fredag den 5. februar 2016

"The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet" by Becky Chambers

Title: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
Author: Becky Chambers
Publication Year: 2014
Pages: 404
My Rating: 5/5 stars

"The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet" is the first installment of The Wayfarers series which takes place in space. In this particular novel, we are introduced to Rosemary who has been hired to work as a clerk on the Wayfarers spaceship. On this ship, she meets a cast of characters who come from different species and planets, and gradually we are introduced to a futuristic world where things are turned upside down and different species work together in space. 

I didn't expect much when picking up this novel, simply because I'm not much of a sci-fi reader and I rarely enjoy the genre. However, this book was close to perfection. It's funny, it's sassy, it's intriguing and it has some of the best characters I've ever read about. Their dynamics worked amazingly well, and their humorous and quirky personalities amazed me time and time again. 

Furthermore, this novel contains so many deep topics and underlying messages that I wholly agreed with and that increased my love for the story even more. Everything is built on the word 'acceptance' - accepting everyone for who they are and what they look like. This sci-fi world is definitely futuristic and hard to comprehend, but it was so cool as well! 

Funnily enough, this story actually reminded me a lot of "The Book of Strange New Things" by Michel Faber which I read and loved last year, even though the two novels are quite different and unique in their own ways. However, I dare say that if you read Michel Faber's book last year and liked it, you might like this one as well. I, for one, was very impressed and I'm thrilled that there's a sequel coming out on October this year, because I'll definitely be picking that one up.

torsdag den 4. februar 2016

My Reading Month | January 2016

The first month of the year of 2016 is over and I spent it reading quite some amazing books. Here's my first blog post of a monthly series I plan on doing in the beginning of each month - a recap of my reading month which allows for you to see my total books read, my favourites and my disappointments. 

Books read: 9 books, which I'm very satisfied with considering the fact that a few of them were humongous. 

Favourite of the month: Has to be "A Spool of Blue Thread" by Anne Tyler. I loved its simplicity as well as its characters, and it was one of those books I didn't want to let go of. If you haven't read it already, you can read my review of it here

Biggest disappointment of the month: "You" by Caroline Kepnes. While it's an interesting concept to read a story from the perspective of a stalker, it creeped me out a bit too much and made the overall reading experience an unpleasant want. 

Books I want to read in February: I recently added six new books to my collection which I will definitely be reading in February. A video on them will be up later this month, but to satisfy your curiosity a little bit, I'm especially eager to get to "It's Not Me, It's You" by Mhairi McFarlane. Furthermore, the Danish publisher Lindhardt & Ringhof has two new interesting titles coming out in Denmark in February which I will also be getting to and reviewing on this blog as well as on my booktube channel: "City on Fire" by Garth Risk Hallberg and "Me Without You" Kelly Rimmer. 

torsdag den 28. januar 2016

"His Dark Materials" by Philip Pullman

Title: His Dark Materials (Book 1: Northern Lights. Book 2: The Subtle Knife. Book 3: The Amber Spyglass)
Author: Philip Pullman
Publication Year: 2000
Pages: 1102
My Rating: 4/5 stars

This is the story of Lyra, a 13-year-old girl who goes to Jordan College in an alternate universe where everyone has a dœmon. One day, Lyra and her demon Pan hide in the cupboard and overhear a very important conversation between her Lyra's uncle and the professors at the college. Things go on from there, and Lyra is quickly thrown into an adventure containing polar bears, magic, dust and an alethiometer.

Great fantasy, amazing story! I think of all three books, I loved the first one "Northern Lights" the most because it introduced me to this amazing world, and it felt the most wintry to me with its polar bears, snow and magic. That being said, the two other books, "The Subtle Knife" and "The Amber Spyglass", were really good as well, and especially the second book kept my interest peaked.

This is one of those series that is written for children on the surface, but that is highly relevant and readable for adults as well as it contains layer upon layer of meaning and symbolism. I'm sure that you can read this trilogy again and again and still constantly discover new things - I certainly felt like a was missing out on a lot while reading just because so many things happened, and I knew there was more to them than what I realized. I was constantly surprised at how intricate this series is and how relevant it is to everyone in our world. It might be fantasy, but it is definitely true as well!

"His Dark Materials" is a children's classic and I'm obviously not a child anymore. But still, I'm very happy that I finally got around to reading this trilogy that so many people hold close to their hearts.

onsdag den 27. januar 2016

"Liveship Traders" trilogy by Robin Hobb

Titles: Ship of Magic (book 1), The Mad Ship (book 2), Ship of Destiny (book 3)
Author: Robin Hobb
Publication Years: 1999, 1999, 2000
Pages: 880, 906, 903
My Ratings: 4/5, 2.5/5, 4/5

These books are huge, and the trilogy of the "Liveship Traders" definitely takes you on quite an adventure. Basically, this series deals with Bingtown and Vivacia. Bingtown is a trader's town in the North of the land of the Elderlings, the Vivacia is a liveship with a personality of its own - it can speak and feel just like any other human. 

In the beginning of book one, Vivacia is not yet a liveship. In order for her to become one, three captains from the same family must die on her deck. Althea's father, the current captain, is about to die after a long life of many sea journeys, and in their sorrow, Althea and her family are very eager to make sure that it happens on the decks of Vivacia. The liveship comes alive, however with that comes a lot of troubles that neither Althea nor her friends and family had foreseen. 

Basically, I really loved this series. I'm not much of a fantasy reader, but when I do read fantasy, I appreciate for it to be intriguing, original as well as easy to understand. This is one of those series that fulfil all of that. It comes with a heavy cast of characters, and we get to follow all of their perspectives through the chapters. I loved that because it allowed for me to get in depth with each and everyone and connect with them. 

However, as you can see from my ratings, my reading experience of this trilogy took a dive with book two "The Mad Ship". I'm still not sure why because the book delivers an adventurous story, just like the other two. I think what happened is that I read it at the wrong time, and I wasn't feeling a heavy fantasy story at the moment. Nevertheless, my reading of the last book "Ship of Destiny" confirmed for me that this is indeed a masterpiece of a fantasy series. It may be quite long, and it may be a bit silly with talking ships, but it has dragons, and superstition, and sea voyages, and who wouldn't love that? 

All in all, I'm very happy that I finished this series because it provided me with one of the best fantasy reading experiences I've had for a while. Luckily, Robin Hobb has published lots of other books in this same world of the Elderlings, and luckily I own most of them, so I'm kind of excited to continue this journey later on in 2016. 

"A Spool of Blue Thread" by Anne Tyler

Title: A Spool of Blue Thread
Author: Anne Tyler
Publication Year: 2015
Pages: 358
My Rating: 5/5 stars

"A Spool of Blue Thread" was nominated for the Man Booker Prize in 2015. It was said that it was quite simple for a Man Booker nominee, but nevertheless people seemed to love it and I was intrigued to read it. I had never before read anything by Anne Tyler; I hadn't even heard of her - I must admit - even though it turns out she has published a lot of novels through the years and she's a highly acclaimed author. 

This specific story is about the Whitshank family who lives in America. In the first chapter, we zoom in on Abby and Red, and gradually more people and more generations come into the picture so that we get to know Abby and Red's children as well as their grandchildren. Not a lot happens, but at the same time so much happens through the flashbacks that we get during the novel. It turns out that even though the Whitshanks appear to live quite ordinary and simple lives, there's so much beauty to them that you can't help but finish the last page with tears in your eyes. 

"A Spool of Blue Thread" was one of the most beautifully written stories I've read for a long time! It was one of those books that made me want to immediately go out and get all of Anne Tyler's other books in order to dive into her authorship, because if all of her other novels are anything like "A Spool of Blue Thread", they are masterpieces! 

This is a very simple piece of literary fiction that focuses on its characters and their development. We get to know all of them gradually, because Anne Tyler has structured the storyline in a very interesting manner - she definitely knows how to master her plot! 

Furthermore, Anne Tyler's writing is beautiful! I had to highlight several sentences, and the way she wrapped up each chapter poetically made me think of Shakespeare and his wrapping up of each scene. The curtains are closed, but they are quickly opened again in time for a new chapter. 

As you can hear from my review and praise, I simply loved this book! I didn't want for it to end, and I was fearing the approaching wrap up chapters before it actually came. This was one of those novels that gives you amazing characters that you feel like you know and can't live without, and I call that talent! I did finish it, though, and now my biggest worry is where I'm going to start now with Anne Tyler and her other novels, because this one has left me eager to know more about her stories, her characters and her impeccable writing. 

onsdag den 20. januar 2016

My Christmas 2015 Book Haul

Like many other book lovers, I always wish for books for Christmas, and during the years my lists have become more and more intricate. I never just write a title and an author, I also attach a link to a site that has the cheapest price on the book, and I also indicate the price on my wishlist - just in case! My family don't really know where to find books besides from in bookstores, and in Denmark, books in bookstores tend to be very expensive and not always in English. 

This year, I received four books for Christmas and one book during the month of December. I love that feeling inside when you receive a squared package that has the feel and weight of a book - you immediately know that this is going to bring you hours of joy and escapism. 

In this video, I show you all of the novels I got for Christmas in 2015: 

søndag den 17. januar 2016

"11.22.63" by Stephen King

Title: 11.22.63
Author: Stephen King
Publication Year: 2011
Pages: 740
My Rating: 5/5 stars

It's quite ironic how a book that's been on my shelves for over 3 years turns out to become the first novel I rate 5/5 stars on this blog. 

This is the story of Jake who lives in Maine, America in the year of 2011. Jake is a middle-aged man, and he has had an average life so far. He's been married and divorced, and he works as a high-school English teacher at the local high school. 

One day, Jake is told a big secret by his friend Al. The secret is that Al has found a portal that can take you back in time to the year of 1958. The reason why Al is sharing this secret with Jake is because Al is dying, and he needs for Jake to go back in time and change the future - more specifically he's talking about an event that will take place on 11.22.63...

This book was amazing in many different ways! First of all, it's one of those stories that puzzles with your mind and makes you think: What if? What if you could go back in time and change the future? How would it work out? Stephen King gives us his version of exactly that in this novel, and it is highly entertaining. 

Secondly, this is one of King's novels that is NOT horror but more of a thriller, and I loved this shift in genre. I've previously claimed that King is a great story-teller but not necessarily the best writer, but I take that back! This book has so many interesting details and observations to it which I loved, and everything wrapped up beautifully! 

This 700-page-story does have its slow parts which never became dull, but still you had to be patient while getting through them. However, all of a sudden things became very heated and tense and I was on the edge of my seat. Everything kept coming in waves and I was enthralled! AND for those of you who are still a bit skeptical, this book has a beautiful romance story. It's not too much; it's just the perfect amount. The novel contains some beautiful scenes which I did not see coming from Stephen King, and I was pleasantly surprised. 

Read it! It will fly by despite its many pages, and it will puzzle with your mind and make you think differently on the past and the future.