The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown | Book Review

Pages: 336

Genre: young adult, lgbt characters

About the book

Sydney loses her dad abruptly in a car crash. He was a therapist, helping a lot of people. But with the job came keeping a lot of secrets. After the funeral June, a popular girl Sydney has never talked much to, starts to show interest and they become friends. Their sudden bond doesn’t make much sense to Sydney or anyone else. It’s a story about grief and how differently people deal with it, about friendship and relationships, and discovering who you are and what your limits are.

My thoughts

Four out of five stars

Rating out of five: four

I started out this book with high hopes and immediately loathing how slow it felt.. So far I’ve liked Savannah’s poetry, but while the writing in this book is direct and easy to follow, I didn’t like it overall. The book starts with a huge a loss. And if you’ve ever lost someone, you know that pain and emptiness – this book doesn’t described it particularly elegantly or extraordinarily – resulting in how a beginning that felt really bland. It wasn’t before I was halfway through the book that it started to really pick up.

When Savannah Brown stepped up the action, the writing, characters and mystery really came together. This book describes my first experience being drunk nearly perfectly, and I was laughing out loud. Probably because Sydney also likes to have much control, at least over herself. It’s in passages between characters where I really feel how Savannah is my age and a recent teenager. The questioning of sexuality. The use of technology and phones. It was all really well done.

It’s one of those books that is so difficult to pitch to someone without spoiling the plot, as it has mystery-vibes to it as Sydney tries to figure out who’s harassing her and what happened to her dad. I completely recommed it though! Be prepared to perhaps cry (like I did towards the end).


SPOILERS BELOW

Some particularly interesting parts:

  • The inclusion of a webside similar to the recently banned r/watchpeopledie was unexpected, obviously this protagonist becomes obsessed with the macabre as a coping strategy and she walks the reader through her thoughts around that, as well.
  • The relatable moment of an introvert being like “is she this touchy feely with everyone or am I special?” – it’s an issue.
  • The back and forth of whether Sydney’s view of June was something she had created in her head, on a pedestal, or if their relationship was much more real than that
  • Olivia seems like a very shitty friend?? Like I get that there’s some unreliable narration through Sydney’s eyes, but come on. She feels so realistic.
  • The out of body moment Sydney has when she watches the video of her dad was one of the better written parts and while it was harrowing to the character, it was really a moment I’ll remember in this book
  • A very satisfying, but still realistic ending!

Favourite quotes

“This was when I realized why, exactly, I got along with June, and why it was so easy to trust her: she didn’t treat grief like a problem to be solved, but a constant to be endured.”

“I’m worried that I’ve made you out in my head to be something that you’re not.’ June was silent for a moment, then said, in a small voice, ‘I’m worried I did the same thing for you. […} Like looking out of a window of a house I was locked inside.”

How is my TBR going? Spring Update

At the start of 2019 I made an ultimate TBR for the whole year. As we’re three months in and some more, and it’s starting to become spring everywhere else than where I live (there’s still danger of snow until long into May here) – let’s have a look of how I’ve followed it. I’m actually not sure if I have made any progress.

Books I’ve read so far

Books that were also on my TBR:

  • Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman (review)
  • BRANCHES by Rhiannon McGavin (review coming)
  • Women in science (review)
  • The wicked king by Holly Black (review)
  • Girl mans up by M-E Girard (review)
  • Legion by Brandon Sanderson (I’ve read first and second out of three books)
  • 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (just started reading)
  • The truth about keeping secrets (currently reading)

So from having read a total of 22 books this year, that’s 9 out of 47 books from the TBR list. I’m 19% there? Maybe a bit more considering that some of these books are norwegian and one of the goals was to read more (especially poetry) in my first language. That’s not too bad actually, I’m kind of surprised, even if I’d hoped for better.

My wish for the rest of the year

Is to read some books that becomes favourites! A lot of books have been enjoyable, but from the straight up fiction section I feel let down so far. It can also be because I have been reading a lot less than usual, in total page numbers, because I’ve had a lot to do.

Mystery Blogger Award | Book Things

Thanks to Lori at The Inky Saga for nominating me, give her some love!

What Is the Mystery Blogger Award?

It’s an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion. – Okoto Enigma

The Rules

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

Three Things About Me

  • I love summer, it makes everything better, I also love the ocean (probably obvious because of my weird url) and I live in a place where you can’t go in the ocean without freezing to death during all parts of the year, but in the summer there’s at least not ice on top of it which is a plus.
  • These lists of facts makes me really uncomfortable, honestly. I much prefer questions.
  • I can’t remember my neighbour-cat’s name, and it’s been told to me so many times through the years. I think she knows. But also she loves to stand outside my window when she’s bored, staring at me for up to ten minutes until I come out and pet her. She might be the only creature more happy than me to see the sun return to our village.

My Questions

Do you share your blog with people you know in your real life?

Hell no. The moment someone finds out about this, I’m out.

What are your ultimate blog goals?

Discussing books with people, honestly, because I love my real life friends, but none of them are readers. I’ve got like one reader friend and she’s rereading The Hobbit who knows how many times, no matter what other fantasy I try to throw at her. (Also free books are lovely)

Do you see yourself blogging when you’re 50?

Hah, no don’t think so. Do I see myself turning 50? Not at this pace. I’m 20 and haven’t had the best luck yet.

Who is your role model, fictional or otherwise?

I have a problem with finding role models, I can’t even do it for one essay. I look up to a lot of smart women in the past who has gone against every norm and done science without support until they achieved results.

Malala Yousafzai is one I look up to in many ways. The same for Mary Oliver, who just died. I realize that everyone are people with flaws, and I really like to pay attention to qualities or achievements of people that I would aspire to have instead.

What are some books do you think are underrated?

Most of them.

A time to dance by Padma Venkatraman was so much more than I expected and a very lovely, beautiful and inspiring story of a girl who has her leg amputated refinding what passion is and what spirituality and courage is, in trying to get back to dancing her traditional indian dance.

The library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins for starting as any fantasy story and turning into this really surreal, creepy one. Also questions of god, but in a completely different way. It got like Haruki Murakami surrealism, but with horror and supernatural elements.

BRANCHES by Rhiannon McGavin is a really lovely poetry collection that is being republished sometime this year, and I loved it and hope to write a review soon. I can recommend some of the poems that has been performed and are on youtube like Angel Coda which is about growing up in LA. I enjoy her youtube channel so much as well, have been watching it since I was like 15.

Bonus: You find out the world ends tomorrow; what do you do?

Try to stop it? If I’m not near the hero of a novel – there’s not much to do, is there? I would honestly go on with my life, a week would maybe give me enough time to like travel to somewhere I want with my family. I really like routine and if I didn’t have it the day before the world ends, I would just break down the entire time. Now, a zombie apocalypse on the other hand –

My questions

  1. Which book would you recommend people to read immediately?
  2. What’s the song you listened to most recently?
  3. Fav character trope?
  4. What’s a hobby of yours outside of reading?
  5. Recommend me some book blogs you follow!

I Nominate …

Elena at Hidden Gems – Dora at Swift Coffee – Chaz at Life of Chaz – Brooke at Stacks and Snacks – Bree at In Love and Words – Leslie at Books are the New Black – Luana at Inkstained Forest – Shannon at The Spellbound Librarian – Andy at Andy Winder – Siobhan at Siobhan’s Novelties

No pressure, but it would be fun to see your answers!

Reading slump, looking for Alaska & music: Bi-Weekly Update

These last two weeks have gone both too quickly and too slowly. Which means I was feeling really bad, so I have not done much, but also stressing over how little is being done. So I’m kind of in a reading slump, but one caused by having too much else to do. Thankfully I’d scheduled some posts –

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • The truth about keeping secrets by Savannah Brown (currently reading, unfortunately not loving it yet)

Added to TBR:

  • Utopia for realists by Bregman Rutger – added after he was on Trevor Noah’s The daily show and I really wanted to read more of some out-there new ideas
  • Salt, fat, acid, heat by Samin Nosrat was one of Rhiannon McGavin’s fav books of 2018 and I really love cookbooks done in a different way, so hopefully I’ll pick this up when I have time to try some recipes
  • The raven’s tale by Cat Winter
  • The cold in her bones by Peternelle van Arsdale
  • A lot of polar fantasy books, because I didn’t know that was a thing before this week

Posts I recommend by other blogs:

Art Journal by Ink Stained Forest is such lovely watercolor paintings! The hobbit door is especially mind-blowing. I recently got the Winsor & Newton pocket box watercolors she has, dreaming about being able to paint while travelling, but I haven’t gotten a chance yet. This is really inspiring and lovely

10 Book retellings by Jenacidebybibliophile. A great list of book retellings which I’d never heard of before, including some new releases. Who doesn’t need a Medusa retelling.

Act your age and read YA by Siobhan Novelties and Why can’t female villains get better backstories? are both great discussion posts

Books with the best writing by Ally Writes Things. I really need to read more of the books on this list, because I agree with several of these authors and love the attention to language they all have

The Dysasters by P. C. and Kristin Cast by Books, bones & buffy is a great review about a book I probably won’t read, but I was really interested to see what those authors were up to nowadays

An introduction to the Inky Saga by Inky Saga, after her rebranding from Betwined Reads!

Reading the lowest rated books on my TBR by Laniakea Books. It’s such a great way to shorten the TBR and I want to try it out soon.

Three things on my mind:

Let’s make these three things youtube videos again, because the only thing on my mind right now is having to learn all of my physics syllabus in five days, before a five hour test that decides whether I get in at uni. Ahhh.

I like Troye, but wasn’t a big fan of “I’m so tired”. Before THIS VERSION, it’s perfect.

John Green’s “Looking for Alaska” is being made into a movie, and here’s the first look at the Miles and Alaska, during a visit to the campus where John wrote the book.

My ABSOLUTELY FAV DANCER Koharu Sugawara was back at Urban Dance Camp and they released this dance video, she and Yuki Shibuya always seem to have so much fun. Watching Koharu’s dances always brings a smile to my face.

The Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan | Book Review

Pages: 400

Genre: young adult fantasy

Publish date: 2. April 2019

Synopsis

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself. A prince in danger must decide who to trust. A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light.

My thoughts

Four out of five stars

Rating out of five: four

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I read this book in one sitting and found it very entertaining and better than I expected. It’s more of a high fantasy than a lot of other young adult fantasy books, especially since it has a magic system tied to what’s seen as gods, something I already really like and hope to see more of.

The writing is fenomenal. It’s really what sold me this book already a few pages in. The dialogue is a bit worse at points, but for the most part it had enough humor and cleverness.

The problems I have with these books think I have a lot to do with the level the beginning was at, and the expectation it created in sense of style and progress. I really felt in the beginning that this book was well thought-through, with a vast world and great, complex characters. A minor problem, but one that irked me, was the names. Like why don’t make the names easier, when you chose to introduce so many places and characters at once, slavic-inspired or not. Like main characters are Malachiasz Czechowicz and Nadezha. Thinking more about this, I think it might also be a problem with the voice of the book chosen as very personal, because it’s young adult, and then Nadezha trying to give a bunch of information about this world as if it was knowledge she just gained. I get that it would’ve taken a lot more effort probably, but I feel that it can be done better with enough tweaking.

The big problem I had was the composition of the book and the plot in that it tried to do a lot. I usually never complain about this! But the introduction and reader’s connection with the characters, which turned out to be so interesting, was swallowed by the need to move on with the plot in the story. It succeeded in going straight into one life-and-death conflict, but then it did so again, without yet having given the slower moments in between where you get to know the characters. It was too obvious that the plot needed to progress at a fast pace, especially in how characters – especially Nadezha who is the “outsider” – suddenly puts together things they shouldn’t have been able to! It happens enough times that it became a big problem for me.

I would recommend giving it a try, because there’s things this book does really well, out-weighing what I see as the more awkward parts. Nadezha dealing with conflicts towards her gods and how the gods worked in this world was a favourite part of mine. Still, of the alternatives given to her towards the end, one seemed much less preferable than the others, and I wonder if that was like a flaw in how unbalanced the portrayals actually were or like a very personality based opinion. So if anyone has read the book – I would really like to discuss the Nadezha’s choices at the end!


In general, I liked this book and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy.

The Liebster Award | Book Things

Thank you so much to Siobhan at Siobhan’s Novelties for nominating me. The questions you chose were more difficult than I first thought, but oh so interesting as well!

The Rules

  • Answer the 11 questions you’ve been asked
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers
  • Ask your nominees 11 questions
  • Let them know you’ve nominated them

Siobhan’s questions

Which book would you die to get your hands on?

Patrick Rothfuss looks like how I imagined authors as a child

Like not yet released book? The third of the kingkiller trilogy by Patrick Rothfuss. It’s been seven years this far and I’m not sure the third book exists yet, but I’m also of the very controversial opinion that we as readers aren’t to harass or complain about when the next book will come out, because that’s just really shitty done and unproductive in situations like this. I am very excited for it though, as it’s my favourite fantasy series.

What is your new favourite book character?

I just realized of all the books I’ve read this year, I haven’t liked any character more than average. The plots have been good, but I really miss good characters

For whatever reason, what upcoming book are you afraid to read?

The third book in the kingkiller chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss, again. But also “Again, but better” by Christine Riccio because I like Christine as a youtuber, and have watched some of her progress through her writing videos. But I haven’t actually read anything by her, which I have from Savannah Brown which is also coming out with a debut novel. And the reviews I’ve skimmed through (trying not to get spoiled) haven’t been great?

What reading trait do you wish to break? Why?

I don’t have any. I did find it really frustrating that I can’t read fiction, or especially non-fiction really, when I know I had school work or studying to do (which is most times). But I can’t change that because I found out it’s because – like me binging tv series – if I come across a good book I’m not able to put it down. My brain can suddenly decide to live in the story or get obsessed with an idea from the story that applies to real life, and then it’s over for being productive in other ways. So when I do read I read a couple books in a couple more relaxing days, when I’ve got time for it.

What is your guilty pleasure read?

Fanfictions when I was younger, I guess? I don’t read that much fanfiction anymore, because I haven’t found or been looking for good ones. I have a character type that I feel a bit guilty about liking – the mysterious (usually) guy who has a bit of anger issues and is also really good at fighting, with some complex background, and a strange moral sense (aka doesn’t care about most of the world).

Which literary world would you love to visit?

As a kid I always wanted to be a part of Percy Jackson’s Half-Blood Camp, especially in the earlier books, when people were learning to fight and being good friends, along with greek gods existing (and alluding that other types of gods existed).

Is there an upcoming or a recent post you are or were afraid of posting?

Yes! There’s this post that I delayed twice right after each other. The first time because it was just hastily written. Currently it’s named “Kids should read more than young adult books”. I mostly hesitated because the post started out as one thing and turned into another, which the rewrite made better, but it’s still too long. As I write this I just published the post, but it’s already gotten less likes than I regularly get, so I don’t think it’s going to do very well.

If you could save any fictional character, who would it be?

Kaladin in “The Stormlight Archive” by Brandon Sanderson. He definitely wasn’t the type I was thinking of when describing guilty pleasure character, but he certainly fits. This guy has gone through the worst I’ve ever seen a single character go through in a book/series. He loses himself sometimes, he loses so many others, he’s tossed around in people’s struggle for power, but he also gets back on his feet every time and saves those lives he can in brilliant ways. Please let him survive all this with some sanity left, Sanderson.

What is the longest reading slump you’ve ever been in?

The biggest period of time I didn’t read at all was before and during this summer, as I was unable to because I grew really ill, and it was made more frustrating as you have a lot of downtime in hospitals. A month and a half went by without me reading, according to goodreads.

Which book do you think people should read immediately?

I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall—
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.”

Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings

A Thousand Mornings” by Mary Oliver. It was the book that made me fall in love with poetry for real, it’s easy to read unlike what many thinks of as poetry. I usually pitch it to friends like “subtly critizing society and people through beautiful and life-like descriptions of nature and our connection to it”. Mary Oliver just died, 83 years old, having been a widow since her wife passed away and I teared up the moment I heard (which was a surprise to everyone around me). One of my favourite all time writers.

Which is your favourite female villain?

I’ve been struggling with finding one in novels. If we go the tv route it’s Azula in Avatar: the last airbender.

My questions

  1. Which book would you recommend people to read immediately?
  2. What keeps you blogging?
  3. An upcoming release you’re very excited about
  4. Do you like to write and if so, why? (Doesn’t have to be writing as in a big project like a novel)
  5. What’s your favourite genre and why?
  6. What is a book in your favourite genre that you haven’t seen getting enough love lately?
  7. One character trope you like and one you hate
  8. How many books is on your TBR list and do you wish it was fewer?
  9. What kinds of books were you reading as a 12 year old?
  10. Recommend me some of the blogs you follow!

I tag:

LarkinBrittBeth JonesKatCerysSahiMichaelaKristenNouraNatyBeth

No pressure, but I would be excited to see your answers!

Kids/Teens Should Read More Than Young Adult Books

I interact and follow a lot of book blogs that review solely young adult, I review a lot of young adult books as well. First: Who should read young adult books? Anyone can read young adult books. To get that out of the way first. Well, probably not six year olds, but you get it. I think no one should be ashamed of it. I still got problems with young adult literature though.

My experience as a kid, growing up as a major reader

I’m 20 years old, for reference. When I was 10 and very tired of children’s (now considered middle grade) books, young adult books weren’t a thing in my country – Norway – or in the big library I spent a lot of time in.

I started reading adult books from 10 years old. I loved crime stories and started reading reviews trying to steer away from the novels with graphic sex. I’ve since started reading more young adult literature, apparent from this blog, but for a long time I could find literature on the adult shelves that spoke to my interests and learned me a lot about the world that I wouldn’t otherwise, not through young adult fiction. Not that it might not exist in the young adult universe, somwhere, but that it’s not popular or promoted, and teens won’t have the same access to it. Reading outside of the young adult genre for a kid makes it so their interest aren’t limited to what’s available.

Literature increase empathy, because you see the world through different eyes and read about experiences you wouldn’t have otherwise. Of course, young adult novels does this as well, but the books published is stagnant sometimes, too caught up in what’s popular. What young adult novels are published are very trend-based. Remember the utopia craze? Divergent, Matched by Ally Condie, Hunger Games, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. Right now there’s so many books in the style of “A court of thorns and roses”. They might teach you something, but the protagonist voice in all those books and most young adult novels I still read has this same tone. I think diverse voices and representation is important and can better this and that the focus on diversity in the young adult genre is right now growing a lot, which is great. But it doesn’t change the fact that many authors want a protagonist the young adult reader can relate to, because it’s easier to draw them in and the best way to make it so is a “Mary Sue” character or just one that is the average teen of the group their trying to get to, without too much destinction. (See Darren Shan mentioned below for exceptions).

The adult fiction to avoid at all cost

Here’s the books you don’t let your kid read: Game of Thrones. There’s probably more out there, but there’s no other book that I like regret reading that I should’ve been warned against. Like I wouldn’t let a kid or teen read erotica, that’s what fanfiction written by fellow teens are for. Avoid anything that has sexual violence, because it can be written badly and isn’t something you’d want to expose anyone to through literature for the first time.

Remember Hunger Games? How is YA violence different?

Loved that book, it was very entertaining. It was so hated by parents at the beginning, which is totally understandable, but it really did a few things right. The messages of the first book was through relationships and being cunning, things that could’ve been done in a less sensationalized game of killing kids. Things that probably would’ve been done in a way that made more sense if it was adult book. Still, it introduced teens to the consequences of violence and poverty. Yes, the world-building is simplified with factions, but Katniss sees the poverty she comes from, with people dying and then the riches of the place she gets to. They topple the government, a thing that also would’ve made more sense if they included the “adult” things of actual politics and realistic military strategies. Still, there were propaganda, and Katniss feeling icky about it. About betrayal, and political games and trust. Few young adult books show even that much of moral dilemmas, but it took a lot of dead children to do so and still it’s read by young adults everwhere. I don’t get publishing sometimes. Also, the message seems to get lost in all the sensationalized violence, the movies really fucked up that way.

Fairytales has done it for hundreds of years

I feel like many won’t agree with me, at this point. So let me give you a very much researched topic that I think compares very well – fairytales. Fairytales and folklore has been told to children, introducing them to the more gruesome details of life like death and betrayal through a more magical or fantastical world, making it interesting and not so much of a huge lecture of how to be careful. There’s a lot more reputable scholars out there than this one blog is going to put together today, so I’ll just give some experience –

As a norwegian and kid fascinated with literature, I grew up on the original Grimm’s fairytales. Along with the americanized Disney, kind of. In the Hansel and Gretel I was read as a kid, the kids were left in the forest to die/fend for themselves because their parents don’t know what else to do during a famine. Cinderella’s step sisters are ordered by the evil stepmother to cut her heel, the other one her toes, to fit into the glass shoes, the blood dripping and exposing them as liars. Little Red Riding Hood’s grandma is cut out from the wolf’s stomach, in a really grotesque way. The violence isn’t just removed in other versions, the needs of the characters and the outcome is completely changed! The cruel actions of some humans aren’t showcased. The risks are smaller. The courage less great because of it. There’s a big difference between Cinderella just not getting the prince, and continuing having to work like a slave in an abusive household.

Most young adult novels Disney-fy the content in the same way, and it just removes a lot of the moral components along with the risks.

Who decides what is YA?

I would like to know the answer to that question if someone has it. The books aimed at younger readers that I loved as a kid was like books by Darren Shan and I still remember being grossed out and fascinated by his demon series (Demonata) where the main character in one of the first scene of the first book gets back at his sister by laying the intestines of a rat in the hair towel of his older sister while she’s in the shower. It was just so different from anything that I would ever do and the thought process behind the character was fascinating, it was one of the first time I was looking into a psychology that weren’t anywhere near me. This is an example of a technically young adult book that might be too much for your average kid, but it’s really good horror. IT’S MUCH LESS VIOLENT THAN HUNGER GAMES, BUT MORE FUCKED UP? Between this type of book and Hunger Games I feel the young adult genre never quite figured out it’s limits. This book isn’t promoted openly as young adult any longer, but my library still has it shelved at so and it certainly was considered it when published in 2013. 300 Goodreads users agree.

In conclusion

I love fairytales so so much. What I hope people are getting from this post is that 1) keep kids and young adults away from books with sexual violence 2) let young adults choose what they want to read 3) as a teen it was personally very boring to read what adults thought I should care about (romance and ponies) and I would be a worse (well, less empathic) person if I did, a hundred percent. Young adult books are incredibly important for so many reasons, but it’s beneficial to not limit someone to just that age group because it’s somehow “safer”, especially when that’s very debatable.

I’m not a parent. I completely understand that one might want to shield your kids and teens from certain things. But this post is brought to you by me realizing several of my fellow 20 year olds have never had a person close to them die, or dealt with loss. Which is great for them, but how are they going to learn how to grieve if the first person that dies is the one they care about the most? There’s certain things I believe on a fundamental level children has a right to know about, to not be kept from them to protect an “innocence”, because as a parent that’s not protecting them in the long run or if powers outside of anyone’s control create tragedies. I don’t think that needs to just come from literature, but it’s a great way for the teens to familiarize themselves with difficult themes on their own. Which is lost when you show violence without the consequences or any action without the moral component!

My New Favourite Book: Women in Science

It’s Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World
by Rachel Ignotofsky
and it’s so gorgeous and well-done, I was smiling wide while reading the whole thing.

I LOVE THIS BOOK. I realized that the moment I laid my eyes on it because the illustrations are EVERYWHERE and adorable. I love it so much. I found this book by listening to a podcast called “Talk Nerdy” where Rachel Ignotofsky was on talking about the books and other things. She’s also created books with Women in Sports and The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth. This book is written with kids in mind, because the writing is elegantly simple and accessible. I’m going to gift this to every kid I know, I would recommend it to everyone else as well.

Why I think encouraging girls to study science is very needed

I’m going to study science at university, but as I was growing up I’ve seen nearly just male scientists and had only male science teachers (until now). Not only that – growing up I had no female friends interested in science! What you choose as a career isn’t just based on your own interests and views, but things like who you can imagine yourself as in the future, in ways it’s difficult to control or pinpoint. I grew up in a place where people were very encouraged to follow what they were good at and make a living out of it, while where I’ve spent the last five years is more focused at getting the right degree or experience to work in one of the existing jobs. I’ve seen those different mindsets, along with economical situations of course, really make an impact on people’s choices.

I’ve never tried to shape my life after role models, but then I’ve also never had anyone I wanted to be like. This book gives so many examples of women who followed their passions and made their own path. And that’s really needed, because you want science (especially maths and physics, which is still stigma around) to be introduced as viable alternatives.

Here’s the thing that sucks: people don’t understand at even smaller levels what makes it harder to be a girl in science. It’s 2019 and I’ve heard a lot of jokes from my own physics class, every one of them individually harmless, but together they further a division. The fact is that I’m not trying to prove myself every time I step into a classroom, but that’s a choice I had to make to be able to be curious and ask questions, and something I see others are struggling with. I think it’s important to not divide scientists into “scientists and female scientists”, but mostly at a higher level, because as long as it’s not as many male and female choosing the fields, it is needed to encourage girls in different ways to cancel out those different social views that has gotten us here. One of the guys in my class was disagreeing with one of many invitations to visit a university being only for women, and I get the immediate reaction. But it shows how hard it is to make someone understand how it can affect a person growing up seeing girls staying dumb on purpose because doing well on math tests isn’t cool or likeable, or encouraged by parents really, and how it’s so hard to find other girls with shared interests.

But also look at the norwegian scientist featured! I was really excited, even though it’s one of the few I already know more about in this book. To round this off- I’ve seen more initiatives to get girls/women into science fields, some of them natural, others very cringe-inducing, and really think and hope it’s getting better than it was just ten to five years ago.

I really adore how this book shows scientists in different styles, ages and personalities.

Vacation: great friends & hospitalization | Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • The collected poems of Emily Dickinson (currently reading)
  • Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Posts I recommend by other blogs:

Added to TBR:

  • My lady Jane by Cynthia Hand
  • The serpent king by Jeff Zenter
  • The way of shadows by Brent Weeks (because the Legendarium podcast is talking about it, and it looked interesting)
  • Dutch girl: Audrey Hepburn and WW2 by Robert Matzen

Three things on my mind:

  • I had an absolutely great time at a cabin with a couple friends, spending three days there during winter vacation. We relaxed, made food and went on short walks during the day, partied at night until 5am and still felt great waking up before everyone else on the mornings, to my surprise. Also played cards against humanity for the first time, a lot of it, and it was really fun and you get to learn the others humor.
  • I hate hospitals irrationally much, but I’m also unbelievably thankful to them. Unlucky bad shit happened again like it has a tendency to when I’m finally on top of life again! (This is starting to be the rule of my life, but we’re just going with it at this point). I had a bad reaction to a vaccine, which doctor found out is probably more likely to happen because of immune-surpressing medicines I’m on (autoimmune disorder). I really hate throwing up.
  • This travel video with a roadtrip through Mexico was so well shot and Jacob is really the only traveller I watch now. Like he’s got a really unusual lifestyle and a good balance between showing the spectacular places and negative sides with crises happening while travelling, but with a good, problem-solving, out-going attitude towards them. Just how unusual he lives is shown through his very minimal packing guide, too minimal for my taste as there’s no damn wool. How are you surviving in the cold, Jacob? Get a first aid kit in there! But he really seems so friendly, is extremely productive and what I would consider a true entrepreneur.

The Wicked King by Holly Black | Spoilery Book Review

The folk of the air #2, the sequel to The Cruel Prince

Pages: 340

Genre: young adult fantasy

Synopsis

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring. The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

My thoughts

Four out of five stars

Rating out of five: three

Usually I try to keep reviews with minimal important spoilers for plot points. This review is filled with spoilers, because it’s a sequel and I find it nearly impossible to discuss it without them. Here’s your warning.

I didn’t like this book as much as I thought I would. On one side I really like Jude as a character, but she didn’t feel consistent through the book. The plot also felt a bit too straight-forward compared to the first book. The worst offender is the world-building, which feels more like a sliver of “A court of thorns and roses” by Sarah J. Mavas, without the awesomeness that is politics of separate courts and Velaris, than actually made by Holly Black, at this point.

The romance. It’s there through the whole book, constantly being teased, the chemistry is there, but definitely with some weird power and trust dynamic that Jude and Cardan had to figure out. I really like the enemies to lovers storyline in general. In this book I felt it at points were too much spelled out, instead of like convincing me they were attracted to each other. The he hates you and so he loves you more for it felt too artificial.

The ending. From reading other reviews, I think this is what seals the deal for those who really like this book. I saw the ending coming too early. I didn’t see every twist of it, like the Ghost, which was nice. This might be because of my view of the romance all along and how I really didn’t trust the character that is Cardan would to give up an ounce of power willingly. The moment Jude gave up her control of him, I threw my hands up in the air in defeat. So I definitely had interest in which way it would go, if she would go in the trap. The someone you trust have already betrayed you was too much of a hint as well.

The characters. I love characters, especially protagonists, that aren’t just good. It was what made me love the first book. I felt Jude was inconsistent in this sequel, because the sides of her that the plot needs are what is played up in each scene. Like the girl is suddenly a master tactic, then her self-esteem is low, then she needs to be something else for the chemistry to Cardan to work, then she needs to order him around and at the same time feel low and human enough that she would stay and get ridiculed. A character can of course change roles, but it got to be a problem for me. Again it comes down to authors like Sarah J. Maas who has done this “elf pretend they’re evil” thing so much better already. There were opportunities I wish the book would’ve taken instead, roads it went down in the first book, like exploring struggles related to Jude going darker and not wanting to give up power, instead of her talking scared to herself about it. It just further shows the different view she has of herself and the master-mind position the others are constanly giving her in a way that doesn’t make sense.

I really did like one thing in particular – Jude having second thoughts about Oak and just the dilemma of shielding a child. Wondering if that makes the child more likely to grow up less empathic or not understanding consequences. Or like Jude puts it: “Now growing used to sugary cereal and a life without treachery.”

In general it seemed like this book lacked smooth transitions through plot points and could’ve had more well-rounded characters and world with more editing and thought put into it. Especially if like more place was given to exploring moral dilemmas, or going down the road of Jude thinking in accordance with her more ruthless actions, turning a bit darker for those she loved or to protect Oak. I feel like Holly Black usually has a high quality when it comes to characters and world-building, so when I wasn’t quite feeling the plot, these things started to annoy me.

My feelings reading this book: it was entertaining, but also annoying at points, could’ve been done better

Would recommend it if you liked “The cruel prince”, but be aware that it might not do the same things for you and go into it with lower expectations.