Url Phantomhive

Url Phantomhive

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

Review
3.5 Stars
Hell's Teeth
Hell's Teeth - James Fahy

Dr. Harkness is thrown into a lot of mess in the dystopian world of New Oxford as her supervisor goes missing and the only thing that is left of her is, surprisingly, her teeth. Harkness turns out to be a great main character as she guides us through her world with a lot of wit, which made this book so nice to read.

The world is filled with Genetic Others, Vampires and the like, which has of course been done a lot recently in the genre, but it still somehow feels fresh in Hell's Teeth. I should really pick up the second book in the series soon!

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

Review
5 Stars
Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban  - J.K. Rowling

The review below was based on my first read of the Harry Potter books, ages ago and in Dutch. Updated reviews will follow after a reread (in English) I plan to do.

 

And this is where I became a fan of Harry Potter. I really liked it! It's often been said that it is the best of the Potter books, and currently, I have to agree. I liked the story, the characters, everything really. Finished this one really quick.

The only thing that sort of scares me is: will the book live up to my expectations on re-read? (*fingers crossed 'cause I sure hope it does*)

Review
2 Stars
Kokoro
Kokoro - Keith Yatsuhashi

For the biggest part of Kokoro I felt like I was missing a lot of it. It is of course my own fault for not realizing it was a sequel before getting the book, but still this is one of these books I would certainly not recommend reading as a stand-alone as you will probably feel as lost as I did.

It's presented as a combination of Japanese folklore and science-fiction, and at times it felt like I was reading a manga (without the pictures), but the story moved incredibly fast and was at times a bit overwhelming. Due to this, I never really got invested with the characters, either on Higo or on Earth. If I had liked Kokoro better, I would have certainly checked out Kojiki too, as I would have like to see how it all started, but as it stands, I'm rather hesitant and think I'm going to pass.

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
Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

The review below was based on my first read of the Harry Potter books, ages ago and in Dutch. Updated reviews will follow after a reread (in English) I plan to do.

 

When I first read the Harry Potter series, almost ten years ago now, I was mostly looking for what made people think it was a great series. I never read a lot of fantasy as a child, and was only slowly starting to appreciate the genre.

I think this is what I was still a bit feeling when I read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I remember it as quite nice but also still quite slow and quite childish. It's already listed for reread (and very few books are) because I would like to get a better view of the book, also more in perspective. Hope to do it somewhere in 2017!

But what I've always liked best about the Harry Potter universe is everything surrounding it. That a whole generation grew up with it and will get your references, some of things fans have created around it. I think that is great.

Review
4 Stars
Zombies: A Brief History Of Decay
Zombie Nation - Olivier Peru

Originally published in French, Zombies: A Brief History of Decay was a graphic novel that sparked my interest when I came across it on Netgalley, even though I had recently read quite some zombie fiction already, and with different levels of success. But I found, when you don't stop to overthink this one, Zombies was actually a really nice read.

The art was nice and consistent while the story was also okay. It was a bit fast and felt a bit cramped at places, which made that I had to go back and read it again to make sure what had happened, but it didn't bother me too much. It's both a survival story and a father looking for his daughter, so to some extent you know what you'll be getting. If that's your cup of tea, try Zombies and you won't be disappointed.

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
Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone  - J.K. Rowling

The review below was based on my first read of the Harry Potter books, ages ago and in Dutch. Updated reviews will follow after a reread (in English) I plan to do.

 

I took me years to start reading Harry Potter. I think the main reason was my parents didn't like fantasy, and I used to think this would mean I wouldn't like it either.

I'm glad I tried Harry Potter anyway. For me, like I said, it's not covered in sauce of youth memories. And as a book I liked it, but didn't think it was that great. I liked the world JK Rowling created but saw that it was far from flawless.

Sometimes it feels like you like everything around it better than the original book. It is quite hard to describe...

Review
5 Stars
The Beast
The Beast - Anders Roslund, Börge Hellström

This was the first book by the writing duo Roslund and Hellström that I read, but it was certainly not my last. While it's been a while since I read the book, I see I rewarded it five stars.

I remember it as thought-provoking. It's not so much the murder mystery, but the questions that arise afterwards that form this book. While the topic and the crimes are disturbing, I really enjoyed the book
. I find it's a theme that often comes back in their books, and it is one of the reasons why I like to read them.

Review
2 Stars
The Communist Manifesto
The Communist Manifesto (Little Black Classics #20) - Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx

This was part of the Little Black Classics collection from Penguin I'm reading my way through. And while I'm really glad there is a great variety of different kinds of books in this collection, there have been some disappointments on the way.

I was interested in reading The Communist Manifesto, not because of its communist thoughts but rather from a historical point of view. Fear for communism is something I've never completely understood, but then I was born safely in the 1990s so perhaps that's only natural.

So, while not expecting much in the terms of the content, I did expect something that would be easy readable. It was not. I've said before that I'm judging these books based on the reading experience I had, and it was just so boring. I sort of fell asleep twice (in the span of only fifty pages!). I think that says it all.

Little Black Classics #20

Review
3 Stars
Sixteen
Sixteen - Jen Estes

Fifteen, the first book in the Dreamwalker Diaries, gave Ash a view of the future. Sixteen, the long awaited second book, will give her a view of the past. It's been six months, but the pain has remained as strong as before. Not knowing where to find relief, Ash settles for what must be the most stupid thing people have tried to (but try nevertheless), to go back in time in order to change the past!

However, before she can even start on this scheme she must be able to dreamwalk again, which ends her up doing community service for trying to buy drugs. And here Sixteen starts. All the characters from the original cast will make an appearance, but I won't go into the specifics in order to not spoil people who might want to read Fifteen first (which is what I would recommend).

Since it was about two years since I read Fifteen, I was a bit hazy on the details before I started Sixteen, and what surprised me most was how teenager-y it was. Of course Ash is just fifteen years old and when she's not fending of the demons, she is a normal teenager, but it somehow still took some getting used to it from my side. The story was still interesting, although it was a bit more of the same after a while. What I most certainly didn't like what the super sweet ending where

it turned out that Nadine was only such an annoying person because the Jumlin was near. I would have much preferred to see her being not a likable person, but still not evil. Now it made the whole, we shouldn't kill you stuff way too easy.

(show spoiler)


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

Review
3 Stars
De Ruimte Van Sokolov
De Ruimte van Sokolov - Leon de Winter

~English review below~

Dit was het enige moderne boek dat we ooit gezamelijk gelezen hebben voor Nederlands. En halverwege werd besloten dat we het maar half hoefden te lezen (om te voorkomen dat mensen lezen maar helemaal voor gezien zouden houden). Ik heb, als lezer, uiteraard het boek uitgelezen, maar ik heb nooit begrepen waarom juist dit boek werd uitgekozen, want ik vond het als 14-jarige behoorlijk ontoegankelijk en de afstandelijke schrijfstijl hielp ook niet mee.

Detail dat ik onthouden heb: de meest afstandelijke beschrijving van een moord die ik al gelezen heb.

~

This was the only book from the modern literature that we had to read together in Dutch class. And even then, halfway in the teachers decided we only needed to read half of it (to prevent that some people would stop reading altogether). I, as a reader even back then, obviously finished the book, but I never understood just why this book was chosen to read because as a 14-year-old I thought it was rather inaccessible and the writing is very detached which wasn't helping either.

One detail that I remember: it features the most detached description of a murder I've already read.

Review
3 Stars
Spaans Vuur
Spaans vuur - Wouter van Mastricht

Dit was een van de eerste boeken die ik las toen ik de overschakeling maakte van jeugdboeken naar (toen voornamelijk) thrillers. Ik was er onmiddelijk in geïnteresseerd aangezien het zich afspeelt in Maastricht, de stad waar ik opgroeide.

Ik weet dat ik het destijds heel spannend en leuk vond, maar ik moet ook eerlijk bekennen, dat ik denk dat ik het nu niet meer zo goed zou vinden, omdat ik nu veel meer gelezen heb dan toen ik het las. Daarom de drie sterren. Ik las het in 4 dagen uit, toen echt een record voor een boek van >600 pagina's.

Anecdote die ik mij nog herinner bij dit boek. Terwijl ik het aan het lezen was, vertelde ik aan mijn zusje dat ik het nogal bloederig vond en besloot een pagina voor te lezen (dat dus de meest zoetsappige/minst bloederige van het hele boek bleek te zijn). Zul je altijd zien.

~English~

This was one of the first books that I read after I switched from children's book to (at that point mostly) detective fiction. I was specifically interested in this book since it is set in Maastricht, the city where I grew up.

When I read it, I thought it was really thrilling and I liked it a lot (read >600 pages in 4 days, which must be a record back then). I also have to be honest and admit I don't think I would still like it that much now that I've read way more books. Hence the three star rating.

Review
4 Stars
Written In Red
Written in Red - Anne Bishop

It is not often that a book is recommended to me as much as Written in Red (and the entire Others series really) has been recommended to me. Over the last few years I have heard so many great things about it that I decided to give it a go.

Meg has escaped her compound and is looking for a place to hide when she sees the sign at the Lakeside Courtyard - Human Law Does Not Apply. While working as their Human Liaison (which is really stretching it as Meg herself is a cassandra sangue) she gets to know the Others (or terra indigene as they prefer to call themselves) which consists of anything from vampires, shapeshifters to Elementals. Meanwhile, Meg's master really wants her back and will stop at nothing.

It was a very enjoyable book. In the beginning I was slightly disappointed because after all the recommendations I thought it was rather slow. After I while though, I was really caught by it and it was very difficult to put the book down. I'm already looking forward to reading the second book (but it will have to wait until I finish reading some other books). Nevertheless, there were some things I didn't particularly like or thought were strange (maybe it will be better explained in the next novel). The romance angle that I feel coming since the start of the book is making me cringe already, but since nothing really happened in this book, I'm only stating that I'm sure that is where it is going.

Onto book two!

Review
3 Stars
Jehanne
Jehanne - Simone van der Vlugt

Om de een of andere reden heb ik nooit echt iets gehad met de boeken van Simone van der Vlugt, maar Jehanne valt dan nog wel mee. Het vertelt het verhaal van Jeanne D'Arc, naar wie ook het boek is vernoemd. Natuurlijk een bekend verhaal, maar toen ik het boek las, kende ik nog niet alle details. Geen dik boek, en het leest ook lekker snel weg, maar ik vond het niet heel bijzonder.

~

For some reason I never really like the books written by Simone van der Vlugt (especially her books for adults) but Jehanne was an okay book. It's the story of Jeanne D'Arc, after which the book is also called. The story of course is well known, but at the time that I read it, I didn't know so much about it, so it was still quite nice. It's a rather short book, and reads very quickly, but I didn't think it was very special.

Review
3.5 Stars
A Short Time To Die
A Short Time to Die - Susan Alice Bickford, Rachel Dulude

Deep in Central New York in village ruled by a crime family, Marly escaped her stepfather and his father, but she is nowhere to escaping their grasp. When some bodies turn up almost fifteen years later, Marly's story will slowly start to unravel.

I found the story of Marly quite interesting, and also the murder mystery itself was quite nice. I thought I had figured it out quite early on, but some questions remained unanswered for some time. All female characters, both good and evil, were particularly strong characters. In the end, I thought the conclusion came a bit quick compared to the rest of the story, but all in all it was a very nice mystery book.

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
Colt Harper: Esteemed Vampire Cat
Colt Harper: Esteemed Vampire Cat - Tyrolin Puxty

Colt Harper: Esteemed Vampire Cat was at once both completely absurd and a very nice read. It was just as weird as the title would make you expect, although the Esteemed part is mostly only through Colt's own eyes.

Colt is sent to do community theatre with some other misbehaving monsters for killing humans, again. If they are not successfully putting on a play at the end of it, they will be taken to 'The Valley'. It's were the bad monsters go (and for some reason have to keep running, for ever). All the while, Colt and his friends are being hunted and Colt's 'borrowed' body starts acting up. But maybe, he's not as alone as he always feared.

Do not expect too much of a plot or a lot of world building, but if you're looking for some laughs, and like the absurd, this is your thing. Tyrolin Puxty's other series (Broken Dolls) makes an appearance, so keep an eye out for that.

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

Review
4 Stars
Body Work
Rivers of London: Body Work - Ben Aaronovitch, Lee Sullivan Hill, Andrew Cartmel

I'm a big fan of the Rivers of London series, but I did hesitate a little before ordering Body Work, the first of a series of graphic novels that tell additional stories to the main series. I'm not always pleased with the way an artist interprets characters, so I was not sure I would like this graphic novel.

I needn't worry. It was great. Body Work, together with its sequel Night Witch, gave me one of the most relaxing evenings of the year so far (read it while listening to Gymnopedies, the world seemed perfect for a moment). In all seriousness though, I really liked it. It is not necessary to read this for the story I guess (but I can't be sure as I haven't read Foxglove Summer yet - yes, still waiting for that right edition).

Peter and his friends investigate 'England's most haunted car'. Also, there are some very very short stories in it as well. I suppose there's one at the end of each issue, but since I read the volume edition, I can't be sure.

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