SBC | Weeks 6 & 7

*if you have no idea what's going on, click here for an explanation!
*here's last weeks' (-ish) update!

Guess who's back (back, back)... back again (-gain, -gain)... Katherine's back (back, back)... tell a friend. Or not. I don't care.
Basically, I'm back from my two week holiday and I think that I need to do the obligatory SBC book update before I get onto anything else, because... there's a lot of stuff. A whole fucking lot.

So, the first book I finished on holiday wasn't Hemingway (because I am not getting along with it, so I'll put it aside for a while and come back to it sometime in the future), but it was Labyrinth by Kate Mosse. I have tried to read this several times in a row, but after seeing the mini series a very long while ago, I was absolutely determined to read it and it's bloody fantastic. It has this reoccurring theme in her books about connecting the past and the future; basically, a woman in modern day France discovers a cave in the Pyrenees with skeletons, rings and a phrase written on the wall. A girl in Carcassonne in 1209, in the time of the inquisitions, discovers a dead body in the river near her home and their lives intertwine.
The book is so easily read, but this is one of the books that you should probably see the mini series before you read it, because you'll just imagine everything so easily (and you're in for a treat; the cast includes Jessica Brown Findlay, John Hurt, Katie McGrath, Tom Felton and, behold, Sebastian Stan, I think, as the love interest) and it's just really fast paced and action packed and I love it. 5/5

Next one, a reread from many years ago, Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys. It is set between WWII. One night, Russian soldiers storm into Lina's house in Lithuania. They take her with her mother and her little brother and put them on a train, sending them to the outskirts of Syberia to concentration camps, because of her parents' looks on politics. It talks about Stalin treating the people of the Baltic countries and his version of concentration camps and eventually, them fighting back and hoping to come back home.
I have read many wartime novels and I think that this one, along with The Book Thief, are probably my favourites. It's just so amazingly written and you can really feel the pain and fear and loss of those people, but also sometimes, their joy and happiness. The most perfect description for this book is: "Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." 5/5

This one is a bit different, and it's the Secret Dinner by Javier Sierra. A dominican inquisitor (and an expert in dechifring hidden messages) is sent from Rome to Milan, because the Church received several threats of their destruction, but also their salvation in form of a riddle. The riddle is hidden is the work-in-progress masterpiece of Leonardo da Vinci, which later on became the Last Dinner.
This is a criminal novel, which I don't usually read, because I find them to be a bit stupid, in my opinion, but this one might have converted me. It's very exciting, plays with loads of numbers, there are a lot of historical references (and I understood most of them, because of the Labyrinth, which is amazing). It doesn't get boring at all, which I know art sometimes can be and it's really fun. There's murder, there's riddle solving, it's just amazing. 5/5

Then, a reread. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. I don't need to say much about this bad boy, you can read all about it here and here, so off you go. Amazing wartime novel, I cry like a baby every time I read it, and everyone on the beach gave me weird looks because of quiet sobbing, but yeah. Amazing book, worth reading a million times over. 1000000/5.

Then, I read The Alchemist: A Graphic Novel by Paulo Coelho. My mum and sister are massive fans of his, so I thought it was about time to jump on the bandwagon. It's about a shepherd boy from Andalusia called Santiago, who is told that he must go to through the Sahara desert to the Great Pyramids of Egypt, because a treasure will be waiting for him on the other side. He travels, helps people, meets strange ones, gets robbed, but nobody really knows what the treasure is and it teaches him that not everything that sparkles or shines is gold or something material.
The book is a very spiritual journey (and I'm told all of his books are like that). It's like meditating; it teaches you to seek something else that material wealth, that spiritual wealth is the most important and if you're happy doing the crappiest jobs, you shouldn't stop doing it and that you must, by all costs, follow your dreams. That, and it was the third graphic novel I've ever read and it was amazing. It was a very quick read, but the message hangs around and the illustrations are bloody gorgeous. 5/5.

Afterwards, I read the Singing Stone by Orla Melling and I won't even begin to describe it, because I didn't enjoy the book at all. I won't spread negativity about it, but I just don't think it's worth the read. I had such high hopes for it, because it's about Irish stuff and Ireland and I just thought it'd be amazing, but I advise you to avoid it (maybe I just can't read children's books anymore).

The next one is an interesting one, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. I swear to god, if I haven't tried reading this book a million times over, but I just couldn't get through it at all, but I was determined to read it and now... I want to get the rest of the series. It's about Todd, who is the last boy in Prentisstown. They live on a new planet and they tried to inhabit it, but some aliens released a germ that killed all women and some men as well. But there is also a side effect to the germs. Men can hear each others' thoughts, as well as the thoughts of animals. He is about to turn thirteen, when he finds a place near his home, where there is no noise. Everything is silent. And he has to run.
The descriptions in this book are bloody incredible; everything is portrayed so vividly, there are so many characters that you just want to punch in the face, but Todd and Viola (a girl, who joins him later) are a pair of bamfs and I love them both. Also, this is the only book where I've managed to get emotionally attached to a dog. Damn you, Patrick Ness! Anyway, after you meet Viola, the story just takes off and you're hooked. Get to that scene, and you're good to go. 5/5

Then, another book I've been trying to read when I was younger, but couldn't, is Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, the first in the same-titled trilogy. Meggie is a 12-year-old girl, living in a world of magic... provided by books. She and her father have an amazing book collection and love reading. One evening, she and Mo (her father) are told that they must run, by a strange man that has a strange animal. For some unknown reason, they escape to Elinor, the aunt of her mother, who lives in a mansion of books and it's there where she finds out why her father never reads to her out loud and how it would be like if characters from books were to come to life.
I am so happy that tastes change, because I love this book now. I can't understand why I didn't like it earlier, but it's so amazing. The writing and the characters, and the ability of reviving characters from books... it's a genius book, full of genius ideas and it's just downright lovely. I am definitely interested in continuing the series. 5/5

Next up, Insatiable by Meg Cabot (the writer of the Princess Diaries series). Don't blame me for reading some romantic vampire fiction every now and again. Meena Harper is a writer for a soap opera of the same name, who has an ability to see how people will die. All of the sudden, she has to incorporate a vampire plot twist into the series and she's had enough. She hates them and can't bear to hear of them... and that's just the beginning. One night, she's saved from an attack of bats by a strange, freaking gorgeous and a cold-to-the-touch man and her adventure begins.
I hate to admit it, but this is probably one of the best vampire books. The genre is so fucking chewed up and all of the ideas have been overdone, but this one is incredible. It continues the story of Dracula by Bram Stoker and it's full of sarcasm and the lol's and it makes fun of True Blood, Twilight and The Vampire Diaries, making me adore it even more. It's a great summer read, but nothing more. 4/5

The last one is also a reread, and it's The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. I don't need to say a lot of it, all you need to know is the fact that I love it to bits and can't wait to see the film sometime in the next two weeks. It's a must-read. 5/5.

26/25 (YES!!!) books read for SBC 2014.


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