October Recap

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This month was okay… things went back to normal basically. Not a lot happened… Though I did have a lot of downs and not a lot of ups? Mostly I was okay though. And I miss my friends a lot which isn’t anything new, but it’s been hitting me hard lately. The semester is going to be so rushed, but I’ve been doing surprisingly well.

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Norse Mythology Book Tag

I saw this over at Life of a Literary Nerd a few days ago, and having just finished Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology (a stunning retelling if a bit short), I thought it was the perfect time to do it!

I didn’t grow up with Norse mythology like many others, but I’ve definitely grown fonder of its myths and characters. Lately I’ve been trying to learn more about folklore and mythology, and the Norse gods have risen among my new favorites. The imagery, the worldview… it’s just so different from the Greek, I love it.

The Rules:

  • Link back to my original post on Kyera’s Library so I can see all your answers! (Be sure to do this via pingback, I don’t get notified if you just tag my URL)
  • Thank the person(s) who tagged you… show the community some love!
  • Obviously, come up with your wonderful answers!
  • Don’t forget to tag others to keep the tag going!

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ODIN – FAVOURITE STAND ALONE

Odin is the All-Father, the leader of the Norse Gods. He is the god of wisdom, poetry, battle, death, wine, and war, among other things.

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The Secret History by Donna Tartt

When people ask for my favorite book and I don’t want to talk for ages about having many, I always say this one.

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Top Ten Best & Worst Unique Titles

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and Bookish. This week’s prompt is all about titles!

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you probably know I’m a writer. Well, I’m working on my seventh novel (for NaNo!!) and I have to confess I haven’t titled a single one. I don’t know maybe I am just too much of a perfectionist and still await That Dream Title that’s unique and just captures the book completely.

Because of that, I wanted to dedicate this Top Ten Tuesday to those that managed to find a good, special titles (and those that came up with one uniquely horrible). They are all memorable though! So you won’t find The + Adjective + Noun or The Noun of Something, or its dread YA fantasy counter Noun of Noun & Noun, not even Participle, the first book to a Paranormal trilogy. Those can be both good or bad, but they’re also pretty generic

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Best

1. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

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Comma! Also fits tone perfectly

 

2. Negotiating with the Dead by Margaret Atwood

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Such a striking title for a book about writing

 

3. We Have Always Lived in a Castle by Shirley Jackson

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Ominous… also a sentence!

 

4. I, Claudius by Robert Graves

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Hints at the “autobiographical” Romanness to come

 

5. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making By Catherynne M. Valente

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This one is just awesome

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Worst

6. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

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okay I broke my own rule… but I’m pretty sure this title was chosen because of the acronyms, a uniquely bad choice

 

7. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

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This grammar a headache 

 

8. I’m the King of the Castle by Susan Hill

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THEY DON’T EVEN PLAY THAT GAME (I hate this book with a passion)

 

9. Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

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Also known as the pirate book in my head bc I can never remember the title

 

10. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

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All the other books in the series are The Adjective Noun, so why Maggie? Why?

Book Review: Between Shades of Gray

12913325Title: Between Shades of Gray

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Genre: YA Historical Fiction, WWII

Release Date: April 3rd, 2012

Publisher: Speak

Rating: ★½☆☆

It’s 1941 and fifteen-year-old artist Lina Vilkas is on Stalin’s extermination list. Deported to a prison camp in Siberia, Lina fights for her life, fearless, risking everything to save her family. It’s a long and harrowing journey and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?

So conclusion reached: Ruta Sepetys is not for me.

I want to start with the positives.

The piece of history that this book tackled is the deportations of Baltic citizens to the USSR which is barely talked about. I honestly only knew them because of this book. I commend Sepetys for discussing these injustices because what these people went through deserves to be told. The novel was clearly well researched. Also I really appreciated how nuanced Sepetys’ portrayal of the events were. There were some (really bleak) details that just punch in the gut as there is no sugarcoating. The themes of hope and solidarity were well handled and those sections were where the book moved me the most.

That is to say I really like what this novel was trying to be. The execution just lost me.

There is something just so readable about the style. The chapters are really short, the sentences simple. I just glided through this whole novel. And yet… I thought it was kind of weak. Don’t get me wrong, there were some sentences that were incredibly lyrical, but they were sparse. The protagonist is really young (15), so maybe that’s why Sepetys decided to write so simply, but it just didn’t work for me. The dialogue was also very generic.

The pacing was also very wonky. Sepetys is a very moment-to-moment writer, kind of like Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. But she doesn’t have the style to pull it off, so it came off as dull when it shouldn’t have. The first third of the book looked only at a couple of weeks, but then months go by in a page. It’s so uneven… Also the ending felt abrupt and unearned.

What I struggled the most with were the characters. Lina was the most developed character out of them all, and it still felt like tell rather than show. We were told she was headstrong, but there were very few occasion where she actually did something that could be considered even stubborn. The side characters were even flatter. Jonas, the little brother, was often the motivation behind most of Lina’s actions, but I couldn’t tell you a single thing about his personality besides the fact that he looked up to Andrius. And the rest of the cast never felt real; they were but a couple of repeated traits. (This was also my main problem with Salt to the Sea, Sepetys’ other WWII book.)

Overall, I really wanted to like this just like Salt to the Sea. Stories like this deserve to be told, and I really appreciate the amount of care Sepetys put into this book. I just didn’t connect with the actual storytelling. 

Stray Observations

  • The cover is just gorgeous.
  • Also the romance was bit unnecessary? I would rather have had a strong friendship… but then again I nearly always do.
  • I actually thought the flashbacks added to the story and often drew interesting parallels. They rarely felt obtrusive.
  • Also that’s an unfortunate title… even though thematically it fits 200% better for a book like this than 50 shades….

 

Top Five Wednesday: Creepy Settings

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Top Five Wednesday is weekly meme hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes over at Goodreads. So, I’m late with this. I know, I know, but this topic was just too good to miss. I adore atmospheric books with creepy, ominous settings that are almost a character onto themselves. These are my favorites.

1. Sorry-In-The-Vale from The Lynburn Legacy

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Small English town with fog, secrets, mansions, and magic? Even if the characters weren’t delightful, I would have fallen in love with this trilogy for its setting alone. If I remember correctly you even get a map!

2. Cabeswater from The Raven Cycle

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I read the entire series, and I’m still not sure of what Cabeswater even is. All the scenes that take place there are eerie and wonderful. Because of spoilers, I don’t want to go too deep into it, but I’m amazed at all the types of magic that come out of Cabeswater. There’s nothing quite like it.

3. Koschei’s country from Deathless

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This book is like a twisted fairytale that just won’t leave my mind. Koschei’s Country, despite being basically the country of life, is sooo creepy. Almost as creepy as the country of death. This whole damn book is creepy in the most wonderful way.

4. Hailsham from Never Let Me Go

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For the entire book, you can guess there is something nefarious going on in this English boarding school. The characters realize this to different degrees, but never quite like one does as the reader. It’s not creepy in the traditional sense perhaps, but I got a sinking feeling in my stomach while reading this entire book.

5. The Moors from Wuthering Heights

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I had to finish with a classic. The moors are as vivid as any other character in this novel. They shape the story and characters in such a unique way, that this novel couldn’t have been set anywhere else. And wow, does Emily Bronte know how to build an atmosphere.