Thursday, 24 December 2015

Review - Let It Snow

18272314Genre: young adult, romance
Pages: 368
Rating: 3.5/5

An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train and sets off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.

A trio of today's bestselling authors - John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle - bring all the magic of the holidays to life in three hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and kisses that will steal your breath away.

My thoughts
I don't read a lot of contemporary books, but since I wanted to read something Christmasy, I decided to give Let It Snow a try. The first story by Maureen Johnson I quite enjoyed. The main characters were all likeable and it had a lovely cosy atmosphere. I would have like the ending to be a little longer, now it felt a litte abrupt. Eventhough this story is only about 120 pages a lot happens and the main character in this story, Jubilee, felt the most real out of all the characters in the book.
The second story by John Green I thought was a little dull. Not a lot happened except that the characters were trying to drive through the snow. The story did have a sweet ending and Angie was really likeable. I did get really annoyed with JP's and Tobin's obsession with the cheerleaders. I also think John Green tried too hard to make the situation funny that it just was not funny anymore.
The third story was by Lauren Myracle, of whom I have never read anything. I was pleasantly surprised by the story. The main character Addie was very self-absorbed in the beginning, but she went through a transformation (which did happen rather sudden). I enjoyed that the stories intertwined a little, especially when you get to see the main characters of the first two stories shortly at the end of the last story.
If I would rate the stories seperately I would give Johson's story 4 out of 5 stars, Myracle's story 3.5 out of 5 stars and Green's story 2 out of 5 stars. Johnson's story The Jubilee Express was my favorite, it had the right amount of ridiculousness to still be funny. I will probably be rereading the  book another year to get into the Christmad mood, but I will probably skip John Green's story.

I wish you all a Happy Christmas!

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Mini Review - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

6351469Genre: fantasy, childrens
Rating: 3.5/5
Pages: 123

A copy of Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them resides in almost every wizarding household in the country. Now Muggles too have the chance to discover where the Quintaped lives, what the Puffskein eats and why it is best not to leave milk out for a Knarl.

Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Comic Relief, which means that the pounds and Galleons you exchange for it will do magic beyond the powers of any wizard. If you feel that this is insufficient reason to part with your money, I can only hope that passing wizards feel more charitable if they see you being attacked by a Manticore.

- Albus Dumbledore

My thoughts 
Eventhough I loved the entire Harry Potter series I never read the companion books Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages and Tales of Beedle the Bard. Now that a movie revolving around the fictional author of this book is in the making it finally was the right time to read it. If you love the Harry Potter series you will probably enjoy this book, as once again it shows Rowling's incredible creativity. The book contains descriptions of magical beasts such as what they look like, where they can be found and some interesting facts. Throughout the book Harry and Ron have made some annotation, which was a lovely touch. I did very much enjoy this little book, but I do have to say that it was definitely long enough. If the book had been longer I probably would have gotten a little bored. Also, I would have loved if there had been illustrations for all of the beasts. Perhaps one day there will be an edition that includes this?

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Review - Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

16034235Genre: young adult, fantasy, romance
Pages: 404
Rating: 1.5/5

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

My thoughts
I know many people love this series, and that was exactly why I was hesitant to read this story. The premise sounded like something I would really enjoy: a competition, a mystery and a kick-ass heroine, but I was wondering if the book wasn't hyped up to much.
When I finally started the book I quickly realised that this one would not be for me. I did continue the book, because I was hoping for it to get better, but it did not. The main reason I did not like this book was the main character, Celaena Sardothien. She wasn't the kick-ass heroine I was promised. She was vain, whiny, judgemental and immature. I do like flawed characters, but they definitely also have to have some positive traits, and I found it hard to find those in Celaena. The only positive thing I can come up with is that she doesn't give up. Celaena was very mean, she was constantly saying nasty stuff about lady Kaltain before Kaltain ever did anything to her. Celaena is also VERY BEAUTIFUL AND HAS GORGEOUS HAIR!!!!!, okay sure, but I already got that after the first ten times it was mentioned, and all the exclamation marks are unnecessary, there is no need to yell.
My biggest problem with Celaena was not that I did not like her, but that she just was not believable as an assasin. She is supposed to be the country's most notorious assasin, but instead she can't keep her emotions in check and constantly bursts out in anger (she has tantrums), people are constantly able to sneak up on her, she doesn't recognize poison eventhough she supposedly knows a lot about it and she does not take threats serious. Sure, everyone can have a bad day, but by the end of the book I was wondering how Celaena could possibly still be alive. Also, how on earth would she ever be able to kill someone secretly if she bursts out in anger every five minutes just because someone said something she does not like.
I found Celaena's immaturity rather strange. She has lived in a very harsh environment for many years and I just cannot imagine she would still be so immature after everything that happend to her (which, by the way, is way too much).
According to the synopsis the competition is the main focus of the book, but in reality it is not. In the beginning some aspects of the competition are explained, but later on pretty much any thing to do with the competition gets summarized in a few lines. Instead the book is about Celaena looking awesome in dresses, Celaena having awesome hair and a crown prince who is very atracted to Celaena because she is so beautiful. Don't get me wrong, I honestly love clothes, but I did not pick up this book to read about clothes. I picked up this book because I was hoping for some action, but sadly this was lacking.

The mystery in this book was not able to hold my attention. Celaena herself clearly does not care about it in the beginning, which does not really give the reader a reason to care about it, and apart from that it was both predictable and lacking in depth. Most of the research Celaena does trying to solve the mystery is only mentioned in summary. In truth, pretty much the entire plot gets summarized, which did not make me connect to the story at all. Instead we read about Celaena admiring herself, hanging out with a friend and talking about people behind their back and most of all, very akward (but not cute) moments between prince Dorian and Celaena, so basically things that do not really add anything to the plot.
Only the final battle towards the end is actually shown at the moment itself rather than summarized afterwards, but by that point I did not care enough about the story that it could keep my interest. The final battle showed again that Celaena cares to much about appearances: she is annoyed with the first opponent she gets to fight, just because 'he is not very clean'. Why would she even care he is not clean? She is going to fight him, outside, ofcourse that will result in blood and dirt so it's not going to matter if he was clean to begin with. And besides, I think it makes more sense to worry about staying alive than if other people are looking good...

The last few chapters of the book did make me a little bit curious about the next book, but since this was only the last 20 pages or so out of a 400 page book I don't think I will continue with this series.

Most characters were not very convincing, but surprisingly enough the king truely seemed quite scary, because Celaena's reaction to him was shown. This was one of the few instances were truely something was shown instead of told.

This book promises a love triangle in future books. However, I could not really take Dorian and Celaena's relationship seriously, so it does not bother me that much. Prince Dorian's love for Celaena was not convincing. They were only attracted to each other because they were both such beautiful people. I liked the other love interest, Chaol, more. Mostly because he is one of the very few people in the book who is not stupid enough to forget that Celaena is an 'extremely dangerous assasin' and actually sometimes calls Celaena out on her bad behaviour. Dorian and Chaol do not really have a life of their own, they are there to fall in love with the main character and that is it.

For a fantasy story, the world was surprisingly dull and it's magic system (or lack thereof) was not explained. I have a vague idea of what the country is like: there is the capital with a glass castle, there are the salt mines where the slaves work and there are mountains and a forest in this country. That is it, everything I learned about this country.

I do feel a lot in this story is left unexplained on purpose, as to lure people into reading the next books, but I just got to little depth to really get excited about this book, which is a shame. It does have good potential, I just don't think it lives up to that.

To end on a more positive note, I did think that Celaena's past was interesting and that does mean there is still some potential for the future books, since that probably will be explored more.

Did you read Throne of Glass? Am I truely alone in feeling the way I do about this book?

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Life after NaNoWriMo

It's been a while since I've posted anything on this blog or caught up with other blogs. Life has been a little crazy lately. I read a lot of books throughout september, but after that it fell a little flat.
When november came around I made a last minute decision to participate in NaNoWriMo. I ended up writing 40,137 words. I didn't reach 50,000, but I'm so happy with what I've achieved! I finally wrote down the main idea of a story that has been in my head forever. There were definitely points where I felt like I had lost the plot, but now I think I have an idea again as to where my story is going.

As you can see in the graph at the beginning of the month I wrote a little more than the required 1,667 words per day to reach 50,000 words in a month. Around day 18 that started to falter a little, because I had already found a new project that I couldn't wait to dive into. I finally got my own domain name for my  more personal blog where I write about pretty much anything that's going on in my life: 'Met pen en penseel' (the blog is in Dutch, it's called 'With pen and paintbrush'). It's been really exciting to figure everything out and really make the blog to my liking. After I started that project I figured I should get back to writing, and I did write some more, but I didn't really write as much as before. Eventhough I didn't manage to reach my goal I think I did pretty well for not planning to participate at all and I even wrote a little more after NaNoWriMo was over (not much though, after such an intense month I do have a little problem getting back into writing modus).

How did your writing go during november?

Sunday, 1 November 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015

The last month I haven't been reading or writing much and I totally forgot about NaNoWriMo! Just today I remembered it and I decided that I'm participating again. Eventhough I have a general idea of what I want to write about and a lot of notes, it is very disorganized and messy, so my start was pretty chaotic. But I did meet the word goal for the day!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year?

Monday, 5 October 2015

September Wrap-Up

Book haul
Over September I aquired 10 books and a comic and short graphic novel. I was planning to buy less this month (as usual, haha), but it is not too bad since I actually had a very good reading month and ended up reading more than I bought! The books I bought this month are:
The New Ghost by Robert Hunter
- The Fall of Icarus by Ovid (A Little Black Classic)
- Mansfield Park by Jane Austen in the beautiful Vintage Classic edition that matches by copies of Persuasion and Sense & Sensibility.
- Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins (I loved the Hunger Games and I've been meaning to read something else by Collins)
- James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Picture me Gone by Meg Rosoff
Wild Magic by Cat Weatherill
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (I really want to watch the BBC mini series, but I wanted to read the book first!)
- Angelfall by Susan Ee
The Flash Volume 1: Move Forward by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato

This month I finally finished reading a book in Swedish that took me about a year to finish, because I only read a couple of pages each time I picked it up again. I'm pretty proud of myself for actually finishing the 600 page book. Eventhough I can read Swedish, it goes pretty slow... But practice makes perfect, so I should just read more in Swedish to improve. I do think the next book I will pick up in Swedish will be slightly shorter though! I just need to find a place where it's not crazy expensive to order Swedish books...

This month I read:
- Genom dina ögon (The Host in Swedish) by Stephenie Meyer
- The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories Volume 2
- The New Ghost by Robert Hunter
- The Crab With the Golden Claws by Hergé
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Beginnings by Tomas Palacios
- Through the Woods by Emily Caroll
- Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
- De twee jaar nadat [The two years after], a Dutch book, by Steef van Gorkum
- Eragon by Christopher Paolini
- Wild Magic by Cat Weatherill
- The Flash Volume 1: Move Forward by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
- North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
- Myths of the Norsemen by Roger Lancelyn Green
- Picture me Gone by Meg Rosoff

My favorite of the month was North and South. It was a little different from what I expected but I ended up really enjoying it!

How was your reading month?

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Mini Review - The Flash Vol. 1: Move Forward by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato

13533744Genre: comics
Pages: 192
Rating: 3/5

Struck by a bolt of lightning and doused in chemicals, Central City Police scientist Barry Allen was transformed into the fastest man alive. Tapping into the energy field called The Speed Force, he applies a tenacious sense of justice to protect and serve the world as The Flash!

The Flash knows he can't be everywhere at once, but he has seemingly met his match when he faces DC Comic's hottest new Super Villain, Mob Rule, who really can be everywhere at once!

As Mob Rule wages a campaign of crime across Central City, including an electromagnetic blast that plunges the city into darkness, The Flash learns that the only way he can capture Mob Rule and save Central City is to learn how to make his brain function even faster than before - but as much as it helps him, it also comes with a steep price.

My thoughts
After seeing the tv series The Flash I got curious of the comic, so I decided to pick it up. Eventhough the tv series is a little different from the comic I'm glad that I had already watched it before reading the comic. I felt like the story was a little bit all over the place. Villains popping up out of nowhere, flashbacks and flashforwards... They all made me feel a little cofused at times. The story was enjoyable to read, but I did have to reread some parts to fully grasp what was going on. I honestly enjoyed watching the tv series a lot more than I enjoyed reading the comic. I was expecting this to be an origin story, but it isn't really. Just briefly in a few lines the Flash's origin is explained. The characters in the story all seem quite flat, even the main character Barry Allen. I might pick up the next volume to see if things will improve, but I'm not sure yet. Maybe superhero comics just aren't for me...

Monday, 21 September 2015

My Favorite Booktubers

I do love reading blogsposts about books, but there is also something fun in actually watching people talk about books! I'm subscribed to many booktubers on youtube, but here are some of my favorites:

Mia from Against Idleness & Mischief
Many booktubers post videos about books they think are great, but I actually do like it when people also post reviews of books they didn't like as much. Mia always has great discussions on books and I really feel like she is a critical reader, which I can appreciate. She also has a podcast that I enjoy listening to while doing chores!

Jen Campbell
After reading her book Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops I started following Jen. I don't read a great deal of literary fiction and poetry like she does, but I still find her videos a lot of fun to watch since they are very cozy. She has many pretty books and I got some great graphic novel and picture book recommendations from her.

Connor O'Brien
Connor was one of the first booktubers I started following. I stumbled upon his channel because he reviewed a book in the Ranger's Apprentice series, a series that I really love, but hardly ever hear anyone talk about. When I watch one of his videos it sounds just as a friend of mine is chatting about books. He reads a lot of fantasy and also middle grade books, which I do too, and I especially get a lot of great middle great recommendations from him!

Sanaa from InkBonesBooks
Sanaa is one of my recent favorites. She really made me add a lot of books to my TBR list. She reads a lot of fantasy, just like I do, and she also has some interesting discussions.

If you enjoy watching booktube videos, go check out their channels!

Do you have some favorite booktubers?

Friday, 18 September 2015

Review - 30-Second Brain by Anil Seth

21057712The 50 most mind-blowing ideas in neuroscience; each explained in half a minute

Genre: non fiction, science
Pages: 160
Rating: 3.5/5

Are we all at the mercy of our brain chemistry? Do you think that the amygdala and the hippocampus are fantastical sea monsters? What can an MRI scan tell us? Could you explain to dinner-party guests why we don't giggle when we tickle ourselves? 30-Second Brain is here to fill your mind with the science of exactly what's happening inside your head. Using no more than two pages, 300 words and an illustration, this is the quickest way to understand the wiring and function of the most complex and intricate mechanism in the human body. Discover how the networks of 90 billion nerve cells work together to produce perception, action, cognition and emotion. Explore how your brain defines your personality, and what it gets up to while you are asleep. Illustrated with mind-bending graphics and supported by biographies of pioneers in the field of neuroscience, it's the book to get your grey matter thinking about your grey matter.

My thoughts
This popular science book is a nice introduction to many neurological topics. Since every page contains a different topic it does not go very deep into these topics, but in the back of the book there is a list for continued reading. Every topic is explained over one page and on the page next to it is an illustration that goes with the topic. Personally I really love these kind of bite-sized chunks of information, but the illustrations did not really add anything to the book. They did not help to understand the topics better and they also weren't that pretty.
The book is divided into seven sections, each starting with a page that explains the meaning of some words. Also a couple of biographies of people that were important for the development of neuroscience are included in the book. The explanations of the words were clear, but in some cases I found them to be unnecessary, since the words also became clear by reading the explanations of the topics. I thought the biographies were interesting. I wouldn't read a whole book on most of these people, but it was nice to get an idea of the people who really made a difference in de development of neurscience as a science.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Goodreads Reading Challenge

I just reached my reading goal for the year: 45 books. Eleven of those were actually graphic novels, but I'm glad that I've already managed to read quite a bit. I'm defenitely reading a little more every year. Ofcourse the year is far from over, so I'll probably have plenty time to read some more. Maybe I can reach 60?

Did you set yourself a reading challange this year? How is it going so far?

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Review - Legend by Marie Lu

9275658Genre: dystopian, science fiction, young adult, romance
Pages: 305
Rating: 3.5/5

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a notation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, Juna an Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lenghts their country will go to keep its secrets.

My thoughts
My friend Suzan has been recommending me to read this book since forever and I finally got around to it. It is hard to not compare a book like this to the Hunger Games or Divergent, but eventhough I still think those two books are better, I really enjoyed reading Legend. The chapters of the book alternate between Day and June's point of view and I thought that was a good way of getting to know the different layers of the society of the Republic of America. I did not like June that much at the beginning of the book, but as the story progressed she grew on me a little. In the beginning I found it a little annoying that she was so naive, but she certainly got to see a different side to the 'perfect society' she lived in. Eventhough I related more to Day than to June I still enjoyed reading June's chapters. June's memories of her brother Metias increased my curiosity about Metias and it would have been interesting to learn a little more about his experiences in the army.
From the beginning of the book it was obvious what romance there was going to be. there was definitely insta-love in this book, but I liked that all the bumps in the road made it a lot harder for an actual relationship to develop. I'm really not a big fan of insta-love, and that was probably the reason I wasn't really invested in the romance.
This book contains a mystery that gets unraveled. I do like mysteries, but in this case I didn't think the clues were really obvious enough for the characters to draw a certain conclusion.
Except for June, there wasn't a lot of character growth in this book, but I did really like how my view of Metias's killer changed so much throughout the book, that person really creeped me out at the end!
Day's companion Tess was a sweet girl and I thought her addition to the story was a great way of showing what kind of person Day was.
What I loved the most about this book, was that there wasn't just a character who fought the system from within, but the country was actually also at war with another country. Often in dystopians it seems that besides the country the story is set in, there isn't anything out there, which is not very realistic. In this case I really got the feeling like the Republic of America was part of a larger world.
The book ended rather abruptly, and this somehow made it a little difficult to gather my thoughts on it. I didn't feel like I immediately had to read the sequel, but after giving it a few days I got more excited to read on.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Mini Review - Dark Entries by Robert Aickman

19246479Genre: short stories, mystery, horror
Pages: 256
Rating: 3.5/5

Dark Entries was the first solo collection of "strange stories" by British short story writer, critic, lecturer and novelist, Robert Aickman. First published in 1964 it contains the classic "Ringing the Changes" and perhaps Aickman's best femme fatale in "Choice of Weapons." The version of "The View" is slightly re-written from its first appearance in We are for the Dark.

My thoughts
This short story collection took me quite some time to read. As with a lot of short story collections I did like some of the stories, but others weren't really for me. The stories were not as scary as I expected them to be, but they definitely had a mysterious atmosphere. Eventhough I was not always sure what exactly was going on, the stories somehow still intrigued me. They are not the best short stories I've ever read but I am compelled to pick up another of Aickman's short story collections.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Terugkijkend - Looking back

Ik weet het nog,

Jij stond aan de overkant en je keek naar hier

De beslissing was al genomen

Maar toch

toch stond jij daar nog

I still remember
You stood on the other side and you looked this way
The decision was already made
But still
still you were standing there

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

August Wrap-up

August was a good book month! I managed to read a lot more than I usually do, and I also bought quite some books...

Book Haul
I bought a lot of books this month, most of them second hand and in Dutch. Since I was on summer break from university I had a lot of time to browse thrift stores and I had a lot of fun doing so!
The books that I bought this month are:
De grote Van Gogh atlas [The big Van Gogh atlas] by Nienke Denekamp and Rene van Blerk
I stumbled upon this book at my local bookstore. Not only does the book have a beautiful cover, the interior is beautifully designed as well.
- Het boek van alle dingen [The Book of Everything] by Guus Kuijer
I read this book as a kid and at the time I really enjoyed it. I wonder if I will still feel the same way.
De vloek van Woestewolf [The curse of the werewolf] by Paul Biegel
Another book that I read as a kid. I used to own a copy, but at some point I lost it. The edition I have now is a beautiful hardback that is illustrated throughout.
- Wij zijn ons brein [We Are Our Brains: From the Womb to Alzheimer's] by D.F. Swaab
At university I am taking some neuroscience courses and I want to read more about it, but I was looking for something that was a little more readable than the books that I use for uni (which are not books you will read hours on end)
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
I got this one for the same reason as the previous one and this book seems like it contains a lot of interesting stories.
- De komst van Joachim Stiller [The Coming of Joachim Stiller] by Hubert Lampo
I don't tend to read a lot of Dutch literature, usually it isn't really for me. I personally prefer British literature or literature that contains magical realistic elements. This book does contains magical realism, so perhaps it will be more to my liking.
- Nine Agatha Christie detectives translated into Dutch. I bought a couple in the same edition years ago, so when I stumbled upon some more I could not wait to expand my collection. I am a huge fan of Christie's stories. They always have a mysterious atmosphere, but are never scary. They are rather 'cozy' mysteries.
- Lastly I bought Jules Verne's 20.000 Mijlen onder zee [Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea] in two parts. I already own an edition in two parts as well as a bind up up of several of Jules Verne's stories that includes this one, but I love the drawings on old fantasy and science fiction covers so I could not help myself...

This month I finished reading 8 books. At the beginning of the month I was reading 6 books at the same time, but I finally managed to reduce that number a bit. Now I'm only reading 3 books!
Of the books that I read, Saga Volume 3, The Lily Pond and Lydia's Secret were my favorites. Coming month I probably will not have a lot of time to read because university has started again, but I am getting on with a Swedish book that I have been reading forever so hopefully I will be finishing it this month.
My writing has been going very slowly lately. The fantasy story that I'm working on has only gotten a little bit longer, but the story world always keeps expanding. My other projects haven't progressed at all, I just wrote one poem. Hopefully coming month I can find the time to write a little more!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Movie Review - Boy 7

A trailer with English subtitles can be watched here.

When Sam regains consciousness in the middle of a crowded subway, he doesn't know how he got there, where he came from nor his own name. He franticly searches for his identity, using the contents of his backpack. Slowly but surely he realizes his life is in great danger.

Together with my friend Sophie I watched Boy 7, a movie based on the book by Mirjam Mous. I don't really tend to watch a lot of Dutch movies, since they don't make a lot of fantasy or sci-fi movies, but when I heard about the making of a Dutch young adult sci-fi movie I knew I had to watch it. The movie is certainly not as epic as some other young adult sci-fi movies that are out there, like The Hunger Games or Divergent, but that isn't strange considering a much smaller budget to make this movie. Still, it was a lot of fun to watch. The main caracter Sam was played very well, and eventhough hack coach Marit only appears a couple of times I also really liked her. The ending of the movie was sound, but a little too rushed for my liking. It was fun to see an imagined version of my country in the future, but I would have loved to see more of what the country looked like by then!

Monday, 24 August 2015

Review - Lydia's Secret by Finn Zetterholm

13549899Genre: childrens, historical, fantasy
Pages: 316
Rating: 4/5
Original language: Swedish
Translations: Italian, Dutch

Lydia is twelve and lives with her parents in Stockholm. She is crazy about art and can draw incredibly well.

One day Lydia is sketching in the park, when a bird steals her pencil. She is so flustered that she forgets her sketchbook in the park. When she returns the next day someone has written a message in it: 18 september, 15.00 hours.
The unknown messenger turns out to be a boy who tells her to 'take good care of her hands, because they are very special'. Lydia doesn't really know what to think of this.

The next day she visits the national museum with her grandfather. When Lydia accidently touches a painting by Rembrandt, she disappears into a black hole. She wakes up in the world of Rembrandt, the year 1658. The only thing Julia has with her, are her sketchbook and her pencil.

This is the beginning of an amazing journey through the world of art. Lydia meets famous artists like Velázquez, Leonardo da Vinci, Edgard Degas, William Turner en Salvador Dalí. From every artist Lydia learns something new.

But how does she get back to the 21st century? The secret is in Lydia's hands...

My thoughts
Lydia's Secret has been described as Sophie's World about art history. I really enjoyed Sophie's World, so the comparisson made me curious about this book as well. While reading this book I definitely noticed some similarities between the two books, both have a curious Swedish girl as the main character and both books are fiction but include information on a certain topic. However, there are also some differences. Lydia's Secret focusses more on the adventure Lydia is having and the magical aspect to it, whereas in Sophie's World the deliverance of information on philosophy is more prominent. This makes Lydia's Secret accesible for a younger audience, since the educational aspect is not too prominent. The book also reminded me a little of Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, where things can escape from books and can enter them, and Crusade in Jeans by Thea Beckman, where a boy travels back in time and accidently ends up in the time of the crusades.
From every painter Lydia meets you learn what age he lived in, what kind of life he lead, distinct personality traits and some aspects of his paintings that stand out. Personally I'm fascinated by Leonardo da Vinci, so I would have loved to read a little more about him, but for others who might not be as interested the amount of information might have been enough. I think overal there was a nice balance between information and entertainment.The painters only appeared in the book for a short while, but they definitely had distinct personalities. Almost all of the painters immediately take Lydia with her eventhough they hardly know her, and this was the only part of the book that felt a little unrealistic. When she wore strange clothes and said she was from the future I would have thought that the painters would think her truely crazy, but instead they were all easily convinced she wasn't that crazy after all.
I think Lydia's character could have been a little more well-rounded, because I still feel like all I know about her is that she loves to draw and loves her grandfather, but I did like the relationship she had with her grandfather and how adventurous the story was.
Lydia travels to the time of a certain painter by touching one of his paintings. At first it seemed a little cliché, but when it was mentioned that because of this she could only travel backwards in time (because at a certain time she can only encounter paintings that have been painted before that time) I truely felt like the author really thought the traveling in time trough.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Short Story Saturday #10

A prompt a week to encourage myself and maybe others to write more even when we don't have any inspiration!

This week's prompt:

A building collapses with people inside.

Who are the people? What building is it?

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Reading multiple books at a time

A couple of days ago my currently reading list on Goodreads looked like this:

I don't know what happens, but somehow I always start reading a new book when I'm already reading a couple of others. Every now and then I think it gets to crazy and I try to narrow it down. Once I have reached 2 books the number of books that I'm reading slowly starts to increase again.

I know I should stop reading so many books at the same time, but somehow I never do. When the list is this long I often feel a little stress to narrow it down again, because I have a couple of unread books lying around that I'm dying to start, but I want to narrow down my list first, so I have to finish at least five books before I can start the one I really want to read. That truely is my problem, the books I like to read really depend on my mood and since my mood can change rather quickly I have sometimes already lost a little bit of my intial interest in the book I'm currently reading but I have gotten really excited about a new book, so I end up adding another book to my currently reading pile.

I did just finish Kinderen van Nederland, so I have only five more books on the list, but that still seems daunting. Genom dina Ögon (The Host in Swedish) I started reading a long time ago (almost a year!) to practice my Swedish. I can definitely read the story, but I'm still a very slow reader in Swedish. Why on earth I thought it was a good idea to have the second book I read in Swedish be a 600 page book, I have no idea. I've read about a third of the book, so at this rate it wil take me a total of three years to finish the book, haha! I think the next time I read a book in Swedish I should pick something shorter and also something easier, to keep it fun. Now it has just become a struggle.
Dark Entries I also started a while ago, but since these are short stories I don't really have such a hard time picking this book up again. I have read the majority of the stories, so it looks like I'm finally reaching the end, woohooo!
Pogingen iets van het leven te maken really grabbed me in the beginning, but after a while I was starting to feel like I was just reading more of the same. It isn't a difficult read, so I should just get on with it and finish it already.
A Feast for Crows, like any other Martin book, is taking forever to read. Somehow I find Martin's book really hard to read quickly. I am getting better though! The first book in the series took me about two years to finish, the second book took about a year and the third book I finished in about half a year, so that would mean it will take me 3 months in total to read this one! I don't think that's going to happen, but I definitely hope so!
Eragon is the newest addition to the list. It is an easy read, but because I'm not reading it for the first time I don't find it as interesting as before and it is hard to keep paying attention to this book. I wanted to reread this book so I remembered better what happened, before I would start reading the sequel. I just need to find my enthousiasm for this book again...

I do feel like it should be possible to finish one or two books pretty soon, but I fear especially Genom dina Ögon will be on my currently reading pile for a long while to come!

Do you read multiple books at the same time? How do you make sure it doesn't get too crazy?

Monday, 17 August 2015

Review - The Lily Pond by Annika Thor

10338850Genre: historical, childrens, teen
Pages: 224
Rating: 4.5 /5
Original language: Swedish
Translations: English, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch, German, Russian

A year after Stephie Steiner and her younger sister, Nellie, left Nazi-occupied Vienna, Stephie has finally adapted to life on the rugged Swedish island where she now lives. But more change awaits Stephie: her foster parents have allowed her to enroll in school on the mainland, in Goteberg. Stephie is eager to go. Not only will she be pursuing her studies, she'll be living in a cultured city again—under the same roof as Sven, the son of the lodgers who rented her foster parents' cottage for the summer.
Five years her senior, Sven dazzles Stephie with his charm, his talk of equality, and his anti-Hitler sentiments. Stephie can't help herself—she's falling in love. As she navigates a sea of new emotions, she also grapples with what it means to be beholden to others, with her constant worry about what her parents are enduring back in Vienna, and with the menacing spread of Nazi ideology, even in Sweden. In these troubled times, her true friends, Stephie discovers, are the ones she least expected.

My thoughts
Eventhough this book is technichally the second book in a series, it can be read seperately. I have not read the first book and this did not lead to any confusion. I read this book for the fist time when I was about twelve and I remember thinking it a very good book, so I was interested to revisit the story and to see if I still felt the same way. I do enjoy reading some childrens stories, but I don't always feel like I'm really submerged in the story. The Lily Pond on the other hand was really gripping and I found myself relating to Stephie a lot. I think for children this book is both entertaining and educational.

A theme in this book is the second world war and usually I also don't really connect to those kind of stories, because to me they seem very distant and it is hard to imagine the true horrors of the war if you have neaver lived it yourself. Also most books tend to focus a lot on the large effects the war has on people. In this case the author did a great job of incorporating many small details of the war without them overtaking the plotline and this made it easy to relate to the main character and feel for her, eventhough I am in a very different situation than Stephie. Most books I have read about the second world war are set in a country where people are actually fighting, so it was interesting to read from a little different perspective. The book raises the question how countries that are not participating in war should deal with fugitives and the war in general, and with everything that is going on right now in the Middle East and Africa this question is again very relevant.

The book deals a lot with loneliness and Thor does a great job of truely making you feel lonely. I loved how towards the end of the book you find out that there are actually people who understood Stephie all along. Stephie's friendship with May is really heartwarming, May is a friend I think we all like to have. She doesn't follow the crowd, has her own opinions and sticks up for Stephie when no one else does. Different teachers in the story represented different opinions on the war and I am glad that Thor included both 'bad' and 'good' teachers. Aunt Marta, who takes Stephie in when she first arrives in Sweden, is one of those mother figures that seems harsh and strict at first, but you know that she loves Stephie like she is her own daughter and would do anything for her. Aunt Marta is part of the Pentecostal church, and eventhough this only plays a small part in the story I appreciated that there are both nice and not so nice people part of the church as well as nice and not so nice people who are not part of the church. To often when religion is included it is only done to vent the authors own believes, but Thor gives the reader the space to believe what he or she wants.

Stephie herself is thirteen year and the author truely made her seem like she was 13. In other books I often have problems with teenagers appearing younger or older than they are in reality, but here this was not the case. Stephie could sometimes be very mature, but she still needed a mother figure which I thought was very realistic. In the book she deals with first love, which was cute, but since she was only 13 I am glad it didn't turn into anything more.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Short Story Saturday #9

A prompt a week to encourage myself and maybe others to write more even when we don't have any inspiration!

This week's prompt:

A little boy eats an enchanted mushroom.

What happens when he eats it?

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Mini review - Seaglassing by Nathan Smith

Genre: comic, fantasy
Pages: 24
Rating: 4/5
Author's blog

Seaglassing is a lighthearted tale inspired by the shores of Lake Erie. This story is about a seaglasser (someone who combs the sand and pebbles on a beach to find weathered fragments of old glass) who is slowly making her way along the water's edge when she suddenly encounters a mythical creature.

The first half of the book contains the story, and the second half of the book is a Seaglass Journal that explores pieces of the world introduced in the comic.

My thoughts
I bought this comic via Etsy from the author who independently published it. I love collecting things on the beach, so the subject of this story really spoke to me. The first part of the book, that contains the story, does not have any text, but the second part of the book, the Seaglass Journall, does. Eventhough there are no words, the story is easy to follow and it is a lovely and short story. The drawings are simple, but have a nice color scheme. I alwasy love seeing art journals and sketchbooks and that was what the second part of this book reminded me of.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Top 10 - Classics

331. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

I have attempted to read this book many times. It took me a very long time to get into it. Every time I got stuck somewhere, put the book down and stopped reading it for a very long while. When I picked up the book again I would start over, and everytime I got a little further into the book. Eventhough the book was sometimes a struggle to read it was also very rewarding. I love how immensely detailed the world is that J.R.R. Tolkien created. Because of this it truely feels like Middle Earth has existed long before the book begins and continues long after the story has finished.

2. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

18113445One of my favorite childhood books, this book will always be amongst my favorite classics as well. This book has a special place in my heart because it truely made me fall in love with reading. Also I gained an appreciation of the outdoors because of this book.

3. The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt

Another childhood favorite. This Dutch classic was translated into English about two years ago which made me very happy. This book really made me fall in love with the fantasy genre. The setting is sort of medieval and the main character gets an assignment from a knight which has him traveling to another country.

69694. Emma by Jane Austen

84979I always have a hard time picking my favorite Jane Austen novel. I love Pride and Prejudice and Emma almost equally, but at the moment I love Emma just a little more. Eventhough Emma Woodhouse has many flaws she still is a very likeable character and it was hard not to root for her.

5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Elizabeth Bennet is one of my favorite literary characters. She is smart and not afraid to say what she is thinking. She is very honest and she is also not afraid to admit that she is wrong. Eventhough the book was written long ago it still succeeds at being witty.

59076. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Since The Hobbit was written before The Lord of the Rings and it is a childrens book it does not yet contain such a detailed world as in the later books, but the story already introduces you to an interesting world that is very promising and the story itself is very adventurous. I read this one when I already was a little older, but I am sure that I would also have loved it if I had read it when I was younger.

7. The Tintin graphic novels by Hergé

When I was younger I loved reading the Tintin graphic novels and recently I have sort of rediscovered them. They are very adventurous and those are precisely the kind of stories I like. My favorite Tintin novels are probably Explorers on the Moon and The Secret of the Unicorn.

203426558. Krabat & the Sorcerer's Mill by Otfried Preußler

2647293I have read this book many times and everytime this book managed to creep me out. The story is scary in its simplicity. The fact that the boys cannot leave the mill always made me feel very uncomfortable.

9. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

When I was younger I probably wouldn't have loved this book, but thanks to the Tim Burton movie adaptation (which is very different from the book though), I can appreciate this book in al its crazyness. If you want a coherent story this book is probably not for you, but I find it a weird but enjoyable read.

5149610. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Rovert Louis Stevenson

When I picked up this novella at the library I wasn't really expecting all that much from it, and maybe that's the reason why I ended up enjoying it so much. The story felt sort of 'comfortable creepy', the idea of the book is creepy, but it was never really scary.

The next classics I hope to read are The Catcher in the Rye, The Time Machine and stories by Jules Verne. They have been on my shelves for ages. I also have to admit that I never read any Narnia stories, so I also need to do something about that...

Do you like reading classics? What are your favorites?

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Mini review - Europan by Nathan Smith

Genre: comic, science fiction, fantasy
Pages: 24
Rating: 4/5
Author's blog

Europan is a science fiction story about two astronauts exploring the Jupiter's moon Europa. As they make great strides for humanity under the icy crust of this alien place, the love and discoveries these explorers share changes their lives!

My thoughts
I bought this comic via Etsy along with some others by the same author. This independently published comic is short but lovely. The drawings are colorful and simple, but they convey the story very nicely. The drawings very much look like they have been made on the computer, but somehow that works pretty well. The text in this comic is more like a poem than a piece of prose.The story reads quickly and is very imaginative.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Review - The Outcasts by John Flanagan

10551947Brotherband Chronicles #1
Genre: middle grade, fantasy
Pages: 434
Rating: 3.5/5

Summary from Goodreads
From the author of the international phenomenon Ranger's Apprentice!
They are outcasts. Hal, Stig, and the others - they are the boys the others want no part of. Skandians, as any reader of Ranger's Apprentice could tell you, are known for their size and strength. Not these boys. Yet that doesn't mean they don't have skills. And courage - which they will need every ounce of to do battle at sea against the other bands, the Wolves and the Sharks, in the ultimate race. The icy waters make for a treacherous playing field . . . especially when not everyone thinks of it as playing. John Flanagan, author of the international phenomenon Ranger's Apprentice, creates a new cast of characters to populate his world of Skandians and Araluens, a world millions of young readers around the world have come to know and admire. Full of seafaring adventures and epic battles, Book 1 of The Brotherband Chronicles is sure to thrill readers of Ranger's Apprentice while enticing a whole new generation just now discovering the books.

My thoughts
The Ranger's Apprentice series is one of my favorite middle grade series. Although I loved that series I was a bit hesitant to start the Brotherband Chronicles, because this series would not have rangers as main characters and because of that I didn't think I would like this series as much. I did indeed enjoy the first Ranger's Apprentice book more than I enjoyed this first book, but it was a lot more fun than I expected it to be. Like the main character of the other series the main character of this book, Hal, is a stubborn boy with a need to prove himself. Hal is an engineer and I thought that was a very interesting aspect of him. Throughout the book some of his inventions are mentioned, but I would have loved to read more about them.
Hal's crew is a diverse group of characters. I didn't get to know them too well, but there is a lot of potential for them to grow into more interesting characters. The twins Ulf and Wulf seemed more like caricatures and I hope they will get more complex personalities in later books.
Brotherband training was an interesting concept and I liked the different tasks the teams had to complete. It wasn't easy to predict how all the competitions would turn out and that kept the story interesting.
The story almost entirely plays around Hallasholm, the capital of Skandia, so I didn't really get to see any of the other places that I've come to love from the other series, but I get the feeling that in later books we will get to see those places again.
What I loved so much about the Ranger's Apprentice series was the humor. When the three characters Will, Halt and Horace were together this always resulted in hilarious banter. Flanagan tried to use Ulf and Wulf in this book as comic relief, but it just wasn't as strong as the banter in the other series. However, Hal definitely seems like a guy who can be very witty when he isn't so self concious, so hopefully he will grow over the span of the books and we will get some witty banter after all!
This book mostly seemed a set up for the rest of the series, but all in all I quite enjoyed it and I will definitely continue with the series.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Review - Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No normal by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona

20898019Genre: comics, fantasy, superheroes
Pages: 120
Rating: 3.5/5

Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she's suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she's comin' for you, New York! 

My thoughts
This was the first Marvel comic I've read. I wasn't completely blown away by the story, but it certainly was enjoyable and I'm definitely planning on picking up the next volume. Since this is only an introduction I am hoping that I will enjoy the next volume even more. I really liked Kamala Khan as a main character, she is a very relatable teenager. She struggles with trying to fit in, doesn't have very high self-esteem and she is trying to be independent but at the same time doesn't want to hurt her parents. Kamala's family and her friend Bruno are also likeable characters, but hopefully in next instalments we will get to know them a little better. Since this volume is mostly an origin story, the mission Kamala goes on is not very indept and is just there to set up the story for the next volumes and for Kamala to learn about her powers. I appreciated that she wasn't instantly a superhuman, but that she definitely struggled with her newly gained powers and that she actually messes some things up.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Review - Loving Helen by Michele Paige Holmes

23430956This is a companion novel to Saving Grace.

Genre: romance, historical fiction
Pages: 227
Rating: 4/5

Eighteen-year-old Helen Thatcher grew up under the protection of her older siblings, Grace and Christopher. Living in their shadows and keeping to herself suited Helen just fine—until she met widower Samuel Preston. Watching Mr. Preston care for his young daughter and seeing his concern extend to her own family, Helen felt her reserve slipping away, as she learned first to trust him and then realized she had fallen in love with him. But instead of returning—or even noticing her affection—Mr. Preston developed his own tender, and unrequited feelings, for Grace.

In the midst of each silently nursing their broken hearts, Helen and Samuel are faced with a daunting task—reuniting Grace with her fiancé, Nicholas Sutherland. Now it is Helen who must look out for her sister and sacrifice her own fragile heart, as she and Samuel pretend to be engaged. Helen finds the role surprisingly easy to play, allowing herself to imagine that Samuel’s loving remarks are sincere. As the time for their charade to end draws near Helen must summon her courage and tell Samuel the truth of her feelings, or risk losing him forever. 

My thoughts
When I read Saving Grace I quite enjoyed the book, but I have to say Helen and Samuel Preston, the main characters of Loving Helen, were my least favorite characters. I was especially a little annoyed with Helen's extreme shyness. This book however, completely changed my view on them and I think I actually ended up liking them more than Grace and Nicholas Sutherland, who are the main characters of Saving Grace. I really enjoyed getting to know Helen better, there was a lot more to her than was apparent in the previous book. She went through a wonderful tranformation throughout this book; she really grew as a person. Now that I got to know Samuel better I also liked him a lot more, his love for both Helen and his daugther Beth was wonderful.
The end of Saving Grace felt a little rushed and it was nice to see some details explained more in this book. I generally really enjoyed seeing the story from another viewpoint. There where a lot of reminders throughout this book of the previous story, but not so much that it became annoying.
I did feel like the ending of this book was again a bit rushed, but all in all I enjoyed this book even more than the previous one!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Review - Saga Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

17131869Read my review for volume 1 here

Genre: comics, fantasy, science fiction
Pages: 144
Rating: 5/5

Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe. Thanks to her star-crossed parents Marko and Alana, newborn baby Hazel has already survived lethal assassins, rampaging armies, and horrific monsters, but in the cold vastness of outer space, the little girl encounters her strangest adventure yet... grandparents.

My thoughts
I enjoyed this volume just as much as I enjoyed the first one! There was a little bit less action, but more background story. I personally really liked seeing Marko as a child and even more seeing how Marko and Alana met. Marko's parents have shown up and that has resulted in some interesting dynamics. Marko and his father Barr seem very alike and I really enjoyed the interactions Barr and Alana had. Marko's mother looks like she and Alana have a lot in common and it will be interesting to see them interact more. Hopefully in the future volumes we also get to know a little more about Alana's background.
In this volume the storyline of The Will trying to rescue a slave girl continues. The Will is probably my favorite perspective to read from after Alana & Marko's. We didn't get to see Prince Robot IV a lot, but I don't find him the most interesting character yet, so I didn't mind.
I loved how Alana read a book that hugely influenced her view of the war between Wreath & Landfall; as a booklover it is always nice to see the power of a book being acknowledged!

Friday, 10 April 2015

Top 10 - Books I want to reread

When I was younger I used to reread a lot, but these days not so much anymore. There are so many books I want to reread, but these are the books that are highest on my list:

36361. The Giver  by Lois Lowry
I recently went to see Insurgent and ever since I really want to read something dystopian again. The last two dystopian books that I read, Shatter Me and The Maze Runner, were a bit of a let down, but I loved The Giver when I read it for the first time and I'm sure I will still enjoy it. I remember it as being very different from other dystopians.

2. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
2767052Also because I'm in the mood to read dystopians and it is one of my all time favorite series! I have never read this trilogy in English and I really want to read it in the language it was originaly written in.
721933. The Arrival by Shaun Tan
I read this graphic novel only a few months ago, but it's such an amazing book that I can't wait to read it again. (Pretty much after I finished the book I already wanted to read it again)

4. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
113436I've recently reread the first book in the series and I really want to read the other books again. I've read the first two books several times, but I don't think I've ever reread the other ones eventhough it is one of my favorite series.

604005. Eragon by Christopher Paolini
I've only ever read the first book in the Inheritance cycle and I really want to read the other books, but I don't remember too much about it, so I should first reread the first book and then continue on.

6. The Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan
 After Harry Potter this is probably my favorite middle grade series. I've read most of the books at least three times and still enjoyed them. The banter between the main characters Halt, Will and Horance is just hilarious!

2318151579937. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A childhood favorite of mine and it has been way too long since I have read this one. When I was younger I used to read this one over and over again.

8. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I read this book for the first time for my French class in high school. At the time my French was really bad and I really struggled with the book, but eventually it became one of my all time favorite stories. I also own a copy in Spanish and it will probably be the first book I read in Spanish.
9. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
Another dystopian! I picked this book up at a second hand store, not knowing too much about it and I was blown away by the story. I think this is the only book I've ever read that really hooked me from page 1.

10. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Just as with Eragon I really want to continue on with this series, but eventhough I really enjoyed it, I don't remember too much about the first book!

What are books you really want to reread?

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Review - Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan

2999495Genre: graphic novel, short stories, fantasy
Pages: 96
Rating: 4.5/5

Breathtakingly illustrated and hauntingly written, Tales from Outer Suburbia is by turns hilarious and poignant, perceptive and goofy. Through a series of captivating and sophisticated illustrated stories, Tan explores the precious strangeness of our existence. He gives us a portrait of modern suburban existence filtered through a wickedly Monty Pythonesque lens. Whether it’s discovering that the world really does stop at the end of the city’s map book, or a family’s lesson in tolerance through an alien cultural exchange student, Tan’s deft, sweet social satire brings us face-to-face with the humor and absurdity of modern life.

My thoughts
After having read The Arrival and absolutely loving it I was really excited to read another book by Shaun Tan.The Arrival is still my favorite book of his, but I also really enjoyed this one. The art was gorgeous again. The book features a mixture of brightly coloured paintings, black and white drawings and collages which add a lot to the stories. You can clearly see that a lot of thought went into designing this book, even the table of content is gorgeous to look at. The stories were very diverse and all very imaginative. Some were definitely better than others, but I enjoyed all of them. Tan has a very distinctive art style and I am a huge fan. I can't wait to read other books by him.
I have a hard time saying what age group this book would be for. Some of the deeper layers of the stories may be lost to children, but they would probably still enjoy it. I think this is a book that people of all ages would enjoy!