MAY WRAP UP

Hello! I know that this is a little late, but I can finally say that I have finished my University Degree! May was incredibly hectic and stressful for me. That being said, I now have all summer to read (and learn driving theory). Despite having numerous assignments to complete in May, I was able to read 11 books!!! Not only that, but they were all pretty good (mostly 4 and 5-star ratings!).

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood 

RATING – 5/5 Stars

2. The Nickel Boys – Colson Whitehead

RATING – 5/5 stars

3. The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern 

RATING – 5/5 Stars

4. They called us enemy – George Takei 

RATING – 4/5 STARS

5. Hey Wait – Jason 

RATING – 5/5 Stars

6. Circe – Madeline Miller 

Rating – 4/5 Stars

7. Saga Volume 1 

Rating – 4/5 Stars

8. #Girlboss – Sophia Amoruso

RATING – 3,5/5 Stars

9. All Your Perfects – Collen Hoover 

RATING – 4/5 Stars

10. Shadow of Night – Deborah Harkness 

Rating – 4/5 Stars

11. The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes 

RATING – 5/5 Stars

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS – Katerina Turner 

Books I would like to read…

So, since we are nearly halfway through 2020, I would like to mention some of the books I would like to read by the end of the year. This list only consists of 10 books so I’m sure it’s a manageable TBR (even if some of the books are absolute beasts!). If you have read any of these and liked/disliked them, then let me know!

  1. The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange Tree (Paperback)

2. The Book of Life – Deborah Harkness (All Souls Trilogy/ book 3)
3. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
4. The Girl with all the Gifts – Mike Carey
5. The Binding – Bridget Collins
The Binding (Paperback)
6. Girl, Woman, Other – Bernadine Evaristo
Girl, Woman, Other (Paperback)
7. A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James
8. Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
Shantaram (Paperback)
9. Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
Picture 1 of 1
10. A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

The Complete Maus – Art Spiegleman

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SYNOPSIS 

Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale and Maus II – the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler’s Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival – and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents. A contemporary classic of immeasurable significance.

GOODREADS RATING – 4.55/5 STARS 

REVIEW 

This is a must-read for everyone! Spiegelman approaches themes of memory, genocide, war, relationships, ethics and identity with a lot of respect and in a truly beautiful way. 

Individuals are represented as either mice or cats (or dogs and pigs) through the masks they wear. By representing humans as animals, it strips everyone’s humanity to a certain degree and reminds us as readers that people’s actions were not always their own choice due to the inherent need to survive. Identity is a construct and can be manipulated. The concept is brilliant, but in terms of the graphics, it sometimes became confusing or fuzzy because of the number of graphics on each page.  

Spiegelman’s graphic novel depicts both the hardships of the Holocaust that his father (Vladek) has experience alongside his own guilt as a second-generation survivor. Art tries to understand his father and respect his past. This is shown through a few real photographs. This hit me hard as it reminded me that although the graphics are beautiful, this story tells the life of real people and a real family. 

RATING – 5/5 STARS!

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS -KATERINA TURNER 

How To Get Filthy Rich In Rising Asia – Mohsin Hamid

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SYNOPSIS

From the internationally bestselling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the boldly imagined tale of a poor boy’s quest for wealth and love.

His first two novels established Mohsin Hamid as a radically inventive storyteller with his finger on the world’s pulse. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia meets that reputation, and exceeds it. the astonishing and riveting tale of a man’s journey from impoverished rural boy to corporate tycoon, it steals its shape from the business self-help books devoured by ambitious youths all over “rising Asia.” It follows its nameless hero to the sprawling metropolis where he begins to amass an empire built on that most fluid, and increasingly scarce, of goods: water. Yet his heart remains set on something else, on the pretty girl whose star rises along with his, their paths crossing and recrossing, a lifelong affair sparked and snuffed and sparked again by the forces that careen their fates along.

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is a striking slice of contemporary life at a time of crushing upheaval. Romantic without being sentimental, political without being didactic, and spiritual without being religious, it brings an unflinching gaze to the violence and hopes it depicts. And it creates two unforgettable characters who find moments of transcendent intimacy in the midst of shattering change.

GOODREADS RATING 

REVIEW

I’m not really sure how to write this review. Let me begin by saying that if you have seen Slumdog Millionaire, you have effectively read this book. I’m not saying this in a bad way at all! I love that film so much, and I really enjoyed this book. The premise was really interesting. It was fast-paced and well written. This book tackles a lot of themes including but not restricted too socioeconomic issues, social class and relationships. 

It’s a great self-help book that allows an individual to reflect on their lives whilst learning through someone else’s narrative. Overall, I would definitely recommend this! 

Rating – 4/5 stars

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS -KATERINA TURNER 

The Complete Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi

The Complete Persepolis (Persepolis, #1-4) by Marjane Satrapi

SYNOPSIS 

Here, in one volume: Marjane Satrapi’s best-selling, internationally acclaimed graphic memoir.

Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.

GOODREADS RATING – 4.39/5 STARS

REVIEW

This is an incredibly powerful graphic novel about a young woman growing up amidst the Islamic revolution in Tehran, Iran. Through various political issues, conflicts and personal exile, the protagonist, Marjane, develops into an intelligent and brave woman. We see Marjane from a young age as someone who is devoutly religious and has a lovely relationship her family, especially her grandmother and uncle. Throughout the novel, we see Marjane move abroad, struggle with her teenage years, struggle with exile, struggle with dehumanisation. Alongside this, we also see her experience her first love, her attending university as a woman in Iran, and many more accomplishments. The art is brilliant and if you are interested their is also a movie adaptation of this novel that uses the same art/graphics. This book really contemplates the battle between modern and traditional values and the political beliefs of Iran. Definitely a must-read! 

Rating 5/5 Stars

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS – KATERINA TURNER 

Romanov – Nadine Brandes

SYNOPSIS

The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it. 

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them, and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are to either release the spell and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her.

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

REVIEW

This is my first Nadine Brandes novel and I’d seen it a lot on bookstagram so I thought I’d pick it up. I enjoyed reading this book and I found the plot interesting and I loved both the historical side and the spell casting side. This was a really interesting interpretation of the events that occurred!

In terms of characters, Anastasia is a strong willed protagonist who tried to protect her family and remain strong throughout her exile. Her relationship with her brother and father was portrayed really well and it keep me wanting to read more. Alexei’s character annoyed me because he did not resemble a thirteen year old boy. I understand that with the pressure of his royal status and his health condition, it was expected for him to be a strong character, however, he did not come across as a child at all, therefore it made the writing confusing at times.

I personally like that the author used Russian words throughout the book as it really hit home for me and added a sense of authenticity, however, I can also understand that sometimes it was too much and for people with little to no knowledge of Slavic languages, it may be confusing.

One thing that I really did not like was the romance. It seemed forced and both Anastasia and Zash did not click. I felt like the romance was unnecessary because the characters would have been better off as friends. That being said, I loved Maria’s romance with Ivan!

I would say that for the first 200 pages the book primarily focuses on portraying the Romanov’s hardships and their day to day lives in exile, however, as the book progresses, we encounter the magical side and a bit of a chase. The history of the Bolsheviks, The White Army and the Romanov’s was not described much, which I think was a bit of a let down, however the plot was exciting and I enjoyed the book overall.

3/5 stars ⭐️

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS – KATERINA TURNER

The Anari – Adrianna J. Tetnowski

SYNOPSIS

Ariadna Vikander was once a Priestess of the Sisters of Aphur, but her longing for a new life in which she was free to explore the glorious brutality of the world forces her to make a fatal choice.

Now part of The Anari – a guild of expert assassins and thieves – Ariadna is slowly becoming one of the best. But her place in the institution came with a price. 

When she forsakes her oath in order to kill the family who had betrayed her instead, Ariadna’s fate entwines with that of a young girl on the run from a demon dictator, who has the unholiest of intentions for her.

REVIEW

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

I remember reading the blurb and thinking, “this sounds so fast paced, unique and exciting”! Luckily, it did not disappoint. I you are a fan of Game of Thrones or The Throne of Glass series, then you will absolutely devour this book. Some things worth mentioned is that there is some adult language through this and a lot of sexual reference so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone under the age of sixteen.

I found the protagonist – Ariadna, an interesting and complex character. An assassin with a difficult past is not a uncommon theme, however I really enjoyed how she is a strong woman who stands up for herself and really develops as a character throughout the novel. The main development is shown through her relationship with Preeya, who is also a great character and goes through a lot of changes throughout the book.

The romance is good and although it was a bit fast paced, it fit the plot and the characters personalities. Despite this book being centred around mercenaries and assassins, they characters constantly make their own minds up and live by certain codes of conduct. I loved the way Kanra was portrayed, it was very creepy and added a lot to the plot. He is definitely a scary villain, which was refreshing in a way, since a lot of novels portray the villain as some tall Greek God!

Overall, this book was great, however, I did have a few issues with it. There were certain phrases that were used multiple times and became slightly repetitive. At the start of the book, a lot of characters are named that are part of The Anari, and it was hard to keep track of who was who, even though as a read further, I realised that they weren’t really relevant.

Definitely would recommend this book! 4/5 stars ⭐️

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS – KATERINA TURNER

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

SYNOPSIS

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

REVIEW

I didn’t like the Grisha Trilogy at all but everyone told me that the Six of Crows duology was completely different and a lot better. I trusted the recommendations and headed into this book with relatively high expectations. I was not disappointed! Six of Crows was interesting from page 1 till the very end!

The biggest flaw (in my opinion) when it came to the trilogy was the lack of character development. Everyone was annoying (except Nikolai) and it made me not care about the plot or what was going to happen to the characters. When It came to Six of Crows, I loved every single character and simply could not stop reading when one of them was in danger.

I adore Kaz! He is so mysterious and tough. I love how he is so powerful, yet he is also so young. He has lived a life of hardship and struggles to care for people yet he protects his crew. He is just and fair when it comes to them. Inej was awesome! She’s so badass and kind. She was hurt in her past which made her strong and I loved the fact that she knows what she wants. There is no insta-love in the book or love triangles! It was refreshing!

I loved the chemistry between Nina and Matthias! They both amazing characters and really clicked well. There back story was so interesting and it was great to see how their relationship evolved through the book.Wylan and Jesper were both great characters! They were really funny and added a bit of lightheartedness to the group. I can’t wait to see their relationship blossom in the next book!

Overall I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read Crooked Kingdom!

5/5 ⭐️

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS – KATERINA TURNER

A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness

SYNOPSIS

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

REVIEW

I adored this book, it was very amazing! It was so magical and romantic!

I loved all of the characters. I really liked Diana as a character because she was a storing character. You can really tell the difference between Young Adult and Adult books when it comes to character development. It was refreshing to read a book about adults as opposed to teenagers. Diana is an intellectual who studies the occult and alchemy, which I found fascinating! I know some people did my like this book because it becomes quite scientific in some places but I thought the explanations were great and really interesting.

Matthew is a vampire. Need I say more! He was a typical possessive and protective man who runs off his vampire/animalistic instincts. I found it interesting that he was French as it really added a lot to his character. So did his love for wine! I love that he has his non-biological family that he cares for and they all just took in Diana despite the bad blood between Vampires and Witches.

This book is a beautifully complex love story. The romance is beautifully portrayed and although I did think that it was fast paced, it did my annoy me because it was animalistic and was not supposed to be realistic.

I can’t wait to learn more about Diana’s magical abilities in the next book and I love the concept of time travel! I love Elizabethan England so I’m really excited to read the book in this series. I general I feel like this book was an incredible beginning and so cannot wait to learn more about Witches, daemons and vampires!

4,5/5 stars ⭐️

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS – KATERINA TURNER

Sorcery of Thorns – Margaret Rogerson

SYNOPSIS

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

REVIEW

I was nervous heading into this book because I’d heard so many good things about it and I really hoped that I’d love it! The first thing I’ll mention is that the tie between the magicians and demons reminded me of The Golden Compass. The second thing is that the writing style and Elizabeth’s character reminded me of Tessa Gray from the Infernal Devices trilogy as did Margaret Rogerson’s writing.

Despite the similarities mentioned, the plot itself was unique and interesting! The book was really well paced and kept me craving to keep reading the whole way through! Elizabeth was a great character because for once she wasn’t a naive and pitiful young protagonist who develops courage and morality throughout the book but instead is strong, kind and relentless from the beginning.

Silas was such an great character! He was very kind and such a gentleman. Demons clearly make great sidekicks! I felt so sorry for him and even though he kept reminded Elizabeth that was a demon and was born to cause destruction, he was always so thoughtful and wise.

Nathaniel Thorn was sweet and solemn. He is portrayed as the typical attractive young man who is wealthy and who’s life seems perfect to all those around him. The truth is very different as he struggles with his past and deep down is very lonely.

Overall I really enjoyed this and rate it 4/5 ⭐️

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GOODREADS – KATERINA TURNER