Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2021

I do this tag every year (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020), but I almost forgot about it. But I’m still just on time! I read 18 books so far. That’s less books at this point than last year, but of course reading isn’t about the numbers. So let’s continue with the questions and talk about the books!

Best book(s) you read so far in 2021?

So far The Ghost Bride is the only book I gave five stars this year. I loved the insight in the Chinese afterlife and the many historical details interwoven in the story. (You can read my mini-review for this book here)

Best sequel(s) you’ve read so far in 2021?

I thought The Heart Forger and The Shadowglass were just as good as the first part of The Bone Witch trilogy. Another sequel I really liked is Pharaoh, the second part of a duology about Cleopatra’s life. I actually liked it more than the first part.

New releases you haven’t read yet, but want to?

I am very excited for The Galaxy, and the Ground Within, the final part of the Wayfarers series! Black Water Sister is Malaysian-set fantasy, just like my favourite book of this year so far. And I love books about books, so I am also looking forward to the historical fiction The Paris Library.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?

I don’t keep up with new releases that good. There are already so many published books I want to read!

Biggest disappointment?

The Mammoth Hunters wasn’t as good as I expected. I liked the first and second part in the Earth’s Children series from Jean M. Auel much more.

Biggest surprise?

I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen as an audiobook. I discovered that I like listening to audiobooks more than I expected. The main reason I chose Pride and Prejudice was that it’s easy to find as free audiobook. The book wasn’t on my TBR, but it seemed a kind of must-read. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did.

Favourite new author? (debut or new to you)

I would love to read more books by Yangsze Choo!

Newest favourite character?

The most memorable character so far is Tea from The Bone Witch trilogy. Because I read three books with her as main character I really got to know her. Especially interesting is her character development throughout the story.

Book that made you cry?

In 2021 I haven’t read a book yet that made me cry.

Book that made you happy?

Pride and Prejudice was quite humorous at some points. The book made me smile multiple times. Especially some comments from Elizabeth and her parents were funny.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)?

Many books I read this year were from the library or borrowed from my parents. When talking about covers, there wasn’t really a book that stood out. I do like the covers of The Heart Forger and The Shadowglass.

What book(s) do you need to read by the end of the year?

June 2021 wrap-up

June was a good month! It’s hopeful that more and more people in the Netherlands are vaccinated against COVID-19, including myself. For the first time in months I ate at a restaurant. I also was finally able to go to the library again!

Bookwise, the month was okay. I read three books, including the long-anticipated sequel in The Seven Sisters series. While reading, I heard the sad news that Lucinda Riley died. I hope she will always be remembered for the beautiful books she wrote. During this month I tried an audiobook for the first time. I used to think it wouldn’t work for me, but I liked it. I think audiobooks are a great way to read more books. You can listen to the stories on moments when you aren’t able to physically read a book, like on a bike or during household chores.

The Missing Sister (The Seven Sisters, #7) by Lucinda Riley4 stars
In four words: enjoyable, captivating, romantic, mysterious
What I liked: I enjoyed revisiting each of the six sisters. I liked that they all played a role. With the sisters, their found families and a couple of new characters, this book does have a lot of characters. But since we already know most of them, it’s never confusing. I loved how this book, just like the previous parts, is about family. It deals in a beautiful way with themes like the loss of a parent and adoption.
What I disliked: The beginning wasn’t very strong. The plot was also a bit predictable. It would have been nice if the plot twists had surprised me. Yet, I still ended up really liking this book.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen3,5 stars
In four words: slow-paced, humoristic, romantic classic
What I liked: This was my first audiobook and I really enjoyed listening to the narration from Loyal Books. Years ago I started reading Pride and Prejudice, but I never finished it. This time I enjoyed the book much more. I liked the atmosphere and the kind of quiet humour (I’m not sure how else to describe it). But I think it’s the characters that make this story so well-loved and timeless. They are written in such a way that it’s easy to believe the characters were real people. Due to the omniscient point of view we get to sympathize with many of them. I especially like the quick wit of Elizabeth, the gentleness of Jane and the practical character of Charlotte Lucas. By the way, without the podcast Reading Jane Austen I wouldn’t have appreciated the story as much as I did.
What I disliked: The long sentences and the use of words made it sometimes hard to keep up with the story. And the book is at some points a bit too slow-paced for my tastes. Other than that, I liked the book more than I expected.

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende3 stars
In four words: slow-paced, realistic, beautiful, interesting
What I liked: From the first page I immediately recognized the familar writing style of Isabel Allende. It’s also clear that she did a lot of research. The story is based on real events. It shows what it was like to live through the Spanish Civil War and to flee your home. But what I like most about Isabel Allende’s books are the characters. In A Long Petal of the Sea I again found a couple of flawed and strong characters. I really enjoyed reading about Victor and Roser‘s life.
What I disliked: It took some time before I started to care about the story. The beginning was a bit confusing. It jumped from one place or person to another. The characters did grow on me. Yet, I still missed a more emotional connection with the characters.
Trigger warning for torture and war

Six Books On My Summer 2021 TBR

It has been a while since I did a Top Ten Tuesday. This is the weekly meme managed by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today I will share the books I’m going to read this summer. I finally was able to go to the library again. So I borrowed a big pile of books for the following months.

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende
I have this habit of reading a book by Isabel Allende each year. Last year this one was on my TBR, but I haven’t read it yet. This month I will finally get to it. I’m quite sure I will enjoy it just as much as the other books I read from Isabel Allende. A Long Petal of the Sea follows two young people as they flee the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War.

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
After reading Between Shades of Gray two years ago, I was determined to read more books by Ruta Sepetys. So when I found the Dutch edition of this book at my library, I immediately borrowed it. Just like A Long Petal of the Sea, it’s historical fiction about Spain.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
My mother discovered this book in a little free library and gave it to me. Coincidentally I already wanted to read this book! It’s set in seventeenth century Amsterdam. Because I’m Dutch myself, I’m always interested in historical fiction set in the Netherlands.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
After reading The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller I like to read other retellings of the Iliad. I will probably never read the Iliad itself, but I like to learn about Greek history and mythology. The Silence of the Girls is narrated by Briseis and will tell the story of the women during the Trojan War.

The Cat Who Saved Books by Sōsuke Natsukawa
This book is about two of my favourite things: cats and books. I was planning to buy it myself, but I got the book for my birthday. So time to read it! The Cat Who Saved Books is originally written in Japanese. I own the Dutch edition. The English edition of the book will be published in December 2021.

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
I read about this book on multiple book blogs. It did sound interesting, but I wasn’t planning to read it. However, the book caught my eye at the library. I usually love books about magical schools and I enjoyed other books by Naomi Novik. Just like that it ended on my to be read book pile.

Wyrd & Wonder 2021: wrap-up

Thank you Imryl from One More, Lisa of Dear Geek Place and Jorie from Jorie Loves A Story. for hosting Wyrd & Wonder again this year!

I had a great reading month. Because of my vacation during the first two weeks of May I managed to read all books from my TBR! You can read my spoiler-free mini-review of each book from The Bone Witch trilogy below. I also shared my thoughts about each story from the amazing anthology Dragon Bike.

Mini-reviews

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch, #1) by Rin Chupecoreread
In four words: necromantic, detailed, fascinating, slow-paced
What I liked: The world in this book is very well-written. I wish I was able to visit it! The many details and vivid descriptions made it feel real. The same can be said about the characters. Our narrator is Tea (pronounced as Tey-uh). There are two story lines. We get snippets of an older Tea who is exiled. Most of the book contains the story she tells a bard about her life. Tea starts out as a young girl who accidentally raises her brother from his grave. After that she has to leave her home to start her training to learn to control her magic. We slowly find out more about the world and the magic system. Especially interesting are the heart glasses people wear around their neck. The colour can change based on how people feel.
What I disliked: The pacing could be better. I think the writer sometimes pays too much attention to the clothing and the food. This slows down the story. I did get used to the pacing. So the more I read in the book, the fewer it bothered me.
Trigger warning for death

The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch, #2) by Rin Chupeco 4 stars
In four words: intriguing, elaborated, dark fantasy
What I liked: This sequel continues where the first part ended. So it didn’t take long before I again felt totally immersed in the story. We keep switching between past and present events. It’s interesting to see how much Tea changed. For me, one of the most fascinating things about this trilogy is to slowly discover what happened. I also liked to see some side characters getting a bigger role. It was especially nice to read more about Khalad, the Heartforger’s apprentice and about Likh.
What I disliked: Due to the two story lines, there are multiple plots and subplots. It was sometimes hard to keep up with everything that happens in the book. I also thought that some (sub)plots were more interesting than others.
Trigger warnings for death, graphic violence and loss of loved ones

The Shadowglass (The Bone Witch, #3) by Rin Chupeco 4 stars
In four words: complex, satisfying, bittersweet conclusion
What I liked: It was interesting to see everything slowly coming together. For a long time I didn’t know what ending I could expect. As readers we are kept in the dark for quite long. Only in the last fifty pages we get to understand everything. The ending was bittersweet, but it fitted the story. I’m glad the book also has some romance and funny moments. Otherwise this would have been a dark and depressing story.
What I disliked: If I had to, I would have a very hard time summarizing the books from The Bone Witch trilogy. Especially in this last part, a lot happens and there are many people involved. At some points it felt like too much. I think I would have loved this trilogy even more if the plot was less complex.
Trigger warnings for death, war, graphic violence, gore and loss of loved ones

Dragon Bike: Fantastical Stories of Bicycling, Feminism, & Dragons by Elly Blue (editor) 4 stars
This is an anthology with fifteen short stories that each have at least one bicycle and a dragon. My two favourites are Chen d’Angelo and the Chinese-Italian Dragon and Slow Burn, Steady Flame. I also liked most of the others. Here are my thoughts about the stories:
Chen d’Angelo and the Chinese-Italian Dragon by Jennifer Lee Rossman: This amazing story made me smile! It’s about the joy of wondering in a world with barely anything new to discover. I really admired the world the writer managed to create in just a few pages.
Witchcanix by M. Lopes da Silva: I liked the scientific approach of this fantasy story. But just when it got interesting, the story suddenly ended.
The Sound of Home by Monique Cuillerier: Even though the first half of this story was a bit confusing, I enjoyed it. I liked the idea that home can mean a very different place to each person.
What Is a Girl Without a Dragon? by Gretchen Lair: This story made me think of White Oleander. But the tone of this one is more light-hearted. I like that I came to care about the main character in just a few pages.
The Mothers of Pequeño Lago by Kate Macdonald: This is quite an exciting story in which the dragons aren’t friendly. It’s a pity that the ending is a bit rushed.
Bootleg by Alice Pow: I found this story a bit boring. A character creating their own bike could be interesting, but the story wasn’t.
The Dragon’s Lake by Sarena Ulibarri: A nice twist to a classic dragon story. It wasn’t as original as the others, but an enjoyable story.
Storing Treasures by Paul Abbamondi: This is a really cute comic!
‘Til We Meet Again by Joyce Chng: I enjoyed reading about this alternative dragon race. Especially interesting is the idea that dragon racing is not just a sport, but an important cultural tradition.
Beasts of Bataranam by Taru Luojola: I didn’t expect to find this story in the anthology. Unlike the others it’s historical fiction. This story about slaves on a plantation is quite sad, but ends on a hopeful note.
Wyvern by Phil Cowhig: This is a mysterious sci-fi story that slowly unfolds itself. I liked the story, but it was left too open ended for my tastes.
Slow Burn, Steady Flame by J. Rohr: I loved the character arc in this story! It was amazing to see Eleanora taking control over her own life. This was a good story on it’s own, but I would love to read more about her.
Round by J.A. Sabangan: I really enjoyed this heart-warming feel-good story about being yourself.
Bicycle Art by C.G. Beckman: This story reads like a modern fairy-tale. It was enjoyable, but not really “my cup of tea”.
Simple Treasure by J.A. Gross: The idea is interesting, but this story is too short to fully develop it.

Wyrd & Wonder blog posts I liked

Just like every year, I loved to read the fantasy-themed posts on other blogs. The ones I liked the most:
– Sahi @ My World of Books recommended fantasy books with inspiration from around the world
– The bloggers @ The Fantasy Hive made a recommendation post on fantasy voices from around the world
– Line @ First Line Reader shared her favourite historical fantasy books
Siavahda @ Every Book a Doorway made multiple posts for Wyrd & Wonder I love to read, but my favourite is the one where she recommends fantasy standalones
Jess @ Jessticulates discussed the TIME 100 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time and shared her list with novels that are missing

What happened on my blog

Including the one you’re currently reading, I published six posts for Wyrd & Wonder:
Wyrd & Wonder 2021: TBR
Fantasy from Around The World
Fantasy Voices from Around the World
Children’s and YA Fantasy in Translation
Who Should Win the 2021 Hugo Award for Best Short Story

Who Should Win the 2021 Hugo Award for Best Short Story

This is a fantasy-themed post as part of Wyrd & Wonder. If you want to know more, click here!

I discovered short stories through podcasts. Especially LeVar Burton Reads made me fall in love with short stories. So I loved the idea to read all the Short Story Finalists for the 2021 Hugo Awards. I was inspired by this post from Jess @ Jessticulates. Here are the nominated stories and my thoughts about them:

Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse by Rae Carson (Uncanny Magazine, January/February 2020)
As you may expect from a zombie story, this was really exciting. The writer has chosen quite an unusual perspective: our narrator is about to give birth. It’s a great story on its own, but this would also be a good first chapter of a book. I’d love to read more about these characters and the apocalypse world they live in!

A Guide for Working Breeds by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Made to Order: Robots and Revolution, ed. Jonathan Strahan, available from Solaris & Tor.com)
I like stories with a unique formatting. So I appreciated that this story is written as a chat conversation between two robots. It’s supposed to be a funny story, but I actually found it a bit boring. I didn’t care about the characters and the plot also didn’t really interest me. Not because this is a bad story; it just didn’t work for me.

Little Free Library by Naomi Kritzer (Tor.com)
I was immediately drawn to this story, because I love Little Free Libraries. I didn’t expect this to be a fantasy story (I totally forgot that the Hugo Award are only given to fantasy and sci-fi stories…) So the fantasy element took me by surprise. I enjoyed reading this story, but I do think it’s left too open-ended. It felt unfinished. The ending left me with so many questions!

The Mermaid Astronaut by Yoon Ha Lee (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, February 2020)
This is a beautifully written adventure story. The writer was clearly inspired by The Little Mermaid. I never really liked that fairy tale, but I did enjoy reading this story. I especially liked how mermaids, magic and space travelling are all packed in one story. Fantasy and science fiction are perfectly combined.

Metal Like Blood in the Dark by T. Kingfisher (Uncanny Magazine, September/October 2020)
The main characters of this space story are two robots. Although this is quite common in science fiction, it felt weird that there are so few humans. The robots were likable and interesting. I like the idea that they were able to deliberately change their body as well as their “mind”. This was a good story, but it wasn’t really my thing.

Open House on Haunted Hill by John Wiswell (Diabolical Plots – 2020, ed. David Steffen)
This story is told from a unique perspective. The plot and most of the characters aren’t especially noteworthy. It’s the unusual narrator that makes this a remarkable story.

So which short story is the best? Every story has something I like. So I believe all of them would deserve the Hugo Award. My favourites are Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse and The Mermaid Astronaut. If I had to pick one, I would choose The Mermaid Astronaut as best short story. I think Yoon Ha Lee very successfully combined two elements you wouldn’t expect in one story.

Image credits: I used stock images from Pixabay

Wyrd & Wonder: Children’s and YA Fantasy in Translation

Because I am from the Netherlands, I read many books in Dutch. If English is the original language I do choose an English edition. But sometimes a library book isn’t available in English. Then I don’t have a problem with a translated version. I also speak some Spanish and a bit of German, but not good enough to truly enjoy a book in those languages. Especially as child I read a lot of fantasy in translation. So for today’s Wyrd & Wonder prompt I listed five children’s and YA fantasy books that are originally not in English:

The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt (Dutch)
Tonke Dragt is a famous writer in the Netherlands. As child I read many of her books. The Letter for the King was my favourite and is most well-known. It’s an adventurous book about a young boy who has to spend the night silently in a chapel to become a knight the next day. But while waiting, someone knocks at the door and asks for help. I like that the book is translated, so more people can enjoy it. But I never read the translation myself. I like to stick to the original Dutch edition.

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (German)
As child this was also one of my favourite books. I still like to reread the story. It’s about Bastian and a strange book set in Fantastica. This world needs a human to save it. While reading Bastian is able to go into the book. He not only becomes part of the story, but is also able to shape it with his imagination.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (German)
Another amazing children’s book by a German writer, and another book about books. I loved to read about a girl who is a bookworm like me. I also liked that each chapter starts with a bookish quote. Inkheart is the first part of a trilogy, but the other parts aren’t as good as the first book. By the way, the cover of the German edition is beautiful!

City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende (Spanish)
The Dutch edition of this book was in my parent’s bookcase. For some reason the title of the book really appealed to me as child. I also loved the story. It’s about an adventurous grandmother who takes her son on an expedition to the Amazon. When I was older, I read more books written by Isabel Allende. City of the Beasts is still the one I enjoyed the most.

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder (Norwegian)
I read this book when I was sixteen years old. The story explores philosophical questions and really got me thinking. It was basically an introduction in philosophy for me. I assumed that the original language of this book was English. Until I went looking for books I could use for this blog post, I didn’t realize the writer is actually Norwegian.

If you want to know more about Wyrd & Wonder, click here!

Wyrd & Wonder: Fantasy Voices from Around the World

Last week I focused on the setting of books. With the Wyrd & Wonder prompt of this Friday we are going to look at authors from around the world. The books in this post are set in imaginary countries. But the authors who created them often drew inspiration from the place they were born or live in.

I divided this post in two parts: books I read and books I still want to read. Let’s start with three books I would recommend:

Philippines: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
I reread this book last week and I’m currently reading the sequel, The Heart Forger. At the end of the month I will post my thoughts about the books. But I will already share something about this trilogy. It’s not directly based on a certain country. But the asha, a kind of witches, are inspired by Japanese geisha. The main character of the story is a Dark Asha. She is able to raise the dead. Later she also learns to control undead beasts. On Goodreads, Rin Chupeco mentions that the dark asha are reminiscent of the Filipino mangkukulam.

India: The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana
This beautiful story is set in Shalingar, an magical kingdom with its own history and mythology. I loved how Indian folklore and historical references are woven into the story. For example, two mythical creatures from Hindu mythology, a vetala and a makara, play a role.

China: The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
This is a military fantasy set in a fantasy world, but strongly inspired by the Second Sino-Japanese War. That war was a very bloody and dark part of modern Chinese history. So the book also deals with dark topics like torture, rape and genocide. It’s an impressive story that really shows what becomes of characters when they have to fight in a horrific war. The Poppy War is the first part of a trilogy, but I haven’t read the other two books yet.

I also like to share three books that are on my TBR:

Puerto Rico: Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz
A book described as “How to Train Your Dragon meets Quidditch through the Ages” makes me curious!

Singapore: The Black Tides of Heaven by Neon Yang (formerly J. Y. Yang)
This novella caught my attention because of the setting. In the Asian-inspired world children are born without a gender until they choose one. The writer is also non-binary.

Sierra Leone: The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
According to reviews this is a feminist and empowering high fantasy. The book has a West African-inspired setting, but isn’t based on a particular country. I also read there’s an interesting magic system!

If you want to know more about Wyrd & Wonder, click here!

Wyrd & Wonder: Fantasy from Around The World

With today’s Wyrd & Wonder prompt we will travel around the world in fantasy books.

This is a recurring theme on my blog. I love the idea to see the world through books! My ambitious goal is to read a fantasy or science-fiction book for every country in the world. To make it even more challenging, I try to find books written by authors of the same cultural heritage as the setting. The idea originally came from Annemieke @ A Dance With Books. She has named it the SFF Countries project. Read more about it on this page on my blog.

Now let’s start our journey!

Russia: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
The first country we visit is still partly in Europe. Here we find a YA historical fantasy set in a small Russian village in medieval times. The story has an amazing, enchanting atmosphere. I also loved that the writer used Rusian folklore elements in the story.

Malaysia: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
The newest addition to my SFF Countries Project; I read this book last month. It has the perfect balance between historical fiction and fantasy. The story is set in 1893 in Malaya (the historic name of Malaysia before independence). Many historical details are interwoven in the story. It also gives an interesting insight in the Chinese afterlife.

Nigeria: Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
Our next destination is in Africa. This YA book is set in contemporary Nigeria. When the main character learns that she is a Leopard, she discovers a secret magical society. The magic system is inspired by Nigerian folklore. I also loved the idea that someone’s weakness becomes their greatest magical power.

Mexico: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
We move on to Latin America. This historical fantasy book is inspired by Maya mythology, but set in the 1920s. So we get an interesting mix of ancient gods and demons in automobiles and fancy hotels. The book combines amazing world-building with a couple of well-written characters.

Bolivia: Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez
This book is actually set in the imaginative country Inkasisa. However, Inkasisa as well as the plot are based on Bolivian history and politics. That’s why this book deserves a place on this list. The story has an amazing magic system. Some characters are gifted with a kind of magic that comes from the night sky.

My list isn’t very long yet. A couple of books are still on my TBR:
– Congo: Everfair by Nisi Shawl
– Nigeria: David Mogo Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa
– Pakistan: Fire Boy by Sami Shah

I would also love recommendations. Do you know another good fantasy book from around the world? Tell me in the comments! And if want to know more about Wyrd & Wonder, click here!

April 2021 wrap-up

In April it finally started to feel like Spring. It was a bit warmer and I sow a lot of plants for my garden. I also managed to read three books, one of them a five-star read! Here are the mini-reviews for the books I read:

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo5 stars
In four words: intriguing, well-written historical fantasy
What I liked: The book immediately gets to the point. No prologue or long introduction. The story starts at the moment Li Lan is asked if she wants to become a ghost bride. A rich family wants her to marry their son who recently died. This story is fiction, but ghost marriages are a real Chinese practice (although not very common). Li Lan isn’t particularly happy with this proposal. Certainly not when she gets involved in the Chinese afterlife. Interesting enough, an actual Chinese ritual is crucial for the ghosts. Items and money burnt by the living are important resources in the ghost world. I loved how Chinese folklore and details about life in Malaysia during the 19th century are interwoven in the story. This book perfectly balances historical fiction and fantasy. It’s really well-written! The plot is exciting with a couple of unexpected plot twists. The characters made the story complete. I especially liked that many side-characters aren’t who they seem to be.
What I disliked: I can only think of one demerit. At some points Li Lan is a bit passive. Considering the time period the book is set, this makes sense. As an unmarried girl, Li Lan is only allowed to go out of her house accompanied by a chaperon. She is expected to marry the man her father chooses for her. So I can imagine Li Lan isn’t used to taking matters in her own hands.

Pharaoh (Kleopatra, #2) by Karen Essex4 stars
In four words: well-written, realistic, interesting, enlightening
What I liked: This sequel starts where the first part ended. Kleopatra is about to meet Julius Caesar. Since this duology is based on the life of the real Kleopatra, it’s not a spoiler when I tell that she becomes his mistress. The relationship between Kleopatra and Caesar is interesting. Both are powerful people in their own way. So there is a political motive, but they also seem to actually care about each other. I loved the way Kleopatra is portrayed in this book. She is an intriguing, cunning and intelligent woman, but also has her insecurities. I totally rooted for her! That’s why I felt a lot more engaged with the story than in the first part. Although this story is fiction, big parts of the story resemble history. I loved to get this inside in the life of Kleopatra!
What I disliked: I felt that some descriptions were a bit too long. At some points I lost my attention while reading. But this was me, and not really a problem in the story.
Trigger warnings for murder, graphic violence and suicide

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller4 stars
In four words: beautiful, emotional, well-written retelling
What I liked: This book is a beautiful retelling of the Iliad. I never read the original story, but this wasn’t a disadvantage. The plot is easy to follow and I never felt the need for background information. So I think this book is a great way to learn more about Greek mythology! The book is told from the perspective of Patroclus. He is kind, soft-hearted and easy to like as character. I loved how the relation between Achilles and Patroclus slowly develops. It was delightful to read how deeply they love each other. This book is more than a love story, but the romance was my favourite part of the book.
What I disliked: I think this book is almost flawless. The reasons why I didn’t give all the stars are mostly personal and not a fault of the writer. One reason is that I liked Patroclus and Achilles, but I didn’t really love them. I also felt a bit disappointed with the characters at the end. Their behaviour seemed uncharacteristic and I wished they would have made better choices.
Trigger warnings for war, murder and graphic violence

Wyrd & Wonder 2021: TBR

This will be my third year of Wyrd & Wonder! During May I’m going to celebrate all things fantasy: from book and movies to podcasts. Wyrd & Wonder is a challenge hosted by Imryl from One More, Lisa of Dear Geek Place and Jorie from Jorie Loves A Story.

There’s a list of prompts we can use. I especially like that we are challenged to focus on fantasy from around the world! You can definitively expect a post from me about fantasy inspired by non-European cultures. I also have some reading goals. Here are the books I hope to read:

The Bone Witch trilogy by Rin Chupeco
I read the first part two years ago. In my opinion the pacing was a bit too slow, but the world building was amazing. Wyrd & Wonder seemed a good opportunity to continue the trilogy. I already have The Heart Forger at home. If I like it I will also buy The Shadowglass.

Dragon Bike: Fantastical Stories of Bicycling, Feminism, & Dragons edited by Elly Blue
Bikes in Space is a short story collection about feminism and bicycles. The idea to combine these things in a story is really creative and original. So I was immediately curious when I heard about the Bike in Spaces series! Most books in the series are science fiction, but the book I’m going to read this month is of course fantasy.