Down the TBR Hole #13

his meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story

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Books: #121-130

Last week’s final number: 357 | Current number: 366 | This week’s final number: 362 | Total books removed so far: 48 | Total books kept so far: 80 | Books added since I began: 84 | Books read from my TBR: 15


Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

This sounds like a very cutsey contemp romance collection that I feel like sooner or later around one Christmas, I’ll be in the right mood to read.

Verdict: Stays

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

This is a book that I am interested in reading, however I haven’t yet read To Kill a Mockingbird, and since this is a sequel to that, I don’t see the point of crowding my TBR with it until I’ve read the first book.

Verdict: Goes

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

This book has very mixed reviews and I was never really that bothered about it anyway. So I don’t think I’ll be reading it.

Verdict: Goes

Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis by Michael Ward

I think I just added this book because I saw Narnia and C.S. Lewis. But it’s literary analysis, which is not something that I’m particularly interested in. So I doubt I’ll read this book anytime soon.

Verdict: Goes

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

This sounds pretty cool.

Verdict: Stays

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I feel like I won’t pick this up anytime soon, but I do want to read it at some point.

Verdict: Stays

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

I don’t know. I’ve read some of the reviews for it and as far as I can tell, people either hate it or love it. I kinda want to make my own mind about it, and it’s not very long. So I’ll give it a try at some point.

Verdict: Stays

Ice Study by Maria V. Snyder

I kind of want to re-read the entire study series because I feel like it’s really underrated and even I didn’t appreciate it as much when I first read it as I would now.

Verdict: Stays

Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

As I said before, I don want to re-read this entire series before continuing on.

Verdict: Stays

Night Study by Maria V. Snyder

Although as I said, I intend to continue with this series, I think I’ll only leave the next one to be read on my TBR list, just for decluttering purposes and then subsequently add the books one at a time, as I read.

Verdict: Goes

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The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge – Book Review

the lie treeRating: 4/5 stars

Genre: Historical, mystery, fantasy, YA

First published: 2015

Author: Frances Hardinge

Synopsis: Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is reliable, dull, trustworthy – a proper young lady who knows her place as inferior to men. But inside, Faith is full of questions and curiosity, and she cannot resist mysteries: an unattended envelope, an unlocked door. She knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing. She knows that her family moved to the close-knit island of Vane because her famous scientist father was fleeing a reputation-destroying scandal. And she knows, when her father is discovered dead shortly thereafter, that he was murdered.

In pursuit of justice and revenge, Faith hunts through her father’s possessions and discovers a strange tree. The tree bears fruit only when she whispers a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, delivers a hidden truth. The tree might hold the key to her father’s murder – or it may lure the murderer directly to Faith herself.

Book Depository | Goodreads


This was a strange and interesting book. It had a very Agatha Christie-y vibe to it, but at the same time, it had this very dark element of fantasy to it. I did enjoy  it quite a bit though.

My main complaint about it is that it was quite slow to start. It took a good 100 pages for things to really start happening. I feel like if the setting isn’t a complex fantasy world, there is no justification for such a long exposition. Even with a fantasy world 100 pages of exposition might be pushing it, especially if your book isn’t very long. Like, I get that we needed a sort of background of how the characters got to where they were at, but it could have been done better. It could have started off with the death of Faith’s father, which is in the synopsis, and then give some background info in flashbacks or something.

Another objection, a much more minor one though, is that the whole thing with the tree was very confusing. Even after reading the whole book, I’m not sure I quite understand what the tree was and how it worked. But on the other hand, that could have just been done intentionally to increase the air of mystery, especially since I don’t think that Faith really understood the tree either, so I guess it could get away with it. Though personally, because the tree was such a pivotal element of Faith’s investigation, and therefore of the entire plot, I think it should have been explained better.

Something that I think was done very well was the setting and the atmosphere. The book takes place in Victorian England. Though technically, it mostly takes place on one of the small British isles. I forget which one. Anyway, it felt really authentic and the author managed to create a very dark and mysterious atmosphere that really made me want to keep reading.

I also enjoyed Faith as a character. She reminded me of myself a little, with her curiosity and love for science. And while the general attitude of everyone else that women (let alone girls) shouldn’t and don’t have the ability to be clever, was really, really frustrating, it did reflect the general thinking of the time and it gave Faith a subversive air that worked really well.

It’s very hard to find things to say about it without giving anything away, so I’ll finish off by saying that I did enjoy the book and I’m curious to try some of Hardinge’s other novels.

Books I Own but Have Not Read – Part 1

I own a lot of books. And because I’m just a wee bit obsessive, I actually have an index of (most) of the books that I own. So I’m going to go through that and see which books I have read and which I haven’t. It’ll probably take more than one post to go through all of them, to be honest.


Inferno, Purgatorio & Paradiso by Dante Aligheri

I own these in a two volume edition and I’ve started reading Inferno, but I never finished it because it’s in verse and I just find it very hard to read for some reason.

Cismigiu & Comp and Buna Dimineata Baieti (Good Morning Boys) by Grigore Bajeanu

I don’t actually know anything about this book, other than that it’s a bind-up of two different stories and I’m not entirely sure how I came to own it. I just have it. I think it might have been a gift or a prize that I won or something like that.

The Secret History of Tom Trueheart by Ian Beck

I actually think this book belongs to my brother, but since I am the main bookkeeper in our house, it lives on my shelves and therefore, it got indexed.

Letters From A Skeptic by Gregory Boyd

I’ve actually recently acquired this book, so I don’t feel that guilty about not having read it yet.

Agentul Secret al lui Altin-Bey (The Secret Agent of Altin Bey) by Rodica Ojog Brasoveanu

Honestly, I haven’t the faintest what this book is or how I came to own it. Most likely, it’s my dad’s or my grandmother’s or something like that. But again, it lives on my shelves, so it’s mine.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

miniaturist

I’ve been meaning to read this for ages. Though to be fair, I’ve only had it for a few months. So it’s not too bad. Some of these books I’ve had for years.

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

This is like a daily devotional type books. I’ve read some of them, but I never managed to keep up with it.

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fennimore Cooper

Erm… I haven’t read this and I quite frankly have no intention of reading it. Even though I actually own two copies of it. I mean, technically one of them was my grandmother’s… but it’s pretty much mine now. And I think I got the other copy from school. I can’t remember. But I now own two copies.

The Deerslayer by James Fennimore Cooper

Another one that I don’t really have any intention of reading anytime soon. But I own it. I didn’t buy it, to be fair. I’m pretty sure it’s actually my dad’s book.


I’ll stop here for now. I’m not even close to being done yet, but I feel like 10 books per post is enough.

Dow the TBR Hole #12

This meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story

Stats:

Previous post

Books: #111-120

Last week’s final number: 355 | Current number: 360 | This week’s final number: 357 | Total books removed so far: 44 | Total books kept so far: 74 | Books added since I began: 73 | Books read from my TBR: 13


Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

While I feel like I might want to read this book at some point, I don’t see myself doing so anytime soon, so I think for now I’ll remove it for decluttering purposes.

Verdict: Goes

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I find the themes of this novel to be interesting, but I don’t think I would have the patience to read it just because it feels like the kind of book that doesn’t have much of a story. It’s more a presentation of what society was like then. Which is interesting, but personally I get really bored reading those kinds of books. I assimilate this kind of story much better in a film format, which is visual and also doesn’t take as much time. Im sure there must be film based on the book which I might check out, but I doubt I’ll ever read the book.

Verdict: Goes

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

This is one of those books that I’m either going to really love or I’m not going to like it at all. But I do want to give it a go and see which one it’ll be.

Verdict: Stays

Confessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas de Quincey

This is a book that really interests me. I’m very interested in addiction and the psychology behind it and this sounds like a very candid snapshot into the psyche of an addict.

Verdict: Stays

Persuasion by Jane Austen

I want to read this one. You probably already know that I love Pride and Prejudice, but I haven’t actually read any other of Austen’s books. So I would like to.

Verdict: Stays

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I’ve said it before that Dostoyevsky intimidates the heck out of me. But at the same time, his books seem so insightful and interesting, I really do want to read them. It’s just a matter of me getting over the intimidation. So I’m going to keep it.

Verdict: Stays

Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

Erm… I was a bit on the fence with this one. It has a pretty cover. And involves archery, which are bonuses. Also, it’s a standalone YA dystopia which is not something you really see. Buuut… it is YA dystopia, and I have very low tolerance for that genre these days and top two reviews on Goodreads are 1 star reviews… which isn’t a good sign. If the top reviews were all good, I might have kept it, but I don’t think I will.

Verdict: Goes

The Odyssey by Homer

I do want to read this at some point. I actually own it, I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet. But I’m gonna. Eventually.

Verdict: Stays

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Definitely want to read.

Verdict: Stays

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

I’ve actually started reading this book and the only reason I haven’t finished it is because I don’t actually own it. I should really remedy that situation.

Verdict: Stays

 

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare – Spoiler Free Book Review

lord of shadowsRating: 5/5

Genre: Urban fantasy, YA

First published: 2017

Author: Cassandra Clare

***SPOILER ALERT*** This is the second book in the series and therefore the following synopsis and review may contain spoilers for the first book. 

Synopsis: Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Book Depository | Goodreads


I keep forgetting how much I enjoy Cassie’s books. Every time a new one comes out, I always wait months before reading it, because I just feel like I won’t really enjoy it for some reason, despite having to date, read like… 15 Shadowhunter books and having loved each and every one of them. I don’t know why I have this mental barrier. But I’m always surprised, as a result, by how much I absolutely love her books and how she just keeps getting better and better with each one.

Like the first book, this one has a noir mystery vibe to it, which is really cool and I really enjoyed. Lady Midnight had Anabelle by Edgar Allan Poe as a sort of… starting point or… I don’t quite know what to call it. But basically, the poem was very relevant to the story and even somewhat part of the story. This one’s based on another Poe poem, Dreamland. And I think the poem parallels very nicely to the Unseelie Court which is quite prominent in this book. I find that aspect to be really cool, I think it adds so much to the story, to the vibe and atmosphere of the story.

As always, there is a mad, complicated and heart-wrenching love story that just seems impossible. I can’t envision any happy ending for these poor souls. But ore than that, it features, as always, such beautiful and powerful friendships and family relationships and it just made my heart ache to read about them. It’s just so lovely how much they love each other and Cassie does such a wonderful job of highlighting the importance of friendship and family relationships which are so often overlooked in YA in favour of romantic relationships.

The ending of this book left me in shock. Honestly. I did not see it coming and my blood quite literally drained from my face as I was reading it. I’m still in denial. I’m halfway convinced that we’ll get to the third book and we’ll find out that the last like… 3 chapters were actually just someone’s nightmare and didn’t actually happen. And that’s all I’m going to say because spoilers. I might do a discussion post as well, where I’ll talk more about it.

I don’t think there’s any point in me talking about the writing, because if you’re reading this, then you’ve probably read some Shadowhunter book at some point and you know the writing style. All I will say is that Cassie’s skill for words and storytelling just grown and grows with each book. It just gets better.

The characters are mostly the same as the ones in Lady Midnight, so you’ll already be acquainted with them. But we do get to see a lot of Kit Herondale (and I just can’t resist a Herondale). He’s quickly become one of my favourites. We also get to see a lot more of the twins, which I really loved as well. Especially learning more about Ty and his autism and how he thinks and interacts with the world. I think Cassie did a very good job of portraying that.

I can’t believe I have to wait two years for the final one. It’s going to drive me crazy. Although I am really looking forward to The Last Hours and seeing some more of Will and Tessa and their children. I’m also really curious how it will weave together with The Dark Artifices, because we all know that she’s going to somehow weave them together. So, exciting times ahead!

Down the TBR Hole #11

This meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story

Stats:

Previous post

Books: #101-110

Last week’s final number: 352 | Current number: 357 | This week’s final number: 355 | Total books removed so far: 39 | Total books kept so far: 67 | Books added since I began: 64 | Books read from my TBR: 11


Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck

Won’t be reading this anytime soon, I can tell you that much.

Verdict: Goes

Jesus Freaks: Stories of Those Who Stood for Jesus by D.C.  Talk

This is a collection of stories of people who were tortured or killed for being Christian. I’ve read one or two of the stories, they’re pretty brutal and it’s hard to stomach a lot of it at once, but I do want to read this book.

Verdict: Stays

Letters From a Skeptic: A Son Struggles With His Father’s Questions About Christianity by Dr. Gregory Boyd and Edward Boyd

I am very interested to read this book.

Verdict: Stays

Seared by Sandra Gustaffson

This sounds super interesting! I should bump that up on my TBR.

Verdict: Stays

Relativity: The Special and the General Theory by Albert Einstein

Definitely interested to read this as well.

Verdict: Stays

Hell is Read (But I Hate to Admit It) by Brian Jones

Want to read this one as well. Guess not much is leaving my TBR this time.

Verdict: Stays

Fire Kin by M. J. Scott

I mean… I’ve read the first 3 books in the series and while I didn’t love them, I did enjoy them. Might as well read the last one too.

Verdict: Stays

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

I have heard so many great things about this series. I’m definitely interested in reading it.

Verdict: Stays

Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe

I’ve actually already read a good portion of the stories in this book. I’m a big Poe fan, so of course I’m going to read the rest of them as well.

Verdict: Stays

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

I’ve seen the film. I love Karl May, particularly his Winnetou series, which is why I wanted to read this. But as I recall, I tried reading it once and just gave up. I highly doubt I will pick it up anytime soon.

Verdict: Goes

The Book Mashup Tag

This is a really cool tag that I saw on The Book Prophet’s Blog. It was originally created by Lia@ Lost in a Story

Rules

Pick 10 (I picked 8) books and divide them into two groups.

Then randomly select a book from each group and mash the two books together. The world’s your oyster here really.

Write a synopsis paragraph of your mashup book.


Round 1: Throne of Glass and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Celaena is Adarlan’s most infamous assassin, she has seen and done them all. But when the Crown Prince hands her a strangely glowing hair brush, she finds herself thrust into a strange world where children face unspeakable horrors armed with nothing but small sticks and strange words, all to win a mysterious cup. 

Will she learn to navigate this strange world in time to win the competition and her freedom?

Round 2: The Oathbreaker’s Shadow and Artemis Fowl

Raim is fifteen. He lives in a world where each promise is sealed with a knot and breaking a promise means a life cast out in the desert.

Artemis Fowl is twelve. He’s a genius, a millionaire, and most importantly, a criminal mastermind.

 Raim has worn a simple knot around his wrist for as long as he can remember. No one knows where it came from, and which promise of his it symbolises, but he barely thinks about it at all—not since becoming the most promising young fighter ever to train for the elite Yun guard. But on the most important day of his life, when he binds his life to his best friend (and future king) Khareh, the string bursts into flames and sears a dark mark into his skin.

Scarred now as an oath-breaker, Raim has two options: run, or be killed. But when one of Artemis’ plots goes a little bit wrong, the two boys meet in the heart of the desert and realise that perhaps they could help each other. 

Round 3: City of Bones and The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

(This one should be interesting)

It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. The Mayor is going to be there. The press is going to be there. But, as it turns out, Allan is not… Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway.

And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving a bunch of angsty warrior children (too angsty, truth told, for a man of Allan’s age), a stolen cup (Allan can’t really understand what the fuss is, the cup doesn’t even contain vodka), some demons (when you’ve lived as long as Allan, nothing is surprising, really) and the strained relationship between a father and his children (Allan never liked his own father much either, so he has the deepest sympathy for the youngings).

Round 4: Nevernight and The Book Thief

(Oh boy. How do I even. This is going to be so dark.)

So, my idea for a mashup for this was to have Liesel read Mia’s story and then decided she wants revenge for all the crap in her life and follows Mia’s example. But I just can’t bring myself to spoil the beautiful story that The Book Thief is, with something like that. It’s just… wrong. Or the alternative would be to have Mia somehow end up in Nazi Germany, meet Liesel and decide that the Nazis need some killing.

But I can’t think of any way to bring Mia into Liesel’s world without a massacre ensuing and stay true to their characters and I can’t bring myself to ruin The Book Thief any more than I have just by thinking what I just thought. So I’m not going to write a synopsis for this.