Thursday, January 19, 2017

Review: The Song of Achilles

Title: The Song of Achilles
Author: Madeline Miller
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Year published: 2011
How I got this book: Bought it through BookDepository (affiliate link)
My rating: 5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles' mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.

But when the word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

My thoughts:
I have had this on my shelf forever, always wanting to get around to picking it up. I am so glad that I finally did. I didn't have high expectations for this, mainly because I wasn't as excited as I used to be since it spent so long on my shelf, but I was so wrong. This is a novel which has Patroclus and Achilles as its main characters, Achilles being the famous hero from Greek mythology. For me, the fact that I knew quite a lot of the mythology was a big advantage, but it is by no means necessary to be able to enjoy this book.

The friendship and romance is this book's strong suit. Even though I knew how it would end, I couldn't help rooting for them, and hoping that maybe, just this time, it would end differently. The fact that it didn't, no surprise there, still broke my heart. You connect with the characters, and you want the best for them.

One of the most interesting parts of it, to me, was how Achilles changed during the Trojan war. We follow him, as his reputation and destiny goes to his head, and his pride gets too much. We see him through Patroclus eyes, and how much Achilles is hurting Patroclus and the others around him, because of his pride. Achilles goes from being this lovable character, so someone you want to shake and yell at, to get it together. In the end, Patroclus deserved so much better. Yes, it was obvious Achilles still loved him, but he also loved himself more. 

At the end of the day, this is probably not going to be a book for everyone, though I wish it was. It includes LGBTQ+ themes, without forcing them on you or making it seem forced. It is a fantastic story, and I wish everyone would read it. I will definitely be recommending this to a couple of my friends, and hope they will read it as well. If you are interested in Greek mythology, or this book seems interesting, you should give it a try. If you don't like it, you can always put it down, but you'll never know unless you try it. 

Buy this book?
Amazon (US)
Amazon (UK)
BookDepository (worldwide, affiliate link)
AdLibris (Norway)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated Books I Read In 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's theme is underrated books, specifically books I read in 2016. I decided to go for books with under 500 ratings on Goodreads, and therefore ended up with only 6, as they are the books I really enjoyed. 

Be Light Like a Bird - Monika Schröder

Full Share - Eliza Freed

Julenatt i Blåfjell (roughly translated to Christmas Night in the Blue Mountain) - Gudny Ingebjørg Hagen

Inborn - Amy Saunders

Wrecked - Maria Padian

A Year and a Day - Isabelle Broom

Have you read any of these books? 
What underrated books did you read in 2016?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Review: The River at Night

Title: The River at Night
Author: Erica Ferencik
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Year published: 2017
How I got this book: I got this as an arc through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
My rating: 5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:
A high stakes drama set against the harsh beauty of the Maine wilderness, charting the journey of four friends as they fight to survive the aftermath of a white water rafting accident, The River at Night is a nonstop and unforgettable thriller by a stunning new voice in fiction.

Winifred Allen needs a vacation.

Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls' trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings.

What starts out as an invigoration hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare: A freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test. To survive, Wini must reach beyond the world she knows to harness an inner strength she never knew she possessed.

With intimately observed characters, visceral prose, and pacing as ruthless as the river itself, The River at Night is a dark exploration of creatures - both friend and foe - that you won't soon forget.

My thoughts:
This book is absolutely brilliant. This will be a short review, as I recommend knowing as little as possible when you are starting this book. 

The characters are relatable and flawed, and you connect with them all. The writing draws you into the story, and it feels like you are a actually there, with the characters. I flew through this book one sitting, I was not able to put it down. I don't have a lot of experience when it comes to thrillers, but after reading this I want to read a lot more.

This is a book I will definitely be giving away as presents this year, because I want a lot of other people to read it as well. If you think this sounds interesting, even though you're not the biggest fan of thrillers, you should give this a try. I am so happy I read this, and I want to read more from Erica Ferencik in the future.

Buy this book?
Amazon (US)
Amazon (UK)
BookDepository (worldwide, affiliate link)
AdLibris (Norway)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks

Title: The One Memory of Flora Banks
Author: Emily Barr
Publisher: Penguin
Published: January 12th 2017
How I got this book: I got this book as an e-arc through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
My rating: 5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora's brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora's fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

With little more than the words "be brave" inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must "be brave" if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

My thoughts:
This will be a spoiler-free review, and I will therefore not comment specific things within this book.

I am so glad that I chose this to be the first book of 2017, because it made me excited for reading this year. To me, this was a clear 5 star book. I could not put it down once I started in, and finished it in a day, despite reading it on my computer. My mind was so focused on this book, and on Flora, that I had to finish this before continuing with the other books I was reading. 

Though I have never experienced anything like Flora, and could not see myself in her setting, I felt so connected to her. The writing style was perfect for the story, and kept me on my toes. It was easy to understand how Flora's brain worked, because of the writing style. 

This book is mainly a YA contemporary, but it also gave me the feel of a thriller. Simply because there was so much we didn't know, or Flora didn't know. We would learn information with her, but she would forget it within the next chapter.

I did love that a part of this book took place in Norway, more specifically on Svalbard. I am Norwegian myself, so I am always really thrilled when Norway is a part of a non-Norwegian book. I have never been to Svalbard myself, but Longyearbyen, which Flora was, is amazing. It was obvious that the author knew what she was writing about, and she included small details that I found really funny. Like the fact that Flora was happy she got coins with holes in the middle, when she got Norwegian kroner. Details like that made my really happy, and I am sure other Norwegians will react in the same way.

If you don't want any spoilers at all, skip this paragraph, but it won't contain an specific incidents. Even though I really liked the ending of the book, I do wish we had gotten a few more answers. But then again, I always want a bit more after finishing a book, no matter what. I was not happy with the mother at all, when we had the big reveal. I understand that she had er own thing, but there should definitely be consequences for what she did. I cannot imagine how Flora must have felt. 

This is definitely a book that I will recommend to other people, because I want more people to read this book. If I had a physical copy I would lend it out to all of my friends, but I might just gift them the book instead. If the plot of this book seems even slightly interesting to you, you should pick it up and give it a try. I was unsure of how I would feel about the book in the beginning, but I absolutely loved it, and I want others to try it and love it as well.

Buy this book?
Amazon (US)
Amazon (UK)
BookDepository (worldwide, affiliate link)
AdLibris (Norway)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Releases I Didn't Get To Last Year

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Heartless - Marissa Meyer

Stars Above - Marissa Meyer

Starflight - Melissa Landers

Passenger - Alexandra Bracken

Truthwitch - Susan Dennard

Rebel of the Sands - Alwyn Hamilton

The Star-Touched Queen - Roshani Chokshi

The Love That Split the World - Emily Henry

The Forbidden Wish - Jessica Khoury

Three Dark Crowns - Kendare Blake

What 2016 release do you want to read, that you didn't get to read last year?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

View From Page Thirty: Anna Karenina

Book: Anna Karenina
Author: Leo Tolsoy
Genre: Fiction

Goodreads synopsis:
Leo Tolsoy's classic story of doomed love is one of the most admired novels in world literature. Generations of readers have been enthralled by his magnificent heroine, the unhappily married Anna Karenina, and her tragic affair with dashing Count Vronsky.

In their world frivolous liaisons are commonplace, but Anna and Vronsky's consuming passion makes them a target for scorn and leads to Anna's increasing isolation. The heartbreaking trajectory of their relationship contrasts sharply with the colorful swirl of friends and family members who surround them, especially the newlyweds Kitty and Levin, who forge a touching bond as they struggle to make a life together. Anna Karenina is a masterpiece not only because of the unforgettable woman at its core and the stark drama at her fate, but also because it explores and illuminates the deepest questions about how to live a fulfilled life.

My view from page thirty:
Picking up this book is quite a big project for me, though I am really enjoying it so far. It has been sitting on my shelf, and with it's size it looks quite intimidating. I have always wanted to read Anna Karenina, but it is not just a book you pick up and fly through. I am reading other books at the same time, to make sure that I don't get bored, but so far I think the book is great.

I know the main plot of the novel, and I have seen the movie, but there are still a lot of things that I don't know. I have only seen the movie once, and that was when it came out, so most of the details are forgotten. Because of this, I am excited to continue on with the book, as I don't really know what is going to happen. It's definitely a slow read for me, but I am determined to finish it. Hopefully before summer. I am so glad that the copy has a character list, because I am thirty pages in, and already having problems remembering who is who, with all these characters and names. 

I will not be writing a full review of this book once I am finished, which is why I'm doing view from page thirty instead. I'm hopeful, and I do think that I'll really enjoy this book. And hopefully it'll get easier remembering the characters as I get more invested with the story.

Have you read Anna Karenina? And if you have, what did you think of it?

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Review: This Savage Song

Title: This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1)
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books Ltd
Year published: 2016
How I got this book: I bought it at BookDepository
My rating: 4 stars

Goodreads synopsis:
There's no such ting as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains - and friends or enemies - with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city - a city where violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as goodhearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent - but he's one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chances arises to keep an eye on Kate, who's just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August's secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair myst flee for their lives.

My thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book. It took me a while to get into everything, but once I did I was really immersed in the story and setting.

We follow two main characters, Kate and August, and get to read from both of their perspectives, which I really enjoyed. They see the world in such different ways, and it was interesting to learn what they thought of the world they lived in, and each other. 

I have never read a book like this before, and the plot is so intriguing. I love the fact that there are three types of monsters, and they are all breed from different kind of evil. August is a sunai, and I found them so interesting. It might have something to do with the fact that August uses his violin, and I have played violin for several years, so I'm not completely subjective. However, the fact that they use music to kill is so amazing, and it really captivated me.

The first third of the book I could not get into it, but it did pick up. I stayed up until 3 in the morning to finish it, because I was not able to put it down. It was just too good. 

I am really excited to see what happens in the next book, and the story will progress. This is definitely a book I will recommend if I think someone will like this.

Buy this book?
Amazon (US)
Amazon (UK)
BookDepository (worldwide, affiliate link)
AdLibris (Norway)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Review: Mr. Miracle

Title: Mr. Miracle (Angelic Intervention #10)
Author: Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Year published: 2014
How I got this book: I listened to it as an audiobook through the app Storytel
My rating: 3 stars

Goodreads synopsis:
Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help twenty-four year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track - and, if the right moment strikes, help her find love. Posing as a teacher at a local college in Tacoma, Washington, Harry is up to the task, but not even he can predict the surprises that lay in store.

After trying to make it on her own, Addie has returned home to Tacoma for the holidays, but this time she plans to stay for good, enrolling in the local community college to earn her degree. What she doesn't plan to do is run into Erich Simmons.

Addie and her next-door neighbor, Erich, are like night and day. Growing up, he was popular and outgoing while she was rebellious and headstrong, and he never missed an opportunity to tease her. Now she intends to avoid him entirely, yet when they're suddenly forced to spend Christmas together, Addie braces for trouble.

Perhaps it's the spirit of the season or the magic of mistletoe, but Addie and Erich soon find they have more in common than they thought - and that two people who seem so wrong for each other may actually just be right. With a little prompting from a certain angelic teacher, the two are in for a holiday miracle they'l never forget.

My thoughts:
This book was just okay. I picked it up because it's Christmas, and it was nice enough, but nothing memorable. I have read a few books by Macomber this season, and this was, unfortunately, my least favourite of them. It is, however, quite short, so you fly through it.

The plot was enjoyable, and the characters as well, but it wasn't anything special. I didn't connect with any of the characters, but the setting was easy get into. I listened to it as an audiobook, so you might experience the story in a different way if you read a physical book, but I don't know how much that would have changed my opinion of this.

I will not be recommend this to people, but I won't tell people not to read it either. If it sounds nice, and you just want a short, and enjoyable, book this is something for you. It's a good story to read around Christmas, and might bring a little bit of holiday cheer.

Buy this book?
Amazon (US)
Amazon (UK)
BookDepository (worldwide, affiliate link)
AdLibris (Norway)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Books I Read In 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Me Before You - Jojo Moyes

Wrecked - Maria Padian

A Year and a day - Isabelle Broom

I Am Pilgrim - Terry Hayes

The Leaving - Tara Altebrando

The Passenger - Lisa Lutz

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) - Marissa Meyer

Sleeping Giants - Sylvian Neuvel

A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOTAR #2) - Sarah J. Maas

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) - Sarah J. Maas

What is the best book you read in 2016?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Review: The Leaving

Title: The Leaving
Author: Tara Altebrando
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Year published: 2016
How I got this book: Bough it online at BookDepository
My rating: 5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:
Six were taken. Even years later, five come back -- with noe idea of where they've been.

Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.

Until today. Today five of those kids return. They're sixteen, and they are... fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn't really recognize the person she's supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they're entirely unable to recall where they've been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn't come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of All Max's sister Avery, who needs to find her brother - dead or alive - and isn't buying this whole memory-loss story.

My thoughts:
*this is a spoiler-free review, so I will not be able to say that much abut the book*

This is my first book by Tara Altebrando, and based on this one, I want to read more! 

We follow three characters; Scarlett, Lucas and Avery. Scarlett and Lucas are two of the missing children, and Avery is Max's brother, the one who doesn't return. They were all written differently, and I especially enjoyed reading Scarlett's chapters as they were written with a bit of poetic prose, not just as a novel. I felt that this really captured her thoughts and emotions. 

Without spoiling anything, I have to say that I did not like Avery at all. I could not understand her thought process, and how she reacted to things. She was, to me, extremely unlikable, and she ended up just annoying me. I have read several reviews, and it seems that I am not the only one who feels this way. However, this did not really ruin the book for me, as I still gave it five stars.

This is not extremely fast paced, but it kept my interest nonetheless. I could not put it down, and could not read it before going to bed. I would have stayed up all night. It was never boring, and the characters were interesting enough that it did not really matter.

I will definitely recommend this book to several of my friends, and my mum. Though this is a YA-book, I feel like older people can enjoy it as well, if they like mysteries. If this book sounds interesting, you should give it a try!

Buy this book?
Amazon (US)
Amazon (UK)
BookDepository (worldwide, affiliate link)
Tanum (Norway)