Friday Finds #94 – July 8th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Babs Book Bistro 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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BOOK REVIEW: The Miniaturist – by Jessie Burton

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Title: The Miniaturist
Author: Jessie Burton
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
First published: July 3rd 2014
Finished reading: March 10th 2016
Pages: 400
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“Growing older does not seem to make you more certain, Nella thinks. It simply presents you with more reasons for doubt.”

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Having grown up in a town close to Amsterdam, I was immediately intrigued by the setting of The Miniaturist. The fact that the story is set in 1686 only made me want to read this novel even more; I love historical fiction and I really looked forward to the historical descriptions of a city I know quite well. I have to say Jessie Burton didn’t disappoint. While this debut novel isn’t perfect, I still really enjoyed this story. The historical setting and descriptions are very well done and made me feel like I was walking through the city along with the main characters. Nelly Oortman is an interesting enough character; she feels a bit bland at point, but a 17th century woman wouldn’t have been allowed to have a lot of freedom in the first place. The other main characters are quite well developed as well and the story is beautifully written. I would have liked to see more of the miniaturist and the cabinet in the story though; after seeing the various covers and blurb I thought they would play a bigger role in the novel. Part of the plot wasn’t completely credible either, but like I said before: while The Miniaturist isn’t perfect, it is without doubt a very interesting and entertaining read for those who enjoy the genre.

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Nelly Oortman grew up on the countryside, but at eighteen her parents decided to arrange a marriage with a merchart trader named Johannes Brandt. Soon after that Nelly arrives in Amsterdam to begin her new life as Johannes’ wife… But when she enters her new home, she isn’t welcomed as she expected. Johannes seems distant and is never at home, leaving her alone with his sister Marin. Marin doesn’t really seem to like the girl, and Nelly feels quite alone… Having only the servants to talk to. But things change as Johannes gives Nelly her wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. Nelly is told she can furnish her gift as she wishes, and decides to engage the services of a miniaturist for the miniatures. The miniaturist turns out to be a lot more mysterious than Nelly can ever imagine; when she sees the first pieces, she is shocked by the accuracy of the tiny details. The miniaturist seems to know more about the Brandt household than herself, and soon Nelly starts finding out some unusual secrets… And they might be in danger.

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I really enjoyed reading The Miniaturist. The historical descriptions and setting are very well done and really set the right mood for this story. Some of the characters might feel a bit bland at points, but there are always other interesting characters closeby to fill the gap. Some of the plot might not feel all that credible and I would have liked for the miniaturist to have a bigger role in the story, but that doesn’t take away I would definitely recommend this novel by Jessie Burton.

WWW Wednesdays #82 – March 16th

wwwwednesdaysWWW 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?

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I finally picked up my last TBR jar pick The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney a few days ago, but I am not exactly enjoying it so far. The story is pretty bad and I don’t like the prose or the main character for that matter. The way the story is told feels really unnatural and forced… So I decided to put it on hold and continue my Red Queen marathon first. I finished the first book last night, so I’m about to dive into Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard as soon as I can find some free time.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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I ‘only’ finished three titles since last week week, with one of them being a quick reread… Why? We were invited to a wedding party last weekend! 😀 A lot of fun, but it did take away a lot of my reading time.
* The first title I finished was The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. It turned out to be a really interesting read and I loved the Amsterdam setting and its many descriptions! Not perfect, but without doubt recommendable.
* I then finished Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover; a book a really wanted to love, but unfortunately I didn’t. I really didn’t like the main characters or their actions and some of the prose really annoyed me… That doesn’t take away that I still think Colleen Hoover is a genius though.
* The last book is a reread I’m not going to review again, because I already wrote one last year: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Just as enjoyable the second time around and I’m glad I did the reread, because I had forgotten a lot of details that will help me enjoy the sequel a lot better.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably pick up Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch as soon as I finish Glass Sword… I’m trying to read/finish as many series as possible this year, and since the third book is recently coming out in September I’m counting this one as well. I might read Random by Tom Leveen or The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell first depending of which genre I’m in the mood for though…  And I have a new TBR jar pick: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I read the first book of the series last year and really enjoyed it, but somehow I never continued the series until now. I guess my renewed TBR jar thought it was about time. 😉

WWW Wednesdays #81 – March 9th

wwwwednesdaysWWW 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?

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I’m normally not a romance fan, but ever since reading and loving November 9 I have been wanting to pick up another Colleen Hoover book. It was between Ugly Love and Maybe Someday, but the first one won… I’m still not that far into the story yet, but hopefully I’ll find time to continue soon. I’m also still reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton; I really like it so far, but I haven’t been in the mood for historical fiction lately and I don’t want to rush it. Fingers crossed I’ll feel like reading historical fiction again soon!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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A lot of finished reads this week, but most of these are short and easy reads…
* The first novella I finished was Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell, a Star Wars-themed story she wrote for World Book Day and very entertaining!
* I then read both Red Queen novellas Queen Song and Steel Scars by Victoria Aveyard. I can’t say I was impressed… The second was slightly better than the first, but I don’t think they are actually worth reading.
* I then read One by Sarah Crossan, which turned out to be a superfast and interesting read. The prose reads almost like poetry and the story itself is intriguing.
* I decided to continue with Eve by Iris Johansen afterwards because I didn’t want to bring my kindle with me during my trip… I kind of wish I brought another book instead because it was almost a torture to have to read this story. I will have to work on my DNF skills…
* The last book I finished was a lot better: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. I already knew I liked her writing style after reading Why Not Me? and this one is without doubt entertaining as well (although a bit slow at points).

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably try to finish my Red Queen series read and both reread Red Queen and read Glass Sword… Although I might pick up Random by Tom Leveen first depending of which genre I’m in the mood for. I have also been wanting to read Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch since I really enjoyed the first book; The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney is still my latest TBR jar pick.

WWW Wednesdays #80 – March 2nd

wwwwednesdaysWWW 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?

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I’m still reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and so far I’m really enjoying it. The only reason I haven’t finished it yet is that my reading slump is making it hard to concentrate for a long time and I have been reading ‘easy’ reads instead… So that’s why I decided to start reading Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell as well. It’s a short read so I will probably finish it today.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I always enjoy a good historical fiction WWII story and this one has to be one of my all time favorites. Such a beautifully written story!
* I then read Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, which ended up being a very interesting read with a lot of funny moments. Warning: make sure to read it when nobody is around because you will probably laugh out loud!
* I also finally picked up my first Spanish read in ages: Bestiario by Julio Cortázar. I really liked the combination of ordinary things with magical realism elements… But I have to be honest and say that some stories were a lot better than others.
* The last book I finished is The Secrets Of Lake Road by Karen Katchur, a book I picked up on a whim and turned out to be a really quick read.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I might pick up Random by Tom Leveen depending of which genre I’m in the mood for… Although I will probably start my Red Queen series marathon by reading the first of two novellas Queen Song. In case I don’t want fantasy, I have Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover lined up as well; The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney is still my latest TBR jar pick.

Teaser Tuesdays #83 – March 1st: The Miniaturist

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at Books And A Beat. 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 started reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton last week and I’m really enjoying it so far. The only reason I’m still not that far into the story yet is that I wanted to finish some other books first before the month was over… But I’m looking forward to continue reading this one today.

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My teaser (4%):

“Founded on risk, Amsterdam now craves certainty, a neat passage through life, guarding the comfort of its money with dull obedience. I should have left before today, she thinks. Death has come too close.”

What are you reading right now?

WWW Wednesdays #79 – February 24th

wwwwednesdaysWWW 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?

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I still haven’t finished All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr… Don’t get me wrong, I love this book so far both because of the prose, setting and characters, but somehow I haven’t been in the mood to read it. I’m fearing a starting reading slump, so I am trying to read quick, ‘easy’ or different reads instead. I’ve just picked up Bestiario by Julio Cortázar as well to start working on my promise to read more Spanish books; I’ve read a lot of his short stories during Uni and it’s nice to revisit them.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was Every Day by David Levithan. I had my reservations and wasn’t sure what to expect, but it turned out to be an excellent read.
* I then read Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn mostly because I needed something short and entertaining to get me to read again. Like the title says, this book is without doubt strange, mysterious and very intriguing! Recommendable.
* I also finished Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas, a book I picked up on a whim after remembering how much I loved Dangerous Girls last year. I still prefer that one, although Dangerous Boys is almost as good. Abigail Haas knows how to play with the reader’s mind!
* The last book I finished is Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas, a Veronica Mars sequel that didn’t really live up to expectations. I loved the first book, but the sequel read a bit slow and failed to keep my attention. There was too much focus on the relationship between Veronica and Logan and politics and the actual case they were working on was pushed to the background…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I really want to pick up The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton soon; both because I have been looking forward to it for quite some time now and I need it for a challenge as well. I might read Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson first though if I’m in the mood for a light read…. And I also finally want to stick to my promise and start with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, but that depends on how I feel after finishing my current reads. The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney is still my newest TBR jar pick.