Mini Reviews | The Disappointed Edition

Hi everyone! I’m so behind on writing my reviews. Honestly. So behind. So I figured I’d make some mini reviews! Not only because that will make it easier for me to catch up, but also because at times I don’t have a ton to say about each book I’ve read. Today, I’m writing a review on two books that have recently let me down: His Bloody Project and The Girls. So let’s get to it! 


the girlsThe Girls by Emma Cline
Published: 14.06.2016

Genre: Fiction (Historical), Adult
Rating: 2.5/5 stars – disappointed and detached
Goodreads

SynopsisEvie Boyd is desperate to be noticed. In the summer of 1969, empty days stretch out under the California sun. The smell of honeysuckle thickens the air and the sidewalks radiate heat.

Until she sees them. The snatch of cold laughter. Hair, long and uncombed. Dirty dresses skimming the tops of thighs. Cheap rings like a second set of knuckles. The girls.

And at the centre, Russell. Russell and the ranch, down a long dirt track and deep in the hills. Incense and clumsily strummed chords. Rumours of sex, frenzied gatherings, teen runaways.

Was there a warning, a sign of things to come? Or is Evie already too enthralled by the girls to see that her life is about to be changed forever?

review

I had heard such amazing things about this book. As I’m trying to expand my genre-horizon, I figured I’d pick up this adult fiction novel. From what I could gather, this was about a teenage girl that got caught up in a cult which ended up killing some people. I heard this was a fictional version of the Manson murders. Sounds exciting, right? Wrong.

I can’t remember exactly how old Evie is at the time, but I believe she’s 14. Correct me if I’m wrong. The story is told in two timelines: one when she’s 14, and one when she is a middle aged woman.

Very little of this story is actually about her involvement with the cult. When it is, she mostly talks about Suzanne (the older girl who got her involved with the cult). Throughout most of this book Evie is either a) lonely and angry at the world, b) a horrible person to others or c) thinking about sex. 

I understand she’s not supposed to be likeable. But I hated how she treated every person, aside from Suzanne. She was always rude. She didn’t always say the rude things she was thinking, but she was always thinking them. I don’t understand how anyone can be so hateful to her supposed friends, and family. 

And the amount of sex in this book is insane. To be clear: I’m not against sex in books, whether it’s adult or YA. But hear me out. Evie is 14 years old. Yet in every single moment, she is thinking about sex. Has her friend had sex? I want sex with her brother. Has he had sex with his girlfriend? Are they doing it right now? She is sexy. ON AND ON IT GOES. I understand that a teenager does think of sex. But please tell me there is something else going on in their lives! 

Overall, this book just disappointed me. There was far too little of the actual cult in there, I don’t even know why the adult-Evie perspective was there because it wasn’t relevant to the story at all, and I was so uncomfortable with the sexual portrayal of a 14 year old girl.


his-bloody-project
His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet
Published: 05.11.2015

Genre: Crime, Historical Fiction
Rating: 3/5 stars –  didn’t do anything for me
Goodreads

Synopsis: A brutal triple murder in a remote Scottish farming community in 1869 leads to the arrest of seventeen-year-old Roderick Macrae. There is no question that Macrae committed this terrible act. What would lead such a shy and intelligent boy down this bloody path? Will he hang for his crime?

Presented as a collection of documents discovered by the author, His Bloody Project opens with a series of police statements taken from the villagers of Culdie, Ross-shire. They offer conflicting impressions of the accused; one interviewee recalls Macrae as a gentle and quiet child, while another details him as evil and wicked. Chief among the papers is Roderick Macrae’s own memoirs, where he outlines the series of events leading up to the murder in eloquent and affectless prose. There follow medical reports, psychological evaluations, a courtroom transcript from the trial, and other documents that throw both Macrae’s motive and his sanity into question. Graeme Macrae Burnet’s multilayered narrative will keep the reader guessing to the very end.

review

Another one I had such high expectations of. Look, this was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize (I think). That gives me certain expectations. And I thought the concept was really interesting too!

It’s set in a little village in rural Scotland, where a brutal murder takes place. 17-year-old Roderick is arrested and tried for the crime. The story isn’t really told as a story, but rather through the different documents related to his case. You have a few witness accounts, a diary/journal Roderick made of his life leading up to that moment, a psychologist’s views, his lawyer’s views, and a record of the trial. You sort of have to make up your own mind as to whether he’s guilty or not? 

That all sounded really fun to me. Instead, it just left me bored.

You get introduced to the crime by the witness accounts, which were really short and rather interesting. Then Roderick gets to tell you about his entire life. I felt mostly sorry for him, but then I also intensely disliked him. He was smart, but didn’t apply himself to anything. His actions were so incredibly weird and inexplicable at times, and reading about them through his eyes didn’t help you understand him either. From reading his account, I decided he was guilty. Although I also felt like the intended victim deserved what he got. 

I think the point of this book is to make you think about crimes from multiple points of view. Yes, murder is horrible. But are there mitigating circumstances? To what degree can you be held accountable for your actions under certain circumstances, and how can you tell whether someone is still truly sane? I did quite like that aspect. I wouldn’t know how to solve the issue of his sentence nowadays. Yes, I do believe he was guilty. Yet I also believe he was abused so badly, he cannot be tried as completely sane. I appreciate that this book made me think. Yet I wasn’t excited or intrigued by the overall story whatsoever. 

The last aspect of this book, that I found jarring yet realistic was how the accounts differed. Some people saw Roderick as a kind and quiet young guy. Others as a mean and stupid kid. There are subtle differences between Roderick’s story and the autopsy reports too, which make you question everything. 

I’ll conclude by saying this: I think the concept of this book is wonderfully intriguing. Yet I never felt attached to any of the characters, nor did I feel drawn into their story. I trudged through, so I could finish the book. But I wasn’t excited to pick it up.

Top Ten Tuesday: The Most Unique Books I’ve Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week I will make a list of 10 books, authors or other bookish things surrounding a certain topic. This week, we’re talking about the most unique books we’ve read! 

The Song of Achilles of Madeline Miller // This book is a retelling of the Iliad. It’s told through the eyes of Patroclus, as he falls in love with Achilles.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak // I think this book is unique because of the perspective. It’s told by Death, as he tells us about Liesel’s life. Such a  unique POV to read a WWII story from…

The Secret History by Donna Tartt // I can honestly say that I wouldn’t know how to describe this book, or recommend someone a similar one. It’s the story of a group of college students who murdered one of their friends. You’re reading about their friendship, their studies (Greek/Latin), their personalities, and why they murdered one of their own without any remorse. 

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton // Magical realism. It’s just so wonderful and unique. It’s the story of Ava and the lives of her maternal ancestors. Let’s just say her family has quite a tragic backstory.

All the Rage by Courtney Summers // What makes this book unique is the way it talks about rape culture in today’s society. It’s unapologetic and honest.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli // Yes, I agree this is a very subjective choice. I chose this contemporary book as unique because it’s one of the first contemporaries in which I could truly relate to the main character. I recognized so much of myself in Molly. Only one other contemporary has really mastered that. So much of her struggles were (and some still are) mine.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman // This is the other contemporary I was talking about. I love this story about an introvert girl with passions. A beautiful story doesn’t always have to be centered around a road trip, a bucket list, or a dramatic event. Most teenager’s lives are NOT like that at all. Instead, they are more like Frances’. 

This Is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp // A story covering only 54 minutes? That seemed pretty unique to me. I always wondered how the author would manage to make us care about these characters in so little time. With so little chance of growth. But I was all in, after the first few pages.

Annihilation (Southern Reach #1) by Jeff Vandermeer // This is a unique science fiction story, or at least in my opinion. It’s also incredibly weird. The story is told by the biologist. None of the women in the field experiment/trip actually are addressed by name. They are all just named after their profession, which removes the human connection you create with a character.

Night Film by Marisha Pessl // This is a murder mystery, with pictures, autopsy files and websites included in the book. It kind of feels like you’re trying to figure things out alongside them? As if you’re one of the investigators.


So those are my picks! I know that you probably won’t agree with all of them, but I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂

Weekly Wrap Up | April 9th, 2017

what i read 80c8b0

Emma by Jane Austen // ★★★.5 // I enjoyed this more than I thought I would! I’ll probably do a full review soon, but I thought it had some pretty funny moments even though the second volume was far too long. 

Inheritance (Inheritance Cycle #4) by Christopher Paolini // ★★★★★ // I’ve finished my re-read of the series! It had been about 6 years since I last read this, and I remembered absolutely nothing save for the ending. It was almost like reading it for the first time again.

Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking // Read in translation: Hygge: de Deense Kunst van het Leven, translated by Barbara Lampe // ★★★★★ // This book encapsulates everything I love in life. Just everything. 

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi // Read in translation: Als Adem Lucht Wordt, translated by Anneke Bok // ★★★★★ // I can’t tell you how emotional this auto-biography made me. If you don’t know, this is Paul’s story: a neurosurgeon diagnosed with lung cancer.

what i watched 80c8b0

13 reasons why

I started watching 13 Reasons Why in the past week! I still have about 4 episodes left, and I haven’t read the book, so no spoilers please. This show has definitely made me think about how every action has consequences, but also about how the way we view events and actions is really clouded and subjective. 


That was my week! How was yours? Did you read, watch or do anything fun? I’d love to hear about it! 

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite LGBTQIA+ Reads

Hi everyone! I’m back with another Top 5 Wednesday post today! I didn’t do one last week, mainly because I didn’t have much to say on the topic. I barely ever play video games, and lately I haven’t had time for it at all. So I don’t really know which books would make great games? Anyway, today I’m talking about my favorite LGBTQIA+ reads!

Books mentioned: 

  1. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
  2. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  3. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  4. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  5. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Top 5 Wednesday: An SFF TBR

Hi everyone! I’m here with another #T5W post, and I’m talking about 5 SFF books that are currently on my TBR, and I want to get to soon. I tried to pick ones I hadn’t already mentioned in my Tome Topple TBR video. I will leave all the Top 5 Wednesday information in the description box of my video. 

Books mentioned: 

  1. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton 
  2. Assassin’s Quest (Farseer #3) by Robin Hobb
  3. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
  4. Prince of Thorns (Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence
  5. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Top Ten Tuesday: Fandom Items I Want

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week I will make a list of 10 books, authors or other bookish things surrounding a certain topic. This week, we’re talking fandoms! So I want to talk about a few fandom items I really want to own.

Harry Potter // Trio Mug (Nikkittysan, Society6)

The Raven Boys // The Trees Speak Latin Mug (Evie Seo, Society6)

Six of Crows // No Mourners, No Funerals Mug (Evie Seo, Society6)

The Hobbit // The Hobbit Door Carry-All Pouch (Janismarika, Society6)

The Lord of the Rings // The Return of the King Carry-All Pouch (Hemingways, Society6)

Harry Potter // Hogwarts Alumni Tote Bag (Hemingways, Society6)

Harry Potter // Hufflepuff Watercolor Mug (Snazzy Sisters, Society6)

Harry Potter // Wingardium Leviosa Tote Bag (Snazzy Sisters, Society6)

The Raven Cycle // I’m being perfectly fucking civil mug (Wonderless Designs, Society6)

Harry Potter // Hufflepuff B&W Mug (Stella Bookish Art, Society6)


Those are 10 of the fandom items currently on my wishlist! Do you own any of these? What are your favorite items?