Tudor Books

Long time no see, people. It’s the laziest blogger on the internet. But while I haven’t done much reviewing, trust me when I say I have been reading A LOT. And in fact, I think I have started to branch out a bit. While I used to read mostly contemporary YA and thrillers, now I barely reach for those genres. I guess I had an overdose. I do however have many other new subjects that I am interested in, so I decided to make a series of posts about these newfound interests

And first up we have: Tudor England! I am obsessed, okay? Like obsessed to the point where there isn’t a day when I don’t think about Anne Boleyn. And while my Anne obsession isn’t new, it started to seep into interest for many other Tudors: Elizabeth I, Jane Grey, Catherine Parr.

Some books I’ve recently read on the subject:

How To Be a Tudor by Ruth Goodman- You may know Ruth Goodman by the historical TV shows where she lives in a past time period as authentically as possible. She is also a very talented historian, interested mostly in domestic life. Therefore it comes as no surprise that her book of everyday Tudor-era life is an informative and accurate glimpse into the lives of regular people of the time. Really enjoyed this one, it’s full of interesting pieces of trivia to bother your friends with (…or maybe that’s just me?).

The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir- Another read written by a very informed historian. While Alison Weir has written nonfiction on the Tudor period, this is a work of fiction, that encompasses both intrigue and accuracy (for the most part). Just a small warning for people who dislike creative liberties in their history: There is one highly controversial event that happens in the novel that is not proven to be true. However in the afterword you can see that the author wrote it as a conscious choice. If you’ve read this book you probably know what I am talking about and I’d like to hear your opinion on the inclusion of this event.

Courtly Pleasures by Erin Kane Spock- In another post I will write all about my newfound interest in the romance genre, but I couldn’t help but include this novel on my Tudor list too. It is a love story set in queen Elizabeth’s court, between two courtiers, a husband and a wife in an arranged marriage who have only recently discovered that their relationship doesn’t have to be a duty to be fulfilled. While not my favorite romance novel, it’s still pretty swoonworthy.

Honorable mentions: The Royal Circle series by Katherine Longshore, The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory (not very accurate, but so full of intrigue), The Children of Henry VIII by Alison Weir, My Lady of Cleves by Margaret Campbell Barnes (reading this one at the moment).

That’s it for now. Please share with me your favorite Tudor books and your favorite time in history to read about.


Some reviews cause I felt like it

Hi bookies! Long time no see. Guess who is back! (It’s me, duh.)

So as a celebration for the comeback of the worst blogger ever, let’s start with a few books I liked, in no particular order.

The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn: Thinking about this book makes me so giddy. It was published in the beginning of this month, but I am thinking about rereading it. It’s set slightly in the future and time travel machines are invented. The main character Rachel is sent along with actor and historian Liam to go and steal the last Jane Austen manuscript before it’s destroyed. In order to do that they have to befriend Jane Austen and infiltrate the everyday lives of the gentry.  But Rachel can’t accept the suffering of everyday 19th life and soon she starts making small changes. But Rachel is a doctor and she can’t help wondering if Jane Austen’s mysterious illness could be cured? And how will these changes affect the future?

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield: Sometimes a book talks about the experience of reading in such a familiar way that I can’t help calling it a book lovers’ book. I know, that doesn’t explain much about the plot or the genre, but that’s the first thing I need to say about The Thirteenth Tale. If you love books (and since you are reading my ramblings I guess you do), this is the book for you. It’s gothic fiction about a biographer and the reclusive novelist who promises to tell her the truth behind her mysterious past. It gave me a bit of a Wuthering Heights for some reason. Maybe it’s because of the isolated big house and a family’s strange past. One more tip: read this book on a cold day, maybe with a cup of tea next to you. It’s not a summery book at all, so it’d be much nicer to save this one for a rainy day.

Nelly Dean by Alison Case: Speaking of Wuthering Heights this is the retelling from the perspective of Nelly. Actually the original book is also told from her perspective, but this time she tells her own story. Turns out Nelly kept many secrets from Mr. Lockwood when she told him the story of Heathcliff and the Earnshaws. This book gets the tone right and the new story fits well with the original one too. You can imagine these things happening in the background of the main events. If Emily Bronte wrote a sequel, it would be pretty similar to this.

So that’s it for now. I read many more books, but these were three favorites in the past 6 months. I may write about the books that I disliked the most during this time period too, but we’ll see. But now I have to study.

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

In order to call a character an anti-hero I go through this thought process in my head: “They are horrible but also badass and even though I’d never do what they are doing, I get where they are coming from”. Which is why I hesitate calling Ani, the protagonist of this book, an anti-hero. I completely understand why she is the way she is and to be honest, I think everyone, even the strongest person in the world, would turn out just like her if they went through the same things as she did.

And trust me, horrible things happen to her. When you take into consideration that the author was inspired to write this book by real events that happened to her, it’s no wonder that this book packs such a strong punch. I was literally shaking from rage when I read some of the things that happened to Ani. Not only the event itself is extremely traumatic, but the reactions she gets from people afterwards are horrible too.

I really liked how Ani’s really shallow and narcissistic mother affected her future. Ani has found a way to cope with her trauma by focusing on achieving success, but I think it’s interesting how she’s basically trying to fulfill her mother’s idea of what success is.

Another observation: I think some of the negative reviews just further prove that we do live in a slut-shaming and victim-blaming society. Now I don’t want to start unnecessary drama and there are many people who didn’t like the book for the way it was written or other acceptable reasons. After all everyone is entitled to their own opinions.  Nonetheless, I am shocked by how many people were appalled not by the two big traumas in Ani’s and the people who caused them, by her very unsupportive fiancé (who I really despised btw) or all of the incompetent adults in her life. No, instead they were shocked by how bitchy or shallow Ani was. Seriously?

Oh and one last thing. This is nothing like Gone Girl, no matter how hard publishers try to convince us otherwise. But it’s a great book and even if you don’t enjoy it, it’s still a good idea to give it a read and re-think what you assume you know about the subject matter it deals with.

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

Whew, finally! I feel as if I achieved something important by finishing this book. This is probably how Daenerys felt when her dragons hatched.

Okay so maybe I am exaggerating, but this series does require serious commitment. And after reading A Game of Thrones two or three years ago and liking it, but not quite loving it, I had decided that I lacked that level of commitment. But somehow a few weeks ago I changed my mind and now here I am.

What changed my mind were Cersei and Sansa. I hated them when I read the first book. But afterwards, since I didn’t really care about spoilers, I heard some things about their character development that got me interested again. I thought about it for a bit and I realized that I’ve changed since I read the first book and that my opinions had changed too. And just like that I was fangirling over Sansa even before I started A Clash of Kings.

The main thing that may put off some readers is that the buildup is so slooooooooow. Extremely slow. And the buildup takes like ¾ of the book. So is it worth it? Well after that, once the action starts picking up, things get crazy and violent and murder-y and shocking and unexpected and everything you wished for. So my verdict is: It’s worth it. It really is. It gave answers for some questions and raised some new questions. I am really intrigued. And this time I probably won’t wait two years to pick up the next book in the series.

The Cake Therapist by Judith Fertig

I just finished this book and I am just aching to write a review. For some reason I feel like I have many things to say about it, even though it was just a ‘meh’ book.

Maybe it’s because this book had the potential to be a bit better. It still wouldn’t have been perfect, nothing to rave about, but it would’ve been a solid 3-star read. But honestly, it felt like a draft of a novel, not the finished product.

The sin it suffers the most from is too many plot points crammed into a short book, many of them leading to dead ends or underwhelming conclusions. There’s a budding romance between two secondary characters that is just a few sentences here and there and never amounts to anything. The main character’s absent father is also mentioned even though it has nothing to do with the plot and it’s again an issue solved in a sentence. Even the main character’s marriage problems, which are given some attention throughout the book, are solved really quickly. Not to mention some traumatic events that side characters go through that are handled in a very by-the-way manner which the gravity of the situation doesn’t allow.

The main character has an almost magical sense of taste which she uses to help other people. However this is just thrown at random moments in the book and never has a real meaning as a plot device. The main problem is not even solved with the help of this skill, it’s solved by sheer luck and a random chain of events.

The beginning of the book implies that food is a much more important element than it actually is. Cupcakes and wedding cakes are mentioned in passing but they never have the importance that the first few chapters imply.

There is also a number of underdeveloped side characters. They were just a string of names that I couldn’t keep a track of between the useless plot points and sloppy writing. I think the author was trying to do the whole “small town where everyone knows everyone” thing, but it just didn’t work and made things even more confusing.

However it was still not a horrible book. It was not infuriatingly bad, just very underwhelming and I think we should keep in mind that this was the author’s debut novel. But if you expect this to be the new Chocolat, don’t get your hopes up.

Quick Reviews #4

  1. So Sad Today by Melissa Broder- I am not on Twitter, but I occasionally do check some of my favorite accounts, and one of them is @sosadtoday. I’d describe it the way I describe Morrissey’s lyrics: Wonderfully pathetic. For a long time no one knew who was behind this series of depressing, but relatable tweets, until Melissa Broder came forward. And when I heard that she’s publishing her personal essays, I was really excited. However I have to admit that the style of the essays has nothing to do with the style of the tweets. But that’s okay. Melissa Broder makes up for it with her raw honesty about sexuality, mental issues and feelings that we’d rather not talk about.


  1. The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock- A book about teenagers living in Alaska in the 70s. They are all connected to each other in one way or another and they all deal with different issues such as: teen pregnancy, abusive families, fulfilling the expectation of parents… It was a relatively short but beautifully written novel.


  1. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick- Leonard Peacock is like Holden Caulfield, except way more bitter, way more depressed, way more…murdery? Basically, it’s Leonard’s birthday and he has decided to kill his former best friend and commit suicide afterwards. We get to see everything from the perspective of the troubled teenager on that faithful day. This was a very emotional read for me and one of my favorite books I’ve read so far in 2016.


  1. Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol- Anya is a girl from a family of Russian immigrants living in America. She has a trouble finding a balance between her heritage and American culture. She is desperate to have a friend, even if that friend is a ghost of a girl who has been dead for years.  At first everything is fun with the ghost girl helping Anya with school, love and friends, until things take a more sinister turn… The art was really cute and this was a fun graphic novel.


  1. Blankets by Craig Thompson- If you need a graphic novel to make you feel things, this is it. Craig Thompson’s memoir about growing up, brotherhood, first love and religion is just so emotional and it makes a lasting impression. He is so honest about the things he was feeling when he was a teenager: the guilt, the shame, the love. The art is lovely too, and perfectly represents the story. I cannot recommend this enough, please just go and read it.


  1. The Chocolate Lovers’ Club by Carole Matthews- I was craving some chocolate… and some chick-lit. So I decided to reread this book, which I really liked when I read it a few years ago. I regret to tell you that my feelings have changed. While it was a fun way to waste time, this book was also extremely judgmental, slut-shaming and it made it seem as if all women are clumsy, dumb and constantly thinking about men. So yeah. I don’t think I’ll crave this type of book again for a while.


  1. The Literature Book by DK Publishing- This is a nice look at the most important books in the history of literature. It manages to be very detailed, without being dry and boring. The books are divided based on a timeline and the book gives an overview of each period before focusing on individual books. Every book has a very helpful chart at the beginning, giving us context about the works or events that inspired it and the future books it inspired. A quick warning though: Your to-be-read list will explode after this book.


  1. The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries by Otto Penzler- Oh boy, where do I start with this amazing collection of mysteries. This huge book would satisfy even the most insatiable crime lover. There are many categories, starting from the classic locked-room mysteries and moving on to different methods of murder and theft. Though be careful, the ‘locked room’ part isn’t always a literal locked room. Some of the stories are just seemingly impossible crimes. I LOVED it! One thing I would complain about is that there were only a few stories written by women, even though there are many famous female crime writers.


  1. Tarnish by Katherine Longshore- I love me some Tudors books once in a while. And I of course love the controversial Anne Boleyn. But this book gives a refreshing view of her story. It doesn’t focus on Anne’s demise at all. Instead it shows Anne’s beginnings at court, portraying her as a smart, but somewhat confused girl. It shows how she slowly became THE Anne Boleyn as we know her. And it doesn’t blame her for her behavior, instead it’s shown how a big part of her destiny was out of her hands.


  1. Gilt by Katherine Longshore- A book in the same series as the previous one, but not exactly a sequel. It follows Kitty Tylney, Catherine Howard’s best friend. If you don’t know who Catherine Howard is, she was Anne Boleyn’s relative, she also married Henry VIII and she was also beheaded. But this is not a repetition of Tarnish. Gilt is a well-meaning girl’s struggle to help her reckless best friend stay alive. Kitty may not know the court manipulations and rules, but she knows that Catherine’s immature behavior is dangerous for a queen. Even though we know Catherine’s ultimate fate, this novel still manages to be exciting.


  1. The Heir & The Crown by Kiera Cass- I am sure that by now everyone has heard about the Selection series, where a prince has to find his future bride among a group of randomly picked women, just like in a reality show. These two books pick up around 20 years after these events and now the new princess has to choose a husband. But this time it’s more of a distraction for the people during a time of a political crisis. Princess Eadlyn is very different from her mother America, but she’s still a great protagonist. She may be bratty at times, but ultimately she’s very strong, independent and competent to be a queen. I am in the minority here when I say I didn’t like the romance a lot. I was more interested how Eadlyn would grow as a person. But I can say that a good part about the romance was that you just didn’t know who Eadlyn was going to end up with until the last few pages.


  1. In the Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent- I have rarely enjoyed a nonfiction book as much as I enjoyed this one. I think invented languages are a topic that would fascinate a lot of people, so don’t shy away if you are not into linguistics. Arika Okrent offers a very entertaining overview of the most famous invented languages and explains the basics of how they work and the people that use them. There is also quite a bit about why all of these languages have failed to become universally used, which was the aim of most of the people who created them. It’s an entertaining book on a really interesting topic.


  1. Defy the Dark by Saundra Mitchell- This is a YA anthology of stories centered around the subject of darkness. Some of them are horror, others are sci-fi and I think there was some fantasy too.  It was a nice anthology, with good stories and I enjoyed most of them. There was no story that stood out as being very bad, so that was great. But there was no story that stood out as being very good either. Overall an interesting anthology, but not something that leaves a lasting impression.


  1. Dream House by Marzia Bisognin- Yup, it’s Marzia Bisognin as in CutiePieMarzia. I really love her videos and I was really curious to see what kind of book she wrote. I was prepared for the worst though, because it seems as there are many bad reviews. Well I gotta say it was not that bad. Sure it wasn’t the best book ever, but it was short and entertaining. I already expected it to be eerie and melancholy and it did not disappoint. The plot twist was very predictable and the end left many questions to be answered, but I still had fun reading this and I hope to see Marzia writing more and improving in the future.


  1. The Wrath and the Dawn & The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh- I don’t read many series, as I prefer standalones, but I do like this new trend of duologies. I like the fact that it’s slowly replacing trilogies, because most trilogies were one book too long. And these two wonderful books prove that. I was afraid to read the first one for a long time because it was so hyped that I was afraid it’d never fulfill the expectations. But when the second book came out a few days ago I got interested again, so I picked up the first book and I loved it. It’s a very well written book, unusually so for a YA, if I may say so. It’s a retelling of the 1001 nights story, but it’s also very unique. The romance was so believable that it satisfied even me, even though I find faults in almost every fictional love story. And the sequel had so many twists and turns, it was really exciting. I can’t wait to read the three companion short stories.


  1. How To Be a Person by The Staff of The Stranger- This is supposed to be a guide to college life, but if you are looking for serious and boring advice, you are searching at the wrong place. This book is pages and pages of hilarity and wit. I know it may not be for everyone depending on their political and social views, but I personally loved it and I disagree with the people that found it offensive. I really liked the Savage Love parts, which is the advice column of Dan Savage. He is so straightforward and open about every subject and every confused college freshman needs exactly that.


Quick Reviews #3

Hi, bookish people! Long time no see. I know I haven’t posted anything for about a month or two and I don’t really have an excuse. I was just too lazy, so you’ll have to forgive me. But the fact that I haven’t done individual book posts means that I can now do one huuuuuge Quick Reviews post. Yaaaay!! I am so excited. I gotta mention that I didn’t take any notes when I finished some of these books so I may have forgotten some things, so if you see any mistakes or false information please tell me and I’ll fix it.

  1. 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad- I was so hyped about this, but it failed to meet my expectations. It’s a short story collection, but all of the stories are centered around the same character. She’s a woman who is never satisfied with how she looks and no matter how much weight she loses, she can always feel the insecurities coming from the “fat girl” image she has for herself. This was darker than I expected, although there was some humor too. It was well written, but I guess it just wasn’t for me.


  1. The Mist on Bronte Moor by Aviva Orr- A time-traveling girl who meets the Brontes? Yes please! This was a quick read and although it was nothing special, I enjoyed reading it.


  1. Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? By Agatha Christie- I think this book is a hit or miss for people. It had a faster pace than a typical Christie novel and Poirot or Miss Marple don’t make an appearance. Instead our sleuths this time are two young people who get mixed up in the mystery quite by accident. I found it quite enjoyable, but as I said, people who are fans of the more classic Agatha Christie books may not like it.


  1. The End of Everything by Megan Abbott- I love Megan Abbott. Her stories perfectly describe the loss of innocence and the dark side that we all have. And her writing is so beautiful. I feel like every word she writes is carefully picked. Her writing literally leaves me breathless. And even though this is my least favorite novel of hers, I still like it a lot.


  1. Little Women and Me by Lauren Baratz-Logsted- This book was very similar to The Mist on Bronte Moor. But instead of going to the past, in this book the main character gets stuck in the pages of Little Women. The story was fine, but kinda meh. It doesn’t really have a plot, it’s just the events of Little Women with a clueless girl who doesn’t know what’s going on.


  1. MARY: The Summoning + MARY: Unleashed by Hillary Monahan- I loved these two books. They were fast paced and fun and a much lighter read than I expected. I was getting prepared for total horror, for lots of sleepless nights, but it’s not that scary. But I don’t see this as a bad thing as this was quite enjoyable.


  1. Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky- Oh boy this book. A bunch of fangirls kidnap their least favorite member of the boy band they love. All of the girls are deranged and messed up in their own way. So naturally things just escalate from there. But it’s soooo funny. Sometimes I even felt guilty for laughing but I couldn’t stop myself. This is a very unique book and I strongly recommend it.


  1. This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers- When the zombie apocalypse happens a few teenagers try to find a safe place together and they end up in their school. But this book is not about fights with zombies or a survival story. It’s about what happens when 6 young people who recently suffered extreme loss behave when they are stuck together. It’s a psychological book more than it is a zombie book. It’s so heartbreaking.


  1. Please Remain Calm by Courtney Summers- The sequel of This is Not a Test is more about survival, so that’s why I am reviewing it separately, even though I read it immediately after the first book. I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just say that our characters are not in a closed space anymore. They are trying to find another safe place and they meet some other survivors on the way. And I have a confession. I almost cried during one scene. You’ll know it when you read it.


  1. The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller- When Elodie’s dad fails to find a famous expensive orchid, their whole family is threatened by debt. Elodie decides to protect her 9 younger sisters and take the matter into her own hands. She sneaks on the ship to China to protect her troubled father and this leads to a great adventure. I absolutely love seeing more strong female characters in historical fiction.


  1. Witch Baby by Francesca Lia Block- I reread Weetzie Bat and continued with this book, which is the sequel. This books series is not something to analyze or overthink, according to me. You just let go of any negative thoughts and enjoy the beautiful writing and the dream world where Weetzie and her daughters live.


  1. How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran- A poor girl tries to become a music journalist, even though she has to wait for 2 weeks to check out new albums in the library. She somehow succeeds and we get to witness that and laugh. I haven’t read a funnier book in a long time, but also a more relatable one. Read it, it’s great!


  1. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani- Two children are kidnapped from a village every year and one of them ends goes to the School for Good, while the other goes to its evil counterpart. When the beautiful Sophie and her friend Agatha get kidnapped, Sophie is sure that her dream will come true and she’ll find her prince in the School for Good. But somehow, gloomy Agatha ends up there instead. This may look like a children’s book, but it deals with many complex ideas and it defies many fairytale stereotypes.


  1. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes- A girl whose hands were cut off escapes a cult and beats up a boy. Wouldn’t you want to read this book based on only this information? Probably. But I will still tell you more about it, because I absolutely love it. This is a book about second opportunities. Or at least I see it like that. I think the message is that even if a person controls your whole life and even takes away a part of you (literally), they still don’t own your future. Another message is the power of education, how it enriches our lives and helps us make choices about our beliefs. I am stingy when I rate books on Goodreads, but this was a definite 5 star book for me.


  1. Women of the Pleasure Quarters by Leslie Downer- I will never get sick of nonfiction about geisha. Something about their lives is fascinating. I love how their world is so secretive, yet rich with history. I love how even though men are the primary visitors, the geisha world is controlled by women. However this is not the best book to learn all about it. The first few chapters were interesting, but they involved the history of pleasure quarters, where prostitutes lived. There was not enough information about geisha. And after a few chapters the same information started repeating.


  1. Sanctuary by Jennifer McKissack- A young adult gothic novel with paranormal elements. It’s obviously inspired by Jane Eyre or Rebecca, which are both books I love, so I obviously enjoyed this book too. But now I am embarrassed to say I don’t remember most of it. But let’s just say that it involves a dark, scary castle, ghosts and a girl who is not sure if she’s losing her mind.


  1. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger- This little book is a combination of a short story and a novella. In Franny we meet Franny (duh!), a college student visiting her boyfriend, while she is obviously troubled by something. Zooey is a sequel of this story, in which Franny’s brother Zooey tries to help her with the spiritual crisis she’s going through. It was an awesome book, though I can’t exactly lay my finger on what was so awesome. Maybe it’s because Salinger understands young people and how they think and the way Franny’s crisis reminds me to events in my own life.


  1. Jane Steele by Lindsay Faye- What if Jane Eyre was a serial killer? This is the question this book answers. Obviously, I had extremely high expectations for this book and guess what? It managed to live up to them. It doesn’t rely on gimmicks. It’s a well-written book with really cool characters.


  1. You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney- This is a nonfiction book about all of the fallacies our brains are prone to. You’ll learn that you are not a completely logical being even though you may think you are. David McRaney tells us how we all fool ourselves in short, amusing chapters, with many interesting examples.


  1. This One Summer by Mariko & Jillian Tamaki- A lovely graphic novel about one summer, seen through the eyes of two pre-teen girls. They witness the damaged relationship between the parents of one of the girls, a teen girl being slut-shamed, depression and other similar things that they can’t quite grasp, but they can’t forget either. Everything about this novel is lovely- the art, the atmosphere and the story.


  1. The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead- A young countess pretends to be her maid to escape an unwanted marriage and she ends up in The Glittering Court, a finish school for girls, where common girls are prepared to be the wives of rich men. I know it sounds shallow, and I see that many people who read the book didn’t like it, but I have to say I enjoyed it. I wouldn’t even classify it as guilty pleasure. It was a legitimately good book.


Whew, that was a lot. I hope you enjoyed it.

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

I am reading the Mother-Daughter Book Club series and I really like it. But when I got to Dear PenPal, the third book, I realized that I haven’t read the book that the book club is reading, which is Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster. But I know that the Mother-Daughter series sometimes spoils the books that the girls are reading.  And since Daddy-Long-Legs has been on my TBR list for a long time, I put Dear Pen Pal away, wanting to read Jean Webster’s Daddy-Long-Legs first.

Daddy-Long-Legs is described as Little Women meets Anne of Green Gables. I love Little Women and even though Anne of Green Gables is not my favorite book, I still had high hopes for Daddy-Long-Legs.

It’s about Jerusha, an orphaned girl, who is sent to college thanks to a mysterious gentleman. The only thing she knows is that he is very tall, so in her letters to him she calls him Daddy-Long-Legs. She is a smart and cheerful and at times very funny.  My favorite moments were when she rebels against Daddy-Long-Legs’ orders.

However I also had lots of problems with this book which ultimately ruined my experience. And these are SPOILERS, so keep reading only if you’ve finished the book.

I hated the romance. I absolutely hated it. Jerusha sees Daddy-Long-Legs as her family, almost as a father figure and she tells him all of her thoughts and feelings. I don’t see why she didn’t feel betrayed when it turned out that Daddy-Long-Legs is actually Master Jervie, a gentleman she had known for some time and fallen in love with.  And I thought that Jervie was very controlling. Using the authority she had over Jerusha, he controlled her and it was obvious that he was isolating her from her friends, to stop her from potential attachments to men other than himself.

I am aware that I can’t judge books written a century ago by today’s standards, but I think that Daddy-Long-Legs is one of the most problematic books I’ve read from that period. I’ll still probably read the sequel, just because I am curious about what happens next, but I assume I’ll be disappointed again.

Blueprints for Building Better Girls by Elissa Schappell

I know that many people have trouble rating collections of short stories, because the quality of the stories may vary. Even when they are all by the same author, it’s normal to like some of the stories and be underwhelmed or even hate other stories.

But I didn’t have this problem when I read Blueprints for Building Better Girls.  All of the stories were equally good. Seriously, I loved all of them. I was on the last few pages and I wanted to start rereading the book immediately after finishing. It was that good.

But enough of my fangirling. If  I remember correctly, this collection features eight stories. They are about the experiences of different kinds of women: teenagers and mothers, party girls and artists, “good” and “bad” girls. All of them were honest, and realistic, heartbreaking and heartwarming. I can’t explain how touching these stories were.

I feel kind of dumb, because the stories are linked and I didn’t notice that until I read the Goodreads page for the book.  So anytime you read a name that sounds familiar from a previous story, it’s because it’s the same character. This gives the stories an even deeper meaning because we can see the characters from different perspectives.

I urge you all to read this book, you definitely won’t regret it.

Quick Reviews #2

In the past two weeks I was really lucky, because almost every book I picked up was really cool. I initially wanted to do separate reviews for these books, but a few of them were so mind-blowing that I was almost scared of reviewing them. And before I knew it there were five books on my review list. So I decided to review all of them in one post.

1.White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi- I don’t even know where to start with this book. It’s so weird, there’s nothing else quite like it out there. It’s the story of a house and the people who live in it. The house is not just a symbol for the life of this family, it has it’s own consciousness and control over the people in it. The twins Miranda and Eliot, try to accept their mother’s death. Miranda also struggles with an eating disorder called pica. She craves thing that are not considered edible, like chalk. And strange things happen in the house. But everything changes when Miranda leaves for college. I don’t know what else to say about the plot. This is not a very plot-driven book, it has other qualities. It’s a beautifully written book, even though the strange style requires some patience, so I can see why some may disagree. It’s also very atmospheric, with a Gothic feel, even though it’s set in modern times. It’s a horror book that doesn’t feel like regular horror. It’s aim is not to shock you and scare you. It’s to pull you slowly into the creepy and strange atmosphere and leave you thinking about all of the questions that are left unanswered.

2. The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry- This gorgeous and unusual young adult book was published only a few weeks ago, but I have a feeling that many people are already putting it on their ‘Best of 2016’ lists. The young adult genre can sometimes feel repetitive, with many authors recycling the same old tropes, but this book gives something unique. The main character is a girl called Natalie and she’s having her last summer break before college. And then she sees Grandmother again, after three years without a word from her. Grandmother is a godlike being that has appeared in Natalie’s dreams since childhood and told her stories. This time, however, Grandmother tells her to “save him”, without giving much more information about exactly who “he” is. And then Natalie meets a beautiful boy named Beau. I loved this book and the only thing that made me give it four stars instead of five is that sometimes the dialogue felt unnatural and I was reminded that I was reading a book. But other than that it was awesome.

3. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami- My favorite part of the Hunger Games is the beginning of the actual Games, where everyone is scared and suspicious. Some form alliances, others hide and don’t trust anyone. Battle Royale is all that. It’s over 600 pages of teenagers fighting and killing with various weapons, such as a sickle, a knife or a machine gun. It’s set in a fascist Japan, where rock music is illegal and not liking the national sport is considered having rebellious ideas. Yeah, it takes a leap of faith to trust the world that it’s set in, but it’s still really cool. I loved the cheesy dialogue during some of the fights. I also found it morbidly funny how the sociopath who actually liked killing got the deadliest weapon. Yeah, I am a horrible person. And now some HUGE SPOILERS: I didn’t really like the ending. It was just too unbelievable. More than anything else in the book. And I kinda liked the part where Shogo pretends to betray and kill the two remaining students. It was tragic and shocking, but a really good ending. Another good ending would have been if their plan failed so the boys sacrifice for Noriko and she wins. Maybe I just like tragedy too much. END OF SPOILERS

4. BITCHfest- This is a book of feminist essays that were published in BITCH magazine. It was very informative and it highlights some very important issues that women face today. Of course I didn’t agree completely with every essay, because they were written by many different authors and covered different issues, but I did agree with most of them. I recommend this to every woman. And man. Men need feminism too. So I recommend this to everyone.

5. Guilt Trip by Maggy Farrell- Melissa is diagnosed with Survivor Syndrome after surviving a car accident in which her mother died. But when she goes to a holiday she starts seeing things that are not there. She is not sure if she’s hallucinating or there’s something stranger going on here. And it seems that the key to the mystery is the handsome, older Luke. This was just meh. I wasn’t shocked by the big twist because I saw it from miles away. There weren’t many hints towards it, but it’s a thing you just assume after having read a few good thrillers. The plot was not well planned and by the end of it, it kinda seems that the author brushes aside everything that happened just to deliver a plot twist. It was not believable at all.