Books · Japanese Book Club

Readalong #1: Announcement

As a lover of Japanese authors and Japanese fiction this is something I’ve wanted to start for a while, so here we are.

The basic idea is I post on my blog a book by a Japanese author along with the dates within to read it, giving enough time for you to obtain a copy of the book if it’s something you’d like to join. After the readalong date I will post a spoiler review blog post where we can discuss the book in the comments!

Continue reading “Readalong #1: Announcement”

Book Reviews · Books

Book Review: The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

40499098‘Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are Boneless Mercies – death-traders, hired to kill quickly, quietly and mercifully. It is a job for women, and women only. Men will not do this sad, dark work.
Frey has no family, no home, no fortune, and yet her blood sings a song of glory. So when she hears of a monster slaughtering men, women, and children in a northern jarldom, she decides this the Mercies’ one chance to change their fate.
But glory comes at a price …’

I listened to the audio book for this and was fairly impressed by the narrator even though at some points I really had to pay 100% attention to keep up with what was happening in the story. It felt like if I broke concentration for a few seconds, the whole crew were some place else and I found myself lost a few times. I enjoyed finding out more about the characters back stories and really liked Juniper’s story and we actually get to meet her people during the book. Some parts were quite graphic, obviously as there are a lot of deaths, some involving children. Most of the story felt quite slow and indecisive and then more action packed towards the end and the final battle.

There is also a male only clan called The Quicks that we get to learn about and meet that was quite interesting. I liked how each of the main female mercy characters were all so unique and different and they addressed each situation and dilemma differently. It is a stand alone fantasy book but may have benefitted from being a more in depth series as I felt there could have been a lot more done with this world and the characters. Perhaps I would have been more engaged and enjoyed this book more if I had read it physically but for an audio book it was still very entertaining.

GOODREADSAMAZON
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

AUDIO BOOK FROM SCRIBD
Book Reviews · Books

Book Review: Recent Reads #3

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.
Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament – fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

I’ve finally read it, and I’m glad I read The Assassin’s Blade first. I think Sarah’s writing and the characters keep me coming back for more as the plot is definitely questionable at times. Also some of Celaena’s decisions make me literally ask “Why?!” The ending of this book wasn’t what I was expecting and I found it a little disappointing. I’m still moving straight on to Crown of Midnight!

Sadie by Courtney Summers

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My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.
But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him
.’

This was my first audio book experience as I’d heard such great things about it. It was very immersive as it features a full cast and half of the book is basically a podcast anyway. Triggers warnings for sexual assault, pedophilia, drug addiction and PTSD. Listening to this kept me firmly hanging on to the edge of my seat the whole time, although the ending wasn’t very satisfactory and I wish we got more of an answer. I found the representation in this regarding young victims of sexual assault to be very accurate and eye-opening and this book should be read by everyone. Monsters really do hide in plain sight.

The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe

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My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Niki Jumpei, an amateur entomologist, searches the scorching desert for beetles. As night falls he is forced to seek shelter in an eerie village, half-buried by huge sand dunes. He awakes to the terrifying realisation that the villagers have imprisoned him with a young woman at the bottom of a vast sand pit. Tricked into slavery and threatened with starvation if he does not work, Jumpei’s only chance is to shovel the ever-encroaching sand – or face an agonising death.

This was quite a wild ride. I picked this up to read as it is Pewdiepie’s book club pick of the month, and I love to read Japanese authors and I hadn’t read Kobo Abe before. This book made me hate sand. Sand now disgusts me and I’d be quite happy to never feel it again. Abe describes in such a way that you really feel Jumpei’s frustration and desperation. Some parts are sexually explicit and others are just disgusting. An interesting read but one I doubt I will be rereading in the future.

ALL BOOKS FEATURED IN THIS REVIEW WERE PURCHASED BY MYSELF.
Book Reviews · Books

Book Review: Recent Reads #2

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children book 1)

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My Rating: 5/5 Stars

‘Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.’

Based in a boarding school for children that once upon a time stumbled through a portal into a different world, only to be spat out years later and unable to readjust to the regular world. From reviews I had seen before reading this, it wasn’t what I was expecting. I was prepared for a nice heartwarming story, but no, it is in fact quiet adult and full of murder, which made me love it more. All of the characters in their own way were likable and unique and even though this novella is fairly short, it still felt like I had read a properly fleshed out story and I wanted more! There are heartwarming aspects to this book of course, but it is far more adult than I was expecting going in to it and in some cases, quite graphic. Overall, I loved this and could have easily read another 200 pages of it.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children book 2)

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My Rating: 4/5 Stars

‘Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.
This is the story of what happened first…’

The second book in the Wayward children series solely focuses on 2 characters from Every Heart a Doorway and retells their journey from birth until they stumble out of their portal world full of monsters, vampires and mad scientists. I found this one interesting but didn’t enjoy it is much as the first book. It does highlight some important issues like the gender roles some adults force on their children and how crippling that can be for the child. It also features a same gender romance and once again, lot’s of death. I’m looking forward to reading the third book in the series very soon.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

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My Rating: 4/5 Stars

‘The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.’

I think this book for me was way too overhyped and that had a part in me being disappointed when reading it. With so many people in the community claiming this book as their favourite of all time I guess I was expecting something amazing. It fell short for me and felt quite drawn out and took me twice as long to read as any other book would just because of how it was written. Overall I enjoyed the characters and the story, aside from the insta romance and THOSE  4 pages that I had to skim over. My favourite character by far was Minya, the mini sadist. The amount of times in this book that killing babies and infants are mentioned also made me close to DNFing this book entirely. I will wait a while before tackling Muse of Nightmares, the sequel to this book, but I will get to it eventually.

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

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My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

‘Celaena Sardothien owes her reputation to Arobynn Hamel. He gave her a home at the Assassins’ Guild and taught her the skills she needed to survive.
Arobynn’s enemies stretch far and wide – from Adarlan’s rooftops and its filthy dens, to remote islands and hostile deserts. Celaena is duty-bound to hunt them down. But behind her assignments lies a dark truth that will seal her fate – and cut her heart in two forever…’

I finally decided to bite the bullet and see what all the Throne of Glass fuss was about and started by reading the 5 short stories prequel book. It didn’t disappoint, I was drawn to the main character, Celaena instantly and even though she may have made some stupid decisions during this book, I NEED to read the rest of the books just to see her get some kind of revenge, The end of this book broke me and made me so mad. I’m moving on to Throne of Glass straight away, let the Maas destruction continue.

All books featured in this review were purchased by myself