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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 Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Title: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Author: Sherman Alexie693208

Fourteen years old Arnold Spirit, also known as Junor, is growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Junor is an artistic guy who likes drawing and drawing also helps him facing every day’s problems. His life is not wonderful but it gets even more complicated when Junor starts to attend a school outside the reservation. Attendance of High School, where he is the only non-white person is challenging, especially because he doesn’t feel accepted. Not only he’s not accepted by his new friends, but because of his retraining, he also becomes a target in a reservation.


I could say that this book really let me down. I heard amazing things about it, I saw that it also won a few prizes and I was so happy when I saw it in my local library (it was not translated, I read it in English).

Even while reading, I struggled with it. It was a slow read which really surprised me because it’s such a short book, full of illustrations.

I liked the idea of a book – a young Indian boy from the reservation is facing his origin while trying to cross the boundaries of his world. No one from his reservation has attended school outside the reservation before, let alone a school where all people would be white. Junior is aware that he would end up like all the other Indians if he doesn’t step forward and educates somewhere else. Despite the problems that this would bring him.

Arnold seemed a funny and nice guy, slightly lost in this world which is logical, according to his age and the period in his life. I really liked, how the author tried to show off Junior’s artistic side with “his” illustrations. Comics did really variate reading and they were the funniest part of the book. All the other characters were a little bit strange, each in his own way.

The story mainly focuses on Junior’s searching his place in the world – he doesn’t feel well in a reservation, he’s feeling guilty because he turned back to his tribe. But in the same time, he also doesn’t feel good outside the reservation, because he’s aware that he doesn’t belong there either and that people don’t accept him. Even though he’s more than successful by finding new friends.

Presentation of Indians in this book seemed grotesque to me. I admit, I don’t know much about the situations in reservations or about Indians in general. But yet, I had a feeling that it was too much humiliation in this book. Resorting to alcohol and consequently to violence, poverty and complete resignation, yes, it was shown through the humor, but it still left a bittersweet taste. But not the one it should. It all seemed too unreal and as a big joke.

I also found this book overambitious. The author included too many serious topics that were not developed further. Bullying, alcoholism, bulimia, first love, rejection, poverty are just one of them. Those were all the topics that have somehow lingered in the air.

A person can achieve everything he wants as only he has a desire and will to change things – I understood that this was the main topic in this book. However, I got a feeling that book gives a false hope for younger readers. Junior comes to a new school and things are going great for him. Everything is (almost) perfect suddenly. Yes, he may still have some problems but still he’s suddenly successful in everything (finding friends, popular girlfriend, success in school). It just seemed too perfect.

And, what I most blame the author for is that because everything was going so well for Junior, he just entangled a few totally unnecessary events (deaths) in the story. Why? Just to break a monotony? And that story continued like nothing happened? Nonsense.

I really felt this book a cliche story and too American. You know…. If you dream and you dare, you will also succeed.

Rating: 2/5 stars

What did you think about this book? I would love to hear your opinions in comments!

 

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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: Love Letters to the Dead

Title: Love Letters to the Dead

Author: Ava Dellaira181400471

Laurel is high school student and one day they get an assignment to write a letter to a dead person. However, she never wrote it for a school work, but she started writing letters in her diary. She’s writing them to famous people who died too soon, just like her sister May.

In her letters, she describes her life in new high school, new friends, first love and her sister May, which she can’t forgive for leaving her. Through letters she learns a lot about herself and in particular, she can write about secrets from her past that she never told anyone and strongly affected her. Just like her older sister May, who Laurel misses so much and don’t understand why she’s gone and left behind only pain of mourning and broken family.


Meh. I have mixed feelings about this book. The first half was completely boring and I was thinking about quitting. What disturbed me most, was writing style which is completely childish and immature. There were moments when I thought that letters were written by an eleven-year-old girl and not a high school student. The sentences are so simple and idiotic but they are good reflection of Laurel character – she’s a childish, dumb and terribly boring person who’s main goal in life is (obviously) to be a cool person.

It all begins with new school year when Laurel starts attempting high school. She picked one, where nobody knows her and a family tragedy. Because she’s a new kid, nobody notices her but she desperately wants to fit in. And she’s doing this in a very strange way if you ask me. For example, all students are buying some specific cookies for lunch and she starts throwing away her lunch so she can also buy them. For some reason, she’s accepted by two girls who are not popular kids but they’re cool. And she also falls in love in such a boy – Sky is a mysterious kid, who’s not popular but everyone thinks about him as a cool guy (and I’m not joking here – as long as you’re cool everything will be ok, obviously). And for some reason, he noticed her right away although she’s far from being cool. And then begins the story about plain Jane discovering the joys of high school life, from drinking, smoking and making out. Doing everything, just to be cool.

But her dead sister’s shadow is following her everywhere. Laurel’s older sister May had varied life, she was beautiful, popular, smart and, above all, she was cool. Recently, I read quite a few books, which, in my opinion, exposes excessive idealization of older siblings or best friends which make me very annoyed. Ok, I agree that it’s not unusual that younger siblings are idolizing older because, after all, it’s logical they’re searching for a role model, but exaggeration is bothering me. And it bothered me strongly in this book also. It felt like Laurel doesn’t have her own life or personality. She always tried to be just like May and she’s still doing this after her death. And instead of figuring out who she is, she’s trying to be someone else. All the time she’s writing about May and how beautiful/perfect she was but yet I didn’t have a feeling that she’s mourning her death. I felt like she just wants to be like May was and grieves for someone who enabled her to do cool stuff. Which is a shame because I thought this would be a book about mourning and accepting someone’s death.

But at the same time, Laurel was angry when they compared her with May. When she finds out that Sky liked May, she’s angry with him, because she thinks she’s in love with her just because she’s so similar to May. Seriously?!? She’s constantly trying to be just like her, she wears her clothes, listening to same music as May, but suddenly she doesn’t like being compared to her? She was also furious when she found out, her new friends knew from beginning, she’s a sister of a dead girl. She didn’t want to tell them because she was afraid they would treat her differently but at the end, she got mad because they knew and treated her normally. It’s difficult if you don’t know what you want. And Laurel definitely doesn’t know what she wants, which indicates her immature character and writing style. At times, however, she begins to philosophize in letters which made me confused because it was really not her style – like she would suddenly become a mature, grown up women.

The second half of the book was better since things started to complicate and reading becomes more interesting. Besides notes about everyday life, Laurel starts to uncovering dark secrets from her past and starts writing about them.

Nevertheless, this book was not so good that I would recommend it on. Perhaps younger girls could relate more with Laurel and her “writing” but I really couldn’t enjoy in this book.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Did you read this book? What did you think about it? Do you agree with me or you think this book was good/amazing? I would love to hear your thoughts about it!

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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 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: 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?