Books

Currently reading #1

I recently flew through The Kiss of Deception and The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E Pearson but now I feel a bit stuck. I’m trying to put my thoughts into words to write you some reviews but in the meantime..

Here are the three books I started reading in the past month or so:

  • The Beauty of Darkness – Mary E. Pearson

the beauty of darkness mary e pearson book review cover

The third and final book in the Remnant Chronicles. I read the first two books super fast and loved them. They’re so addictive. I’m taking my time with the last one because honestly? I don’t want it to end…

  • The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

The night circus cover erin morgenstern book review

In 1886, a mysterious travelling circus becomes an international sensation. Open only at night, constructed entirely in black and white, Le Cirque des Rêves delights all who wander its circular paths and warm themselves at its bonfire.

Although there are acrobats, fortune-tellers and contortionists, the Circus of Dreams is no conventional spectacle. Some tents contain clouds, some ice. The circus seems almost to cast a spell over its aficionados, who call themselves the rêveurs – the dreamers. At the heart of the story is the tangled relationship between two young magicians, Celia, the enchanter’s daughter, and Marco, the sorcerer’s apprentice. At the behest of their shadowy masters, they find themselves locked in a deadly contest, forced to test the very limits of the imagination, and of their love…

A reread for me. This book has been one of my favorites for years and I’m happy to revisit Le Cirque des Rêves. It’s a great autumn/winter read and I’m loving it more than ever.

  • Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

catch 22 joseph heller book review cover

At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war.

His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions that he’s committed to flying, he’s trapped by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the bureaucratic rule from which the book takes its title: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he’s sane and therefore, ineligible to be relieved.

I’m only about 40 pages into this one but it’s already hilarious. The subject matter, however, is not. This book takes place at the end of WW II on a small island and I can tell that it’s going to be a heavy one. It’s a massive book too, 519 pages, so I’m not going to finish it anytime soon.

 

Have you read any of these books?
Did you like them?

Love
Ellen

Books

A word from the bottom of the pit…

I’m sorry for not uploading much the last couple of weeks. I’m not in a good place right now but I’m trying to climb out of the pit I’ve found myself in.

I don’t feel like reading.
I don’t feel like writing.
I don’t feel like doing anything at all.
Things aren’t okay. I’m not “fine”.

But I’m trying to shake off the shadow that has dragged me down.
And I hope I’ll feel better soon.

I’ll be back.

Books, Review

Book Review: The Hurricane Party – Klas Östergren ****

the hurricane party klas ostergren

Hanck Orn’s son is dead. When they come to the door they tell him it was a heart attack, he knows they are lying. So he travels to the archipelago at the outermost reaches of the land to find out what really happened. He lands on an island and is met by a young woman, hair streaked with blood, raving like a lunatic. She is one of the sisters, who tell him the story of how his son died in the great hall of the Clan, the Norse gods, who were holding a party. But the festivities soon got out of hand, the guests began to argue with one another, and the mischievous shapeshifter Loki dealt a deadly blow. Set in a dystopian future that recalls Orwell and Zamyatin, Klas Östergren has weaved a dizzying story of magnificent scope and foul play. Moving from the golden halls to the depths of the underworld, it is about one man’s search for justice for his son in a world on the brink.

This book had been on my TBR for at least a year, so it was about time I picked it up.

As you may or may not know, I adore the Marvel movies that have come out in recent years. I especially love the Thor ones. Complicated characters are my favorites and Loki fits that description perfectly. He’s not just some lose canon, it’s obvious that there’s more to him than meets the eye.

Now I’m eagerly awaiting the new movie ‘Ragnarok’, which is coming out in two weeks, and I know it’s going to be amazing, but I needed something to help me fill the void until that movie comes out. The Hurricane Party sounded like the perfect filler.

The book starts off somewhere in the future. There have been some big changes. Sickness has killed a lot of people and the environment has been utterly destroyed. You now have two seasons: the rainy season (which drowns everything) and the dry season (which burns everything). Food is scarce and people have to make do with what they have.

Hanck lives in the city with his grown-up son who’s a chef and cooks for the richest part of the population, the Clan. Hanck himself repairs machines and listens to “The Organ” in his spare time. Doesn’t sound very interesting but they still managed to draw me in.

The first part of this book is mainly getting to know the main-character and the situation he’s in. It’s also about figuring out who killed his son (it takes a loooong time before we get to that part). I guess this book is about family and love more than the murder itself. Things are not straightforward or pretty. They are depressing because the situation is depressing. I actually really liked this dystopian part, the world-building and the character dynamics.

I also enjoyed the writing. It’s a bleak world he’s portraying but he does it extremely well. I could imagine myself there. Although I’m not entirely sure where ‘there’ is. Some say it’s Stockholm, which I can understand, but I guess I’m just thrown off by the mention of Dutch and Flemish people. (Loved that by the way, I don’t often see Flemish people in these kinds of books)

The second part of the story is where the Norse Mythology comes in. Like I said, I adore Norse Mythology and this book didn’t disappoint me. I actually learned a lot and I loved the way he wrote Loki. He’s not a likeable character, but he’s interesting. There were so many myths in here and normally I wouldn’t have wanted it to end…but……….. it slowed down the entire story and I still feel like the glue, that was meant to keep the two parts together, wasn’t strong enough. They still felt like two completely different stories to me.

So would I recommend it?

Maybe.

If you like Norse Mythology and dystopian stories like I do, then you’ll probably like it a lot. If you like Swedish crime novels, this could also be something you’d enjoy because it has the same atmosphere.
If none of these things are your cup of tea, maybe you’d better read something else.

Cover: Goodreads
Buy? Bookdepository

Top 5 Wednesday T5W
#T5W, Books

Top 5 Wednesday: Books Featuring Witches

I apparently haven’t read a lot of witchy books. So I split this challenge into “Read” and “To be read”.

First of, books I read:

1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

book uprooted

Loved this book and its earth magic. It has lots of atmosphere and by the end I wished I could just keep reading forever.

2. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon

outlander diana gabaldon

You might not think of Outlander when it comes to witches but Geillis Duncan was actually one of my favourite characters. She was very different between the book and the tv show but I appreciated both versions.

3. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone j k rowling

Because duh…

And three books I want to read!

1. The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston

The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston

My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. Each new settlement asks for a new journal, and so this Book of Shadows begins.

In the spring of 1628, the Witchfinder of Wessex finds himself a true Witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate at the hands of the panicked mob: the Warlock Gideon Masters, and his Book of Shadows. Secluded at his cottage in the woods, Gideon instructs Bess in the Craft, awakening formidable powers she didn’t know she had and making her immortal. She couldn’t have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.

In present-day England, Elizabeth has built a quiet life for herself, tending her garden and selling herbs and oils at the local farmers’ market. But her solitude abruptly ends when a teenage girl called Tegan starts hanging around. Against her better judgment, Elizabeth begins teaching Tegan the ways of the Hedge Witch, in the process awakening memories—and demons—long thought forgotten.

Part historical romance, part modern fantasy, The Witch’s Daughter is a fresh, compelling take on the magical, yet dangerous world of Witches. Readers will long remember the fiercely independent heroine who survives plagues, wars, and the heartbreak that comes with immortality to remain true to herself, and protect the protégé she comes to love.

2. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones Howl's moving castle

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

3. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

a discovery of witches Deborah Harkness 

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery, so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks, but her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries–and she’s the only creature who can break its spell.

 

Top 5 Wednesday T5W
#T5W, Books

Top 5 Wednesday: Books You’ve Read Because of Booktube/Blogging/etc.

I have to admit. I find a lot of inspiration on Booktube. So this is an easy topic for me. Now it’s only a matter of choosing five :).

In case you don’t know Top 5 Wednesday, you can find all the info here.

1. Eliza and her monsters – Francesca Zappia

Eliza and her monsters Francesca Zappia

I don’t read a lot of contemporary books so when I feel the need to pick one up, I go looking for recommendations from people I trust.

That’s how I read Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I ended up loving both but today I chose to mention Eliza and her monsters because that book really touched me on a personal level.

You can read my full thoughts here.

2. Everything in the Grisha-verse – Leigh Bardugo

Samantha from Thoughts on Tomes has the best recommendations. She got me to read Uprooted by Naomi Novik and of course everything Grisha-related. I loved the world-building in these books and I’m so glad I picked them up.

3. Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

book review strange the dreamer laini taylor

Another big one this year is Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. This book was everywhere on Booktube and it sounded so compelling that I couldn’t help but pick it up. It was a wonderful read and I wish I could forget all about it just so I could read it again for the first time.

I’m now making my way through the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and I’m stuck on book three. I can’t get myself to start reading it. I definitely prefer Strange the Dreamer but it still has the same magical writing. I’m so conflicted…

4. Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

book review rebecca daphne du maurier

The best example of ‘you win some, you lose some’. This book is one of those classics that keeps popping up every now and then. I HATED IT!!! Sorry to everyone who loves this book but I just don’t understand why…
I 100% picked this book up because of Booktube. By the end I wanted to throw it at a wall… Full rant here.

5. We should all be feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

we should all be feminists Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

One I would never have found without the online community. I live in Belgium. This means that I miss a lot of what happens overseas. Thanks to Booktube, Twitter, blogs,.. I try to keep up and I’m so glad that I caught on to this one (and the whole feminist writing category for that matter). For a book that only takes about thirty minutes to read, it really packs a punch.

So, thank you to everyone who shares their thoughts on books online. I really helps!!