The Sunday Post #10: Quests, Snipers and Magick

Hi guys, how’s your week been?  I read a lot of nonfiction this week and surprisingly two ARC’s. My reads this week were The Twelve Faces of the Goddess: Transform Your Life with Astrology, Magick, and the Sacred Feminine by Danielle Blackwood, Lady Death by Lyudmila Pavlichenko and The Quest for Mary Magdalene by Michael Haag.

Lady Death: The Memoirs of Stalin's Sniper (Greenhill Sniper Library)Lady Death: The Memoirs of Stalin’s Sniper by Lyudmila Pavlichenko
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Lyudmila Pavlichenko was not just any sniper, however, for she was to become the highest-scoring female sniper with 309 official kills. Official kills, it should be noted, were those observed by a second party.“ ― Lyudmila Pavlichenko, Lady Death

You might have heard of American Sniper. And even Simo Häyhä. Now meet Lady Death. Fascinating tale of Russia’s most efficient female sniper. This book made me feel like I had been living under a rock because I had no idea there were female snipers. And quite a lot of them. This book transports you in time to Russia in World War 2 and it is interesting to learn what Pavlichenko thought in some situations and what was life like in general. I warmly recommend this book to fans of history.

The Quest for Mary Magdalene explored the identity of Mary Magdalene and how she was reinterpreted in every age. Pope Gregory reduced Mary Magdalene from an independent visionary to a sinner and a prostitute while making Jesus’ mother Mary, who is a nonentity in the gospels, into a creature of the Church, hailing her as the epitome of all things feminine and holy. It was an interesting book, I like to read about things the church has invented throughout the history and what is actually historically accurate.

Then I  read this weirdly fascinating short story by Karin Tidbeck called Sing. There is a village in Kiruna and there outcast Aino has worked hard to create a life for herself. One day, offworlder Petr arrives… 

It’s a good story with interesting concepts and a lot of Finnish words. And look at that cover. It’s just gorgeous. I really like how the bird is coming out man’s mouth.

“I told him about how Oksakka kills the sound of birds, and how giant Maderakka peeks over the horizon now and then, reminding us that the three of us are just her satellites.” – Karin Tidbeck, Sing

If you’d like some motivation to read through your ARC’s, Evelina @ Avalinah’s Books has a wonderful State of the Arc meme going on. Check it out.

I also managed to be more social this week and met up with some old colleagues and friends so it was a pretty cool week.

What have you done? What you have you read?
//Anastasia

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

 

The Sunday Post #9: Everything’s science fiction until someone makes it science fact

Hi guys, how’s your week been? How’s October been for you so far? I had most terrible reading and blogging slump last month -_- I barely read anything. This week I luckily got back to my usual speed and finished 6 books:

H is for HawkH is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book on such peculiar topic as falconry. I don’t know how it’s even possible to write a book on that as beautifully as MacDonald has.

“There is a time in life when you expect the world to be always full of new things. And then comes a day when you realise that is not how it will be at all. You see that life will become a thing made of holes. Absences. Losses. Things that were there and are no longer. And you realise, too, that you have to grow around and between the gaps.”
― Helen Macdonald, H is for Hawk

I warmly recommend this if you want to read a different kind of a biography.

Warcross (Warcross, #1)Warcross by Marie Lu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Virtual reality + games where players compete for fame and fortune.
What could be better. I think it could have been better honestly. Everything was very wonderful, I loved how Lu described the virtual reality until we reached the ending of the book. Seriously why did she have to do it. I’m team Hideo for now though…

“But beauty can make people forgive a thousand cruelties.”
― Marie Lu, Warcross

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass, #6)Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I like Chaol and all. But why did Maas have to write 600 pages about him? I guess this was just not my cup of tea. This has so far been my least favorite Sarah. J Maas book. I mean the whole series is about Aelin. And now she was barely mentioned. I did like Fireheart epilogue even though now it’s just harder to wait for the next book. This should have been a standalone book, not a part of Throne of Glass series.

Then I read Boundaries and Other Horror Stories from Finland by Samuli Antila because it’s October and I need horror in October. Also, I finished Jean Le Flambeur series by  Hannu Rajaniemi: The Fractal Prince & The Causal Angel.

What else. This week was pretty quiet, I recovered from Dublin trip. Origin by Dan Brown has come out…can’t wait to read it! Then, I bought the awesomest Deadpool mug :D and enjoyed my pretty little pretty bottles I bought myself from Dublin.

Featured image of the post:  Future Connected City: 2086 | by JCT600

What have you done? What you have you read?
//Anastasia

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

 

Ten Hidden Gems In Fantasy Series

As always, Top Ten Tuesday meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is: Pick a genre and share with us some books that have gone under the radar in that genre!
And I’ll go with fantasy as it is my favorite genre.I do not own the pictures in this post, please see the end of the post for the credits.

1.The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny

“I like libraries. It makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words, beautiful and wise, all around me. I always feel better when I can see that there is something to hold back the shadows.”
― Roger Zelazny, Nine Princes in Amber


Goodreads blurb:
 Amber, the one real world, wherein all others, including our own Earth, are but Shadows. Amber burns in Corwin’s blood. Exiled on Shadow Earth for centuries, the prince is about to return to Amber to make a mad and desperate rush upon the throne. From Arden to the blood-slippery Stairway into the Sea, the air is electrified with the powers of Eric, Random, Bleys, Caine, and all the princes of Amber whom Corwin must overcome.


2. The Soldier Son trilogy by Robin Hobb

“Anticipating pain was like enduring it twice. Why not anticipate pleasure instead?”
― Robin Hobb, Renegade’s Magic

Goodreads blurb: Nevare Burvelle anticipates a golden future. He will follow his father into the army; to the frontier and thence to an advantageous marriage.Over twenty years the army has pushed the frontiers of Gernia as far as the Barrier Mountains, home to the enigmatic Speck people, who retain the last vestiges of magic in a progressive world. Exotic and misunderstood, they are believed to spread a sexual plague which has ravaged the frontier, decimating entire regiments.

3. The Witcher  by Andrzej Sapkowski

“People,” Geralt turned his head, “like to invent monsters and monstrosities. Then they seem less monstrous themselves. When they get blind-drunk, cheat, steal, beat their wives, starve an old woman, when they kill a trapped fox with an axe or riddle the last existing unicorn with arrows, they like to think that the Bane entering cottages at daybreak is more monstrous than they are. They feel better then. They find it easier to live.”
― Andrzej Sapkowski, The Last Wish

Goodreads blurb: Geralt of Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin.  And a cold-blooded killer. His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world.  But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good. . . and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth. 

4. The Gatekeepers by Anthony Horowitz

“There are two worlds. The world you understand and the world you don’t. These worlds exist side by side, sometimes only centimeters apart, and the great majority of people spend their entire lives in one without being aware of the other. It’s like living in one side of a mirror: you think there is nothing on the other side until one day a switch is thrown and suddenly the mirror is transparent. You see the other side.”
― Anthony Horowitz, Raven’s Gate’

Goodreads blurb:  He always knew he was different. First there were the dreams. Then the deaths began.  When Matt Freeman gets into trouble with the police, he’s sent to be fostered in Yorkshire. It’s not long before he senses there’s something wrong with his guardian: with the whole village.  Then Matt learns about the Old Ones and begins to understand just how he is different. But no one will believe him; no one can help. There is no proof. There is no logic. There is just the Gate.

5. The Shamer Chronicles by Lene Kaaberbøl

“Because even though you don’t want anyone to own you, it doesn’t mean that there is nowhere you belong.”
― Lene Kaaberbøl, The Shamer’s War

Goodreads blurb: Dina has unwillingly inherited her mother’s gift: the ability to elicit shamed confessions simply by looking into someone’s eyes. To Dina, however, these powers are not a gift but a curse. Surrounded by fear and hostility, she longs for simple friendship. But when her mother is called to Dunark Castle to uncover the truth about a bloody triple murder, Dina must come to terms with her power–or let her mother fall prey to the vicious and revolting dragons of Dunark.

6. Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones

“Christopher discovered that you dealt with obnoxious masters and most older boys the way you dealt with governesses: you quite politely told them the truth in the way they wanted to hear it, so that they thought they had won and left you in peace.”
― Diana Wynne Jones, The Lives of Christopher Chant

Goodreads blurb: Cat doesn’t mind living in the shadow of his sister, Gwendolen, the most promising young witch ever seen on Coven Street. But trouble starts brewing the moment the two orphans are summoned to live in Chrestomanci Castle. Frustrated that the witches of the castle refuse to acknowledge her talents, Gwendolen conjures up a scheme that could throw whole worlds out of whack.

7. Demon Road by Derek Landy

“I… I think I broke his jaw. And bit his finger off.”
“You bit his finger?”
“I bit his finger off.”
― Derek Landy, Demon Road

Goodreads blurb: Killer cars, vampires, undead serial killers: they’re all here. And the demons? Well, that’s where Amber comes in…Sixteen years old, smart and spirited, she’s just a normal American teenager until the lies are torn away and the demons reveal themselves.

8. Tales of Alvin Maker by Orson Scott Card

“I understand that you believe that it works,’ said Thrower patiently. ‘But everything in the world is either science or miracles. Miracles came from God in the ancient times, but those times are over. Today if we wish to change the world, it isn’t magic but science that will give us our tools.”
― Orson Scott Card, Seventh Son

Goodreads blurb: In an alternate version of frontier America, young Alvin is the seventh son of a seventh son, and such a birth is powerful magic. Yet even in the loving safety of his home, dark forces reach out to destroy him.

9. Redwall by Brian Jacques

“Even the strongest and bravest must sometimes weep. It shows they have a great heart, one that can feel compassion for others.”
― Brian Jacques, Redwall

Goodreads blurb: Book 1: A quest to recover a legendary lost weapon by bumbling young apprentice monk, mouse Matthias. Redwall Abbey, tranquil home to a community of peace-loving mice, is threatened by Cluny the Scourge savage bilge rat warlord and his battle-hardened horde. But the Redwall mice and their loyal woodland friends combine their courage and strength.

10. Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede

“No proper princess would come out looking for dragons,” Woraug objected.
“Well I’m not a proper princess then!” Cimorene snapped. “I make cherries jubillee and I volunteer for dragons, and I conjugate Latin verbs– or at least I would if anyone would let me. So there!”
― Patricia C. Wrede, Dealing with Dragons50a8f4e73d82f486d844de505b2a3f84-dragon-illustration-here-be-dragons

Goodreads blurb: Cimorene is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboyish, smart – and bored. So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon – and finds the family and excitement she’s been looking for.

Images: Featured image of this post by Stefan Keller, The Court of Amber by Donato GiancolaForest Mage covers by John Howe,  Witcher by CD Projekt , Red Prophet: The Tales of Alvin Maker comics by Marvel. Pencillers: Miguel MontenegroRenato Arlem. Dealing with Dragons cover by Peter de Sève, Redwall: The Long Patrol by Troy Howell, Shamer’s Daughter movie, Demon Road covers.

 

The Sunday Post #7: Fall In Love With Your Solitude

“Madness, and then illumination.”
― Orson Scott Card, Xenocide

Number seven…this is where you might want to ask if will I ever write reviews again or am I just focusing on these Sunday posts… Anyhow, I finished 5 books this week. Finally done with Ender’s Saga. Finished Xenocide and Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card. I first read Ender’s Game in December 2016 and I’ve been slowly reading through rest of the series, until I got really stuck with Xenocide… I’ve probably been reading it since January. I’d give Xenocide 2,5/5 stars  because it was just too long and wordy which is annoying  when the first book was so good.  There’s just too much of Piggies. And Children of the Mind 4/5 stars. Even if the final book was just as wordy as Xenocide, it had some good plot twists and I think I rated it higher because it’s the end. No more Ender.

I got back to Barsoom series and finished The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. John Carter’s story doesn’t let you down. I love this series, it reads quickly and it has all the elements of science fiction you want a scifi book to have. 4/5 stars.

Then I read milk and honey by rupi kaur. The book is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love and loss. I don’t know if calling milk and honey a book does it justice. It felt like an art experience with drawings and writing that had no capital letters. And the words kaur wrote were something I had for long wanted for someone to write.  Lovely piece of art. 5/5 stars.

“fall
in love
with your solitude”
― Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey

Finally, during this week I read The Art of Invisibility: The World’s Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data by Kevin D. Mitnick. The Art of Invisibility was a highly informative book and I’m still processing the information in it. Basically, it made me feel like anyone could obtain all my information very easily based on the points made in the book. 4/5 stars.

Outside reading, I visited  Worldcon75 and HugoAwards’17. Click on those words to see the picture gallery posts. I really enjoyed the event. I hope Worldcon will one day come back to Helsinki. Perhaps Worldcon80 or 85 could be in Helsinki?  Please. Pretty please?

How was your week? What you have you read?  What cons have you been to? Which ones would you recommend?
//Anastasia

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.