book review: the astrologer’s daughter

The Astrologer's DaughterThe Astrologer’s Daughter by Rebecca Lim
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars. I really loved this book. Avicenna was a fantastic narrator, and I loved all of the charts that were actually illustrated throughout the story. It was well written, intriguing, and not the typical young adult love story. So far I’ve found that many of the Australian books I’ve read have been unique, and full of beautiful prose and believable characters, and this one was no different. I would highly recommend checking this out, and if you’re not hooked from the start, it probably isn’t for you. The only reason I wouldn’t give it five stars is that parts of the story remain ambiguous, even after the end. However, I felt that it echoed Avicenna’s resolve not to reads her own chart, and to let things unfold in whatever surprising ways they may.

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book review: bellman & black

Bellman & Black: A Ghost StoryBellman & Black: A Ghost Story by Diane Setterfield

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So, I read an ARC of this book while at the cottage this summer, and was waiting to post my review until closer to the publication date. I saw it in the bookstore last week, so I figure it’s about time.

The only thing is, I can’t actually remember what I wanted to say. Oops.

Okay, here’s what I do remember: for the first 3/4 of this book, yawn. Seriously, I kept flipping pages (well, I read this electronically, so I was actually pressing buttons but still) and thinking to myself “when is some action going to take place??”

For some reason I had it in my mind that this was a story about magicians. The title just made me think of magic, and also the cover. I thought the raven pictured there might be a magician’s aid or something. Anyways, I think that they added the “: A Ghost Story” portion to the title after I had already read it. But even if I’d known it was a ghost story, for the first major part of the book, no ghosts!

So it was leaning towards being a 2 star read for me. When Bellman opened the store, and all the stuff with his daughter being ill was going on, the book did take a turn for me and became more interesting. By the end, I did enjoy it. I especially liked the little blurbs about birds, and the collective nouns for them. But I’m weird and like knowing collective nouns. The last segment from the perspective of the bird was cool.

Overall, I can’t quite remember why I gave this 3.5 stars, so a more accurate rating would probably be 3. Because if it didn’t have staying power since I read it in August, it’s obviously not one of my favourites.

If you’re wondering whether to read this book, as long as you don’t mind a really slow pace and not much action, I’d say give it a try. You might like it!

Thank you to the publishers, who via NetGalley provided me with this advance copy for review!

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book review: under the dome

Under the DomeUnder the Dome by Stephen King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sweet sassy molassy this was a long read. (That phrase is one I stole from Secret Pizza Party)

Anyways, the most surprising thing about this book, for me, is that I actually teared up at the end. I was really not expecting that. Another thing I wasn’t expecting was that I’d be rooting for a religious crackpot meth addict. Live and learn.

I started reading this book after having already watched several episodes of the TV series. What I found when I started, which anyone both reading and watching will already know, was that: the TV show they made is NOT like this book very much at all.

Within the first hundred pages or so, a bunch of characters I was still seeing in the show had already died. So that was a bit different. Once I accepted that the book was not going to neatly parallel what I was seeing on TV, I set out to enjoying this story on its own merit.

The basic plotline, a small town in Maine getting unexpectedly sealed in by a mysterious Dome, wasn’t that crazy to me – I’m already a huge fan of the GONE series, which also features a Dome. The best part of this book was trying to figure out why this had happened, and how the people of Chester’s Mill could possibly survive it.

There was a lot of small-towny descriptions, and people just generally towning around. I found the pacing to be fairly steady throughout, with spurts of dramatic shoot-outs and other gruesome deaths showing up every once in a while. Gory descriptions abounded, as did some quite frankly disgusting details about dead bodies and the pieces thereof. Thanks Stephen, haha. I suppose I knew what I was getting myself into, so I can’t complain. But I can say: gross.

I actually liked the way the narrative was laid out. Omniscient, so we could have everyone’s varied perspectives (including Horace, the corgi), and sometimes the removed perspective of an observer outside the story. I enjoyed the bits of narration where the author addressed the reader, asking us to observe with him a particular scene. I liked the random bits of humour interjected- like when one character asked another if they’d seen the movie The Mist. The dialogue was also fairly realistic.

Overall, though it was a long, slow read (and it put me 8 books behind in my reading challenge – gah!) I did like the book. Thankfully there’s resolution in the end, so you don’t end up having read 1000+ pages and not finding out what actually caused the Dome. It wasn’t what I was expecting at the beginning of the book, but I do feel that things were explained well, and made sense in the end. And yes, by the end of it all, damned if I wasn’t crying for Ollie Dinsmore and Sloppy Sam.

If you’re enjoying the TV series, or just think the idea of a small town trapped under a Dome might be interesting, I’d recommend giving this book a try. 3.5 stars overall!

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book review: tidal (watersong book 3)

Tidal (Watersong, #3)Tidal by Amanda Hocking

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This series! I keep thinking I’m going to stop reading it, but then I pick up the next book and somehow it draws me in again.

This book, the third in the series, was actually one of the best so far. I enjoyed reading some background on the sirens; the chapters set in their past were enjoyable as they brought to light the reasons some of the girls are the way they are now, and also they went deeper into the mystery of what happened to some of the previous sirens.

I feel like some parts of the ‘mystery’ are a bit obvious, and I did see a few of the clues coming. I’m interested to see the role that Thalia plays in the next book- I think she might have been supernatural.

Parts of this book were a bit cheesy, and I did cringe at a few of the scenes between Gemma and the men that can’t resist her.

Daniel lost a bit of my esteem when he decided to make a deal with Penn, but we’ll see how that plays out in the next book.

And yes, I will be reading the final book- in fact, it’s already being held at the library for me, so I’m hoping to pick it up soon.

Fans of supernatural, mythological creatures – stay with this series at least until this book. No guarantees about what the last one will be like.

**See my review of book one (Wake) and book two (Lullaby) **

book review: through her eyes

Through Her EyesThrough Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this ghost story. It takes place in a small town in Texas, where Tansy, her horror-book-writing mother, and her grandfather have just moved.

Tansy’s grandfather grew up in this small town, and her mother has brought the three of them there in order to get the atmosphere right for her latest novel. Tansy’s moved around so often that she’s used to being the new girl, the outsider, but this is such a small, close-knit community that she feels even more awkward than usual.

The one thing that keeps her motivated is taking photos. However, after discovering an old pocketwatch and notebook full of poems belonging to a boy around her age who supposedly killed himself in the 1930s, Tansy discovers that she can somehow enter the past through her photos and begins to experience life through another girl’s eyes.

As Isabel, she meets her grandfather as a young man, as well as the mysterious Henry- writer of the poems she found. Tansy begins to try to unravel the mystery surrounding Henry’s death, and wonders if she wouldn’t be better off staying in Henry’s world, rather than returning to the present-day and her imperfect life.

The atmosphere in this book was great. The way that Tansy could move between past and present through the photos, and see things in black and white through the camera lens, was really cool. I enjoyed the unique way that her two worlds began to impact each other, and how it was unclear whether Tansy was in fact crazy, or whether she actually experienced Henry’s ghostly presence, and his world.

It was a quick, but enjoyable read. I’d recommend it to those looking for a good ghostly tale.

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