mood to read it at the moment. I love the idea of a book that incorporates fandom as an integral part of the plot, so I’m looking forward to reading this!

  • Everything, Everything, and The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon

I got these for my birthday this year, and again, I’ve heard good things! I’m hoping both of these will be as good as they say.

  • Lola and the Boy Next Door, and Isla and the Happily Ever After, by Stephanie Perkins

I read Anna and the French Kiss two years ago, and it was such a cute, summery read. These seem to be along the same lines, so fingers crossed I’ll like them!

That’s everything for this post – I’m bringing six books for this vacation, and we’ll be away for seven nights, so I’m hoping I’ve brought enough to read ^.^’. Haha, reader problems deluxe😂.

2017 · August · Currently Reading

Currently Reading | August 2017

This month I’m only in the middle of one book, which feels really weird. I finally finished the audiobook of The Wise Man’s Fear, which was 42 hours long and ended up dragging a lot. So now I’m not listening to an audiobook, but I’m thinking about downloading The Lord of the Rings – I tried reading the first book several years ago and found it really dull, but I want to give them another shot and am thinking that it might be easier to listen to it instead.

Anyway, the book I’m currently reading is Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh. I’ve literally just started this so I don’t have very much to say at the moment, but I like the idea – it follows the daughter of a samurai who is about to marry the prince, but her convoy is attacked and she goes off to seek revenge on the people who want to kill her. It’s already been a bit bloody, so we’ll see what I end up thinking about it, but so far so good!

That was actually everything I had for today. This was a very short post, but I have a longer one going up later this week, so look forward to that 🙂 .

2017 · August · Reviews

Book Review: “The Wise Man’s Fear”, by Patrick Rothfuss

Published in 2011 by Gollancz | The Kingkille Chronicle, day 2 | Audiobook read by Rupert Degas | 3 feathers

Summary from Goodreads:

“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”

My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.

So begins the tale of a hero told from his own point of view — a story unequaled in fantasy literature. Now in The Wise Man’s Fear, an escalating rivalry with a powerful member of the nobility forces Kvothe to leave the University and seek his fortune abroad. Adrift, penniless, and alone, he travels to Vintas, where he quickly becomes entangled in the politics of courtly society. While attempting to curry favor with a powerful noble, Kvothe uncovers an assassination attempt, comes into conflict with a rival arcanist, and leads a group of mercenaries into the wild, in an attempt to solve the mystery of who (or what) is waylaying travelers on the King’s Road.

All the while, Kvothe searches for answers, attempting to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, is forced to reclaim the honor of the Edema Ruh, and travels into the Fae realm. There he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist, and who no man has ever survived…until Kvothe.

In The Wise Man’s Fear, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.

Review:

This book was such a disappointment. I loved the first book, but The Wise Man’s Fear fell considerably short. Rothfuss spends way too much time describing relatively few large events, which grows tedious in the long run. A third, or even half, of the details and side quests could have been cut out and the book would have benefited from it. It wasn’t interesting enough to read/listen to every tiny little detail.

Rothfuss also puts a lot of trust in the reader, which to some extent is great, because I don’t like when books are over-explanatory or underestimates the reader’s capability to understand the story. Here, however, it goes too far in the other direction. It’s almost directed towards a reader in Kvothe’s world, and consequently assumes that you already know a lot about the world when it would actually have been helpful with a little more explanation. This is especially true when it comes to the legend of Kvothe – it would have been great to know about the legend before going into the backstory. The story thus comes across as inconsistent – it presents too much detail in most parts and too little detail in other parts. Both things make it difficult to see the significance all the events will have for the larger scheme of things.

In the “present-day” chapters, there’s a lot of talk about a war going on, but we don’t get very much detail about it. Also, at the end of this book, Kvothe is still around 16 in the backflashes, which is strange. It feels as if too much has happened to him for him to be that young.

What I did like about The Wise Man’s Fear is Kvothe as a character, because he’s clever and he knows it, but he still does some stupid shit. I also like Bast, because he’s so unpredictable. And I like the “present-day” parts better than the backflashes because that’s where you at least get glimpses of the present Kvothe and some background info about the world.

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.