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 

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

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

Swatika Night – Katherine Burdekin

Synopsis

Published in 1937, twelve years before Orwell’s 1984, Swastika Night projects a totally male-controlled fascist world that has eliminated women as we know them. Women are breeders, kept as cattle, while men in this post-Hitlerian world are embittered automatons, fearful of all feelings, having abolished all history, education, creativity, books, and art. The plot centers on a “misfit” who asks, “How could this have happened?”

Review

I read as part of my modern science fiction course for university and I didn’t know what to expect but I absolutely loved it!

I love the discussions about religion and how Christianity is portrayed. The way women were portrayed reminded me off the way the Jews were treated in concentration camps. It physically disgusted me and shocked me.

I found it interesting that there are heavy homosexual undertones throughout this book, which considering the time it was published, was shocking.

Overall, I loved it and would highly recommend it!

5/5 stars ⭐️

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS – KATERINA TURNER

Vengeful by V E Schwab

SYNOPSIS

The sequel to VICIOUS, V.E. Schwab’s first adult novel.

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

REVIEW

The relationship between Sydney, Victor and Mitch will forever be the highlight of this series for me! They are 3 random people thrown together but they really care about one another and it’s so cute!

Marcella was an interesting character! She was sassy and bold but I felt like she was really set on becoming powerful yet didn’t quite achieve it. She spoke a lot about what she wanted to do but none of it came about! I felt like Vengeful didn’t have to be as long winded as it was but I still really enjoyed it!

I love the development of Eon throughly this book and thought is was brilliant! Eli and Victor are both great character and I hope V E Schwab releases another book with these characters because I have a lot of unanswered questions!

4/5 stars!

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS – KATERINA TURNER

DAISY JONES AND THE SIX – TAYLOR JENKINS REID

SYNOPSIS

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

REVIEW

From the first page I could really relate to Daisy Jones! I too grew up very much on my own and it pushed me to become independent at a young age. We can tell through Daisy that it had it’s positives and negatives! Daisy is strong and everyone is drawn to her yet she herself has a weakness when it comes to illegal substances.

I loved the format that this book was written in. The use of unreliable narrations was so intriguing because the characters just spoke and sometime there were conflicting opinions so it’s just down to what the reader wants to believe was true! This being said, the book is so quotable and poetic as well!

The romance throughout this book was so raw and full of passion! The characters went through incredible development through the story! They all changed in their own ways and went through trauma, love ( mostly unrequited) and substance abuse.

I though the start of the book was a little slow and some part felt like fillers, therefore this is a 4 star for me!

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS – KATERINA TURNER

If We Were Villains – M L Rio

SYNOPSIS

Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.

As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

REVIEW

INCREDIBLE!

That’s only one word to describe this book. Some more would be: brilliant, spectacular, amazing, beautiful, etc; I could go on for a while! This book made me laugh and cry. It made my heart skip a beat and it made me want to throw the book to the other side of my room. But most importantly, it made me really think!

“Do you blame Shakespeare for any of it?”

The question is so unlikely, so nonsensical coming from such a sensible man that I can’t suppress a smile.

“ I blame him for all of it,” I say.

Our protagonist, Oliver, is an interesting character who initially comes across as the quiet and plain one of the group. However as time progresses and he explains the tragic events that led to his incarceration we learn that he is an absolute saint simply disguised as a wallflower. Although he doesn’t realise this himself either. Oliver is unlike anyone I’ve ever met or read about, yet I can relate to him. I felt every bit of his pain and frustration. I understood his confusion and his anger.

I loved that all of the characters were actors. The mentality that actors lose themselves as individuals is interesting. I ca understand how a playing a character or persona can hinder one’s own personality. It’s such an important thing to talk about because in modern day society individuals change to fit standards, sometimes forgetting themselves as individuals.

All of the characters were very different, therefore they all played a huge role in the book. Some very important and heavy topics are discussed within this book and all though there is a lot of romance… it is not a major part of the plot which I was pleased about.

If you love Shakespeare, Mystery, Crime and LGBTQA+ undertones then you will ravish this book! Even if all of that doesn’t sound like your usual cup of tea, give it a go because it’s such a relatable book and it really draws on human emotion. I can easily say without a doubt in my mind that this is possibly one of the best books I have ever read!

5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️!!!

Instagram – Globalbookmania

Goodreads – Katerina Turner