Classic/Historical · Contemporary · Fiction/Science Fiction · Mystery/Crime

Sixteen trees of the Somme – Lars Mytting

42102301._SY475_| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Edvard grows up on a remote mountain farmstead in Norway with his taciturn grandfather, Sverre. The death of his parents, when he was three years old, has always been shrouded in mystery – he has never been told how or where it took place and has only a distant memory of his mother.

But he knows that the fate of his grandfather’s brother, Einar, is somehow bound up with this mystery. One day a coffin is delivered for his grandfather long before his death – a meticulous, beautiful piece of craftsmanship. Perhaps Einar is not dead after all.

Edvard’s desperate quest to unlock the family’s tragic secrets takes him on a long journey – from Norway to the Shetlands, and to the battlefields of France – to the discovery of a very unusual inheritance. The Sixteen Trees of the Somme is about the love of wood and finding your own self, a beautifully intricate and moving tale that spans an entire century.

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My thoughts:

I wish Goodreads had the ability to let us readers give half stars in rating. I would really need that function right now because I can’t decide if I want to give it a two star or a three star rating. Don’t get me wrong, I kind of liked the book. It was just so damn slow and that (in the end, no spoiler) mostly evolved around some threes just made it unbelievable. I could not connect with it and even though it was an interesting and kind of fun puzzle game regarding the family history, it was just not enough. I didn’t even like the main character that much.

I believe that if I hadn’t had the audiobook, I would have struggled to finish. It was just so tedious, I didn’t like the main character, who apparently cannot have a non-sexual relationship with women and the ending was quite unclear. Much better to listen, but the book itself was not as good as I had expected.

Gold star for the nice writing. I thought that was really good and Mytting did a great job with it.

 

Classic/Historical · Fiction/Science Fiction · Thriller/Horror

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

12974171._SY475_| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: The scientist Victor Frankenstein, obsessed with possessing the secrets of life, creates a new being from the bodies of the dead. But his creature is a twisted, gruesome parody of a man who, rejected for his monstrous appearance, sets out to destroy his maker.

Mary Shelley’s chilling Gothic tale, conceived after a nightmare in 1816 when she was only eighteen, became a modern myth. It is a disturbing and dramatic exploration of birth and death, creation and destruction, and one of the most iconic horror stories of all time.

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My thoughts:

It’s strange to review a book which was written over 200 years ago. The times changes, the language develops, words gets new meanings and limits are pushed. It feels almost a little wrong to review such a widely read and known story. Myself have never read the original before now, but I’m very well known in the story about Frankenstein. Not only through movies and series, but also through different retelling from different authors. For an example Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein series, which meets the old time Frankenstein in a modern world where science is a lot more developed.

Anyway, I can see why this has become so famous through out the years. Not only is it written by a female (lo and behold) which was not gently looked upon at the time, but it is also a horror story with an underlying message, which you can interpret in several different ways and discus to the end of days. My thoughts about it is that science can go too far and it is up to us too think before we do and stop before we go over that line. But where is that line? I also think it is about the humanity, that we are the biggest threat against our self and that the “monster” is us all. No one is better than the other, no matter what you may think. I can discuss this forever but in a nutshell, this is some quick thoughts of mine.

I would probably have liked it more if it was written in a more modern way, or in Swedish. At least I would have found it simpler. I can only blame myself really. I wanted to read it in the utmost original way I could. But I’m happy I finally read it. Frankenstein is one of my favorite classical stories and now I can say I have read the original. 😀

 

 

Classic/Historical · Fiction/Science Fiction

The pillars of the earth – Ken Follett

40195487| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Everything readers expect from Follett is here: intrigue, fast-paced action, and passionate romance. But what makes The Pillars of the Earth extraordinary is the time the twelfth century; the place feudal England; and the subject the building of a glorious cathedral. Follett has re-created the crude, flamboyant England of the Middle Ages in every detail. The vast forests, the walled towns, the castles, and the monasteries become a familiar landscape. Against this richly imagined and intricately interwoven backdrop, filled with the ravages of war and the rhythms of daily life, the master storyteller draws the reader irresistibly into the intertwined lives of his characters into their dreams, their labors, and their loves: Tom, the master builder; Aliena, the ravishingly beautiful noblewoman; Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge; Jack, the artist in stone; and Ellen, the woman of the forest who casts a terrifying curse. From humble stonemason to imperious monarch, each character is brought vividly to life.

The building of the cathedral, with the almost eerie artistry of the unschooled stonemasons, is the center of the drama. Around the site of the construction, Follett weaves a story of betrayal, revenge, and love, which begins with the public hanging of an innocent man and ends with the humiliation of a king.

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My thoughts:

WOW!

Okay, breathe! It’s difficult for me to describe why I love this book as much as I do. It’s a 1104 pages long story about the building of a cathedral in the 12-century and you would think I’m on drugs, but it was so damn fascinating. The characters are memorable in both good and bad ways, the story was interesting and the plot was captivating. It has been a while since I was so emotionally invested in a book. The pillars of the earth is pure and simple one of the best books I have read in 2019.

First off, a warning. If you are a sensitive soul or in any other way have problems with rape and injustice, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK! Bear in mind that this book takes place in Medieval England where the church has a strong hold on the people, the rich rule the poor and there is violence, misogyny, accusations of witchcraft, revenges back and forth and rape. Yes, rape! And one scene is especially disturbing and graphic. It was hard to read and I was totally unprepared for it.

Other than that, it is a wonderfully written book with characters you love, hate and love to hate. It is a page turner and it was like I could not get enough. I still can’t get enough and I want more. The main plot is about the building of a cathedral but it is the characters around it who really drove the story forward. There was some love stories in there, friend and family relations took a huge part and there was a few, strong female characters who I wish to praise Follett for doing such a good job with.

As strange as it sounds, I loved to read this book. Even with all the injustice, despair and misery, there was always hope. And all the weaving of destiny was really what made it all come together in the end in a satisfying way.

Classic/Historical · Fantasy/Paranormal · Fiction/Science Fiction · Romance

Spellbound – Margit Sandemo

51ZgfQcxO0L._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Winter 1581: a deadly plague outbreak robs sixteen-year old peasant girl Silje of all her family. Homeless, starving and shepherding two abandoned children, she stumbles out of the corpse-strewn streets of Trondheim on Norway’s northern coast.

Heading desperately for the warmth of the mass funeral pyres blazing beyond the city gates, she encounters in the shadowy forest one of the infamous Ice People, a fearsome, strangely captivating ‘wolf man’. He offers help – and she feels irresistibly drawn to him. But what is the terrible fascination? And where will it lead?

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My thoughts:

“It is a great start on a series who will take place over several centuries.”

This is probably my third or fourth reared of the first book in the Legend of the Ice People series. A book series, written by a Norwegian author and published in 47 parts. Yes. It is 47 books in this series and myself have not read more than eleven. Now I’m fortunate enough to have found and bought the whole series in hardcover. They do not print them anymore, not in Swedish at least, so second-hand was the only option. So now my challenge is to read all the 47 books. It will probably take me a couple of years but one day I will make it.

It is an historical fantasy about The Ice People who have a curse riding through the generations. The first book is about Silje and her travels in the plague ridden part of the Norwegian mountains where she meets some of those people and one of the cursed ones. She is strong and a motivated character in a way that you can relate with her. We meet some of the ground laying characters and gets to know the history and story of the Ice People. It is a great start on a series who will take place over several centuries.

It is easy to read and it have been translated to English. How easy it is to get hold of the books, i do not know, but they must exist out there somewhere if you are interested.

 

Adult fiction/Erotica · Classic/Historical · Contemporary · Fiction/Science Fiction · Romance

The seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

32620332| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

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My thoughts:

“Can an author write so perfect that you in the end, are questioning your very own existence?”

Let me first say that I had no idea what to expect when going into 2018 most mentioned book. What I did know is that it had an interesting synopsis and I kept seeing it in my Goodreads and Youtube feed. Trying not to be caught up in the hype wave I have “ignored” it for some time while it was in my TBR pile. Well I have certainly stopped ignoring it now and joined the hype train. *toot toot* Here I come because wow this was so worth the wait!

Can a book be this perfect? Can an author write so perfect that you in the end, are questioning your very own existence? Can a story be so consummated that you start to wonder “was this really a fiction?”. I know that this is supposed to be a literary fiction but it was read more like a chick lit/true story. A deep chick lit with none of that “hubba bubba” love. It was just about life. From the beginning to the end! Honest from page one. It is the most well- devolved, character driven story I have ever read, where you have it all from the emotion spectrum. Love, hate, delight, rejection, pleasure, sadness, courage, fear, anticipation, hopelessness, willing, anger, grief, strengths and everything else.

There is so many human destiny’s and so much feelings, in so many different ways crammed between the covers that you can’t help but wonder, is it true? I ended the book at work and literally wanted to cry, not suitable for an open office landscape. I could not (off course) cry there and then but that is how strong of impact it had on me. It is so much grief and agony but still so much love that in the end it is worth it. Don’t believe me? Believe the other 33 000 people who have given it a five star rating on Goodreads.

Classic/Historical · Fiction/Science Fiction

And the mountains echoed – Khaled Hosseini

17345748| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: So, then. You want a story and I will tell you one…Afghanistan, 1952. Abdullah and his sister Pari live with their father and stepmother in the small village of Shadbagh. Their father, Saboor, is constantly in search of work and they struggle together through poverty and brutal winters. To Abdullah, Pari – as beautiful and sweet-natured as the fairy for which she was named – is everything. More like a parent than a brother, Abdullah will do anything for her, even trading his only pair of shoes for a feather for her treasured collection. Each night they sleep together in their cot, their heads touching, their limbs tangled. One day the siblings journey across the desert to Kabul with their father. Pari and Abdullah have no sense of the fate that awaits them there, for the event which unfolds will tear their lives apart; sometimes a finger must be cut to save the hand. Crossing generations and continents, moving from Kabul, to Paris, to San Francisco, to the Greek island of Tinos, with profound wisdom, depth, insight and compassion, Khaled Hosseini writes about the bonds that define us and shape our lives, the ways in which we help our loved ones in need, how the choices we make resonate through history and how we are often surprised by the people closest to us.

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My thoughts: I loved “A thousand splendid suns” and I don’t know, maybe I had expected something as strong as that. Or maybe I had expected a story that make you feel fulfilled when ending. Neither happen here in my opinion. I found the writing somewhat confusing and it was hard to keep track of all the characters. I had particularly trouble with every chapter change because you did not get to know which character you now following. Most of the characters are so remotely connected that it does not work at all and it was not until the end you started to understand who this person really is and what connection it has to the main character. It kept me sitting like this throughout 90% of the book.

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I have read some reviews and found that it is not only me who feel this way or perceived this books as a bunch of different characters telling me about their own life history. The red thread and “main” character, you hardly see and some of the connections is just so farfetched that it is weird. The story in the beginning is good and I do get the point with the book. I do however find it flat when you do not get to follow the “main” character more than like 20% of the book.

I did however like the ending. It was a nice end with its way of tying the last strings together, even though I did not find it great since I did not get that happy, finally, good for you feeling. I give the book a strong three star rating due to that Hosseini is a great writer and he do writes in a way that snares you to the story. Any other author, I would probably have DNF it.

Classic/Historical · Fiction/Science Fiction · Mystery/Crime

The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton

18709559| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ |

Goodreads synopsis: It is 1866, and young Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events: A wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky. Richly evoking a mid-nineteenth-century world of shipping, banking, and gold rush boom and bust, The Luminaries is a brilliantly constructed, fiendishly clever ghost story and a gripping page-turner.

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My thoughts: If you are looking for a fast paced book with an easy mystery and exciting suspense, this is not the book for you. But if you are looking for a slow burn, with a complex mystery, a lot of characters and fates, this is a choice for you. It is slow, but still in a good slow kind of way. There is a lot of characters to keep track on but Catton have written it really well so that it is not that confusing when you get into it. There is a lot of information and counter information so it can be hard at some points to remember who of the characters know who and what. Who did what, when, where and who knew about it? I would not say that the book is hard to understand, your mind just needs to be a 100% awake so you won’t miss some details. This is a lot of book and many pages but it is affordable and don’t let the many pages scare you off.

My biggest problem with it, however, is still that it is so slow, even tough it is a good kind of slow, and it didn’t really grab me. I have told you before that I have no patience when it comes to slow books. And I didn’t really feel anything for the book. It was the reason that my goal was to read this before I turn 30, that got me through it. And I feel like I missed something big. Maybe it was about the stars angle. Because all that did not quite make sense to me. And I really did not understand why the book is named Luminaries. I believe I missed something, but I’m not curious enough to find out what. My favorite thing about the book is all the characters and their fates. There is a lot of sad and happy events and a lot of history about how they came to New Zealand and all. And it is interesting how their lives changed and connects to each other in ways that I don’t think many of them understood. And how their lives changes just because of some stuff that’s happened to one character affects another character and then it just goes on and on in a kind of domino effect. I loved some characters and hated others. Some of them I did not understand and some of them felt overrated.

But all in all it was an great story to follow. I do believe that this book, with the right director, would be great as an movie. It is an mystery and quite well one to. Hard to anticipate how it all hangs together until the end. And quite confusing. I don’t feel that my review is any less confusing, this is an hard book to put in words.

Classic/Historical · Fantasy/Paranormal · Fiction/Science Fiction · Romance

Drums of autumn – Diana Gabaldon

10988.jpg| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ |

Goodreads synopsis: It began at an ancient Scottish stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past—or the grave. Dr. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice.

Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became a legend—a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in the American colonies. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century—their daughter, Brianna….

Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the circle of stones and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history … and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past … or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong….

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My thoughts:

HAPPY ENDINGS?

 

There are no happy endings.

Endings are the saddest part.

So just give me a happy middle

and a very happy start.
-Unknown

I needed to take some time to think over the book before writhing this review. It is a lot of feelings floating around and it was a little hard to get it sorted out.

I am one of those few who have not yet seen the tv series. I wish to get further into the book series before starting to watch it. Right now I’m not even sure I will ever see it. Every time after ending one of these books, I feel mentally exhausted. My heart hurt and even though the story is so great and I do not wish that I ever started it, I feel so broken down for a while after that it is hard to start something else. I almost feel a little depressed.

I guess it is a great ability as an author to really effect your readers as this series affects me. That her written word can insinuate oneself so far in my mind and body is unbelievable. And rare. Even though I often feel so bad after her books, I also feel so good. And I still want to read more. Just need a break or two before I start the next one.

WARNING! This review contains spoilers to book one, two and three. No spoilers on this fourth book however so you are safe. You have to have read the three books in order and if you don’t have read them yet, I do recommend you do NOT read further. You have been warned. 🙂

So in this book Claire has found Jamie and is in America where we left of in the third book. They are trying to put some roots down among mountain, miles of forest, fields and Indians. If not Indians are trying to kill them, the white man is or if not, the nature is doing its best. It is a hard life but they have finally found peace. After years and years of misery, surviving and loneliness, they are finally at a great place. Claire left Brianna behind in the year 1969 in the third book, to live her life in her own time. Brianna however discover something that takes her back in time to find her mother and father. In 1969 she got to know Roger even better and when he discovers she is gone, he follows her.

After the third book (which so far is my least favorite) I was wondering if the series was worth to continue. It was still good but I was just not sure if it was good enough. Now i’m so glad that I choosed to continue. Because this fourth book is so, so good. It is up in the same favorite spot as the first book.

I love that in this book you get to follow both Claire and Jamie and Brianna and Roger. I love to see peace and love at one end and the relationship between Brianna and Roger at the other. It is a great story, hard sometimes and there is a couple of horrific events happening that made my heart race and I just could not stop. I needed to know how it would end. It totally surprised me but in a good way. A little unsatisfying however. I mean have you spent 800 pages building it up, you could spend another couple pages to end it satisfyingly. Some parts felt a little forced but overall I’m happy.

I will continue the series, but as I told you, I need some time. 😉

Classic/Historical · War/Military · Young, New adult/College

Goodnight Mister Tom – Michelle Magorian

23718102| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ |

Goodreads synopsis: The gruff and surly Mr Thomas Oakley is less than pleased when he is landed with a scrawny little city boy as a guest, but because it is compulsory that each villager takes in an evacuee he reluctantly agrees. It soon becomes obvious to Mister Tom that young Willie Beech is hiding something, and as the pair begin to form an unlikely bond and Willie grows in stature and in confidence he begins to forget the past. But when he has to return to war-torn London to face his mother again he retreats into his shy and awkward ways once more.

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My thoughts: Goodnight Mister Tom is my all-time favorite book from when I was a child. I think I read it for the first time when I was around 10 years old, maybe younger and before my 18th birthday, I must have read it at least three times more. I loved it. But I have never read it on English. My copy of the book probably has been lost throughout the years or is at my mothers. So I though, since I’m going to by a new one, why not on English. And I’m really happy because the way it is originally written, certainly put some life in the story that me as an reader not could get from a translation. And it blew my mind how good it made it.

The book is a really sad story, but still a really happy one to. It takes place in the WW2 and for the most part you get to follow Will. He is an evacuee from London, who goes to live with this old and grumpy man who really do not want a kid in his house, but has to due to regulations. Mr Oakley is not as bad as everyone thinks. He just hit a ruff spot when young and never really got the help he needed to get out of it. He just found a way to survive through the years but never really live. Will and Mr Oakley finds a way to survive with each other and later on it turns to not only surviving but also living. There is a lot of characters in the book and they all have their own traits and personality’s. They are great described and funny to follow.

I don’t know why I loved this book so much as a kid. Maybe because it gave me the knowledge that in a bad situation, there is always hope. And even if they say blood is thicker than water, it has nothing to take too when it comes to friends and people who choose to be your family. Not are family just because you was born in to it. Wonderful, wonderful story!

I love Mr Tom so much and it is the book who really sparked my love for reading I even named my Kindle, Mr Tom, due to what that book has done for me. And this is such a cry story. Just saying. 😉

Do you have one of those story’s from your childhood that somehow changed you?

Classic/Historical · Fiction/Science Fiction · War/Military · Young, New adult/College

Salt to the sea – Ruta Sepetys

25614492.jpg| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ |

Goodreads synopsis: World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in one another tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

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My thoughts: Wilhelm Gustloffs shipwreck is the greatest in maritime history. Over 9000 people (that’s almost 8000 more than Titanic) lost their lives and yet, almost nobody knows anything about it. I certainly didn’t. My interest for war, historical fiction and that I didn’t know anything about this disaster, was a big reason for me to choose to read this book.

In this book we are following four characters  who all seek peace and freedom from the war that are breaking there country and family’s apart. Some of them, I like more than others but that I think was done with purpose and I understand it in the end. It is a great story, that do play on my emotions and now after i’m done, I do feel a little emotional drained.

It was a really thrilling read and as first book for me to read by Ruta Sepetys, I’m really pleasantly surprised. It started off quite slow and it is a slow burner through most of the book and I did lose interest there for a while, but I really wanted to know how it would end, so I picked it up again. The last chapters went past extremely fast and suddenly the book was over. I do not usually like books that are slow and then all the action is happening right before the book is ending. But it did work in this one. It is a really good book and that I lost focus has really nothing to do with the book itself, but with me who sometimes don’t have the patience for slow burners.

It is a hard read, just have to warn you. There is some terrible human fates that are happening and even if the book is fiction, it is hard to deny that this and probably even worse have happened in real life. I understand why Sepetys won the Goodreads Choice Award 2016 for this book. It is that good.