The Miniaturist By Jessie Burton | Book Review

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“Growing older does not seem to make you more certain, Nella thinks. It simply presents you with more reasons for doubt.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope your Tuesday is going great so far. The weather has been getting colder, and I’m loving it! Because colder weather always puts me in a good mood. Anyway, I really love historical fiction books, and I’ve been wanting to read The Miniaturist, because there was so much hype around it. So, I actually finished over the weekend, and I still can’t tell if I loved the book or not. But, without further ado, let’s review this book!

The book follows the story of Petronella Oortman, who is married to a wealthy man named Johannes Brandt. When she arrives in Amsterdam to meet her husband, she feels so excited about starting a new life as a wife. Unfortunately, Johannes treats her in a cold, and distant way, and he doesn’t really care enough to get to know her. He always travels far away and leaves her with his sister, Marin. One day, Johannes decides to buy a cabinet dollhouse as a wedding gift for Petronella. This dollhouse is a miniature version of the house they’re living in, but it’s empty. So, Petronella plans to furnish it. Therefore, she asks a miniaturist artist to make for her tiny furniture. Despite being precise, this miniaturist sends more miniature objects to Petronella that she didn’t even ask for, so she makes it her mission to find out the identity of this mysterious person. However, the cabinet dollhouse opens up Petronella’s eyes to things she didn’t pay attention to before, and reveals many hidden secrets in the house.

First of all, this book was confusing as hell, and very hard to get into in the beginning. But then, it started to make sense for me. Because when you finish it, you have to go back and read the first chapter again, and you’ll understand why the beginning is misleading. The writing style is a bit different, but I loved how descriptive it is. It’s very vivid and atmospheric. You can picture Amsterdam’s streets, the dollhouse, and how each character looks like. And I think that adds something unique to the story. The plot is very slow paced, and sometimes I was this close to drop it and pick up another book instead. But, I kept reading, and around 200 pages things started to get interesting and I couldn’t  put it down. To be honest, I enjoyed the writing style more than the story itself.

Let’s talk about the characters. First of all, Petronella is the main protagonist of the story. At first, she arrives at her new house with high expectations, then she gets disappointed when things don’t go as the way she imagined. She is filled with frustration, and crushed hopes. And she feels like her presence doesn’t mean anything to her husband. I sympathized with her, but she was such a passive character. She lets other people tell her what to do, and she doesn’t speak or stand up for herself. There were parts in the book when she was going to do something for herself, but she didn’t. And that really annoyed me. She’s just the type of character that waits for her life to miraculously change, and people around her acknowledge her, and make her feel worthy of herself. And I think maybe that’s because of how young, she is. Second of all, The title of the book refers to the mysterious miniaturist artist who occasionally sends miniature objects to Petronella. This miniaturist knows a lot about each person in the house, even their secrets, but no one knows who this person is. I was really intrigued to know the identity of the miniaturist, and I wished this person could tell us more about themselves. Also, the fact that Petronella didn’t meet the miniaturist at the end, made me feel so mad. Third of all, Johannes is Petronella’s husband, but he doesn’t act like one. He rarely sits and talk with her, and he doesn’t offer her his affection at all. I really think he’s selfish, because he just wanted people to know he’s married, so no could figure out his secret. But, he deprived Petronella of the life she wants. It’s like she was an accessory to him, not a real person. All he cared about was his wealth. Fourth of all,  Marin is Johannes’s sister, and she doesn’t show any emotion at all. Always so serious. And she’s in charge of everything in the house. But, her relationship with her brother is strong. She cares for him, and he is protective of her. She’s definitely the only character I like in the book, because everyone respects her and follow her lead. She’s strong and I like that.

What I like about this book is that we get to know the background story of each character, and how that lead them to where they are now. The characters’ growth was great. Also, this book explored important themes. Like, sexuality, religion, feminism. Race. The end of the book was a major disappointment. So many loose ends. I would definitely give it 3\5 stars.

To wrap up my review, The Miniaturist is a stunningly written book  that gives you the perfect sense of the seventeenth century  in Amsterdam. But, as I said, the first half of the book was just so meh to me, the second half of the book was where things started to pick up. Still, I love Jessie Burton’s writing, she makes the words come to life. If you’re a patient reader, I recommend this book to you. Because it’s one of those books that you have to take your time with to get into it.

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How To Stop Time By Matt Haig | Book review

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“That’s the thing with time, isn’t it? It’s not all the same. Some days – some years – some decades – are empty. There is nothing to them. It’s just flat water. And then you come across a year, or even a day, or an afternoon. And it is everything. It is the whole thing.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing great. Here’s the thing, I’m obsessed with anything involving time travel. T.V shows, books, movies, you name it! I just find the idea of time travel between different timelines fascinating. Seriously, if I could have a superpower, it would definitely be time travel. Like how awesome that would be! Anyway, last week I read How To Stop Time, and I was completely hooked. Can’t deny the fact that I chose to read this book, because of its beautiful cover though! But, it really has a beautiful and intriguing story as well. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

This book follows the story of a forty one year old man named Tom Hazard. There’s one thing that people don’t know about him. He has a rare medical condition called ‘Anageria’ that makes him ages very slowly than normal. Even though he looks young, he has lived hundreds of years. Therefor, Tom has moved a lot between different cities, just to protect himself from people. However, Tom can’t ever fall in love, because that will expose his situation, and endanger his life.

If you ever watched The Age OF Adaline movie and loved it, then you’re going to like this book. It kind of have the same concept, but it’s more twisted. I loved how the plot pulled me in.  With every page, I wanted to know more about Tom’s life and how he lived hundreds of years with his secret. And the book did that perfectly. I also didn’t expect the story to be so emotional! It really made me cry.

Now let’s talk about Tom. He’s the main character in the book, and he suffered a lot because of his rare condition, to the point where the people in his village killed his mother, because they thought she was a witch that came up with a spell, that made her son’s physical features not change at all. And he watched his mother die. His childhood was tragic and painful. He has lived his entire life in fear of people’s judgement. And he scarified himself just to protect the closest people to him. And that shows how loyal he is. But, what he went through, made him interested in history, because he met  Shakespeare, Captain Cook, and so many famous people in the past. And all of that led him to be a history teacher. Because he wanted his students to believe that history is a part of all of us, and we are all made up of stories that will become history in the future.

To wrap up my review, there are lots of things in the book that I haven’t mentioned above, because I don’t want to spoil anything for you. Overall, I really liked this book and I wish it was longer. It’s a thought provoking story about time, and how it affects in ways we don’t realize at all. I highly recommend this book.

Saint Anything By Sarah Dessen | Book Review

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“Just because a person isn’t talking about something doesn’t mean it’s not on their mind. Often, in fact, it’s why they won’t speak of it.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing great. Here’s the thing, I haven’t ever read any of Sarah Dessen’s books. I know, shocking right! But, a couple of months ago, I bought Saint Anything without knowing what the book was about, and last week I read it, and let me tell you that I wasn’t disappointed at all. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

This book follows the story of a typical teenage girl named Sydney. She has always been the good daughter who doesn’t disappoint her parents. On the other hand, her older brother Payton, is the exact opposite. He always acts without thinking of the consequences of his actions, and gets himself in so many bad situations. One night, his parents receive a call that Payton was drunk driving, and he hit a boy. Therefor, Payton now has to pay for his reckless behavior, and take responsibility for what he caused. However, Payton’s new life in jail is not going to be easy, and his bad choices  will affect his family, especially Sydney.

As you know, I love reading late at night, because for me, it’s the best time of the day to read peacefully. And when I started this book, I just didn’t want to sleep, instead I wanted to stay up late and read as much as I could, because I really got into it. Plus, I love books that talk about family, and real life issues. They’re just my favorite. The book was thick, but that didn’t affect the pace of the plot.

Now let’s talk about the characters.  I like how the story starts with Sydney and how she feels about what her brother did. At first her life was kind of going well, but then she started feeling embarrassed when people knew about her brother. There was no one she could talk to about what she was going through, even her parents, and her friends. And that’s because her mother is an obsessive planner, who likes to plan everything ahead, and she volunteers a lot in so many social activities. And her father doesn’t have a say, he’s just okay with whatever her mother decides. All of her parents attention was focused on Payton, even when he was in jail. That’s why she felt neglected. But, when she met Layla, and Mac, she felt they were like family to her. That’s so relatable. Because sometimes, it’s easier to talk to a stranger about  your life. But Layla, and Mac’s life weren’t perfect as well. Their mother is sick and they have to take care of her most of the time. Even though their life was complicated, they were supportive to each other. Also, I really like Layla, and Mac’s parents. They’re so understanding, and nice. And I love the fact that they own a pizza place. Like seriously, they made me crave pizza so bad. The way Mac was making  pizza and studying  every afternoon, made Sydney fall for him. Let’s be honest, Who wouldn’t fall for a smart guy that makes a good pizza? I can’t really blame her. When it comes to Ames, who is Payton’s best friend, there was something off about him. I knew he couldn’t be trusted. And I hated how he acted like he was Sydney’s brother. I didn’t feel comfortable while reading about him, he just creeped me out.

What I admire most about the book is how flawed and real the characters are. There’s also a lot of character growth. You can notice how each character changes and make better choices. Many heavy topics were discussed. Like, drug addiction, and alcohol. And I think that what made the plot compelling. To wrap up my review, Saint Anything is one of those books that portrays family issues in a realistic way.  It also carries a lot of great lessons, and it definitely shows us that sometimes we find solace in the most unlikely places. I highly recommend this book, especially if you’re a fan of Sarah Dessen’s books.

The Witches Of The Glass Castle By Gabriella Lepore | Book Review

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“Every emotion had its own sound. Fear, happiness, sadness, love. They were all uniquely identifiable. The only similarity was that they were all excruciatingly deafening, intense, and fierce.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing great. I had such a relaxing weekend, and I managed to read two books. So, I guess I can’t complain! Anyways, this month Oftomes sent me a free copy of TWITGC  in exchange for my honest review. I finished this book in one sitting, because it was a quick and fun read. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

This book follows the story of two siblings, Mia and Dino. When they both find out that they are real witches, their mother decides to send them the whole summer to The Glass Castle. Which is a school for kids to discover their powers and learn more about magic. This castle is owned by a woman named Wendolyn, and she also taught Mia and Dino’s mother how to use her power. When Mia and Dino arrive at the castle, they both feel worried about going through a new experience, and spending the summer in a place with complete strangers. Despite the fact that Dino has discovered his power before he has arrived at the castle, he doesn’t feel comfortable enough to train and let Wendolyn guides him. However, Mia is determined to do whatever it takes to discover her power. And throughout their stay at the castle, Mia and Dino find out that there are two types of witches.

Before I talk about my thoughts on the book, I just want to let you know that my opinions will not be affected by the fact that I was given this book for free. My review is going to be completely honest. Okay, now let’s talk about it. It’s been quite a while since I read a book in one sitting, and when I finished TWITGC, I remembered how magical it feels to be swept away in a completely different world for a couple of hours, and not just any world! A world with magic, witches, hunters, and a secret castle! Like does it get any better than this? It also has Harry Potter vibes. The writing style is easy to follow, engaging, and I loved how witty it is. I laughed a lot while reading it. I also loved the parts of the book where Dino was making fun of his aunt Madeline, they were just hilarious.

When it comes to the characters, Mia and Dino are the main protagonists. And as siblings, their relationship with each other wasn’t always easy. Mia was trying to connect with her brother at the castle, but he wouldn’t let his guard down, and talk about his fears and what was bothering him. And I think it’s relatable, because sometimes, when we go through something difficult, we think it’s better to not tell anyone, especially the closest people, because we feel that they won’t understand, or sympathize with us. And I totally get that. Despite that, I think Dino is my favorite character, and I could notice how he started to change gradually and started letting his friends in. But to be honest, I didn’t like Mia’s character at all. I was really annoyed at how reckless she was sometimes. If someone told her no to do something, she did it anyway, even if it was dangerous. Most of the time in the castle, she acted without thinking or caring about her safety, which really got on my nerves. The only thing I liked about Mia is the fact that she fell in love with Colt. I loved how he taught her to believe in herself. He was there for her when she needed someone to make her feel reassured that eventually, she’ll find what her power is. Also, I was really confused between Tol and Lotan, because I thought they were the same person at some point when I was reading. I kind of wished they had different names. Oh, and the plot twist at the final pages was so shocking! I didn’t see that coming at all. To wrap up my review, I really enjoyed the world building. It was dark, gripping, and mysterious. And I liked how things ended. I would recommend this book, it’s definitely the perfect read for fall.

Lilac Girls By Martha Hall Kelly | Book Review

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“retrouvailles, another one of those words that do not translate into English, which means “the happiness of meeting someone you love again after a long time.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing great. I have something to admit, I always find it hard to review books that I really like, because either they affect me, or they talk about life and sad things that the characters are going through, and sometimes I feel overwhelmed by that. And guess what, today I’m going to talk about Lilac Girls which is in fact based on a true story. When I bought this book I didn’t know anything about it, except that it’s set in world war 2. It was such a horrifying, yet an honest story of brave women. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

The story takes place during world war two when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, and it explores the lives of three women. Caroline Ferriday is a socialite and a philanthropist who volunteers at the French consulate in New York to help orphaned children that were affected by war, by sending them food packages. On the other hand, Kasia is a young Polish girl who lives with her family in town. When she gets deeper into the politics and war, she decides to be an emissary for the underground movement. One day, her mission goes totally wrong when the German soldiers catch her along with her sister and mother, and send them to Ravensbruck concentration camp. Away from Poland, there is Herta who is a young ambitious German Doctor. She has dedicated her entire life for medicine and she would do anything to get better. When she hears about Ravensbruck concentration camp, she feels that it’s a great opportunity to pass. So, she signs her name for the offered position and takes the job. However, throughout the grotesque medical experiments on the female prisoners in camp that are executed by Herta, Kasia is determined to make it through the horrifying pain, and hunger in order to tell the truth if she survived.

SPOILER ALERT

This book left me in awe. The writing style was detailed, and the pace of the book picked up slowly. It’s the kind of the book that you need to take your time with, because it talks about real war events that happened. I’ve heard about the Ravensbruck concentration camp before, but reading about it is a whole different experience. And following those women’s lives in the camp was heartbreaking. The way they were treated was brutal and dehumanizing. Every single day in that camp was like a living hell. The female prisoners were tortured, raped, and punished for no reason. Some of them were attacked by dogs, thrown in a cold, solitary confinements for weeks, and killed.  The medical experiments on the female prisoners were gruesome. I felt sick to my stomach when I reached the part when Herta started executing the experiments, because they were explained in the book in specific details. Like seriously, don’t read that part of the book while you’re eating, because it will make you feel nauseous.

Now let’s talk about the characters. The story is told through Caroline, Kasia, and Herta’s point of views, and I think that’s what makes it spellbinding. Because, it’s really engaging to read about how each one of those three women were affected by war in various ways. Like Caroline, she is a New Yorker socialite, privileged woman, and she always did what was necessary to help with the difficult situations that France was going through. But when Germany invaded France, they couldn’t send enough food packages or money, because of the war. When it comes to Kasia, she wanted to be a Nurse, and her sister wanted to be a Doctor, but their dreams were crushed when they were taken to the camp. Each day there broke them, but Kasia was smart, courageous, and she wanted to survive to expose those guards, and doctors who harmed the female prisoners. The third character is Herta, who lived in Germany with her father, and mother. She wanted to gain more medical experience, but she had no clue what she was getting herself into. She was manipulated by the Doctors at the camp, because they led her to believe that she was just doing her job, and experimenting on healthy people was for the greater good in medicine. It’s interesting  to see how her personality shifted to a criminal and cold one when she started killing innocent women. I felt furious at what happened to Kasia’s mother Halina because of Herta. When the female prisoners escaped the camp, and years later after going back to their normal lives. Post world war 2, Caroline helped the Polish women known as the ‘Rabbits’ by sending them to the United states for treatment. Later on, she and Kasia brought justice for camp survivors by exposing Herta. I can’t believe how strong, and resilient the ‘Rabbits’ were. Sometimes, i wished the boo was told through Kasia and Herta’s point of views, because i wanted to read more about the life in the camp. Caroline chapters are my least favorite to be honest, because they’re really long, and sometimes that didn’t add up much to the story. And her love relationship with Paul was doomed from the beginning, i don’t understand how she had so much hope, even though she knew it won’t last. The end of the book was satisfying and i really liked it.

To wrap up my review, this is an insightful, raw, and powerful book that I would recommend it to anyone. A story about war, friendship, love, and feminism that represents that era in a memorable, and thought provoking  way. If you love historical fiction books, then I promise you, that you won’t ever regret reading this book.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern | Book Review

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“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is, your role, your gift.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing great. You know that feeling when you read a good book at the wrong time? Yeah, that’s exactly how I felt two weeks ago, because I was really sick and I struggled to finish it, even though it’s not that long. Anyways, after finishing this book, I kind of get why most people are praising it. Aside from the enchanting book cover, it really has an interesting premise. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

Hector Bowen, known as Prospero the Enchanter is a well known magician. People come from everywhere to enjoy his show and tricks. He left his wife a long time ago, but after she killed herself, he is now responsible for taking care of his daughter, Celia. At the beginning, they couldn’t connect with each other as a father and daughter would. But, when she makes a trick, her father intends to teach her the basics of magic. After many training sessions, Hector realizes that his daughter’s magic abilities are remarkable, and she is a fast learner. One day, he decides to invite his former magic teacher Alexander, to set a challenge between one of his students against his talented daughter Celia. After Alexander’s agreement to the terms of the challenge, he chooses a smart boy named Marco, and starts training him immediately. Celia and Marco have absolutely no idea that they’re competing against each other, or when the challenge begins. However, in a world full of magic and possibilities, two young magicians are destined to meet later in the future, and compete against each other. In order to win, one of them has to die.

This book completely hooked me up, I just wanted to dive into its world, and live there so I can go every midnight to the circus. It’s so mesmerizing, and it’s definitely one of those books that sweeps you off your feet, and makes you ignore everything around you. The writing style is so engrossing, and incredibly vivid. I literally felt like I was walking inside the circus, which felt so magical to me. Also, this book made me want to eat caramelized apples, and popcorn so bad. The precise description of the circus and each tent inside it, is fascinating. What makes this circus special, is that it travels across the world, appears in many different countries, and random places without specific time. But, it opens at midnight, and closes at dawn.  And that’s why people anticipate it, because it’s another whole experience. One more interesting thing in this book, is that Hector and Alexander taught their opponents differently. Hector taught Celia in a physical way. Like making her move things, cutting her fingers and making her rapair them over and over again with magic. On the other hand, Alexander relied on the theoretical training, and he made Marco read tons of books, and make notes. As much as I loved this book, there are some things that I just didn’t like. First, there’s a lot of time jumping, which I found really confusing. Second, the two main characters, Celia, and Marco were flat to me. Because the story begins with them as little kids, until they grow up, and it feels like we lived with them throughout the events of the story, but there was no character development at all. Third, the insta love between Celia and Marco was so cliché. I didn’t buy it at all. I feel like they were not supposed to fall in love with each other, but the author kind of forced them, just to create a magical romance scene in the book, but honestly it felt so wrong, and unconvincing. Fourth, there was no actual competing between Celia and Marco. I really was waiting for the big, exciting moment when they meet each other, and start the competition. But that moment felt so normal when it happened, and I honestly was so disappointed. Fifth, the book focused more on the circus itself, the lavish parties, and fancy dinners, instead of focusing on the characters. Don’t get me wrong, the circus was described in a beautiful, and engaging way, but it’s kind of neglected the characters, which made them have no depth to their personalities. The only character that I really liked and rooted for was Bailey. He changed a lot at the end of the book.  Sixth, I honestly don’t know what the purpose of the circus, I know it’s the place for the opponents to compete in, but at the end stuff happened, people died, and the circus closed. I expected Celia to win and run the circus again, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. To wrap up my review, I loved the magical realism in this book, except the character, they were less interesting than I thought. And despite the things that I didn’t like, I’d still recommend it.

Trapped In Silver By Emily Sowden | Book Review

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“There’s a humble blessing to being ignorant of things we don’t understand.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing amazing. I have great news for today. I’ve been selected as an official reviewer for Oftomes. They sent me a free copy of Trapped In silver in exchange for my honest review. It took me four days to finish the book, but it’s really not that long, and it’s so gripping. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

This book follows the story of Ava, who lives in a small town called Wetherdon. Her father left a long time ago, and ever since then, she has been responsible for taking care of her foster brother Roan, and their farm. Her life is not easy as it seems, because sometimes, she pretends to be a boy, in order to sell their farm products in town, and protect herself from dangerous people. One day, she goes to a festival in town with her friend, but something unexpected happens. She is hunted by a group of animalistic men called The Berserkers, who want to kill her. Later on, she manages to escape from them.  When she finds out that her brother is missing, she makes it her mission to look for him. However, in a strange land full of monstrous creatures, she is keen on understanding everything, including the coming war. And along the way, she will discover the truth of who she is.

This book exceeded my expectations! The world building is magical, dark and mysterious. I was hooked up  from the first page. The writing style is so captivating, the story is fast paced, and it’s told through Ava and Ethan’s point of view. I loved how with every page, we learn more about Ava, her parents, and her foster brother Roan. My favorite thing about this book is the fact that the main character is a Female! Not only that! She is self reliant, courageous, strong, and she doesn’t take crap from anyone. And on top of all that, she really has a good sense of humor. Even though she makes wrong decisions sometimes, I still admire her personality. Because, you know, nobody is perfect, and she’s the perfect example of that. I also think that her character is relatable, because when people have good intentions and they plan on doing the right thing, sometimes they make the wrong decision, and that doesn’t make them bad people. It’s just that’s how life is, you have to make mistakes to learn from them. When it comes to Ava’s relationship with her family, she’s so protective of them and she wouldn’t allow anyone to hurt them. I also like how when Ava met Ethan, she didn’t fall in love with him immediately. Throughout the story, they were getting to know each other, and talking about personal things, which I really liked. The only thing that I wanted to know more about, was Ava’s locket. I kind of have my own theories about it, but I hope the next book will explain to us the purpose behind it. I really wanted to read from Roan’s point of view, because it would’ve been interesting to know how he feels about being a Berserker. Also, the plot twist in the last pages was so shocking! I didn’t see that coming! To wrap up my review, I really enjoyed reading Trapped In Silver,  and it was such a page turner! It also has The Beauty And The Beast vibes, which is amazing! It’s full of twists, and unexpected moments. If you’re a fantasy lover, then I really recommend this one for you.