Bookish Bingo Wrap Up

bingo-fall-done

  • StandaloneI’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  • Back List Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  • Multi POV Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
  • Killers – The Oresteia by Aeschylus
  • Suspense Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
  • Animal on Cover Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
  • Sea Creatures Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
  • Green Cover Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  • Revenge Medea by Euripides
  • Rec’d to You –  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Purple Cover
  • Horror/Paranormal
  • Illustrated
  • American History – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Dragons
  • Friendship
  • Retelling A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Weapon on Cover An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  • Fall Release
  • Creepy Cover
  • Short Story – “Continuity of Parks” by Julio Cortázar
  • Graphic Novel –  Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
  • College The Magicians by Lev Grossman

This is very very late… I forgot…

Anyway I’m really happy with how I did, even if I wasn’t able to participate in the giveaways and such.

Mini Reviews: Dublin Murder Squad

I had a blast reading the first two books of this series last summer. When I was done with The Likeness, I wasn’t in the mood for more mystery novels so I put off reading Faithful Place.

This past summer I caved in and read the next two books.

Even though it’s a series, so far each book has a different narrator, typically a character that has appeared in previous books, and it’s pretty much self-contained. Therefore these reviews will contain no spoilers for previous books.

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Title: Faithful Place

Author: Tana French

Series: Dublin Murder Squad #3

Genre: Adult fiction, Crime, Mystery

Rating: ¼

Goodreads

Back in 1985, Frank Mackey was nineteen, growing up poor in Dublin’s inner city, and living crammed into a small flat with his family on Faithful Place. But he had his sights set on a lot more. He and Rosie Daly were all ready to run away to London together, get married, get good jobs, break away from factory work and poverty and their old lives.

But on the winter night when they were supposed to leave, Rosie didn’t show. Frank took it for granted that she’d dumped him-probably because of his alcoholic father, nutcase mother, and generally dysfunctional family. He never went home again.

Neither did Rosie. Everyone thought she had gone to England on her own and was over there living a shiny new life. Then, twenty-two years later, Rosie’s suitcase shows up behind a fireplace in a derelict house on Faithful Place, and Frank is going home whether he likes it or not.

Getting sucked in is a lot easier than getting out again. Frank finds himself straight back in the dark tangle of relationships he left behind. The cops working the case want him out of the way, in case loyalty to his family and community makes him a liability. Faithful Place wants him out because he’s a detective now, and the Place has never liked cops. Frank just wants to find out what happened to Rosie Daly-and he’s willing to do whatever it takes, to himself or anyone else, to get the job done.

French dazzled me with her characters as always. She managed to paint a very vivid picture of the dynamics in Frank’s family, both in the past and present. It is a very heartbreaking portrayal of an abusive family that doesn’t sugarcoat. I wasn’t expecting to love Frank after The Likeness, but French adds so much depth and life to the character that I couldn’t help rooting for him, even though he was still a realistically-flawed asshole. My only complaint is that I expected Rosie to be a bit more developed, instead of only getting to see Frank’s idealized view of her, though I do appreciate that Frank himself acknowledges this.

The plot unravels slowly but surely. Every scene adds to the characters if not the whole. I love the whole rogue investigation into a family matter, so this was just for me. Because the stakes are so rooted on family, French knows what to focus on and how to write a satisfying conclusion, if a bit predictable. I was hooked from the very start.

 

18243050Title: Broken Harbor

Author: Tana French

Series: Dublin Murder Squad #4

Genre: Adult fiction, Crime, Mystery

Rating: 

In BROKEN HARBOUR, a ghost estate outside Dublin – half-built, half-inhabited, half-abandoned – two children and their father are dead. The mother is on her way to intensive care. Scorcher Kennedy is given the case because he is the Murder squad’s star detective. At first he and his rookie partner, Richie, think this is a simple one: Pat Spain was a casualty of the recession, so he killed his children, tried to kill his wife Jenny, and finished off with himself. But there are too many inexplicable details and the evidence is pointing in two directions at once.

Scorcher’s personal life is tugging for his attention. Seeing the case on the news has sent his sister Dina off the rails again, and she’s resurrecting something that Scorcher thought he had tightly under control: what happened to their family, one summer at Broken Harbour, back when they were children. The neat compartments of his life are breaking down, and the sudden tangle of work and family is putting both at risk . . .

After adoring Faithful Place, I was all the more disappointed with this instalment. Maybe it is because I didn’t find the case that interesting. This is in part because the characters did not have much at stake in a personal sense. Scorcher was remind of his troubled past, but it never tied into the plot. I know it is a cliche, but as a casual reader of mystery I hadn’t realised how much I need it to be invested in the plot. I also think this disjointedness does not work well with French’s focus on her narrators’ arcs in each novel. The plot was so by-the-book that I got bored pretty early on. I feel bad for saying this but it was too realistic for my tastes.

What I’ve Been Reading: Highlights

*obligatory mention of how I’m terrible at posting consistently*

Now that I got that out of the way, here are my favorite reads of the past five months!

20820994 I´ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

This was such a beautiful book. I read it in a day because I couldn’t stop. The writing style, a mix of beautiful prose and some odd extract that helped a lot with the symbolism and character development, was so enchanting that it made me want to read every thing that Nelson has written and will ever write. I was a bit lukewarm about the romance but the dynamics and characters worked so well that I didn’t mind. Coming from a family of artists, I aslo felt that this is also one of the few books that accurate portrays what being an artist is like as opposed to having one of the characters know how to draw to “spice up” or whatever.

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Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

After finishing Crooked KingdomI was left craving all more of the Grisha world. I read Shadow and Bone many years ago but I never picked up the sequel. I’m kind of glad I didn’t because I wouldn’t have appreciated it as much as I did. So last fall I binge-read the whole trilogy (something I rarely do) and loved it. There were few things that I have problems with (that I may discuss later), but overall I adored the characters especially Nikolai. Siege and Storm was my favorite out of the three because of the character development. The whole scene in which they fly above the Fold reminded me of why I love fantasy as genre.

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The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Another book that reminded me why I love fantasy! This was a very different reading experience from what I’m normally used to as it is not one of those books that you just can’t put down. There is very little tension in some sections and for the most part the conflicts are internal and understated. It is a very cerebral book in a way: it works best when you know your fantasy tropes. I love weird, meta, self-aware books and dry humor so I was bound to enjoy this one, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. It managed both whimsy and realism. Just please don’t go into these books expecting Harry Potter because thematically and tonally they’re anything but.

1433Hamlet by William Shakespeare

English major here! I’d been wanting to read this play for years but I was pretty intimidated by… well, everything about it. My attempts at reading Shakespeare on my own had been a disaster before, so I’m glad I powered through this one. Actually I quite enjoyed it, though I’m sure that a lot flew over my poor 21st-century head. I definitely see myself re-reading this play in the future.

 

8490112Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

This was the first book I finished in 2017 and what a great start! Laini Taylor is known for her beautiful writing, so I shouldn’t have been taken by surprise but I was. What kept me hooked, however, was the characters and worldbuilding. That Taylor manages to establish them so well in such a short time left me very impressed and invested. The book has just the right amount of whimsy and quirk to be endearing rather than annoyning; it never feels forced. It also has a rare sort of poetic beauty that is hard to find. I haven’t picked up the next two books but, if they are anything like the first one, I might gain a new favorite YA series.

23841432Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong 

I first encountered Vuong’s writing when I read “Prayer for the Newly Damned” in class. After reading the whole collection, I would still say that is my favorite one, but his writing shines throughout the whole collection. It’s hard for me to write about it because it was such a visceral experience. I ended up in the floor crying and loving every second of it. I don’t read poetry regularly, so this was a great reminder of why I should. Vuong has a very distinct voice, and I’m sure he’ll only become more acclaimed (he is only 28!) so if you are looking for different voices to add to your reading I have to recommend this one.

29939230A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

This was probably my most anticipated release of the year and it did not disappoint. I cried, laugh, and craved for more. As a conclusion, it works perfectly both when it comes to the the themes and the characters. I was not expecting to become so invested in Holland’s story, which makes this one of those rare series where I loved every single main character. The atmosphere of the whole book was also superb in a way that only a series finale can be. It was far darker than its predecessors but it never felt forced or grimdark because it was earned. The series as a whole is far more character and world driven and this book did nothing to change that, so I do get why some readers might find these books slow. But this book was everything I wanted and needed.

What have you been reading lately?

Series Review: Six of Crows

Titles: Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: YA fantasy

Ratings:½ and ¼

Goodreads

Synopsis of the first book:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

I loved this duology.

The series is mix of all things. On the one hand, it’s definitely YA when it comes to its tone and characters (to an extent). On the other hand, it’s fantasy in how the magic system is deftly woven into the world. But it is also a whole other animal: a heist movie. All these elements work together almost seamlessly, creating something unique. The books are filled with tightly-plotted cons, schemes, twists, and reveals. Bardugo knows how to use the genre well; the reader is constantly kept in the dark about what is going and often so are the main characters. I found this a little frustrating at times, but I do understand this is a convention of the genre and it works.

The plot of the first book is air-tight. The book-long heist is complex enough that it never gets boring. Each of the turns feels earned and it keeps you on the edge of your seat all the way through. The pacing is also really well done as Bardugo strikes up a perfect balance between action sequences and character moments. However, the second book lags in some sections, partly because it lacks the clear goal that allows the first book to be so focused. The cons are still great, but they feel a bit more disconnected.

One of the things that makes these books greats is that the plot never overtakes the characters. The series is told through the 3rd-person perspectives of the six main characters and they bring a lot to the story. Beyond their specialties which are awesome, the characters are all well-round and interesting in their own way. Their personalities and voices come alive thanks to their characterisation, but Bardugo takes time to develop their backstories which are gradually revealed. Even in the second book, there are still areas explored for each of these characters.

The cast is also refreshingly diverse when it comes to race, sexuality (including a same-gender romance), and body types, and Bardugo handles them well. Also I have to add that, unlike YA fantasy books, I loved that none of the main characters were princes or princess4e, instead most of them have humble backgrounds and become important due to their talents. Each one brings something unique to the story, be it their abilities (acrobatics! incredible aim! scheming!) or their cultural backgrounds. For example, Matthias’s militant faith often clashes with Kaz’s pragmatism or with Inej’s strong moral values in very organic ways. There are no extraneous characters to drag down the books. On top of this, they all get their own character arcs which is a miracle with all the things going on at the time (except this one character in the second book which –my other main problem with the sequel).

For YA, this series is very dark. The characters do terrible things from the very start. I mean one of them is the de-facto leader of a gang. They cheat, they kill, and they’re in it for the money (though for different purposes). So if you enjoy morally grey characters, these are the books for you.

As someone who didn’t enjoy Shadow and Bone that much because of the world building, I had no problems here. The main settings, the Ice Court and Ketterdam, are well-developed and cool in way that only fantasy can be. The cultures all have their own little quirks and details, from attitudes to religions, that are reflected in characterisation enough that it never feels like Bardugo prefers telling to showing. My favourite detail was probably how the proverbs Inej grew up popped up in her chapters. Also despite the fact that we see a lot of the world, there are clearly more stories to be told in this world and I’m really looking forward to them.

I have to say that some of these characters don’t feel like teenagers at times. Beyond their very dark backstories, there is something very mature about the way they act that had me going you can’t possibly be my age. Matthias and Kaz are probably the most clear examples. Yet there is a lot banter, flirting, and funny lines that make the books so fun to read. Plus, waffles.

I was so hesitant to read these books because I hadn’t finished (or liked) the Grisha trilogy, but I had no trouble understanding the world. It’s so different in tone and focus that I’m glad I gave them a shot. It even made want to give the Grisha trilogy another chance because I love Bardugo’s writing.

If you haven’t picked up this series, you definitely should.

Intimidating TBR Tag

So these last few days I got overwhelmed by schoolwork. Suddenly I had 9 Greek plays to read in a week and this was immediately followed by midterms. Something had to go and between reading, writing, and blogging, I went for the latter.

But what a better way to come back than talking about all the books I haven’t read. Here is a link to the original video.

1. What book have you been unable to finish?

A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez — I’m actually embarrassed about this one. I got over halfway through it, but I just couldn’t into the writing style. I still swear I’m going to finish sometime soon even though the book has been gathering dust for over a year now. Maybe it is because I have very high expectations for this book: everyone I know loves it and I read right after Persepolis one of my favorite books ever. 

2. What book have you yet to read because you just haven’t had the time?

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor — I’ve been hearing excellent things about this series for over 3 years. I honestly don’t know why haven’t read it because it sound like something I would adore.

3. What book have you yet to read because it’s a sequel?

A Torch Against the Night by Saaba Tahir — I finished An Ember in the Ashes just a few days ago. I absolutely adored the characters and wanted to jump right into the sequel. Then I read that the third book comes out in 2018! So I think I am going to wait a while so the gap is not as huge as it would be now.

4. What book have you yet to read because it’s brand new?

Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson — So I pre-ordered this a while ago but it still hasn’t arrived. I hate everything.

5. What book have you yet to read because you read a book by the same author and didn’t enjoy it?

Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes — A few months ago, I gave Falling Kingdoms a mixed review. I saw some potential and overall I found myself enjoying the book while I read it. Well, the more I’ve thought about the more it has fallen from my favor. I don’t think I’ll continue this series. 

6. What book have you yet to read because you’re just not in the mood for it?

The Magicians by Lev Grossman — I’ve been so close to reading this book multiple times. Like whenever I’m trying to choose what to read next from about three books, The Magicians is there. I know I’m going to end up reading this though.

7. What book have you yet to read because it’s humongous?

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (and the rest of the Throne of Glass series) — The rest of the books in this series are all over 500 pages long. I don’t know what is it about Maas’ writing that make me unable to read them at a normal pace. What would normally take me two days to read, takes me like two weeks with these books even though I enjoy them a lot. I might read this with a friend soon which I hope helps me get through it.

8. What book have you yet to read because because it was a cover buy that turned out to have poor reviews?

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken — I’ve had this for like two years but I’ve heard some negative things about this series.

9. What is the most intimidating book in your TBR pile?

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy — I’m finally reading this right now, after owning it for two years. It’s such a huge novel. I’ve read the first part out of eight but I know it’s going to take me a while.

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

16096824Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1

Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: ½

Goodreads

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever

Content warning: brief mention of sexual assault and abuse.

I had heard a lot of things about this book before picking it up. Great and terrible things.

I mostly kind of found myself agreeing more with the latter.

There were a lot of problematic elements in this book. From abusive dynamics to use of sexual assault as cheap device to advance the plot. It lacked diversity. The romance had many issues which made unable to enjoy it. Also unlike the Throne of Glass series, this book lacked female characters and dynamics for a good chunk.

The writing style also bothered me at times. Maas tended to drag out moments, which was especially noticeable while I was listening to the audiobook. It would take a minute of description for a character to reply to simple question. There were quite a few sections were the prose turned purple and awkward, especially during the sex scenes. Also it contained the most painfully obvious riddle.

The pacing was also off. Although I get why Maas had to structure the novel that way, the tone of the first half of the book was completely different to the second one. Additionally, there was very very little tension in that first half which was why it took me days to reach the 50% mark while I read the rest of the course of a day.

And yet…

I really enjoyed it and I can’t really justify it.

The worldbuilding was intriguing enough that I kept reading. The creatures were interested and varied and there is a lot room to expand upon. Honestly, I was expecting much worse from what I had heard. There were, however, a few holes here and there. We saw so little of the world in this first novel so I’m really looking forward to getting to see more of in A Court of Mist and Fury.

I didn’t like all of the characters (*cough* Tamlin *cough*) but the ones I liked, I actually adored. I really liked the way Maas handled Feyre. Her emotions were always portrayed as valid and she was allowed to be flawed. I’ve heard that many people found her annoying but that wasn’t the case for me. Having her as a first person narrator was a great choice for this story. I also loved Lucien and I am very curious about what Maas will do next with the rest of the character. They were probably what made the book work for me.

This novel is definitely not for everyone and I think we have to be critical about many of the choices made here. That said, I will definitely be picking up the sequel soon!

Book Review: Rose Under Fire

20454605Title: Rose Under Fire

Author: Elizabeth Wein

Series: Code Name Verity #2

Genre: YA, Historical

Rating: ½

While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.

Wow…

There’s a reason why despite reading this novel in July, I’m only now posting the review. I had such a strong emotional response that I needed time to fully process my thoughts.

It would be wrong to call this book a sequel to Code Name Verity, which is why this review will contain no spoilers for either. Even though a few familiar faces reappear (and I got very emotional about that too), this book is more of a companion, focusing on a brand new character appropriately named Rose.

This book is harrowing in a way that is very different from Code Name Verity. While the latter is very moment-to-moment and filled with action, Rose Under Fire’s intensity is more emotional in nature. The danger is not as imminent due to the setting, so the characters’ struggles are more internal. It lacks the twists and turns, prioritizing character growth and historical accuracy. And it manages to be even darker because of that. This is probably the reason why I can’t give it the five stars I gave to its predecessor.

Despite that, I would say that the form works better here. There is some excellent writing in the novel. Rose is a poet, after all, and her poems never feel out of place within the narrative. They provide insight that would be otherwise lost in the prose and they don’t halt the plot. Similarly, the diary style was a really effective choice to convey Rose’s emotional states. It gives the novel a sense of immediacy that it would otherwise lack.

Wein proves again that she is excellent and writing characters. Her characterizations are vivid and distinct. All the hardships these characters go through are made more intense and hard to read about precisely because the characters are very well drawn. I know that just like the characters in from the first book, Rose and her friends will stay with me for a while.

Once again, Wein tackles World War II in a fresh way by focussing on women. Wein is very respectful to the actual history of Ravensbrück, even though the main characters are all fictional. I won’t spoil how, but the notes toward the end turned me into a sobbing mess. The images are haunting both because of the basis on real events and the way in which Wein presents them, which is exactly what I look for in historical fiction. This is tale of friendship, resilience, and recovery as seen through a diverse group of women and I wish there were more books like this one.

 

September Recap

My Life

August was so hectic and full of shiny new things while September wasn’t. This month I sort of adjusted to what my life looks like now. College has lost its novelty. I have made a group of friends. I have pulled a few all-nighters.

It’s both comfortable and bit underwhelming. Although I really enjoy the content of my classes, I am getting a bit bored. My high school was pretty demanding, especially during senior year, but my program deliberately starts off easy to make the transition to college easier. I know it will get harder before I know but right now I don’t feel challenged.

Also I really miss my high school friends, something I won’t stop complaining about any time soon.

Reading

I fared only slightly better than last month in term of reading. Most of the reading I got done was for class and can’t be counted on Goodreads, so bearing that in mind here are the book I read.

 

Illuminae  by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff ★★★☆☆

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman  ★★★★☆ 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas ★★★½☆

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen ★★★★½

Antigone by  Sophocles ★★★☆☆

 

Favorite of the Month

A Court of Thorns and Roses

16096824

I know this might come off as a surprise given my rating, but this was the first book that I have really gotten obsessed with in a while. I will explain my thoughts fully in a coming review.

Favorite Poems of the Month

I’m basically getting bombarded with poetry this semester. What is really great about one of my classes is that my professor tries to be as diverse as possible. We’ve read poetry from a variety of periods and authors.  So I’m just listing a few of my favorites.

No Second Troy” by W.B. Yeats

My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning

“Eurydice” and “Anne Hathaway” by Carol Ann Duffy

“Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold

“Prayer for the Newly Damned” by Ocean Vuong

“Home”  by Warsan Shire

Blogging

Illuminae Review or That Trope I Really Hate

August Recap

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 books that should become TV shows

Bookish Bingo: Fall 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Crooked Kingdom

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR List

Book Review: Good Omens

Writing

I really really really wanted to finish this project before the end of September. I’m only two and half chapters from the end and I can’t wait to be done with this. I’m going to have to edit this a ton, I know. But I really need a break.

First person is not the style for me. I love writing ensambles so find it awfully restricting. I can’t wait to get back into 3rd person limited for my next few projects. Plus, I found myself really missing the characters from my “trash saga.”

I wrote around 20,000 words this month, which is down from August. I went several days without writing because I’ve been exhausted. I have to wake up really early everyday so staying up late to write (which is what I normally did) has become practically impossible. I really hope I figure out a way around this in October.

TV

You’re the Worst! I await every Thursday to watch it after school. I just love this show a lot. It’s like my comfort food.

I watched the twelfth season of Grey’s Anatomy in less of a week. If You’re the Worst is comfort food, then Grey’s Anatomy is that candy that reminds of your childhood that you eat purely out of nostalgia. I have lost count of how many time I’ve stopped watching this show only to watch it again. The writing is just… ugh. I have so many problems.

I also watched the sixth season of Modern Family. Enjoyable, though not as good as earlier seasons.

I also started rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, my favorite TV show of all time. And some of the episodes of the first season are… well, very unsteady. I’m glad I got through them the first time because I’m not sure I would today, were I watching for the first time. I truly adore these characters though.

I can’t wait to start Luke Cage which came out yesterday!

Music

Life

So Bastille released a new album…

Lethargy by Bastille

Cheap Thrills by Sia

Sugar by Robin Schulz (I’m pretty sure Schulz has released the same song 6 time yet I love it every time)

Stand Up by In the Valley Below (I’m really falling in love with this band)

Writing

Drift by Daughter (Will I ever get tired of this band? No, I won’t)

Dove Season by In the Valley Below

The Visitor by Mountain Bird

Book Review: Good Omens

20493713Title: Good Omens

Authors: Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 

Goodreads

According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes NutterWitch (the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.

So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.

And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist . . .

I must start by saying that I had never read anything by either of these authors before. Honestly, I was kind of intimidated because they both have such a strong, loyal following and have had great influence. Yet, Good Omens was the perfect introduction for me.

This book is delightful. There isn’t any other way to put it.

It has one of those irreverent, self-aware, and witty tones that are rare to find. I laughed out loud so many times while reading this novel. If you, like me, have a sense of humor that was shaped by shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you’ll probably find this funny too. Also the jokes have a very dry, dark quality to them that came across as incredibly British to me. That said, not all jokes have aged well after 26 years. Still one of the best examples can be found on the following two character descriptions at the very beginning of the novel:

Crowley (An Angel who did not Fall as much as Vaguely Saunter Downwards)

Dog (Satanical hellhound and cat-worrier)

There is ton of research put into the apocalyptic parts, with all kind of hidden references and jokes for those that know the history. Mixed with this, as it is to be expect from these two authors, is a lot of originality as the mythology is adapted to late eighties culture. So mcuh that it left me wanting to read Gaiman’s American Gods.

However, the book can feel a bit unfocused at times. Going in, I was expecting it to be Crowley and Aziraphale’s story and it is not. The novel has a huge cast filled with quirky, fun characters. Some land better than others, though, which makes some parts drag a little. I found myself getting a bit bored with the Them sections, for example. With so many characters, it was bound to happen.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR List

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

Some people are seasonal readers. They like to cuddle up with historical novels in the fall or enjoy fluffy beach reads on the summer. I am not one of those readers. My reading moods fluctuate so much that the only pattern I can detect is that I tend to read longer books or series during the summer because I have more time to tackle them. So I don’t really view these books as especially autumn-y. Also, being on my first semester at university, I don’t want to get too ambitious with this list.

That said here are the top ten books that I hope to read before the semester is over!

I tried to get as varied as possible with this list, including classics, a poetry collection, a memoir, and a graphic novel. I also tried to take into account the series I have already started. All while not buying more books, most of these books I already own and the rest I can borrow from my university’s library. Though, this being me, there’s a ton of fantasy books there too.