March 2020 wrap-up

Just like a lot of other people, my month didn’t go as planned. COVID-19 spoiled many of my plans and made me feel anxious and confused. But I am glad me and my family are healthy. At some points I totally wasn’t in the mind-set to read. There were also days when books were a great way to escape the real world for a while. I managed to read five books in March. The Shadow Sister was one of them, but I already included that one in my Pondathon wrap-up. Here are my thoughts about the other books I read.

The Pearl Sister - Lucinda RileyThe Pearl Sister (The Seven Sisters, #4) by Lucinda Riley4 stars
The fourth parts tells CeCe’s story. She was an important side character in the previous book, so we already know her a little. CeCe still is different than I expected. She isn’t as confident as she appears. Because I sometimes feel insecure too, it was easy to connect to CeCe. I also liked the fact that she has dyslexia. In real life I know quite a lot of people with dyslexia, but there are few book characters that have it. CeCe’s story starts where the previous book ended. With nothing left to loose, she goes to Australia to discover her roots. On her journey, CeCe hears about the Scottish Kitty who lived hundred years earlier. As companion of a rich woman she travelled to Australia. What was meant to be a temporary stay, became Kitty’s new home. I love that The Seven Sisters take me all over the world! I didn’t know a lot about the history of Australia. So it was very interesting to learn about the culture of the Aboriginals. I admire all the research Lucinda Riley did for her books. All stories are based on facts and she often included characters that really lived at that time. As usual, I am looking forward to the next part!

The Testaments - Margaret AtwoodThe Testaments (The Handmaid’s Tale, #2) by Margaret Atwood4 stars
When I first heard that there was a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, I thought it was unnecessary. I decided to still give it a try after someone recommended it to me. The story is set around the same time as The Handmaid’s Tale. There are three characters who tell their story: an older Aunt who experienced the foundation of Gilead, a young girl who grew up in Gilead and a girl living in Canada. The different perspectives give interesting insides in how Gilead was founded and its position in the world. When comparing The Handmaid’s Tale to The Testaments, the books are very different. The Handmaid’s Tale has an oppressing and grim atmosphere. The Testaments is more hopeful and rather driven by the plot than the characters. Both books are good in their own way, but I think The Handmaid’s Tale had more impact. It left me with a small book hangover, while The Testaments was ‘just’ a good and exciting story. In the end the sequel was indeed not absolutely necessary, but I do think it’s an interesting addition to the story.

The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy, #1) by Katherine Arden  – 4 stars
The Bear and the Nightingale - Katherine ArdenThe book has a slow start, but gradually a good story unfolds. It’s set in a fantasy version of medieval Russia. Our main character Vasya lives in a small village where it’s almost always winter. Around the fire people tell each other stories about demons that claim unwary souls. Vasya knows these stories aren’t just fairy tales, because she can see the spirits. She gets friends with a domovoi, the household spirit, and a vazila, the spirit of the stables. It was easy to like Vasya. She is courageous and loyal and I also liked her connection with nature. I love the fact that the whole story is based on Russian history and folklore. It’s clear that the writer did a lot of research and knows a lot about Russia. A drawback for me was the plot. It’s basically a fight between good and evil and the plot twist didn’t really surprise me. But the atmospheric setting and Vasya herself made this book worth reading.

The White Mare - Jules WatsonThe White Mare (Dalriada Trilogy, #1) by Jules Watson  – 3,5 stars
Trigger warnings for rape and graphic violence.
I found this big book coincidentally between my mother’s books. The story is set in Scotland at the time of the Roman invasion. Of course I learned about the Romans in history class, but they were almost always the heroes. It’s interesting that this story gives me a different perspective. Yet, the start of the story is quite slow and the writing style was sometimes a bit too dramatic. That’s why I almost gave up on The White Mare. The interesting setting and eventually the characters kept me reading. Our main characters are the Scottish princess and priestess Rhiann and the Irish prince Eremon. They are prepared to do anything to prevent the Romans from conquering their land. It did take some time before I came to like the characters. But Rhiann and Eremon grew on me. After a few hundred pages the story got more exciting. In the end I do think it’s a good story. I even consider reading the sequel.

Top five historical fantasy

This post was inspired by Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme managed by That Artsy Reader Girl. The topic of this week is ‘Genre Freebie’. I decided to go for historical fantasy, because it’s a mix of two of my favourite genres. The books are also a great way to temporarily escape this upsetting time. While writing this post, I noticed that I actually haven’t read a lot of books in this subgenre. I definitively want to change that. Here are my favourite historical fantasy books so far:

Top five historical fantasy

1. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
The topic of this blog post was inspired by this book. Today I finished reading it, and I loved the setting: a fantasy version of medieval Russia. The writer used her own characters next to persons who actually lived at the time. She also included many creatures from Russian folklore. For example a domovoi, a household spirit who is believed to protect the house and his inhabitants.

2. Timekeeper by Tara Sim
This story is set in a version of London in 1875 where a damaged clock can fracture time. If a clock isn’t repaired on time, the time in a town just stops working. This is a very original story that also has an adorable romance between two boys.

3. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
This book could also be labelled steampunk or dieselpunk. It’s set in alternative version of the First World War. Austria-Hungary and Germany are called the clankers and use steam-powered war machines. The Darwinists, made up by the United Kingdom, France and Russia, have fabricated beasts. The story alternates between the English Deryn and Prince Aleksander from Austria-Hungary. I know many stories set during the Second World War, so it was interesting to read one about the more unknown First World War.

4. Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno Garcia
The setting of this book is well-chosen by the Mexican writer: 1920s Mexico mixed with some Mayan mythology. This means there are ancient gods and demons, but also automobiles and fancy hotels. The result is a very interesting world.

5. The Dollmaker of Krakow by R.M. Romero
This is a children’s book set during the Second World War. The writer actually added just one fantasy element: a living doll named Karolina. A magical wind brought her from the Land of Dolls in the hands of a dollmaker in Krakow. She makes all the difference, because she is like a little light in this beautiful story about a horrible time in history.

O.W.L.s Readathon 2020: TBR

Last year I loved to participate in the Magical Readathon organized by G from Book Roast on YouTube! This readathon consists of two parts: the O.W.L.s and the N.E.W.T.s. Hogwarts students in Harry Potter take the O.W.L.s in their fifth year and the N.E.W.T.s in their sixth year. We take the O.W.L.s in April and the N.E.W.T.s in August. I was immediately excited when I saw the announcement for this year. Of course there are new reading prompts. Just like last year you can choose a career. There are also new careers available! This time I would like to become

Librarian  OR  Trader of Magical Tomes

Librarion - Magical Readahton Trader of Magical Tomes - Magical Readathon
Click on the images to read the whole Wizarding Careers Guide made by G from Book Roast.

Which career I am going to choose depends on how many books I will be able to read. To become a Librarian I have to get five O.W.L.s, but to become a Trader of Magical Tomes I need only four O.W.L.s. I am going to try to read books for all subjects. So I can still choose what suits me best when I take the N.E.W.T.s in August. Here are the books I want to read in April for each prompt:

O.W.L.s Readathon 2020 TBR part 1

Ancient Runes – Heart rune: heart on the cover or in the title: Tash Heart Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
After buying it a few months ago, this book is still on my TBR-pile. This prompt is the perfect opportunity to finally read it. It’s about Natasha, “Tash”, who is a huge fan of Anna Karenina. She made a modern adaptation of the story. After a shout-out from a popular vlogger, her show goes viral. Next to this pressure, Tash also has to figure out how to tell her crush that she is asexual.

Charms – Lumos Maxima: white cover: In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende
The Dutch edition fits the prompt with its white cover. This is the ninth book by Isabel Allende I will read. She writes beautiful and I always like her stories. I try to read at least one of her books every year.

History of Magic – Witch hunts: book featuring witches/wizards: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
I read this book four years ago and really loved it. I wanted to read the sequel, but still haven’t. By now I don’t remember a lot about the first part and I don’t even know if I still love it. So it’s time for a re-read! I actually love to re-read books, but there are so many new books to read that it’s hard to find time for it.

O.W.L.s Readathon 2020 TBR part 2

Transfiguration – Animagus lecture: books/series that include shapeshifting: Soulless by Gail Carriger
I would like to read more steampunk, because I love the fact that steampunk is basically a mix of my favourite genres: fantasy, science fiction and historical fiction. I put this book on my TBR-list in SciFiMonth, and now I finally ordered it. According to the description one of the characters is a werewolf, so it suits the prompt. I really hope I will love it!

Arithmancy – Magical qualities of number 2: balance/opposites – read something outside your favourite genre: Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood
Since fantasy and science-fiction are my favourite genres, I choose a contemporary novel for this prompt. I am currently reading The Testaments by the same author. She writes well, so I’d like to read more of her books.

Defence Against the Dark Arts – Grindylows: book set at the sea/coast: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
The main character of this book is violinist who turns out to be a time traveller. When done well, I think time travelling in books can be really interesting. At least a part of this book is set at sea, so it also fits the prompt.

Another plan for this spring will be to participate in Wyrd & Wonder in May. More about this in a few weeks! Because this post is a spring TBR, I tag along with Top Ten Tuesday. This weekly meme is managed by That Artsy Reader Girl. What are your spring reading plans? Tell me in the comments!

Women’s History Book Tag

I found this tag on ZeZee with Books and really love it! The Women’s History Book Tag is created by Margaret at Weird Zeal. History has always been one of my favourite subjects in high school. I still love to learn about history, especially about women. Learning and reading historical women is also a great way to celebrate Women’s History Month!

Rules:

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post.
  • Link to the creator’s blog in your post
  • Answer the questions below using only books written by women
  • Feel free to use the same graphics
  • Tag 8 others to take part in the tag

 

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder - Marissa Meyer

It was hard to choose just one. The four main characters in the Lunar Chronicles are all strong girls who don’t do what they are thought.

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

This Mortal Coil - Emily Suvada

Catarina lives in a future when people are able to recode their DNA and change their bodies. She is the daughter of a legendary geneticist and a talented hacker herself. Her father may be the last hope to defeat a terrible plague that causes people to literally explode in toxic clouds. The problem is that Cat’s father was kidnapped by a shadowy organization…

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

The Bone Witch - Rin Chupeco

When Tea finds out that she can raise the dead, she has to learn how to handle this gift. In her world having magical powers is common, but necromancy is quite rare. Bone witches are feared for the power they have. But they are the only ones who can defeat  demons that come back to life every so many years. The world in this book is fascinating! Although the pacing is a bit slow, the world-building is great.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer - Laini Taylor

This tag wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Laini Taylor. Her writing feels just as magical as the things she writes about. It’s poetic and dreamy and just perfect!

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

The Poppy War - R.F. Kuang

It’s a surprise for every one when Rin, a poor war orphan, passes the test to get into the most elite military school in Nikan. She worked hard for it and is prepared to do anything to succeed. Next to fighting skills, Rin also has to learn to control her shamanic powers. She is an incredibly strong, ambitious and well-developed character.

An honourable mention for Mia from Nevernight. Since one of the rules of this tag is to only use books written by women, I actually couldn’t use this book by Jay Kristoff. But I do want to mention this fierce female murderer.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet - Becky Chambers

This is a feel-good book with amazing characters! It’s about a crew of a spaceship with five humans and four non-human characters. It was interesting to read about the alien cultures. Due to the details that Becky Chambers integrated in the story, all the characters felt so real! I truly loved every one of them.

On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

On the Edge of Gone - Corinne Duyvis

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… It is an exciting and realistic story with a good plot. But what makes the book really special is the narrator. Denise is a biracial girl who has autism (just like the writer). This was an interesting point of view I don’t see often in books.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I'll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson

The chapters of this book alternate between twins. Noah tells the reader about his life when he and his sister are thirteen years old. Jude’s story is set three years later. The story is beautifully written and the characters grew on me.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart a Doorway

I usually don’t pay much attention to book awards. So I just found out that this book won  the Hugo and Nebula award in 2017. It totally deserved this! The premise of the story is so unique: What happened to children that came back from magical lands? Every Heart a Doorway has a diverse cast of children that can’t find their way back to their own fantasy world. They are all welcome in Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

Helen Keller

Helen Keller (1880 – 1968)

Of course there are many women to choose from, but I like to mention Helen Keller. She was deaf and blind, but she never let that stop her from earning a Bachelor of Arts degree, traveling the world and writing books. Helen coudn’t do this without her teacher and lifelong companion Anne Sullivan.

Pondathon wrap-up

In February I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Pondathon! This amazing readathon was organized by The Quiet Pond. I read five books and took part in a couple of side quests to help protect the Pond. With Bastet, my own Pondathon character, I managed to get two quest rewards. The first one is the Mark of the Brave for protecting Xialong. I achieved Recipe for Compassion by helping Cuddle.

Character card Bastet with quest rewards - Pondathon

As expected, I deviated a little from my Pondathon TBR-list. From the five books I read, three were on my TBR. I still want to read The Bear and the Nightingale and Tash Hearts Tolstoy. Mabye I will get to them in March. Here are my thoughts about the books I read for the Pondathon.

The Snow Child - Eowyn IveyThe Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey3,5 stars
Jack and Mabel’s dream of having a child never came true. Living in Alaska is also not what they hoped for. Both feel lonely and disappointed in their life. After hundred pages I didn’t know if I wanted to continue such a sad book. But the appearance of the snow child is a little light in the dark and cold winter nights. From that point onwards the story is more hopeful, but still made me feel a bit gloomy. Jack and Mabel and their relationship made this book worth reading. First I mainly pitied them. The couple is in a different life phase than I am and initially I couldn’t really connect with them. Yet I came to care about Jack and Mabel. It was interesting to read how their relationship develops. I did hope the story would have more magic. It’s limited to a few moments and in strong contrast with the hard reality found in the rest of the book.

Lilac Girls - Martha Hall KellyLilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly3 stars
My mother’s boyfriend lent me this book and praised the story. It’s always interesting to read stories set during the Second World War. Most of them are based on real persons and events. Lilac girls too. The book has three main characters: the American Caroline who works at the French consulate, the Polish teenager Kasia and the German doctor Herta. Ravensbrück, a concentration camp for women, is what connects the characters. Kassia was my favourite character. I could easily sympathize with her and I was shocked by the things she went through in Ravensbrück. Herta’s chapters were interesting to read. Although I wouldn’t have missed them if the writer had left them out. Initially Caroline’s story was a bit boring. I didn’t understand why it was relevant. It took a long time before the three story lines finally came together. Usually I like books with multiple perspectives. In this case I wasn’t sure if all the perspectives were really necessary. I think Lilac Girls has a good story, but it could have been better told.

This Cruel Design - Emily SuvadaThis Cruel Design (This Mortal Coil, #2) by Emily Suvada4 stars
This sequel is exactly what I hoped for after reading the first part! It is just as fast-paced and thrilling as the previous book. So much is at stake in this story. Not just a couple of characters, but the whole world. It’s amazing that the plot still kept surprising me. Things we learned in the first book appear to be very different… We see unexpected sides of the characters and are introduced to some new ones. Most interesting is the character development of Catarina. Next to saving the world and fighting to stay alive, she is struggling with her identity. And that ending! I really don’t know how this will end for the characters. The third part was published last month. I can’t wait till I can borrow it at the library!

A Mercy - Toni MorrisonA Mercy by Toni Morrison3 stars
For black history month I wanted to read a book by this famous writer. Since she died last year Toni Morrison was on my TBR-list. It’s said that she writes beautiful and she was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Literature. This story indeed reads like poetry. Which also means that it sometimes is a bit incoherent. Each chapter is told from a different perspective. The story starts when the Dutch trader Jacob Vaark takes a small slave girl in part payment for a bad debt from a plantation owner. Next to Florens, we also read about the other women in Jacob’s house: an older servant, another girl and Jacob’s wife. The book was interesting to read, because each character tells their own part of the story. The different perspectives did make it a little hard to connect to the characters. Despite not giving it more stars, I do think it was a good book. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped.

The Shadow Sister - Lucinda RileyThe Shadow Sister (The Seven Sisters, #3) by Lucinda Riley4 stars
This third part is about Star. She has always been a quiet girl who let her sister CeCe speak for her. Just like her sisters, things also change for Star after Pa Salt dies. Her father’s clues lead her to an old bookshop with a curious owner. Of course I loved this bookshop just as much as Star! Her past has something to do with the English Flora who lived hundred years ago. She was an independent girl with a passion for nature and drawing. Flora’s quiet life at the countryside came to an end when she had to move to London. I could easily connect with both characters. Just like Star I am introvert and I share her love for books. Similar to Flora I love animals and I appreciated the fact that she is a vegetarian, just like me. The Shadow Sister is my favourite part of the series (so far). I already have The Pearl Sister at home, so that will be the next book I am going to read!

My Life in Books Tag

Time for a book tag! As far as I know, Hannah from One World, Too Many Pages was the first who did this tag. Here are my answers to the questions.

1. Find a book for each of your initials
Books for my initials
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
The Valley of Horses by Jean M. Auel
My initials are ASV. It was easy to find a book for the A and S, but the V was a bit harder.

2. Count your age along your bookshelf: What book is it?
My books are sorted on colour, from red to black. The 25th book is a green book, Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire.

3. Pick a book set in your city/country
Last December I made a post about three books set in the Netherlands.

4. Pick a book that represents a destination you’d love to travel to
Books set in Greece
I have plans to go on vacation to Greece with my boyfriend this summer!

5. Pick a book that’s your favorite color
Yellow books

6. Which book do you have the fondest memories of?
Harry Potter! I have read the books so many times. The characters feel very real to me. By now the story actually transcends the books. As child I loved to play Harry Potter video games and last year I participated in two Harry Potter-themed readathons.

7. Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?
The last book I remember is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. The fact that many characters share the same name, made this story quite difficult to read.

8. Which book in your TBR pile will give you the biggest accomplishment when you finish it?
It is not on my actual TBR pile yet, but I’d love to finish Darkdawn. It’s the end of The Nevernight Chronicle by Jay Kristoff. I’m always a bit proud when I finish book series.

Three quotes about love for Valentine’s Day

Usually Valentine’s Day isn’t special for me. I think you can show your love for people on every day of the year. You don’t have to wait till the 14th of February. At the same time I like that there is a day dedicated to telling people that you love them. So I decided to join this Top Ten Tuesday, the weekly meme managed by That Artsy Reader Girl. This time we are free to choose our own topic as long as it has something to do with love. Last February I already made a post about my favourite couples in books. Today I will share my favourite quotes about love.

Strange the Dreamer - Laini Taylor

“I think you’re a fairy tale. I think you’re magical, and brave, and exquisite. And . . .” His voice grew bashful. Only in a dream could he be so bold and speak such words. “I hope you’ll let me be in your story.”
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Of course I had to include a quote from my favourite writer. Especially the last sentence is wonderful. It really shows how much changes when you get in a new relationship. Someone becomes part of your story, will influence your life and your future. It’s truly beautiful that Lazlo asks Sarai if she wants him in her story!

 

Cress - Marissa Meyer“Maybe there isn’t such a thing as fate. Maybe it’s just the opportunities we’re given, and what we do with them. I’m beginning to think that maybe great, epic romances don’t just happen. We have to make them ourselves.”
Cress by Marissa Meyer

This quote is so true. Falling in love is easy, but both have to put effort in a relationship to make it work. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be epic. I think a good relationship means overcoming obstacles and holding on to each other.

 

Blue-Eyed Devil - Lisa Kleypas“I no longer believed in the idea of soul mates, or love at first sight. But I was beginning to believe that a very few times in your life, if you were lucky, you might meet someone who was exactly right for you. Not because he was perfect, or because you were, but because your combined flaws were arranged in a way that allowed two separate beings to hinge together.”
Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas

I haven’t read this book, but I love this quote. This is exactly how I think about love. I don’t believe in soul mates or destiny. But I have felt a special connection with people I barely knew.

What is your favourite quote about love? Tell me in the comments!

Five books I hope to give 5 stars

This post was inspired by Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme managed by That Artsy Reader Girl. The topic of this week is ‘Books I predict will be 5-star reads.’ I usually know I’m going to like a book, but it has to be really good to get 5 stars. A story that gives me teary eyes, strong female characters and a unique fantasy world are definitively plus points. Although the number of stars really is more a feeling than math. So it’s quite hard to predict if a book will be my next 5-star read. But there are always book I expect to really love. You can never be sure, but I hope to give these books on my TBR 5 stars:

Five books I hope to give 5 stars

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
A fantasy book sets in a magical library seems perfect for me! Many book bloggers put this book on their top ten of 2019. So there is a big chance this book will also be one of my next favourites!

Ruse by Cindy Pon
Want was amazing! I’m quite sure the sequel will be just as good. I was planning to read Ruse immediately after finishing Want. But I could only buy a hardcover, and I wanted a matching paperback. Sadly the paperback of Ruse will only be published in May…

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
In my review I wrote that I almost gave Aurora Rising five stars. I’m looking forward to the sequel. I really want Aurora Burning to be a five-star read! I hope for a more comprehensive plot and some interesting character development.

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers
After reading the Wayfarers trilogy, Becky Chambers became one of my favourite writers! To Be Taught, If Fortunate is her only book I haven’t read yet. I’m quite sure I will like the book. It may even be a new favourite!

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
Between Shades of Gray was a beautiful book that really touched me! I’m definitively going to read more books by Ruta Sepetys. Especially The Fountains of Silence appeals to me, because I’m interested in Spanish history.

Have you already read one of these books? Did it meet your expectations? Tell me in the comments!

January 2020 wrap-up

I started the year good by reading four books. I may read a fifth book during the last week of January. No five-star read yet, but Record of a Spaceborn Few was my favourite book of the month. Here are my thoughts about the books I read:

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton4 stars
The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - Stuart TurtonIt took some time to get into this story, but after that, it blew my mind. As you may suspect from the title, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed. The day of her death repeats itself until the protagonist solves her murder. Despite this repetition, the story gets more interesting and complex after every day. Because the protagonist each morning awakes in the body of another person. I must admit that I was a bit disappointed that none of them were women. But I loved how this story is much more than an interesting murder mystery. There are so many other questions to be answered. Questions about the identity of the protagonist, about the reliability of any of the other characters and how they ended up in this strange time loop, to name just a few. The book kept surprising me, because everything continued to be different than I expected. The ending left me confused, but also in awe with the amazing plot.

My Sister, the Serial Killer - Oyinkan BraithwaiteMy Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite3,5 stars
The cover and the title of this book are striking. I think the content is more modest. It’s not particularly exciting or funny, yet a captivating story that kept me reading. Central in the story is the relationship between the narator Korede and her sister Ayoola. Ayoola has a habit of killing her boyfriends. After that she calls Korede to clean up the mess. I’m not sure what to think about the characters. I didn’t really like them, but they were interesting to read about. Ayoola doesn’t feel remorse for the people she killed. That could make her the villain of the book. But Korede doesn’t see her sister in that way, so as reader I couldn’t see her as a bad person either. Korede’s feelings are complicated. She doesn’t approve of her sister’s actions. At the same time she doesn’t feel too bad for the men that were killed. She never even thinks about going to the police. So the characters are well-written, but I did hope to see more character development.

Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers, #3) by Becky Chambers  – 4 stars
Record of a Spaceborn Few - Becky ChambersI admire Becky Chambers for writing three books that are very different, but still form a good trilogy. The first part, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, was an amazing book that made me feel really happy and relaxed. So my expectations for Record of a Spaceborn Few were high. Again the story has multiple points of view. We follow the daily life of some people on the Exodus Fleet. Each of the characters gives interesting insights about life on the Fleet. The many details make this world feel very realistic! A drawback was the lack of a clear plot. This would not have bothered me if I’d loved the characters. They did grow on me, but it took time. Some of the characters feel lost and unsure at the start of the book. I was a bit taken aback when I didn’t immediately saw the affection between the characters I loved in the first book. But I was glad to discover that those gentle moments also were there in Record of a Spaceborn Few, especially at the end. Even though the book didn’t entirely met my expectations, it was a good story. I would love to re-read it, and see if I’ll love it more now I know what to expect from it.

The Storm Sister - Lucinda RileyThe Storm Sister (The Seven Sisters, #2) by Lucinda Riley4 stars
This is the story of the second sister, Ally. It starts just before the death of Pa Salt. The first chapters of the book overlap with the first book, but it was interesting to read everything from a different perspective. Ally also has her reasons to find out more about her origins. It brings her to Norway. There she learns the story of Anna Landvik, a talented singer who lived in the 19th century. Again this book has a couple of strong, well-developed female characters. I liked to get to know Ally and Anna and to see how they changed throughout the story. I do think the first book was slightly better. The plot of The Storm Sister was a bit predictable at some points. And personally I like Maya more as character. But I really enjoyed reading Ally’s story and I am definitively continuing the series!

Pondathon: sign-up & TBR

The Quiet Pond is an amazing book blog with the most beautiful art, good book recommendations and multiple readathons! From January 24th to March 7th 2020 they organize the Pondathon. I totally encourage you to read the whole story set at the Pond: Something’s Wrong… & It’s Time to Protect and Fight.

I love how original and creative this readathon is! In short you can collect points by reading books in order to help the characters from the story. All the participants work together, but you must join one of the five teams: Team Xiaolong, Team Varian, Team Gen, Team Sprout or Team Cuddle. Each team has a different way to earn points. I am going to join Team Varian!

Team Varian banner - Pondathon

In this team we are challenged to read books of different genres. I will get 35 points for every book I read that is a different genre to the last book I read. Every time I read three books of a different genre in a row I get 20 extra points.

On The Quiet Pond you can also find all the resources to make your own Pond character. Of course mine is a cat! She is named after a goddess of ancient Egyptian religion that was often depicted as a cat. Meet Bastet:

Character card Bastet for the Pondathon

Pondathon TBR

I hope to read at least five books for the Pondathon. It wasn’t hard to find books of different genres. I always like to alternate between genres. As usual, this TBR is not fixed. It’s totally possible I will find other books along the way.

Pondathon TBR

This Cruel Design (This Mortal Coil, #2) by Emily Suvada (science-fiction)
This trilogy is set in a future when people are able to recode their DNA and change their bodies. It’s an interesting idea that was well executed. The first part ended with a huge cliff-hanger, so I am looking forward to reading the sequel!

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (magical realism)
This is a perfect read for the winter. The story is set in Alaska during 1920. The childless couple Jack and Mabel are drifting apart. During the first snowfall they are in a whimsical mood and make a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone, but they do glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

A Mercy by Toni Morrison (historical fiction)
February is black history month in the United States. I don’t live there, but I do want to read more historical fiction by writers of colour. Toni Morrison is famous for her beautiful writing style. I’d love to read one of her books next month!

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (fantasy)
This book is described as a fairy-tale for adults set in medieval Russia.  Just like The Snow Child it seems like a good book to read when it’s cold.

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee (contemporary)
I found this book last year in a second-hand bookshop. It’s seems an interseting book after reading Anna Karenina myself. Natasha, “Tash”, is a big fan of the book and made a modern adaptation of the story. After a shout-out from a popular vlogger, her show goes viral. Next to this pressure, Tash also has to figure out how to tell her crush that she is asexual.