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!

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!

2019 in books & my top seven of the year

It’s the last day of the year, so time to look back. 2019 was a good year for me! Two amazing things happened: I got a new job and I found a lovely boyfriend! I also read more books in a year than I ever did. Just like last year, I will share my reading statistics and my favourite books.

  • I managed to read 80 books! My goal was one book a week, but I exceeded my own expectations. Reading challenges like Wyrd & Wonder, the Magical Readathon and the Hogwarts House Battle definitively helped.
  • 63 books were written by female writers, 15 books by male writers and 2 books were written by both.
  • I read a total of 29871 pages. On average a book had 373 pages. The biggest book was Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb with 912 pages. The shortest book was Memento by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff with 82 pages.

Pages read

  • The nationalities of the authors are pretty diverse, they came from 20 different countries. 14 of them are people of colour. Some of the writers were born in another country and later came to the United States. I decided to make apart categories for them.

Nationalities

  • 14 books have a main character of colour and 6 of them have main characters that fall in the LGBQIA-spectrum.
  • I read more different genres than last year. Most books were still fantasy, but I also read quite a lot of science fiction and more contemporary than I expected.

Genres

  • I read 36 YA books and 6 middle grade books, the other 40 book were adult fiction.
  • Most books I read were published between 2000 and 2019. 11 books were published before 2000 and 7 books were published in 2019.
  • 5 books were re-reads:

Every Heart a Doorway The Glass Sentence The Girl at Midnight Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling

Favourite books of 2019

And now we finally arrive at my top seven of the year. Linking up with the weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday, here are my favourites!

Top 7 of 2019

1. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
This is the ultimate comfort read! It’s about a crew of a spaceship with five humans and four non-human characters. I truly admire how well the characters were written. Due to the details that the writer integrated in the story, all of them felt so real! Although the book does have a good plot, it isn’t very important. It’s a character-driven story that emphasises love and friendship. Because this book made me so happy, it was one of my favourites of the year!

2. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
This story left me with a serious book hangover, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The book starts at the terrible night in 1941 when the Lithuanian Lina and her family are taken away from their home. Soviet officers force them onto a crowded train. That’s only the beginning of a long journey… This story is so well-written! The theme is heavy, but I kept turning the pages. The book gave me many feelings and kind of broke my heart, and that’s why it’s an incredible story!

3. Want by Cindy Pon
I was looking forward to this book since the beginning of the year. It did not disappoint! It’s set in a futuristic Taiwan where the air is seriously polluted. The rich wear special suits that protect them from getting ill, the rest is doomed to die young. A couple of amazing characters want to change this.

4. On the Edge of Gone by 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.

5. The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews
Before reading this book I already knew C.G. Drews from her blog Paper Fury. I love her blog, so I really wanted to like her book too. Fortunately I did! It’s a beautiful story about two brothers, Sam and Avery. They dream of having their own home, but for now they only have a house until the inhabitants come back. One night Sam accidentally steals a house that is not empty. But there are so many children, that no one notices him. In the house of the De Lainey family there is love, hope and a lot of delicious food. I loved to be there with Sam! But the longer he stays, the bigger the chance they find out who Sam really is.

6. Tilly and the Bookwanderers by Anne James
Even before reading I knew I was going to love Tilly and the Bookwanderers. It’s about a girl who lives in a bookshop with her grandparents. One day a character from the book she’s reading appears in the shop. That’s basically the dream of every book worm!

7. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
This book sounded like the average dystopia story. Cia is chosen as a Testing candidate. Passing means a college education and possibly a leading role in rebuilding the country. But what happens to the people who fail? And who can Cia trust? I found this book at my library and didn’t expect a lot from it. In the end I loved it and read the whole trilogy. The story is fast-paced, set in an interesting world and has a couple of great characters. Especially the main character makes The Testing stand out as a dystopia. She is one of the most realistic heroines I read about.

Winter TBR: Books I haven’t got around to in 2019

There are a couple of books I wanted to read in 2019. But I didn’t get to them on time. So I hope to read these books during January and February next year. Even though I don’t always stick to TBR-lists, I like to make them. So here is my winter TBR. This post was inspired by this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme managed by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Books I haven't got around to in 2019 part 1

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
I wanted to read this book for The Literary Grand Tour of the World. There is still some time left to complete the challenge, but I probably won’t read it this year. Main characters of the story are the Nigerian Ayoola and Korede. Ayoola has a habit of dispatching her boyfriends. Korede should go to the police to report her sister. But she loves her and family comes first. Until Ayoola starts dating a man Korede has long been in love with…

Tash hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
I found this book in a second-hand bookshop. It caught my eye, because I read Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy this year. 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.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Another book I found in second-hand bookstore. I heard many good things about this story and the title is so intriguing. So I decided to buy it. During a celebration Evelyn dies. But she will keep dying until Aiden can solve her murder. Each time the day begins again, he wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping…

Books I haven't got around to in 2019 part 2

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
This book seems like the perfect read on a cold winter day. According to the reviews it is a beautiful story that mixes historical fiction and magical realism. It’s set in 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.

The Storm Sister (The Seven Sisters, #2) by Lucinda Riley
This month I read The Seven Sisters. Now I totally get the hype. The series is about six sisters who come together at their childhood home after their father died. Pa Salt adopted them when they were babies. All sisters get a letter and are given a clue to their true heritage. I feel like this series has it all: mystery, historical fiction and romance. I really want to continue reading!

Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Legacy of Orïsha, #2) – Tomi Adeyemi
This sequel would originally be published in March, but the date changed to December. According to Goodreads the book now is published, but I haven’t heard anything about it in the book blog community. Since I loved Children of Blood and Bone, I’d like to read it next year.

Should I continue these ten book series?

With so many new books published every day, it’s hard to withstand the temptation to start new series. But I already started so many series without finishing them… In some cases I didn’t like the first book enough to continue.  Yet, often I own the first book and I liked to read it. But for some reason I never continued. I got distracted by other books or I realized the series is huge. I do like book series. It gives me the opportunity to really get to know characters. It’s also interesting to see the character development. Enough reasons to keep reading after enjoying the first book. But which book series are worth continuing? This will be my topic for this Top Ten Tuesday, the weekly meme managed by That Artsy Reader Girl.

1. The Great Library series by Rachel Caine – 5 books, so far

The Great Library Series - Rachel CaineInk and Bone was so good! Only the number of books in the series put me off. It will cost me some time and money to read them all. But the fact that these books are about books, makes it already worth it. The series is set in a world where The Library of Alexandria still exists. Everybody can read every book they want with blanks (a kind of E-readers), but owning a book is forbidden. The world-building was amazing. I’d love to read more about The Great Library!
Continue? Yes!

2. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco – 3 books

The Bone Witch - Rin Chupeco

I read the first part of this trilogy in August. Especially the world-building stood out. Next to different kind of witches, this world has undead demonic beasts and people who can forge new hearts that people wear around their necks. I’m definitively interested to read more about this!
Continue? Yes!

3. Mirrorworld by Cornelia Funke – 5 books, but the last 2 books aren’t published yet

Mirrorworld - Cornelia Funke

I know I liked Reckless, but I remember almost nothing from the plot. Only that it’s about a hidden world behind a mirror. And to be honest, I don’t feel like re-reading the book or continuing the series. I rather use that time to re-read Inkheart, a trilogy by the same writer that was a childhood favourite.
Continue? Probably not

4. Caraval by Stephanie Garber – 3 books

Caraval - Stephanie Garber

When I read Caraval in 2017, the sequel wasn’t published yet. Now the whole trilogy is out. Yet I can’t decide if I want to buy the other books. I did like the first part, especially the magical atmosphere. Caraval is a magical, mysterious game set on an island. After years of dreaming, Scarlett finally gets an invitation. But when Scarlett and her sister Tella arrive, Tella gets kidnapped. Whoever finds her, wins the game. The problem is that none of the character really stood out for me. I’m not sure if I am interested in reading more about them.
Continue? Not sure yet…

5. The Clockwork Century by Cherie Priest – 5 books and a couple of short stories

The Clockwork Century - Cherie Priest

It has been six years ago since I read the first book. Boneshaker was my introduction to steampunk books and I really wanted to love it. While I liked the story, it wasn’t that great. The reason I kept Boneshaker was mainly the beautiful cover. But by now I may like the story more.
Continue? A reread is necessary

6. Mortal Engines Quartet by Philip Reeve – 4 books

Mortal Engines Quartet - Philip Reeve

The setting of these books is very original! The story is set in future where resources on Earth became scarce. Most cities have gotten rolling tracks and steaming engines. London has been hiding from bigger cities, in danger of being devoured. Without knowing anything about the book I found an older edition of the first part at a library sale. I intended to read the rest of the series, but I was probably distracted… I still can, because they currently have the whole series at my library.
Continue? Yes!

7. Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab – 3 books

Shades of Magic - V.E. Schwab

I read this book at the start of 2019. I must admit that I expected it to be a new favourite. Despite liking the story, it wasn’t a five-star read. So I may me a little bit disappointed, but it was still a good book. I loved the setting! There are three versions of London in the story. Kell is one of the few who can travel between them. In Grey London he runs into Delilah. She first robs Kell, but then saves him from an enemy. The characters are certainly interesting and have potential. I like to see what happens to them in the sequel.
Continue? Yes!

8. Timekeeper by Tara Sim – 3 books

Timekeeper - Tara Sim

In August I read the first book of this trilogy. It has a couple of wonderful characters, there is a beautiful romance between two boys and the word-building was interesting too! The 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. My only problem with the book was the pacing.
Continue? Yes!

9. The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater – 4 books

The Wolves of Mercy Falls - Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver was a five-star book when I was 19 years old. I remember it was beautifully written. When I found out there was a sequel I was a bit surprised. As far as I remember the story doesn’t really need it. I was afraid not liking them and never read the other parts. I am quite curious if I will still love Shiver as much as I did. At the same time I am nervous about no longer liking it. There are some overused tropes in the book (like werewolves and insta-love). Six years ago I had read less YA-books and I was probably less critical. Re-reading could mean spoiling my memories of the story…
Continue: Probably not

10. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld – 3 books

Leviathan trilogy - Scott Westerfeld

This book impressed me with its amazing world-building. It’s set during a steampunk version of World War I. One party has steam-powered war machines. The other has fabricated beasts. The story is actually written for a younger audience. Of course, this doesn’t mean adults can’t enjoy the story. But personally I don’t know if I will still like it.
Continue? A reread is necessary

Which of these book series did you read? Tell me in the comments!

Five books I’d give different titles to

Last Tuesday the topic was extraordinary book titles. This Top Ten Tuesday we are challenged to find books with titles we don’t like and come up with new ones. It was a bit harder than last week. Most book titles are alright. Some aren’t very original, but often I couldn’t think of a better title. I did manage to find five books I’d give a different title to.

Five books I'd give different titles to

1. The Fraud by Barabara Ewing
This book is translated to Dutch as ‘Verf van Rode Rozen’, in English this would be Paint of Red Roses. Both titles fit the story, but the Dutch one sounds better and more interesting.

2. Looking for Alaska by John Green
This is not a bad title at all, but I think it doesn’t fit the book. When reading the title I was expecting an adventurous story. It turns out that Alaska refers to a girl, not to the state. The whole book is set on a boarding school in Alabama. It was a beautiful story, but I would have given it another title. The Great Perhaps or Out of this Labyrinth would be better. Both are quotes from the book.

3. The Time in Between by María Duenas
This book is written by a Spanish writer. The original title is ‘El Tiempo entre Costuras.’ I would have literally translated this title to The Time in Between the Seams. This phrase is also used at the end of book. Although the English title is close to the original, the meaning is different. The English one refers to the time between WWI and WWII. That’s when the story takes place. The Spanish title refers to the fact that the narrator is a dressmaker. But it has a more symbolic meaning too. Between the seams implies being inconspicuous, which has something to do with the narrator becoming a spy.

4. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
The main reason I’d give this book a different title is because this one reminds me of Fifty Shades of Grey… I loved Between Shades of Grey and I wouldn’t want people to disregard this beautiful story. Despite my asociation the title itself is alright. I actually couldn’t come up with a better one.

5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Because this is a classic, it seems a bit weird to say that I wan to give this book a differtent title. But I think Anna Karenina is a misleading title. The book has multiple main characers. Anna is just one of them and only appears on page after a couple of chapters. You could argue that she isn’t even the most important character. Yet when a book is very well-known the title seems to matter less. Anna Karenina is so iconic that I can’t think of another title.

Top ten extraordinary book titles

Inspired by Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme managed by That Artsy Reader Girl, I am going to talk about my favourite book titles. Some of them are really original, others are beautiful or very well-chosen.

Extraordinary book titles part 1

1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
From the start it’s clear that The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a book club. But the origin of the name is revealed later. I loved to find out where it came from!

2. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
This book title is of course remarkable because of the length. It’s also a small, but accurate summary of the book.

3. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
A beautiful and meaningful book title. I’m pretty sure if refers to one of the main characters: Marie-Laure, a blind girl. To teach her the way, her father made a miniature of her neighbourhood in Paris. But when the Nazis occupy Paris, they have to flee. The title is also a quote in this beautiful written book.

4. Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire
This one sounds beautiful and fits the book too. The story is set in Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. It’s a special school for children who once went through a magical doorway. But they came back from their magical world and no longer feel at home in our world. Most of them are still looking for the doorway that will return them.

5. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Another one that sounds good and is also meaningful. Though it’s hard to explain why, because it’s been a while since I read the book. I do remember that the whole title and the words ‘extremely loud’ and ‘incredibly close’ are used a few times in the story.

Extraordinary book titles part 2

6. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
This striking title immediately made me curious about the story. The book is on my TBR-list for The Literary Grand Tour of the World.

7. The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O by Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland
When reading this abbreviation on a book in a bookshop, I really wanted to know what it meant. It stands for Department of Diachronic Operations. They have some old documents that prove that magic actually existed, but stopped working due to the industrialisation. The organization wants to develop a device to bring back magic. I haven’t read this book yet, but it does sound interesting!

8. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
This book isn’t on my TBR-list, but it has a great title. It sounds magical and a bit weird in a good way. Next to fantasy, on Goodreads the book is also tagged as magical realism. That’s exactly what I think of when reading the title.

9. We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lund
This title sounds so intriguing. The book came out a month ago, so I haven’t read it yet. It’s a magical realism story about a tornado that hits the same place twice.

10. Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle
Another book with a title that feels magical. It immediately makes me curious about this spellbook. According to the description it’s an ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things. It’s the chance for the main characters to set everything right.

My TBR-list for The Literary Grand Tour of the World

This autumn I am going to participate in The Literary Grand Tour of the World, organized by Kat from Minas Morgul. This reading challenge will take place from 1st October till 31st December. During these three months we have to read as many books set in different countries as we can.

We get points for every country we “visit”. How many point depends on the country:
1 point: United States, United Kingdom
2 points: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Russia, Scotland, South Korea, Spain
3 points: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland
4 points: any European country not already listed
5 points: any non-European country not already listed
You can get extra points if the book has a non-White protagonist/largely non-white cast, LGBT+ protagonist/mainly LGBT+ cast or a disabled character.

It’s hard to estimate how many books I’m going to read this autumn. Ten books seem like a good start. Linking up with Top Ten Tuesday, here is my TBR-list.

My TBR-list for The Literary Grand Tour of the World part 1.jpg

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht
Setting: The Balkans (the country is not mentioned)
The main characters of this book are Natalia and her grandfather. He recently died under inexplicable circumstances. In search for clues Natalia turns to the stories he told her when she was a child.

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
Setting: Barbados
This looks like a great book for the challenge! The elven-year old slave Washington Black is chosen to be the manservant of Cristopher Wild. This explorer invented a flying machine. After an incident the two have to get away. What follows is flight along the eastern coast of America and beyond.

The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley
Setting: Brazil
Multiple people have recommended these books to me. The series start in Geneva, at the childhood home of the sisters. Six sisters are told that their father, who adopted them all as babies, has died. Each book of the series is about one of the sisters. The first part tells Maya’s story.

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
Setting: France
This book has two stories. One is about a young woman in 1200s, the other about an archaeologist in the present. I usually like it when a book alternates between characters in different times. So I am looking forward to reading this book!

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
Setting: Italy
This book is about the friendship between two girls. After the book was made into a TV series, it became really popular. I am curious to find out what I will think of this story.

My TBR-list for The Literary Grand Tour of the World - part 2

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Setting: Mexico
I’m very excited about this book! Not a lot of other fantasy books are set in 1920s Mexico. The story is also inspired by Mayan mythology.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
Setting: New Zealand
This is a historical mystery set in the nineteenth century. The structure of the book is especially interesting. The first chapter has the most pages, the second chapter is half as long, the third chapter has half the pages of the second, etc.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Setting: Nigeria
The title is quite striking and got me interested in this book. Ayoola has a habit of dispatching her boyfriends. Korede should go to the police to report her sister. But she loves her and family comes first. Until Ayoola starts dating a man Korede has long been in love with…

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All by Jonas Jonasson
Setting: Sweden
Just like other books by Jonas Jonasson, this is a humorous story with a couple of bizarre characters. The three main characters are a Hitman who is just out of prison, a female protestant vicar who happens to be atheist and a homeless receptionist of a former brothel.

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp
Setting: United States, asexual & aromantic MC
Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable until Corey has to move away. Just before she returns, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated, but also knows something is wrong.