YVO’S SHORTIES #50 – The King’s Guard & Radiance Of Tomorrow

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! Today two completely different reads, but both worthwhile. The King’s Guard is the third and final Fire And Thorns novella and without doubt my favorite of the bunch. And I have been wanting to read Radiance Of Tomorrow forever, especially since Ishmael Beah‘s memoir made such an impact. This fictional story also set in his country Sierra Leone is another powerful and heartbreaking read.


Title: The King’s Guard
(Fire And Thorns #0.7)
Author: Rae Carson

Genre: YA, Fantasy
First published: July 30th 2013
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Finished reading: September 19th 2018
Pages: 111

“The less you say, the more your words will matter.”


myrambles1reviewqqq

I have been reading the Fire And Thorns novellas before tackling the sequel, and I have to say this third and final one is probably my favorite of the bunch. The King’s Guard is partly set in the royal palace and is partly an adventure and rescue mission. Hector makes a great main character of this novella and his character is very easy to like. The writing is solid as always and I managed to read it in no time at all… The plot and setting are well fleshed out for a novella and I had a great time reading this one. These novellas are a great addition to the original series and especially the last two novellas are without doubt worth the read if you enjoy the series.


Title: Radiance Of Tomorrow
Author: Ishmael Beah

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fiction
First published: January 7th 2014
Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books
Finished reading: September 20th 2018
Pages: 256

“We must live in the radiance of tomorrow, as our ancestors have suggested in their tales. For what is yet to come tomorrow has possibilities, and we must think of it, the simplest glimpse of that possibility of goodness. That will be our strength. That has always been our strength.”


myrambles1reviewqqq

A Long Way Gone is one of the most devastating and heartbreaking memoirs I’ve read to this date, and well written at that. I’ve been meaning to read Radiance Of Tomorrow for years now, and I’m glad I’ve finally had the opportunity to do so. While Radiance Of Tomorrow is a fictional story this time around, it has the same setting in Sierra Leone and the same emotional rollercoaster ride. Make sure to brace yourself before you start this one, because it won’t be a happy journey. Radiance Of Tomorrow tells the story of what happens in the ruined village Imperi after the war in Sierra Leone ended. The beginning sets the tone of what will become a heartbreaking, devastating and very emotional read, with little lights shining upon the hope the characters have things will become better in the future. Descriptions of both characters and setting are excellently done and I loved the ‘fusion’ of different languages as the author translated expressions from other languages literally to describe things. This book shows us what it was like for the locals after the war, the struggles still there as they try to survive with all odds against them. You will take the characters under your wing and suffer with them as setbacks occur… Radiance Of Tomorrow has a wonderful bigger message and is without doubt a very powerful and emotional read. I’m glad I decided to finally pick up!


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramFacebookBloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #189 – September 26th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading two more titles for the N.E.W.T. Readathon… I think they will be my last two, but who knows, I might squeeze in one more after these. The first is In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, which I haven’t been able to continue since yesterdat but looks promising so far. I’m also starting All This I Will Give To You by Dolores Redondo, a translation and a story set in Spain I’m quite excited about.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The King’s Guard by Rae Carson (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/09
This third and final one is probably my favorite of the bunch. The King’s Guard is partly set in the royal palace and is partly an adventure and rescue mission. Hector makes a great main character of this novella and his character is very easy to like. The writing is solid as always and I managed to read it in no time at all… The plot and setting are well fleshed out for a novella and I had a great time reading this one.

2. Radiance Of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/09
While Radiance Of Tomorrow is a fictional story this time around, it has the same setting in Sierra Leone and the same emotional rollercoaster ride. Make sure to brace yourself before you start this one, because it won’t be a happy journey. Radiance Of Tomorrow tells the story of what happens in the ruined village Imperi after the war in Sierra Leone ended. The beginning sets the tone of what will become a heartbreaking, devastating and very emotional read, with little lights shining upon the hope the characters have things will become better in the future.

3. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (4/5 stars) REVIEW 30/09
It was a fascinating and wonderful ride to learn more about all those characters and stories. Norse Mythology is a collection of short stories, but told in a way that really flows and makes it easy to connect the different characters, myths and happenings. The writing is of course rock solid and of a high quality I’ve come to expect of Neil Gaiman. If you are interested in Norse mythology in particular or simply are looking for a well written and interesting collection of short stories, I can highly recommend this one

4. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard (1,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/09
I guess I wish I would have listened to those instincts now, because hello unpopular opinion review once again! Oh yes, there is one thing that is for sure: Pretty Little Liars 200% isn’t for me. The only reason I didn’t DNF is that I needed it for a challenge, and didn’t have time to go looking for a different title that fitted the prompt… That bad? Oh yes. Highly annoying and frustratingly obnoxious characters… Check. One high school cliche stacked on top of another high school cliche… Check. Writing I couldn’t connect to and atrocious behavior of the main characters… Check. Plot that didn’t do anything for me at all… Check. Lack of connection to the characters and plot and overall lack of interest in how things would evolve… Check. I did warn you it was going to be another unpopular opinion review!

5. The Wife’s Secret by Kerry Wilkinson (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 10/10
I always seem to enjoy Kerry Wilkinson’s books, and this one is no exception. The suspense is very well done and I think this is my favorite story yet. The writing is solid, engaging and makes you fly through the pages as you try to figure out what happened to his wife and what she is hiding. What a shocking history! There were a lot of things I definitely didn’t see coming and if you enjoy suspenseful psychological thrillers, I can definitely recommend this one.

6. A Thousand Devils by Frank Goldammer (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/10
This is actually the second book of a series, and one I really enjoy. It’s a mix of historical fiction and detective thriller, with a detective trying to solve cases just after WWII in the German city of Dresden. Learning more about the situation just after the war is fascinating, especially in the subtle way Frank Goldammer incorporates historical elements and develops his setting perfectly. I can highly recommend this series!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

If I’m able to squeeze in one more N.E.W.T. book, it will definitely be Without Merit by Colleen Hoover. I’ve been meaning to read it for a while and I’m looking forward to it! I also need to read Tell Nobody by Patricia Gibney since the publish date is really close… The same goes for The Passion According To Carmela by Marcos Aguinis. I’m also curious about The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma.


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Bloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #188 – September 19th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading three more titles for the N.E.W.T. readathon… The first is Radiance Of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah, a book I’ve been wanting to read ever since I read his memoir which made a huge impact on me. I’m finishing the last Fire And Thorns novella The King’s Guard by Rae Carson first though… And I’m also starting with Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Girl Made Of Clay by Nicole Meier (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 20/09
If you enjoy reading character-driven stories with flawed characters that are described in a realistic way, The Girl Made Of Clay is without doubt an interesting read. The pace is not the fastest, but the story captures quite well how the characters evolve over time. Did I think every aspect of the plot and behavior was credible? Not exactly. Did most of the characters annoy me and made me enjoy the story a lot less? Most definitely. But as one of the cliches goes: ‘it’s not you, it’s me…‘. And I really think that is what happened here.

2. City Of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/09
City Of Ghosts delivers right from the cover until the very last page. I knew I could trust my instincts when I picked up this title, but this first book of a new MG paranormal series has proven once again you cannot go wrong with anything Schwab writes. It was hook, line and sinker when I started reading City Of Ghosts and I had to put all other tasks on hold until I finished reading it. The writing, the characters and their development, the Scottish setting, the ghosts, the plot… There is a lot to love in this story, and Cassidy and Jacob have already found a place in my heart.

3. Half Bad by Sally Green (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 21/09
I initially started reading Half Bad in Dutch, wanting to savour seeing that cover waiting for me near my reading chair. I have to say, I struggled a lot. First I thought it was the language, but I decided to switch to my English kindle version halfway through and I can confirm it wasn’t. There is just something about the writing style in Half Bad that really got on my nerves. There are a lot of short and halted sentences I just couldn’t grow used to, although I admit the writing style as a whole sadly just didn’t work for me. I struggled to keep reading as some parts of the story dragged, and I have to say that for a story this promising the plot kind of lacked action and more filling out in general.

4. The Shattered Mountain by Rae Carson (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 24/09
There is no doubt that this second novella is a lot stronger than the first one. I think this has a lot to do with the main character of this short story, which is quite easy to like and root for. Mara is a very interesting and strong character and she does some amazing things along with the other characters. The romance in The Shattered Mountain didn’t bother me one bit even though some cliches were involved. I think this mostly has to do with the fact there is a lot of focus on the dire situation the group is in instead as well as the worldbuilding of this high fantasy story.

5. All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin (2/5 stars) REVIEW 23/09
I really do think this story has a lot of potential, but instead of focusing on the more interesting aspects of the plot, All These Things I’ve Done is mostly just another teenage romantic drama with a few twists. Instead of focusing on the dystopian setting, when chocolate! and coffee! are illegal and resources seem to be limited, or the whole mafia background of Anya’s family, we mostly see the typical high school scenes with star-crossed lovers, food fights and other cliche elements. Definitely not what I thought I had signed up for. To make things worse, the main character Anya is absolutely despicable.

6. The Ballroom by Anna Hope (3/5 stars) REVIEW 24/09
This historical fiction read set in a 1911 asylum has a very interesting premise and a lot of potential, but the story sort of fell flat for me. The pace was considerably slow and it took me a lot longer than expected to read this story… The focus was on the characters and their development, but sadly there was nothing much for me to keep me focused to them or create a proper connection; instead I was mostly left both just wanting to get it over it and wanting the story to deliver something more.The fact that Charles is a very unlikeable character doesn’t really help either. Surprisingly though, the romance in this story didn’t bother me that much.

7. Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 27/09
I am so excited to have finally read this title by a fellow book blogger! I admit it took me some time to get used to the multiple POVs and I was confused at times how everything fit together, but there is no doubt this is a complex and very cleverly executed psychological thriller debut. I did guess some of the twists, some of the names are misleading and I was left with some questions after the final page… But overall it was still a very satisfying read.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going to pick up two pending ARCs next: All This I Will Give To You by Dolores Redondo and The Wife’s Secret by Kerry Wilkinson. I’m also dying for a change of genre, so I’m hoping Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard will be the fun read I’m looking for. I also want to read In A Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware soon.


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Bloglovin’.

BOOK REVIEW: A Long Way Gone – by Ishmael Beah

bralongwaygone

Title: A Long Way Gone; Memoirs Of A Boy Soldier
Author: Ismael Beah
Genre: Memoir, Non Fiction
First published: February 13th 2007
Finished reading: March 4th 2013
Pages: 218

Rating 4,5

“I joined the army to avenge the deaths of my family and to survive, but I’ve come to learn that if I am going to take revenge, in that process I will kill another person whose family will want revenge; then revenge and revenge and revenge will never come to an end…”

myrambles1

Even when I first heard about this book, I knew A Long Way Gone would leave its mark on me. This memoir telling the story of a young boy soldier in Sierra Leone is both impressive, sad and overwhelming. Ismael Beah was lucky enough to survive the terrors of the civil war and tells us without filter exactly how things really were for young boys in Sierra Leone. Make sure to have a tissue box closeby, because you will need it while you read A Long Way Gone!

shortsummary1

Memoirs Of A Boy Soldier tells the story of Ishmael Beah, now twenty-five years old. In this memoir he tells his heartbreaking story of his experiences during the decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone and the ongoing predicament of child soldiers in conflicts worldwide. When Beah was 12, he was forced to escape from attacking rebels in Sierra Leone. He was separated from his family and as he travelled around his country to escape the war, he was forced to join an army unit in order to stay alive. There they brainwashed him by giving him drugs and by thirteen, he had seen more people die (quite a few by his own hand) and experienced incidents that others may not have to deal with throughout their entire lives. At the age of 16, however, UNICEF removed him from the unit and gave him a chance to be forgiven and to start a new life in Freetown. When he traveled to the USA to participate in a conference, he was given a chance to teach others about the horrific and unimaginable things he was forced to face . Things that millions of children around the world still face today… He had to go back to Sierra Leone after the conference, but when the situation became too dangerous to stay in Freetown, where he lived with his uncle, he fled the country and was able to get back to the USA, where he lives to this day.

finalthoughts

This book is a truly impressive story and I admire Ishmael’s courage to tell his story to the world; admitting that he killed a lot of innocent people in the process. I respect him for that and also for giving us the opportunity to read and try understand how children are forced to do horrible things when facing war. This book is definitely recommended to those who enjoy reading non fiction, memoirs or stories about foreign cultures. Warning: A Long Way Gone is not for the weakhearted.