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Book Review: Auggie & Me

Title: Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories

Author: R.J. Palacio

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In book Wonder, we read about a boy named Auggie, who was born with a facial deformity and starts attending a new school.

This book consists of three different chapters – Julian chapter, Pluto, and Shingaling. Julian chapter is told from a perspective of Julian, who bullied Auggie in book Wonder. Pluto chapter is told from a perspective of Christopher, Auggie’s best friend since early childhood. And the last chapter, Shingaling, is told from a perspective of Charlotte, who is now Auggie’s classmate.


This book is not a sequel to Wonder, it’s a companion novel with three different points of views on Auggie from Wonder. Each view has its own chapter within the book and can be read completely separately from other two.

First, it’s Julian chapter. Julian is a spoiled kid and he couldn’t accept Auggie and soon it’s clear why. He simply repeats the behavior patterns of his mother, who also had troubles accepting Auggie. She’s scared of Auggie and with her behavior, she’s encouraging her son to behave likewise. Julian (as his mother) always justifies his behavior, defending himself he’s only joking and that people shouldn’t felt so offended by his jokes. It was hard for me to read this story because Julian was mean and I didn’t like him at all. Not to mention his mother who was supporting, encouraging and justification Julian’s unacceptable behavior.

Next one is Pluto chapter, where we met Christopher, who is/was Auggie’s best friend from early childhood. They drifted away because of his moving to some other place. This story, more or less, represents Christopher’s memories of Auggie and how friendship with him affected his life. I felt that during growing up, Christopher started feeling ashamed of Auggie’s look. This aspect is the only thing that I found interesting in this chapter. It’s a reflection, how are we accepting social prejudices and how we submit to the opinion of others while growing up.

The story Shingaling, Charlotte’s chapter, is the longest but while reading it, I was surprised, there was almost no Auggie in it. Basically, it’s a story about growing up girl, her daily life, and problems in school. Maybe there was some secret connection of her story with Auggie’s but I couldn’t find it.

I enjoyed reading this book but it was far from what we got in Wonder. It seemed to me, that author just wanted to extend the success of it. At first, I was truly curious to read what other has to say about Auggie and how he affected their lives, but I think it was simply not best managed. Of all three stories, I enjoyed reading Julian’s chapter the most, even though I found characters unbearable. Because the other two stories are mainly just a description of the lives of two people, with occasional references to Auggie.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Did you read this book? If so, what are your thought about it? And what about the book Wonder?

 

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Book Review: The Taxidermist’s Daughter

Title: The Taxidermist’s Daughter

Author: Kate Mosse

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1921, Sussex. Connie lives with her father, who used to be a successful taxidermist with his own museum of stuffed animals. He had to close the museum after Connie’s accident when she was twelve years old. Connie doesn’t remember what happened at the night of the accident but since then, her father was not the same. They sold the museum and moved to Fishbourne Marshes.

Since then, her father seeks consolation in alcohol and Connie is the one who’s trying to continue the family business. However, taxidermy is no longer popular as it used to be and they’re having a hard time. Besides that, her father’s behavior is stranger every day and Connie is not sure anymore if it’s only alcohol to blame. Besides, she’s having a hard time also, getting into a strange condition where she remembers fragments of her accident which she can’t connect. Things get even worse when they find a body of a murdered woman near the house and her father goes missing.


Oh, Kate Mosse. How I used to love her books. I was obsessed with Languedoc Trilogy! She really can conjure the gothic obscure atmosphere in her books. She didn’t disappointed with this book either because she has chosen a truly perfect place for a mysterious storyline of this book – the misty marshes of England. Kate Mosse truly knows how to invoke a horror of the place, so reader can easily imagine being there.

This book was full of charming details, including the details of taxidermy. There were many descriptions of animals, particularly birds. Honestly, maybe this book would impress me even more if I would understand everything completely. But because I read this book in English, I was too lazy to check every word in a dictionary (there were too many unknown words).

The story itself was interesting. It was tense, despite the fact that I have soon found out, what’s going on and what’s behind the disappearance of men’s. Notwithstanding this, I still enjoyed reading. There are actually two stories in one plot, the one from present days and the one from the past. Which of course, connects at the end.

The characters were unremarkable. Connie is a nice young lady who takes care of her father and has found her solace in taxidermy. She was helpful and nice to everyone. But that was pretty much everything. There were many other characters – too many sometimes because I was often confused about all the names. Moreover, one of them were named after birds (ugh!).

Certainly, I expected more, especially more refined plotline. The writing style is superb and I could read Mosse’s writing every day. Descriptions of the landscape, the weather, all the details exceeded my expectations. But sometimes this just ain’t enough.

Rating: 3/5 stars

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Book Review: Gemina

Title: Gemina

Authors: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff29236299

A sequel to Illuminae offers new characters and a new story. In the foreground, there’s a story about space station Heimdall, whose people are not aware of what happened on Kerenza and on other space shifts.

Hanna is station captain’s daughter, dating a nice guy who’s working for her father. She also likes to draw, she loves her dad but yet, she’s often bored because there’s not much going on on a space station. Sometimes she hangs out with Nik, who is a member of a crime family. When the elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik join forces against them and their evil plan. They just want to survive and save the people on the station.


In some way, this book is a continuation of the first book, despite the fact, that there are new characters and a different place with a new story. I really liked the first book. I gave it 5 stars and I couldn’t wait for a sequel. The story was interesting but especially attractive was a format of the book – documents, e-mail correspondence, … That really was some different and interesting look, but above all, completely unique reading experience. Therefore, I was eagerly waiting for Gemina to be published.

I liked that there were new characters in this book. It seemed exciting and daring move. I liked Nik, his sense of humor and how he kept his cheerful nature even in difficult situations. I enjoyed his jokes and really thought he was funny. I couldn’t say same for Hanna. I didn’t like her at first. I thought she is spoiled daddy’s girl who always gets what she wants. Still, I think her character improved through the story and she showed her toughness by the end of the book which was great. But still, she was that kind of character that I don’t care much about. Most of all, I liked Ella, Nik’s little cousin. Smart, funny, realistic and sarcastic – I loved her! There were not many other characters, except the bad guys. Overall, I was not impressed by characters at all.

The story itself was ok. I did have problems at moments where I was confused about what’s going on and it was hard for me to follow the story line. Not to mention, that I was also bored between reading. I still can’t figure out why because there’s a lot of going on, there were many plot twists and everything.

Nevertheless, the format makes this book entertaining, just like in the first book. But it’s much more “narrative” as the first book was. So it was easier to read it but I still missed it. It’s so much more fun to read documents, files, and other stuff than just an ordinary texts. After all, this is what makes this books so special. And I was disappointed about that.

Yes, the story is full of action, unexpected twists, some were better, some worse. I really missed old AIDAN *sigh*. And that other, unexpected enemies that appear in the middle of the book…. really?

Yes, the book was ok. It was an interesting read and also funny and sad. But I really think that Illuminae was the book where every single page was well thought and developed to the last detail. But Gemina doesn’t have this. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to the third book, where I hope, all together will join forces in the battle against BeiTech.

Rating: 3/5 stars

You can also check my Illuminae review here.

What do you think about Illuminae Files? Did you like Gemina? What are your thoughts about this book? 

 

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Book Review: City of Heavenly Fire

Title: City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6)

Author: Cassandra Clare8755785

Sebastian Morgenstern is still a threat to Shadowhunters, now even more because he’s spreading his dark army and attacking Institutes and others. He’s turning Shadowhunters against Shadowhunters and turning them into creatures, with a power of Infernal Cup.

Survivors flee to Indris but now there is no one to protect the world against the demons. They’re attacking and killing innocent.

Soon, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec discover, how Sebastian betrayed them and they go searching for him. They need to go to the dark world where they’re trying to prevent Sebastian’s evil plan.


Finally, I finished the last book in the series! If I really enjoyed reading the first three, I must admit that I read the next three just to finish it. I won’t say they were not interesting but I still think that there are many better books out there to read.

First, something about the plot. Of course, because this is the last book, I expected that things would reveal and that story would have a logical conclusion. Therefore, I might have expected something more, something that would blow my mind, something that would end this story in a truly special way. At least, maybe some epic battle between Shadowhunters and Sebastian’s army. The battle has been but it was far from epic.

Still, the story pulled me in more than in previous books. It was interesting and there was not so much describing of unimportant things – yes, I’m thinking about all the problems couples had. I still think the book could be shorter but this time actually wasn’t so bad. There was more action and more was going on.

But still, there was no progress on a plot. Things were really predictable and we have seen it all. The parents and other older people still didn’t trust the younger ones. Their communication still didn’t improve like they haven’t learned anything from previous events.

Characters haven’t developed at all. If people say that we learn from our mistakes, it isn’t true here.

What bothered me the most, was the extreme happy ending. We all like books with happy endings and it was also expected here, that things would work out well for everyone. However, the ending here was forced, all events turned out in a way that at the end, nobody was affected and everyone got their happy ending. Which for me, was very disappointing.

***SPOILERS***

Usually, I don’t include spoilers, but here, some things just got on my nerves so bad, that I have to write them down and maybe discuss it with some of you, who have already read the book. Here we go:

Jordan Kyle and Maia were so in love and happy together and even when they had problems, they were trying to solve them (although I don’t know why because their relationship was pretty strange). But when he dies, Maia figured, that it wasn’t love she was feeling and she wanted to break up with him ages ago. Really? How convenient.

It was same with Sebastian. When he was dying he realized how wicked he was and how he hurt people around him. In his last minutes, he becomes almost a good guy, he apologized for his actions and repented. Again… seriously? I just don’t believe that people who are evil their whole life can just change in last minutes, let alone people forgive them. Which Clary and her mother did. Whatever.

And the last thing… which was the most shocking for me and really pissed me off, was Simon’s transformation. It really seemed awesome when Simon became normal again and lost his entire memory about a particular period of his life as a vampire. And what happens? Others find a way to return (almost) all the memories. Bullshit (sorry not sorry).

***END OF SPOILERS***

The book was nothing special but still, it was a decent read. Again, I can easily say that I’m happy I finished with series and that I won’t have to read about Clary and Jace again, haha.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Did you read and finished The Mortal Instruments series? What did you think about this book and others? 

 

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Book Review: A Letter to Queen of England

Title: A Letter to the Queen of England

Author: Vicenc Pages Jorda30068112

 

Joan Ferrer is blacksmith’s son and he creates a sword, which is so great that devil wants it. Devil offers Joan a deal – three wishes for a sword. Joan wishes for immortality and inexhaustible wealth.

Centuries go by and Joan notices that the world is changing rapidly and that immortality and wealth are not bringing only benefits.


Book A Letter to Queen of England has only 108 pages which mean it’s extremely short. It’s written in a form of a letter, addressed to Queen of England. Joan is in jail and needs her help and this letter is actually an explanation of his immortal life.

Because of book’s length, this was really quick read. I could not say, I was bored, but I did expect something more.

To me, writing was impersonal, almost passive and very dull. You can also imagine, how quickly the plot unfolds if the book has something more than 100 pages and it still covers the period from 11th-20th Century. Events are taking place quickly but described are just the ones which were “important” to Joan. I’m aware that this is not a historical book, yet I felt like some important events were just briefly mentioned.

There’s nothing much to say about Joan and his character. Because of his impersonal writing and lack of emotions, a reader can’t learn much about him.

He thought that fulfilled wishes would make him happy, but soon he finds, he was wrong. Wealth and immortality didn’t bring him joy and happiness, which is obvious – he must hide both from the world, can’t settle down anywhere and can’t have friends or family. It’s just not possible without revealing his secrets. He is bored, has experienced everything, but found nothing that would impress him. He’s miserable and nothing can please him.

Like I already mentioned, the story unfolds through ten centuries and it’s quick and effortless display of history. And I liked an idea about that. It was interesting and fun to read about the changes that have occurred over the centuries of time and space, through the perspective of a man who has seen it all and had to adjust to all the crazy changes. But I would love to read more about it and know more about how did they affect Joan.

There are many real characters, who actually lived, and quickly appear but also quickly disappear during the story. (Except Greta Garbo who has important role in the plot but I still can’t figure why…)

Mainly, I liked this book because of the questions it raises: about death and transience of life, immortality, about wealth and human happiness. When I finished this book, I was actually thinking about all these things for a while and about my wishes. What would I choose, if I would have the same option? Would I choose the same as Joan did? Would I make a better use of them?

Rating: 3/5 stars

 

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Book Review: Delirium

Title: Delirium

Author: Lauren Oliver11614718

Delirium is a love story in a world, where love is forbidden. Scientists have discovered a medicine with wich they can cure and eradicate the love from society. Because love is dangerous and if society wants to function in a normal way, all members of the society must be immune to it. So, when people turn 18, they undergo a surgical procedure and they’re cured after it. Considering on person interests, they get a partner to marry, have children and live “happy” life without stress, worries, and problems.

Her whole life, Lena is waiting for her surgical procedure, but just before it, something unexpected happens. Just months before the procedure, she falls in love and discovers, how beautiful love and freedom are.


The story is set in (near) future where love is considered as a bad thing and where society consists of individuals who are subordinate to the system. People are living without worries, without choices, without emotions. They reconciled with total control, after all, this is the only system they know and that kind of life totally suits them. The idea about the world without love and emotions seemed strange and really unbelievable to me. I had trouble to picture that kind of world, especially because the story is told from Lena’s perspective and she’s not cured yet. This made it even more unbelievable to me.

Lena, at first, can’t wait to be “cured” – she’s pleased with a promise about peaceful life, without any concerns and that her life will be controlled by others who would also make a decisions instead of her (I agree, this sounds really pleasing – sometimes). However, things, of course, change when she meets Alex. I was surprised how quickly she fell in love with him, particularly because she didn’t know him before, didn’t know anything about him and not to mention, that falling in love is forbidden in her society. I would think that people would be more carefully with that.

None of the characters impressed me. They were ok, but that’s pretty much all that I have to say about them. I actually didn’t care much about Lena or Alex. Lena’s best friend Hana was the most interesting to me and maybe she’s the one that I wanted to know more about, but unfortunately, I didn’t. Because she was just there when Lena needed her and that’s all.

It also disturbed me, that many times it was repeated, how people are controlled and that society bases on terrorizing and controlling but still Lena had no problems walking around after curfew and doing things she shouldn’t do.

Despite the fact, that this is a love story more than anything else, I still enjoyed reading it. Normally, I don’t read love stories because I don’t enjoy them, but this book was nicely written and not cheesy at all. And it has just enough action to keep me reading. I must mention that language is rich and poetic and precisely because of this, it was such a pleasant read. I didn’t expect such a beautiful language in YA novel.

Unfortunately, I was not impressed with the ending. Somehow, I assumed that something “shocking” would happen but still, I think that this ending was totally unnecessary. I was not shocked at all and to be honest, it seems to me what may happen in next book.

This book is one of those, that wasn’t actually that good, but I still want to know what will happen next and that’s why I will read the sequel. Because I really want to find out if my theory is correct.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Did you read Delirium and other books from series? What do you think about them? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Book Review: Ender’s game

Title: Ender’s Game

Author: Orson Scott Card375802

Far in the future, mankind still can’t get over the devastating war with Buggers, alien enemies. Buggers almost destroyed humankind but despite the war that was almost 100 years ago, the threat is not over yet. That’s why the earth leaders decided to create an elite military school in space, which accepts only the best and most gifted children from Earth. Children are playing computer simulated war games and in that way are trained for the next war.

In this elite military school is accepted Andrew “Ender” Wiggin. He has older brother and sister but they were not suitable for military purposes – Peter was too violent and Valentine too tender. But Ender was perfect for military and proved himself on a test so well, that he was accepted right away, although he was not old enough. Being only six, he is the smallest and the weakest of other children but he’s standing out with his intelligence. Soon, the teachers notice that and are pressuring on him in every possible way. But Ender’s starts to play his own game.


I really thought this book would draw me in and I wouldn’t be able to put it down. But it was not like that at all. It was enjoyable but I expected more from it. Especially, because Ender’s game is considered to be a classic of science fiction genre and I was expecting something truly amazing.

It bothered me, that I didn’t have a feeling that all the major characters in this book were children. I was truly surprised every single time when this was mentioned in a book. The characters were too grown up and too mature. I agree that they had to grow up very fast because of the situation but yet, they could keep some children playfulness and joyfulness.

Ender as a character was always the same. When he started with his schooling, he was 6 years old and (if I’m not mistaken) finish it when eleven but I couldn’t detect any character development. He acted the same when he was just a kid and later when he was almost a teenager. His iron willpower terrified me and the things he was willing to do for winning in every situation, repelled me. As well, that he was never able to ask for help, even when in the moments, when he almost broke. It was the same with other characters in this book and everything we learn about them is, that they are above average intelligent children and Ender is a genius.

Ender’s brother and sister who are also exceptionally intelligent and are living with their parents are not acting like normal children but are thinking about changing the world and they start with this mission on forums. Why was this part of the story included in a book, is still unclear to me. I didn’t felt that it was important in any way and it just made me confused.

I was also wondering, where were adults? Beside three characters from military school, there was nobody who would be in charge or who would supervise all children. They could do whatever they want and it was like nobody cared much about them.

At first, I enjoyed in battle descriptions which Ender had fought. However, the chapters began to repeat. Ender defeated some group, he advanced into another group where he came up against a new challenge but eventually he found a solution and won again. Every single chapter was composed in that way and eventually I got bored. Besides, the descriptions of battles were really confusing to me and I had a hard time to understand what’s happening. But I really liked how great friendships were born in this battles.

Halfway through the book, I started to miss a tension. I knew, that Ender can’t lose and I only wanted to know, what kind of tactic he will use to defeat another army.

As you can see, I was disappointed between reading and after finishing it. It was not bad but it was certainly not surplus as I expected it to be. I’m happy that I read it but I will not continue with reading another book from this series because I lost all interest in this story.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Did you read Ender’s game? What did you think about it?