A Song & A Book #42

Today’s Song Is;

Never was a cornflake girl
Thought that was a good solution
/…/
Rabbit, where’d you put the keys, girl?

And The Book I Chose For This Song Is;

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“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.”

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Monthly Wrap-up: May 2017

Hi guys, haven’t been much reading nor blogging for me lately due to lots of exams and essays now… I managed to read eight books, but at least they were all actually good and I finished an entire series (too soon… still not over it). Don’t expect much from until like the middle of June though. But I’ll try to post some things! Maybe you’ll just see a lot of ‘A Song & A Book’ posts :’)

The Books I’ve read this month;

The Books Of Beginning by John Stephens [x]

Like I said, still not over them. They’re like Narnia, but with pain. I was so exhausted because of a 10 pages essay I had written that I started crying when I thought of what happened to a certain character. But really recommend.

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The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan [x]

Great listening as well! I’m a huge fan of Riordan’s books and they will always be in my heart (did anyone else start to sing on the Phil Collins song?) because of how they saved me from a 4 years reading slump. Also I’m a huge mythology nerd.

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Mort by Terry Pratchett

Finally started the Discworld series! I really enjoyed this book, and Death aaaw I just want him to be happy.

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Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

A fun and quick read! The concept of a 12 yeard old super-villain was all one needed to say for me to read it.

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I was actually suprised by how captivated I was of this book, despite it being written in a way that I usually find, well, dull after a time.

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Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

This book. Omg. When I have time, I really want to write a review of this book. It’s just something everyone should read, but I’m also super mad now on why Ghibli changed the character’s personality. I read a hilariously accurate description of Sophie in the book on tumblr, saying something like

Sophie in the movie: super sweet and wonderful and such a cinnamon roll

Sophie in the book: Sophie, but with a gun.”

And not to talk about Howl. Suffice to say, you need to read this book.

A Song & A Book #41

Today’s Song Is;

Now dance, fucker, dance
He never had a chance
And no one even knew
It was really only you

And The Book I Chose For This Song Is; (the song is perfect for two certain characters in this book)

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“Sisters Vivenna and Siri are princesses of Idris. Susebron is the God King one must marry. Lightsong is the reluctant minor god of bravery. Vasher is an immortal still trying to undo mistakes of centuries before. Magic from individual breath from everyday objects can perform all manner of miracles and mischief.”

TW5 – Favorite Minor Characters

Time for Top 5 Wednesday! The theme for this week is awesome, namely to pick our favorite minor characters. I love minor characters that leave an impression on you, characters that, despite not being main or even supporting, ends up with such vivid personalities. I chose to pick characters that only appears once or just a few times, not reoccurring ‘background characters’ (ex. the Stoll brothers from the Percy Jackson series). They’re just someone who happens to be at the right (wrong most of the time) place at the right (wrong) time and are therefore included a short while in the story.

But they’re brief appearans can make you wish the author made a spin-off series for them.

5. The Fish Seller from Runelight by Joanne Harris

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You guys remember the Cabbage Man from Avatar, right? This guy is basically him (although sadly, he only had one appearance). Here’s a question for you; if you see a horse eating your fish and then turning into a giant snake, do you a) run away b) scream and hide, or c) grab onto the serpent and demand to get your fish back? If your answer is c), then you share something in common with this guy.

4. The Party Ponies South Florida Chapter from The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

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Deus ex machina done right, the Party Ponies appearance at the climax really kills it (in, you know, the good way). The group of centaurs simply swoops in and rescues Percy, Annabeth and Tyson by attacking the enemy with paintball guns and arrows with boxing gloves attached to the point. Although they only appear one more time in the books, they are not easily forgotten.

3. Grievous Bodily Harm, Cruelty to Animals, Things Not Working Properly Even After You’ve Given Them A Good Thumping But Secretly No Alcohol Lager, and Really Cool People from Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Bildresultat för good omens neil gaiman terry pratchett

If you haven’t read the book, I guess you are in need of an explanation. Do you remember hearing about the four riders of the apocalypse? Well meet the self-employed four extra bikers of the apocalypse. These guys were a(nother) hilarious asset to the novel. They are definitely not the only minor characters you will remember, but I chose them because they are actually not at all relevant to the plot, yet they’re there and deliver. Their ending had me crying of laughter.

2. The Cheating Woman from The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

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You know the scenes when the two partners-in-crime are executing their grand plan. They’re climbing up the building, setting up, etc. Well, sometimes it ain’t that simple. It’s not your nemesis or their associate that stops you, you just happened to have the ill-luck to climb up the wrong window… Jean and Locke happens to have just that luck. Discovered by a woman and her supposed husband, who starts climbing after them, what would have been a simply start to their mission takes quite a turn. As they manage to ‘defeat’ the man and climb into the window of the woman,  suddenly the door bursts open and they think the man has somehow managed to quickly climb the stairs, it is instead revealed to be another man. This man thinks his wife is cheating on him with Jean and Locke (though she isn’t with

Discovered by a woman and her supposed husband, who starts climbing after them, what would have been a simply start to their mission takes quite a turn. As they manage to ‘defeat’ the man and climb into the window of the woman,  suddenly the door bursts open and they think the man has somehow managed to quickly climb the stairs, it is instead revealed to be another man. This man thinks his wife is cheating on him with Jean and Locke (though she isn’t with them) she denies it and runs shrieking to her husband that he should protect her. When Jean manages to defeat her husband too, the woman suddenly shouts “Yes! Now throw him out of the window!”.

She has only one appearance, we don’t even learn of her name, yet she puts a hilarious twist on what would have been a simple window climbing.

1. The Stick from Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

Bildresultat för brandon sanderson words of radiance

Yes, the first place goes to a stick. It is only the master writer Brandon Sanderson who can give such strong characteristics to a single stick who only repeats one line.

Shallan, wet and cold, tries to create fire (using a special form of ‘magic’) by convincing a stick into turning into fire. Unluckily for her, she manages to pick the most stubborn stick on the entire planet. It’s so stubborn and self-aware that not even the powers of God can stop it. Shallan, who has struggled through countless of traumas and difficulties, even she gives up when facing the stick. 

“You want to burn”

“I am a stick”

“Think how much fun it would be?”

“I am a stick”

“Stormlight,” Shallan Said. “You could have it all! All that I’m holding.”

A pause. Finally, “I am a stick”

“Sticks need stormlight. For… things…” Shallan blinked away tears of fatigue.

“I am-”

“- a stick” Shallan said.

 

 

 

 

A Song & A Book #40

Today’s Song Is;

And if you have a minute, why don’t we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don’t we go
Somewhere only we know?

And The Book I Chose For This Song Is;

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Hazel’s younger brother Fiver is convinced that a great evil is about to befall the land, but no one will listen. And why would they when it is Spring and the grass is fat and succulent? So together Hazel and Fiver and a few other brave rabbits secretly leave behind the safety and strictures of the warren and hop tentatively out into a vast and strange world. Chased by their former friends, hunted by dogs and foxes, avoiding farms and other human threats, but making new friends, Hazel and his fellow rabbits dream of a new life in the emerald embrace of Watership Down…”

Book Review – The Dark Prophecy (Audio Book Review)

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Title: The Dark Prophecy 

Author: Rick Riordan

Narrator: Robbie Daymond

ISBN: 9780141376240

Publisher: Penguin Audio Books

The Word Description: Funny, Emotional, Great

Rating: 4/6 (the rating is based on Goodreads rating system but with an extra star for those exceptional books)

You know guys, I was actually a bit uncertain if I should really write a review of this book. Why? Because I love his books (I’ve read all of them in his universe of gods), so my view on this is very subjective because I cannot not love his books. Of course we’re all subjective about the books we read, but to a review, it’s also important to be objective to be able to criticize som parts of a book even if you loved the book.

But what the hell.

In the second installment of Rick Riordan’s book series The Trials Of Apollo, the former-god-Apollo-turned-into-mortal-Lester, along with Leo Valdez and Calypso, has to travel to save both a friend and an oracle from the claws of an evil emperor. But of course things has to complicate, especially when the identity of the second emperor is revealed…

I listened to the audio book, and as with all of Riordan’s books taking place in the “Percy Jackson universe”, I really recommend it. Why? Because the story is told through first perspective, so it feels like the narrator, this time Apollo, is talking (complaining for the most part) to you about what happened to him.

The Dark Prophecy started off a bit too quick for me actually – I felt like I didn’t have time to really settle myself into it. But of course, that was only relevant for like the first two, three? chapters. Then the plot kept a nice pace, complete with the typical adventure, heartwarming moments, tear jerkers and the humour characteristic of Riordan (featuring waaay too many pop-culture references and hilarious moments and characters).

Though in this book the plot felt a lot more serious and emotional than the first due to both Apollo/Lester’s character development and what ‘triggers’ it. To recover different oracles his only one part of his trials, after all. Riordan empathizes Apollo’s relationship with people, new and old, (bad and good) to demonstrate his ‘weaknesses’, what is needed to ‘grow’ in him. I like how Riordan doesn’t excuse some things Apollo has done (even though he himself does it at first, which is perfectly in character) and forces him to realize his mistakes. Calypso, a new/old supporting character, was a great character on her own – she was brave despite being ‘powerless’, clever but also kind – to those who she saw deserved it. Therefore she also made for a good ‘companion’ to Apollo, forcing him to understand how he had wronged her.

For another important relationship, which I absolutely love that Riordan did, was the one between Apollo and the Big Bad. Any kind of (previous) personal relationship between a hero and a villain has always been one of my favorite tropes, it makes their interactions and actions so much… more.

Apollo went through a dramatic character development by the near end of this book as he not only realize some of his (many) mistakes like in the previous one, but also learns about the importance, for example, of selfless kindness. Of course, this is Apollo we’re talking about – it’s not that he turns into Mother Teresa. But his character growth, thanks to a certain someone people, also shows that then growth goes both ways.

As for the other characters, Leo is still the lovable Leo (though maybe a bit more serious? But he was this after Blood of Olympus too), plus some old characters appear, but also new ones that I’m super excited for. Riordan has done a great job in working to expand his diversity, from ethnicity to sexuality, but also improve how he portrays them. When a certain character came out as the officially “first” gay character, some fans where angry because of the way it was handled. So in the next series, Riordan made the lead character bi-sexual and openly comfortable with it. No, not a supportive character. He has included a muslim main character, transgender, gay couples and people from different ethnicities (oh and in his series about Egyptian gods, almost the entire cast was black or bi-racial. Take notice Hollywood). He has also talked about parents who kick out their kids for being transgender, police brutality against black people, emotionally abusive parenting et cetera.

Suffice to say, I am both awed and so greatful for Riordan to actually reaching out to ALL kids and (young) adults, listening to his fans and adding more characters that people can relate to. He’s “milking” his fans for money that way? Oh first off, his an author; being a writer is a profession, meaning job, meaning he gets his money this way. Of course he needs to sell – all authors want that! But he is not, unlike some auhtors who create new series or books in a world with the same cast of character, the same one gay and two black characters to call themself diverse. No, he is activaly trying to improve his books and talks about so many things that are important for kids to understand and learn. I know for certain that when I get kids, I’ll be reading his books to them.

Okay maybe I got a bit off topic (the review) but oh well, just thought of having it said. So the thing is, in this book we get a relationship many people have only had in headcanon. Like I discussed with @Joce only about two days ago, Riordan is like one of his gods in his series – if you say his name, he’ll hear you. BUT, I’m honestly shocked to see that some people have an issue with the relationship by complaining that Riordan wrote of a group as “homophobic” for not including them, when it is clearly stated why they cannot be included. And it’s not just their relationship either. I can not say too much without, well, revealing too much (although to be honest it’s not a big spoiler or anything). But c’mon. I can honestly tell you there’s nothing homophobic in this book and those who say otherwise have clearly either not read previous books or don’t know anything about the mythology of said group.

Okay, moving on.

This book, like all his books, also includes some great comedic bits and characters. Listening to a part which includes a train had me actually laughing out loud (guys it was ridiculously hilarious). That’s why I’m equally surprised at how quickly it can change from funny to serious. For the most part, this was very well handled but one or two times it kind of didn’t go so well in my opinion. I also blame it on the narrator, he is not the best I’ve heard when it comes to expressing emotional moments. He wasn’t bad, just not good enough.

But in summary, this was (as always) a great experience and I do really recommend people to read or continue this series. It’s light, warming and a lot of fun, but also not to be underestimated when it comes to being emotional. Not really the “strongest” of Riordan’s book, but still great and unique.

A Song & A Book #39

Today’s Song Is;

You say too late to start, with your heart in a headlock,
You know you’re better than this.
Afraid to start, got your heart in a headlock,
I don’t believe any of it.

And The Book I Chose For This Song Is;

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[WARNING! Includes spoilers for Steelheart]

“Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David’s willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David’s heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic – Firefight. And he’s willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.”

T5W – Favorite Fictional Mothers

Hi guys, time for another Top 5 Wednesday post! I didn’t feel like doing this week’s theme due to not really having much to contribute with. The theme was ‘summer reads’ from the Goodreads group and I can just remember like 1? I really don’t read contemporary (like, very rarely) so I have no books that really makes me think of summer. And because it was recently mother’s day, I thought to do a ‘favorite fictional (book) moms’ theme instead 🙂

5. Ellen from The Pillars Of The Earth by Ken Follett

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An awesome mom and an awesome woman, Ellen is not afraid to tell, or demonstrate, to people what she thinks of them. Although I am a bit (very) salty about the instalove Follett wrote her to Tom Builder, I still love her as a character.

4. Ethel Parson/… from Runelight by Joanne Harris

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Ethel Parson becomes the (un)official mom to all the aesir and vanir and so on. For example, even though she has no reason to show Loki much care, she scolds the aesir and vanir company when they at a point leave him behind, like a mother scolding her children for being mean to a sibling. But she is also not to be underestimated…

3. Sally Jackson from Percy Jackson and The Olympians by Rick Riordan

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(art by Viria)

Sally has gone through hell, even lived with an abusive asshole for over a decade just to ensure her son’s protection. But she still stays strong and positive and always supports her son. But she isn’t all just a mom who drives her son to a battle, but has proven several time to have steel hiding behind the silk.

2. Ronica Vestrit from The Liveship Traders by Robin Hobb

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An intelligent and powerful woman who is ready to go through any lengths to protect her family and ensure their safety. She may not be perfect (at first), but her character perfectly executes how we learn as much from our children. Her stubbornness is so strong, that if she were to stare down death, it would blink first.

1. Navani Kholin from The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson

(art by lalchimiedelideal)

She is beauty, she is grace. She will destroy the conception of the meaninglessness of a woman aged.

An outstanding character, Navani Kholin is the king’s mother who proves that women are more than just the family role they are prescribed. She does really love and care for her children, but she is also a clever politician, a great scholar and proves that you are never too old for romance.

A Song & A Book #38

Today’s Song Is;

Young blood, came to start a riot
Don’t care what your old man say
Young blood, heaven hate a sinner
But we gonna raise hell anyway

And The Book I Chose For This Song Is;

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“According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (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 . .”

Book Review – The Books Of Beginning

Titles: The Emerald Atlas, The Fire Chronicle, The Black Reckoning

Author: John Stephens

Publisher: 2011, Alfred A. Knopf (The Emerald Atlas) 2012, Knopf Books for Young Readers (The Fire Chronicle) 2015, Random House (The Black Reckoning)

Three Word Description: Wonderful, Nostalgic, Heartbreaking

Rating: 5/6

“So how was the books?” 

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Oh dear, I got into this series solely because I wanted something cute and relaxing (plus I had heard it compared to Narnia). Spoiler alert: it is not relaxing. At all. I got so emotionally invested that I won’t be able to read another book for awhile to be able to judge it justly.

The Emerald Atlas is the first book in The Books Of Beginning – trilogy by John Stephens. It follows the three siblings, Kate, Michael and Emma who as small children was left at an orphanage. When they arrive at a strange town and a strange orphanage, without any orphans, the kids suspect there’s something very wrong with the place. When they find a strange book, something very strange happens…

The book will promise you something along with Narnia and His Dark Materials, and speaking from someone who’ve actually read the books, I can confirm that even though it may not be the same, it is actually pretty similar in some ways but especially in “spirit”. You can’t expect to get the same from different books, but I do think you’ll like The Books of Beginning if you liked the magic and adventure of Narnia and the world, characters, and heartbreak of His Dark Materials.

Right, let’s start to go through a breakdown of the good and bad parts of the series;

I absolutely loved the characters and their relationships. The three siblings are officially one of my new favorite siblings in literature. I found their respective personalities actually very understandable and believable. Stephens understands how our environment and relationships affect us, for better or worse, and the siblings all went through very good character developments. Each book focuses on the character development of one of the siblings, so if you like character driven stories, you’ll no doubt like these. But at the same time, they don’t ignore the developments of the other siblings or characters that may not be entirely the focus.

Seeing as we’re talking about characters and relationships, I must warn you about a thing as I will not be held responsible for any consequences.  See, the first book is great and all, but it’s all fun and games until the second, The Fire Chronicle, which will rip your heart out, stomp on it, tear it to pieces and then stare you down as they crumble to the ground. There are several reasons why, so of course, I won’t spoil them. But the thing about this book, and the next, that I loved (and was heartbreaking), was that you realize how young the siblings actually are. Sometimes I feel like both middle-grade and Young Adult authors forget that they’re writing about kids and teens, not “under-developed” adults that need some character development. Being forced to grow-up is terrifying, especially when the fate of the whole world is your responsibility…

As for the plot, I really liked how Stephens built up that mystical feel that you just love about “real world meets fantasy world” – books before things starts to make sense. I had hardly read anything about the books before I started them, so I had no idea as to what was supposed to happen. And that’s honestly the best, books should give out as minimal information as possible. The plots are heavily ‘adventure-driven’, except being character driven, each book has this kind of quest(s) they have to go on, like in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson – books. A problem though I had when reading the books was, even though it was the best to use the children’s different p.o.v.’s, it did bug me at times as “BAM! something happens at the end of the chapter! I must read the next to know what follows!” And then it switches perspective to someone else and the whole time you just want to go back to the other person’s narrative instead of focusing on the one currently telling the story.

Otherwise, each book has a new and fresh plot so none of the books feel repetitive, which I’m really grateful for. As I’ve probably already stated, the second book really surprised me with where it was going/ended, I loved it, but I loved it in the same way you always love being deeply emotionally wounded by books and other types of fiction. You know guys, we might as well just ask the authors to just punch is the face.

But you know another bonus point for this series? It made me actually really, like really care for a certain ship. Typically I am that person that rolls my eyes at “intimite” moments, or just outright don’t care. I want to go back to the relevant plot, please. Though in here it actually was relevant to the plot. And you know what that means – it ain’t gonna be easy…

But to summarize, I absolutely loved this fantasy-adventure series and it has so many good qualities. I do not know if this series is for everyone, but that’s honestly true to every book out there. If you have no problems with reading middle-grade or Young Adult literature, I’d dare bet on that you’ll at least like it.