Url Phantomhive

Url Phantomhive

Trying to shed a light on the wonderful maze of books...

Review
3 Stars
The Last Bookaneer
The Last Bookaneer - Matthew Pearl

I'm always interested in books about books, and this book tells about the final days of the bookaneers, people who stole manuscripts from writers for publishers, which is coming to an end with the introduction of copyrights. The main characters try one final time to get their hands on the latest book by Robert Louis Stevenson, which he was writing all the way in Samoa.

The premise was really interesting, but in the execution there was something that didn't really work out. The writing and most of the story were really slow, and there is a lot that doesn't really add to it. It was interesting and kept me entertained, but I felt it was too long for the story it told. I think with the concept of bookaneers, more books could be written (apparently there's at least one more, which features some of the characters from The Last Bookaneer).

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
2.5 Stars
Deceived
Deceived, - L.A Starkey

I feelt slightly 'deceived' as I was expecting something much more fantasy-like based on the cover. Instead, the story bottles down to two guys (who apparently share a soul) both fight for the favour of a girl, their soulmate, in order to become the sole possessor of said shared soul. So romantic, no?

It was a quick read, but I never really felt into it. Had I known the focus would be so much on the development of the romance, even though I think the motives of both guys are questionable, I would have maybe skipped it because that is really not something I usually like to read about. There is some immersion of Greek mythology, which will keep me reading into the second book, which I already have and will be reading soon.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
2 Stars
The Cat Dancers
The Cat Dancers - P.T. Deutermann

I've finally decided to work my way through the 30 or so Dutch books that are still standing unread on my shelves. As I'm almost exclusively reading English for the last few years, these books had been forgotten a bit. Cat Dancers was the book longest on my shelf so that's why I decided to pick it up now.

While some books, like wine, get better with age, this was not one of those. The story felt so incredibly dated and late-90s (part of me is to blame for leaving the book on my shelves for so long after buying it in a sale long ago). Especially the parts on internet and computers. It was a much more difficult book to focus on, because my thoughts kept wandering to basically anything else. For this kind of books, there was little real policing and everyone was constantly jumping to (the wrong) conclusions.

On a more positive note: The name will make sense after reading the book.

Review
2.5 Stars
De Mol
De Mol - Bart Debbaut

~Short English Review Below~

Ik kreeg dit boek laatst voor mijn verjaardag want: een boek en (Wie is) De Mol leken een ideale combinatie voor mij aangezien ik ook al jaren naar de Nederlandse én Vlaamse versie kijk. En effectief steeds gestalkt word door reclame voor dit boek. Tijdens de opnames van een nieuw seizoen wordt één van de kandidaten gekidnapt en dan wordt het al snel duidelijk dat niet alleen de kandidaten met een mol te maken hebben.

Het was wel een aardig tussendoorboekje. Het las lekker snel (ik ben altijd verbaasd als ik weer eens een Nederlands boek op pak tussen al het Engels) en was interessant genoeg om te blijven boeien. Maar de schrijfstijl vond ik soms wat tegenvallen en ook de meeste raadsels/problemen werden wel wat makkelijk opgelost. De ontknoping was niet echt bijzonder.

Ik ben zelf niet echt (meer) thuis in de Nederlandse/Vlaamse thriller, maar ik vermoed dat veel menen het wel leuk gaan vinden.

~~~~

'De Mol' is one of the most popular tv-shows in The Netherlands and Flanders. Nine candidates have to try to do all kinds of different tests while in their midst is hidden a mole, some who will try to sabotage everything they do. The Dutch show is currently preparing the 19th(!) season. It is almost a surprise no one before wrote about it.

In this book, during the filming of a new season, one of the candidates gets kidnapped and they find out that there is also a mole in Production, but while making a show in distrust, who can you trust? It was a very fast read and entertaining enough, but most of the challenges never felt so difficult and also the writing sometimes felt a little awkward. The solution was a bit disappointing, but I think people will like it anyway.

Review
1.5 Stars
Gezien De Feiten
Gezien de feiten - Griet Op de Beeck

~Short English review below~

Gezien de feiten, boekenweekgeschenk 2018 (voor het eerst geschreven door een Vlaame schrijfster), werd eerder al afgemaakt in de pers. Nu ben ik sowieso altijd wat voorzichtig wanneer het gaat om Nederlandstalige auteurs, ik was wel benieuwd naar dit boekje van Griet Op de Beeck, die de laatste jaren veel succes oogst met boeken als Vele Hemels Boven de Zevende. Ik had hoe dan ook nog nooit iets van haar gelaten.

Na het lezen van Gezien de feiten, denk ik dat ik het daar ook bij ga laten. Ten eerste viel me de typisch Nederlands/Vlaamse schrijfstijl op die me altijd de kriebels geeft en die me telkens bevestigd waarom ik die boeken normaal gezien links laat liggen. Maar ik wilde Gezien de Feiten een eerlijke kans geven en heb oprecht geprobeerd me er niet aan te ergeren. Dan bleef het verhaal over, dat me helaas ook niet kon bekoren. Het deed vaag vermoeden dat de schrijfster een van de vele recente Scandinavische titels over ouderen die plots bedenken dat ze hun leven nog van hen kunnen maken onder ogen had gezien en dacht: dat kan ik ook. Maar dan zonder de tragikomedie die die boeken typeert. 95 pagina's was nog altijd te lang.

Zondag 18 Maart geldt Gezien de feiten als treinticket in Nederland.

~~~~

This is the free booklet provided to everyone who buys a book during National Bookweek. It's written by a famous Flemish writer I was curious about, but unfortunately I didn't like it. The writing was exactly as I've come to expect from Dutch/Flemish writers (and which is the reason I don't usually read them), and the story felt like a rip-off of the Scandinavian books like the Man called Ove and the 100-year old... but done worse. Wouldn't recommend, but you can use it as a trainticket on Sunday March 18.

Review
4 Stars
Fault Lines
Fault Lines - Marie Brennan

I really liked this episode, I wasn't too sure after Arrivals, but with Fault Lines it is decided: I want to read this serial. A lot of political conflicts and interesting characters. The world also got more fleshed out.

Looking forward to the rest!

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
2 Stars
The Sham
The Sham - Ellen Allen

The Sham starts immediately gruesome with some of the worst bullying I've encountered in books. However, what exactly it added to the story, I'm not quite sure. Emily meets Jack, a mysterious guy who might not be who he claims to be. At the same time, girls start to go missing. What is Jack's role in this? And worse, is Emily next?

This was such a strange novel. There were a lot of situations that felt off, and I couldn't get why she was so protective of Jack, even though she didn't know him and all these strange things were going on. I had a hard time caring for any of the characters really. Also, the ending was a surprise to me, but it didn't make much sense.

It was not for me, I'm afraid.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3.5 Stars
Planck
Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War - Brandon R. Brown

Every now and then I am looking for an interesting book about a famous scientist and this time it was Max Planck, founder of the quantum mechanics. I was pretty unaware about his history except being German and an important physicist. I'm glad I learned about his fascinating life as well.

Told in an interesting format, where basically the last year(s) of the second world war are the starting point from each chapter which is then also looking back at the rest of Planck's long life. This adds a suspense that I haven't encountered a lot in non-fiction. However, there is also a downside. Some facts were repeated a couple of times too much which made it a bit repetitive.

Would recommend though.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
Deceptively Beautiful
Deceptively Beautiful: A Daath Wedding - Eliza Tilton

Deceptively Beautiful was an unexpected surprise, as I thought the series was already concluded after the third book. While it is brought forward as book 4, it is more of a novella though. It takes place around the wedding of the main characters.

It's been a while since I read the other books, but while it was a quick and nice read, I was wondering what it ultimately adds to the series. I would recommend it to fans, but for the story, it is not that important.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
2 Stars
Footsteps In The Sky
Footsteps in the Sky - Greg Keyes

The cover for this Open Media edition of Greg Keyes' Footsteps in the Sky was so fascinating that I requested it without actually knowing what the story was about. In some future, humans have left earth in search for other inhabitable places. A group of Hopi end up on Fifth World, a planet that seems almost too ready for habitation. After a while with internal struggles, the original 'owners' of the planet show up.

While the premise was fascinating I had a hard time focussing on the story. The characters never felt alive to me and I had to force myself to pick it up. When finally reading it was nice, but was missing something special. Thinking of everything else I have still to read, I wouldn't immediately pick up more books by Greg Keyes.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
4 Stars
An Argumentation Of Historians
An Argumentation of Historians - Jodi Taylor

Collective noun for historians: an argumentation.

One of the consequences of having a Mt. TBR that is just short of keeping me awake at night (both literally and figuratively speaking) is that there are few times I'm really waiting for a book to be published, because I have at least twenty (or a hundred) that are constantly screaming for my attention. However, An Argumentation of Historians was one of those few books, that I immediately bought on release day and I dropped all the rest so I could read it.

St Mary's is one of my favourite series. It is so light and British I find it the ultimate way to relax. Luckily the tone of this book is lighter compared to the previous one, and I enjoyed it much more. (Apparently Jodi Taylor received much complains about And the Rest is History, because she mentions it in her introduction). If you ever wanted to know what people get up to when they are 'investigating major historical events in contemporary time' read this series (this is book #9 and they should really be read in order). Don't bother with the science though, you will find very little of that, which is just fine because it is their not having an idea what they're doing that's at least half the fun of it. Additionally, it makes their responses when they historian better. Oh, and if you can't stand tea, stay wide from this series, because you will be reminded about it every second page or so.

This all being said and done, it is not all gold that glitters of course. There were some things I didn't like, so the next part will contain some spoilers for this book and the previous ones in the series.

After ATRIH I was pissed off, because she pulled the 'assuming someone was dead' again, and it is just such a cheap plot point. So I was glad she stayed far away from that in this one (even though it was clear from the start that Max would eventually return to the right St. Mary's). Which was really good, because in a fit of rage I might have declared to throw the entire series out of the window. See, I've certainly learned from the impulsiveness of everyone at St. Mary's. As I mentioned above, there is not a lot of scientific explanation to the workings of the time travel, but apparently it can't be that hard, since there are enough rogue time travellers to keep an full police force going. Also, the moments it bordered more on science fiction were some of the weakest in the series, in my opinion. Ellis' explanation of the future, with the Time Police's involvement in almost all things, was really bad. It would have better been left out. Finally, I feel the Ronan storyline should have ended some time ago. It feels rather repetitive at this point and I think there would be more than enough nice, interesting historical events to explore without him.

I see a new short story is due in 10 days, I can't wait!

Review
3 Stars
Arrivals
Arrivals - Michael Underwood

Arrivals is the first installment in a new series from Serial Box and since I had just finished this season of False Idols, I was looking for my next serial. It was quite a switch from False Idols, as Arrivals provide what feels like an old-fashioned but well thought of and enjoyable high fantasy.

There is a lot of introduction of new characters which made it a little bit chaotic and I didn't feel a connection yet with the characters, but some of the things show promise to become very interesting. I particularly liked the floating lands.

For now I will continue.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
The Eighth King
The Eighth King - Matt Weber

The Eight King was a difficult book for me. I wanted to like it so bad. It was original fantasy, set against a Chinese background, but maybe because it featured so many different and special elements, I found it hard to follow and to concentrate on the book.

As I'm always reading multiple books at the same time, I had to cut down the portions I read of The Eight King because I noticed the reading always haltered there. Which I think might be due to the writing which was to say the least special. Told from the all knowing third person perspective, the characters always feel far away, and with the characters each carrying multiple names (many of which have some sort of Ape in it) it was difficult to connect to them (or tell them all apart at times). At times the writing felt slightly condescending towards the characters.

It was a shame, because I loved the way magic was interwoven in the world. It was very whimsical, mainly providing problems rather than easy solutions. The politics involved were also really nice. I would like to know where the world is going, but I hope the writing would change a bit.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
First Activation
First Activation: A Post Apocalyptic Thriller - D.A. & M.P. Wearmouth

I'm afraid of flying, so whatever drove me to read a horror book with a plane on the cover right before boarding a flight beats me. Luckily for people like me, the flying is certainly the safest mode of transport in First Activation. It's when they reach their destination that things become, slightly weird, as everyone feels the need to murder-suicide themselves. It's here that veteran brothers Jack and Harry are trying to survive.

I liked the first half of the book best, because it was reading really fast and felt like I was watching a movie. It was the right amount of confusing, gross and enthralling, just what I needed at that moment. About half-way, the pace slows down quite drastically and it is much less about survival and much more about the why and who behind the sudden urge to kill. I was still interested in the story, but things started to get really convenient and unlikely, which was a slight let down.

Since I already had a copy of the sequel, I've started it already. Curious where the Second Activation will bring everyone.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
4 Stars
The Little Red Wolf
The Little Red Wolf - Amélie Fléchais, Andrea Colvin

I immediately fell for The Little Red Wolf because of the beautiful artwork. It is a real pleasure for the eyes, and I especially liked the colouring. It was done great.

However, I had not expected to find such a cute story to accompany it. It was just wonderful. A young wolf is sent out to his grandmother to bring her a rabbit, for she is too old to hunt herself. While his mother warned him to stay on the path since there are dangerous humans around, the world is so fascinating the young wolf soon forgets all warnings.

Most certainly recommended!

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
Inherit The Stars
Inherit the Stars - Tessa Elwood

Inherit The Stars is the first book in a duology by the same title. It has some problems, sure, but after reading the negative reviews, I was bracing myself for much worse.

Asa, as youngest daughter of a great House, pretends to be her older sister and gets married to the Heir of another great House. All of this is rather impulsive, which really characterizes Asa. She's not likeable and difficult to feel any kind of sympathy for. The romance I think, will not surprise anyone. However, besides these things it was a rather fast and nice read. Since I already have the second book in the duology, I will be reading it some time.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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