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Book Review: The Monk

Title: The Monk

Author: Matthew Lewis

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Spain, 18th Century. The charismatic monk, Abbot of the Capuchins, Ambrosio, is well known and valued among Madrid’s worshippers. The monk in his thirties is achieving undreamed success and everyone wants to listen to his sermons and meet him. But he lives a strictly ascetic life within the monastery walls. Until he succumbs to a temptation of Matilda, a beautiful girl disguise as a novice. Ambrosio can’t resist and Matilda seduces him, but soon, she’s not enough for him. Ambrosio lays eyes on beautiful, young and innocent Antonia. But her heart is already promised to handsome Lorenzo.

However, Lorenzo overlooks, what plans has a monk with his beloved one because he’s too busy with helping a friend, Raymond, who must rescue his fiance (Lorenzo’s sister) from an evil plan, created against her by nuns from the monastery where she lives.

During this, Ambrosio has time, to plot his evil plan how to win Antonia and because she resists his seduction, he resorts to black magic, where Matilda helps him.


The book shows a situation in Spain in the 18th century. People clung to the Christian values and church representatives have had a tremendous impact on society. But despite this devout piety, there was also a lot of hypocrisy – they all defended the values and Christian principles while they also violated them. And Lewis excellent demonstrate all this hypocrisies and lies.

The hypocrisy is most apparent at monk Ambrosio. In society, monk enjoys a great reputation, his status almost verges on divinity. However, he’s aware of his sinful side and once he crosses the border, he cannot stop. The first time he succumbs to temptation, he becomes the biggest sinner among all. No crime is an obstacle for him, to achieving his goals and desires. And I felt bad for him because whenever he got what he wanted, the thing was no longer interesting to him and he needed something new to long for.

Antonia, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. She’s the image of innocence and naivety and because of her beauty, she becomes the object of admiration. And Ambrosio’s admiration later grows into obsession. In general are women in the book presented as naive, not to mention a romantic side of the book. Of course, I have always tried to keep in mind the time period in which the book was written, but I still think that relations were too idealized and sappy.

At times, this book was funny, because of situations in which characters found themselves. Some situations were almost comical. On the other hand, it was also sad. Certain things didn’t develop according to my expectations and some characters had suffered a tragic fate, which I surely didn’t expect. And many situations where shocking – no worries, there were no explicit descriptions but still Lewis knew how to write about sex (rape, incest) and violence (murder) to shock a reader.

Also, for my taste, there was too strictly separation between good and evil. The characters who were considered good were shown almost like saints. Others were shown as opposite extreme. Ambrosio was the worst pervert and criminal, who is hiding behind his good name and status. Just like nuns from the monastery who imprisoned Raymond’s fiance. And it’s pretty obvious to me, why this book was called “poison of youth” and was banned – Lewis writing style is truly scandalous and provocative. And by criticizing and attacking the church representatives so openly, I can just imagine how many enemies he had.

Conscious that among those who chanted the praises of their God so sweetly, there were some who cloaked with devotion the foulest sins, their hymns inspired him with detestation at their hypocrisy.

I was also glad, that I read this book in Slovenian language, despite the fact that I own an English copy. However, I would probably never read more than one page if I would read this book in English. The language is very specific and writing style dated. Already in Slovenian language, it was strange to read some things. Otherwise, the text is beautifully written and really poetic, yet it is necessary to  consider a time in which The Monk was written. Certain terms are old and conversations of characters very lyrical.

I can say that this book is a wonderful read, especially for those who loves gothic novels with black magic, intrigues, and horror.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Did you read The Monk? What are your thoughts about this book? Do you maybe have any other suggestions for a good gothic novels?

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Top 5 Wednesday: Disappointing Eye Candy

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey and here is official group site: Top 5 Wednesday. You can read all about the group and challenges there.

Topic for today’s Wednesday is:

Disappointing Eye Candy

(books that looked beautiful, but were awful)

I must admit, that I don’t judge a book by its cover. I’m usually not an impulsive buyer of books and if I’m in bookstore or library I always read what book is about before I buy/borrow it.

But still there were some books, that I picked up just because of the amazing cover, and was disappointed after finishing them.

Here is my list, in no particular order:

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

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I still like the cover, I think it’s pretty. And I had felt that everyone talked about this series, so, of course, I had to read it. It was a disaster. I hated it so much! I was actually considering about not finishing it because it was so awful. But eventually I read it, but surely I won’t continue with series. No way.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

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I love this cover! It looks old and like it was handmade in some monastery, haha.

The story is set in Amazon rainforest, where Dr. Marina Singh searches for a missing mentor of hers. The synopsis was just wonderful and interesting, but the book was just… omg! The story was just ridiculous and characters were awful.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Cute cover. And all the hype about this book. No way that I wouldn’t read it. And I did. And after finishing it, I realized that I and Rainbow Rowell, just don’t get along. I didn’t like any of her books and it was the same with Fangirl.

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

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This is the only book that I ever bought, without knowing, what it’s about. And what a mistake that was!

I’m really ashamed to tell you this but… I thought that this book is a historical mystery, full of unbelievable medieval secrets, action, monks and suspense and everything else what makes reading exciting.

It’s a self-help book.

(You probably can’t imagine my disappointment in the moment when I figured that out.)

As White as Snow by Salla Simukka

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Slovenian cover for this book is really pretty (English one is kinda boring). It’s the second book in series and I was excited to read it. And the cover is really nice. And that was all.

 

Do you read/buy books just because of the amazing cover? What was your disappointing eye candy?

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New Kindle!

Last Friday, I celebrated my birthday and I got a best possible gift from my friends – new Kindle!

I became an owner of a new Kindle Paperwhite and I couldn’t be happier with this gift! I actually already own an e-reader (also an Amazon Kindle) but I bought it a few years ago and I wanted a new one because it started working slowly and I really wanted to have the one with a light.

Nevertheless, I’ll still keep the old one because I’m too attached to it. I can say that for the past few years he was my best friend and he went everywhere with me. He accompanied me during all my travels and was always by my side. But what’s most important, with him I was able to visit so many different places and meet many different characters and experienced things that without him and books I read, it would never be possible. And surely I will still read books on my old e-reader also.

Due to all parties and friends & family coming over this weekend I didn’t have time to read at all. And this is also a reason why I haven’t published any reviews. However, I’m looking forward to read the first book on my new Kindle – I hope that now I’ll have more time and that I’ll be able to write a new review soon.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Buzz Words

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey and here is official group site: Top 5 Wednesday. You can read all about the group and challenges there.

Topic for today’s Wednesday is:

Favorite Buzz Words

(words used to describe a book that is a guarantee buy for you)

Buzz Words are words that are usually on the cover of the book and are describing what’s book about but their main purpose is, to convince readers (buyers) to read/buy that particular book.

I must confess that I was struggling to find those words which convince me to read a book. There are many of buzz words that catch my eye but usually, I don’t even notice them. But still, at the end, I manage to come up with this 5 buzz words.

Epic

I know, that this word actually doesn’t describe anything particular at all but still, every time I see it on the cover of a book, I put it on my tbr pile. The promise of an epic read is just something that convinces me every time.

Diversity

I think in last couple years this word become very popular. And also publishers are aware of this. I don’t mind – I love this type of books.

Anticipated

I noticed that almost every book now is “anticipated”, haha. But if I see this word, I will, at least, read a synopsis.

Gripping

Yes, that’s something for me! I love mysteries, thrillers, murder mysteries and so on. And if someone is promising a gripping read I can’t resist!

By a bestselling author of…

I know, I know… it’s not exactly a word but if there’s anything that convinces me on the cover of the book, it will be this sentence. How could I resist reading a book that was recommended by my favorite author? No way that I would not put it on my tbr!

 

Those are buzz words that convince me. Do you have any particular buzz words? Are they similar to mine or something totally different?

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Book Review: I was here

Title: I was here

Author: Gayle Forman

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Cody and Meg are best friends. Or they have been until Meg committed suicide. Cody feels double-crossed, lonely and unable to understand why Meg would do something like that. Meg had everything, she was a young and successful student, and nobody would even think about her doing something like that.

When Meg’s parents ask Cody if she could pack up her things in her college room, Cody meets Meg’s roommates and discovers some strange encrypted computer files. She also meets Ben, a guy who broke Meg’s heart. Through Meg’s new friends and browsing through her computer, Cody discovers things about Meg’s life that she had not known before. And she starts questioning some things about Meg’s death.


The book attracted me because of the subject – suicide. I was curious how Forman will represent this problem and how, if at all, will include different aspects of this topic.

As I have already mentioned, the main topic in this book is the suicide of Meg and how her best friend Cody is facing her death. I was afraid that the book will be very cliché and at times it actually was. Meg is presented as the best, most beautiful and most hardworking person in the world who was without mistakes and imperfections. And of course, this is also the reason that her suicide was an even greater shock for everyone. I don’t know whether the author has here deliberately exaggerated the positive features of Meg, just to highlight this aspect, how even the best can give up. It seems to me that this was not necessary and that any death by suicide should be considered the same. For me personally, it’s the same if someone successful commits suicide as well as if it’s done by someone who thinks he’s full of mistakes and not worth anything.

Consequently, we get to the second cliche, that nobody is perfect and we’re not persons we appear outwardly. Each of us has their secrets, desires, fears. And of course, we do not share them with the world. And even that we have best friends, we keep some things for ourselves. But Cody can’t understand that. She thinks it’s unlikely that Meg would hide things from her, wouldn’t tell her about some things in her life and actually lived a very different life that Cody thought she’s living. But I noticed, that at the same time, Cody was doing same to Meg. She never told Meg how she felt when Meg left her, going to college and she couldn’t go. When she had to stay in a small town, working as a maid. And here author really managed to capture Cody’s feelings – by assembling pieces of Meg’s life, increases her sense of guilt that she started to felt right after Meg’s suicide. She’s angry because she apparently didn’t know Meg as good as she thought she did but at the same time she feels regret because they weren’t in touch as they promised they would be. Cody is constantly asking herself whether it might be different if she would try harder. But all characters in this book feels the same – Cody, Meg’s parents, her roommates/friends, even Ben, the guy who broke Megs heart. Of course, Cody, at first, can’t reconcile with her death and she’s blaming herself for what happened. And later she’s blaming someone else and trying to find a proof about it. But in this process, she learns a lot about herself and starts asking herself questions like, how it would be if she would die.

I liked how at the end they all come to the conclusion that Meg’s death was not their fault. Meg wanted that. Guilt can only be hers. And here author pointed out what’s important about suicides – people feeling guilty or angry. All are wondering if it would be possible to do something, anything, just to prevent a tragic act.

A thing that was totally unnecessary to me in this book was a romance between Cody and one of Meg’s friends. Perhaps it would be different if romance would develop in the first half of the book. But in this case, a reader has to wait until the end of a book, which I thought was pretty lame.

I still have mixed feelings about Cody. I would say she’s realistic and nice girl. But at times, I couldn’t understand her acts and behavior.

I can understand her rage after Meg’s death – Meg had it all, Cody almost nothing, and yet she gave up. But I am not able to understand how Cody has not grown beyond her child worship of her best friend. Even after her death, Cody still thinks she was the best and everything Meg has done was perfect.

“I was just basking in her glow.”

“But if that happens to normal, what hope is there for the rest of us?”

“It was secondhand through Meg. Like pretty much everything in my life.”

I also blame her for not appreciating herself at all. Everyone likes her (even when Meg is dead) but she just can’t see it and thinks that they like her just because she was Megs friend. But toward the end of the book, she starts to realize it’s not like that. I was also bothered about her whining of losing best friend and loss of a loved one but in the same time, she’s not able to appreciate the support of her friends. The love she receives. She’s constantly declining friendliness of Meg’s parents, friends, and Ben. Sometimes I had felt that she’s using them just to get what she wants.

Nevertheless, I thought this book was good. Because of the characters I gave this book fewer stars, but still I think that main topic (suicide) was well presented. Forman did a great job with showing how people are dealing with a suicide of loved ones, which I found very positive. We usually read only about the ones who committed suicide or wants to commit it.

Fortunately, I never had to face a loss of someone who committed suicide. And I can only hope that I will never have to. Yet, I think it’s good to read about that kind of topics because you start to questioning yourself and thinking about important life questions. Which after all is a point of reading.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Did you read this book? If you did, what are your thoughts? Like it or not? Do you know any other book that deals with suicide topic and you would recommend it?

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Book Review: City of Bones

Title: City of Bones

Author: Michael Connelly

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The bones were discovered in the woods and detective Harry
Bosch starts to investigate this case. Soon he discovers that bones belonged to a twelve-year-old boy who was apparently murdered more than twenty years ago. Because it happened a long time ago, this case is, even more, difficult to investigate and finding a killer more demanding.

Bosch begins to explore and dig into the past and slowly composing pieces of the life of murdered boy and his tragic fate.


This is an eight book in the series of detective Bosch. I figured this out only after I started reading it but fortunately, it’s not necessary to read books in some particular order because each of them deals with its own case and they are not connected.

Plot

I would say that this book is a solid read. It was interesting to read about the discovery of the bones and digging into the past and drafting all the pieces together. But I can’t say that this book or case stands out in any way. It was fast read and solid mystery book – the one you read fast but also forget about it fast. At least, in my case, it will probably be that way.

Nevertheless, the story is tense and of course, I wondered if Bosch will find out who the killer is. What I really liked about this book was, that Connelly did a great job and obviously went to details about police work and work of detectives. All procedures of police work are described in details and also explained but still in the way that reader don’t get bored. As a result, the case is really realistically planned. Which is a big plus of this book.

A negative side of this book was a romance – at least for me, a totally unnecessary addition in this book. Fact, that detective Boch starts to date his colleague, doesn’t much contribute to the whole story and everything would unfold just in the same way, even if their romance wouldn’t happen. Their relationship leads to some other, even more, unnecessary event (I’m not going to write about what happened because you know… spoilers and that stuff). But everything together is just one big mess, where a reader has a lot of questions but in the end, you’re left confused and without some logical conclusion. And this was a reason why I rated this book with fewer stars.

Characters

There is just one main character in this book and it’s detective Harry Bosch. Everyone else is just some figures who appears when it’s essential for the story.

Detective Bosch is a typical detective – single, works all the time, after work he goes for a drink, he listen to jazz and jumps between sheets with a co-worker in no time. And apparently those are characteristic that all detectives have to have. Because I really have a feeling that all detectives are the same, at least in a crime novels that I read. Perhaps it wouldn’t be bad if authors of crime novels would try something new.

But in general, a character of Bosch is well designed and I wouldn’t mind read more about him and his work.

 

This book was not bad at all but again, it was not some amazing read either. But Connelly writing style is appealing and probably in future, I will read more of his books. Especially if I will want some quick read to relax.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Did you read any book in Harry Bosch series? Which is your favorite? Do you have any favorite crime novel?

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Book review: The Death Cure

Title: The Death Cure (The Maze Runner #3)

Author: James Dashner

Just a short note and advice for those who haven’t read the first and second book in this series. Perhaps is better if you don’t read this review because even that I’m trying not to include too much spoilers, here I just can’t avoid mentioning some facts which are vital for story. Any maybe you’ll find out too much which would affect your reading experience.7864437

Thomas has survived the Maze and the Scorch. Now he finds himself in a world where the disease requires more and more victims every day and people massively turn into maniacs. He and his friends are under the control of Assistant Director Janson (aka Ratman). And he claims there is a cure for Flare and he could get it with their help. That would happen faster if they would all get their memories back. Some of them decide to do it, but Thomas, Minho, and Newt decide against it. Janson wants to force them but before it happens, they escape. And now everyone is outside in a world infected with Flare and they can’t believe how chaotics conditions are.


If I loved the first book in series, The Maze Runner, and if the second left some bitter taste in my mouth, the only thing that I can write about The Death Cure is… a complete disappointment.

There were so many things that I had questions about and many things I hoped to be revealed and when I finished this book, the questions were still there and I was, even more, confused.

Let’s start with characters. I had felt that every single character in this book somehow faded. If I compare this book with The Maze Runner, where characters were interesting and well developed, here is the exact opposite. Even Thomas, the main character, faded and become indecisive and I had feeling that even he is totally confused about the lack of information and he doesn’t know what’s going on or what should he do. His friends, who in previous books played a great role in the story, are now in the background. And there were a lot (to me at least) unnecessary deaths. Like Dashner would want to include more action in the story that way.

The story itself is just…. meh. At the end, I read this book just to finish the series and I didn’t even have a lot of interest in what will happen. Because somewhere in the middle of this book, I got a feeling that many of my questions will remain unanswered. I thought that story was without head or tail. Whatever happened, I had considered it was forced, with the thought that something simply has to be done to entertain the reader and to finish it all (the story).

Many of my questions remained open and I’m still not cleared by certain things. I wanted to know more, about what was happening after the outburst of the Flare and what were actually doing in WICKED. And I believe that Dashner would easily provide us that kind of information. It’s true, that Thomas didn’t get his memories back, but Theresa did. But in this crucial moment, where she could reveal some things and information, her character was put aside and she became just some peripheral character. Like she’s unimportant for the story.

In conclusion, I can only say that this book is really frustrating. And somewhere in the middle of reading, I got feeling that also author himself didn’t know what to do with everything so he just wrote something to finish it. Too bad.

Rating: 2/5 stars