Sunday Recommendations: Books Around The World

At some point in this blog’s history, I used to share recommendation posts every Sunday, following whatever theme had come to my mind, but it’s been forever since I last did one. I’m not giving up on this idea entirely, and this week I wanted to share some recommendations of books set in various countries. I have already done this a few times, and the idea is that I will present you with seven books, each from a different country. (Check out part 1 and part 2 as well!)


Australia: A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

Genre: YA, Conteporary
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

I read A Thousand Perfect Notes earlier this year, and as it turns out, I haven’t reviewed it yet, but I absolutely loved it! It talks about music, growing up, and is set in a small Australian town. For some reason, I always want to read more books set in Australia, and this one was a really good start, no matter how much it broke my heart. Still worth it. [TW: Parental Abuse]

France: The Years by Annie Ernaux

Genre: Non Fiction
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I feel like I haven’t talked about this book in forever, so it was time I did again. Les Années is a non fiction book following the life of the author from when she was born in 1940 to the present day, through her childhood, and adulthood as she became a professor, and then author. It deals with her own life, and how France evolved in the background. And it’s one of my absolutely favourite books. (Full review)

The Philippines: Scandalized by Tara Frejas

Genre: Romance
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Scandalized was a really lovely book set in between the Philippines and South Korea, where the main character came from, and where she lived and worked. This book was really adorable and unlike anything else I’d ever read. I would definitely recommend it to kpop and kdrama lovers! (Full review)

Afghanistan: The Kite Runner by Khaleed Hosseini

Genre: Contemporary, Literary Fiction
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Kite Runner is one book I will never forget, and also probably will make it to my list of best books I’ve read in 2018. In between war zones, it’s a story of father-and-son relationships, of growing up and accepting yourself, and of frienships. It will most likely break your heart, but it will be worth it, and you will find yourself transformed by the end of the story, which will take you through Afghanistan, Iran, the US and more. (Full review)

Yemen: Intisar’s Car by Pedro Riera and Nacho Casanova

Genre: Graphic Novel
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Few graphic novels read like a punch in the face (or the stomach) but this one does. Based on a true people, it describes the life of modern women in Yemen, in between progress and tradition. I learned so much while reading this book, and I need the sequel asap. (Full review)

Sweden: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Genre: Romance
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

This one doesn’t really take place in Sweden, but has a Swedish main character who moves to the United States, and was written by a Swedish author, so that made it enough for it to make it on my list. This was such a sweet, beautiful story about finding your place in this world, it made me really happy, and I can only recommend it to all book lovers. (RTC)

Japan: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Genre: Literary Fiction
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐/5

If you’re looking for a book that will take you through the streets of Tokyo, and the mountains of the Japanese countryside, then Norwegian Wood is definitely the thing for you. Warning: this book also deals with mental illness in ways that sometimes made me uncomfortable, but if it’s something that doesn’t bother you, then I can definitely recommend it, and the writing is very beautiful. (Full review) [TW: Depression, Suicide]


That’s it for today, thank you so much for reading, and feel free to leave your own book recommendations in the comments!

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Top 5 Wednesday: Books to give Paris lovers as gifts

Top Five Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Lainey @GingerReadsLaineyand she has passed down the torch to Sam @ThoughtsOnTomes. For more information and for future topics you can check out the goodreads group.


The theme for this week was books to give [fill in blank] as gifts, and I first thought about talking about books music lovers would love, but I actually couldn’t think of that many books, so I looked for another topic and decided to talk about books for people who love Paris! Because yes, I miss Paris very much, and can’t wait to be back there.

1. The House That I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay is one of my absolute favourite books, and takes place in Paris during the late 19th century. It follows an old lady called Rose who refuses to move out from her apartment as her building in central Paris is about to be destroyed. (On the same topic, I can also recommend Emile Zola’s Ladies Paradise or The Kill).

2. Zazie in the Metro by Raymond Quenaud takes place in Paris during the 50s and follows a little girl who is visiting Paris for the day, and staying with her eccentric uncle and his neighbours. I studied this book when I was a senior in high school, and it was so odd I will never forget it. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent books if you’re looking for stories set in Paris!

3. How could I possibly make this top without including Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins? When I read this book, I immediately fell in love with it. It really captures the spirit of the Quartier Latin, and it even talks about my favourite bookshop Shakespeare and Company. If you’re looking for books about Paris, this is the one for you.

4. Les Années, or in English The Years by Annie Ernaux is also one of my favourite books. It is non fiction and follows the life of the author through the second half of the twentieth century. Sometimes in Paris, sometimes in other French cities, it captures what was life in France when you grew up after World War II, and I can only recommend this book.

5. And to complete this list, All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This one also doesn’t take place exclusively in Paris but has some amazing scenes set there, and I loved the museum description. Also a great book set in France, and great historical fiction, I quite believe it’s a must read.


Thank you so much for reading, and feel free to share your Top 5 Wednesday link in the comments! Have a wonderful day ♥

Tess of the d’Ubervilles: My Review + Life Update

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I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks recently while I cook, fold my laundry, or drive to work. I’ve almost ran out of them actually, and I think I will have to get a new Audible subscription. Or maybe I could try Scribd? I still have one book and a half to listen to before I completely make up my mind, we shall see. Anyway, one of those audiobooks I listened to recently was Tess of the d’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy. I picked it up for two reasons: first, that it was a classic, and one I wanted to read at some point in my life, and the second time, because it was narrated by Davina Porter, and I think she is a fantastic narrator. Then when I started reading it, a few people told me how much they had loved this book, and I guess this got my expectations up: but in the end, I was mostly disappointed.

Title: Tess of the d’Ubervilles
Author: Thomas Hardy
Genre: Classics, Literary Fiction
Release: 1891
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐/5

I know I’m not very active on the blog these days, or even on instagram for that matter (partly due to the fact that the algorithm doesn’t make it as rewarding as it used to be), and it’s partly due to the fact that I haven’t been reading a lot lately, though that is no excuse. The fact that I haven’t been feeling well as well might be an excuse and I’m going to blame that on winter, and the fact that I’m not really happy with my life right now. I’m kind of spiralling down if you will. But hopefully this too shall pass. ANYWAY. Back to Tess. One of my latest reads was Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy, narrated by the brilliant Davina Porter and to be honest I didn’t really like this book. I really WANTED to like it but I winded up being disappointed. I tried, and many people told me how much they had loved this book, so I really wanted to enjoy it as well, but I simply did not see what others saw in this book.

In some ways, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Yet another 19th century classics that didn’t live up to the hype — if there is such a thing as hype when it comes to classics, you know, I just wished I would have enjoyed it more. For some reason, I also compared it to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë a lot, and it only disappointed me more, because I love Jane Eyre. Tess’s mother also reminded me of Pride and Prejudice‘s one and only Mrs Bennett, who desperately wanted to marry off her daughters, and so on. Except there wasn’t a good old Mr Bennett to balance that, instead we had a drunkard attached to the idea that his family used to be noble, but who didn’t do anything. These are some of the thoughts that crossed my mind while I was reading Tess of the d’Ubervilles, along with the fact that there was too much caring-about-what-society-and-other-people-think. But I guess that’s only human. I just felt that it was too much for me too handle.

I was frustrated way too many times during the story, by both Tess and Angel. And in addition to that, I found it all too predictable — even the ending. I still gave it 3 stars because I liked the writing style, and the narration by my queen Davina Porter. It also gave me a few laughs in between the religious sermons and the misogyny, and I didn’t feel like giving it a lower rating. But that’s all.


As for what other audiobooks I’ve been listening to lately, I might write a review for The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald, which was a lovely and sweet story, itself full of love for books. I’m listening now to a french story called La Route des Coqueliquots, by Véronique Biefnot and Francis Dannemark. As for physical reads, I haven’t moved from Can We All Be Feminists by June Eric-Udorie and A Blade So Black by L. L. McKinney. I think I’m kind of in a book slump. Actually, nothing really motivates me. I miss summer, I miss Paris, and I don’t really feel like doing anything these days. My life plans for the future change constantly, to come back to the fact that I want to work in a bookshop. Or is it because of The Readers of Broken Wheel? I always tend to be influenced by the books I read, and I don’t know what to think anymore.

I’m going to stop here, because I’m not here to depress you, I just wanted to share a little bit more than a book review today, so here we go. Wish you all a wonderful day, and a happy holiday season ♥

Thoughts on the Monsters of Verity Duology

 

I know these books have been reviewed over and over again, but I loved them so much I wanted to talk about them as well. I read This Savage Song back in March (or April?) and completely fell in love with it. I just read the sequel Our Dark Duet in November, and I loved it just as much as the first one, even though it really broke my heart.

Author: Victoria Schwab
Genre: Fantasy
Release dates: 2016 & 2017
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The story:

In the town of Verity, violence breeds monsters. August himself was born of an act of violence, and dreams of nothing but to be human. Kate, daughter of one of the town’s leaders, wants to be feared like her father. When the two of them meet, an unlikely friendship blooms in the midst of war. Both of them are torn between family duties and what they think are right, on the path to making Verity a better place.

My opinion:

I absolutely LOVED the concept of this story. The idea that violence can breed monsters is something I found so perfectly fitting and fascinating, I absolutely fell in love with this universe. The books could be a bit too violent sometimes, but I couldn’t help but want to know what would happen next, and how Kate and August’s problems would be solved — if they would be solved at all.

I really loved the two main characters. They were original, and unique in their own ways. They completed and balanced each other in many ways. I remember Victoria Schwab saying in her interview at the Paris bookfair that she wrote all her boys like Hufflepuffs and all her girls like Slytherins, which is perfectly fitting in the case of this very pair. There was also room for character development, and I loved how they evolved through the first, and then the second book. It was so moving to see Kate getting attached to other people when she had been a loner for her entire life, and heartbreaking as well to watch August growing harder and trying not to feel things anymore. I also loved the side characters like August’s sister Isla. She was such a sweet and complex character. Soro, who is introduced in the second book, is also fascinating in how cold they are, so different from August and Isla — or Leo for that matter — and yet they are EXTREMELY interesting in my opinion. When it comes to adult figures, Henry Flynn and his wife were also very interesting, while Harker and Sloan were some fascinating villains.

As for the writing style, as expected of Victoria Schwab, it was fantastic. It is so easy to follow, and get into the story through Schwab’s writing and incredible world building. Overall, the story is well wrapped in between the two books. At the end of it all, I could kind of feel like I had been through hell and come back, and I am forever grateful to Victoria Schwab for taking me on such a crazy, incredble journey. It’s also more than that as it presents the reader with a thoughtful reflection on violence, and how it can affects us. It also brings up the question of forgiveness, and whether some people deserve it or not, even in the most unexpected moments. This book is not just an adventure or a fight, it shows up how far human beings can go on their path to power and victory. That gives the story even more meaning, and I believe makes the book even better.

In case you hadn’t figured that out yet, MONSTERS OF VERITY was one of my favourite reads this year, which is only improved by the fact that I met Victoria Schwab this year, and I would definitely recommend those books!

Next on my list: City of Ghosts, as I already own it, and Vengeful, as soon as I get my hands on it!

Top 5 Wednesday: Bookish Wish List

Top Five Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Lainey @GingerReadsLaineyand she has passed down the torch to Sam @ThoughtsOnTomes. For more information and for future topics you can check out the goodreads group.


As the holiday season is upon us, the theme for this week is books or bookish itemps you would like to receive as gifts.

1. Harry Potter illustrated edition volume 3

I got volume two for my birthday and I think it is stunning, so I would love to get volume three, as I know it is also out. I also believe that these illustrated editions are really great present, because they’re really beautiful books, so of course that belonged on my list.

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2. A new Audible subscription

I started listening to audiobooks a few years ago, and I kind of stopped when I moved back to Paris last year. These past few months I’ve been spening more time driving around and I started listening to audiobooks again, and I think an Audible subscription (or say, a Scribd subscription) would be a great gift! (That being said I also know that I won’t get many bookish things this Christmas because I asked for practical things like a suitcase, yay adult life…)

3. A fandom cookbook

I absolutely love cook books, and I often notice in shops these fandom cookbooks featuring recipes and such inspired by books or TV shows, such as The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook or Doctor Who: The Official Cookbook. This seems like a lot of fun to try out, and I believe it would also make a great, original present. Like, they’re beautiful books and I love getting beautiful books.

4. The Netflix adaptation of Narnia

So I heard that Netflix was going to make a TV adaptation of Narnia, which is basically my favourite series of all time, and can I please get it already? This would be the best Christmas present ever, thank you very much.

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5. Bookish candles

I love candles and I love lighting a candle while I read. I’ve also been eying some bookish candles such as this one by Frostbeard Studio, and I also believe candles always make great present, and they rightfully belong on this list.


And that’s it for today, thanks for reading! What bookish things do YOU have on your wishlist this holiday season?

November Wrap Up

I can’t believe November is already over, I really did not see it come and go and I barely had time to read anything it seems? I don’t know what happened. My friends visited me for a weekend and obviously I didn’t have time to read at that point, but that was only three days, so it’s not much of an excuse. I tried to do NaNoWriMo but I only wrote about 6k words, so again, not that much of an excuse.

I guess I’ve just been exhausted. Winter is here, it’s dark, and I’m watching lots of TV shows right now, so that would explain why I’ve been reading less. Also I am exactly half-wary through my internship! I have learn some things, and discovered new places. But mostly, I’m starting to panic because it’s going to end in 3 month and I have no idea what I will do with my life after that… Anyway, here comes my reading wrap up, featuring four books only this month, as well as the two I am reading at the moment!

Books I read this month:

Our Dark Duet by V. E. Schwab ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Finding Baba Yaga by Jane Yolen ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (review)

Lights of the Amalou vol.5 by Claire Wendling and Christophe Gibelin ⭐⭐⭐ (series review)

Tess of the d’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy ⭐⭐⭐

Currently reading:

A Blade So Black by L. L. McKinney

Can We All Be Feminists? edited by June Eric-Udorie ❤️

TV Shows I’ve been watching:

Call My Agent! (10 pour cent), The Good Place, Great News
+ I’m rewatching Friends again

Movies:

Bohemian Rhapsody ❤️


Am I in a reading slump? Possibly. We shall see what awaits in December!

In the meantime, feel free to check out my latest Booktube video!