BOOK REVIEW: On The Jellicoe Road – by Melina Marchetta

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Title: On The Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: August 28th 2006
Finished reading: October 20th 2015
Pages: 432
Rating 3,5qqq

“It’s funny how you can forget everything except people loving you. Maybe that’s why humans find it so hard getting over love affairs. It’s not the pain they’re getting over, it’s the love.”

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On The Jellicoe Road has been on my radar for a while now and it actually has been recommended to me various times in the past. I ended up really enjoying this read, but I have to say the first part of the story is quite confusing. Luckily I was warned that the first part is exactly that and they told me to just keep reading and things would soon start to make sense. They were right. This novel by Melina Marchetta is without doubt very well written and the whole confusement in the beginning is actually part of the charm. Why haven’t I given it an even higher rating? It may seem that I’m contradicting myself, but I don’t think I would have continued reading without the warning that the beginning is hard to understand. The characters are very well developed though and once you get an idea of the whole situation the prose and plot just suck you right in. If you like realistic fiction and don’t mind a confusing beginning, On The Jellicoe Road might just be the perfect read for you!

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Taylor was abandoned by her mother on the Jellicoe Road when she was eleven and ended up at a boarding school. When she was fourteen, she decided to run away and try to find her mom, but she was tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now she is seventeen and the leader of the school’s underground community, having to lead the annual territory war with the Townies and the visiting Cadets. This year the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, a guy she has some history with. When the only adult Taylor trusts, Hanna, disappears, things get even more complicated for Taylor… Now she not only has to make sure they don’t lose any more territory, but she also wants to try and piece together the clues Hannah left behind. What is the real history of Jellicoe Road?

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The beginning of On The Jellicoe Road didn’t completely convince me, but the rest of the story more than made up for it. The prose, the characters, the plot and plot twists… Melina Marchetta used those in a way that once you are past the confusing part, you just can’t stop reading. I will probably try to do a reread at some point, since I will most likely enjoy this read even better the second time around. If you like the genre, I would definitely recommend this one; just remember that it may take a while before you can fully understand what the story is about.

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BOOK REVIEW: Anna Dressed In Blood – by Kendare Blake

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Title: Anna Dressed In Blood
(Anna #1)
Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: YA, Horror, Paranormal
First published: August 30th 2011
Finished reading: October 19th 2015
Pages: 316
Rating 4,5qqq

“I think of her again. Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood. I wonder what tricks she’ll try. I wonder if she’ll be clever. Will she float? Will she laugh or scream?
How will she try to kill me?”

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Anna Dressed In Blood is one of the books on my Halloween TBR and I have to say I really loved this read. It’s a creepy ghost story with just the right amount of romance and an interesting plot. I really enjoyed Kendare Blake‘s writing style and the pace is fast enough to be able to finish it in no time at all. Anna Dressed In Blood is without doubt a proper horror read and some parts are not suitable for the weak-hearted or those who don’t like gory details… But I still think most of the story has more of a psychological horror feel. Both Anna and Cas are very interesting characters and I liked how their relationship developed during the story. Some of the other characters ended up annoying me a little, but since they didn’t play a big role in the story it didn’t bother me that much. If you are looking for a good horror story that is both entertaining and creepy, make sure to pick up Anna Dressed In Blood! I myself can’t wait to read the sequel…

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When his father was brutally murdered by a ghost he was trying to kill, Cas Lowood inherited his vocation: killing the dead. Armed with his father’s mysterious athame, Cas travels around the country looking for murderous ghosts. His mother has some experience with witchcraft and their cat is a walking spirit-detector; both help Cas on his missions. They follow the local legends and never stay long in the same place, so Cas hasn’t exactly a lot of friends. But things are about to change when he decides to go after the ghost locals call Anna Dressed In Blood. Soon he realizes more and more people are getting involved in his hunt; something that normally doesn’t happen… And he will have to not only protect his own life, but that of his new friends. To make things even more complicated, Anna is not a normal ghost… Will Cas be able to defeat her?

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This story is both creepy and entertaining and the perfect read for Halloween if you don’t mind the gory bits. I was able to finish Anna Dressed In Blood in no time at all and I will definitely read the sequel Girl Of Nightmares as soon as possible. Kendare Blake combines good prose with an interesting story and characters and it all just fits together. If you enjoy reading the genre, make sure to pick this one up!

Friday Finds #57 – October 23rd

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at A Daily Rhythm and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: And The Mountains Echoed – by Khaled Hosseini

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Title: And The Mountains Echoed
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary
First published: May 21st 2013
Finished reading: October 16th 2015
Pages: 421
Rating 3qqq

“It’s a funny thing… but people mostly have it backward. They think they live by what they want. But really, what guides them is what they’re afraid of. What they don’t want.”

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And The Mountains Echoed has been on my TBR pile longer than any other book. I loved Khaled Hosseini‘s other books A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner, so I’m still not sure why it took me this long to finally pick this one up… But what I can say is that I didn’t enjoy And The Mountains Echoed as much as the other two titles. I felt there were simply too many different storylines and settings for it to form something cohesive, and I actually had difficulties keeping track of the different characters at points. The general idea of following a family that has been separated over time is really interesting. I enjoyed the descriptions of the different locations and cultures that are involved in the story and Khaled Hosseini is able to describe the human relationships perfectly as always. Still, like I said before, seen as a whole it almost felt like an information and character overload. Leaving out the whole storyline set in Greece would probably have helped keeping the overall story a bit more simple… Something that probably would have made me enjoy this read a whole lot better. Still, it’s an interesting enough read to recommend if you enjoy the genre.

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Back in 1952 Abdullah and his sister Pari live with their father and stepmother in a small village in Afghanistan. Their father is constantly struggling to find work to provide for his family, and one day he sees no other option than sell one of his children. Abdullah will do anything for his little sister and is almost like a father to her. When they cross the desert together with their father to Kabul, they don’t know they are about to be separated from each other… Something that will mark Abdullah for the rest of his life and will affect little Pari in ways she will only understand when she is older. Their lives have been torn apart; will they be able to find each other again one day? Where in the world will life take them, and how will their choices affect their future?

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And The Mountains Echoed is by no means a bad read and actually quite interesting and well written. Still, I cannot forget that I was feeling disappointed by this read. I have loved Khaled Hosseini‘s other books and this one simply isn’t up to the same standard. It’s good, with interesting prose and characters, but the book as a whole felt a bit chaotic and I think it would have been better to leave out part of the characters (the Greek storyline for example). If you like the genre, you will probably enjoy this read; just don’t make the same mistake that I did and compare And The Mountains Echoed to his other books…

WWW Wednesdays #61 – October 21st

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I am currently reading two titles I have been wanting to start for a while now: The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings and Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. The first is a really fast and entertaining read so far, so I will most likely finish it first and then continue with Outlander. I’m not too far into that one yet, but so far things are looking promising!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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Four finished books this weeks, which is not bad at all considering I didn’t have that much time to read.
* The first is The Girl Of Fire And Thorns by Rae Carson; a title I picked up because I was in the mood for a good fantasy read. I really enjoyed this one!
* I then finally finished And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini, completing my two TBR challenges. Yay! I didn’t enjoy this one as much as his other work though…
* Next up is Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake, which I LOVED! It’s such a creepy and perfect Halloween read! I’m going to read the sequel ASAP.
* The last one is On The Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, a read that starts out really confusing and I’m still not completely sure what to think of it.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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The first book I will pick up when I finish The Murder Complex will be my only pending ARC Ochoco Reach by Jim Stewart. After that, I will probably try to finally read The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey… Although I might give in and start yet another series first with Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender since I’m trying to read a bunch of creepy books for Halloween. The last one, The Valentine Circle by Reinaldo DelValle, is still my latest TBR jar pick I will most likely put on hold until I’ve finished most books on my October TBR.

Teaser Tuesdays #64 – October 20th: Outlander

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at A Daily Rhythm. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I’ve finally started reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon! I have been wanting to start this series for ages now, but somehow I kept posponing it. I needed a book over 800 pages for a challenge though, so I thought it was the perfect excuse to finally pick it up. I’m not too far into the story yet, but so far things are looking promising.

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My teaser (4%):

“ ‘If that is a sample of your mercy,’ he said, ‘I’d hate to see your vengeance.’ The thunder went off like a mortar attack, as though in answer to his words, and we both laughed, at ease again.”

What are you reading right now?

BOOK REVIEW: The Girl Of Fire And Thorns – by Rae Carson

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Title: The Girl Of Fire And Thorns
(Fire And Thorns #1)
Author: Rae Carson
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Religion
First published: September 20th 2011
Finished reading: October 15th 2015
Pages: 423
Rating 4qqq

God’s will. How many times have I heard someone declare their understanding of this thing I find so indefinable?”

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I’ve had a copy of The Girl Of Fire And Thorns collecting dust on my shelves for quite some time already and someone recommended it to me not that long ago, so I decided to pick it up. It was without doubt a very enjoyable read! Rae Carson writes in a way that sucks you immediately into the story and combined with a fast pace I was able to finish this read almost in one sitting. I was actually thinking of giving it an even higher rating, but decided not to because I there were a few things I wasn’t completely happy with. I do not consider myself to be a very religious person and although I normally don’t mind religion in stories (as long as it is not preaching), the many religious references in The Girl Of Fire And Thorns did start to bother me a little. Although they do make sense in the story, with the main character Elisa being chosen by God to be the bearer of the godstone and all… But sometimes I had the feeling Elisa was relying on her prayers a bit too much. Still, I more than enjoyed this story. The worldbuilding is very well done, the plot is interesting and the prose easy to read. I would have liked to see some of the characters developed more, but hopefully that will happen in the sequel…

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When a godstone appears in princess Elisa’s navel, everybody knows she has been chosen for greatness. Only once a century, God picks his chosen one and marks them with a godstone, giving them powers to fight magic. But Elisa doesn’t feel so special herself, having done nothing remarkable during the first fifteen years of her life and her perfect older sister to compare herself to. On her sixteenth birthday, she is married off to a king of another country. He seems to be in need of the chosen one to save his country, but what he doesn’t know is that Elisa doesn’t even feel comfortable in her own skin… And Elisa doesn’t realize she is is danger herself. King Alejandro wasn’t the only one looking for the bearer of the godstone, and soon Elisa will have to find a way to use her inner strenght to save both herself and the ones she cares for. Will the prophecy be fulfilled?

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The Girl Of Fire And Thorns is a fast and entertaining read full of action with an interesting worldbuilding. There are quite a few religious references, so if those bother you it is best not to pick up this novel by Rae Carson. Other than that, this novel is more than recommended if you are looking for a solid YA fantasy read. This is definitely a series I will have to continue soon!