Book Reviews · Books

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

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windupbird The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
by Haruki Murakami

GOODREADSAMAZON
Released: 12th April 1994
Keywords: Adult, Japan, Magical realism

Synopsis
Toru Okada’s cat has disappeared. His wife is growing more distant every day. Then there are the increasingly explicit telephone calls he has recently been receiving. As this compelling story unfolds, the tidy suburban realities of Okada’s vague and blameless life, spent cooking, reading, listening to jazz and opera and drinking beer at the kitchen table, are turned inside out, and he embarks on a bizarre journey, guided (however obscurely) by a succession of characters, each with a tale to tell.

Review
I honestly have no idea how to review this book, but here is my feeble attempt. It took me roughly 2 months on and off to finish and not because I wasn’t enjoying it, I just found it to be quite a heavy read compared to Kafka on the Shore which I finished within a week. This is mostly due to quite a few historical flashbacks which did get quite graphic and quite honestly a bit depressing. I found this book had a lot of nods to depression which I personally found to be relatable but also at times hard to read.

It was filled with all of the usual weird magical realism elements that I love and most of it really didn’t make much sense, but then I’m not sure it’s supposed to. What a great cast of characters though, I particularly loved any scene that involved May and the role she played for the main character.

I’m glad I read this book and look forward to reading more of Murakami’s novels, would recommend for fans of magical realism and weird stories that don’t quite make sense but make you think hard about the world.

My rating: 4.5/5 stars

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Book Reviews · Books

S.T.A.G.S

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STAGS S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett
GOODREADSAMAZON
Released: 10th August 2017
Keywords: YA, Thriller, Hunt, Mystery, Bullying, Violence, Contemporary, Romance, Animal deaths

Synopsis
Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.

It is the autumn term and Greer MacDonald is struggling to settle into the sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as S.T.A.G.S. Just when she despairs of making friends Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: huntin’ shootin’ fishin’. When Greer learns that the invitation is to spend the half term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at S.T.A.G.S., she is as surprised as she is flattered.

But when Greer joins the other chosen few at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, she realises that Henry’s parents are not at home; the only adults present are a cohort of eerily compliant servants. The students are at the mercy of their capricious host, and, over the next three days, as the three bloodsports – hunting, shooting and fishing – become increasingly dark and twisted, Greer comes to the horrifying realisation that those being hunted are not wild game, but the very misfits Henry has brought with him from school… “

Review
I went in to this book expecting it to be way more gritty and gruesome with less of the romance aspect which is mostly why my rating is on the lower side. Sometimes it even felt like I was reading a middle grade novel and as we are in the protagonists head some of her thoughts were very immature and inappropriate for the situation so perhaps I’m not the target audience for this. Nonetheless it was still a pretty fun read and focused hard on discrimination by class/race which is obviously a very relevant topic.

Too much focus from our main girl on how hot the main guy is and way too many movie referencing for me. The actual ‘hunt’ parts were more enjoyable and there were a few times that got my heart rate up. Plot twists were mostly predictable but I did enjoy the character of Henry (gave me some Cardan from The Cruel Prince vibes).

Would recommend for contemporary fans that like a hint of thriller, wouldn’t recommend for someone looking to read a gritty intense thriller.

My rating: 3/5 stars

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Books

2019 Book Releases

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Here are some of my must-read-as-soon-as-it-comes-out new releases for the rest of this year! Are any of these on your to-read list?

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Wilder Girls by Rory Power – July 12th
It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa – August 15th
Hat, ribbon, bird, rose. To the people on the island, a disappeared thing no longer has any meaning. It can be burned in the garden, thrown in the river or handed over to the Memory Police. Soon enough, the island forgets it ever existed.
When a young novelist discovers that her editor is in danger of being taken away by the Memory Police, she desperately wants to save him. For some reason, he doesn’t forget, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for him to hide his memories. Who knows what will vanish next?
The Memory Police is a beautiful, haunting and provocative fable about the power of memory and the trauma of loss from one of Japan’s greatest writers. For readers of The Handmaid’s Tale, Fahrenheit 451and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Girls of Storm and Shadow – November 5th
This is the second book in a series so I won’t post the synopsis here, you can click the link to Goodreads if you want to read it.

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Books · Monthly wrap ups

June Wrap Up

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Books I Read and Finished in June

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June Posts

Books
July TBR
Mid Year Book Freakout Tag
Book Reviews

Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa
Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto (spoilers)
K-Pop
ONEUS: Raise Us Album Review
Me vs. My Friends ft. Lena (BTS Edition)
Gaming
Animal Crossing: New Horizons #1
Top 5
Hyped YA books I have read
Books of 2019 So Far
Writing
Aches and Pains
Alive or Dead

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Favourite K-Pop Releases in June

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Reading
My reading really wasn’t that great in June, I just wasn’t feeling it, and Wind-Up Bird took me so long to finish (not that I didn’t enjoy it, it was just very long and heavy). I’m back in more of a reading mood for July and am excited for my TBR so we will see if this month will be better.

Blogging
I feel like my blogging kind of fell off towards the end of the month, like my reading, even though it has been the best month so far for view/visits. I’m going to try and post more in July for sure.

Gaming
My friend Lena picked up a 2DS so we could play Animal Crossing: New Leaf and it’s been really fun playing it again while I wait for the Switch game to come out. I’ve also been constantly playing BTS World since it was launched last week O-O

New Things
I’ve decided to casually learn a second language using DuoLingo (I bet you can’t guess which language haha), this is the first time trying to learn a language and actually wanting to do it, rather than being forced to learn German in school which I literally only remember a few words of now. So far so good and it’s actually pretty fun!
I’ve also (very recently) taken trying to lose weight seriously, I really hope i stick to it cos damn I feel like a whale. Will update on progress in next months wrap up and possibly do some posts on it if it goes well.

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Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch update:
Looks amazing but got pushed back to March 2020

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Books · Tags

Mid Year Book Freakout Tag

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1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019.
Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin, I’ve a feeling this book might appear a few times in this tag 😀 Now one of my favourite books of all time, check it out if you enjoy witchy creepy magical realism, or if you don’t, just read it.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019.
Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa, sequel to Shadow of the Fox. I know this series is hit or miss for most people but I just really love the Japanese and Anime inspiration and got quite attached to these characters. The sequel didn’t let me down and the end was brilliantly done, can’t wait for the next book!

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.
Descendant of the Crane by Joan He, this came out in April and is a Chinese inspired fantasy. I have it on my physical TBR but have yet to read it.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
Ok, I can’t just pick 1 book for this. Wilder Girls by Rory Power (5 star prediction for me), The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa (one of my favourite Japanese authors), Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan (sequel to Girls of Paper and Fire) and The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black (last book in The Folk of the Air trilogy).

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5. Biggest disappointment.
I’d have to say The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco, I really wanted to love this but I just couldn’t properly get in to the story and I just started to get bored with it.

6. Biggest surprise.
The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge, much better and creepier than I had anticipated.

7. Favourite new author.
OK, so I know I’ve only read 1 book by her but, Sarah Maria Griffin. I’m definitely reading whatever she publishes in the future.

8. Newest fictional crush.
Cardan from The Cruel Prince *cough*

9. Newest favourite character.
Celaena/Aelin from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, I just love her OK.

10. Book that made you cry.
Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas, each of these books have made me cry so far.

11. Book that made you happy.
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa, all the feels.

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year.
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, that cover is stunning!

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
I’d like to read the last 3 books in the Throne of Glass series this year ready for the release of her new Adult fantasy series coming in January.

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Books · Monthly TBR

July TBR

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TBR Jar Picks
S.T.A.G.S by M.A Bennett
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
The Call by Peadar O’Guilin

July New Releases
Wicked Fox by Kat Cho
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
Wilder Girls by Rory Power

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I’ve decided to start a TBR jar to try and get through some of my physical TBR books each month. For July I have picked out 4 and have 3 new releases on pre-order for the month too. There’s no way I will read all of these in July but it gives me a good selection to pick from, let’s see how it goes. I am most excited for Wilder Girls!

What books do you want to read in July?

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