Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Buzz (Thor Hanson)

Hanson, Thor - Buzz

★★★★★★☆

Title: Buzz
Author:  Thor Hanson
Genre: Non-Fiction / Natural World
First published: 10 July 2018 by Basic Books
Edition: E-book, courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher

This was just the type of non-fiction book I like reading, which meant that I learned a lot from it without having the feeling I am being lectured to.

Thor Hanson has a wonderful way of explaining the world of bees, as if he is telling the reader about his discoveries as he delves deeper into this fascinating (and essential) group of insects. The passion the author has for his subject is clear and he explained things very well without getting too preachy or scientific. I loved the way he involved his young son occasionally in the narrative, as it is so important we teach our children the importance to take care of the world around us. Teaching our children to love nature is to teach them to love the world.

I enjoyed finding out about various types of bees, their behaviours and the way small changes to their environment can have major consequences. What I took away from this book is that the issues bees seem to have around the globe can be fixed if we only put a bit of effort in.

I read a similar book, Our Native Bees (Paige Embry), last year, which ended up being one of my favourite reads of the year and this one was pretty special as well. I seem to like the subject of bees!

6 out of 7 stars

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Books · Tags

TAG TIME: Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt

Time to explore my bookcase in search of the following books:

1. Find a book by an author with the letter ‘Z’ in their name.

Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (2 Zs in his name – bonus points?!)

2. Find a classic.

Well, I have a Classics shelf, so that’s easy! The first one I grabbed was Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I have not read this one yet. Saving it for autumn.

Wuthering Heights

3. Find a book with a key on it.

I looked and looked but did not find. FAIL!

4. Find something on your shelves that is not a book.

I have a little octopus bath dude sitting on my shelf for some reason!

Octopus

5. Find your oldest book.

I have a bunch of children’s books that I have owned the longest, but the book that is physically the oldest is The Soul of a Bishop by H G Wells from 1917. I found it for €1 in the local charity shop. I am yet to read it.

Soul Bishop

6. Find a book with a girl on the cover.

Yeah, this is an easy one, as I have a few. I went for Little Women by Louisa M Alcott. Still haven’t read it – shame on me!

Little Women

7. Find a book with an animal on the cover.

Choose the first book I could find, which is my new copy of Bambi (Felix Salten).

Bambi

8. Find a book with a male protagonist.

You can’t get any more protagonisty than Rand Al’Thor in The Wheel of Time Series. Let’s go with The Eye of the World.

Eye

9. Find a book with only words on the cover.

Took me a while but I have The Burial at Thebes that only has words on the cover.

Burial

10. Find a book with illustrations in it.

Thornhill (Pam Smy). This was such an interesting book, somewhere between novel and graphic novel. A bit like a YA picture book.

Thornhill

11. Find a book with gold lettering.

I actually used quite a few books in this challenge with gold lettering, but did not want to repeat myself. I went for my beautiful copy of Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. Definitely a cover buy!

Murder

12. Find a diary.

Nope. No diaries. None at all. I used to have Bridget Jones’ Diary, but I am not sure what happened to it. As for now: FAIL!

13. Find a book written by someone with a common name.

I finally settled on Longbourn, as both Jo and Baker are pretty common names. I haven’t read this book yet, but I am looking forward to sometime soon!

Longbourn

14. Find a book with a close-up of something on the cover.

I found Outsider by John Francome, which has a close-up of a horse ribbon.

Outsider

15. Find the book from the earliest time period.

The books set in the earliest time period I have are the Earth’s Children series by Jean M Auel. Set in prehistory. I re-read The Clan of the Cave Bear this year.

Cave

16. Find a hardcover book without a just jacket.

Finally an excuse to show of my gorgeous copy of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare).

Midsummer

17. Find a teal or turquoise coloured book.

I will go with The Nest, even if the turquoise colour is a bit on the pastel side. I bought this at the airport sometime last year, fully intending to read it. I still haven’t.

Nest

18. Find a book with stars on it.

I had a few, but I went for The Muse by Jessie Burton. Another one I have not read yet!

Muse

19. Find a non-YA book.

My favourite book of the year so far:

1807 hardbacksCirce

***

SHOW ME YOURS!

 

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Bloodfire Quest (Terry Brooks)

Brooks, Terry - The Dark Legacy of Shannara 2 Bloodfire Quest

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Bloodfire Quest (The Dark Legacy of Shannara #2)
Author: Terry Brooks
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy     Pages: 465
First published: 2013
Edition: Paperback, published by Orbit in 2013

There is something about Terry Brooks’ writing that I really love. I love his way of telling a story and the way he manages to keep things light even when the tale is dark. When I have been reading other fantasy books, coming back to the Shannara world always feels refreshing somehow. I have been reading about that world since I was a teenager and now, after all these years and those books it feels familiar to me like no other fantasy world does.

There is a lot of death in this book, but in true Brooks style, none of it is too graphic or lingered on. The characters are always moving forward, taking action. Many of the elements of this series are elements that have been told before, ie the dying Elcryss, venturing in to the Forbidding, demons, The Federation, an assassin. It is all classic Terry Brooks fare and nothing new, but man, do I enjoy that stuff! The only thing that bugs me slightly is that I don’t feel as much of a connection to Railing and Redden Ohmsford as I have done to the Ohmsfords that have gone before. I also did not quite love the way the Elcryss was written in this book. However, I love Alphenglow Elessedil and the overall storylines.

A lot happens in Bloodfire Quest without much getting resolved, but it had a awesome cliffhanger and I cannot wait to continue the series. Witch Wraith is the final book in this trilogy and is already waiting on my shelves.

5 out of 7 stars

 

Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: 11 July 2018

My final WWW before I am off on my holiday – yay!

untitled

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

So…Let’s see what’s happening in my reading life…

What am I currently reading?

I am reading Bloodfire Quest, the second book in The Dark Legacy of Shannara series by Terry Brooks. I am trying to finish this before I go on holiday, as it’s a physical book and I don’t really want to take it.

I am also reading Buzz, by Thor Hanson, which is a non-fiction book about… well… buzzy bees. That one is pretty great so far, but it’s on my Kindle and I am neglecting it to try and finish Bloodfire Quest first. Can’t wait to continue it though.

 

What did I recently finish reading? 

Well, I finished Lord of Chaos, the sixth book in The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan. I crawled through the first half and flew through the final half. (Does it not have the most early 90s looking cover ever?!)

Jordan, Robert - The Wheel of Time 6 Lord of Chaos

What do I think I will be reading next?

I will be reading Little Maryam by Hamid Baig whilst on holiday. Also on my holiday list is When Dimple Met Rishi (Sandhya Menon) and The Bookseller of Kabul (Åsne Seierstad). Little Maryam and The Bookseller of Kabul (in Dutch) are paperbacks. Dimple is on my Kindle along with fifty more possibilities.

 

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Lord of Chaos (Robert Jordan)

Jordan, Robert - The Wheel of Time 6 Lord of Chaos

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Lord of Chaos (The Wheel of Time #6)
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy     Pages: 1010
First published: 1994
Edition: Mass Market Paperback, published by Orbit in 1999

It took me a while to get into this re-read of the sixth instalment of The Wheel of Time. I guess going into a big book like this there is some apprehension at the start, a feeling of climbing a mountain. I started out reading only about 20 pages a day, which is not many considering I had 1000 pages ahead of me!

However, about a third into the book it started to change and although I still skimmed some of the less interesting/less important parts (which I figured was allowed since it was a re-read) I got more and more invested into what was happening. By the end I had stopped skimming altogether and really got into the story. Jordan is so good at painting a vivid picture of what is happening, that I did feel myself getting sucked in.

Having said that, I did feel myself being annoyed at several of the characters in this book. I have heard many people complain about Rand, but I don’t actually have an issue with his character development. My main issue is the way Jordan portrays any characters that are either falling in love or already in love. They all seem to turn into simpering idiots and stop behaving like they did before they were in love. It really annoyed me throughout the book. This goes for Perrin and Faile, Min, Elayne, Aviendha and yes, also Rand to a smaller extent. I wish someone had told Jordan that falling in love does not equate to turning into an absolute idiot.

Of course I want to avoid spoilers, but at times I was not quite sure why certain events went the way they did, or why people were put in the positions they were. On some occasions it simply did not make sense.

Overall, I think this sixth book was slightly weaker than the first four books, but a bit stronger than the fifth book. I still enjoyed large parts of it, but there were bits that could have been left out to make it a more condensed and more exciting to read, but this may be because I already know the outcome.

I was going to give four stars, but I sped through the last 100 pages. Jordan knows how to end a book.

5 out of 7 stars

 

Book Haul · Books

A Chatty Used Books Haul

A rather chatty (for me) book haul today.

First a bit of a book haul and after that a bit of natter about what’s going on in my life at the moment.

After my usual Saturday supermarket shop early this morning I popped to my local charity shop to see what books they had in their small English language section. I always browse that first before skimming the HUGE Dutch language section.

180707 Dorcas Haul

The English section was sort of interesting this time. No books that were on my TBR, but I ended up getting an intruiging lot.

The first book that caught my eye was a Penguin Classics paperback edition of The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer. I have no idea whether I will ever read it, but for €0.25 I thought it would go nicely on my shelf with a bunch of other classics.

A little ye olde looking hardback also caught my eye. It turned out to be The Lady of the Barge by W W Jacobs, which appears to be a collection of short stories. It is small and cute and goes with a bunch of other old tatty looking books on my shelf. I had never heard of it, but when I leafed through it, it seemed very readable, so I am sure I will one day! It was only €0.50!

Sometimes you wonder who brought the books to the shop as this time there were a bunch of books set in India. I picked up two. The first is Esmond in India by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. I believe this one is set in India in the 1950s. It’s not a big book and it sounded interesting. The second is a non-fiction book called Below the Peacock Fan: First Ladies of the Raj, by Marian Fowler. From looking at the blurp, this books is about four Victorian English women who go to live in India. There were more India based novels on the shelf, but these two were the ones that seemed most interesting to me.

Another title caught my eye: Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis, by Wendy Cope. When I leafed through this thin book I discovered it was a modern collection of poetry. I read one of the poems and I liked it, so in my basket it went.

The final book I picked up is Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. The brandnew bright orange Penguin spine called to me. I had not heard of this book before, but it seems to be a Jane Eyre prequel of sorts. It could be interesting!

Now it was time to have a quick look at the Dutch books.  My rule is that if the book was published in English, I want to read it in English. The same goes for Dutch books. What’s the point of reading a translated version? If it’s a book originally in a language I cannot read, then I will happily read either a Dutch or English translation.

So, in the English section I had clocked The Dinner by Herman Koch, which people either seem to love or hate. The book has always sounded intruiging to me and I would like to read it, but not in English. I clocked a pretty much brand new Dutch version, so Het Diner went into my basket!

Also in my basket went De Spion (The Spy) by Paulo Coelho. Now, I read The Alchemist and did not love it, but I would like to try another one of his books and this one, based on the life of Mata Hari, sounded interesting.

The final book I picked up is De Gedaanteverwisseling (Metamorphosis) by Franz Kafka. It’s a tiny book, but it is a book that is on my Classics TBR. Originally in German, so perfectly fine to read in Dutch!

And here you have it: a €4.50 pile of books.

180707 Dorcas Haul1

***

Anyway, those are my new books. Now on to other random stuff.

I only realised this morning that I had wanted to do FIVE on FRIDAY, but I also realised that actually my Fridays this month are going to be tricky.  I am leaving for my holidays on Friday for two weeks, so my blogging might be sporadic this month. I figured the best thing to do was to move this month’s subjects forward to August.

We are going to England for two weeks on a friends and family visit, but we have also booked a holiday cottage in Dorset for a week, so that will be lovely. Fingers crossed the weather will be good enough to enjoy the beaches. All my daughter cares about is going fossil hunting. 🙂 (All I care about is trying to find some charity shops to peruse). I am really looking forward to our time away.

Our own holiday cottage opened for guests in June and business has been surprisingly good! We have our last guests before our holiday coming today.

I do expect to do lots of reading this month, so there may be more reading, less blogging for the final two weeks of July. I wish I was organised enough to schedule lots of posts , but fact is… I’m not…

Have you got any holidays planned? Or anything else exciting that is not book-related?

 

 

 

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The King’s Witch (Tracy Borman)

Borman, Tracy - The King's Witch

★★★★★★☆

Title: The King’s Witch ( The Frances Gorges Trilogy #1)
Author:  Tracy Borman
Genre: Fiction / Hstorical Fiction
First published: 14 June 2018 by Hodder & Stoughton
Edition: E-book, courtesy of NetGalley and Atlantic Monthly Press

Set against the backdrop of the political turmoil that was the reign of King James I in the early 1600s, Borman has created a novel that is full of intrigue, yet manages to make it very human.

Frances makes a strong heroine that you cannot help but root for amidst historic figures. You can feel Frances’ frustration as her fate is always decided upon by others and yet she knows her duty and I found myself admiring her for her loyalty to those she holds dear.

Because this is a story created within the confounds of historical events, you already have a sense what will happen with certain storylines and the ending was predictable, but Borman managed to keep it fresh and interesting and I did not really mind.

Overall, this was a great read and I am looking forward to future books in the trilogy.

Highly recommended if you like historical fiction set during this time period. You will not be disappointed.

6 out of 7 stars