Informal Review: Tokyo Ghoul- Volume 1 by Sui Ishida

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Title: Tokyo Ghoul- Volume 1

Author: Sui Ishida

My rating: 5/5

Goodreads rating: 4.47/5

Genre: Horror, Paranormal

Summary (Wikipedia):

The story follows Ken Kaneki, a college student who barely survives a deadly encounter with Rize Kamishiro, his date who reveals herself as a ghoul, and is taken to the hospital in critical condition. After recovering, Kaneki discovers that somehow he underwent a surgery that transformed him into a half-ghoul by transferring some of Rize’s organs into his body, as she died when she attacked him, and just like normal ghouls, he must consume human flesh to survive as well. With no one else to turn to, he is taken in by the ghouls who manage the coffee shop, Anteiku.

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Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

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Title: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 5/5
Goodreads rating: 4.52/5

Genre: Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Summary (Goodreads):

“A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend.”

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.


Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

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Review: More Than This by Patrick Ness

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Title: More Than This

Author: Patrick Ness

My Rating: 4.5

Goodreads Rating: 4.05

Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi

Summary (Goodreads): 

A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies.

Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive.

How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?

As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?


Cover: 3/5

I love this quirky design of this cover and how it doesn’t give anything away to the reader.  


Review: WOW. This book was really good! I feel so happy that 1) I have read this book, so I can gush about it with everyone else 2) I can recommend this brilliant book to people and 3) this book has restored my faith in Patrick Ness.

I have to admit, I was rather cautious with reading this book as well as excited. After reading The Rest Of Us Just Live Here and being disappointed by it (you can read my review on it here), I was worried that the writing style wouldn’t gel with me and even though I could see how dense the pages were with words, I still thought that I wouldn’t become completely immersed in the book.

My worries were for absolute nothing.

Plot: 

First of all, I WAS SO SURPRISED ABOUT THE SCI-FI ELEMENT ABOUT THIS BOOK. It came as such a surprise to me! At first I thought it would be more or less contemporary, but then it became dystopian and then a Sci-Fi and then a jumble of all of those genres! I loved it and it kept the plot exciting, intriguing and captivating.

This story follows a boy called Seth who after committing suicide wakes up in a quiet abandoned neighborhood which is actually his own neighborhood. He thinks this is hell, but after some twists and turns he realises there is more to this ‘hell’ than the eye can see. Just everything was so seamless and as soon as it hits the 100 page mark, don’t quote me on that, the plot just gets a mind of it’s own and Ness takes the reader on an adventure that puts us right by Seth throughout the whole novel. Enthralling, Ness did a great job of encoperating so many themes in this enjoyable plot.

Writing:

 Let me tell you this. The first two pages were just so nvfdkjvnkfrmoifkmglkfmodkc I just knew the book was going to be amazing. How Ness just changes the POV for those first few pages like he is a God looking down on ‘the boy’ and it was just ugh so good. One of my favourite first pages I have to say.

After that we get a realistic teenager point of view from Seth as he explores abandoned neighborhood and I love how he writes the thoughts and feelings of Seth and his depressive and suicidal thoughts. You can tell they are written with care and thought and it immersed me deeply into the book. So basically throughout the whole book was just written superbly and the pacing was excellent! And those cliffhangers!

Characters: 

Seth is an excellent character to be following. He is inquisitive, witty, brave but also a damaged soul you wish you could hug to death. I loved how he also thought so deeply into things making me question the story, the setting, the characters. Seth was like how many people would be waking up in a strange place- very very curious and his curiosity lead the reader into so many dangerous situations which kept me on the edge of my seat. His character is so devastating sad and Ness handles this fragile character beautifully. And a high five to a LGBTQ+ main protagonist!

Tomasz and Regine are great great characters; totally fleshed out and developed. First of all, is Tommy the cutest 10-11 polish boy ever? Because I think I should adopt him right now. I won’t spoil you on his backstory, but it is so sad and I wanted to cry for him. His character is so funny and brings so light into the dull grey situation. Regine on the other hand is straight talking, hard skinned black girl (diveristy, you gotta love it!) who underneath it all has a huge heart. I loved finding out her backstory and finding out why she is so protective and hard, but throughout the novel you see her grow and by the end I would become best friends with Regine any day.

What I liked:

  • The characters, I can’t stop thinking about them!
  • The plot was so compelling and a page turner.
  • The writing was so beautiful at points and never jarring throughout the story.

What I disliked:

  • The amount of questions I am left with after reading this!

Verdict: As John Green says at the front of my copy; read it. It doesn’t matter what you are doing or what you are going to do just reading this beautifully written, engaging character driver, roller-coaster simulating story. It is just superb.

I’ll write soon!

-Astra

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Review: Spinner By Tabi Card


Title: Spinner

Author: Tabi Card

My Rating: 3.75

Goodreads Rating: 4.01

Summary: 

“Tomorrow morning I am going to die. My limbs are straight, my hair a dull, flaxseed brown – magic’s curse doesn’t touch me. I can’t spin straw into gold any more than a magic user can escape deformity.” 

Greta is trapped by a lie. When the king hears her father’s deceitful claim of her spinning magic, he takes her and promises to end her life if she cannot spin a room of straw into gold by morning. 


But then the mysterious, magical spinner comes. His nightly appearance saves her life…and further tangles the web of lies she has woven for her survival. 

As Greta finds her heart slipping towards a love both dangerous and impossible, a question haunts her: how long will the charade last? 


Cover: 3/5

I really like this cover- it intrigued me into the story and I will say it now and say it again, covers are really important! Even though we all say don’t judge a book from it’s cover, we do and on this particular occasion it paid off!

Review:

I received a e-copy of this novella from the writer for reviewing purposes. All opinions and thoughts are mine purely.

First of all I want to say that the author, Tabi Card, is a really sweet person and it is always nice to speak to a kind, hardworking author from time to time.

Secondly, I enjoyed reading this retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. It put a YA twist on the old take which I would of loved to read as a full length novel.

Plot:

The plot for the story  was rather simple, because this is a novella, but executed rather nicely. The story follows a girl, Greta, who is practically sold off to the King after her father boasts of her nonexistent  powers of turning straw to gold. Greta gets locked up every night so that she can change a whole room full of straw into gold, but a mysterious boy slips into the room every night and saves her from inevitable death that would be greeting her if her lies came to the surface.

It was a super fast read and the story always kept me wanting more at the end of a chapter.

One thing I have to say though is that there could of been more suspense. Not just the same I hope she doesn’t die thought at the end of the chapter. Another dynamic would of brought my life into the story I feel which would of made me feel more connected to the whole story overall.

Also more backstory! More backstory for the story, I really love immersing myself into a fantasy world and sadly the world building was running a little too thin for my liking.

Writing:

Card’s writing was smooth and easy to read. I didn’t have any major issues with it but I crave description which is probably why I loved the Night Circus so much. That was what the novel was lacking in which is a shame because I can categorically say that if that writing was more descriptive it would of been a more engaging read.

Characters:

Greta was an overall nice character. I felt really sympathetic towards her  situation, but again I wish I could of known more about her to build more of an attachment towards her.

I liked how The Spinner’s character was shrouded with mystery (I think I’m just drawn to mysterious characters anyway cough cough Kaz Brekker cough the Darkling cough) and his sinister act at the end of the Novella was very appreciated! I actually think his character was well written though a more in depth encounters with him would help develop his character more.

And now to the King. I really wish that his character was just something more than I got. Okay his a greedy King, but what else? At the end of the story it was a little frustrating and I was almost confused with his character.

What I liked:

  • The plot was an interesting take on Rumpelstiltskin
  • The writing was light and easy to read.
  • Fast, page turning read

What I didn’t like:

  • Writing sometimes too simplistic
  • The character of the King want developed
  • Not enough description/backstory

Verdict: Even though I feel like I was a little harsh in this review, I did enjoy this book and I feel like you would too if you are into fairy tale retelling, mysterious love interests or just fun reads which don’t just leave you hollow, but with a warm feeling.

You can purchase Spinner now on Amazon for 99p or $1.50 for Kindle.( I really hope a paperback addition comes soon!)

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

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Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

  

Title: Shadow and Bone

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

My Rating: 4.45/ 5 stars

Goodreads rating: 4.08/5 stars

Summary: 

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Cover: 4/5

I have the beautiful paperback cover which has the one of the coolest  fonts I have seen on a book.
  

  
Review:

So a lot of you guys will know that I finished Six Of Crows and I loved it so much! The Grisha world is so interesting and intriguing, Bardugo did a brilliant of building up the countries and cultures and so on and so forth in SoC and this was my first time reading any of her novels. 

I was having a bit of of book withdrawal and I needed to pick up a book quickly which followed a story similar or a familiar scene. Shadow and Bone was the first thing that sprung into me mind. Yes! A trilogy set in the world that was intriguing and fresh and based on Russia! 

I know that I probably did the unwise thing and read SoC before the Grisha trilogy, but I couldn’t care less and I picked up the book the day after I finished SoC.
Though you can tell that Bardugo’s writing has improved since the trilogy, Shadow and Bone is still a great book and her are my thoughts broken down.

Plot: 

I thought the plot was very Red Queen-esque or should I say that Red Queen was inspired by the novel loads.

The story follows a girl called Alinea who discover she has Grisha powers and she gets swept up in Grisha court life and the dark and seductive Darkling who has taken a keen interest in his ‘Sun Summoner’. 

I really enjoyed following the story through Alina’s eyes and I was surprisingly comfortable in the first person POV. Sometimes I did wish that why had the Darkling’s POV or Mal’s POV because that would add another dimension to the story. I mean imagine being in the dark and merciless mind of the Darkling…*gains composure * anyway…

The plot was really fast and such a page turner, I read this book in two sittings and I have no regrets.The story I feel was broken down into two parts and I have enjoyed the the second part my than the first. The second part of the story was just quick and always moving and I think developed the characters more. 

And before I forget, the plot twists were so bloody shocking and executed brilliantly!

Writing:

The writing was rather simple and standard of a good YA author. Nothing felt jarring, but smooth each scene moving on without any stop starts.

My one complaint I think I have about the writing is that the descriptions weren’t as engaging as I hoped it would be. I felt myself skipping over passages of description because it said things that could probably be summed up in one word.

Characters: 

I had very strong feelings towards the cast of characters in this novel which I guess is a good thing. Alina was a solid protagonist. Sometimes you were cheering her on and other times you wanted to throttle her. Overall she was pretty likeable and I can’t wait to read on about her story  in the Storn and Siege.

The next character I want to talk about is Mal who was your typical I-grew-up-with-main-character love interest which was fine because his charming character and unwavering loyalty was great to read. Though he did have an angst couple of pages which was kind of explained but I still wanted a better apology for it.

I would talk about the Darkling but I think it would unleash too many spoilers so I will just say I LOVED HIM, BUT I HATED IT TOO.

What I liked:

  • The different aray of characters 
  • Gripping plot 
  • Lovely world building
  • The plot twists!

What I disliked:

  • The sometimes lengthy descriptions

Verdict: This was a brilliant first book for a trilogy that I have a big interest in reading on. I recommend this book to people who have or haven’t read Six Of Crows because it does an amazing job in building up the Grisha world loads and the plot twists and characters were more than intriguing to hold up such a big storyline.

I’ll write soon.

-Astra




Review: Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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Title: Six Of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.45/5

Summary:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.


Cover: 4/5

This cover is so beautiful, I was showing it off to my friends so much that they threatened to scribble on it when I left the table. I have the paperback edition, so I have the gorgeous scarlet writing on the front which is…well GORGEOUS!



Review: 

Do you know how hyped up this book was? SERIOUSLY hyped up. All that everyone was talking about was Queen Of Shadows and Six Of Crows and it feels so good to say I read the latter and loved it!

Even though it took me a good week to finish this book, I am really happy that I didn’t rush this read because I could reflect back all that was happening in the book.

But basically THIS BOOK IS SO AMAZING AND I’M GOING TO TRY AND MAKE THIS REVIEW COHERENT BUT IT’S GOING TO BE HARD!

Plot: This plot was sow amazingly fast paced even though the book is 500 hundred pages, but compared to Carry On (my review is here) it didn’t leave me hollow. The book basically follows these six street rats and their backstories and ambitions all while they are trying to steal a valuable prisoner out of a very high security prison. And when I say my heart was in my throat for at least the the last half of this book I’m not kidding.

There was literally like 50 pages in succession where on one side of the page everything was rosy and the next side of the page all hell broke loose and it was back and forth like that for 50 pages. It made everything so exciting and you could not put the book down. Normally when reading stories like this, there could inevitable be some dull moments, but Bardugo made it so there was no dull parts or chapters. Every POV, there were five main ones, was welcomed and lovely and UGH I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!

“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.”

Writing:

I can’t really fault the writing in this book. Leigh Bardugo has a natural flaire to writing tenseful scenes which there is plenty of here and her world building was mostly flawless. At the start I was slightly confused with some things because many names of characters and places but after I got into the book I felt myself going with the flow and just enjoying the great writing. I knew what Ketterdam looked like by the end of this novel, I slept, worked and breathed in the Ketterdam air. I just felt so engrossed in the world, it was hard to snap out of it. When writing out a heist things are obviously going to be fast paced, but nothing was a blur- if that makes sense. Everything was going quickly but attention to detail was still key throughout the whole novel.

“You love trickery.”
“I love puzzles. Trickery is just my native tongue.”

Characters: So the book is called Six Of Crows so there isn’t much surprised that we are getting six main protagonists.

I loved all of them.

There wasn’t one character that I though meh. Everyone was important, everyone had a story and thank God all of these stories were so deliciously awesome.

Kaz was just so badass it was unbelievable. It’s a guy would hate to have as an enemy, but love to have as a friend. I am still in two minds about whether he is a completely trustworthy character, but I think it’s fun not knowing whether or not he will be there to help the other Crows or leave them to die. His backstory is so tragically sad, but I loved learning about it piece and piece.  I can’t wait to read about his character next year in the Empire Of Crows, I’m already missing his dark personality.

Inej; sharp, witty and such a silent badass. I loved her whole demure and personality. She was like the calm, older sister of the group. I know you shouldn’t feel sorry for these people because they are a-class criminals but how can you not fell sorry for Inej? Even though for most of the book she is mature and level headed, sometimes you get sneak peaks of the scared teen she is and it’s really heart warming.

Nina and Matthias…I was shipping these too hard it was too much. I don’t think it is such a spoiller to be talking about these two because you can tell straight away from the first few scenes they have together that they have some long lost feelings. I wish there were most scenes of them two together to be honest even though we did get a lot already. They were just such a cute couple and ARRRG GIVE ME MORE! You can tell that their personalities are just so different but they match together perfectly and I think I need to name this ship right away.


And do you know what song really suits Matthias’ angsty feelings at the start? Mayday Parade- If You Wanted A Song Written About You All You Had To Do Was Ask (I love long titles) I am begging anybody who is reading this book or has read this book to listen to the song because it fits his character (at the start) so well!

The the last two crows Jesper and Wylan…the banter was too much. These two characters added some well needed lightheartedness to the story I feel and (maybe this is a spoiler?) did I sense some romantic feelings? I’m pretty sure I did, so these two are getting shipped too.

I have been made to protect you. Only in death will I be kept from this oath.

What I liked:

  • The Characters and how detailed all their stories were.
  • The World Building
  • The Plot was fast paced and engaging
  • The Plot twists! There were so many!

What I disliked:

  • That it wasn’t longer!

Verdict: What ever you do read this book. You become invested in the characters and the whole world to be honest. Bardugo takes you on a nail biting journey which leaves you wanting more and more…just like those Jurda Parem sufferers…. Just brilliant!

I’ll write soon!

-Astra

Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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Title:Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
My Rating: 4.25 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.35

Summary (Goodreads): Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.


Cover: 4/5

It’s really eye catching and lovely to look at. And when you take of the jacket *giggles* it gets so much better.



Review: When people say that they flew through the pages of a book I think yeah yeah course you did, but Crowley, when I was reading this book I was on page 109 one minute and 259 the next. It felt like magic, how could of have only been reading for an hour and made such progress? So when I say this is a fast paced book- I seriously mean it. I had to make a conscious effort to not read for long periods of time just so I stretched out this novel a bit. I could of easily finished this on Tuesday, but a hung on a bit longer and I am very glad I did. This book was highly amusing and fun to read! I was smiling stupid while reading it!

Plot: If I said the chosen one, a smart best friend, a sworn nemesis, a ‘wise’ mentor, a magical school, wands and a magical war you would probably think Harry Potter. And you would be right to think that, but now two names are going to pop up into my head: Harry Potter and Simon Snow. These are only a few similarities with Harry Potter that I pointed out. It’s like Harry Potter with a fresh in cast and a new adventure to follow. Sometimes I felt myself rolling my eyes in a half joking matter and other times gasping in shock because I thought they were going to take the simple and predictable route, but took a different turn. So to put it simply- Carry On isn’t a carbon copy of Harry Potter, but more like a heavily Harry Potter inspired story.

I will stop talking about Harry Potter now because it wouldn’t be fair- this is a new novel in its own right.

There are many POV changes during the book (seriously, one line then another POV) but they are never really infuriating (maybe Agatha’s towards the end) and I loved getting inside other characters brains so quickly and then leave a moment later, which made the book very quick to read. The book is definitely character driven and I could tell this because whenever someone asked me what the book was about, I felt that I had to tell them all about the characters to explain the plot (does that makes sense?). Nothing really wrong with that but after I finished the book it did make me wonder what the hell I read for 517 pages. All of the action seemed to happen in the last 100 pages so what happened to the other 417 pages? But it did feel like a lot of stuff was happening- it now feels like an illusion.

Even though all of the ‘action’ was taking place I felt hollow. I don’t know what that means because I did really enjoy reading the book, it’s just that the story didn’t hold my head under water, like other stories do. But because it is a character driven story I will talk about this more on the character section of this book.

Lastly, I loved how they cast spells in this book and all of the British and pop culture references, those were appreciated!

Characters: Simon Snow is a typical chosen one, brave, naive, too trusting and rather special in everyone’s eyes. Simon was a pretty likable character overall, I never felt his character was annoying and I rather enjoyed reading his POV chapters because those chapters had bucket loads of world-building unlike some (cough cough Lucy cough cough).

Penelope was pretty likable and 5 points to Rowell because she was half Indian and English and not just a full on English gal she could of easily been. Her witty comments were really appreciated! I wish I could of learned more about her and her life because she did seen genuinely interesting.

Baz. Oh how I loved Baz’s character! He was funny, smart and dark and yes yes YES! The whole vampire part was not roadkill in my opinion but nicely written for his character. His and Simon’s conversations were entertaining to read and I don’t think you can’t help but like Baz though he can be a bit rude and lovey dovey and angsty.

HOWEVER, even though I am saying all of these nice things, I didn’t feel connected to any of these characters. I wish there was much more deep character development. They stayed flat and I hate flat! And with this being a largely character driven story I feel that I should of felt more for these characters.

What I liked:

  • How fast paced the book was
  • The writing was on point! Smooth and enjoyable.
  • The twists and turns of the plot
  • British and pop culture references

What I disliked:

  • That the characters didn’t have many layers to them
  • How the plot seemed missing sometimes
  • (Too many Harry Potter-like things?)

Verdict: A great, quick read with some light hearted and dark moments mixed in together, though the flat characters and missing plot sometimes let it down slightly. But I still recommend this novel to fans of romance, fantasy and maybe Harry Potter!

-Astra

Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Genres: Historical Fiction
My Rating: 
5 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.35

Summary (Goodreads):

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.


This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Cover:

I love how the cover is so simply yet so symbolic. It seems like Liesel had been dancing with Death all through her life, so this is very fitting.   

 
Review: 

Wow. Just honestly wow. I will have to say more for this to be a valuable review, but wow. This book is absolutely stunning. Half of this review is going to be spoiler free, while the other half is going to be full of them because I have so much to say. When I was only a measley 70-100 pages in, people were already telling me that I am going to love this book, or that it is a brilliant book or that it is the best book they have read. Well, I did love this book and it was (as I said before) stunning and it is definietly up there with some of the best books I have read.

During those 70 pages I don’t really feel connected to the characters but fast forward 300 pages and I was ugly crying over a sentence.

Writing: I had to make this catergory just for the Book Thief because how it is beautifully written impacts how you read and feel the book so much. If you have saw the blurb for this book, you would know that it is narrated by Death. Death is a very straight talking, cynical and curious narrator I have to tell you. But he is brilliant at story telling. Even though when I started reading this book I thought the writing was absolutely weird, choppy at some points,  you DO get used to it and I found Death quite comforting in a twisted way. And obviously this is a very unique way to write a novel.

Plot: As I think I have said before, I don’t really read Historical Fiction books set in world war two just because I find them too depressing to read, but though the book had a blanket of depressive tones, the blanket never suffocating. Though some chapters were heavier than other, it was still light- if that makes sense. I loved following Liesel’s story because while she was still a child, she wasn’t blinding naive , she had an air of wit to her which helped me follow on a story of a girl much younger than me.

Themes: There is no hope in this book. And when there IS hope in this book, it disappears in an instant thanks to our very own narrator. I would say the over arching theme to this story is words and how powerful they are. Words, spoken, written or read it doesn’t matter, in this book literally determines if a character survives or not, or if they a have a good three months or a crap three months. By the last 150 pages of this book, I really started to understand that, maybe because Death kept on reminding me.

Characters: 

Liesel is a joy to read about. She is smart, passionate, rebellious and she loves books! Her character is really intriguing because she is only 10 when this novel starts and you read her growing up until she is a teen. Liesel becomes this confident, well put together girl and all you have to do is read some of the earlier chapters about her and then read the lasts chapters of the book to see that. Character development executed finely. She is funny as well! I found myself laughing at her lines of speech sometimes. I think the words, saumensch and saukerl will be permenanatly stuck in my vocab.

Max is a wonderfully deep character as well. I really liked how we are introduced to him as well, just a small, unassuming chapters in the book, and he blossoms into this beautiful character. His fighting spirit defines him a lot and it is because of that fighting spirit which makes his core strong even though he is crumbling on the outside. His generally, sweet and kind character really left me wanting to read more about how he copped during the later struggles he faced.

Hans must be one of the best father characters written. His character oozes warmth like hot chocolate. He is written so smoothly and real, he has flaws which pushed him into some deep trouble I’m telling you that, but he is just a man. I could almost here is accordian playing or smell the cigarette smoke when he was smoking. Hans is a character that every body should try to be like.

What I liked:

-Writing

-Plot

-Characters

-Pace

What I disliked:

-The epilogue could of been explained and described a bit better

Verdict:

What are you waiting for? You will love this book, I garantee (and hope!). Adults and children alike should experience the great writing of  Mark Zusak.


SPOILER ZONE- cross at your own risk!

Firstly.

What the hell? Everyone dying on Himmel Road except for Liesel! I was crying my eyes out. I am so not use to reading books where the happy ending really isn’t that happy at all.

Even before that. DEATH IS SUCH A SAUKERL! He was basically spolling the book which made me so apprehensious and always on edge. And Rudy…I was crying my eyes out every time Death was like ‘he will never get that kiss’ or ‘it’s a shame he only has three months’. ARE YOU KIDDING ME DEATH! Are you seriously telling me that Rudy is dying in three chapters! Not on. That’s when I started disliking death a little. Who am I kidding, a lot actually.

And please you guys need to tell me what you think of this ending. Even though this book was a definite 5 stars, the ending was slightly odd. I wish the epilogue was longer- I would love to know if Liesel became a writer, or if Max started fighting again.

I still can’t believe Rudy is dead and that her didn’t get his kiss…seriously bombs suck.

Okay I think I might cry again, so I am going to finish off this post.

I would love to hear you thoughts on this amazing book, so comment below.

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

Review: Town Of Evening Calm, Country Of Cherry Blossoms by Fumiyo Kouno

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Title: Town Of Evening Calm, Country Of Cherry Blossoms
Author: Fumiyo Kouno
Genres: Sequential Art (Manga), Historical Fiction
My Rating: 
3.75- 4 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.01

Summary (Goodreads):

What impact did World War II and the dropping of the atomic bomb have on the common people of Japan? Through the eyes of an average woman living in 1955, Japanese artist Fumiyo Kouno answers these questions. This award-winning manga appears in an English translation for the first time. Fumiyo Kouno’s light, free style of drawing evokes a tender reflection of this difficult period in Hiroshima’s postwar past. As the characters continue with everyday life, the shadow of the war and the atomic bombing linger ghostlike in the background. Kouno’s beautiful storytelling touches the reader’s heart but is never overly sentimental. A widely embraced best seller in Japan, where the work was also controversial, Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms is the winner of several prestigious awards including Grand Prize at the 8th Japan Media Arts Festival (2004), New Life Award at the 9th Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prizes (2005). Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms is made up of interconnected short stories; the first is a love story entitled Town of Evening Calm; followed by the two-part story Country of Cherry Blossoms.


Cover: 3/5

A cute, simple cover which is very misleading for the plot. I like how the girl is so carefree even though she is having so many heavy thoughts and feelings during the manga.

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Review: It had been months- no that’s too generous- years since I read manga and even on the Wednesday afternoon I did borrow this book from the library I didn’t have manga on my mind when I wanted to pick up some graphic novels. But this book stood out to my on the bookshelves, I didn’t know if it was the long title (I am a P!ATD fan after all, I’m drawn to long titles) or the simply yet pretty artwork on the cover.

Whatever it was, I am very happy I picked up this Manga.

Plot: The whole theme of the manga was centered around people trying to live after the atomic bomb on Hiroshima during the tail end of the second world war. The manga is split up into two stories, Town of evening calm and Country of cherry blossoms and only has 104 pages! So you can tell it was a rather quick read.  The first story (TOEC) was very very good. It follows Minami Hirano, a young woman who lives with her mother, a clerk in an office who has depressing flashbacks to when the atomic bomb hit Hiroshima. There is also a sweet side plot as well with her love interest, Yutaka- a collegue. Altogether the plot for Minami’s story is really tragic and eye-opening as well. It was beautifully written- or well drawn.

The second story (COCB), centers around Nanami Ishikawa, who is Minami’s brother’s daughter, and who the ripples of the atomic bomb still affect generations of the same family. Now this plot did seem a bit  unclear. This is probably because they flashed forward a bit, and then flashed back and flashed back and there were other sub plots that confused me further after that. I did like the second story, lets be clear, but it wasn’t as clear as the other one.

Characters: Minami is just a normal woman in the story and I think that works in its favour. This book is suppose to show what it is like for normal woman after the atomic bomb. I felt so sorry for her because of the suvivors guilt she was carrying. She was written really nicely and real, so she was enjoyable to read, despite the whole saddening undertones.

Nanami on the other hand felt like a naive teenage, which helped demonstrate how even after a small space of time the next generation start to forget about the horrors of the generation before them. She seemed like just the microphone for the story and not really anyone important, to be honest.

What I liked:

-The drawings were marvelous

-How such a heavy topic was weaved into an enjoyable story

-The great storytelling in the first story

What I disliked:

-How unclear the second story was

-That it was so short! I wanted more!

Verdict: I seriously enjoyed learning about these two women’s stories as it is a really important thing to still talk about. I do recommend this manga to anyone who is interested in this subject matter or curious about how people were affected after the bomb because even though this is fictional it oozes reality.

-Astra

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.18

Summary (Goodreads): Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

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