2016/06/30

BOOK HAUL:
JUNE

Well, shit. Last month, I told myself I really needed to rein the amount of books I buy, and yet here we are... with another massive book haul (I bet you, reader, are not actually that sad because I know you love it).

June was a good month, with weather shifting between hotter than the sun (which for us Norwegians is about 32 Celsius) and occasional rain. It's been pretty good though, I went away to Bergen for a weekend to visit my grandfather, which was nice.

I must admit, I am massively looking forward to having some vacation time and having some time off work. I'm going to America for three weeks with my mother to visit some family, which should be fun (We're also stopping by New York on the way home which should be freaking amazing)!

But, enough of my chatter, here are the books I got in June!





















Frog by Mo Yan

Let me know if you got any new books lately!
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2016/06/29

BOOK REVIEW:
NIGHT RAINBOW BY CLAIRE KING

Title: The Night Rainbow
Author: Claire King
Published: 2013
Language: English
Pages: 224
Rating: 3/5



Summary:
Five-year-old Pea is spending her summer in France running wild with her imagination, trying to deal with her fathers passing and a mother that's too sad to take care of her.


Review:
This was quite a lovely read, and very much like I had anticipated.

I thought this book dealt with important issues through the eyes of a child very well. Though Pea perhaps seems a little older than only five, she also feels like a child. The most heartbreaking thing about this story is how lonely the main character is and how she's desperately trying to cope with her feelings and the situation she's in. She is desperate for love and attention and tries so hard to make her mother happy, only to find herself fail, and those bits really pull at the heartstrings, because it's not her fault.

The writing has something special to it on occasion, but not always. I felt like the middle part of this book dragged on a bit too long, and because the story was moving along so slowly, when the ending came, it felt rather short and a bit stunted.

This is a charming tale with a good atmosphere, a bit sad but also a bit funny at times. I would recommend it if you enjoy contemporary fiction with a child narrator.

You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2016/06/27

BOOK REVIEW:
BOY, SNOW, BIRD BY HELEN OYEYEMI

Title: Boy, Snow, Bird
Author: Helen Oyeyemi
Published: 2013
Language: English
Pages: 308
Rating: 3/5


Summary:
Set in 1953 in Massachusetts, a woman from a troubled past and an obsession with beauty marries a widower and ends up having a daughter who exposes them for being light-skinned African Americans passing for whites, much to the despair of her family.


Review:
This was quite an interesting read, but one I also have ambivalent feelings about. To me, the first half of this book was quite good, and then after that it took a bit of a nosedive.

I quite enjoyed the themes of race, family and beauty, but I wasn't really moved by it. I didn't feel like it dug that deep, even though I can see that it's trying. For some strange reason, it doesn't strike an emotional chord with me, which I found rather surprising.

I did love the influences from fairytales though. This is not an exact retelling of anything, at least as far as I could tell, but it brings in elements of wicked stepmothers, mirrors and other mythical elements that I really enjoyed.

If you've read the book, you will also know that there is this big thing that happens in the end which touches on a very important theme, but honestly, I didn't find that part very well done at all and to me it came out of nowhere. I didn't feel like the "big reveal" had any proper build up, so the ending fell a bit flat for me.

I think this is an interesting read for people who enjoy storylines that jump to and fro and has elements of fairytales in it.

You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2016/06/25

BOOK REVIEW:
THE KRAKEN WAKES BY JOHN WYNDHAM

Title: The Kraken Wakes
Author: John Wyndham
Published: 1953
Language: English
Pages: 240
Rating: 4/5


Summary:
It all beings with strange fireballs plunging into the ocean and ships starting to disappear. Journalists Mike and Phyllis Watson follow this strange story, developing from a curiosity into a global crisis.


Review:
This is my second John Wyndham book and I have to say, if all of his books are like this, he's going to become on of my favorite authors.

This story is written in a very realistic style, in the way that large parts are told through second hand accounts, acquired by the journalists talking to people who have been places and seen things connected to the sea creatures. The danger sort of lurks in the corners for a large part of the book, but you know it's there and you know it's coming. This part feels a little bit slow, but ultimately, it does build suspense.

It is so freaking scary when disaster strikes, and I like how the author includes all kinds of people reacting in different ways, even though they're all basically feeling the same thing: horror. I also have to say that I am already really frightened of deep sea things, so this was extra scary for me, but fun scary.

It is a slightly more calm story in a lot of ways, which to me is what makes it so good; it feels a lot like people would actually react, it feels realistic that governments would disagree on how to approach the problem, all the while hushing things down and telling people not to panic.

This was a really great apocalyptic novel, and if you like that sort of thing, this is for you.


You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2016/06/24

2016/06/22

BOOK REVIEW:
HOW TO BUILD A GIRL BY CAITLIN MORAN

Title: How To Build A Girl
Author: Caitlin Moran
Published: 2014
Language: English
Pages: 352
Rating: 3/5


Summary:
Johanna Morrigan, a fourteen year old girl from a poverty-stricken family, decides to reinvent herself as Dolly Wilde, a fast-talking music journalist and Lady Sex Adventurer.


Review:
This is a book I had heard a lot about before reading it, and now I completely understand why people are talking about it. This is, as promised, entertaining and funny, even bordering on hilarious.

I loved the setting of Wolverhampton and getting to know the Morrigan family and its dynamic. I found it interesting the way poverty is portrayed, sometimes beautiful but always hard. One can never understand that unless you've been there, but this gives a colorful glimpse into that kind of life. I also really enjoyed the underlying theme of class, which is an important and interesting topic.

I think the one I have the most ambivilant feelings towards in the main character. Sometimes I loved her, sometimes I didn't. I liked how her feelings are a bit all over the place, how she is unapolagetic in her sexuality, how she is in many ways desperate, to be liked, seen and loved, and how she's trying to save her family and in many ways feel responsible for them.

On the other hand, I felt like she sometimes drowned a bit in the writing, she was too many things, too much, like I couldn't always get past all this other stuff to get to her. She also felt very adult, very soon, and I kept forgetting how young she really was, and a lot of the times you get the feeling that she's the author, with a few tweaks, which makes Johanna less convincing as a full-fledged character of her own. It's written as a person who remembers what she was like when she was younger and writes from the present day standpoint, not actually that of a teenager. Even though she's so MUCH, there's still something missing.

I definitely enjoy the idea of reinventing onesself and always rebuilding, and following the progress of this girl desperately trying to become something else and growing in the process.

In the end though, it was a very enjoyable read for the most of the time, and made me chuckle. I think you'd like it if you like YA and want a bit of a laugh.

You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2016/06/21

BOOK REVIEW:
JAMAICA INN BY DAPHNE DU MAURIER

Title: Jamaica Inn
Author: Daphne du Maurier
Published: 1935
Language: English
Pages: 302
Rating: 3/5


Summary:
On her mothers dying request, our protagonist travels to live with her aunt, and finds her a changed woman, mostly due to her alcoholic and overbearing husband. She decides to stay and try and help her aunt, but in the process, finds herself drawn into her uncle's dark business.


Review:
I've heard such wonderful things about du Maurier and her books, so I was very excited to read this one as my first, and though it has a lot of elements I enjoyed, I was not overwhelmed.

What I enjoyed the most was the dark atmosphere and the characters. The mystery of the book was surprising and something I enjoyed unraveling as I was reading. There's a bit of romance in it that I didn't mind either, and the relationships between the characters in general were fascinating to read about.

However, I found the writing a bit dense in some ways, a bit slow, especially in the beginning. I felt like I struggled through the chapters and found myself putting it down and not rushing back to pick it back up. I usually enjoy dark and gloomy settings, but I felt as if there was perhaps too much of it in this. It felt like too much darkness, to much mystery without a break.

Don't get me wrong, I did like this book, I just didn't love it. I think I might have read it at the wrong time as I think wasn't quite in the mood for this kind of story. I think if you enjoy gothic classic fiction (which I usually love), you should give this a try, because there are quite a lot of good elements to it that I think most people would enjoy.

You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2016/06/20

2016/06/19

BOOK HAUL:
THE BIRDS AND THE BEES

So, as I have accumulated a fair amount of book already in June, I thought I would show you some books separately... mostly because they're so gorgeous and I feel like they deserve their own space.

The Birds and The Bees books are designed by Vintage Classics, and when I first saw them, I fell in love with these covers. It's like they were made to impress me! They were designed by a Scottish studio called Timorous Beasties, who are obviously very talented.











Sigh... such beautiful books!
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