Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin

Book Title: The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth Trilogy #2)
Author: N. K. Jemisin
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Library

Amazon UK, Goodreads

As usual there will be NO spoilers for previous books in the series, so the summary is the one for the first book.
My review of the first book can be found here.
Goodreads Summary: A season of endings has begun. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, from which enough ash spews to darken the sky for years. Or centuries. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. And it ends with you. You are the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where orogenes wield the power of the earth as a weapon and are feared far more than the long cold night. And you will have no mercy. 
What did I think? The Fifth Season was unlike anything  I'd read in a long time. A perfect blend of science fiction and fantasy in a fascinating world. But when I picked up The Obelisk Gate, I had just read something like it, not too long ago: The Fifth Season.

Don't get me wrong, the second book in the trilogy is just as good as the first, but I knew what to expect and was no longer blown away by the novelty of it.

It's very hard to write about this series without giving too much away, because I believe this world should be experienced without any prior knowledge. There are strong female characters, clever world building, an interesting and novel magic system and wonderful prose. Part of it is written in the 2nd POV, bringing you even closer to the main character. It takes a little getting used to at first, but Jemisin knows how to make it work.

A beautiful read that I recommend to every fantasy fan with a bit of patience, because Jemisin does ask for some patience with her slow and subtle reveals.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

TTT (13) - Things That Make me NOT Want to Read a Book

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

Follow the link to know more about the meme and join up!

This week they're sharing the top ten things that make them NOT want to read a book. Their post this week can be found here.

Of course, it makes sense. Last week we looked at all the things that make us want to pick up and read a book instantly and this week we look at the things that make us take a step back and say, no.

I don't usually decide I wouldn't read a book outright. It takes a lot for me to not even consider reading the first few pages.
  1. Space. I LOVE sci-fi, but I prefer my sci-fi to be near future and usually centred around dystopian governments, weird tech (think Black Mirror on Netflix), apocalyptic scenarios or humanity trying to adapt after a disaster. I do enjoy some space. The Red Rising trilogy for example, or Battlestar Galactica (which is probably my favourite show). But in both examples, if you take away space you're still left with a functioning story. I'm much less keen on space ships and weird aliens.
  2. Hard Science Fiction. I like science, but when it's the most important part of a story, I lose interest. Usually.
  3. Bad reviews pointing out racismsexism and other problems. I often want to pick the book up myself to form my own opinion, but then I wonder, why bother? I've got a pile of books I actually want to read, why not just read those. I do usually read a few good reviews as well to balance the feedback, but I can't think of a single case where the reviews were mostly terrible and I ended up enjoying the book nonetheless.
  4. Sports. Simply not my thing.
  5. Zombies. I find them a bit boring. However there have been exceptions. For example I really enjoyed Stephen King's Cell.
  6. Genres: Western, Christian Fiction, Erotica
I shy away from too much romance, whether it's paranormal or contemporary, but every now and then I do enjoy picking one up. Sort of a guilty pleasure like ice cream. Which is why I didn't include it on the list. I also really dislike love triangles, but it doesn't make me run away...

What makes you not want to read a book? Let me know in the comments.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Sunday Post (15) - We've Got a Snail

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

The Rules can be found here. And this week's post can be found here.

If you participate, don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog.

The snail I told you about last week, which we found with a hole in its shell, is now living permanently with us. My girlfriend walked into the pet store yesterday afternoon and bought a nice box, a gigantic plastic strawberry (for hamster cages) for the snail to hide in, a water and a food dish, and moss. The woman at the checkout raised an eyebrow and asked, what animal is this for? Clearly worried, we know nothing about keeping whatever it is she thought we were trying to keep. And my girlfriend stares at her and says, a snail? Reply: Oh, you've got one of those giant African snails? Nope. A garden snail, which we found on the ground after rain while out jogging.

Meet Sheldon in his new food dish.

  Last week on my blog:
Last week in my kitchen: I made one of my regular dishes yesterday that I tend to make whenever I get my hands on bone in, skin on chicken thighs. It's a Greek style dish with chicken and lemon rice and it's delicious. You can find it here.

And for Dragonfly over at Our Familiarium, here's a picture of my duck from last week. Plating is not my strength!

Next week on my blog: I'm a bit behind my reviews, but I also got behind with my reading because I started playing Dark Souls 3. Bad, Olivia, bad! Hopefully I get around to Little Big Lies, The Obelisk Gate and The Lions of Al-Rassan.

I'm currently reading:


I wish everyone a great week!

Saturday, 22 April 2017

You by Caroline Kepnes

Book Title: You
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Library

Amazon UK, Goodreads

Goodreads Summary: When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.
There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.
As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.
What did I think?

I picked this book up on a whim because I like dark main characters. Not only is the main character dark, every character in this book is frankly unlikeable. I enjoyed reading about them but I'd rather cut a finger off than spend time with any of them, thank you very much.

The book is told in the 2nd person and tells the story from the point of view of the stalker, Joe, who is going after Beck, determined to make her his. The use of 2nd person makes it so Joe is addressing Beck directly throughout the book.

"You walk into the bookstore and keep your hand on the door to make sure it doesn't slam."

It's creepy. It's disturbing. It's gross. This book made me recoil in horror. To be in the mind of someone like Joe is horrendous. I winced more than once and I even closed the book a few times whispering, no, no, no!

Caroline Kepnes captures the thoughts of a sociopath like Joe well. Joe is convinced Beck loves him. He's convinced he's the good guy. Anything bad he does, Beck made him do it. Watching him justify his actions from up close is actually downright frightful.

I read this book in a single afternoon, I just couldn't stop and had to find out how it ends. Highly recommended to anyone who doesn't mind vulgar language, some sexual content and being inside the mind of a seriously deranged human being.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

TTT (12) - Things That Make me Want to Read a Book

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

Follow the link to know more about the meme and join up!

This week they're sharing the top ten things that make them instantly want to read a book. Their post this week can be found here.

I rarely choose to read a book on the fly anymore. Often I carefully research which books I want to read and which I'd rather avoid. I don't often walk into 1 or 2 star reads because I know what I like and what I don't like. Plus, lately, I've been giving myself the option to stop reading a book if I'm not enjoying myself and I don't rate books if I don't finish them.
  1. Dystopia. When it's about future versions of our world and the possible governments that will form or weird tech that will shape our lives, I'm immediately interested.
  2. Pretty Cover Art. Yes, that is a shallow reason to pick up a book but it works.
  3. Book shows up again and again and again in my Goodreads timeline.
  4. Certain authors. Like Stephen King. I always pick up a new Stephen King.
  5. Alternative History. Depending on the premise and time period. I'm a sucker for Nazis won the war stories.
  6. Anti Heroes. I love a good villain and if the villain is also the hero, I'm most happy.
  7. The summary on the back of the book. I sometimes browse through a bookstore and randomly read the backs of the ones with pretty cover art.
  8. Parallel Universe. Fascinating subject.
What makes you instantly want to read a book?

Monday, 17 April 2017

Sunday Post (14) - Easter

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

The Rules can be found here. And this week's post can be found here.

If you participate, don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog.

The movement streak is still going strong and we got into the habit of doing a 2km jog in the evening before going to bed. Sadly my dog injured his leg playing frisbee (mostly jumping up and trying to catch it in the air) and isn't too happy putting weight on it. So, he has to stay behind... instead we found a garden snail with a hole in his shell and my girlfriend decided we need to take him/her home and feed him carrots and make sure the snail recovers... so far so good.
Camp NaNoWriMo is going well and I'm editing my Middle Grade fantasy novel while at the same time working on a suspense thriller that I'm editing.

Last week in my kitchen: Nothing special, really. But tonight I'm trying this recipe with a whole duck that I'll roast in the oven with this orange sauce.

Last week on my blog:
Next week on my blog: I have yet to review Big Little Lies, The Lions of Al-Rassan, The Obelisk Gate and The God of Small Things.

I'm currently reading Moroda by L.L. McNeil. It has dragons, one can't go wrong with dragons, right?

I'm also trying to gather pins for the Pinterest boards for my writing group. You can find our Pinterest here. If you have any writing related or creative boards, please let me know, I'd love to follow you.

I wish everyone a great week!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Book Title: Morning Star (Red Rising #3)
Author: Pierce Brown
Genre: Sci-Fi
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: I own the Kindle version

Amazon UK, Goodreads

There are NO spoilers in this review which is why I'm including the summary of the first book. Review of book #1 is here and book #2 is here.

Goodreads Summary: Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.
But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.
Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power.
What did I think?

4.5 Stars.

Honestly? The second book in the series is the true highlight, at least in my opinion. But I must admit, this is one of the best series I've ever read.

If you love Sci-Fi and Space Opera do yourself a favour and read the Red Rising trilogy. It's not YA, so don't let that put you off. Yes, the main character is 16 years old in the first book but he's older in the sequels and the story is far too gritty and dark to pass as YA.

The series is full of plot twists and amazing action scenes. It offers a deep and compelling story with believable characters, intriguing political narratives and a main character who makes morally grey decisions. I absolutely love Darrow because he is flawed and hot-headed and makes the wrong decision more than once but he is also strong and courageous and ultimately believes in the good in others. Gaining strength to overcome oppression without losing sight of loyalty, friendship, family and love is an important theme in the entire trilogy.

I was hesitant to read Morning Star at first, not because I was worried I wouldn't like it but because I didn't want it to be over. Pierce Brown tied everything together in the last book and I'm satisfied with the ending.