Friday, March 19, 2021

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

Author: Adrienne Young
Original title: The Girl the Sea Gave Back
Pages: 416
Edition Language: Russian
Series: Sky in the Deep #2
Format: e-book
Genres: Fantasy

   For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

My thoughts: 
     As with many second books in the series, let's pretend it does not exist. 
Sky in the Deep was a great stand alone novel with a great world and characters. This book seems a carbon copy of a book that might have been written if the author took more time or effort. I think the idea is here, but the plot and characters fell flat for me. The world building is minimal, if any, and the plot is quite predictable. The prose is very beautiful and rich here, but most events of the book just do not have any purpose. Altogether, motivation and events seemed rather weak and pointless.
     I liked how Adrienne Young writes, but I find her first book way better than the second. Hopefully, the next one will be great and surprising.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

February 2021 Wrap up


Read books: 
read: 5/ listen: 4/ pages: 2144/ hours listened: 26h06m

1. Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco p.512 * - review
2. So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson 8h16m ***** - review
3. The Likeness by Tana French p.640 ***
4. The Widow by Fiona Barton 10h29m ***
5. A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare p.320 ** - review
6. Stardust by Neil Gaiman p.256 ***
7. Unheard: The Story of Anna Winslow by Anthony Del Col  4h *** 
8. Hawk's Call by Simone Carter 3h21m ***
9. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman p.416***

Movie watched:
Death in Paradise S.10 Episodes 4-8

Friday, March 5, 2021

January 2021 Wrap up


Read books: 
read: 8/ listen: 1/ pages: 3356/ hours listened: 8h19m
1.Wilder Girls by Rory Power p.352 *** - review
2.Uprooted by Naomi Novik p.640 *** - review
3.The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn p.414 ***  - review
4.The Lost Man by Jane Harper p.330 ****
5.Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery 8h19m ***
6.The Red House by Mark Haddon p.340 ***
7.Rudin Ivan Turgenev p.288 ***
8.Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco p.512 ** - review
9.In the Woods by Tana French p.480 *** - review

Movie watched:
Death in Paradise S.10 Episodes 1-4

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Middle Grade March Announcement and TBR 2021


It's the most wonderful time of the year....#middlegrademarch is here. This month long readathon celebrates the amazing category of books that many times we forget about as adults. I hope you will choose to participate in all the fun with us this 4th year of MGM.  

Katie @Life Between Words
Amanda @The Curly Reader​
Krista @BooksAndJams​
Don't forget to use the hashtag #middlegrademarch

CHALLENGES (optional, of course):

Group Read:
The Brave by James Bird


    1. A Book with SILHOUETTE on the cover
    2. A Book with a strong FAMILY (or found family)
    3. A Book featuring a JOURNEY or ADVENTURE
    4. A RETELLING (or book with a fairytale vibe)
    5. A Book written (or set) in the DECADE YOU WERE BORN

      I will not read the group read, unfortunately, as I could not get the book. The libraries are still closed. And I decided not to restrict myself with the prompts, though I hope to fulfill them anyway. I combined the ultimate list of middle grade books I have so far and will pick from it. Thus, I could keep track of the progress during the year as I would like to read at least one middle grade book a month.

1.  The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo
2.  The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
3. Curse of the Night Wolf by Paul Stewart
4.  Varjak Paw by S.F. Said
5.  The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
6.  East by Edith Pattou
7.  The Giver by Lois Lowry
8.  Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
9.  The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
10. The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling
11. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
12. Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
13. Little Johannes by Frederik van Eeden
14. Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett
15. The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
16. Меня удочерила горилла by Frida Nilsson
17. Pax by Sara Pennypacker
18. The Ice Sea Pirates by Frida Nilsson
19. Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier
20. Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
21. The Haunted House Project by Tricia Clasen
22. Five Children and It by E. Nesbit
23. Born to Run by Michael Morpurgo
24. Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge
25. Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
26. The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright - 5th prompt
27. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
28. Of Foster Homes and Flies by Chad Lutzke
29. Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn
30. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Author: Gail Honeyman
Original title: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
Pages: 416
Edition Language: Russian
Series: no
Format: e-book
Genres: Contemporary

   Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

My thoughts: 
    This was a really sweet and tragic story at the same time. I loved the voice of Eleanor and how she defines and defies the life realities. When she describes some social norm in a logical questionable manner I cannot but agree with her. Some descriptions are a bit over-exaggerated, which makes Eleanor less believable character.  
   I enjoyed how the story unraveled - layer by layer, telling us bits of her life and letting us see the difficulties of a person, who does not want or cannot behave in an expected manner. It is a heavy novel, which shows how many things we take for granted, things that other people are deprived of.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare

Author: Tessa Dare
Original title: A Night to Surrender
Pages: 320
Edition Language: Russian
Series: Spindle Cove #1
Format: e-book
Genres: Romance

      Spindle Cove is the destination of choice for certain types of well-bred young ladies: the painfully shy, young wives disenchanted with matrimony, and young girls too enchanted with the wrong men; it is a haven for those who live there.
      Victor Bramwell, the new Earl of Rycliff, knows he doesn't belong here. So far as he can tell, there's nothing in this place but spinsters... and sheep. But he has no choice, he has orders to gather a militia. It's a simple mission, made complicated by the spirited, exquisite Susanna Finch—a woman who is determined to save her personal utopia from the invasion of Bram's makeshift army.

My thoughts: 
     I picked this book on the recommendation of a book blogger. Actually, it was rated as top romance for some of boooktubers. I, personally, was not expecting much from it, and still I was disappointed.  I didn't like Susanna or Bram. Their tragic past and injuries left me untouched, they just did not feel like real people.
     Overall, the concept of the series is interesting, it’s about a group of misfits ladies. But even though Susanna and her girls are supposed to be free-thinkers, they read like flat cardboard figures. This was extremely dull and boring. Absolutely nothing special. I wonder if this is the author that did not sit with me or the setting.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

Author: Jon Ronson
Original title: So You've Been Publicly Shamed
Edition Language: English
Series: no
Genres: Nonfiction
Format: Audio book
Read by: Jon Ronson
Duration: 8h16m

    For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us - people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly, or made a mistake at work. Once their transgression is revealed, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and the next thing they know they're being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, sometimes even fired from their job.

My thoughts:
       I loved this book so much and I was also properly terrified by it. It seems that I live in a bunker and has never thought that public shaming grew to such absurdity and cruelty. I keep away from social media mostly because it is boring and time consuming, but it amazes me how many people are obsessed with following and "teaching" others a lesson. This was a fascinating read about shame in the modern world and how it can impact a life of ordinary people. 
    The Internet has made it easier to make a mistake and then be publicly humiliated for it, and Jon Ronson researched and wrote about a few famous cases. I have never heard of the cases stated here, but all of them gained my compassion. A person is being torn apart by people like us for so little, that in real life would be mostly reprimanded or harshly commented. It seems that compassion is gone from virtual world or people are being afraid to stand for a shamed person, so they would be not objectified as well.
    It's not a perfect book. In fact, Ronson goes a number of paths in history and origin of shaming, modern technologies to deal with shame and so on - and yet it is still quite fun to go on the journey with him. The book has a lot of gaps as well, many important topics are just slightly covered, but I guess it was not the aim of this book to cover everything and everyone. It raises the question of our behavior online, appeals to our morality and asks what are WE going to do next time someone will be butchered online. 
     A book is incredibly actual, 5  years since this book has been published and it’s still as relevant. I am thinking about recent J.K. Rowling shaming, which took ridiculous proportions for a single tweet.
    This book I definitely recommend. Narration by the author really gives this audiobook the perfect voice. All the information and examples provided were very interesting.