Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Power (Naomi Alderman)

★★★☆☆☆☆

Title: The Power
Author: Naomi Alderman
Genre: Fiction / Dystopian / Speculative fiction
First published: 2016
Edition: Paperback, published by Penguin in 2017

All over the world women are discovering they have the power. With a flick of the fingers they can inflict terrible pain – even death. Suddenly, every man on the planet finds they’ve lost control. The Day of the Girls has arrived – but where will it end?

⚡⚡⚡

Right. I will keep this short. Let me start by saying I had high hopes for this novel. Unfortunately for me, it just did not float my boat.

The idea and the plot seemed quite strong at the beginning, and there were times that I could almost get into the book, but something always seemed to pull be straight back out of the story. I did not get on that well with the writing. I found it dry and just not that engaging. I really had to push through the middle especially. The characters did not grab me enough to feel invested in their individual stories.

In the end I was not quite sure where the story was trying to go. Wherever I wanted it to go, it did not get there. I think I can see why people do like this book, but it clearly was not for me.

If you enjoy dystopian stories, it may be worth giving this a try. You may get on with it better than I did.

3 out of 7 stars

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Invisible Library (Genevieve Cogman)

Cogman, Genevieve - The Invisible Library

★★★★☆☆☆

Title: The Invisible Library
Author: Genevieve Cogman
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy / Steampunk / Mystery
First published: 2015
Edition: Kindle e-book, published by Tor

It is hard to resist a book about books, is it not? It is for me. The premise of this book, a woman who goes and finds books in alternate worlds for a Library between worlds, is a great one and I had high hopes for it.

It took me a while to get into it. The writing did not grab me; it felt a little superficial and  too conversational in tone for my taste. I am not sure it suited the story.  I found it hard to connect to the main character Irene because of this. As the tale progressed, wounding its way past cyborg alligators, fae and werewolves, I did feel much more engaged. The plot feels original and interesting, but the characters still fell a bit flat for me. I just felt that they could have been fleshed out a bit more, especially the main character, but certainly also others, such as detective Vale and side kick Kai. They just did not seem quite real enough to me.

Despite my criticisms, I did like The Invisible Library. There is a lot of potential and I would read the sequel for sure.

4 out of 7 stars

Book Haul · Books

Charity Shop Book Haul #6

I have been very good not buying any new books this month, though the month is not over yet of course. I did allow myself a trip to my favourite charity shop today and browsed their small English book section as well as some of the massive Dutch section.

I am quite pleased with the six books I came home with.

1712 Dorcas Haul

The first thing that caught my eye was a little book called Op De Fiets (On The Bike). It is a cute little book with bicycle related adverts from the first part of the twentieth century. My English husband is quite into cycling and since the Dutch like their cycling in general I thought it would be a nice little book to add to our holiday cottage’s library.

1712 Dorcas Haul 1

For reading I picked up the following five books, which all look pretty much unread (and clearly unloved, which makes me sad in a way):

1712 Dorcas Haul 2

For One More Day (Mitch Albom)
I gather this book is about a man who commits suicide and goes back to his own village and runs into his deceased mother. It sounded pretty interesting and it’s a pocket sized paperback. I may take it on my Christmas trip to England because of that. I may have this one read before the end of the year!

Till We Have Faces (C S Lewis)
I had never heard of this book, but of course I have read some of The Chronicles of Narnia.  The blurp says it is a retelling of Cupid and Psyche, which sounds right up my street. I had never heard of this book, but I am looking forward to reading it.

The Grass Widow’s Tale (Ellis Peters)
Apparently one in a series of mystery novels set in the 1960s. I just thought the hardback looked pretty. I am shallow like that. Well, that and I did recognise the author, though I have never read any of her books.

1712 Dorcas Haul 3

Magenta (Geert Jan Jansen)
An autobiography of a Dutch art dealer, who went to prison for forging paintings. Sounds really interesting and I do like a bit of non-fiction every now and then! Beautiful book too. The naked hardback and the dustjacket have the same print on them.

De Lessen van Mevrouw Lohmark (Judith Schalansky)
Ok, I admit I bought this book because it has a manatee on the cover. It’s a good enough reason, right? It’s a Dutch translation of a German book. The English title is The Giraffe’s Neck. It has very mixed reviews on Goodreads. Some love it, others hate it, which always makes me curious!

I spent a grand total of … wait for it… €3.30.

I am pretty pleased with my little haul. I may pick up some more books next week while I am in England though… We’ll see!

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Dracula (Bram Stoker)

Stoker, Bram - Dracula

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Dracula
Author: Bram Stoker
Genre: Fiction / Horror / Classic
First published: 1897
Edition: Amazon Classics E-Book

What better time to read a horror classic like Dracula then the run-up to Halloween?

I am glad I finally picked up this Dracula. It was very different from what I had expected. It is made up of journal entries from a number of people. It starts of in Transylvania, but most of the story took place in Yorkshire of all places! I did not know that!

It certainly was creepy at times, but it never got that scary. Most of all, it was fascinating to me. At times it felt dated, but at other times it felt surprisingly like a tale written not long ago. It always amazes me how novels stand the test of time.

I was surprised how accurate the representation of the Count is in the various movies and the cliche vampire outfit. I guess this is where that image started? I felt myself smiling at this quite a lot.

As for the other characters, I did find some of them tremendously stupid at times. Surely, if you knew crucifixes and garlic kept vampires away and you knew there was one on the prowl, surely you would make sure all windows and doors were covered in it! I cannot comprehend that these, supposedly clever, people did not think to protect themselves and their loved ones in any way. That just seems stupid to me (and yes, I am using stupid in that voice used by five-year-olds). And why, if you have seen one person grow pale and die and you know it was from a vampire, why would you not have any suspicions when it starts happening again? It makes no sense!

Besides a few of those sorts of issues, I really enjoyed reading Dracula, and I always feel a tremendous sense of achievement when I tick a classic off my TBR.

5 out of 7 stars

FIVE

FIVE Series I would Like To Read

I am only mentioning series I have not yet started! God knows when I will find the time to do so, but think of it as a wish list. 🙂

1. The Raven Cycle (Maggie Stiefvater)

I have only read one of Maggie’s books, The Scorpio Races, which I really enjoyed. I have heard so many good things about this series, that I really want to read it. I don’t own it, but I am hoping to read it some time next year, when my existing TBR may be a little less intimidating (one can dream).

2. Mistborn trilogy (Brandon Sanderson)

Other than the final The Wheel of Time books, I have not read anything by Sanderson. That should change. Again, I don’t own these yet. Some day…

3. Monsters of Verity (V E Schwab)

I actually have these on my shelf and I hope I will get to them soon!

4. The Farseer Trilogy (Robin Hobb)

I have been eyeing this series for way longer than should be allowed! Maybe one for next year? I should be able to get second-hand copies at a bargain price. Surely!

5. Red Rising (Pierce Brown)

It is not entirely clear to me me whether the first three are a trilogy and the others are set later, but nevermind. I have the first book on my shelf and after hearing lots of good things, I should be picking this one up relatively soon! (I hope).

Are there any series you would love to read in the future??

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Saga, Volume One (Brian K Vaughan)

Vaughan, Brian K - Saga, Vol 1

★★★★☆☆☆

Title: Saga, Volume One
Author: Brian K Vaughan (writer) & Fiona Staples (artist)
Genre: Graphic Novel
First published: 2012
Edition: Paperback, published by Image Comics in July 2016

When I decided I wanted to read a few more graphic novels, I figured Saga would be a good place to start, as I had heard so many good things about this series.

It took me about half the book to get into it, but in the end I really liked where the story was going. The illustrations are fantastic and combined with the strong storyline I can see why it has gotten such praise. I did feel a little disconnected from it for a large part of it, but did find myself caring more and more about the characters as the pages turned.

I will pick up the next book in the series and see how I get on with it.

4 out of 7 stars (getting close to 5)