January & February Reading Wrap-Up

Updated: May 17


It has been a while since I wrote my last blog post (2 months...). School had taken over my life. But now I have finally found the time to share my reading wrap-up of January and February!



BOOKS I READ IN JANUARY


1. DANGEROUS ALLIANCE - Jennieke Cohen ✩✩✩.5


This book was given to me by Hebban.nl in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. In Dangerous Alliance we follow the story of a lively young lady, named Vicky, who - unexpectedly and against her will - has to find a husband to save her family from the hands of a money-hungry man. It is a story full of romance and intrigues, based on the books of Jane Austen. Jennieke Cohen wrote a novel that feels very Austentacious and modern at the same time. The romance and intrigues could have been taken from a Jane Austen novel. The events also took place in the beginning of the 19th century, just after the publication of Emma. The characters and the setting immediately swing you into that past. The narration,

however, was modern, interwoven with some

typical words used by Jane Austen.


Read the whole review here.


2. THE OCTOPUS CURSE - Salma Farook (no rating)


Salma Farook believes that we are all made up of stories and that's what connects us, even when great things like race, religion and cultures tries to divide us. This poem collection focuses on that believe.


I am not going to rate this book because I rarely read poetry, so I don't feel like I would be a good 'judge', However, I did enjoy this book. It contained some beautiful and emotional, as well as empowering poems for women.








That's it already for January! I got a bit into a reading slump this month and it took me a few weeks to read The Priory Of The Orange Tree.


BOOKS I READ IN FEBRUARY


1. THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK - Adrienne Young ✩✩✩✩

The Girl The Sea Gave Back is an accompanying novel to Sky In The Deep. This story takes place 10 years later, following Harvard, Fiske's younger brother, and Tova.


Although Tova has lived with the Svell (the clan who found her when she washed ashore as a little girl) almost all her life, she remains an outsider. The sacred symbols and staves inked on her body prove that she is destined to cast the rune stones and see into the future, and this causes fear among the clan members.

When two enemy clans join together after an age-old blood feud - news that causes division among the Svell leaders -, it seems that Tova and her rune stones will play an important role that will shake up her world.


I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Caitlin Kelly and Dan Bittner. They did a great job and pulled me into the story. Adrienne Young's writing style is so poetical and emotional and that is one of the reasons I am a huge fan of Sky In The Deep (SKY). However, I didn't feel connected to Tova as I felt to Eelyn in SKY , which is a bummer. I had hoped to feel that same connection again.

I loved diving into the Norse world again. The story feels magical and realistic at the same time. Where the magic in SKY isn't clearly supernatural, but more a human believe, it becomes more fantastical in The Girl The Sea Gave Back (SEA). I loved the narrow line between superstition and magic in SKY, I wished that line wasn't crossed in SEA.


I would rate the story 3 stars, but the writing style makes the story so much better and convinced me to add an extra star!

I do want to reread this book. I participated in the Behind The Book Read-along of SKY, hosted by Adrienne Young herself and I learned so much about her, her writing style, her believes, her experiences as a writer... and this made me love SKY even more. With this new knowledge I want to reread SEA and maybe discover new insights in this story.


2. THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE - Samantha Shannon ✩✩✩✩✩

A world divided

A queendom without an heir

An ancient enemy awakens.


This journey was wild and wonderful. It took me almost two months to get to the end, and now I don't know whether I am happy or sad that I finally finished it. I did read other books while reading this one, and now I am wondering I did that because subconsciously I was slowing down my reading, I didn't want this book to end. The plot twists and twists. Samantha Shannon did a great job developing the world building and the characters. Everything felt right. Every character had a past and they acted according to it. I feel like Samantha Shannon didn't give the reader what they would want, but wrote what the story needed, and in that way she created an epic fantasy, what the reader wants eventually. My favorite character was Ead. She was so badass and loving at the same time.



3. HOW TO BUILD A HEART - Maria Padiam ✩✩✩

This ebook was provided to me by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


I really enjoyed this book. I loved the romance build-up, but it didn't dominate the other storylines about family, friends and finding your place in the world that feels like home, where you can be yourself and be happy. Izzy is an imperfect character, which makes her so likeable.

Maria Padiam definitely scored some extra points with the acapella group!

One thing I didn't like about the writing style is that a lot of events were told in flashbacks, interrupting the events in the present, which was confusing sometimes. Some flashbacks could be told in the present and thus make the story more active.


Even though I didn't read that many books, I am still happy about my reading during these months. March is going so much better, though!



BOOKS I BOUGHT


I bought only one book in January! I was so proud of myself!

I bought Save The Cat by Blake Snyder, one of the best books on screenwriting, or so I heard. There is a novel writing edition as well, but as an animation film student I can learn a lot from this original book, both for my films and my writing projects. I do plan on buying the novel edition as well.


In February I didn't have the mental strength to resist the call of the bookstores. I bought Lord Foul's Bane and The Power That Preserves by Stephen Donaldson on a day trip to my favorite city of Antwerp. This is book one and three in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever trilogy. De Slegte, the store where I bought these books, didn't have the second one in stock, so I'll have to order that one online. A week later I had to fill up some free time while waiting for my boyfriend to get out of class, so I went to a bookstore again... I bought The Winter of the Witch, the third book in the Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden, and Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.



That's it! Since we are almost in the second half of March, my March reading wrap-up will follow pretty soon.


Love,


Janne

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