Review: The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

The Book Thief - Markus ZusakTitle: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Publication date: January 1, 2005
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
Serie: No, standalone

You can add this book to Goodreads by clicking the cover.

Goodreads synopsis:
HERE IS A SMALL FACT – YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.

Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION – THIS NOVEL IS NARRATED BY DEATH.

It’s a small story, about: a girl, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.

ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW – DEATH WILL VISIT THE BOOK THIEF THREE TIMES

My thoughts:

This book was really hard for me to get into. I started reading this more than a month ago and I just couldn’t get into the story. To be honest, I was a little dissappointed because this book is extremely hyped up, especially with the release of the film adaptation. It did however decide to give it a second change and I picked it up again a couple of days ago. And I must say, now that I’ve finished it, I am glad I did.

I really liked the interesting point of view: this book is narrated by death. An advantage of this pov is that you get to know the main character Liesel really well. I really admire Liesel. She has such a strong passion for reading and she shows that you can accomplish and overcome anything as long as you try. Liesel clearly matures in the course of the book, and this makes her a very three dimensional character.

The downside of death as a narrator is that many plot twists are already given away before the events really happen. The narrator is remember Liesel’s story and therefore jumps ahead sometimes. Consequently I was not overwhelmed by emotion, despite the sadness of some parts of the book. This is mainly because you often already know what is going to happen, as the narrator gave it away 100 or 200 pages earlier.

I loved the inclusion of drawings and letters in the book, especially because they made the book personal. I loved the allegory of the word shaker halfway through the book. It really captures how Hitler was able to exert so much power.

Despite the thickness of the book it didn’t feel long. The chapters were really short and that immensely added to the flow of this book. Also the quotations in Bold really set the scenes, which made the read very clear.

I liked this book and I would certainly recommend you read it, but I was not blown away by it. I think this mainly because I such high expectations of this book. However, I think that there is a beautiful message in this book: that there is compassion everywhere, especially in the darkest days of our past. I therefore give The Book Thief 4 stars.

4 Stars

 

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Stacking the Shelves (1)

Stacking The Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Ebook’s

Such a Rush - Jennifer Echols
I featured Such a Rush in my very first Wishlist Wednesday and sorta purchased the ebook right away, as else I would probably forget to buy this. This is the only book I bought this week. I did order some books online so I hope they come in soon!

Q: What did you get this week?

Guest Review: The Carrie Diaries – Candace Bushnell

The following review has been written by Juliske, my younger sister. She is 18 and loves to read contemporary YA.

The Carrie Diaries - Candace Bushnell

Titel: The Carrie Diaries
Author: Candace Bushnell
Publication Date: April 27, 2010
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Serie: Book 1 of The Carrie Diaries Duology

You can add this book to Goodreads by clicking the cover.

Synopsis
Before Carrie Bradshaw hit the big time in the City, she was a regular girl growing up in the suburbs of Connecticut. How did she turn into one of the most-read social observers of our generation?

The Carrie Diaries opens up in Carrie’s senior year of high school. She and her best friends — Walt, Lali, Maggie, and the Mouse — are inseparable, amid the sea of Jens, Jocks and Jets. And then Sebastian Kydd comes into the picture. Sebastian is a bad boy-older, intriguing, and unpredictable. Carrie falls into the relationship that she was always supposed to have in high school-until a friend’s betrayal makes her question everything. With her high school days coming to a close, Carrie will realize it’s finally time to go after everything she ever wanted.

Rabid fans of Sex and the City will love seeing Carrie Bradshaw evolve from a regular girl into a sharp, insightful writer. They’ll learn about her family background — how she found her writing voice, and the indelible impression her early friendships and relationships left on her. We’ll see what brings Carrie to her beloved New York City, where the next Carrie Diaries book will take place.

Juliske’s Thoughts:
When I bought this book – for only $3 – I didn’t have particularly high expectations of it since the ratings weren’t so high. I, therefore, had a bit of a hard time with getting into the story. But after finishing the book, I actually really really liked it. 

The main character, Carrie, is really fun and ‘non-caring’. She does exactly what she wants to do, believes in herself and is not afraid to take chances. These charactertistics of Carrie make the story very surprising. It is very easy to relate to Carrie since most of the things she experiences are things we all dealt with in high school. It is a very well-written and easy-to-read book. The story is inspiring and perfect for a lazy afternoon!

I gave this book four stars because I really enjoyed reading it. The reason I didn’t gave it 5 stats because it is a “simple story” and it is not comparable to – for example – The Fault in Our Stars, which is a really deep and intriguing book.

4 Stars

Review: Incarceron – Catherine Fisher

Incarceron - Catherine FischerTitle: Incarceron
Author: Catherine Fisher
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2007
Publisher: Hodder
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Serie: Book 1 of theIncarceron Duology

You can add this book to Goodreads by clicking the cover.

Synopsis:
Incarceron — a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology — a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber — chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison — a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device — a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn’s escape is born..

My thoughts:
This book had been sitting on my shelf for more than two years now. I recently ordered the second book in this duology, Sapphique, so that I can read this back to back. The book is over 450 pages but it does not feel very big as it is very fast paced.

This is the first book that I’ve read by Catherine Fisher. What I really noticed about her writing style is that she focuses more on world building and world descriptions than she focuses on character descriptions. Even now that I have finished the book I am not really sure what the main characters Claudia and Finn look like. Consequently I cannot get a good picture of themselves in my head and it really up to the reader to decided what they look like. It is not bothersome but something that stand out from other books.

I really liked that Catherine Fisher eases you into her novels. Often authors spend their first few chapters to really outline the rules and regulations of the world the novel is set in. Catherine Fisher does not do this. Instead she gradually unfolds the secrets of Incarceron’s worldwith each chapter, as  you get more information to piece together what this world is like. The narrative constantly makes you question what you really now, and if what you know is real or colored by the language of the narrator.

I really liked the two different point of views in Incarceron. I especially like that Catherine Fisher is not so rigid. Some authors chose to alternate every chapter, but in Incarceron pov’s change every other page. This really fits the plot well as Claudia and Finn’s world is just as fractured. I also really enjoyed the concept of frozen time. Claudia’s world is, ordered by royal decree, frozen in the 17th century, including all the (dis)comforts of that time period. I have a special fondness for historical fiction so details like these are extra fun.

The end did leave me with some questions so I am really looking forward where the story continues in Sapphique. There are some many things that could happen.

I give this book 4 stars because I liked the world and enjoyed the characters. I would have loved to have more information about what the characters look like. This is definitely a nice and easy fantasy novel, if you are just starting to get into the genre.

4 Stars

Wishlist Wednesday (1)

This is a meme hosted by Dani of Pen to Paper in which you pick one book from your wishlist shelf and explain why you really want to read that one book.

I wish for:

Such a Rush - Jennifer Echols

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

Goodreads Synopsis:
When I was fourteen, I made a decision. If I was doomed to live in a trailer park next to an airport, I could complain about the smell of the jet fuel like my mom, I could drink myself to death over the noise like everybody else, or I could learn to fly.

Heaven Beach, South Carolina, is anything but, if you live at the low-rent end of town. All her life, Leah Jones has been the grown-up in her family, while her mother moves from boyfriend to boyfriend, letting any available money slip out of her hands. At school, they may diss Leah as trash, but she’s the one who negotiates with the landlord when the rent’s not paid. At fourteen, she’s the one who gets a job at the nearby airstrip.

But there’s one way Leah can escape reality. Saving every penny she can, she begs quiet Mr. Hall, who runs an aerial banner-advertising business at the airstrip and also offers flight lessons, to take her up just once. Leaving the trailer park far beneath her and swooping out over the sea is a rush greater than anything she’s ever experienced, and when Mr. Hall offers to give her cut-rate flight lessons, she feels ready to touch the sky.

By the time she’s a high school senior, Leah has become a good enough pilot that Mr. Hall offers her a job flying a banner plane. It seems like a dream come true… but turns out to be just as fleeting as any dream. Mr. Hall dies suddenly, leaving everything he owned in the hands of his teenage sons: golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson. And they’re determined to keep the banner planes flying.

Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business—until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers—and the consequences could be deadly.

Why I want to read:
This is one of the very first books I added to my wishlist and that is the main reason why I want to read it. The book was pulished in 2012 and has since gotten good ratings on Goodreads. Such a Rush will perfectly fit my new love for Contemporary YA, and I like that the synopsis does not talk about a romantic interest. Although I do like Romance YA, it seems that a lot of Contemporary YA looks alike. The synopsis is mysterious and there is bound to be a plot twist. The main character comes across a strong woman that makes her own destiny, another aspect that I really like in characters. Hopefully I won’t wait so much longer to buy this, especially since there is about 2000 other books on my wishlist…

Q: What book are you wishing for today?

Summer TBR

My challenge this year is to read a 100 books. Sofar I have read 40 which means I am little bit behind. To regain some territory I decided to create a summer challenge for myself to read 20 books before September 1st. At the same time I hope to make a big dent in my evergrowing TBR pile.

Summer Reading List
Dead to the World - Charlaine HarrisStorm of Swords - George R.R. MartinMaybe One Day - Melissa Kantor

1. Dead to the World – Charlaine.
This is the fourth book in the Stookie Stackhouse Series. I have already read this, and it was a fun and quick read.

2. Storm of Swords – George R.R. Martin
I started this book back in March so it was about time to finish this. I finished the second book of my tbr last week and I can’t wait to read Feast of Crows, hopefully before Season 5 of Game of Thrones premieres.

3. Maybe One Day – Melissa Kantor
This is the last book that I’ve already read. You can read the review down below.

Incarceron - Catherine FischerSapphique - Catherine FischerThe Horse and His Boy - C.S. Lewis

4. Incarceron – Catherine Fisher
This is the first book in a duology. The story is about a mysterious prision and a place where time stands still. I am currently reading this.

5. Sapphique – Catherine Fisher
This is the sequel to Incareron.

6. The Horse and His Boy – C.S. Lewis
I am reading the Chronicles of Narnia in Chronological order so this it the 3rd book I read in this series. This should be a really quick read.

Het Helse Paradijs - Thea BeckmanThe Book Thief - Markus ZusakUnder the Dome - Stephen King

7. Het Helse Paradijs – Thea Beckman
This book is by a Dutch author so I’ll be reading this book in Dutch. Thea Beckman is my absolutely favorite childhood writer, as she writes historical ya fiction. This however, is a series set in the future. Women have the power on the island of Thule (modern Greenland) and are under attack from a male dominated enemy. This is the second book in this series and I am really looking forward to the reread!

8. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
I have already read about 40% of this book but for some reason I cannot get through. Hopefully I will like it more after I’ve read a couple of other books.

9. Under the Dome – Stephen King
This book is enormous. The premise of the book is so intriguing and when I’ve read this I can finally watch the television show.

The Concubine of Shanghai - Hong YingAnna Dressed in Blood - Kendare BlakeGirl of Nightmares - Kendare Blake

10. The Concubine of Shanghai – Hong Ying
I bought this book on a whim because the title peaked my curiosity. This is one of those novels that will probably linger on my bookshelf if I not read them quickly. Might as well read it right away.

11. Anna Dressed in Blood – Kendare Blake
This was one of the very first YA books I bought when I got back into reading about three years ago. I think it is finally time to get it off my shelf.

12. Girl of Nightmares – Kendare Blake
This is the sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood. I bought this book a couple of weeks ago to force myself to read this series.

The Owl Keeper - Christine Brodien-JonesVoyager - Diana GabaldonLonely Souls - Karice Bolton

13. The Owl Keeper – Christine Brodien-Jones
This book was gifted to me by my boyfriend last Christmas. I really have a thing for owl, and that’s about as far as my knowledge about this book goes.

14. Voyager – Diana Gabaldon
This is the third book of the Outlander series. I really like the series but the books are just so big. I really need to take some time to read this and preferably without other books distracting me from finishing this beast.

15. Lonely Souls – Karice Bolton
I prefer to read print books but despite that I have quite some books (read plus 50) on my ipad. One of these is Lonely Souls. I have not read a lot of books about witches so I am looking forward to this one.

Slated - Teri TerryFractured - Teri TerryShattered - Teri Terry

16/17/18. Slated, Fractured & Shattered – Teri Terry
The first book in this series has also been setting on my shelf for a very long time. On a recent trip I bought book 2 and 3 so now that I have the series complete I play to marathon them.

All The Countries We've Invaded - Stuart LaycockSecond Chance Summer - Morgan Matson

19. All The Countries We’ve Invaded – Stuart Laycock
This book is non-fiction and is an account of all the countries the UK has invaded. It features short bits and pieces of history and fun facts. I plan to read this on the side as I expect to read this slowly over the summer.

20. Second Chance Summer – Morgen Matson
Ofcourse I’ll have to read a book that has summer in the title. It is only logical!

 

Q: What are you reading this summer?

 

Review: Maybe One Day – Melissa Kantor

Maybe One Day - Melissa Kantor Title: Maybe One Day
Author: Melissa Kantor
Publication Date: February 18th, 2014
Publisher: Harper Teen

You can add this book to Goodreads by clicking the cover.

My thoughts:
Usually I don’t read a lot of Contemporary YA, but this cover and the synopsis on Goodreads really made me curious. The book is about two best friends dealing with life after dancing. They both have to find a way to go on and Zoe, the narrator of this novel, has an extremely hard time to do that.

Overall, I really liked Zoe although she did have some questionable statements with which I did not disagree at all. I can imagine that some people are really turned off and don’t want to finish reading but for me this made Zoe real. Every person has flaws and despite her’s I still believe she is a genuinely nice person.

Suprisingly every character in this book was really nice. Despite the High School setting there wasn’t a single mean character and that is really hard to believe. Even the cheerleaders, who are usually portrayed as mean and disinterested people in YA novels where really, really, really nice. A bit too nice.

The chapters in this book were really short, and that really helped the book to flow. This book is fairly straightforwards, there is not a lot of deeper meaning, although the emotions are really intense. You really ride the rollercoaster of Zoe’s life with her.

I give this book 4 stars, because despite it’s flaws I kept reading. I was not dissappointed, the end was truly worth the read.

4 Stars