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Book Review: Das Mädchen von Louisiana /The Girl from Louisiana

Title: Das Madchen von Louisiana

Author: Ernst Joseph Gorlich

The story is set in American South before Lincoln became president. Mr. Brand, the owner of a cotton plantation, has fallen from his horse and because of the accident, he died. Since his wife died a long time ago, his daughter Susanne inherits his wealth.

When Susanne returns from boarding school to her father’s funeral, their family lawyer immediately recommends she has to find her father’s testament. Without it, she can’t inherit plantation. Susanne’s mother was black but she as well didn’t know that because she’s so light-skinned. The only one who knew this was a lawyer because Mr. Brand told him.

To her horror, she can’t find testament and lawyer start to treat her like other slaves. Susanne ends up on the auction with other slaves and things from the plantation.


First of all, I want to point out that this book was originally written in the German language. I own it in Slovenian translation but I couldn’t find if an English translation exists. Probably not. But it truly is a beautiful book and I reread it many times since I was little.

The book takes place in that period of history when slaves were working on plantations and had absolutely no rights. They are treated like animals or objects. It also shows a difference between the mentality of South and North America. In the North, things are slowly changing and going for better, while the South still remains conservative and white people are still superior.

Soon, a fourteen years old Susanne discovers this. Initially, she’s shocked because of her father’s sudden death, then at the news that her mother was black and later when she’s completely astonished when she finds herself in the role of a slave. A girl, with a good education, which always got everything she desired, finds herself in chains and on auction, where she’s sold like a horse. She realizes how unfair white people treats slaves, what kind of injustices are happening and how are they treated by their masters. Her new life is difficult, her new mistress is evil and she’s lost in a new situation.

This book will break your heart. It breaks mine every time I read it. It’s a simple story for younger readers. But still, it’s an excellent display of particular period in our history, a time of discrimination and humiliation based on skin color. It also shows, how quickly life can around and how someone’s life can change in a second. It’s a short and bitter story, which I recommend to read if you have a chance.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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Book Review: The Last One

Title: The Last One

Author: Alexandra Oliva27245997

A new reality TV show begins in the wilderness of American forest. It’s the biggest, the most expensive show and the contestants will have to show maximum strength and skills to survive. Twelve contestants are venturing into an adventure for a big prize and they’ll have to survive at least three weeks in the wild, or until all will surrender and the last one will survive.

Contestants soon get used to the presence of cameras and cameramen around them and challenges that test the limits of their endurance. They lose their sense of reality and the only thing they have in mind is winning the great reward. Just like one of the contestants, called Zoo, who is wandering alone and disoriented through the wild, even when cameras and her co-contestants are not around anymore. Even more and more bizarre challenges, desolated cities and mannequins which look just like real dead peoples can’t discourage her from continuing and the only goal she has – be the last one.


This was such an incredible book! Every page was more intense and entertaining and I couldn’t put it down.

Through the chapters, we get to know all twelve contestants and about filming a reality show and also Zoo, who is the narrator of her own chapters.

Background of shooting a show and getting to know all the contestants was such a fun! I also watch reality TV shows sometimes, I know that everything is not like they show us but still, I was surprised how things actually work. All characters (competitors) are show suitable – they are the most diverse characters that you can imagine and of course they are all completely different among each other. They soon show their nature and find out how to play this game and what “role” they were assigned to show.

Zoo is of all the most likable character, but she also stands out from average. Her devotion to a game and the fact that she’s willing to do everything to won was stunning. She just keeps hold on to the illusion of reality show, even when she starts to doubt a little bit and this was just fascinating to me. How can someone be so focused on a goal that he’s not able to realize reallity?

The idea of the plot seemed incredible, but yet completely real. It wouldn’t surprise me if something like that would really happen. And I wouldn’t be surprised if some tv show would really manipulate their contestants to believe they are in some sort of dystopian reality show.

Because after all, I really believe this is a book about media manipulation, how they affect people and our minds and are taking advantage of our naivety. Even the most spontaneous events/scenes are well thought out and nothing is left to chance. And people still don’t separate between reality and illusion.

This was really a unique dystopian novel that I would recommend to every reader.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Did you read The Last One? What did you think about it? 

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Book Review: The Passage

Title: The Passage

Author: Justin Cronin6690798

Six-year-old Amy lives with her mother. But circumstances force her mother to leave her. She leaves Amy in a convent where nuns could take care of her and disappear without a trace. Sister Lacey takes care for Amy but soon two men appear, claiming to work for Secret Service and they need to take Amy away. Special Agent Brad Wolgast and his partner had already traveled across America, with a secret project to bring twelve, to death convicted criminals, to a secret base where special government experiment is going on. Amy is their final task.

However, things go terribly wrong.  Wolgast is fascinated by little Amy and wants to do everything to protect her. But he can’t do anything against apocalyptic destruction which is a result of failed experiment.

He’s protecting Amy as he can but at the end, he’s only human who’s suffering the same fate as all the others. And then Amy remains alone. Her faith is to wander around aimlessly, while decades are passing by. The world is destroyed, full of fear and terror. But Amy has the power to restore it.


What to write about a book, which is one of best books you ever read? The Passage is a book, that I read for the third time and each time it was better. The reason is probably also, that with each new reading, I discovered new details and understood a story better.

But despite reading this book many times, it would be probably easier if I would write a review after first reading. Now, it will be probably just bragging how this book is amazing. And, I already read the second book (twice), so I know everything that happens.

As I mentioned, this book is multi-leveled and full of details that can be easily overlooked if you don’t pay enough attention to them. But precisely those details create the story, although sometimes seems as unnecessary information. There are many side characters, that Cronin devotes a lot of attention, a reader learns everything about their life and past and then they’re gone. However, this also has its charm. But despite detailed writing of characters and events, this book never becomes boring, even though is huge!

Characters are amazing! I loved main characters, Amy and Wolgast. Especially Wolgast. He’s such an amazing man, and his character develops so well through the story. I liked him even more than Amy. And believe me, it’s hard to love somebody more than her. Despite being quite and shy little girl, she has such a powerful role in this book. But still, I think, that Wolgast really stands out!

The world after the apocalypse, when a world was destroyed by the virus is creepy and horrible. Vampires are just like they should be, horrible and bloodthirsty. I usually don’t like books about vampires because they are too romanticized, but here are scary and perfect.

Reading about the world after a virus was enjoyable. Perhaps, it was little too similar to the world before, which annoyed me. After all, so many decades passed by and I would assume, some things would be different, people would act differently. But nevermind, diversity of characters is fascinating and I didn’t have any problems with connecting to them and enjoying their story.

Maybe it’s just the last part of the book, which can be confusing and I was all “what’s going on?”. But exactly this part is full of tension, action, and events.

In spite of the diversity of characters and different stories, everything connects at the end. Again and again, I was amazed, how the fates of people connect one way or another through the novel and that Cronin manages, despite detailed narration, to unite all the elements in the story.

Once again I can say, that this book is just amazing. Enjoyable characters, great background stories and gruesome vampires. Tense, emotional and frightening.

Rating: 5/5 stars

What were your thoughts about this book, if you have read it? Do you have any other vampire books recommendations? Or did you read any similar books that I would like?

 

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Book Review: The Wise Man’s Fear

Title: The Wise Man’s Fear

Author: Patrick Rothfuss1215032

On the second day, Kvothe continues with storytelling about his life. His story is written down by Scribe and Bast is keeping them company.

The story continues where the first ended. Kvothe continues with his study in University and his feud with fellow student Ambrose is still not over. Because of the circumstances, Kvothe decides, he’ll take some time off and he travels to Severen city, far from  University, where he’s serving to Maer Alveron. Soon he employs Kvothe to lead a group of mercenaries in the hunt of bandits. Kvothe hunts them but on the way back he comes upon beautiful Felurian and after that he continues his journey to an unknown country of Ademre. But wherever he goes, he’s looking for mysterious Chandrians who killed his parents.


I’ve been waiting for this book for so long! I read the first book in Slovenian translation and then I had to wait that the second one would also be translated. And finally, I had a chance to read it! But it was so worth of waiting because I liked the second book of The Kingkiller Chronicles even more than a first one.

Kvothe is still one of most likable characters for me. He’s charming but not without mistakes and so nice and funny. And precisely because of the mixture of good and bad qualities, you just have to love him! I think his character is realistic and I already miss him. But a thing I loved the most was his relationship with his friends and their (and Kvothe’s) humor. Their relations were so relaxed and full of teasing that I just wanted to be part of their group.

Wilem and Simmon are comical fellows but they’re always there when Kvothe needs them. Even in book #2, they have saved his ass more than once even though it was completely his fault to get into the mess. Oh yes, Kvothe is still reckless and he doesn’t learn anything from his mistakes.

What bothered me, was Kvothe’s relationship with Denna. I just don’t like her. With every read page less actually. For me, she’s exploitative, not serious and selfish. I think that she’s making a fool of Kvothe all the time and I just wish he would find some other girl to fool around with, haha.

This book is even longer than previous one but I finished with reading quickly. I was so joyful when I read about University, students, and teachers there. Feud with Ambrose remained but it was pushed in the background this time and I must admit that I missed Ambrose a little bit.

Language and the way of describing everything are still perfect. In more that one occasion, I was surprised how effortless was Rothfuss writing about music as its describing would be the easiest thing in the world. But it’s not just the music that’s pictured amazing, but also people, places and everything else. But I have a feeling that this is also Rothfuss’s weakness.  There was a lot of describing, many details and events that otherwise improved the story and the readers understanding of it, but sometimes while reading I wondered why was I actually reading all of this. Do not get me wrong, I enjoyed every sentence, but this was because of writing, and not because I would be so interested in plot events.

The Wise Man’s Fear is amazing fantasy novel and I would recommend it to anyone who likes this genre. But be also prepared, that you will not find out anything new, which really surprised me. I thought I would get at least some answers in this book, but I only have more questions. I guess that means, the third book will be even longer than this one.

Rating: 5/5 stars

What do you think about The Kingkiller Chronicles? Did you like the first book more than second? Share your thought with me in comments.

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Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird

Title: To Kill a Mockingbird

Author: Harper Lee2657

The story takes place in the 1930′ in South America when racism and oppression of black people were still highly prevalent in society. The story is told through the eyes of the youngest member of Finch family, Scout. She lives with her father Atticus, older brother Jem and their nanny Calpurnia. During the school holidays, their friend Dill joins them. All together, they’re discovering the hidden corners of the Maycomb and its residents.

Scout’s childhood seems really idyllic. But things change when her father who is a lawyer gets a new case. He’s defending Tom Robinson, a black man, who is convicted of raping a white girl. Atticus knows that Tom is innocent but he’s also aware that he can never win in court.


I had this book on my tbr for so long and I really don’t know why I haven’t read it before. This book is just amazing and I know certainly, that I will read it again.

I would say, that To Kill a Mockingbird is a children’s book, but it’s so versatile and beautifully written that it’s obvious why so many adults love it. The story is told from a perspective of a six-years-old Scout, which is a perfect choice. Scout is curious, eager for knowledge and adventurous but at the same time, she’s unconcerned about the rules which are set in a world of adults. And this perspective makes this book so special – when you read about racism, oppression and injustice through the eyes of a child, who doesn’t understand anything about those things and can only wonder how the world can be so depraved, you realize how twisted adults can be and how absurd rules we are following sometimes. And this creates something extra in a book: it shows a word through eyes of children and the world through the eyes of adults.

The counterweight to young characters (Scout, Jem, and Dill) is Atticus Finch. A single parent, lawyer and besides Scout, my favorite character in this book. His calmness, fairness, and commitment to justice were impressive. I really liked his approach to upbringing and how calm he was in any situation. Other adult characters were a reflection of that time and image of situations and contrasts between people. All the characters were interesting, even the ones I didn’t like for obvious reasons. I would have to say, that characters were presented one-sided and a reader can sense from the beginning, who are the good and who are the bad guys. But again, if I assume correctly, that this is a book, written for children, it becomes understandable.

If at first, I had a great time while reading about children descriptions of town residents, later I was losing my mind while reading about Atticus case with a clear disantanglement before it even comes to a court. Tom Robinson, who is convicted of raping and beating a white girl, was guilty in the eyes of almost everyone. A handful of people who thought opposite were too passive to stand for him. Atticus, however, took the case and accepted a challenge, although he knew how it will end. Probably I knew it too, but I still hoped (like Scout and Jem), that maybe I was wrong and people would see what a farce this trial was. I was so angry while reading about it, about blindness and denial of people and their passivity. I felt furious and helpless and if a book makes me feel this way, I know, it’s a great book.

This book and its message are timeless. To Kill a Mockingbird presents issues that we should already leave behind but unfortunately is not like that. Book is beautifully written, understandable and simple, but nevertheless with a strong message. Of course for those, who want to see it.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Is To Kill a Mockingbird mandatory reading in your school system? If so, did you read it just because you had to, or it was your decision? What are your thoughts about this book?

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Book Review: Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ

Title: Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ

Author: Giulia Enders23013953

The human gut is probably the most overlooked organ in the human body. Nobody is particularly interested in it and people normally don’t think about what happens to the food after we swallow it.

This book, however, deals exactly with this – what actually happens with food once it leaves our mouth and comes to the stomach. In book Gut, it’s explained what is a process of digestion, what’s happening with food between it and what’s happening in human intestine even though people are not aware of all the happening inside them.


I wanted to read this book just because it was really successful in Slovenia after the translation was published. Yes, I usually succumb to the general enthusiasm and hype about books and even though I’m not interested in a topic, I still want to read it. Because if everybody wants it, I want it too! And because everyone was so impressed with this book, I thought that it has to be something about it. And after I read it, I understand all the hype. I don’t regret reading it because this book really is good and worth of reading!

This book was fantastic because I discovered a whole new world inside of me, a part that I never thought about it and this is also a purpose of this book – to show people, what an amazing machine we have inside our body and we are not even aware of it.

It’s a nonfiction book, scientifically written because after all, the author is a medical student. There are a lot of medical researchers included but it’s written in a language and in a way that everyone can understand. It’s written for casual readers with none or little medical knowledge and it’s simple, interesting and fun. The result is this educational book. The most entertaining parts of this book for me were the ones about how and why do we poop, how it’s best to sit on a toilette, how food travels through our digestive system and what’s happening with it. Yes, I learned about some of this stuff in school, but I forgot a lot and I don’t remember this thing beeing so funny! I refreshed my knowledge of how the human gut is build, which microbes do we have inside our body and why are they actually there. In a humorous way (but educational) is explained why do people vomit, have diarrhea, constipation, and so on.

This book was really entertaining and I read it almost in one day. I learned a lot and I will use the information from this book in future. As a reader, I found a lot of practical information that can help to find out and learn about eating habits and improve them. But of course, this is still not a medical book which would deal with really specific topics – although there are some chapters, which are dealing with food allergies and intolerance to certain foods, this book is not offering specific solutions for people with that kind of problems. It just helps you in an easy way to explain how things work and what can/could lead to some problems. And it could be a great start if you later want to explore more about this topics.

If you want to read something interesting and informative, then I would certainly recommend this book to you. I believe that many people who think that they are not interested in this subject would be surprised how they will enjoy this book if they would give it a chance. And funny illustrations makes this book even more exciting.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Did you read any other book that is similar to this one? Please, leave a comment below.

 

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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?