Three Mini Book Reviews: March 2018

3 mini book reviews march 2018
Although I haven’t posted much this month, I’ll be posting everyday this week up until Friday! So to start off this week of blog posts, I thought I would do a few mini reviews of books I’ve read this year. I have made a few blog posts at the beginning of my blog all about mini book reviews. It allows me to write what I want to say about these books without writing an essay about it. Sometimes my views on a book are not long enough to warrant a long single review, so this is what these posts are for! They’re short, and they’re to the point.

Love and Freindship by Jane Austen
The version of Love and Freindship that I read is a collection of short stories and novellas written by Austen when she was still a teenager. (I didn’t just read the story in which the collection is named after). The anthology is a really great collection of work, with added content from editors about Austen’s life, and her beginnings as a writer. I felt that the collection gave a great insight into how Austen wrote, and where her inspiration for story telling came from. None of the stories are edited to today’s standard of editing, so a lot of the time, things were choppy and awkward. Sometimes her stories felt incomplete. However, since this is a collection of her first writings, it makes a lot of sense that they aren’t her best work. I gave this anthology a 4/5 because I thought it was an excellent collection of Austen’s early work, but not all of the stories impressed me.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
I can confidently say that this novel was the biggest let down of the year (so far). The story isn’t necessarily bad, but it lacks a lot of things that I find important in a novel. For example, there’s this huge mystery about why this bookstore exists, and why it appeals to certain customers. Once the reason is revealed, it seemed like the plot was going to become suspenseful, and adventerous. However, the twist at the end of the novel is extremely anticlimatic. So anticlimatic that I literally felt like Sloan wasted an opportunity to shock his readers. I’m sure to some, the plot twist is great the way it is, but for such a fun book, it should have had a better ending.

Another thing I was disappointed about was the love story in the novel. The relationship between Clay and Kate lacks chemistry. They seem to have a pretty normal relationship considering what the book is about, but nothing they do seems naturally human. I know that sounds strange but imagine if a robot was trying to express its feelings toward someone. That’s how their dialogue and relationship felt. It was cute, but didn’t feel natural at all. Whenever Clay and Kate had dialogue, or when Clay was thinking about her, I always wanted to skip those pages. That is when I know that the book might become a miss for me.

Although I was very disappointed with this novel, I still gave it a 3.5/5 because I thought the novel was funny and unpredictable. I never read a book like this, and the good parts about this book were good. So, if you like books about books, or books that are not predictable, definitely check this one out.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
I originally read the first half of this book in university, but I never gotten around to finishing it. You know how it is. During school, how often do you have time to finish a book completely? I usually was able to, but not all the time, especially when it was my final year in school. The book was assigned in my class where literautre and pyschology intersect. It was a really amazing course, and definitely gave me a different perspective on this book.

H is for Hawk is, to put it simply, a memoir about Macdonald training a goshawk. However the memoir is more than that. It is structured around the goshawk, but delves into how she coped with her father’s death, her childhood, and her struggles with depression. The way Macdonald weaves these stories together allows the reader to see how she copes with things, and how it has an effect on the mind. She also relates a lot of her training and coping with the author T. H. White. He wrote the King Arthur books, but also wrote about goshawks. She acts like a psychologist and tries to understand White through his writing in fiction, and his diaries. It’s such an interesting read to see all of these things connect when you’re reading about one person training a hawk. I feel like if you have background knowledge of psychology, you might enjoy this book more than the average reader. I think you need to have that bit of base knowledge to truly appreciate what is going on in her memoir. I also think a love of the literary tradition will be a bonus too.  I gave this memoir a 4/5.

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts on them? Let me know if I should do more of these mini reviews.

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Three Books I Didn’t Like

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It happens to all of us. We pick up a book, and we just can’t enjoy it. Whether it’s the characters, the plot, or just one aspect of the book. It can be a let down when a book you wanted to be good ends up being awful. I’ve had my fair share of books I didn’t like, but it still disappoints me when another book ends up being unreadable. These books may be favourites of others, or may hold a significance within the history of literature, but I just don’t like them. If you haven’t read these books, there may be a bit of spoilers. So read on with caution!

Bloom by Estee Lalonde
I used to be a big fan of Estee Lalonde, so when I got Bloom, I was really excited to see what she wrote with her first book. Unfortunately, I was extremely disappointed with Bloom in its entirety. The book is supposed to be very personal, but a lot of the stories she tells, she glosses over a lot of the more important, relatable details. Almost as if giving the bare bones of the story and you fill in the blanks of it. I also was disappointed in the lack of editing in the book. There were many little editorial mistakes throughout the book. I don’t know if the book wasn’t proofread, or what, but it lack professionalism in my eyes.

I think what I was most disappointed about was her remedies for social anxiety. This is a mental health issue a lot of people have, and is a real struggle for them. However, for Estee, the best way to deal with it is to “just be yourself,” or “don’t try to impress other people.” She makes a rather large list of how to be less anxious, but it reads off as if Estee is trying to equate shyness and anxiety. It’s harmful comments and associations like these that diminish the severity of mental health issues, and brings shame to people who have mental health disorders. I’m sure with this part of the book, she was trying to be helpful, but it should have been a list of how she deals with things, not how others should deal with it. It provides misinformation for people who may actually have social anxiety and may think why they can’t get over it based on her list. I was quite offended while reading that part, and with the rest of the book not being that great, I just really didn’t like it.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness is meant to be a classic among readers, so when I picked this book up, I got it based on its popularity in the literary world. The edition I have has skulls on the cover, so I assumed it was going to be a ghost story, or horror/gothic story of some sort. Before reading this book, I had no idea of what the book was about. That’s how I usually like to read my books because I don’t want to have a million spoilers thrown at me. Well, this is the book that has changed my mind about that.

The book centres around a man going to the Congo with an ivory trading company. He tells people on a boat of a man becoming “wild” and “savage” like the indigenous people there. I didn’t finish the book because the novel is full of disgusting racism against black people. Even before this man becomes “savage” there is a lot of dialogue discriminating black people and their traditions. Since I didn’t read the rest of the book, I had to find a summary of how it ends, and it made me glad I didn’t waste my valuable time finishing it. Let me advise you all to always find out more about the book you’re reading, and don’t just pick it up because it’s popular, or deemed a literary classic. I won’t make that mistake again.

The Girl Before by J P Delaney
For the past couple of years, the domestic thriller has been a very popular genre of contemporary authors. The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, and the like have been really popular, but I never read those books. When The Girl Before was released, I was able to get an ARC, and I thought why not try out this genre? I made a bad decision there. I didn’t finish this book either.

The novel centres around this beautiful home that everyone wants to live in. But there’s a catch. The architect of this home wants whoever living there to sign a contract and answer a whole bunch of questions about themselves. Basically, the contract is for this creepy architect to find potential women that resemble his dead wife. The story goes back and forth between two women who lived there, and their experience. Once the current woman finds out she looks like his dead wife, she still ends up sleeping with him and becomes interested in him. She doesn’t seem the least bit bothered by anything this man has done so far.

The dialogue was very cringe-worthy as well. I just couldn’t stand reading it because of how badly it was written, and the fact the woman wasn’t put off by the fact she looked exactly like this dead wife, and his observations of her. This novel was definitely a pass for me, and it has put me off of domestic thrillers at the moment.

Have you read these books? What do you think of them? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

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7 Books You Have To Read This Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day is only a few days away, and I thought I would share some romantic stories that you could read! Not all of these stories have the same cookie-cutter approach to love stories, and that’s why I love reading them. I’m not a huge romance reader, because I don’t like reading something that is predictable. I usually see predictability in love stories, so that’s why I shy away from the genre. That could also be said for YA novels. I find the love triangle trope overdone in YA, so I don’t get curious about these books. Continue reading

January 2018 TBR

January 2018 TBR
Another year has started, which means another year of books to read! I always have a difficult time picking books to read because I own over 100 books I haven’t read yet. Yup, that’s right, over 100. In a reading year, I read a lot of books I haven’t read yet, but I also reread books too. So, adding that into consideration, it becomes very hard for me to choose what books I feel like reading month to month.
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November 2017 Favourites

November 2017 Favourites
November is gone, and with it, I accumulated a bunch of favourites. I thought to myself, why not make posts about my new favourite things? People on YouTube do them all the time, and I love watching them. They’re quite addicting. So from now on, I’m thinking of doing monthly favourites, or seasonal favourites based on what I really enjoyed.
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November Wrap Up and December TBR

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I can’t believe it’s already December! I feel like 2017 went by faster than I thought. Last month, I decided that I wasn’t going to complete my 60 book reading goal. A lot of the books I read this year felt rushed. I wasn’t enjoying my reading as much, and I felt like I needed to finish a ton of books to be satisfied. I have now reduced my reading goal to 52 books, which I’ve already almost completed. I feel better taking my time with books, and giving them the time they deserve. I typically read about 50 books in a year anyway, so already reaching that a month before the year ends is pretty amazing. Continue reading

13 Ways to Get Out of a Reading Slump

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Every once and a while, it happens to the best of us. A reading slump. It’s not something we want to happen, but it almost always does. I’m an avid reader, and I usually read about 50 books a year. So how do I get in a reading slump? There’s many reasons, actually. I sometimes become bored with the books I read, or I’m just not in the mood to read at all. GASP! I know, shocking. Although this happens, there’s always ways to jump back into reading. After a little bit of thinking, I gathered a few tips and tricks to get back on the reading train. Continue reading