Books of March

Turns out I do most of my reading on the bus or while waiting for school to start since I’m always there way to early. Due to the circumstances not to be named I have not been reading that much and everything I have read has been very lighthearted and easily read.    

The Bookshop on the Corner

Jenny Colgan


Bought this one on a sale because I wanted something really lighthearted to read during these trying times, it did not disappoint. This is exactly the type of book that should be read during a longer vacation or when forced to stay home due to a virus. But… Maybe it fits better to read it during a vacation, after reading it I really want to go to Scotland. Colgan knows how to describe the scottish highlands in an alluring way. A bit sad to read it when you aren’t allowed to leave your home, therefore stopping all plans to go to Scotland before they even could begin to form. Although the books was a lovely easygoing escape that I didn’t expect much from I can’t help but feel that it was somewhat rushed at times. Not in the overall plot, just certain sentences felt rough. I read the swedish version so I will never know if it how Colgan wrote or if it is the fault of the translator. I do wonder a lot about the title, first I just thought that the Swedish translation was bad but it really do say “on the Corner” despite the actual bookshop being in a van and not on a corner? Very confusing. Despite that it is a very cute book.

Ella Enchanted

Gail Carson Levine 

There is a movie based on this book starring Anne Hathaway that I have watched an embarrassing amount of times because I have terrible taste in movies and one of my favorite genres is anything based on Cinderella. The movie is nothing like the book, as it often is. Neither of them are bad, they just aren’t anything alike. The book is super duper cute, it is written for younger children, pre teens. It a heartwarming story about learning about consequences and standing up for yourself but most importantly, how important our own choices is, that no one should be allowed to take that freedom from us. Beside having some great life lessons it also has one of the cutest romances. Unlike the movie where the prince is arrogant, the book version is a complete gentleman (gentelboy) who only want the best for Ella. This is a book that I really wished that I had read when I was younger, but it still works for an older person.            

Kiss of the Royal 

Lindsey Duga

There are multiple reasons for why I liked this book. Firstly despite the lore being perhaps the most ridiculous one I have ever had the pleasure of reading it still felt well developed and thought through. Sure, having kisses be the catalyst for magic to work is a bit weird and having true love being the answer to all problems is maybe a bit cliche, but Duga makes it almost believable. And, you know, having true love being the solution to everything would be pretty nice right now. Secondly, I loved the character development. The relationships between the characters is good and really drives the story and the characters forward. I love the family bond between the main character and her page boy. I was in constant fear that the page would turn out to be in love with the main character and jealous of the love interest, a pitfall many authors fal in to (why do authors think that love triangles are fun?), luckily for me Duga avoided it. The only place where I truly think that Duga fails is in the romance, but now that I have written that out I realises that it may be due to the fact that the main character literally didn’t believe that love existed and there for made for a bad protagonist in that sense. When she finally accept that love is real the romance between the main characters is described fin. So, no the romance wasn’t bad. Lastly, unlike other authors, Duga chooses fantasy names that was not terrible or unpronounceable, although Lorena is a stupid name for a horse. In conclusion, this is yet another good escapism in a trying time.            

Salainis

I had learned already many of the Outland methods of communicating by forest notes rather than trust to the betraying, high-pitched human voice.

None of these was of more use to me than the call for refuge. If any Outlier wished to be private in his place, he raised that call, which all who were within hearing answered.

Then whoever was on his way from that placed hurried, and whoever was coming toward it stayed where he was until he had permission to move on.

Salainis

I had learned already many of the Outland methods of communicating by forest notes rather than trust to the betraying, high-pitched human voice.

None of these was of more use to me than the call for refuge. If any Outlier wished to be private in his place, he raised that call, which all who were within hearing answered.

Then whoever was on his way from that placed hurried, and whoever was coming toward it stayed where he was until he had permission to move on.

Books of February

I’m so happy it’s March now.       

Throne of Glass 

Sarah J Maas

Some people watch bad movies, I read bad YA books. This was one of them. The best part of this book is that the main character Celaena Sardothien is eighteen. During those eighteen years she has had a family that was murdered, been taken in by a master assassin and trained to become one herself. She then killed enough people to be considered the most notorious assassin in the land before she was seventeen, because at that age she was caught and sentenced to a nazistyle workcamp, where she managed to survive a whole year before the crown prince of the very same nation needed her help and orchestrated her release, under the condition that she would work for him, the only setback is that she has to compete for it. Sounds believable, right? The worst part of the book is the very obvious love triangle happening between Celaena, the prince and the captain of the guards. I hate love triangles. 

I would also like to point out, that the bad guys don’t just have nazistyle workcamps, there are more references. They even did the whole book burning thing, something that Celaena finds very upsetting. Also, they killed of magic-users.   

The book is in no way a spectacularly good read, rather the opposite, spectacularly bad. Will I read the rest of them? Of course, can’t let the nazi win! Also, I got to find out how much more of an “ I’m not like other girls”- girl Celaena is. So far she is an assassin that doesn’t like corsets and isn’t wapid, but she could always be more special! 

Also, please do comment if you know how to pronounce Celaena Sardothiens’ name, all suggestions are welcome. 

The Traitor’s Ruin 

Erin Beaty

I need to take back a statement I made, apparently I did not forget about the Traitor’s Kiss that I reviewed during autumn. The ridiculousness that was Throne of Glass made me long for a book not quite as ridiculous, but my failure to finish Gulliver’s Travels made me not want to read a classic (I promise I will finish it eventually). So therefore I read The Traitor’s Ruin. Beaty has evolved as an author, it is first notable when the main character no longer hates skirts. Her “I’m not like other girls”-factor has lessened! Another nice touch is the fact that the queen likes needlework and is still a badass person. 

The funniest part of this book, beside the name Ethelreldregon*, is that Beaty used the same plot that was in The traitor’s kiss, but in reverse. Instead of him thinking she was dead, she thought that he was dead. This could point to bad writing skills, but it works for the story and makes the book funnier. Beside being good for plot reasons, it also helps the two main characters understand each other better, which I think is enough reason to forgive Beaty for the repetines. 

This is a book series that I actually enjoy, and would recommend to people looking for some fun fantasy books.   

*Beaty is very much aware of the fact that the name is ridiculous, unlike other authors.

The Traitor’s Kingdom 

Erin Beaty

I did not waste any time before reading the sequel to The Traitors’ Ruin and the last part in the series. It was probably the worst book in the trilogy. It was in no way actually bad, I just expected more than relationship problems that felt like character undevelopment. My main complaint with the relationships is that it would all have been fixed if they had just talked more with each other. Instead we were left with upset emotions and awkward silence.    

I got to say, I’m very confused over the titles of the books. To my knowledge the main character is in no way a traitor, in the first book she is even the one that is “betrayed” and that wasn’t even a proper betrayal. For this specific book, she forgets to consider her friends’ feelings, but that isn’t traitory. And it really should be kingdoms, not kingdom considering the fact that multiple kingdoms are at stake.

I did like the plot twist in the end, I didn’t see it coming. Perhaps it would have been easier to predict if the character had gotten more page-time. I was also a bit confused over all of the characters involved in the story, some of them were familiar from earlier books, but it felt weird and confusing to have so many new characters introduced and mixed with the earlier ones.      

All of that being said, I still liked the plot and the way the story ended. I also really appreciate how the main character worked thru her imposters syndrome and how she in the end was completely confident in herself and her abilities. I also like how the main character now likes skirts and dresses, she is no longer an “I’m not like other girls”-girl, something that I believe also shows a lot of growth from Beaty.

Books of January

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald

I, of course, had to start off the twenties reading the perhaps most famous book set in that time period (20ies). Because, as I learned, during my winter break I have become predictable. 

I found the green light to be confusing. Not the metaphor, but the actual green light. I don’t think that they had green light bulbs in the twenties, so how did they achieve a light like that? The only thing I can think of, is having oxidized copper in the lamp screen but that seems a bit too complicated. Also, who names a place where rich people live, West and East Egg? Gatsby was an agreeable character, his optimism was inspiring although it at times was more delusional than admirable. It’s interesting how a book about a lonely and sad man gets turned into an excuse to party. Side note, the latest movie adaptation has a serious lack of jazz-music.             

The Kingdom of Copper

S.A Chakraborty

I went and bought it right after finishing The City of Brass, Review Here . I waited a couple of weeks before reading it, in order to not get the books mixed up. I did not expect the five year time jump, but it certainly made sense. I find Ali’s new powers rather confusing, but so does all of the characters, hopefully answers will be provided in the next book. This book tackles segregation and racism in an admirable way. But what I enjoy most, is the ongoing debate on whether to let past misdeeds affect future beneficial deeds. It is after all a rather important topic, should you prevent something good from happening just because the site was used for evil in the past? In addition to Chakraborty taking on morality, I immensely enjoy her take on magic, her worldbuilding is intricate and believable. Chakraborty is a master of cliffhangers, among many other things, which is very frustrating. I want the next book now! Sadly I will have to wait a few months.           

Stay with me

Ayọbámi Adébáyọ

Partly due to not wanting to remain predictable, I read this book. The other part was because my mother’s book club was reading it and I wanted to join them in a discussion. Despite my initial reservations (that it was a book for older women) I found that I liked it. It was far out of my comfort zone and I found little in the story to relate to. At times I found the main character embarrassing, because the things that she did in order to try and get pregnant was to much for me, had I ever been interested in having children, then perhaps I wouldn’t have felt like that. The interesting thing, is that there were actually two main characters, although I’m unsure if they got an equal amount of page time. Anyhow, I truly felt like this was the woman’s book, and that her husband was just there to move her story forward. He was too me, something I had to put up with while reading. Still, Adébáyọ wrote in such a way that I just had to continue reading, it takes a lot of skills to make something unfamiliar captivating. While I still do not feel able to relate to any of the themes in the story, I feel like I left the book with a greater understanding of other people than before beginning, and isn’t that the point of reading?          

Turning darkness into light  

Marie Brennan 

This is the stand-alone sequel to the wonderful series “The memories of lady Trent” which combined two of my favourite subjects, natural science and dragons. Brennan’s book series makes me want to be a 19-century scholar who makes marvelous scientific discoveries and helps shatter the glass ceiling while finding my academic soulmate. Since time travel is impossible I will instead settle for becoming a scientist with an immense interest in history. A scientist for a partner would also be nice. In “Turning darkness into light” we no longer follow lady Trent and her natural science, instead we follow her granddaughter Audrey, who is an archeologist, also one of my favourite subjects. The book is just as awesome as it’s predecessors. But instead of just tackling sexism, this book also criticizes xenophobia, something that’s always good to criticise. I hope that this sequel is also turned into a series, I truly adore Brennan’s writing.

Book of November, kind of

Ghost Story 

Jim Butcher

This book did interesting things to the main character. I missed some of the typical snarkiness that I associate with Harry, but I also understand why it had to go away, it isn’t easy being dead. On that not, it was quite refreshable reading a story when he couldn’t just go barging in and blowing things up. Instead he had time to reflect on the fact that the bad guys are indeed people, not just bad guys. Him having to rediscover how to use magic was an intriguing storyline, I couldn’t help getting frustrated with him when nothing worked. I also liked all the flashbacks the book contains, much had been hinted at beforehands, so it was nice to get the full story of his past.

The story was a bit confusing. A lot of new elements were added that were a bit difficult to keep up with. There was also a return of a main baddie that I had no memory of. I feel like these books could use a recap in the beginning.   

The ending was not surprising given the fact that there is like two more books already published, and at least one more to come. That said, I still want to know how it plays out in the next one. There was after all some surprising parts.    

I have somehow only read one book this month. I blame school, second year November is brutal. So much homework and test, December is not looking any better. Also, terrible lightning on the bus home which makes it difficult to read. For next month, I plan to have read at least to classics and a fantasy book. Wish me luck! 

Ha, so far December has not been any better, so this thing maneges to be both 2, 9 and 12 days late. My winter break begins in one week and before that I have to major assignments to turn in, one book report and two laboratory test. Beside all of that I also have a voluntary assignment to turn in with a turn in date after the break starts, don’t know how my teacher thought there. Any way, what I’m trying to say is that I’m sorry for taking forever and I hopefully promise regular updates from now on, I already have next week’s text written (it is one of the assignments, it has correct APA referens and all of that fun stuff). 

Books of October

The Falcon Throne

Karen Miller

This was not a good book. It was a lot like Game of Thrones. A lot of intrigues and back stabbing, also a lot of treating women badly. The biggest difference is that, after the mistreatment, the woman gets to tell us why the thing that just happened to her was bad. I feel like it would have been easier if they just weren’t mistreated in the first place. When writing a fantasy novel you get to choose everything in the story, there is no reason to be so misogynist. I don’t understand why Miller chose to have the age of consent for marriage at just 14 years, that is kind of pedofilic. At least, that didn’t actually happen in the story, a small blessing.  

Also, it is a bit old and boring to read about a man that feels betrayed by his family, when in reality he is just a big bigoted asshole. The family was well within right to exclude him.       

Seeker

Veronica Rossi

This one was not as funny as the first one, and that’s a shame considering the humor was the only thing that made the first book good. The reason this book wasn’t as funny as the first one, was that it was split between two point of views. We still get Gideons p o v and he is still hilarious. But we also have to read from Daryns p o v and she is just boring.

The book also suffers from having an extremely boring and slightly confusing plot. I think that the main problem is that the book feels a bit rushed, and therefore a bit unnecessary Rossi could easily had made the first book a standalone, there was no need for a lackluster sequel.

Changes

Jim Butcher 

This book gave me somewhat of an identity crisis, when I realised that I started reading this series five years ago. For some reason I kind of took a break after the last book. So it had been about a year since I last read something by Butcher, and let me tell you, I didn’t realise how much I had missed him. Harry Dresden is one of the most dramatic and sarcastic book characters ever, and it makes for an entertaining read. I was a bit unsure before starting, because of Susan Reapers. Of all the side characters she is the only one I don’t like, but it all worked out in the end. 

The endings cliffhanger didn’t surprise me, because I had accidentally spoiled it to myself ages ago. Still, it was annoying that Harry and Murphy didn’t get to hook up. I’m looking forward to see how things get resolved in the next book. This time I’m not going to wait a year to read the next book .       

From Unseen Fire

Cass Morris 

For some reason I had a real hard time getting the hang of the roman names. This made it somewhat hard to enjoy the book, but that was in no way the authors fault. She did, in fact, write a really good book. I loved how historically accurate it was, while still being a fantasy book. I have always loved a book that blends truth and mystery. I would like to know the difference in magic, does it really just depend on the god you worship, and if so, can you change the magic you practice when changing religion? Maybe that will be answered in the next book. What Morris  really excels at; is describing realistic and lively relationships, that you can’t help but love. If I read the next one it would be for the characters, not the plot.

Books of September

Reviews of all the books I read in September because I love reading and talking about literature.

Of Mice and Men 

John Steinbeck 

This was a required reading from school so I was a bit sceptical from the beginning, but wow, I was pleasantly surprised. I have only read a few books before, that are as beautifully thought out as this one. It’s most definitely worthy of its status as a classic and I recommend that everyone reads it. The fact that the book is short is both a positive and a negative thing. I would have liked to get to know the carathers a bit more. Knowing the name of Curley’s wife would have been nice, she does, after all, play a big role in the book. On the other hand, I feel like the simplicity of the book is one of the things that really makes it great. Steinbeck only put things that mattered in the book, which means that one really has to pay attention to everything in it, if one wants to get all the foreshadowing. I’m looking forward to re-reading this book in the future and see if I can spot any more foreshadowing.

The City Of Brass 

S.A Chakraborty

I picked up this book mostly because it said on the back that it was set in Cairo and I love Cairo. In that aspect I was kind of disappointed, they leave Cairo after approximately 60 pages, though I was pleasantly surprised in many other aspects. Most of the book unfolds as a classic fantasy story. A very well written one, but still kind of classic. It’s first at the end of the book, that Chakraborty really shines as an author. The way everything goes to hell truly builds up the excitement and the many plottvists in the end left me wanting to have the next book now! I love how all of the characters are so well described and complex. It was also nice and refreshing to read a book with Islam as its main religion. Over all, the book is a wonderful first and I can’t wait to read the next in the series.   

Riders 

Veronica Rossi

This book was amusing from start to end, something that came as a pleasant surprise. Rossi’s biggest accomplishment with this book is the way the story is told and the fact that she manages to keep it interesting even after she told the ending half way through the book. The main character, Gideon, tells the story of how he and his fellow horsemen of the apocalypse ended up captured by the American military. Like I said, halfway through he tells the ending to that particular story, but Rossi throws in a new plot element that makes one want to keep going. I loved the way that she wrote, it was a lot of fun surprises.

Conversion

Katherine Howe

I can’t decide if the ending was brilliant or frustrating and that is the beauty of this book. I loved how relatable the girls in this book were. I, a high school girl, could relate to how all the girls in this high school behaved. I, myself, have also felt that anxiety over schoolwork and the annoyance of grownups not listening to us. Beside all of the teenage relatability, it was interesting to read two stories intrewinde. I was a bit surprised that the stories didn’t connect more in the end. I thought that the spirits from the past, was back hunting the present. That’s not at all what happened. Like I said in the beginning, I can’t decide if the ending was good or not. It was kind of an open ending, there was a minor affirmation on a supranational element, but it was all just swept under the carpet and the troubles was explained as a stress related disease. Somewhat frustrating, but the way it would have ended had the story been real.

Ulysses 

James Joyce

I read this book on a dare, a family friend that has known me forever said that even I, who read adult novels at 11 years and so far only quit reading one book, was going to fail in reading this. I, of course, had to prove him wrong. Hadn’t it been for the sheer sprite of it I would have given up. This book is that annoying. I can understand that the way Joyce writes is fascinating, and some parts of it, I even enjoyed, but most of all the book is so complex that it’s boring. I read a guide before starting that said that it was supposed to be funny, not true. Also you aren’t supposed to have to read a guide before starting a book, that is some sort of elitist shit. I feel like this book is considered a classic mostly to make normal people excluded from the academic literature discussion. Literatur, even the “classics” should be for everyone.