Rivers of London

Ben Aaronovitch

This is my first Blind Date with a Book.com encounter. I want to take a moment and share my experience with this service prior to reviewing the book.

Blind Date with a Book.com

I ordered the book based on the five, short descriptors and with great nerves and excitement that I awaited the arrival of my chosen novel. When the book arrived, I was elated to finally see the book – wrapped though it was. As I tore away the wrapping, I got my first peek at my next book. It was a delightful moment and one I intend to repeat next month. Seriously, try this out. It really is wonderful.

Rivers of London (UK)/Midnight Riot (US)

I really, really enjoyed the first Peter Grant novel. It is witty, clever, and unique. The language is filled with British slang, culture, and an intimate knowledge of London, making this a must-read for any Anglophile. Although I am not an avid crime novel reader nor urban fantasy reader, for that matter, I enjoyed this story and have picked up the rest of the series (comics and all) to continue Peter’s story.

The voice of the main character is rich, original, and lovely. Something about his honesty as a narrator makes you connect with him, even when you disagree with his commentary.

I look forward to continuing this series.

Be thankful for one another.
A Bookish Girl

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The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1)

Jessica Townsend

Townsend’s debut novel is delightful, enchanting, and demands to be devoured. Fortunately for me, I had strep when I opened this book and had no reason to stop reading to do things like interacting with friends or running to the grocery.

Hailed as the next Harry Potter, Townsend has been classified right away as a fantasy author that will sweep the next generation of readers. I do not this comparison is correct. Nevermoor does tell the story of a young child, who gets a surprise visitor on her eleventh birthday. The visitor sweeps her away to a world in which she is great and has meaningful relationships. However, the similarities stop there. (Well, there is a baddy that is fairly evil and the baddy wants our heroine and the baddy has a bit of an identity mix-up… but, those are tropes throughout most fiction and do not belong only to Harry Potter. Ok, the heroine has one close friend and gains an unlikely friend throughout the tale. But, that is it!) The book is more a mixture of the best aspects of Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryAlice in Wonderland, and Harry Potter mixed in with a few cups of Townsend’s special sauce and a dash of daring and adventure to create a unique and endearing story for all ages.

My umbrella is at hand to catch the rail back into Nevermoor the moment Townsend invites us back into her whimsical and Wunderful world.

Charmed,
A Bookish Girl

A Skinful of Shadows

Francis Hardinge

Hardinge is one of my favourite modern authors. She writes dark fantasies with depth for all ages. Her heroines are strong, believable role models for young readers. Her newest novel, A Skinful of Shadows, delivers a wonderful adventure perfect for these long, cold fall nights.

I wish I were a better reviewer. Hardinge just creates stories that are wonderful, enchanting, dark, and deep. They are everything I want out of a story, so I have little to write. I encourage everyone who will listen to pick up one of her stories and get hooked on her writing with me.

Be kind, the world is tough enough.
A Bookish Girl

 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

J.K. Rowling

Despite being a huge fan of the series since first laying eyes on the books in fourth grade, I have never completed a re-read of the series. After convincing my husband to read the books I remember cherishing throughout my childhood, I decided I should refresh my memory of the finer details so I can share the series with him. (Although, I am not being quite patient enough. He is still visiting Diagon Alley for the first time, while I am breaking out of the second floor window with the Weasleys.)

Upon reading the first of the series for the first time as an adult, I find Harry Potter is still wonderfully charming. I still feel swept away into a magical realm of delightful whimsy which I wish were real. (I want a Ravenclaw robe, a wand, and a Nimbus 2000 more than ever before.) Rowling still captives me and makes me want to devour the story of Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

I am more critical as an adult reader, but in some ways that makes these books sweeter. The danger feels more real, the adults are more frustrating, and the narrator seems a lot less reliable. I feared this “matured” view would corrupt the series for me. I believe that is why I pushed off rereading the story for so long. However, my adoration for the series is growing deeper. The books are richer for holding up to the jaded scrutiny of adulthood. Like a lover seen through new eyes, I have fallen anew for the series as it unfolds again before me.

I hope you enjoy my journey through Harry Potter as much as I am.

Be loving,
A Bookish Girl

The Last Ballad

I received an advanced reader’s copy of The Last Ballad.

Wiley Cash breathes life into the story of a textile mill worker during the 1920’s. Cash masterfully tells the life of Ella Mae Wiggins with the modern reader in mind. Themes in this novel, such as the systematic oppression of a group of people, racism, the difficulty of rising out of poverty, are issues we still face in our society today. Perhaps that is why this almost ninety-year-old story feels so relevant today.

From the first page, the reader is engrossed by the story unravelling on each page. Cash intertwines several voices, creating depth and dimensions to a story rarely covered in history class. The characters are compelling and each of their stories is haunting, staying with the reader long after the novel is complete.

Be good to each other,
A Bookish Girl

Rough & Tumble

Rhenna Morgan

I must confess that I have never entered the realm of romance novels. I avoided it and believed the stigma. I thought all romance novels were unrealistic fantasies created by women disconnected with reality seeking a man to make their troubles disappear. I decided to set aside that prejudice and try romance after reading a truly awful NYT romance write up. I stumbled across Rough & Tumble in the Goodreads giveaways. The summary intrigued me, so I decided to give it a try.

I am glad that I put my preconceived notions aside. Rhenna Morgan has written an incredible story and beginning to a series with the Haven Brotherhood. The characters are fully developed and the relationship, although quick, is realistic. Morgan tells an action-driven story of electric attraction that keeps you captivated until the last page. I devoured this book in an afternoon and really enjoyed my first adventure into romance novels.

What surprised me the most is how reading a romance novel influenced me. I felt more confident and a lot more comfortable talking about intimate wants and desires. Romance novels are not for women trying to escape into the perfect man to fix their lives. Romance novels are for us all to enjoy. There are so many types and flavours of romance novels: you can find some to build you up, some to escape in to, some to learn from, some to try something new. The stigma is not fair and only hurts the reader who holds onto it. I would suggest trying a romance novel to give you freedom and confidence in an area we all enjoy but often are too shy or uncomfortable to address.

I am glad I opened myself up to a new genre with so much to offer.

Be kind to one another out there,
A Bookish Girl

The Shattered Sea Series

Joe Abercrombie

The series begins with a coming of age tale without any apologies for being the archetypical adventure of an underdog becoming a hero. The king’s second son is a cripple with the prowess of a deer having smelled a wolf. It is this child’s story we follow until he becomes a cunning leader of men. His story is the thread that keeps all the books together. Both the collective series and the individual books that make up this trilogy are outstanding. Abercrombie is a fine craftsman and it shows in his stunning world-building, masterful characterisation, and gripping storylines.

The First Law trilogy (and related novels) can be bleak at times, which is not the case with the Shattered Sea books. Although properly dark and twisted with the true reflection of humanity, Abercrombie lets you keep hope throughout the series. In some ways, that hope makes this series arguably better than the First Law series.

Abercrombie just has a way of taking you into his world and spinning a story that is just right. The secondary characters are strong, fully developed. The world is complete. The battles are gruesome and detailed. The females are whole people. The villains have depth. The heroes have darkness. Everything is just right in an Abercrombie tale. I cannot adequately describe it, but it is there. If you pick up his books, you’ll know what I mean before you finish the first novel.

Be kind.
A Bookish Girl

The Tainted Crown

Meg Cowley

As the first book in the series, this novel has far more action than anticipated. Typically any fantasy series sees a lot of setup in the first novel. Although you get the feeling that setup is occurring throughout the story – a lack of plot twists and a few unanswered questions – you are not overwhelmed by intricate world-building or character introductions. I rather enjoyed this approach.

I felt the writing was blunt in areas. World-building in this story is very cut and dry, which forces the reader to focus on the unfolding story and character relationships. I do feel this takes away from experience a bit. That being said, Cowley does not skimp on creating Caledan- I just like it slightly more poetic. A bit of poetry while setting the scene would make a 4-star into 5-star series.

Cowley writes wonderful characters, which is reason enough to read this series. The evil is suitably dark and drunk for power. The good is not perfect, which makes it plausible and likeable. These are characters that stay with you even after the book has been set down. A good deal of internal monologues occurs throughout the series – the type of ruminating you revisit in your own life.

Overall, a great first novel in the series. I would suggest starting with the novella. It took very little time to read but enhanced my experience. I am looking forward to the next novel in the series.

Be kind.
A Bookish Girl

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Neil deGrasse Tyson

For many, I would HIGHLY recommend this book. If you are just beginning your astrophysics journey and don’t know where you want to explore, this book is a great first start. He provides more depth than a Scientific American article and less depth than an astrophysics textbook. Tyson summarises very well, covers the basics, and introduces those with no background in this area to complex subjects with relatable, chewable metaphors.

If you are a more advanced beginner – a reader who has spent a lot of time with Hawkins, Sagan, and Einstein and with a basic academic background in this area – than this may not be the Tyson book for you. For this advanced beginner, this book is a bit simple, very repetitive of what you already know, and a bit too shallow. But, I think that is exactly what Tyson meant to accomplish.

Be kind and keep reading.

-A Bookish Girl