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!

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.