Book 10 – Nevermore by Nell Stark and Trinity Tam

2017_Nevermore

This is the second book in the Everafter series, so far there are four books. I don’t have the other books yet, but given how much I like these first two books I’m sure that the others will follow soon as well. I read this book literally on the last day of the year which is why I didn’t have the time to write a proper review before the year ended.

If you plan on reading these books do not continue reading, this contains spoilers!

Alexa has made the biggest sacrifice she can to make sure that Val can continue to be herself. The parasite that is changing Val into a bloodthirsty vampire in time will also change her soul unless she keeps her sanity by only taking blood from one donor – Alexa. In order to be able to give Val all the blood she needs, she’s made the decision to become a wereshifter. Wereshifters are able to regenerate their health if they shift and therefor they are also able to endure more trauma. On the other hand pain makes them shift, which imposes a danger to Val. Alexa needs to control her impulses and to do so she has to make a decision which keeps them apart for a while.

This is such an easy book to read, the story has a really good flow to it. Which makes it easy to read. The story has a couple of nice twists and turns especially that one at the very end was a huge surprise. Makes me wonder where that is going in the following books. There are at this point two more books in the series – there is Nightrise and Sunfall. I hope to be able to read them soon, at the moment I don’t own the books. I better go and make sure that I fix that!

 

 

Advertisements

Book 9 – Everafter by Nell Stark & Trinity Tam

2017_Everafter

The reason why I picked up this book was simple. I wanted to read a love story – preferably between two women. There aren’t enough stories involving lesbian or bisexual love stories if you ask me. This book is one of the first I came across. Looking at it now I can’t imagine how I didn’t see the mention of ‘a paranormal romance’. Somehow I didn’t though and I was surprised by the paranormal side of the story.

A very nice surprise if you ask me. It certainly made for a very good story, I really enjoyed reading this. Reason why I probably didn’t make the connection is because I never really use the word paranormal, I’d rather use supernatural or call it what it is – a story about vampires and were’s. But not the kind of sparkly vampires we’ve seen in that other book series which shall not be named.  This is a story about becoming a vampire and about a lover who wants to do everything in her power to keep your soul save.

Valentine Darrow is ready to spend the rest of her life with her lover – Alexa Newland, little does she know that the rest of her life is going to be a lot longer than she ever could have imagined when she becomes the victim of a brutal attack. At first it seems to be a simple mugging but soon Valentine starts to experience an extreme thirst which can’t be stilled. Her own medical knowledge as a med student can’t explain the thirst. However with the help of a doctor she finally gets some answers. She’s slowly becoming a vampire.

Immediately after I finished reading this book I started on the second book, Nevermore. Which I hope to finish later today so I can add it to my 2017 Reading List. Which would mean that I have finished my challenge of reading ten books during this past year.

Book 7 – American Gods by Neil Gaiman

2017_NeilGaiman_2.jpg

I was really looking forward to reading this book. Reason for it was that a lot of my friends from my writer’s group absolutely love it! Granted, a couple of them are huge Neil Gaiman fans, but still if you hear people talking about something with so much passion you’ll end up being curious about it. I heard them talking about it so many times that it really got me interested.

I liked the idea of the old Gods in today’s world and seeing how they would remain standing while new Gods try to take their place. I really like the concept and the idea of the story. In that regard it reminded me of ‘Once upon a time’ the HBO television show where fairytale characters live in our world. Little by little you’ll find out who is which fairytale character and how their story fits into the bigger whole.

American Gods is similar, the title tells you that it’s all about Gods but without telling you immediately who’s who. It sets for a very intriguing story line. But at the same time it’s also a very confusing story. Reading the book took me quite some time, it was a book which I really wanted to read however there were also times where I needed to process what I was reading. Confusing that is what it was at times. I honestly can’t say that I love the book, yet I don’t hate it either. The book had also parts which pulled me in and made me wanting more and more. I was determined to finish the book, sometimes when a story confuses me I get bored with it. This was different though, I wanted to finish it and despite it being difficult at times I really enjoyed reading it. Although I do think that this is one of those stories where you want to read it more than once and if you do you’ll probably see a lot of signs and connections you hadn’t seen before. So this book will surely go on the must-read-again list.

The book versus the television

As you might know there is also a television show. The book and the television show are very different in my opinion and while that is in some cases a shame and often causes an uproar among fans. In this case it works, probably mostly because Neil Gaiman is working on the television show as well so nothing happens without his approval and in complete Gaiman style he’s said before that he wanted to surprise the fans of the book as well as new fans. There were some things I’d expected to see in the television show but we haven’t seen them so far – yet it doesn’t feel wrong. With Gaiman involved in the whole process and it can’t be wrong. It’s his story after all – these are his characters and knowing that he approved it all makes it good.

So while it might be vastly different it’s still the same story, just in a different format. I really loved the portrayal of the characters, they certainly came across as the same characters in the book they represented. Seeing it all on screen cleared some things up for me personally – it made it easier to grasp certain connections. There where some scenes in the book where I wasn’t sure what they meant in the whole story while I was reading it, but seeing them on screen made it easier to give them a place and to understand it all.

American-Gods-posters.jpg

Visually the television show is absolutely stunning! It’s dirty and it’s grimy, shiny and radiant all at the same time. It all fits the characters as you can see in the posters above and the same goes for the story. I think that the tone of the television show is simply perfect.

I love how they choose to diverge from the story and give certain characters a bigger role, most importantly Mad Sweeney. His interaction with Laura Moon is so funny and the macabre humor really brings some fun to the show as well.

I’m looking forward to see more. I certainly recommend this book and the television show. Yes, I certainly do however I do recommend both of them. In my opinion the television show makes the story easier to understand.

 

 

August in hindsight

August_2017

I know it’s October by the time I’m finally posting this but September seemed to have flown by without me noticing it. Well I noticed it but it was a month which was too busy for me to take any time for myself. And the few spare moments I had I was too tired to focus on writing. It’s not an excuse but the way life sometimes takes over. Anyway let me start with telling you all about my August.

August was  a strange month, usually August would be the month that marked my vacation time. However this year I had my two week summer break at the end of June and the beginning of July. So my vacation was done long before most other people where even thinking about going on vacation. And the fact that the weather wasn’t too good didn’t really help either. I was at work while one colleague after another left for their break. It was a really strange situation from my point of view to be honest.

It was also the month in which my grandmother turned ninety! A very respectable age especially if you manage to do it the way my grandmother does it. For someone her age she’s doing really well. I love my grandmother, she’s such a sweetheart and we’ve always had a special connection. She’s an amazing woman and I really hope that she’s will continue on the way she’s doing right now.

Reunion

We’ve had our first ‘official’ reunion with the group from my vacation in Sardinia – I say official because this was a day planned ahead and we already had a mini-reunion at the lake near The Hague where some of us went windsurfing. Anyway this was the official reunion. It was a wonderful weekend, we went to Utrecht. A beautiful city in the center of the Netherlands. And while it is quite close to my home – about an hour away – me and some other people decided that we wanted to stay the night. So we wouldn’t have to worry about getting home. We rented a room with six people in a Hostel. If you ever need an Hostel in the center of Utrecht I can wholeheartedly recommend Stay Okay. It’s a very new – exactly one year old when we where there – Hostel which houses all kinds of different rooms and there were even families with kids and elderly people staying at the Hostel. In the afternoon we went bowling which is always a fun thing to do. Surprisingly the first round started off pretty good for me, better than expected. Not that I was the winner or anything but I wasn’t too bad.

After our bowling adventure we set out to find a spot at one of the many cafe’s for drink, and some pizza slices – something which happened at our vacation and what gave us a good laugh at this point but wasn’t really all that funny when it happened. Anyway after our pizza slices and drinks we went for a walk through the city to find our restaurant for the evening. A lovely small place which was in no way set up to host a group of 15 people but managed to do so anyway. We had a sort of tapas dinner where they made different types of small meals, not just Spanish but everything and anything. We had a lovely dinner. And afterwards we took another stroll through the city. We were planning on going out but it was still very early in the night. Eventually we ended up at Florin, which is the same place we always go with the Nanowrimo Kickoffs! The night ended at a club, not exactly one where I would have gone but it was fun nevertheless. Around three we rolled into our beds – which were luckily for us only a three minute walk away from the club.

The six of us – who rented a room at the hostel – had a very restless but fun night. Everyone slept a little but no one slept nearly enough and after a short night and a way too early shower we were sitting across from each other at the breakfast table. After the breakfast our ways split all over the Netherlands and we all made our way home either by car or by train.

Reading and writing

I’ve finally finished reading the When Woman Were Warriors books, all three of them back to back. I absolutely loved reading the books. They reminded me so much of the books I used to read when I was younger. In a lot of ways these type of books feel like they are historical novels but you know that the story is completely made up. A series of books dedicated to strong female characters! A series of books I absolutely recommend to everyone who loves to read about strong women.

And I started reading American God’s by Neal Gaiman, which is now also a television show. A lot of my friends recommended the book. So I’m really looking forward to reading it and seeing what it’s all about.

Looking ahead:

  • My parents went on their cruise vacation and they left from Amsterdam. I decided that I would bring them and pick them up a week later. So I spend two Sundays driving to Amsterdam, one of them was spend at a city beach and one of them in my hometown where we had a nice meal together.
  • Working lots and lots of overtime in September, like usual.
  • We had the NoSun Festival! Which was fun!
  • And we had another reunion!

Book 2 – Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

2017_fortunatelythemilk

After reading a story about characters as twisted and as sick as ‘Amazing Amy’ in Gone Girl, I certainly needed to read something completely different. Something uplifting and fun, with a different pace and that book came in the form of ‘Fortunately, the Milk’ by Neil Gaiman and illustrator Skottie Young.

And it was literally the best choice I could have made at that time. This story definitively was what I needed I had so much fun reading it. The book has 160 pages – at least my version has – however since there are a lot of drawings in the book the story is relatively short. The fact that the story is relatively short doesn’t take away how awesome it is.

It’s basically one of the most surprising stories I’ve read in a long time it simply starts with a father who has to take care of his kids because his wife is away on a business trip for a couple of days. As all moms would do she’s given him a couple of tasks for the days that she’s away. And as all moms do she has already made sure that most things are taken care of before she leaves. One of the simple tasks that she asks her husband to do is getting milk for the kids’ cereal. But as most dads do in a situation like this, he forgets to buy the milk in the store and one of the mornings the kids want their cereal but there is no more milk.

The dad goes out to get some milk from the store on the corner, and promises to his kids to come back quickly. Not only because the kids need the milk for their cereal but also because he needs it for his own tea. However it takes a long, long time for the dad to return and the kids get worried and hungry. Finally when the dad returns he tells his kids the most wonderful adventure all revolving around a simple milk carton and why it took him so long to return home.

Besides the very adventurous story the book is also filled by wonderfully creative drawings made by Skottie Young. The portrayal of the story is simply perfect. The drawings are all in black and white but for some reason I felt the extreme urge to grab my color pencils and start coloring the drawings, probably because a lot of details were told in such a vivid way that you could color it exactly the way it was meant to be colored in.

I’m really curious now to read more of Neil Gaiman’s books, I know some of my friends love his work but up until now I wasn’t familiar with it. Does anyone have any recommendations for other books by Neil Gaiman I can read, there are so many books to choose from!

Yes, this is one to read!

Book 1 – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

2017_gonegirl

A very surprising book!

I have read quite a few crime books and I have encountered a lot of twisted characters in those books, from terrorists to cold blooded murderers. But none of them was as twisted as one of the characters I encountered in this book. Nothing could have prepared me for this.

The title ‘Gone Girl’ tells you all you need to know, a woman disappears into thin air leaving behind a strangely acting husband, an overturned living room and a huge badly cleaned up blood pool on the kitchen floor. To top it off it becomes more and more clear that their marriage wasn’t as good as it should have been. There is mutual anger and resentment between the spouses. They’d been at odds for a while and since both of them lost their job and they moved from New York city to a small town where Nick grew up because his mother was dying. To top it off there were financial troubles and Nick is cheating on his wife with a much younger woman.

Most of the time when I read I use my tablet, just because it’s easier to take with me. I’ve read this book in the train to Rotterdam for example and I took it with me to the library. I remember specifically being at 40% percent of the book when I was wondering where the hell the story was going. At that point I honestly couldn’t figure it out! I was so curious to read more and figure it out, but whatever idea I came up with would have never even come close to the actual story.

What I didn’t know at that time was that I was actually at the breaking point in the story. Within a matter of a few pages the story started to change in a very different direction – very surprising direction I might add. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, this is one you really need to read or see for yourself. Even if I tried to explain it I could never do it justice.

Book vs. movie

This is a book which has been turned into the film and out of curiosity I choose to watch the movie as well. The thing is that I finished the book before I watched the movie which seems the logical order since the book was written first. It’s always intriguing to see how books and movies compare and I am able to separate the two. I know that a lot of people have trouble separating books and movies but I’m not one of them, I can enjoy both of them and see them for what they are.

The book and the movie are really similar, of course there are some things left out. That happens a lot in movies for obvious reasons, they often only have a hour and a half or two hours to tell the story. The book goes at a slower pace, the movie has a faster pace of course they need to capture the audiences attention in a different manner. While in a book they can take the time to build up the story, a writer can capture so much more than a movie could ever do.

To me the movie was less interesting, which isn’t all that surprising since I read the book and I knew what to expect and I could see all the plot twists coming. I think that if I hadn’t read the book the plot twits would have surprised me just as much as they did while I was reading it. There is no way you can foresee that twisted character development.