Huzzah for my first blog post!
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot and I need to get some of the stuff I read out of my head. I need to express and put into words, what I’ve read – and what better way to do that, than by writing a blog? I’d like to do monthly wrap-ups of my reading, and since this is my first blog post, I’ll do my monthly wrap-ups for both January and February. These last two months have been pretty good in regards to the amount I’ve read.
The Other Side of the Sky – by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
The Other Side of the Sky, is the first book of a series. It is a YA, fantasy/sci-fi adventure, where we follow two young people from two different worlds. Nimh is a living goddess of her people on the Surface – which is filled with belief, faith, and magic. North is a crown prince over a kingdom in the skies.
I had a difficult time getting into this book, but after the first few chapters, I eventually got good into the story. It might have been because I needed to get used to the writing style; understanding the world and world-building; and the jumping back and forth between our two main characters. I love the contradicting aspects of our two characters, where we have Nimh, the young goddess who possesses both belief and magic, and North, the young prince who is a skeptic of magic and is accustomed to a world of science and technology.
This book got 5 out of 5 stars from me, and I am looking forward to the sequel.
Cinderella Is Dead – by Kalynn Bayron
Cinderella Is Dead is fantasy, YA, and LGBTQ+ all wrapped up into one cosy fairy tale-retelling about oppression, sticking it to the man, and falling in love with a cool cute redheaded girl.
Reading the first part of the book was a struggle, since our main character Sophia, just is a little too YA rebellious hero who does not think about her actions and therefore is NOT prepared for the consequences of said actions. This annoys the heck out of me since we – from the very beginning – are introduced to what kind of tyranny she and her fellow townspeople live under.
For what the book is – which is a retelling of an old fairy tale, with a focus on BIPOC and LGBTQ+ – it’s done well. There are some plot holes, but I still did enjoy reading the book.
I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.
The Shining – by Stephen King
This is a horror classic, and enjoying the movie directed by Stanley Kubrick, I did have some expectations for the book.
We follow a family that is getting back on track. Jack, the father, is a recovering alcoholic, and when drunk tends to lose his temper. Plus, he’s a writer. He’s a kind and loving father who would do anything for his son. The mother, Wendy, also struggles with some issues from her childhood, which does affect her relationship with both her husband and her son. Despite this, she still has a great feeling of love towards them. Their son, Danny, is a special little boy with a special ability. He’s sweet, loving and caring. This is a family with struggles and imperfections, but they still have a great love for one another.
Usually, horror books and movies don’t affect me too much. This book did, but it didn’t affect me due to how scary it was. It affected me because it was slightly triggering. If you have trauma when it comes to alcohol abuse or domestic violence, please be aware of this before you read it.
I gave this 4 out of 5 stars. It’s a great book, but King has a tendency explaining a LOT, and do some flashback sort of scenes, which really pulls me out of the story.
You Should See Me in a Crown – by Leah Johnson
This is a sweet YA and LGBTQ+ story, about the talented Liz Lighty. She might be talented, but she believes she is too awkward and insignificant to shine. When the financial aid she counted on for her college plans falls through, she has to find another solution. What better to save her than the scholarship awarded to the school’s prom king and queen? We follow her on her campaign, where she also meets her potential rival in the run for prom queen, new girl Mack.
When I read this, I needed a pick-me-up, and this delivered. If you need to read something with wholesome supportive family and friends – this is it.
It is what it is, and what it is is adorable af. 4 out of 5 stars.
Doctor Sleep – by Stephen King
I struggled A LOT with this book, and it ended up being through pure stubbornness that I finished reading it. It’s a sequel to King’s The Shining, and while The Shining left me touched, moved and emotional, this did not.
In this continuation of the original story, we follow Dan Torrance – formerly known as Danny Torrance – as an adult. As I’ve come to learn with King’s books, we follow several characters. The three most important characters are Dan, a young girl with the shine, Abra, and the villain Rose Hat. Our two main shiny people are way too overpowered, and I never got a sense of urgency or the fear that either of them was in any real danger. There were times, where the villain and her family were in more danger than our heroes.
There wasn’t exactly much horror in this, perhaps more fantasy. The characters were meh, especially with how King depicts young people like Abra. A bit out of touch. One thing that Doctor Sleep brought along and continued from the first book, was the idea of family and love. This is why this book got two stars instead of one.
The Heart-Shaped Box – by Joe Hill
This is a wonderful little horror written by Joe Hill, where we meet a self-absorbed rock star called Judas Coyne. Our rock star has a big collection of macabre things – which includes art by serial killers, a used hangman’s noose, an actual snuff film, among other things. One day he buys an actual ghost, which has terrible consequences for himself and the people closest to him.
What I enjoyed the most were the characters, and how invested I got in them. They are all flawed, and could easily become unlikable – except for the grandmother and the dogs. The dogs are the true heroes of this story, and you can’t convince me that they aren’t!
If you like horror and Joe Hill’s books, I will recommend it. I’ve seen some comparisons to Stephen King, and people complaining that this is not “properly” scary. This is not King horror. This is Hill horror. They are two different people and two different writers. I enjoy them both.
4 out of 5 stars.
Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter – by Astrid Lindgren
This is the adventures of Ronia exploring the forest and its magical creatures. She befriends her father’s arch-enemy’s son, Birk. You might call it a fantasy Romeo and Juliet for children – with the wonderful ending of no deaths.
I needed something sweet and not too heavy. I grew up watching the Swedish movie based on this book, and it had always been my go-to movie when I just need something sweet with good music and fantasy.
I love this book. It might be a children’s book, but there’s substance, character development and excitement.
5 out of 5 stars. Love it!
Raybearer – by Jordan Ifueko
I finished February with a proper banger! This book left me speechless, and I might have some trouble putting my feelings into words.
I had so much fun reading this book. I could have devoured it right away, but I wanted the book to last longer, so I took my time reading it. Now I’m sad because I’ve finished the book. I read this as an ebook, but I will buy a hardback version of this. I need it.
This book is absolutely beautiful, thrilling and lovely. I’ve never read anything like this, so I never knew what to expect.
I love the world-building. How the nations are all united under one Kingdom, yet still have their own cultures, ways of practising their religion, and different ethnicities – absolutely well done.
Emotions and experiences are written beautifully. The feeling of loneliness and isolation. Wanting to be part of a loving unit. Craving it. Sorrow and love. I felt the emotions going through Tarisai.
This is a beautiful read. If you enjoy fantasy, romance, the meaning of family, and questioning authority – I highly recommend this book.
5 out of 5, would read again!
So this was my first blog post. I am really happy that I got to put my focus on this blog today. If you’ve made it so far, thank you, I feel like this post is LONG. Again, thank you and take good care of yourself. Drink some water, get some sleep. You deserve it.