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Book Review: As Black as Ebony

Title: As Black as Ebony (Snow White Trilogy #3)

Author: Salla Simukka26144675

Lumikki’s life is slowly returning to normal after she returned from Prague, where she exposed the evil purpose of a religious sect.
She started to go to school, where she met Sampsa, a wonderful guy who became her boyfriend. Lumikki can’t believe how loving he is and how lucky she is to have him. But nothing changed with her relationship with her parents and more are the events from Prague drawing away, less courage she has, to ask them about her missing sister.
Then suddenly, she starts to receiving secret messages/threats from a stalker. He threatens her and her loved ones and apparently knows all the details of her life. Even those that she doesn’t know. And, as it’s not enough for Lumikki trying to find out who this person could be and what will be his next move, in her life suddenly appears her ex, Blaze. That Blaze who broke her heart and Lumikki didn’t get over her yet.


I can only say, it’s too bad that this book is so short. But not because it was so good, but because it could be so much better if the author would extensively explain certain things. It seemed to me, that everything happened too quickly, and despite the fact that things are clarified, something was still missing.

Like in previous books, I liked Lumikki’s character in this also. She’s a bit older and more mature and so is the book topic. She finds herself in a love triangle, she’s lost and doesn’t know what to do. Despite everything that Blaze did, Lumikki still wants her and has feelings for her. Which is a reason why her new relationship is suffering. I must admit that I felt sorry for her boyfriend because he really didn’t deserve this. He was such a nice guy, really in love with her and did some really amazing things, and Lumikki wanted Blaze?!? As if she wouldn’t leave her suddenly and (almost) without a reason. Pfff! Yes, I never liked Blaze too much.

I also felt like a stalker was somehow pushed into the background and served only to ensure that once in a while Lumikki got a new clue about her sister. And in that way, this book is different from the first two – if in previous books there was always some crime in front and mystery to be solved, in this book Lumikki mostly explores her thoughts and life.

The end of the book came too fast and in the few last pages is explained everything regarding Lumikki’s past and her stalker.

This trilogy is now finished. Otherwise, books were good, but I still believe that the author could better exploit the potential of the plot(s). Because the combination of a crime novel and teenager as the main character is attractive and I haven’t read many books like that.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Did you read any book by Simukka? What did you think about it? And of course… I would be more than happy if you could recommend any good crime novel with a teenager as the main character. Thanks!

5

Book Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Author: Douglas Adams11

Arthur Dent is having a bad day. After he wakes up, he has to face workers who have come to demolished his house. Sadly, Dent’s house is standing exactly at the spot, where the freeway is going to be build. But soon he realizes that this is his smallest problem. Unfortunately, this is also a day, when a Vogons, one of the least pleasant species in Galaxy, arrives at the Earth to demolished it. The Earth is exactly in the spot, where a galactic freeway is going to be build.
But Arthur Dent is saved by his friend, Ford Prefect, who is actually an undercover alien. Thus, their adventure through Galaxy begins and soon they end up on a spaceship, stolen by Zaphod Beeblebrox. They also meet Trillian and depressed robot Marvin.


Finally, I read this book! And now I have a problem, what to write about this cult classic. It’s always hard to write about classics because I have a feeling like everything was already written. Uh!

I think this book is great. I read in a day, which is not surprising considering this book has only around 160 pages.

While reading, I only had one problem… So much was going on! There was too much of everything, all was happening so fast and at times, it was difficult to follow, what was going on. The plot is really simple – the Earth is destroyed and the traveling through the Galaxy begins. But in between, Adams is passing so many informations, which are otherwise really funny, but because of them, I was lost between text many times.

Because of that, the characters were not so well developed. It’s true, that they were likable and some of them very British, but there is no actual emphasis on them since everything is focused on describing the unusual facts and wonders that can be found in Galaxy. Which was a little sad, because depressed robot Marvin was really funny and in its own way cute character, and I would love to read about him a bit more.

However, the humor was amazing. It’s very British, which is a humor that I like. Those short stories/facts added between main plot are totally random but extremely entertaining. And perhaps because of this, a book appears as a quick read, not worthy of later consideration of certain matters. Nevertheless this first impression, I was surprised later, that behind the humor, there is so much more. There’s a lot of philosophy in book and questions about fundamental issues. But it’s true that everything is slyly included between text.

I can easily say, that I will definitely reread this book someday. But first I want to read sequels. And I hope that there would be more Marvin in them.

Rating: 4/5

Did you read this book? What are your thoughts about it? Are other as funny as this one or even better?

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Book review: The Girl with All the Gifts

Title: The Girl with all the Gifts

Author: M. R. Carey17235026

The world of ten-years-old Melanie is limited on her cell and a classroom. Every day Sergeant Parks points a gun to her head and his other two men strap her to a wheelchair and take her to a classroom with other pupils like her. Melanie is bright and she loves school and she even has her favorite teacher, Miss Justineau.
Melanie is a part of a special group of children. And some people hope that because of them a solution to a mysterious disease would be found. There is something about those kids, that virus responded differently and Dr. Caldwell wants to discover what this could be and what makes them different.


Melanie is an intelligent and curious ten-years-old girl. Sometimes her actions and thinking didn’t show that – she sounded like an adult to me, but nonetheless I liked her. And in fact, that made her even more interesting and plays a decisive role in the story – she’s aware of her situation which helps her infiltrating between “normal” people.

The characters who are fleeing from danger together, couldn’t be more different. Scientist Dr. Caldwell, who has only one goal – find a cure and become famous because of that, teacher Justineau, naive and acting like she’s not aware of a situation, sergeant Parks, typical soldier who has seen/experienced all and from this derives its brutal power. And soldier Gallagher, who’s too gentle for a soldier and needs an authority that he can follow. And of course, Melanie, which they are all afraid of and nobody trusts her. And this diversity of characters makes a story even more enjoyable. It’s clear that everyone wants to enforce their will and their conflicts of interest lead to unpleasant situations. However, they have to accept each other because, after all, they are forced into this. Otherwise, they wouldn’t survive.
I wouldn’t say that this book was creepy, but it’s strained enough, that I couldn’t stop reading it. It’s also interesting, that even if the reader finds out what has happened and what the virus is causing almost in a first few pages, that doesn’t affect the story at all. I was still interested what will happen and it didn’t ruin the plot for me.

Despite the fact, that at first, Melanie is the main protagonist, later protagonists change and we can read the story through their eyes. And even though Melanie was my favorite, this was almost the only option to learn more about everything – Melanie just doesn’t know what’s going on, because she lived only in her cell, so this was rather a logical move. We learn about a story through different characters, and again, because of their diversity, a reader can experience different views about a situation and existing world.

Interestingly, the idea of a plot is not new but nevertheless, I felt that Carey did a great job and this is not just another zombie book. And even though I didn’t read many zombie books, I was impressed by this one. It truly was an enjoyable read.
The end was also good. However, I wouldn’t mind if there would be a sequel to this book. In spite of everything, I would love to know more about junkers, the Lighthouse, and remaining world. But as it often happens, the sequel could ruin this book and I really wouldn’t like that.

Rating: 5/5 stars

 What did you think about this book? And, do you have any other zombie book recommendations?

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Book Review: Adam’s Legacy

Title: Adam’s Legacy

Author: Astrid Rosenfeld10125238

When I checked the Goodreads page of this book I noticed, that it’s not yet translated into English. Originally it was published in Germany but I read translated version.
The book title in the German language:
Adams Erbe.

The book interweaves the story of two generations of one Jewish family.
First, there is a story about young Edward Cohen, who lives without a father, with mother Magda, grandmother Lara and grandfather Moses. They all remind him of his amazing resemblance to grandfather’s brother Adam. However, nobody wants to talk about him. They just remind him how Adam disappeared without a trace with all of the family money, which they saved for escaping from Nazi Germany during Second World War.
But one day, Edward discovers Adam’s legacy in the attic of a family house. The book, which was written by Adam, unveils what actually happened with Adam.


I liked the first part of the book. Edward is a really funny character, as well as his family. The story is full of humor and fun adventures of Edward and his stepfather Jack (also know as The King). Jack is a person who enters into Cohen family really unexpectedly but had a huge impact on their lives. Some of the situations were almost unbelievable but that makes a story even more entertaining.
The topic of the second part of the book is more serious and so is the writing. I always liked reading about Second World War, despite the sadness and helplessness, I feel while reading. Adam’s tragic fate, which is full of sacrifices, for which the family does not even know, really touches the heart. The story describes the life and tragedy of Jews, Adam’s unrequited love and sacrifices of many individuals.
I really can’t say much about characters. I liked them all, except Jack. I think he was extremely egocentric and his attitude was just awful. I felt bad for Edward who idealized him so much and I think that he would deserve better father figure in his life. It’s good that his grandmother also had a huge impact on him.
On the other hand, I felt sorry for Adam, because he didn’t deserve such life. But… who did? Jewish persecution and following conditions – nobody deserves such a life. Nevertheless, Adam always stayed optimistic and was full of hope for future.
Mainly, this is a book about relationships. About those, who are full of love and the ones, who are triggered by the hate which leads to tragic acts and events.

 

Rating: 4/5 stars

What do you think about history books, particular the ones including Second World War? Do you have any book recommendations?

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Book Review: The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

Title: The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

Author: Joel Dicker206414982

Marcus Goldman is a successful young writer, but it’s been a while since his first and incredibly successful book was published. His publisher expects a new book soon, but Marcus finds himself in a creative crisis. He turns to his good friend, mentor and one of the most successful writers in America, Harry Quebert. Harry lives by the lake, in a small American town. Goldman visits him there and hopes that a peace, offered by an idyllic setting, will return his writing inspiration.
Soon, however, things got complicated. A skeleton is found, buried in Harry’s garden, and it’s been established that it belongs to fifteen years old Nola Kellergan. Nola disappeared thirty-three years ago without a trace. The last one, who saw her alive, was found murdered and a person committing a crime was never found.
Of course, the first suspect is Harry. But things get even more complicated when people found out that Harry, who was much older than Nola at that time had a relationship with her.
Marcus decides to help his mentor and he starts to research the case. He wants to prove that Harry couldn’t do it but at the same time, he wants to save his career, as he starts writing a book about their romance and a case.


What a marvelous book! Incredible. It’s been a while since I read so good mystery thriller that would make me so excited. I was impressed because this is no regular crime novel. If in other crime books everything is going on around crime and how and when it will be resolved and the only important thing is an investigation, here is completely different. This book is written in an extremely calm way of writing but still, it’s full of twists and tension until the end. And until the end, I didn’t know who the killer was. All the characters were suspicious and they all have the motive to hurt Nola. But in the end, all the details of the story are naturally and logically unveiled.
It seemed fantastic to me, that all the characters in the book were important and well presented. Each of them plays an important role in the case, as thirty-three years ago, as in 2008, when Marcus is investigating a case. Throughout the book, characters reveal their true nature and actions that influenced events and outcome of the story.

The truth is not always what it seems.

I can easily write that I didn’t like many characters in this book. Each of them has its own flaws and reasons for their actions.
One of the characters I disliked most was Marcus. He’s very self-sufficient, too ambitious writer who is obsessed with becoming one of the most important writers of all time. He always wants to be the best and he can’t accept failures or criticism. While reading, I did get a feeling that he calmed down a little bit and become a better person because he was thinking about other things and not just of himself. And while investigating a case, he also put his book into the background.
Harry had a good influence on him, which was great. And this is a reason why I liked Harry the most. For me, he was one of the most likable characters in this book, despite the fact that his romance with Nola seemed ridiculous for me. I still can’t understand that he waited thirty-three years that his loved one will return. For me, their love occurred too quickly and lasted too short to be so intense.
The thing that bothered me the most was the fact, that Marcus was allowed to investigate a crime. He just joined the whole investigation, despite the fact, he’s only a writer. I would understand if he would interfere but I can’t understand that detective just allowed him to almost lead a case and was someone who discovered some key evidences. And in the end, he was the one who solved the crime.

What I loved was how the events were represented. This book skips between years 2008 and 1975. And it’s great because in that way I really felt like I was present at all events. Even in those which happened in the past. In some books, skipping between the present and the past can be annoying but here was great.
I was also impressed, how Dicker incorporated the third story into the book (the first is Marcus’s story, second Harry’s). It’s about writing books and problems of professional writers. I loved it. It was fun and interesting and it’s actually a foundation for other two stories.
In conclusion, I can only write, that this book is so much more than just a crime novel. It’s a book about how life can play tricks on us, it’s a book about love, about human mistakes and sacrifices. It’s a great read even for those who don’t like crimes, thrillers or mysteries. Because it really is more than just that.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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Book Review: Laika

Title: Laika

Author: Nick Abadzis

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This graphic novel intertwines stories about Sergej Pavlovich Korolev, Yelena, and Laika.
Korolev was released from a Siberian gulag. While wandering around the deserted countryside, he heard a dog barking. Following a sound, he found a village and that saved his life. After a few years, he becomes a leader of the Soviet Space Program and he is the one, who chooses Laika to be the world’s first space traveler and to enter into orbit on Sputnik 2.
At first, Laika was just an abandoned puppy that wandered around through Moscow streets. Until she was put into a shelter and from there to laboratories where animals were prepared for space missions. On the same day, that Laika arrived at the laboratory, a young woman named Yelena started working there.
Yelena becomes very attached to Laika through all the preparations. And finding, that Laika was chosen for a particular mission, breaks her heart.


I must admit, I don’t know much about this particular period in history and reading about it was interesting. I’m aware that reading a graphic novel is not the most reliable material for learning a history but you have to start somewhere.
Space program itself was interestingly described – rivalry between the Soviet Union and America, competition for dominance in the space program and desire to succeed no matter what were all interestedly illustrated.
Nevertheless, I expected that Laika would have a bigger role in this graphic novel. I’m aware that everything about Laika’s life is fiction but still I think that she should be in front, not everyone else. I wanted to read about her, not about other characters. Who are, in my opinion, in the foreground.
Also, the illustrations were not appealing to me and I just couldn’t get into the story.

Otherwise, an interesting read but nevertheless I had felt that something was missing and, unfortunately, this book didn’t convince me as much as I thought it would.

 

Rating: 3/5 stars

Do you have any other graphic novel recommendations? I would really like to read more of them but I just don’t know which are worth reading.