Thursday, 22 June 2017

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

Book Title: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Author: Claire North
Genre: Science Fiction
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Library

Amazon UK, Goodreads

Goodreads Summary: No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes.
Until now.
As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. ‘I nearly missed you, Doctor August,’ she says. ‘I need to send a message.’
This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.
What did I think? What a wonderful, wonderful premise, right? A man who always returns to where he began, a child but with all memories of his previous lives intact. Harry is a kalachakra. Every time he dies, he is reborn as himself and he lives his own life over and over again. Harry August is a fascinating character. He's good and bad and everything that is grey as well.

The novel tells of Harry's first fifteen lives and explores the culture of the kalachakra in the first half, then in the second half Harry has to try and save the world.

I especially loved the way Claire North imagined time travelling. The kalachakra can pass messages to the future or to the past. A message for the future is easier as you can simply leave it in a permanent medium like a stone tablet for future generations to find. A message for the past requires more time as a young kalachakra must give a message to another kalachakra who is at the end of their life, so that when they are born again they can in turn pass the message on to another kalachakra at the end of their life and so on until the message reaches the intended century.

The book is told in a non linear way, almost disjointed in places, but I never got confused. The pacing is slow (some people called it glacial) as we get to see bits and pieces from Harry's different lives, told in a subtle almost poetic manner. (The writing style reminded me a bit of Station Eleven.) Despite being slow, I found it compelling and was never bored.

I'm sure after all my gushing you wonder why I didn't give it five stars. Sadly, I was disappointed by the ending. See, whenever I come across such an amazing premise that includes potential plot holes, (and time travel always does) I'm worried how the author will manage to tie up all the loose ends. Claire North doesn't do a bad job, but sadly it was disappointing nonetheless. I can't say what bothered me without spoiling the plot, but it involves a villain with a momentary lapse of judgement.

Still, I highly recommend this book if the premise sounds fascinating to you. I loved it a lot.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

TTT (17) - Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning To Start But Haven't

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Follow the link to know more about the meme and join up, it's a great way to find out more about the book blogging community.

This week the theme is top ten series I've been meaning to start but haven't and this week's post by The Broke and the Bookish post can be found here.

Series. My weakness. My main problem is that I start a million of them and struggle to finish them or someone (*cough* George R.R. Martin *cough*) takes ages to bring out the next book and I feel like I've forgotten what happened so far and have to start from scratch.
Now, let's look at the ones I haven't yet started.
  • Otherland by Tad Williams
  • Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Faithful and the Fallen by John Gwynne
  • The Ryria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan
  • The First Law by Joe Abercrombie
  • The Gentleman Bastard by Scott Lynch
  • The Black Company by Glenn Cook
  • The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman
What series would you like to start?

Monday, 19 June 2017

Sunday Post (19) - Hot, hot, hot!

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

The Rules can be found here. And this week's post can be found here.

If you participate, and you should because the community is amazing, don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog!

Doctor visit #2 is done and they confirmed the first of my troubles is only a cyst. The downside is because of its location they can't remove it without general anaesthesia and I said, I'd prefer to keep the cyst thank you very much. Hopefully by next weekend doctor visit #3 will be done with good news as well. Then #4 is left. Sigh.
It's hot here in England. Over 30 degrees and humid and these people build houses without AC, so it's not very pleasant. Thinking of just moving permanently into the bathtub to keep cool!

On the weekend I had a visitor and we ended up strolling around the Kew Gardens in London. Let me show you a few pictures.




Last week's books: I'm still reading Stephen King's It and also read Thinner by King's pseudonym, Richard Bachmann. Quite a disturbing book.

Last week on my blog:
Last week at the cinema: Wonder Woman! Oh, wow. If you haven't seen it yet and you even remotely like superheroes, give this one a try. It's super entertaining and good fun. I had a blast!

Next week on my blog: Again! Catching up on a million reviews!

I hope everyone is having a great week :)

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

TTT (16) - Father's Day and Father's in Fiction

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Follow the link to know more about the meme and join up, it's a great way to find out more about the book blogging community.

This week the theme is a Father's Day Freebie and this week's post by The Broke and the Bookish post can be found here and it's all about the best and worst father's in fiction.

I thought about the topic and realised that most fiction I read has no fathers. If anything they tend to die in the beginning of the story so the hero can set out and conquer or save the world. Or if they do exist, they are sort of in the background and forgotten. Poor dads!
Because of this I'd like to first speak about my own father. I remember not wanting to read. In fact, I was extremely opposed to reading and refused to even learn how to do so until I was about 7. He was a huge reader and I think it frustrated him a tiny bit. To combat his daughter's rebellion he started reading books to me.


He started with Nils Holgersson, a story that most Europeans probably know, not sure if its popularity ever made it to the other continents. He read me a chapter every night before I went to sleep until he was done. Then he picked the next book.


Treasure Island. He read the first chapter to me and I wanted to know how the story continues. There was a dead pirate, a treasure map and a young boy. I NEEDED TO KNOW HOW IT CONTINUES. The next day I got up, grabbed the book and finished it. In the evening my father wanted to read me the next chapter, but I told him, I was already done.


Robinson Crusoe was next. Same thing. He read me the first chapter and by the end of the day I was done. He stopped reading to me from then on, because I just started eating the books. All of them. He introduced me to my favourite adventure novel as a child.


Indians vs. Cowboys vs. the Wild West written by a German author who had never been to the Wild West and considering today's standards was (possibly) quite racist... written in the 1920s. But boy, did I love these books...

And when I was 8, just 8, I asked for a book that would scare me because I'd read a Grimm Fairy Tale which was titled: The Story of a Youth who Went Forth to Learn Fear.
Me too, I wanted to learn fear. He brought home "scary stories for children" and they weren't scary and I told him so... and I don't know who he asked for advice (and whether or not he told them the person it was intended for was a small girl) ... but the very next day this lay on the dinner table and to this day I doubt he knew what he was giving me. But, I WAS SO HAPPY TO FINALLY KNOW FEAR.


To this day I love books and it's thanks to him!

Now, if you ask me about dads in fiction? Lucius Malfoy and Tywin Lannister won't win any awards. Atticus Finch, Arthur Weasley and Mr. Bennet just might!

Can't wait to so everyone's lists!

Monday, 12 June 2017

The Beat on Ruby's Street by Jenna Zark

Book Title: The Beat of Ruby's Street
Author: Jenna Zark
Genre: Middle Grade
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: A review copy provided by the author

Amazon UK, Goodreads

Goodreads Summary: The last thing eleven-year-old Ruby Tabeata expected to happen on her way to a Jack Kerouac reading was to be hauled to the police station. It’s 1958 and Ruby is the opposite of a 1950s stereotype: fierce, funny and strong willed, she is only just starting to chart her course in a family of Beat Generation artists in Greenwich Village.
Ruby dreams of meeting famous poets while becoming one herself; instead, she’s accused of trying to steal fruit from a local vendor and is forced to live in a children’s home. As Ruby struggles to return to family and friends, she learns her only choice is to follow her heart. Join Ruby’s journey as she finds unexpected friendships, the courage to rebel against unjust authority and the healing power of art in this inspiring middle-grade novel by Jenna Zark.
I would like to thank the author, Jenna Zark, for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

What did I think?


This was a read completely out of my comfort zone. I don't often read children's fiction and I'm not particularly interested in the 1950s... but, I ended up falling a bit in love with this one. It's a sweet story told in an unique and charming way.

Ruby grows up as part of the "Beat Generation" and I wasn't at all familiar with this part of American history. I found that aspect of the book particularly interesting and enjoyed learning about the culture through Ruby's eyes.

It is an easy read, told in first person and is definitely geared towards a young reader, and while I think a 9 or 10 year old could easily read this one, I also believe it can be thoroughly enjoyed by adults.

Jenna Zark has a unique writing style and I love how well she captures the voice of a young girl growing up in Greenwich Village during the 50s. Ruby feels real at all times. Ruby also wants to be a poet and her voice is actually very poetic but still feels like the voice of a 12 year old.

The book deals with lots of issues and some of them might be a step above Middle-Grade but Jenna Zark brings those subjects across in a sensitive and heartwarming way that can easily be understood by a young reader.

Visit Jenna Zark's website here to find out more about the author.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Sunday Post (18) - I'm Back!

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. 
The Rules can be found here. And this week's post can be found here
If you participate, and you should because the community is amazing, don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog! 
I'm back, I hope. I have a few doctors visits ahead of me and the job hunt is still going on, but I've at least managed to beat some of the anxiety and get back onto my feet and write again. I broke my "writing every day" streak during the last month and I spent more time than I'd like to admit painting horror scenarios in my mind, but one thing I kept up was the movement streak. I went out there every day! I'm quite proud of that.
Let me tell you about my dog. This is the little man. He barely comes up to your knee (Mini Aussie) and if  you're a stranger he will be very suspicious of your intentions. He's quite anxious and takes a good fifteen minutes to warm up to visitors, once he does though, he'll sit on your feet and you're his new best friend forever.

Blue

Now just imagine... the postman shows up and is about to push a letter through the door and we open the door to leave the house and we all jump surprised at suddenly coming face to face with another human being and my dog thinks we're under attack and just bolts to chase the poor man off our driveway... he's not dangerous, he just barks and circles around you like a good sheepdog would around a sheep, only someone forgot to tell Mr. Blue Eyes that the postman is not a sheep. The postman, of course, did get scared and fell over and scraped his elbow. I was mortified. We didn't know if he or the post office would take it to the police and were very worried for a bit. Thankfully they didn't. That chap deserves a bottle of wine (and I don't mean the dog.)

Last week's books: I'm reading Stephen King's It and tackled Cloud Atlas and Steinbeck's East of Eden.

Last week on my blog: 
Last week in my kitchen: I accidentally food poisoned us with either the rare steak or the homemade mayonnaise, whoops. Don't do it!  (Or we got a really weird 48 hour bug, also possible.) The entire thing resulted in chicken breast, plain, with brown rice. It was a sad meal.

Next week on my blog: Catching up on a million reviews!

I wish everyone a lovely week!

Friday, 9 June 2017

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Book Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Netgalley

Amazon UK, Goodreads

Goodreads Summary: Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
 I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

What did I think?

It's just so damn sweet. The entire book is made of sugar. Both Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel are genuinely beautiful characters and they both won me over within the first few pages. They're just so damn precious! The two have quite a bit of chemistry and and sparks fly almost immediately.

When Dimple Met Rishi does not have a groundbreaking plot and it's predictable, with the coming of age tropes all neatly placed in the right spots, but it's a joy to read nonetheless.

This novel isn't just diverse and full of delightful humour, but the protagonists are also quite geeky and smart. Dimple is into coding and programming and Rishi is a comic book artist. The story is told from both point of views and both have an unique and captivating voice. They're both fleshed out and have a lot of depth.

If you're looking for a light and sweet romantic beach read, look no further and give this one a try. You'll probably be reminded of the first time you fell in love and will read the entire thing with a goofy grin on your face.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

When Life Gets in the Way

Sometimes life knocks you down and it's impossible to get back up without first taking a few deep breaths. We're all okay, the snail, the dogs, the girlfriend and I but we had a pretty difficult May with lots of small problems that snowballed into a period of anxiety for me. I'm not very good at dealing with anxiety, for the most I sit down in a corner and weep, rocking back and forth. I'm not really an anxious person in day to day life but I dislike having to deal with problems I have no control over. At the moment we are facing some job issues that require hunting for a new job, a small health scare and a stupid incident with our nervous dog and the postman. I withdrew for a bit while I sorted doctor visits etc. but I'm now back and will hopefully review many, many books in the next few days and weeks.

I hope everyone is well!

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

TTT (15) - Things on my Reading Wishlist

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Follow the link to know more about the meme and join up, it's a great way to find out more about the book blogging community.

This week the theme is: things on our reading wish list. Tropes, characters, settings etc. This week's post by The Broke and the Bookish post can be found here.

Lately I've had the impression that I'm not really sure what I want more of. I seem to read 8 books at the same time and depending on mood will jump from one to the next only to change books again after reading a chapter. But there's definitely a few things that I can think of to put on this list.
  • Morally Grey Characters. Battlestar Galactica did this so well. And to a certain extent Game of Thrones.
  • Well Developed Villains (that are maybe even super likeable). I like to root for a villain.
  • Anti-Heroes. They're much more complex and interesting than the simply good ones.
  • Defrosting the Ice Queen. I like when the protagonist has to work their way through some walls to get through to their love interest.
  • Parallel Worlds. I love stories with alternative versions to our own world.
More like these, please.

  

What are things you want to read more of? Share your lists with me!

Monday, 8 May 2017

Sunday Post (17) - May is Meh

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

The Rules can be found here. And this week's post can be found here.

If you participate, and you should because the community is amazing, don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog!

I didn't have a good week, sadly. I should see a doctor regarding a small health problem that 99% will turn out to be nothing but in my mind I'm (obviously, what else?) dying. So, I feel hiding under a blanket is a much better option than closing my eyes and calling my doctor? And then I end up being an anxious bundle of anxiety. Which is why I didn't blog much last week. Nor did I do much in the range of productive things in general. I'm a bit mad at myself but at the same time I'm also aware that anxiety is anxiety is anxiety and is a bitch.
Last week I reviewed Moroda by L.L. McNeil which was a great fantasy with dragons that I immensely enjoyed. The review can be found here.


And we had a very interesting Top Ten Tuesday and the theme was COVERS. I love covers.

Would someone please come to the cinema with me?



I hope everyone else is having a great week and that I have more time to focus on blogging and reviewing and reading. I'm currently reading The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett and have a ton of reviews to do!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Moroda by L.L. McNeil

Book Title: Moroda
Author: L.L. McNeil
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Paperback ARC
Amazon UK, Goodreads

You can order paperbacks from the author's website here.

Goodreads Summary: Moroda’s life is thrown into turmoil after she is publicly arrested—her city is destroyed and she narrowly escapes the chaos on a sky pirate’s airship. But she finds no salvation outside the blackened city walls; a vigilante from an exiled race has left a trail of destruction everywhere his growing army has travelled. With compulsion at his fingertips, he strengthens his hold over Linaria’s people by stealing the power of dragons. It’s only a matter of time before she, too, is forced to submit.
With war nipping at her heels and danger lurking in her companions and adversaries, Moroda must quickly learn about herself, her world, and the dragons so intent on reducing it all to ash.
I received an ARC of the paperback from the author in exchange for an honest review.

What did I think? 

4.5 Stars.

Moroda is L.L. McNeil's debut novel and I was excited when I found out that it's an epic fantasy with a female protagonist and dragons. Who doesn't love dragons?

It's an easy read that starts a bit slow but quickly turns into a gripping story about a young woman who sets out to save her world, Linaria, from a war. On her journey she meets a varied bunch of characters. They all feel authentic and have interesting pasts and promising futures.

The world building is creative, yet straightforward making this a good book for someone who does not usually read fantasy and might shy away from the sheer complexitiy of some of the work out there. The different races in Linaria are fresh and well imagined and I especially hope to see more about the Varkain in the sequels.

It took a while to get into the book. The first chapter sets everything up nicely and is certainly intriguing but Moroda is young and reluctant, even a bit shy at first and it takes a few chapters before her character fully blossoms and starts kicking ass.

L.L. McNeil has created several strong female characters, but the one I enjoyed most was Amarah the sky pirate with her airship. The book also has an interesting villain and some compelling morally grey characters I found myself rooting for halfway through.

I would recommend Moroda to anyone who is looking for a new twist in epic fantasy with a character driven plot and dragons.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

TTT (14) - COVERS

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Follow the link to know more about the meme and join up!

This week the theme is a freebie as long as it includes covers. Their post is about covers that depict food and drink and can be found here.

I've been blog hopping for about an hour now (instead of writing or doing any of the other chores I should be doing today) in an attempt to find an idea for today's theme. Something original. Something exciting. Isn't 'covers I love' a bit boring? But that's what I'm coming back to: covers I love.

So without further ado I present you books that I picked up because of the cover and not because of the author or blurb.
  
I'm starting to think that there's probably a slight colour preference visible in my choices and that it's obvious I like both blue and purple. I've seen that Annette Marie's sequels in the Red Winter Trilogy are out, so I'll have to pick those up.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones I haven't read yet but the cover is simply gorgeous. Claire North's Harry August has a very intriguing cover as well with the mirrored images.

I haven't yet read anything by Laini Taylor but I keep hearing that her books are filled with wonderful prose and I'm very curious to read one.

Also Tom Toner uploaded the three covers of his series next to each other to Twitter the other day and I can't find any information about book 3 yet and Goodreads doesn't even have it listed. But they all look gorgeous.
I was so annoyed when I found out that the first book and the second book hadn't been printed in the same format though, so they don't match. Is anyone else bothered when books in a series don't match on the shelf?

I hope everyone is having a great week! Link me to your lists! I'm a sucker for covers!

Monday, 1 May 2017

Sunday Post (16) - Long Weekends are the Best

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

The Rules can be found here. And this week's post can be found here.

If you participate, and you should because the community is amazing, don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog!

This week wasn't particularly eventful. I've been running after my Goodreads reading goal all week and somehow never really managed to catch up with it. 5 books behind, tssk! But it's a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK and that means Monday is off as well... more time to read! I'm almost done with editing my children's fantasy and am hoping to edit my adult contemporary novel (with a bit of a speculative twist) in May.

The snail is doing well, the dogs are doing well (the Aussie stopped limping, but I'm not letting him jump after frisbees for another few weeks.) For now, everyone is happy and the cold snap seems to be over. Summer is hopefully coming soon.
Last week on my blog:
Last week in my kitchen: I stuffed a pork tenderloin with a homemade pesto paste (mushrooms, spinach, pine nuts, lemon zest, goat cheese, garlic and some herbs and spices with a bit of olive oil). It turned out amazing. I also made both beef ribs and pork ribs and ended up having to eat them on my own (not complaining) because they were too fatty for my girlfriend. I wonder if I braise the beef for longer if more of the fat would render out.

Next week on my blog: Still years behind my reviews, or so it seems. I have yet to review The God of Small Things, The Lions of Al-Rassan, I Let You Go, Dark Places and Truly Madly Guilty. That's without the two SF books I've read last week, which were The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and The City & The City.

I wish everyone a lovely week.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Book Title: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Library

Amazon UK, Goodreads

Goodreads Summary: A murder, a tragic accident, or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. But who did what?
Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads.
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare.
New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.
What did I think? I wasn't sure about this book at first. I happened upon the trailer for the show and since I usually read the book before I watch an adaptation, I jumped at the chance to read this with a few members of a bookclub.

It didn't take long for me to be hooked and then I read it in a few sittings. I almost couldn't stop myself from racing to the last page.

Big Little Lies starts out intriguing, before quickly turning into a gripping tale, tackling some important and serious issues along the way.

I loved it. The only reason I'm not giving it 5 stars is because I found the ending a little bit too neat. Everything wraps up just a tad too conveniently.

This book is filled with amazing yet believable character development and just when you think you've got someone figured out Moriarty adds another layer. The three main women are strong, independent and all face their own personal problems, some of them quite dark and unexpected.

To be honest, at first I thought it would just be another light and fluffy mystery, because that's exactly how Big Little Lies starts out. I didn't expect some of the dark subjects Moriarty decided to tackle and the combination between casual humour, every day problems parents face and serious issues is extremely well done.

I recommend this to everyone who likes a good mystery and isn't opposed to reading about the pits of suburban parenting.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin

Book Title: The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth Trilogy #2)
Author: N. K. Jemisin
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Library

Amazon UK, Goodreads

As usual there will be NO spoilers for previous books in the series, so the summary is the one for the first book.
My review of the first book can be found here.
Goodreads Summary: A season of endings has begun. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, from which enough ash spews to darken the sky for years. Or centuries. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. And it ends with you. You are the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where orogenes wield the power of the earth as a weapon and are feared far more than the long cold night. And you will have no mercy. 
What did I think? The Fifth Season was unlike anything  I'd read in a long time. A perfect blend of science fiction and fantasy in a fascinating world. But when I picked up The Obelisk Gate, I had just read something like it, not too long ago: The Fifth Season.

Don't get me wrong, the second book in the trilogy is just as good as the first, but I knew what to expect and was no longer blown away by the novelty of it.

It's very hard to write about this series without giving too much away, because I believe this world should be experienced without any prior knowledge. There are strong female characters, clever world building, an interesting and novel magic system and wonderful prose. Part of it is written in the 2nd POV, bringing you even closer to the main character. It takes a little getting used to at first, but Jemisin knows how to make it work.

A beautiful read that I recommend to every fantasy fan with a bit of patience, because Jemisin does ask for some patience with her slow and subtle reveals.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

TTT (13) - Things That Make me NOT Want to Read a Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Follow the link to know more about the meme and join up!

This week they're sharing the top ten things that make them NOT want to read a book. Their post this week can be found here.

Of course, it makes sense. Last week we looked at all the things that make us want to pick up and read a book instantly and this week we look at the things that make us take a step back and say, no.

I don't usually decide I wouldn't read a book outright. It takes a lot for me to not even consider reading the first few pages.
  1. Space. I LOVE sci-fi, but I prefer my sci-fi to be near future and usually centred around dystopian governments, weird tech (think Black Mirror on Netflix), apocalyptic scenarios or humanity trying to adapt after a disaster. I do enjoy some space. The Red Rising trilogy for example, or Battlestar Galactica (which is probably my favourite show). But in both examples, if you take away space you're still left with a functioning story. I'm much less keen on space ships and weird aliens.
  2. Hard Science Fiction. I like science, but when it's the most important part of a story, I lose interest. Usually.
  3. Bad reviews pointing out racismsexism and other problems. I often want to pick the book up myself to form my own opinion, but then I wonder, why bother? I've got a pile of books I actually want to read, why not just read those. I do usually read a few good reviews as well to balance the feedback, but I can't think of a single case where the reviews were mostly terrible and I ended up enjoying the book nonetheless.
  4. Sports. Simply not my thing.
  5. Zombies. I find them a bit boring. However there have been exceptions. For example I really enjoyed Stephen King's Cell.
  6. Genres: Western, Christian Fiction, Erotica
I shy away from too much romance, whether it's paranormal or contemporary, but every now and then I do enjoy picking one up. Sort of a guilty pleasure like ice cream. Which is why I didn't include it on the list. I also really dislike love triangles, but it doesn't make me run away...

What makes you not want to read a book? Let me know in the comments.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Sunday Post (15) - We've Got a Snail

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

The Rules can be found here. And this week's post can be found here.

If you participate, don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog.

The snail I told you about last week, which we found with a hole in its shell, is now living permanently with us. My girlfriend walked into the pet store yesterday afternoon and bought a nice box, a gigantic plastic strawberry (for hamster cages) for the snail to hide in, a water and a food dish, and moss. The woman at the checkout raised an eyebrow and asked, what animal is this for? Clearly worried, we know nothing about keeping whatever it is she thought we were trying to keep. And my girlfriend stares at her and says, a snail? Reply: Oh, you've got one of those giant African snails? Nope. A garden snail, which we found on the ground after rain while out jogging.

Meet Sheldon in his new food dish.

  Last week on my blog:
Last week in my kitchen: I made one of my regular dishes yesterday that I tend to make whenever I get my hands on bone in, skin on chicken thighs. It's a Greek style dish with chicken and lemon rice and it's delicious. You can find it here.

And for Dragonfly over at Our Familiarium, here's a picture of my duck from last week. Plating is not my strength!


Next week on my blog: I'm a bit behind my reviews, but I also got behind with my reading because I started playing Dark Souls 3. Bad, Olivia, bad! Hopefully I get around to Little Big Lies, The Obelisk Gate and The Lions of Al-Rassan.

I'm currently reading:

 

I wish everyone a great week!

Saturday, 22 April 2017

You by Caroline Kepnes

Book Title: You
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Library

Amazon UK, Goodreads

Goodreads Summary: When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.
There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.
As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.
What did I think?

I picked this book up on a whim because I like dark main characters. Not only is the main character dark, every character in this book is frankly unlikeable. I enjoyed reading about them but I'd rather cut a finger off than spend time with any of them, thank you very much.

The book is told in the 2nd person and tells the story from the point of view of the stalker, Joe, who is going after Beck, determined to make her his. The use of 2nd person makes it so Joe is addressing Beck directly throughout the book.

"You walk into the bookstore and keep your hand on the door to make sure it doesn't slam."

It's creepy. It's disturbing. It's gross. This book made me recoil in horror. To be in the mind of someone like Joe is horrendous. I winced more than once and I even closed the book a few times whispering, no, no, no!

Caroline Kepnes captures the thoughts of a sociopath like Joe well. Joe is convinced Beck loves him. He's convinced he's the good guy. Anything bad he does, Beck made him do it. Watching him justify his actions from up close is actually downright frightful.

I read this book in a single afternoon, I just couldn't stop and had to find out how it ends. Highly recommended to anyone who doesn't mind vulgar language, some sexual content and being inside the mind of a seriously deranged human being.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

TTT (12) - Things That Make me Want to Read a Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Follow the link to know more about the meme and join up!

This week they're sharing the top ten things that make them instantly want to read a book. Their post this week can be found here.

I rarely choose to read a book on the fly anymore. Often I carefully research which books I want to read and which I'd rather avoid. I don't often walk into 1 or 2 star reads because I know what I like and what I don't like. Plus, lately, I've been giving myself the option to stop reading a book if I'm not enjoying myself and I don't rate books if I don't finish them.
  1. Dystopia. When it's about future versions of our world and the possible governments that will form or weird tech that will shape our lives, I'm immediately interested.
  2. Pretty Cover Art. Yes, that is a shallow reason to pick up a book but it works.
  3. Book shows up again and again and again in my Goodreads timeline.
  4. Certain authors. Like Stephen King. I always pick up a new Stephen King.
  5. Alternative History. Depending on the premise and time period. I'm a sucker for Nazis won the war stories.
  6. Anti Heroes. I love a good villain and if the villain is also the hero, I'm most happy.
  7. The summary on the back of the book. I sometimes browse through a bookstore and randomly read the backs of the ones with pretty cover art.
  8. Parallel Universe. Fascinating subject.
What makes you instantly want to read a book?

Monday, 17 April 2017

Sunday Post (14) - Easter

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

The Rules can be found here. And this week's post can be found here.

If you participate, don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog.

The movement streak is still going strong and we got into the habit of doing a 2km jog in the evening before going to bed. Sadly my dog injured his leg playing frisbee (mostly jumping up and trying to catch it in the air) and isn't too happy putting weight on it. So, he has to stay behind... instead we found a garden snail with a hole in his shell and my girlfriend decided we need to take him/her home and feed him carrots and make sure the snail recovers... so far so good.
Camp NaNoWriMo is going well and I'm editing my Middle Grade fantasy novel while at the same time working on a suspense thriller that I'm editing.

Last week in my kitchen: Nothing special, really. But tonight I'm trying this recipe with a whole duck that I'll roast in the oven with this orange sauce.

Last week on my blog:
Next week on my blog: I have yet to review Big Little Lies, The Lions of Al-Rassan, The Obelisk Gate and The God of Small Things.

I'm currently reading Moroda by L.L. McNeil. It has dragons, one can't go wrong with dragons, right?


I'm also trying to gather pins for the Pinterest boards for my writing group. You can find our Pinterest here. If you have any writing related or creative boards, please let me know, I'd love to follow you.

I wish everyone a great week!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Book Title: Morning Star (Red Rising #3)
Author: Pierce Brown
Genre: Sci-Fi
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: I own the Kindle version

Amazon UK, Goodreads

There are NO spoilers in this review which is why I'm including the summary of the first book. Review of book #1 is here and book #2 is here.

Goodreads Summary: Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.
But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.
Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power.
What did I think?

4.5 Stars.

Honestly? The second book in the series is the true highlight, at least in my opinion. But I must admit, this is one of the best series I've ever read.

If you love Sci-Fi and Space Opera do yourself a favour and read the Red Rising trilogy. It's not YA, so don't let that put you off. Yes, the main character is 16 years old in the first book but he's older in the sequels and the story is far too gritty and dark to pass as YA.

The series is full of plot twists and amazing action scenes. It offers a deep and compelling story with believable characters, intriguing political narratives and a main character who makes morally grey decisions. I absolutely love Darrow because he is flawed and hot-headed and makes the wrong decision more than once but he is also strong and courageous and ultimately believes in the good in others. Gaining strength to overcome oppression without losing sight of loyalty, friendship, family and love is an important theme in the entire trilogy.

I was hesitant to read Morning Star at first, not because I was worried I wouldn't like it but because I didn't want it to be over. Pierce Brown tied everything together in the last book and I'm satisfied with the ending.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Book Title: Dark Matter
Author: Blake Crouch
Genre: Sci-Fi
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Own a hardback copy

Amazon UK, Goodreads

Goodreads Summary: Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.
It starts with a man in a mask kidnapping him at gunpoint, for reasons Jason can’t begin to fathom—what would anyone want with an ordinary physics professor?—and grows even more terrifying from there, as Jason’s abductor injects him with some unknown drug and watches while he loses consciousness.
When Jason awakes, he’s in a lab, strapped to a gurney—and a man he’s never seen before is cheerily telling him “welcome back!” Jason soon learns that in this world he’s woken up to, his house is not his house. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And someone is hunting him.
What did I think? It's a bit difficult to review Dark Matter, to be honest, because basically anything I can say about the philosophical questions it poses would give part of the plot away. Don't read up on it, just read it with all of its surprises.

The most important thing you need to know is this: I read it in one sitting. Dark Matter is a little over 300 pages and I started reading one afternoon and I refused to make dinner until I was done. I literally could not put it down.

If it weren't for that aspect I'd probably have given it 3 stars. Why, you ask? Because despite it being a thrilling story that asks some deep philosophical questions and offers an original and creative premise, I was somewhat disappointed by the final act.

It starts out great, even the dreaded slow middle is fantastic. The entire book feels more like a movie than a book, that's how fast the plot moves forward. I predicted the twist, but only because I'd read similar books.

While the beginning and middle are surprising and original, sadly, the ending is a bit too neat and played out exactly as I thought it would. I would have appreciated and even expected Blake Crouch to take the story one step further, which he failed to do.

Nonetheless definitely worth a read if only because of its addictive nature.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

TTT (11) Most Unique Books I've Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Follow the link to know more about the meme and join up!

This week they're sharing some of the most unique books they've ever read. Their post this week can be found here.

Unique books. What an interesting subject. What does unique mean? What do I classify as unique?

I guess books where I thought, oh, this is new, I haven't read anything like it before. I'm pretty sure though that very often it just means that I've not really read many books in that particular genre and not necessarily that the book is unique.
  

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, because it's not about plot but about characters and because it's intimate, subtle and diverse sci-fi.
The Promise of the Child by Tom Toner, because he built such a complicated and extensive world that is wonderful to explore and there's a multitude of new species that humans evolved into.
Saga by Brian Vaughan because it's a comic unlike anything I've ever read.

 

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp, because it tells of a school shooting as it happens. I didn't particularly like the book but it was unique.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak because it's narrated by the personification of Death. I didn't particularly like this one either, but it's loved by most.

  

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles because the character stays in a hotel for the entirety of the novel and the book is still captivating.
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin because she uses the 2nd POV and it works.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman because who knows what genre this is but it's a fairy tale for adults and it's beautiful.

I haven't read Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff but the way it's put together looks pretty damn unique.