Characters of the Year Book Tag – 2021

A year ago I did this tag for the first time. I liked it, so I’m going to do it again for the characters from the books I read last year. As far as I know, The Characters of the Year Book Tag is created by Amanda from A Brighter Shade of Hope, but I can’t find the original.

Favourite male character of the year: Daniel Matheson
The Fountains of Silence has multiple narrators, and Daniel is one of them. He is an eighteen year old American with a Spanish mother. When Daniel visits Madrid in 1957, he knows Spain is under the fascist dictatorship of General Franco. As photographer he wants to capture what it is like to live there. But he isn’t aware of a couple of truly terrible secrets. I like how Daniel tries to uncover the truth. I also admire him for following his dream to become a journalist despite his father not supporting him.

Favourite female character of the year: Mia Corvere
The setting and the plot of The Nevernight Chronicles are good, but Mia makes the books extraordinary. She actually isn’t a very likable character. First of all she is an assassin, she also swears all the time and is pretty selfish. I still love her as character. Mia is very loyal too and ready to fight for her family.

Most relatable character of the year: Pan Li Lan
At the start of The Ghost Bride, Li Lan lives quite a sheltered life. As an unmarried girl at the end of the 19th century she isn’t allowed to go anywhere without a chaperone. So far her life doesn’t resemble mine. But I could relate to her kindness and fondness for books and I agree with most of the choices she makes in the story. I also loved to see how Li Lan grows as a character throughout the story.

Couple of the year: Carys & Max
Hold Back the Stars has a love story that’s surprisingly realistic. Carys and Max don’t fall in love at first sight as I see in too many stories. Their relationship isn’t only romantic, it’s messy and complex too. But Carys and Max make it work.

Villain of the year: Scholomance
You could argue that the villain in A Deadly Education is the school. Students can’t leave this magical school until they graduate or die. And the chance to die is pretty big since Scholomance is full of monsters and no teachers to help you.

Most disliked character of the year: Jondalar
In the second part Jondalar was alright, but I disliked him in The Mammoth Hunters. Most of the book he acted jealous and stubborn.

Royal of the year: Kleopatra
The main character from the Kleopatra duology is of course based on the real queen Cleopatra VII. I loved how she is depicted in the story: Kleopatra is intriguing, cunning and intelligent, but also has her insecurities.

Sidekick/non-main character of the year: Margery O’Hare
Alice is the main character of The Giver of Stars, but I liked Margery more. Margery is the leader of Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians. She is a tough, independent woman who refuses to do what is expected of women in the 1930s.

Sibling of the year: Charley Sutherland
Charley from The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep is able to bring a character from a book into our world. His older brother Rob thinks this ability causes mostly problems. But I think it would be amazing to have a brother with this talent!

2021 in books & my top 4

Happy New Year! 2021 was a good year for me. In the summer my boyfriend and I travelled with our second-hand camper van through the Netherlands. In October we went to Paris. And in December he asked me to marry him! Bookwise 2021 was also good. I didn’t read as much books as I hoped, but I read many amazing books. Quality over quantity! And 33 books in one year isn’t bad at all. Here are some more numbers:

I read a total of 13146 pages in 2021. On average a book had 398 pages. As you can see in the graph below most books I read had between 300 and 500 pages. The shortest book was Dragon Bike, an anthology edited by Elly Blue, with 157 pages. The biggest book was The Mammoth Hunters by Jean M. Auel with 779 pages.

Most of the writers from the books I read were female. 27 books were written by women, 3 books by men and 3 books were by multiple writers or a non-binary writer.

Slightly more than half of the books I read were written by writers from the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia. The nationalities of the other writers vary. Exactly a third of the books has a writer of color. 27% of the books have a main character of colour. 18% of the books have a main character that falls in the LGBTQIA-spectrum. I’m quite content with the diversity of my reading!

Compared to previous years, the genres aren’t very diverse. Most books I read were either fantasy, science fiction or historical fiction. I read a lot less contemporary books than in other years.

Just like the year before, most books I read in 2021 were published in the last ten years. I read only seven books published before 2010. The oldest book I read was Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, originally published in 1813. I read three books published in 2021: The Missing Sister by Lucinda Riley, The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles and The galaxy, and the ground within by Becky Chambers.

Most of the books I read were stand-alones. But (not counting rereads) I also started six new series and finished five series. My favourite series starter was A Deadly Eduction by Naomi Novik. I hope to continue The Scholomance series this year. The best series ender was The galaxy, and the ground within by Becky Chambers, the last part in the Wayfarers series.

Only two books were rereads: This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone and The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco.

Best books of 2021

As usual I am not able to choose one favourite books. I gave four books 5 stars and I loved them all! So here are my favourite books of the year in the order I read them:

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
One evening her father asks Li Lan a peculiar question: Would she like to become a ghost bride? A rich family wants her to marry their son who recently died. This practice isn’t very common, but actually exists. I loved how Chinese folklore and details about life in Malaysia during the 19th century are interwoven in the story. The line between fantasy and historical fiction is crossed when Li Lan becomes involved in the Chinese afterlife.

The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa
When his grandfather dies, Rintaro inherits his grandfather’s bookstore. A talking cat appears in the bookshop and asks Rintaro to help him save books. Initially this seemed simply a fun story about books. But like a fairy tale, small life lessons are hidden between the pages.

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry
This story is about a supernatural ability I would love to have: Charley is able to bring a character from a book into our world. His brother, Rob, isn’t particularly happy with the problems this family secret causes. Some book characters are quite dangerous and they don’t always want to go back to their books. Because Charley is his little brother, Rob reluctantly helps him. Real problems arise when book characters appear that were not brought to life by Charley…

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles
This book was the perfect read after my visit to Paris. It’s about Odile and her work at the American Library in Paris during the Second World War. Life in occupied France is hard, but the staff manages to keep the library open during the war. I adored the characters in this beautiful book. Especially because the story is based on real people and events.

I am back for my December 2021 wrap-up!

During December I enjoyed spending a lot of time with my boyfriend and with family. I also was in a bit of a reading slump. That’s why I wasn’t very motivated to write a blog post. Because I did other fun things, I don’t feel too bad about it. I already have some posts planned for the new year. So in January you can expect me to be more active on the blog again!

I started reading two books this month. I finished only one of them. Read my spoiler-free thoughts here:

The Book of Dreams by Nina GeorgeDNF
I had high expectations for this book, because The Little Paris Bookshop from the same writer is one of my all-time-favourites. Just like that one, The Book of Dreams is beautifully written. The story is very slow-paced. This doesn’t have to be a problem. Yet the pacing made it hard for me to keep my attention on the book. At least for this moment, the book didn’t work for me.

Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle, #3) by Jay Kristoff4 stars
In four words: grim, exciting, action-packed ending

What I liked: I read the second part two years ago. So I was glad there was a recap at the beginning. After that, Darkdawn continues where Godsgrave ended. The book is exciting from the start. Since this is a story about assassins, it isn’t a spoiler when I tell that people die. And that Mia is responsible for a part of those deaths. Despite all the terrible things she did, I still think she is an amazing character. Mia is fearless, incredibly loyal and gets what she wants. I love the setting and the footnotes, but Mia really made The Nevernight Chronicles something special. Darkdawn is an epic and fitting ending to the trilogy.
What I disliked: This book has a lot of violence. It seems strange to dislike this, since it’s an essential part of the story. But for me this is the reason I didn’t give the book more stars.
Trigger warnings for murder, graphic violence, gore and swearing

Good Stuff in December
  • I am engaged! 💍
  • My Christmas was cosy with family and good food. I didn’t expect any presents, but I got Black Water Sister by Zen Cho. I’m looking forward to reading it in January.
  • Sometimes having a book blog feels a bit old-fashioned. So it was nice to read this post about why having a book blog still matters @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books.
  • At the end of the year I always love reading all the favourites of the year-posts. Sia @ Every Book a Doorway already posted her favourite fantasy & sci-fi books of 2021. Imyril @ One More is also early with her best books of 2021-list. CW @ The Quiet Pond coudn’t choose, so she wrote a love letter to all 53 books she loved this year.

Watch out for my 2021 in books-post in which I will reveal my favourites of the year and share all the stats no one asked for!

SciFiMonth 2021: wrap-up

It’s unbelievable that November already ended. I wanted to read so many more science fiction books! But I really enjoyed participating in SciFiMonth again. So thanks to Imyril from One More and Lisa from Dear Geek Place for organizing it!

During the month I made three science fiction themed posts:

I ended up reading three of the four books from my TBR. Here are the mini-reviews of those books:

The galaxy, and the ground within (Wayfarers, #4) by Becky Chambers4 stars
In four words: wonderful, character-driven, tranquil story
What I liked: This is a quiet feel-good story. Plotwise little happens, but the book is full of beautiful conversations and meaningful moments between the characters. Just like the other parts in the Wayfarers series, the plot of this book is actually not important. It’s all about the four protagonists. These strangers are stuck together on the planet Gora due to a technical error. None of them are human, they are all from a different alien species. I really enjoyed reading how the characters try to help and understand each other, even though they are completely different.
What I disliked: It was sometimes hard to imagine how the characters look like. I solved this problem by looking up fan art of the characters on internet.

Heart of Brass (The Antipodean Queen, #1) by Felicity Banks3,5 stars
In four words: enjoyable, light-hearted Australian steampunk
What I liked: This was an enjoyable and adventurous book. I loved that a part of the story is based on real colonial Australian history. The steampunk elements naturally fit in. Especially the steam-powered heart of Emmeline is central in the book. It’s a secret that’s hard to hide, since the heart regularly needs maintenance and sometimes malfunctions. I found it an intriguing idea! Emmeline starts out as a well-bred English lady who is ready to marry. She is easy to like, resourceful and at times humorous. It was interesting to see her character develop throughout the book.
What I disliked: The storyline felt sometimes overhasty and a bit illogical too me. That’s why I didn’t feel totally emerged in the book. I really enjoyed this story, but I think the writer didn’t get the most out of it. For example, in the world of the book each metal has its own personality and even some kind of magical ability. It’s a pity that this unique idea isn’t really developed.

Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan4 stars
In four words: engaging, unexpected, heart-warming, heart-breaking
What I liked: This book was unexpectedly good. Our main characters, Carys and Max, are floating through space. They only have ninety minutes of air left. This situation is engaging on itself. Yet there is more. In this future young people aren’t supposed to settle. Only when they are older, they are allowed to have long-term relationships. This curious world is seen in flashbacks. Meanwhile Carys and Max are trying to save themselves, but the minutes tick away. Their love story was surprisingly realistic. It was beautiful, messy, heart-warming and heart-breaking. The ending was definitively remarkable too.
What I disliked: In the flashbacks we get sneak peaks of a future version of the Earth. It was interesting to read about, but for me this future didn’t really come alive. It felt like a far away place I didn’t really get to know. On the other hand, the parts set in space felt very real. I could easily imagine being there with Carys and Max.
Trigger warning for death of a loved one

More good stuff in November
  • I discovered the podcast Flash Forward. This is a show about possible (and not so possible) future scenarios. It’s the perfect podcast for SciFiMonth! The bad news is that the podcast stops for a while, but the good news is that there are many episodes for me to catch up with. So far my favourites are Bot for Teacher and Wast Not Want Not.
  • My boyfriend and I started watching Locke & Key season 2. It’s so good!
  • I loved the latest episode Cli-fi and catastrophe on the podcast Breaking the Glass Slipper. This is partly a discussion and partly an interview with writing duo Calder Szewczak about climate fiction.
  • I always like lists with science fiction or fantasy authors from around the world. So I enjoyed reading the post Five (non-American) Authors I Want to Read on Alligators and Aneurisms. I also found a list with 25 YA Books Featuring A Non-European Influenced Fantasy World on Epic Reads.

SciFi-books (still) On My TBR-list

This year I didn’t read a lot of science fiction. I mostly read fantasy and historical fiction. That means the number of sci-fi books on my To Be Read-list isn’t getting any lower. It even keeps growing! So I took a look at my list to see which books I still want to read. For every book I decided if I want to read it or delete it. Then I am going to explain this in one sentence. Here are all of them:

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
Want To Read It / Delete It
This is said to be the first science fiction book written by a black woman.

The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow
Want To Read It / Delete It
The premise still sounds amazing: can a girl who risks her life for books and an alien who loves forbidden pop music work together to save humanity?

Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta
Want To Read It / Delete It
I am going to read this book set in a post-climate change world for my SFF Countries project, because it’s written by a Finnish author.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Want To Read It / Delete It
A girl alone in space doesn’t sound that interesting anymore.

Unearthed (Unearthed, #1) by Amie Kaufman & Meagon Spooner
Want To Read It / Delete It
Amie Kaufman is one of my favourite writers and the book was pitched somewhere as “Indiana Jones in space.”

The Falconer (The Falconer, #1) by Elizabeth May
Want To Read It / Delete It
The plot doesn’t seem very original and I’m just not really looking forward to reading this book.

The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Want To Read It / Delete It
This appears to be quite a controversial book and I’m afraid I am not going to like it.

The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson
Want To Read It / Delete It
I read somewhere that this book “mainly takes place on a creepy Lost-esque island.”

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
Want To Read It / Delete It
Although I am not entirely sure if I’m ready to start a new series, this seems a really good book.

The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss, #1) by London Shah
Want To Read It / Delete It
This book is set in London at the twenty-first century when our world is underwater.

Everfair by Nisi Shawl
Want To Read It / Delete It
I want to read this book for my SFF Countries Project, because it’s a steampunk alternative history of Congo.

Pacifica by Kristen Simmons
Want To Read It / Delete It
A dystopia about climate change and pirates.

Hullmetal Girls by Emily Skrutskie
Want To Read It / Delete It
Diverse fantasy with an enemies-to-best-friends female friendship.

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland
Want To Read It / Delete It
The premise still sounds really interesting: magic once existed, but stopped working due to the scientific revolution.

The Swimmers by Marian Womack
Want To Read It / Delete It
This is an eco-dystopia set in Spain I want to read for my SFF Countries Project.

I only deleted three books, but it was nice to review my TBR-list. Have you read any of these books? And what did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

SciFiMonth: Science Fiction From Around the World

I love to see the world through my books! So much, that I have the ambitious goal to read a fantasy or science fiction book for every country in the world. Ideally, these books are written by authors from the same country as the setting of the book. This challenge is named the SFF Countries Project. The idea originally came from Annemieke @ A Dance With Books. Read more about it on this page on my blog.

Today I made a list with sci-fi books I read for The SFF Countries Project, and some books that are still on my TBR. Let’s start our futuristic journey!

The Netherlands: On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis
Our first destination is the country where I live. This book starts a few days before a comet is scheduled to hit the earth. Denise, her mother and sister Iris have to go to a temporary shelter. But Denise’s drug-addicted mother isn’t in any hurry and they don’t know where Iris is. In this way they won’t reach the shelter in time. This is an exciting and realistic story with a diverse set of characters. Denise herself is a biracial girl who has autism (just like the writer).

Taiwan: Want by Cindy Pon
Next we travel to Asia. In this story the air is highly polluted. The rich are able to buy special suits that protect them from getting ill. Everyone else just has a big chance to die. Jason Zhou and his friends are determined to change things. This book has a great setting and plot. It’s about a future that actually is quite likely to happen…

Australia: Heart of Brass by Felicity Banks
Our short trip ends in Australia. I am currently reading this steampunk book about a girl with a metal heart. So far the story is enjoyable and the main character is easy to like.

The list of books I read is still short. It’s not easy to find science fiction books set outside the United States and the United Kingdom. On my TBR-list are:
– Spain: The Swimmers by Marian Womack (dystopia)
– Finland: Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta (post apocalyptic)

If you have book recommendations for the SFF Countries Project, let me know in the comments!

SciFiMonth 2021: TBR

November is SciFiMonth on my blog, a month in which we celebrate everything that is science fiction. Just like the previous years, Imyril from One More and Lisa from Dear Geek Place will be hosting this event. I have already planned some posts you can read during the month. I used the prompts from the SciFiMonth Challenge as inspiration. Of course I will also read science fiction books! While making pictures of the books, one of my cats decided to join me. And that made the picture actually infinitively better!

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within (Wayfarers #4) by Becky Chambers
I adore the Wayfarers series! The books are well-written and always have great characters. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, the first part, is one of my all-time favourite books. So I am really looking forward to reading the last part of the series. I wanted to buy this book, but I found it by accident at my library.

Heart of Brass by Felicity Banks
This is a steampunk book set in colonial Australia. I really want to read more steampunk and seems a good one. Steampunk is usually associated with England, so it will also be interesting to have a very different setting.

Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan
While looking for science fiction books I want to read, this book caught my eye. I never heard of it before, but the premise sounds quite fascinating: Carys and Max have ninety minutes of air left. It’s said to be an epic love story in space.

The Long-Lost Secret Diary of the World’s Worst Astronaut by Tim Collins
A very different book than I usually read: it’s middle-grade fiction. I work at an elementary school and for that reason I like to read more children’s book. This one seems a fun book.

October 2021 wrap-up with a new favourite book

It’s already October, time is going fast! I didn’t read a lot, but the two books I did read were really good! Here are my spoiler-free thoughts about them:

This Vicious Cure (This Mortal Coil, #3) by Emily Suvada4 stars
In four words: ingenious, complex, satisfying ending
What I liked: I finally finished the This Mortal Coil trilogy! This last part was a bit different than the other two books. It has multiple perspectives instead of one narrator. Because of spoilers, I won’t get into detail. But I think the multiple perspectives were a good choice. There are also a couple of unexpected plot twists and interesting character developments. The book is definitively a satisfying series ender. My favourite thing about this trilogy was the world building. It’s ingenious and fascinating! Gene-hacking and other complex technology play a big role in all parts. I can’t say I totally understood it, but that’s why it was believable.
What I disliked: A year ago I read the second part. The third part doesn’t really has a recap, so it took a while to catch up with the story. Because I forgot some details from the other parts, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I would have liked.
Trigger warnings for graphic violence, torture and gore

Next to the trilogy, there’s a short story called These Precious Scars. It’s a prequel with five perspectives. I didn’t think it really added something to the story, but it’s a nice read. You can read it for free on Riveted. I recommend to read it after the first part.

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles5 stars
In four words: bookish, moving, engaging, well-researched
What I liked: I bought this book at Shakespeare and Company during my trip to Paris. It was the perfect book after my visit! Half of the story is set in Paris during the Second World War. We read about Odile and her work at the American Library in Paris. Life in occupied France is hard, but the staff manages to keep the library open. I adored how much the librarians valued books and I admired their loyalty and dedication to the library. Especially because the story is based on real people and events. Next time I am in Paris, I definitively want to visit the American Library! The chapters narrated by Odile are alternated by chapters about Lily who lives in Montana in the 1980s. An older French woman called Odile lives next door. Lily knows little about her neighbour and decides to interview her for school.
What I disliked: I cannot come up with any demerits. It was simply a good book!

Good Stuff in October
  • The highlight of my month was my visit to Paris. You can read everything about it in this blog post.
  • I went to the 4D version of the James Bond movie No Time To Die. It was the first time this year I went to the cinema and also the first time I experienced a 4D movie! Just like the other James Bond films I’ve seen it’s an enjoyable, action-packed movie with a flimsy plot. But I was pleased about the fact that the movie has multiple women with important roles.
  • On the podcast The Land of Desire I listened to a story about Choupette, the spoiled at of Karl Lagerfeld. It’s just a short episode, but I found it hilarious!
  • I’m already looking forward to SciFiMonth in November! I will post my TBR soon.

My visit to Paris & three podcasts I recommend

From Saturday till Tuesday I went to Paris with my boyfriend. It was a short visit, but we had a great time! I wanted to mention this visit in my monthly wrap-up, but I decided it deserves its own post.

One of my favourite things about the trip was visiting Shakespeare and Company. You may have heard of this bookshop, because it’s quite famous. It can be found in a beautiful old building close to the Notre Dame. The shop isn’t that big, but packed with all kinds of books. To my surprise the bookshop also has its own cat! As souvenir I bought a book: The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles.

Of course we also went to a couple of other famous buildings. I saw the Notre Dame in renovation. We climbed up the stairs to the Sacré-Cœur. From the hill you have a beautiful view over Paris. Obviously we saw the Eiffel Tower. We stayed until it was dark, so we could see it get illuminated. And during a bus tour something peculiar caught my attention. All over Paris I saw small mosaic tiles with pixel art. If you’re intrigued, visit this website for more pictures.

Podcast recommendations about Paris and France

Before my visit, I wanted to know more about Paris. So in preparation I listened to some podcasts about Paris specifically and France in general. My French isn’t very good, so all of these podcasts are in English.

The Earful Tower
I think this podcasts is mainly interesting if you want to visit Paris or are a Francophile. Even when you don’t fall in one of these categories, there may still be some episodes for you. If you’re a bookworm like me, you will definitively love the episode Behind the Curtains of Shakespeare and Company about the bookshop I visited.

The Land of Desire
This podcast is about the history of France. The host is an amazing story-teller. I haven’t listened to a lot of episodes yet, but I really enjoyed the three episodes about the Notre Dame. In the first one we hear about the period the Notre Dame was built. In the other two episodes our host skips around history and highlights some interesting points in the history of Paris.

Stuff You Missed in History Class
This is one of my favourite history podcasts, so I had to mention it. There are hundreds of episodes covering all kinds of fascinating things you didn’t even know you wanted to learn about. Some episodes about France are:

Magical Readathon 2021 – The Novice Path wrap-up & good stuff of September

In September I participated in the Magical Readathon created by G @ Book Roast. I love all the creativity and work she put in this readathon. So a big thanks to her! I am already looking forward to the next part of the Magical Readathon in April 2022.

During this first part of the Magical Readathon we followed the Novice Path. Our goal was to reach the Orilium Academy. There were seven reading prompts, but we only had to complete two prompts to succeed. So by reading three books I successfully ended my journey. I also wanted to read Descendant of the Crane by Joan He for The Mist of Solitude prompt. Sadly I wasn’t able to borrow the book at my library on time. Read my thoughts about the books I read below.

The Novice Path and the books I read

Mini-reviews

The Novice Path Entrance: read a book with a map

Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire, #1) by Natasha Ngan4 stars
In four words: captivating, dark, hopeful, considerate
What I liked: This book totally hooked me from the start. Only twenty pages in the book our main character Lei is taken from her family to become a Paper Girl at the court. The Paper Girls are eight girls from the lowest caste, yearly chosen by the demon king as his courtesans. The world in this book is fascinating with its three castes varying from fully human, to humans with animal-demon features and fully demons. But what really makes this book stand out are the characters. I admire the strength and courage of the Paper Girls. The sexual abuse they have to face is quite frightful. So I appreciate the thoughtful way in which Natasha Ngan writes about it. And although the book deals with dark themes, the story is also hopeful and empowering.
What I disliked: The ending disappointed me a little. Since the story will continue in the sequel, the book ended of course with a cliffhanger. It did fit the story and was well-written. I just hoped for something more original. I’ve come across several other fantasy trilogies with the first book ending like this. There isn’t anything wrong with it. But personally I’ve seen it too much.
Trigger warnings for rape, abuse, torture and murder

Ashtorn Tree: a book that keeps tempting you (or top of your TBR)

The Rosie Project (Don Tillman, #1) by Graeme Simsion3,5 stars
In four words: funny, enjoyable, easy read
What I liked: This book was recommended by a colleague. It wasn’t on my TBR, but her enthusiasm made me eager to read it. The story kept making me smile and even laugh out loud. Our narrator is Don, a hyper intelligent genetics professor who is looking for a wife. He is easy to like, endearing and has a unique way of thinking. After multiple failed dates, Don concludes that dating doesn’t seem to work for him. So he creates an extensive questionnaire to find the perfect wife. Then he meets Rosie. She wouldn’t qualify as a wife at all. But she’s on a quest herself and Don decides to help her.
What I disliked: Near the end the story examines the question if Don has to change himself for love. I wasn’t entirely happy with how the book deals with this issue. I also expected a kind of heart-warming and uplifting ending where everything comes together. Instead the ending was rushed and I felt a bit indifferent about it.

Tower of Rumination: read a five star prediction

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes4 stars
In four words: historical, heart-warming, romantic, bookish
What I liked: I loved that this book is inspired by the real Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians. They delivered books to remote regions in the Appalachian Mountains from 1935 till 1943. Despite my eagerness to read this story, it took a while before I started to like the book. But the characters definitively won me over. The women who work at the travelling library in Kentucky are all admirable strong and brave characters. Especially Margery is a tough and independent woman who refuses to do what is expected of women in the 1930s. The main character of the book is Alice, an English girl who married a wealthy American man. The hard work for the library provides an escape from her unhappy marriage. I didn’t immediately liked Alice, but she grew on me. I enjoyed seeing her character development.
What I disliked: The beginning felt somewhat slow and haphazard. The story also didn’t seem as bookish as I expected. Later the books do get a bigger role. However, the focus of the story is mostly on friendship and romance. This isn’t a bad thing at all. But personally I would have liked to read more about the library and the books.
Trigger warning for domestic violence

Good stuff in September

  • September 23th was Bi Visibility Day. To celebrate this day, Sia @ Every Book a Doorway and Kat @ Bookish Blades recommended books with bi protagonists. Kat also shared her own story about labelling and being bi.
  • On Epic Reads I found a list with Historical fantasy book recommendations. I haven’t read any of them, but a lot of them sound interesting.
  • I went on a school trip with the elementary school where I work. Our destination was the Dutch amusement park Duinrell. It was a great day and all the children had a lot of fun!