Book review: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly (possible spoilers)

 Book review | Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly | 3 stars

Lost in a Book  by Jennifer Donnelly

Copyright: Disney Enterprises Inc.
Paper Rocket 2017
ISBN 978 1 4748 8387 0

Synopsis

Hidden in the Beast’s library, Belle is about to discover a mysterious book and visit a glittering new world. But everything is not as it seems. When the time comes, will Belle be able to find her way back home? Or will the story take hold of her – and never let her go?


Bullet-point review

★★★☆☆

+ new characters
+ nostalgia
+ scenes between Belle and the Beast

– writing felt off
– Belle’s naivete
– scenes ‘in the book’


Full Review

There may be spoilers in this review. I’ll do my best to avoid them mostly. Unfortunately, most of the book was so predictable, that those spoilers shouldn’t really surprise you.

Yes, I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. Firstly, the writing was off, felt off. It didn’t really seem like Belle to me. There was a certain je ne sais quoi, that put me off of the writing. I felt that too many details were being put forward, while at the same time the descriptions weren’t rich enough. I can’t explain it, but I didn’t like it.

Another bothersome part was Belle’s naivete. After everything, finding a castle with a beast and talking objects, and reading so many books, how could she have missed all the signs that she shouldn’t be going into a book to escape her life? Obviously, she knew something was wrong about it, because she hid it. In my opinion, she questioned it too little.

My favorite parts were therefore not the new parts where Belle steps into the book. Instead, I really loved her interactions with the beast. Yes, we should probably call that nostalgia, but what the heck. Those were the parts I loved.

Furthermore, I did quite like the addition of the characters Love and Death.


Read January-March 2017

It’s been a while since I actually wrote anything about the books I read, so it’s about time. At the time of writing, I’ve read a total of 14 books. Most I’ve actually enjoyed quite a bit, but there’s not very many that I decided to keep, because certain books you can really only read once. Once you know the plot, it doesn’t get better with rereads.

Anyway, without further ado, here are the books I read:

January

10246718Deadline by Mira Grant –  the second book in the Newsflesh Trilogy. As you know, if you read my review, I absolutely loved the Newsflesh Trilogy. So, this is one of the books I kept around for a possible reread.


34332514De Oceaan aan het Einde van het Pad (original title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane) by Neil Gaiman – this was a pretty good read, although it’s just not really the kind of book I enjoy very much.I prefer my books a little more straightforward.


2282658Het Gulden Vlies van Thule by Thea Beckman – the third book in the Toekomst Trilogie (Furture Trilogie). I really liked this one, though not as much as the first book in the trilogy. Somehow, that’s still the best one.


16829889The Farm by Emily McKay – I thought the story itself was really interesting. The writing however didn’t really appeal to me. I feel like there should probably be a continuation of this somewhere, but since I didn’t want to continue reading it anyway, I decided I should just move on.


Animal FarmAnimal Farm by George Orwell – This was my first time ever reading Animal Farm and I can only just recommend it. It is weirdly appropriate again in today’s world. Absolutely a great read!


February

19148162Dem Tod auf der Spur by Michael Tsokos – a collection of short true stories. Michael Tsokos is a medical examiner and has seen a great number of dead bodies come across his examination tables. He describes a couple of these cases in this book. I thought it was absolutely fascinating. The truth can be so strange!


11806716Blackout by Mira Grant – the last book in the Newsflesh Trilogy. Loved it!


FEM – Freiheitseinschränkende Maßnahmen by Jutta König – a book a read for work, mostly at work. It deals with measures that restrict the freedoms of patients. Very interesting.


1256933In Defence of English Cooking by George Orwell – it includes several of Orwell’s essays on freedom of speech. Again, something that is still relevant today, as these rights seems to be getting restricted again.


16204365The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick – I did not finish reading this book, I stopped and got rid of it. The premise sounds absolutely amazing and fascinating. However, the writing style is terrible. Well, it did not meet my personal preferences. I did not get further than about 20 pages in.


Das Autogene Training by Abbas Schirmohammadi – another book I got and read for work. It’s a relaxation technique that’s been proven very effective. In psychology, conscious relaxation should not be underestimated.


March

31176886The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer – something completely different from what we’ve read so far by Meyer. However, besides the one huge cliche (you’ll know if you’ve read it as well), it actually a great book with a kick-ass female main character.


Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a BookLost in a Book by Jennifer Donnely – A Beauty and the Beast story. However, I wasn’t impressed. I’m still planning on writing a full review, but the thing that bothered me most was how dumb Belle was. In the movies, as in the original story, she’s definitely smarter than that.


25378382Das Joshua Profil by Sebastian Fitzek – one of my favorite German writers of the moment. This is a psychological thriller. What would happen if crimes could be predicted? I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, but since I now know the plot, I won’t be able to read it again. Luckily, I’ve still got more of his books to go through.


Those are the books that I’ve read so far this year. How many books have you gotten through so far? Are any of the books I’ve read on your wishlist? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Upcycling – Photo book

Last year, before my Scotland trip, I mentioned that I was going to track this trip by using a Harry Potter book. Since its author comes from Scotland, this seemed entirely appropriate. Also, do I really need an excuse to buy another HP book?

20170312_112049So, I bought the book and took it with me on the trip. Throughout the trip we wrote down what we had done that day and taped in some of the tickets we had gotten. Also, just about every restaurant we ate at and every bookshop I bought a book at, I asked if they would write a little something in the book. Nothing special, just a quick note. Everyone looked at me funny at first, but then still did it.

Now, the time has come that I can finally show you the results of all this, because I have finally had the time to have the pictures printed and have also finally taped them into the book. I was so taken with this, that this is exactly what I did with my trip to Berlin a couple of weeks ago. I found a book about Berlin at a flea market and went from there.

So, if you’re ever unsure how to record your holidays, and you love books. Perhaps this could be for you.

Tips for Starting to Read for Fun

Tips for beginner readers

It’s not easy to start reading, so what can you do to get started? Here are some of my tips. There’s no science to this, just personal experience.

  1. Start with easy to read books

    No, these don’t have to be children’t books. However, starting off with Chaucer or Jane Austen would be a bridge too far. Find a book that’s easy to read and easy to understand, so you can enjoy the experience and not constantly find yourself stressed out, because you don’t know what’s going on.

     

  2. Find a theme/topic you like

    Ask around if anyone knows books about certain themes or topics that interest you. There must be something out there! If you can’t think of anything you like, go through your recently watched Netflix shows and movies and go from there. Lots of tv shows and movies are based on books. Though watching the show and reading the book at the same time might complicate things a bit, as they’re never exactly the same.

  3. Make it part of your routine.

    If you make something part of your routine, it makes it easier tto do. My boyfriend didn’t like reading too much, but then we started to read before bed. (It would help me sleep, which in turn meant he could sleep, because I wouldn’t be keeping him awake). At times, he didn’t want to put his book down, because he wanted to know what happens next.

  4. Test the book.

    Read the first few chapters of a book. The first two or three will usually do. If the book still doesn’t appeal to you, there’s no reason to keep reading it. Put it away and pick up a new one.

  5. Library/thrift shop

    If you want to try reading (more), but don’t have the money to spend on new books, try a library card, go to a trift store, or look in Facebook groups for people giving books away. You might just find something you like for a whole lot cheaper than full price. Especially libraries are amazing, because you can find just about any book there!

These are the first things I would recommend for something wanting to read more. Of course, if someone would ask me, I would also immediately recommend certain books. Do you have any more tips? Let me know in the comments below!

Feminist Review: Running like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley

 Book review | Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley | 5 stars

Running Like a Girl
 by 
Alexandra Heminsley

Cover design: Richard Ogle
Cover photography: Colin Thomas
Windmill Books 2014
ISBN 978 0 09 955895 8

Synopsis

Alexandra Heminsley had high hopes: the arse of an athlete, the waist of a supermodel, the speed of a gazelle. Defeated by gyms and bored of yoga, she decided to run.

Her first attempt did not end well. But years later and with several marathons under her belt she agrees with her dad: you run with your head as much as your legs.

So, while this book is about running, it’s about much more – ambition, relationships, and willful boobs. But it’s also about realising what you can do if you want to.

Whether you’re in serious training or thinking about running for the bus, this is a book for anyone who thinks they might … just might … like to run like a girl.


Bullet-point review

★★★★★

+ emotional
+ realistic
+ practical tips
+ history of women and marathons
+ inspirational
+ even boyfriend wants to read


Full Review

„Running is awful. It feels unnatural, unnecessary, painful. It can hijack you with breathlessness, cripple you with panic and overwhelm you with self-consciousness. … But it is also the pleasure of being outside on a sunny day …“

This is exactly what I love about this book. It doesn’t start off saying everything about running is amazing, from the beginning to the end. It describes, in detail, how it’s terrible. How it can be terrible and scary in the beginning. It informs you furthermore how eventually, step by step, you might start to enjoy it. It doesn’t pretend that it’s all lovely from the very beginning, because, it’s not. And that’s okay.

Another point I loved, were the practical tips in the end. Everyone who starts of doing anything, has a lot of questions and is scared of doing it wrong, whatever it is. So, this little guide is very much appreciated.

I also enjoyed reading about the progression of women in running. How, for example, a couple of decades ago women were still not allowed to run marathons. And how those barriers were broken down. This really inspired me. Which is why I immediately made my boyfriend go running with my after I finished reading the book. Sure, I suck, but I did it!


Confessions of a Book Blogger: I can DNF Books after all

A while back, I wrote a blog post where I explained that it is really hard for me to DNF (Did Not Finish) books. However, more recently I’ve changed a bit around in my life that has also affected my ability to DNF books.

As you’ve seen, I’ve gotten rid of a lot of things (and a lot of books) due to Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying. Our home has become less cluttered and all the things I didn’t like anyway have left the premises. This has also opened my eyes more and more to doing things I don’t like.

Of course, there are certain things you have to do, mostly because in the end they are beneficial. Finish school, go to work, go to the bathroom, getting dressed and more. However, finishing books that are boring, uninteresting, sexist or horribly written are definitely not part of this list.

Sure, I already knew this before, but somehow my mind would still see it as a failure if I didn’t finish the book. As a perfectionist, that was the hardest part. Failing to finish a book.

Now however, I see getting rid of a book I just can’t get through as a victory. A victory over the restrictions I have, for so long, placed on myself. It still feels scary, and a little part of my brain still isn’t convinced that it isn’t really failure taking over after all. However, practice makes perfect. Or, from the field of behavioral psychology: just keep doing it until the anxiety about it subsides and it’ll become as normal as waking up in the morning.

So, for all those out there I can tell you from personal experience: it is possible. And it’s freeing to be able to say to a book: “You suck, fuck off! Stop wasting my time.”

Series review: Newsflesh trilogy

 Series review | Review of the Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant | 4 stars

Newsflesh by Mira Grant

Cover design: Lauren Panepinto
Images: Shutterstock
Orbit Books 2010
ISBN: 978 0 356 50056 0

Synopsis

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop.

The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED. Now, twenty years after the Rising, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives—the dark conspiracy behind the infected.

The truth will get out, even if it kills them.


Bullet-point review

★★★★☆

+ zombies
+ social media
+ political intrigue
+ bloggers
+ 20th century references
+ sci-fi

 – So many side characters, I sometimes got them confused


Full Review

There are so many things I love about these books. For starters, I’m going through a bit of an (after-) apocalypse phase, so the zombies in this book totally do that. On top of that, there are often references to what people did in zombie movies and how they should or shouldn’t do this as well.

However, zombies are the main focus of this book, at least not quite. They just happen to inhabit the world this book is set in. It’s the political events that are the real story; often of course related to the zombies.

Bloggers are the only still remaining trust-worthy news source, as the regular media didn’t pick up on the zombie outbreak until it was too late. Our bloggers, who are the main characters, get to follow a political campaign and this way get involved into this whole new world.

Throughout the series, we find out more and more about this strange new world, where fear is overwhelmingly present and decides peoples’ actions. This is just about the single most important thing I took away from this book: you cannot let fear decide how to live your life.

Plus, a bunch more cool stuff happens, but I don’t want to spoil any of it. Some of it sci-fi and relatively far-fetched, but not so much as to make it unbelievable. There were a lot of side characters in the books and sometimes I got a little mixed up trying to figure out who was who again. Apart from that, it was easy to read.