goodreads: (Default)
Title: Love and Laughter in the Time of Chemotherapy
Author: Manjusha Pawagi
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 288
Date read: May, 2017

Manjusha Pawagi, a successful family court judge, has written a not-so-typical memoir about her experience with cancer. Wryly funny and stubbornly hopeful, this is her quirky take on what it's like to face your own mortality when, to be honest, you thought you'd live forever. She describes how even the darkest moments of life can be made worse with roommates; details how much determination it takes to ignore the statistics; and answers the age-old question: what does it take to get a banana popsicle around here?


An excellent book! I'd recommend this to anybody, no matter whether or not they've had their lives touched by cancer.

It's a very poignant and real book. Manjusha allows the reader an insight into an experience they will hopefully never have to go through themselves, and while Manjusha is undoubtedly one of the lucky ones (she survived!) it still served as a chilling reminder of how cancer effects not just the patient, but everybody around.

I find it wrong to say that I "liked" the book, but I had a very hard time putting it down, and it is one of those powerful books that stay with you for a long time after finishing it.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: The Pearl Thief (Code Name Verity #0)
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Genre: Historical, YA
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 336
Date read: April, 2017

When fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart wakes up in the hospital, she knows the lazy summer break she'd imagined won't be exactly like she anticipated. And once she returns to her grandfather's estate, a bit banged up but alive, she begins to realize that her injury might not have been an accident. One of her family's employees is missing, and he disappeared on the very same day she landed in the hospital.

Desperate to figure out what happened, she befriends Euan McEwen, the Scots Traveller boy who found her when she was injured, and his standoffish sister Ellen. As Julie grows closer to this family, she experiences some of the prejudices they've grown used to firsthand, a stark contrast to her own upbringing, and finds herself exploring thrilling new experiences that have nothing to do with a missing-person investigation.

Her memory of that day returns to her in pieces, and when a body is discovered, her new friends are caught in the crosshairs of long-held biases about Travellers. Julie must get to the bottom of the mystery in order to keep them from being framed for the crime.


While I never found it quite as engaging as neither Code Name Verity nor Rose Under Fire, I was still very pleased to get to read it.

It took me awhile to get into the story. Partly because I didn't care too much about Julie at first, partly because I really couldn't figure out what genre the book was trying to be! However, I was still intrigued enough to keep reading, and once the book decided for sure that it was going to be a mystery, I enjoyed it a lot more.

I was really, really frustrated by how people treated the tinkers, but guess that's pretty true for the time, and that describing it any other way would be "whitewashing" (for want of better word) history.

It didn't break my heart the way Elizabeth Wein's two other books did, but it's a cute story to tide people over, who want to know more about Julie/Verity.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: De, der vogter
Author: Claus Holm
Genre: Short-stories
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 384
Date read: March, 2017

En gruppe turister spærres inde i en underjordisk bunker uden kontakt til omverden. De ved ikke, hvor længe de kan overleve dernede - eller hvad der er sket på jorden over dem.

Dreng møder pige i en historie om at forfølge sin egen drøm, frem for andres. Måske kan man også lære af de ting, man ikke ved.

En ung mor mister på én gang sin mand og sit arbejde - men måske kan en rød cykel bane vejen frem mod et nyt liv.

En nyfødt dreng får tildelt en agent fra Oven - og en fra Neden - men hvorfor er han så vigtig?

De, der vogter er fire forbundne historier om almindelige mennesker i ualmindelige situationer; om mennesker, som beskytter hinanden, og som indimellem selv har behov for at blive beskyttet. Frygt og sorg, afmagt og tragedie, alle har de en vigtig plads i fortællingerne - men i sidste ende indtager kærlighed, venskab og medmenneskelighed de altoverskyggende hovedroller.

Fra 1950'erne til nu; fra den faderløse femårige til den fortvivlede cirkusprinsesse. Når luften er ved at løbe ud - i metaforisk eller bogstavelig forstand - er spørgsmålet det samme for os alle: Skal jeg blive hvor jeg er, eller skal jeg bryde ud?


"De, der vogter" er en samling af 4 noveller, der ved første øjekast ser ud til at være uafhængige af hinanden... og så alligevel ikke. De er meget forskellige, og derfor nærmest umulige at anmelde under ét, så jeg har valgt at anmelde dem hver for sig i stedet.

Den første novelle, "Bunkeren", var også klart min yndlings. Jeg har altid haft en svaghed for dystopiske/post-apokalyptiske romaner, og fløj lige igennem den. Der var enkelte af personerne, jeg gerne ville have hørt mere om (f.eks. overlevelsesnødden som købte al vandet i starten af bogen), men det er ulempen ved (gode) noveller... man vil altid gerne vide mere! Og egentlig syntes jeg, det var et okay sted at stoppe - alt taget i betragtning. Jeg var helt vild med Sarah :-) 5 stjerner.

Starten på den anden novelle, "Kvinden og løverne", mindede mig utrolig meget om starten på "The Night Circus" (selv her ved anden gennemlæsning, hvor jeg ved at inspirationen er en helt anden), men det er dog kun starten, og historien fik hurtigt sit eget liv. Det ville være en skam at røbe for meget af handlingen, så jeg vil nøjes med at sige at jeg absolut ikke havde forventet den drejning historien ville tage, men efter det første chock begyndte jeg at gennemskue de hints Claus havde lagt ud, og endte med at synes, at det var en fin slutning. I sidste ende er det nok den af novellerne jeg er midst tilbøjelig til at genlæse, men jeg vil alligevel give den 3 stjerner.

"Gaven" fik mig til at græde. "Big ugly tears". Mærkeligt nok ikke der hvor man måske ville have forventet det, men ved Jessicas reaktion senere. Meget vagt, det ved jeg godt, men jeg prøver at undgå spoilers. Heldigvis endte historien på en mere positiv note (ellers er jeg heller ikke sikker på, jeg ville have kunnet klare det), men jeg ville have ønsket den havde været bare lidt længere, så de øvrige siders tragedie var blevet opvejet mere. 4 stjerner.

Den sidste novelle, "Vogterne", var jeg meget splittet overfor. Som kristen havde jeg afgjort nogle problemer med den*, men handlingsmæssigt fandt jeg den meget fascinerende. Den er baseret på et interessant koncept, og jeg kunne godt lide den meget bogstavelige tilgang til skytsengle og dæmoner. 4 stjerner.

Generelt en meget velskreven bog, som jeg er glad for at have fået chancen for at læse. Og specielt "Bunkeren" bliver nok en novelle jeg kommer til at genlæse ofte. Ikke dårligt klaret af Claus Holm, når man tænker på, at jeg typisk ikke er så meget til noveller. De fleste af disse er dog også lange nok til at gå under den engelske term "novella" snarere end "short story".... hvilket jeg værdsatte!

*Ikke så meget engle og dæmoner generelt - det er der præcedens for blandt kristne forfattere også... bl.a. hos Frank E. Peretti og C.S. Lewis, bare for at nævne to af de mest kendte... men ind i mellem var der nogle fraser som skurede i ørerne. Det er dog på ingen måde sikkert, at det er ting der ville genere andre end mig.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Final Girls
Author: Mira Grant
Genre: horror
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 112
Date read: March, 2017

What if you could fix the worst parts of yourself by confronting your worst fears?

Dr. Jennifer Webb has invented proprietary virtual reality technology that purports to heal psychological wounds by running clients through scenarios straight out of horror movies and nightmares. In a carefully controlled environment, with a medical cocktail running through their veins, sisters might develop a bond they've been missing their whole lives - while running from the bogeyman through a simulated forest. But... can real change come so easily?

Esther Hoffman doubts it. Esther has spent her entire journalism career debunking pseudoscience, after phony regression therapy ruined her father's life. She's determined to unearth the truth about Dr. Webb's budding company. Dr. Webb's willing to let her, of course, for reasons of her own. What better advertisement could she get than that of a convinced skeptic? But Esther's not the only one curious about how this technology works. Enter real-world threats just as frightening as those created in the lab. Dr. Webb and Esther are at odds, but they may also be each other's only hope of survival.


The first stand-alone stort-story / novella I've read by Mira Grant (all the others have been in her Newsflesh universe), and it reminded me why I prefer longer novels in order to flesh out the universe more. I loved the premise of the story (revisiting problems via dreams and augmented reality), but thought the writing could have been better. The suspenseful part of the story wasn't nearly as powerful as it would have been, if you'd gotten to know the characters better, and I missed some sort of proper resolution / explanation at the end.

Still, Mira Grant always writes stories worth reading, and despite my small complaints I did enjoy the book and am as always eager to read more from her hand.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Follow Me Back
Author: A.V. Geiger
Genre: YA
Rating: 2/5
# pages: 368 pages
Date read: February 2017

Tessa Hart's world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it's like his speaking directly to her...

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn't help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast - like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric's plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world's best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn...


Please note that this is a review of the book version only. There is also a version on Wattpad, which has some significant changes. Ironically, I believe I would have rated that one higher, but this is the version provided to me by NetGalley, so so be it.

It will be hard to review it properly without spoilers but I will do my best.

Most of the book was excellent. Well written and captivating - written in the style of a YA Liane Moriarty novel. Sure, it was kinda sweetly tacky in places, and unrealistic in a chick-lit kinda way, but it worked. I stayed up much too late to read it, and despite a few glaring plotholes (most notably the MET storyline which was never tied up... I also have questions about both Blair and the therapist) was ready to give it a solid 4 star rating.

But then came the last 5 pages. I realize they were added for shock value and to get people to read the sequel, but when I read them, I didn't know a sequel was in the works, and thought this was the end - and it basically ruined the book for me. Only the fact that I was reading it on my tablet saved it from being tossed across the room.

At that time I was ready to give the book just 1 star, but a quick look on Goodreads informed me that a sequel is indeed in the works (and spoilers are aplenty on Wattpad) and that all is obviously not how it seems. That mellowed my opinion a fair bit, and made me raise my rating from "I didn't like it" to "it was okay". Still not fond of the cheap trick though.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Prince of the Moon
Author: Megan Derr
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 93
Date read: January, 2017

All Solae wants is to be accepted and loved by the family that has always rejected him. But given it was his late mother who cursed the kingdom to eternal winter, the chances of that happening are minimal. If he can find a way to break the curse, however, surely that would be enough to change their minds regarding him.

But Solae is forbidden to practice magic because of his mother, which limits his ability to pursue solutions. Desperate for advice and new ideas, he contacts a famous curse breaker—and has no idea what to do when the unexpectedly shows up, handsome and friendly and dangerously intriguing.


A fairly traditional fantasy that was made utterly charming by the very sweet two main characters. Granted, their 'insta-romance' was perhaps not entirely believable, but I found myself not minding, because of the very stereotypical "fairytale feel" of the entire novella - most of those have rather instant romances as well. That this was a M/M romance just changed the parameters around a bit.

Short and enjoyable. I liked both main characters, and appreciated how we got to hear the story from both sides. I would have liked a bit more resolution near the end, but accept that the comeuppance was never to come and that Solae's best revenge was to live well and be happy.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Last to Die
Author: Kelly Garrett
Genre: YA
Rating: 2/5
# pages: 218
Date read: January, 2017

Sixteen-year-old Harper Jacobs and her bored friends make a pact to engage in a series of not-quite illegal break-ins. They steal from each other's homes, sharing their keys and alarm codes. But they don't take anything that can't be replaced by some retail therapy, so it's okay. It's thrilling. It's bad. And for Harper, it's payback for something she can't put into words-something to help her deal with her alcoholic mother, her delusional father, and to forget the lies she told that got her druggie brother arrested. It's not like Daniel wasn't rehab bound anyway.

So everything is okay-until the bold but aggravating Alex, looking to up the ante, suggests they break into the home of a classmate. It's crossing a line, but Harper no longer cares. She's proud of it. Until one of the group turns up dead, and Harper comes face-to-face with the moral dilemma that will make or break her-and, if she makes the wrong choice, will get her killed.


Huh! I'm starting to wonder if I read a different book than the others did! So many 4 and 5 star reviews, and mine can only just sneak its way up to 2.

Because my honest opinion is that this book was absolutely ridiculous. None of the characters seemed believable or acted in an even half-way realistic manner.

A shame too, because the plot had potential, and could have been really interesting if the characters hadn't been so hopelessly exaggerated. And twist seemed completely unmotivated and was never properly resolved or explained.

Granted, it did keep me reading, and despite how overdone everything was, I did want to know how it ended. But when push came to shove, I couldn't really bring myself to care about any of the characters other than Maggie, and most of them seemed more like charicatures than anybody you'd meet in real life.

With all the awesome YA books out there, give this one a miss.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Thirteen Hours
Author: Francis Gideon
Genre: Dystopian
Rating: 1.5/5
# pages: 73 pages
Date read: January 2017

Hans longs to be accepted by his academic peers. When he discovers a cure for the ongoing zombie crisis, he thinks he's finally achieved that goal - only to be stripped of his rank and unceremoniously tossed out on the streets.

With nowhere else to turn, Hans, his wife, and her lover Joan look for solutions in other areas, cobbling together a lab and supplies by scrounging the back alleys of London. The only thing they lack is a body to experiment on.

When the body of a young man shows up, it's almost too good to be true. Hans has only thirteen hours to work, but he's determined to prove himself. The clock is ticking, and nothing is ever as easy as it seems...


If goodreads hadn't told me otherwise, I'd have assumed this was Francis Gideon's first book. The plot showed definite potential, but was very poorly executed and the characters were two-dimensional and caricatures. The writing was choppy and needed editing, and at a mere 73 pages, the author wanted to do far too much, and had to rush through the various stages of the plot (which actually turned out to be a good thing... I doubt I would have finished it, had it been much longer). For a book containing zombies, it was awfully tame, with not even the fear of an attack to add tension to the story, and unfortunately the main love-story seemed tacked on and completely unbelievable.

A shame.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: A List of Cages
Author: Robin Roe
Genre: YA
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 320 pages
Date read: January, 2017

When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he's got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn't easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can't complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian--the foster brother he hasn't seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He's still kind hearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what's really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives.



The writing-style took some getting used to - to the point that the first 25% took me 2 months to read, and I then finished the last 75% in one sitting!

I wasn't as blown away by this book as other reviews had let me to hope I would be. As already mentioned it took some getting into, and while I loved the growing friendship between Julian and Adam and his friends (definite shades of "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" there!) and found the middle part of the book captivating, the lack of communication and trust in adults was still frustrating (Adam's mother especially). Worst of all, the ending was deeply unsatisfying. The other issues I could have ignored or forgiven, but a poor ending means a poor lasting effect of a book.

It still deserves 3 stars though, as it was a very powerful book up until then. With a better ending, it could easily have been a 5-star read.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Fun Family
Author: Benjamin Frisch
Genre: Graphic Novel
Rating: 1/5
# pages: 240
Date read: May, 2016

Beloved cartoonist Robert Fun has earned a devoted following for his circle-shaped newspaper comic strip, celebrating the wholesome American family by drawing inspiration from his real home life... but the Fun Family bears some dark secrets. As their idyllic world collapses and the kids are forced to pick up the pieces, can they escape the cycle of art imitating life imitating art?


I received this book as an ARC in return for an honest review.

Let's get the good stuff out of the way first - I liked the style of the drawings in this, even if it did get difficult to tell Mike and Robby apart at times, and the mother's face had a weird shape.

There. That was it.

There was literally nothing I enjoyed about this comic. I kept reading it, under the assumption that it just HAD to get better eventually... but it never did. Instead it ended on an extreme low, that just made me push the book away in disgust.

Full disclosure - I don't know Benjamin Frisch, and have no clue if the Fun family is based on a newspaper comic strip of some kind. If that's the case, I can see Benjamin Frisch getting so tired of his own story, that he felt the need to write a book about their life going to hell in a hand basket, in order to get some sort of therapeutic release. That would make sense, and that would make the book make sense. It wouldn't make it any more enjoyable, but at least I'd understand what he was trying to do.

Instead what I got was a book full of dysfunctional adults and only marginally less dysfunctional kids. Until the very end, I'd sort of expected that the grandmother's ghost would help the family get back on their feet again, but instead she just introduced a whole new level of weirdness into their lives.

The parents were the worst though. They kept making bad decision after bad decision, leaving the kids to bear the brunt of it and pick up the pieces. I wanted to kick some sense into both the mother and father, for them to wake up and take responsibility already!

A deeply unpleasant book that I wouldn't recommend to anybody.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: I Hate Fairyland: Madly Ever After
Author: Skottie Young
Genre: graphic novel
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 128
Date read: May, 2016

Follow Gert, a forty year old woman stuck in a six year olds body who has been stuck in the magical world of Fairyland for nearly thirty years. Join her and her giant battle-axe on a delightfully blood soaked journey to see who will survive the girl who HATES FAIRYLAND.


This was... extraordinarily weird! Not necessarily bad-weird, but totally unexpected. I read most of it with my eyebrows up and my jaw down, wondering how on earth I had entered this surreal universe.

The drawings were great - although perhaps slightly too detailed at times, which could get slightly gross. The plot pretty unique, and the main character unusually unpleasant. This is definitely not a comic I'd hand to a girl who likes princesses - but very possibly to a boy who likes the unconventional.

Really not what I had expected, and as such, I have a bit of a hard time figuring out what I think of it, but at the end of the day - I think I like it.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Fellside
Author: M.R. Carey
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 496
Date read: May, 2016

Jess Moulson is convicted of murder. But it's a murder she can't remember committing.

Nothing is quite clear from the drug-fuelled night when a blaze set in her apartment killed the little boy upstairs. But when the media brands Jess a child killer, she starts to believe it herself.

Now she's on her way to Fellside, the biggest, most formidable women's prison in Europe, standing in the bleak Yorkshire moors.

But Jess won't be alone in her prison cell. Lurking in the shadows is an unexpected visitor... the ghost of the ten-year-old boy she killed. He says he needs her help - and he won't take no for an answer.


I read and loved "The Girl With All the Gifts" earlier this year, so when I discovered "Fellside" on Netgalley, I immediately requested it. And I'm very happy to have read it. While it couldn't quite live up to my expectations, I had a hard time putting it down, and could never figure out what would happen next.

The writing style is just as good as in his earlier book, although perhaps not quite as tight. I did feel some of the chapters were superfluous, and that it would have benefitted from being cut down just a bit. Mostly, it frustrated me that other than Jess, there were no real sympathetic characters - not even Alex, whom I'd expected to be supposed to like.

It started out strong, the middle fell a bit flat, and then it ended on a strong - albeit unexpected - note as well. I don't think it's a book I'm likely to reread, but that's mostly because the surprises along the way is what makes this book so fascinating the first time around.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Awake
Author: Natasha Preston
Genre: YA
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 336
Date read: March, 2016

Scarlett Garner doesn't remember anything before the age of four - until a car accident changes everything. She starts to remember pieces of a past that frighten her. A past her parents hid from her...and a secret that could get her killed.


I almost gave up on this book before I even started it, due to the surprisingly high number of 1-star reviews and DNF* shelvings on GoodReads. However, I'd requested an ARC from Netgalley, and figured I should at least give it a chance to make up my own mind.

I ended up being completely unable to put it down, and finished it in a day.

Mind you, I can still understand some of the things the other reviewers had problems with. The writing wasn't as tight as I could have hoped for, and there were obvious mistakes along the way (e.g. the main character was 16 when the book started and 15 when it ended...), but as it was an ARC, I could chalk that up to it being an uncorrected proof, and that these were issues that would (hopefully) be caught by an editor before actually being published.

But occasional sloppy writing aside, the plot just grabbed me from page 1 and wouldn't let me go. It had some awesome twists along the way, which left me gaping and I just had to know what happened next. The writing might have bothered me more in a less captivating book, but as it was, it diminished to just being something I noticed from time to time, but which didn't really pull me out of the book.

The quick romance didn't bother me. I've seen love at first sight happen too often to dismiss it as "unrealistic". It might not be the norm, but it's definitely not unheard of either.

So 5 stars for a gripping book I couldn't put down. Minus 1 star for the writing and slight plotholes near the end.

* Did-Not-Finish
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: You Were Here
Author: Cori McCarthy
Genre: YA
Rating: 4.5
# pages: 400
Date read: January, 2016

Jaycee is about to accomplish what her older brother Jake couldn't: live past graduation.

Jaycee is dealing with her brother's death the only way she can - by re-creating Jake's daredevil stunts. The ones that got him killed. She's not crazy, okay? She just doesn't have a whole lot of respect for staying alive.

Jaycee doesn't expect to have help on her insane quest to remember Jake. But she's joined by a group of unlikely friends - all with their own reasons for completing the dares and their own brand of dysfunction: the uptight, ex-best friend, the heartbroken poet, the slacker with Peter Pan syndrome, and... Mik. He doesn't talk, but somehow still challenges Jayce to do the unthinkable-reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother.


This book caused ALL THE FEELS!!! I was a bit skeptical at first, as I wasn't sure how the format would work - being told part in prose, part as a graphic novel, and part through poetry - but it totally worked, and left me feeling completely emotionally exhausted near the end.

Jaycee is still reeling, trying to come to terms with the grief, anger and horror of having seen her brother die five years ago. Her parents aren't much better, and her primary reaction is to lash out at everybody.

But this summer - the last summer between high school and college - her old friends (and one new) once again attempt to reach out to her, and for whatever reason, she allows them to. Together they try to walk in Jake's footsteps, to understand him better... and along the line, get to understand themselves better as well.

A wonderful YA/coming-of-age novel that I didn't think would work, but totally did. It was heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time, but most importantly, it was true. Cori McCarthy grasped the emotions of teenagers perfectly, and was able to portray them in a way that didn't seem cloying, but instead reminded the reader of what it was like to be 18 and only just trying to find your feet in a grown-up world.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Only in Naples: Lessons in Food and Famiglia from My Italian Mother-in-Law
Author: Katherine Wilson
Genre: Memoir, Cultural
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 304
Date read: January, 2016

I love living vicariously through other people - especially on travels - so the minute I saw the description of "Only in Naples", I knew it would be right up my aisle. Katherine Wilson travels to Napoli - originally only for 6 months - and ends up falling in love with the city, the people, the mentality and the language... and when her future husband's family take her in as one of their own, she knew she was never going back.

The first few chapters were a bit slow-moving. I got slightly frustrated with Katherine at times, and wasn't sure where she was going with her memoir. As she became more familiar with the country and its customs the frustrations lessened though, and before long it came to the point that I smiled involuntarily just from picking up the book, because its charm had so completely captivated me that I felt like I knew these people, and were reading about friends of mine.

Originally I'd assumed it to be a travelogue, but it's more a story of an unexpecting ex-pat falling in love with a new country. As such, it didn't inspire my wanderlust, as much as it made me relive my own experiences abroad, and I therefore connected with the book on a different level than I had expected, and found it intensely relateable.

Highly recommendable.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: School of Deaths
Author: Christopher Mannino
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 270
Date read: January, 2016

Can a timid girl from Maryland become the first female Death?

Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail.

Caught in the middle of a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths, Suzie must uncover the reason she's been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.


A random pick from Netgalley, which turned out to exceed my wildest expectations. It's Hogwarts for Deaths students with all the charm, intrigues, joys and sorrows one might expect of such a school. It even has its own new ball game similar to Quidditch.

But though one might fear it, "School of Deaths" in no way seemed derivative or like a copy-cat read. It was completely delightful, and I quickly got to care for Jason, Billy, Frank and of course Suzie. I loved the Elementals, and am curious to (presumably) hear more about the dragons in the future.

The book was hard to put down, and I read it in just two sittings over the weekend. People who enjoy books like the Harry Potter series, Rick Riordan's books and others of that ilk will be sure to enjoy this as well. I'm eager to read the next book in the series.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Memory House (Memory House Collection #1)
Author: Bette Lee Crosby
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 178
Date read: November, 2015

Ophelia Browne has been granted the unique gift of finding and caring for forgotten memories. But now she's nearing ninety, and Browne women seldom live beyond ninety.

Before time runs out Ophelia must find a successor. Someone who can take hold of the gifts and keep the memories from fading.

When broken-hearted Annie Cross shows up on the doorstep of The Memory House Bed and Breakfast, Ophelia knows she is the one. The two women forge a bond of friendship as they sip magical dandelion tea and share stories. When Annie starts to sense the memories Ophelia is delighted, but then a thread of violence begins to unravel and Ophelia fears things have gone too far.


I was contacted by the publisher for an honest review.

Fair or not, experience has taught me to set my expectations low when I'm contacted for a review - especially when it's an author or a publisher I haven't heard of before - so I started this book with some reservations, which quickly turned out to be completely unfounded. I was very pleasantly surprised indeed by this book. Instead of the run-of-the-mill chick-lit/romance I'd expected, it's a charming tale of an unlikely friendship, and I ended up finishing it in just two sittings. It fit the bill perfectly when I was looking for some comfort reading yesterday morning.

I loved Ophelia and Annie, and really enjoyed reading about their growing friendship. They did get very close very fast - almost too fast for credibility perhaps - but it fit the story, so I could forgive that liberty. It did fit the pattern of there being areas of the story that were less polished than I could have wished for though (another example is Michael's actions - I didn't feel they were ever fully explained). It didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the book - it just felt like it lacked the final editing to fully tighten up the writing.

I wish I hadn't read the author's note at the end though. Knowing that the memories were taken from some of Bette Lee Crosby's other books detracted from my enjoyment of it somehow. I preferred the memories to just stand on their own, with no real backstory. People who've read the other books may feel otherwise.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Destiny's Song (The Fixers #1)
Author: Audrey Faye
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 223
Date read: October, 2015

Lakisha Drinkwater is the best Singer in the quadrant. Which means the last thing she was expecting is her latest assignment...

The boss lady is sending her to an Inheritor-ruled backwater planet to babysit the heir apparent, for reasons that are about as clear as space mud. But the StarReaders have spoken, and Fixers do what they're told - especially if they work for Yesenia Mayes.

So Kish is headed for the boondocks, prepared to be a dutiful cog. But Bromelain III isn't going to make that easy - and neither is the heir apparent.


In my opinion, the best work Audrey Faye has published under this pseudonym.

While I've greatly enjoyed the Lesbian Assassin series, this first book in a new sci-fi series showed me a strong return of the talented author I've come to know and love. The story is nicely polished, and though the first in a series, still seemed complete within its own universe.

Audrey Faye's strongest suit has always been in building her characters, and this book is no exception. I especially loved Tameka and Janelle, as I've always adored feisty female characters.

In atmosphere, the book had definite shades of "Crystal Singer" by Anne McCaffrey, which isn't a bad thing at all.

Can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series!
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: De dunkle butikkers gade
Author: Patrick Modiano
Genre: Cultural
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 224
Date read: October, 2015

1965. Guy Roland er privatdetektiv på jagt efter svar. Femten år tidligere mistede han hukommelsen i en mystisk ulykke og blev givet en ny identitet. I takt med at han graver dybere og dybere ned i sin fortid, finder han ud af, at hans rigtige navn er Jimmy Pedro Stern. Han rejser fra Frankrig til Polynesien for at lede efter en barndomskammerat, men da han når frem, er vennen forsvundet, og Guy har kun en gammel adresse som eneste spor.


Jeg har meget svært ved at finde ud af hvordan jeg skal anmelde denne bog. Den er så fuldstændig ulig stort set alle andre bøger jeg nogensinde har læst, så det er ikke rigtig fair at bedømme den efter mine sædvanlige kriterier. Af samme grund har jeg valgt at give den 2.5 stjerner - en gennemsnitlig karakter til en gennemsnitlig bog. Den er absolut ikke dårligt skrevet, så mindre ville være urimeligt, men samtidig synes jeg heller ikke, at den er så fantastisk skrevet, at den fortjente nobelprisen i literatur.

Set ud fra et fuldstændig objektivt synspunkt kan jeg godt se at den er meget interessant skrevet, og benytter sig af skriveteknikker man ikke ofte ser - præcis fordi handlingen er så atypisk - men desværre virkede stilen ikke rigtig for mig, og jeg tvivler på, at jeg havde læst den færdig, hvis den ikke havde været så kort. Især fandt jeg det frustrerende at handlingsbeskrivelsen røbede de sidste sider af bogen og at historien nærmest bare stoppede spontant, uden at have nogen egentlig slutning.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Manga Classics: Emma
Author: Jame Austen, Crystal Chan (editor), Stacy King (editor), Po Tse (illustrator)
Genre: graphic novel, classic
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 308
Date read: September, 2015

Fair disclaimer: While I absolutely love Jane Austen, and have no problems with graphic novels rewrites, I am not a huge fan of the manga style of drawing. It seems entirely too cutesy for me. However, that is personal opinion and definitely not an indication of the quality of the drawings. They were objectively very gorgeous and extremely detailed - even in the lower res of the ARC.

It is, of course, a very simplified and abridged version of Jane Austen's "Emma", but it stayed very true to the book, and as it's been awhile since I've read the original, I didn't find myself noticing any major changes, or even anything they'd left out. I've been wanting to reread "Emma" for quite awhile, but haven't really been able to make time for it, so this was the perfect compromise. ... even if I did keep comparing it to the movie, "Clueless" (dating myself here: it's one of my favourite teen movies :) ).

It was fun to read this different version of it, and it did come across as a true homage to the original. There can be no doubt that both the illustrator and the editor are big fans of the book.

Like with the Manga version of "Pride and Prejudice" I'd recommend this adaption without hesitation, but as an addition to reading the original - not as an alternative.

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