Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Grace of Kings (Ken Liu)

Liu, Ken - The Dandelion Dynasty 1 The Grace of Kings

★★★★☆☆☆

Title: The Dandelion Dynasty #1: The Grace of Kings
Author: Ken Liu
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy
First published: 2015
Edition: Paperback, published in 2016 by Head of Zeus

Sometimes you see merit in the book you are reading, but you cannot quite connect with it. You know, when the writing is good, but the story with its themes is simply not for you? That is how I feel about The Grace of Kings.

In many ways this is a very well written book. The battles, the politics and the intrigues are really well thought out, but I feel there lies the problem for me. Apart from the character building of some of the main characters, the characters felt overshadowed by political plots and the corruption of power.

I like a good battle and a bit of political intrigue as much as the next person, but for me that was all this book was about for much of the story and there was simply too much for it for my taste. At some points I was really impressed with the writing, at others it dragged. It ran too far into ‘dry’ territory at various points and found it hard to keep reading at times.

The Grace of Kings has plenty of merit and I can see how people love this series, but unfortunately it is not for me and I will not be continuing The Dandelion Dynasty.

4 out of 7 stars

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Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Choice (Edith Eger)

★★★★★★★

Title: The Choice
Author: Dr Edith Eva Eger
Genre: Non-Fiction / Biography / Psychology
First published: 7 September 2017 by Penguin Random House UK
Edition: E-book, courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

I knew from the start this book would touch me. I generally avoid books about WWII and concentrations camps, their horrors too much for me to contemplate. Yet, I felt compelled to read this book. The reason being that from the description I gathered this was about a woman who had survived and gone on to use her strength to help others with their trauma.

No, this was not an easy read. When she takes us into Auschwitz and tells us about the horrors she had seen and experienced there, my heart shrank in compassion and shame that humanity can be so cruel. But I also felt her courage and that of her sister, of the hardships and mental strength they must have had to survive when it may have been easier to give up.

I realised that being liberated from a prison does not mean the prison is gone. It can live on inside us. Dr Eger’s story of finally recognising and battling the prison in her mind is incredibly brave. I greatly respect and admire her for using her strength and harrowing experiences to help others deal with the prisons they had created for themselves, whatever the reason. She helps without judging.

Yes, this books tells of a survivor’s story, but it tells so much more about the strength and power that lives inside all of us and that we can help ourselves with the right guidance.

I would thoroughly recommend this book to everyone, whether you are struggling with your own demons or not.

7 out of 7 stars

 

 

Books · Tags

Sunshine Blogger Award

Sunshine Blogger Award.png

Thank you, Danielle from Life of a Literary Nerd, for nominating me to do the Sunshine Blogger Award (ages ago)! Go check out her awesome blog!

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

How does it work?

  • Thank the person(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or on your blog

The Questions!

1. What is the last book you added to your TBR?

The Architect of Song by A G Howard. It sounded interesting!

2. If you could get an ARC of any book that comes out later this year what would it be?

Shamefully I cannot think of anything!

3. What is your favorite place to read?

In bed.

4. What author do you want to read more of?

Agatha Christie – I read a couple of her books and really enjoyed them. Would love to read some more.

5. What author can you not get into?

Thomas Hardy – I tried a few times, but no, not for me.

6. What book do you think everyone needs to read?

Bambi, by Felix Salten. People often don’t seem to know that it was a book rather in the Watership Down vein before it ever was a Disney movie. The book is heart wrenching, and so much more real and dark than the movie. It’s utterly amazing.

7. If you could turn any book into a movie/tv show what would it be?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – I would love to see that! Someone must have bought the rights to that one already, right?

8. What is your book dream vacation spot?

As in a place in a book I’d like to visit? Hobbiton maybe?

9. What is your favorite genre to read?

Probably fantasy, though animal perspective is also a big favourite.

10. What is the last song you listened to? (Bonus if you can relate it to a book)

Not My Baby, by Alvvays. Not at all book related, but been listening to their album Antisocialites almost non-stop for the last month!

11. Who are your top 5 characters (books, TV, movies, anything)?

Talk about hard questions!

In no particular order:

Vasya (The Bear and the Nightingale – book)

Jesse and Celine (Before Sunrise – movie)

Professor McGonagall (Harry Potter- books/movies)

Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice – book)

My nominations and questions:

(apologies if you have already did this on your blog!)

Abbey @ Three Cats and a Girl

Nova @ Confessions of a Literary Addict

Claire @ bookscoffeeandrepeat

Kris @ Boston Book Reader

Kathy @ Books & Munches

Taylor @ Taylor Reads Books

Regina @ Bookish In Bed

Ash @ For The Love of Books

Savannah @ The Book Prophet

Lindsey @ Paradis Books

Alex @ coffeeloving bookoholic

Your questions are:

  1. What is the first book you remember loving as a child?
  2. What is the last book you fell in love with?
  3. Which book have you re-read the most times?
  4. Which book do you love, but will you never re-read?
  5. Which two authors do you wish would co-write a novel?
  6. What book title best describes you (the title, not the contents)?
  7. What is your favourite book to movie adaptation?
  8. What is the worst book to movie adaptation?
  9. What genre do you read only rarely?
  10. What genre do you wish to read more of?
  11. Which book makes you smile?

 

 

 

Books · Currently Reading

‘Currently Reading’ Update #13

Liu, Ken - The Dandelion Dynasty 1 The Grace of KingsI am still reading The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu. I am just past the halfway stage. I am not sure what to think of this book. I like it, it’s well written, but I cannot love it. It is as if it takes itself too serious for my taste. It’s hard to explain. It’s well written, but I just cannot connect to it so far. I do want to finish it though and I should do so over the next week or so…

On my Kindle app I am reading The Choice, by Edith Eger. I am about third of the way in Eger, Edith - The Choiceand I have already cried my eyes out. I tend to avoid books about WWII, especially books about concentration camps. They are too gut-wrenching. They make my heart ache for mankind and the cruelty we inflict upon each other. Yet I requested to read this biography via NetGalley, because despite all of that, it promised to be a story of positivity despite the hardship. This remarkable woman, who had experienced human nature at its worst, ended up being a psychologist, helping others with their mental demons, including abuse survivors and soldiers with PTSD. I just felt like I really wanted to read about her and I have a feeling I will not regret it.

I finished A Tiny Bit Marvellous (Dawn French) yesterday, so I needed a new bedtime Rowling, J K - #1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stonebook. I did not feel like any of the books on my October TBR, and finally picked up Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I have been meaning to re-read the Harry Potter series for a while and I finally got a load of secondhand copies in the last month or two. It has been about fifteen years since I last read The Philosopher’s Stone. I have listened to part of the audio book in the car whilst on holiday over the summer, but there were too many distractions to concentrate on it. Despite the fact I love Stephen Fry, I find it hard to absorb the story by listening to it. Anyway, I am fifty pages in and I have a feeling I will breeze through it. I could have read more, but it was already later and it was time for sleep as I am still under the weather (Boo hiss!!!!).

So that’s what I’m reading at the moment. What are you reading?

 

 

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: A Tiny Bit Marvellous (Dawn French)

French, Dawn - A Tiny Bit Marvellous

★★★★☆☆☆

Title: A Tiny Bit Marvellous
Author: Dawn French
Genre: Fiction / Women’s Fiction
First published: 2010
Edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Penguin

‘Extremely funny’ says a quote on the cover of this book. I would not go as far as ‘extremely funny’, but it is funny in places, and I actually really liked the plot

The books is written almost like a collection of diary entries by three people from the same family. I presume that is intentional? The parts narrated by Mo, the mum, I quite enjoyed. She is forty-nine year old woman in the midst of a midlife crisis. Peter, or Oscar as he has called himself, just sound like a spoiled brat, but actually I could imagine a eccentric teenage boy writing like that in his diary. He was kind of amusing and annoying at the same time.  Dora… Dora… What to say about Dora. My problem with her chapters was that I almost heard Dawn French pretending to be a teenager and it did not quite work for me.

I would say the second half of this books is definitely much better than the first.

So, I did not absolutely love everything about this novel, but I liked the themes of family and self-worth

4 out of 7 stars

Lifestyle · Random Chatter

Fashionista I definitely am not: Cozy Knitwear Dresses

What? A post not about books? Yes, this is one of those rare creatures – don’t get used to it! I will be back to books next time, I promise!

I am struck down with the lurgy at the moment and feel like I want to curl up with a book and not do anything at all. Alas, I have a five-year-old, who is watching Casper at the moment, and I am about to begin dinner. Maybe tonight? Or is there anything good on Netflix I should watch?

Anyway, autumn has got me well and truly in its evil pumpkin grip and I feel the pull of woolly clothes! Now I normally live in jeans and jumpers throughout winter, but low and behold, I suddenly felt the need for a knitwear dress! Shock! Horror!

Mint & Berry knitted dressWell, I found this particular one I really loved by Mint & Berry that came in grey, black or wine red, with this lovely wintery knit pattern on it. I had set my heart on the wine red one, but of course my size was sold out. In fact, all colours were sold out in my size! Hmpffff!

So I looked on and found a couple more that I liked (though not as much as the first one) and ordered them. The fact that it is one of those website where you don’t have to pay until you have tried them on and can send them back for free if they don’t fit, makes it very easy! The black one is by Derhy and is a little expensive, but if it fits great and the quality is there, I don’t mind splashing out a bit… The grey jumper dress by Twintips just looks so cozy!

Of course a day later I got a message that the grey one of the original dress I liked was back in stock, so I ordered that one anyway, and then today I got a message to say the one I really wanted, the wine red one was back in stock, I ordered that one as well. Anyway, I have four dresses on the way. I have told myself I can keep two if they fit nicely and have to send the other two back…

Hopefully they will arrive in the next few days and I will be able to try them on!

Anyway, end of non-book post…

Please link to one of your non-book posts if you have done any!

 

 

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Queens of Georgian Britain (Catherine Curzon)

Curzon, Catherine - Queens of Georgian Britain

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Queens of Georgian Britain
Author: Catherine Curzon
Genre: Non-Fiction / Biography / History
First published: to be published 30 October 2017 by Pen & Sword
Edition: ARC e-book, courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

This book brings together the four queen consorts of Georgian Britain. Well, one actually never was queen, but she fits in the with the rest quite nicely.

As often is the case with biographies or historical non-fiction I was afraid that it would read like a history school book. Luckily that worry was quickly forgotten. I did not find it dry or stuffy for the most part. Instead, the stories of these queens are well told and I flew through the pages, feeling like I was getting to know them. The author does a great job bringing these women, their husbands, and their respective characters to life.

In this ARC copy there were no portraits or pictures until the very end and I do feel that would have enhanced the reading experience if they were interspersed throughout the text. I assume that will be the case in the printed book.

All in all, a very interesting read.

5 out of 7 stars.