‘The Secret History’ Book Review

A friend is murdered and that is how our story begins. A group of college students are inspired by the stories and lives of the ancient Greeks. Things get taken too far, they feel as though they are superior to everyone else in their small Vermont, college town. They are destined for great things to be remembered as Achilles or Hercules. One sin leads to another and another.

The characters, wow, just the characters. They are so well written. At first, I was scared that I would get this character list confused but that I did not do. Your favorite is constantly changing throughout the book until you realize that they are all morally gray, none of them are amazing people but they all have some kind of logic behind their actions. The fact of how developed these characters are, are the highlight of ‘The Secret History’.

Everyone seems to love the atmosphere of this book. I think it is fitting for the plot but it was not anything that stood out to me. A small New England college town, its quaint and I think a good setting for a mystery novel but I was not amazed by it.

Tartt’s writing is like Pat Conroy’s but throw in some Stephen King into the mix as well. At first, I was like this writing is amazing and so poetic but then it just got tiresome. This book could be half the link than it actually was. It is wordy and just felt overall too long and that is the biggest downfall for me. If you are a fan of the other two authors that I mentioned, though, you might find this writing enjoyable.

This plot instantly intrigued me but as the story just went on and on I got bored with it. The first and last quarters are the best. Yes, we need the in between but it was just tiresome reading through wordy paragraphs that I think the author just wanted to sound intelligent. I get it, we’re in a fancy college town and these students are supposed to be top notch. Now that I think about it, maybe this writing was intentional. The twists did shock me, some times they were predicted and some times they were not, but I never felt any real emotion towards them. The plot would have been much more enjoyable if the book was shorter.

The characters of this novel were amazing and well developed. Throughout my time reading this, I was thinking of actors who could play them . (Anya Taylor-Joy for Camila, by the way). I will be thinking about them for a while. The setting was very well fitting for a story such as this one. The writing was poetic but it dragged and seemed to go on for ages. I would really recommend to fans of Pat Conroy. This plot was interesting and I was wondering how it would end and what would happen but the writing just wore it down for me.

3 out of 5 stars.

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February TBR

My February TBR is here, the first blog post of 2020! This month I plan on reading five books to bring me closer to my 2020 reading goal of 63 books! In February I will be participating in the Explore-A-Thon! I will leave a link to their twitter at the end of this post!

The first book I plan to read this month is a booktube favorite, the first book in the Illuminae Files trilogy, written by popular authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This book is written in a multimedia format and I’ve been told the audiobook format is the route to take as you follow along.

This story takes place in the unimaginable year of 2575, following two main characters, Kady and Ezra. They were once lovers but the relationship did not seem to work out for the pair. Their planet gets taken over by an enemy civilization, they both have to find their way to an evacuation craft. An enemy ship tails at them, willing to end it all at any second. That is a worry until a plague breaks out among the evacuees. Kady has to get to the bottom of how it all started, the artificial intelligence is supposed to be protecting them from such things. She has to try to break into the system but it is almost impossible to hack through all the codes and files of data. There is one person who can help her and that is no other than Ezra.

Beartown is a work of fiction that is translated from Swedish. It is also one of the longest time books on my TBR, it has been on my shelves for at least two years and I am so ready to get to it!

A small village nestled by a forest, that’s what Beartown is. Everything revolves around the ice rink that was built years ago by the town’s founders. Their local team is making its way into the national hockey playoffs. If the team of teenagers could win, that would wake up this sleepy town again. A violent incident comes upon a young girl, that could change everything for the town. Tempers are flying with fingers being pointed, all the hopes and dreams of Beartown could come crashing down.

I found out about this nonfiction book from Claire Ridgeway on YouTube! If you are fascinated by Tudor England, I highly recommend checking out her channel. She has written several books on English history as well.

Margaret of Austria played and important role in Middle Ages Europe. She was an influence to one of the most notorious consorts in English history. Margaret was well educated and spent her youth in various courts across Europe. She was regent of the Low Countries and cared greatly for the arts and humanities. Margaret showed what it was like to be a strong ruler.

February TBR Video

ExploreAThon

October 2019 Wrap Up

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In October, I finished four books. That adds up to 1,357 pages. I don’t give rankings to graphic novels or children’s books, so overall the ratings I gave these books made it be a very good book month!

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 4/5 stars
  • Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan 4/5 stars

I also took part in the Witch-a-thon on book tube. The challenges I completed and which books I used will be listed down below.

  1. Pick a book that features your heritage: The Book Thief as I am 30.9% German.

4.  Pick a book that involves a pantheon of deities: Wicked Saints as our main character can communicate with the gods.

October TBR

All the Books I Read in October

October TBR

This month, all these books except Wicked Saints were hand chosen by me because I hit my Goodreads reading goal of fifty books! Yay me! The book Thief was included in this TBR originally but since it is a carry over from 5e previous month there will not be a description in his post.

Wicked Saints is the first book in the Something Dark and Holy trilogy. It is a Slavic inspired fantasy novel that has a lot to do with blood magic. Three paths have to meet to take down the king and end a war that has been in the process for generations.

Princess Lia has a life laid out in front of her. One of the parts of life is an arranged marriage by her parents, one to form an alliance with a nearby kingdom. Lia runs away when it comes time to marry this unknown prince. She starts a new life in a small village but that gets flipped around when strangers approach her, one the prince she was supposed to marry, the other an assassin who has come to kill her.

Sadie had to raise her sister all on her own. Mattie, the sister, is found dead one day. Sadie is going to do anything to get revenge on the killer of her sister. The police investigation didn’t do well enough, she needs to bring justice to this all.

The other part of this book is told in a podcast format, the reason why I am doing this as an audiobook. That’s where our other character comes in. West is a radio host and hears about the story missing girl. He wants to find out what happened to her, West starts a podcast to help spread word of this case and document it.

(I didn’t include The Book Thief, since it was a carry over, or Prisoner of Azkaban since it’s the third in a series.)

August Wrap-Up 2019

August was my weakest reading month ever! I was so busy and exhausted but you’re not here to read my excuses. I ended up reading three books that adds up to 1,346 pages.

Texas, post civil war America, Ruby is growing up in this frontier of a state. She has recently become a woman, she starts to make decisions of her own and one of those being applying to art school in Philadelphia. To her surprise, she actually gets in and gets to leave Texas, her family, and her love, Bismarck. Not only does Ruby learn about the arts at college but she learns about herself and the world that is changing right in front of her eyes.

The first thirty-five percent of this book dragged on and on, plot points were happening but I just felt very bored and found myself thinking of other things than the words in front of me. The romances in this book has no real foundation, but the characters, the way they interacted and spoke made it seem like they did. I feel like they from meeting and then straight to the bedroom. The main thing that made up for that was Suanne Schafer’s writing style, I am shocked that this was her debut novel, the writing was beautiful and very detailed! The other thing that I liked about A Different Kind Of Fire was Ruby’s character arc, I think character arcs are so important! This ended up being a 3.75/5 stars for me.

Jane Eyre starts her life by having both parents fall a sickness and later death, before her first memory. She sent away to live with the only family that she knows, the Reeds. Her uncle dies while she is young and as she grows older her aunt hates her alongside her cousin. Jane has never known love her family doesn’t love her who else is there to do so? She falls ill,one night she tells the doctor all of her struggles he suggest her going to any other family she has,all Janes knows is that they are poor. Then it is brought to her attention that she can receive an education.

Education is a way out for Jane. She learns languages, arts, and even friendship. Jane stays at the boarding school for eight years, never seeing the Reeds. Once it comes time for her to leave she goes to an estate she’s never been to, to become a governess to a young girl from France. At Thornfield hall, Jane discovers love and that life does have meaning after all.

Brontë’s writing style was truly beautiful, That is something that I love about classics, you can tell that the writer is really knew what they were doing and putting their heart into it instead of just trying to make a quick buck. The writing was very atmospheric and I could easily make out the scenes in my head, that is something that I’m always happy about. I did like the romance in Jane Eyre I think the pairing did love each other even through all the twist and turns throughout life. My two complaints are I didn’t really care for the plot and the writing was really dragged out this book could have been 300 pages shorter.

Jane Eyre Book Review

August TBR 2019

August Wrap-Up 2019

Jane Eyre Book Review

Jane Eyre starts her life by having both parents fall to sickness and later death before her first memory. She is sent away to live with the only family that she knows, the Reeds. Her uncle dies while she is young and as she grows older her aunt and cousin hate her. Jane has never known love, her family doesn’t love her, who else is there to do so? She falls ill one night, she tells the doctor all of her struggles. He suggests her going to any other family she has, all Jane knows is that they are poor. Then it is brought to her attention that she can receive an education.

Education is the way out for Jane. She learns languages, arts, and even friendship. Jane stays at her boarding school for eight years, never seeing the Reeds. Once it comes time for her to leave she goes to an estate she’s never been to, to become a governess to a young girl from France. At Thornfield Hall, Jane discovers love and that life does have meaning after all.

“I am not an angel, I will not be one till I die: I will be myself.”– Jane Eyre

For starters, I did the audiobook for Jane Eyre and then followed along in my physical copy of the book. This book took me twice the amount of days than I had originally hoped for. I don’t think the novel is something difficult to read but it was so long and dragged on and on. I also found bits and pieces unrealistic, I’m not going to say which ones as they are spoilers.

Brontë’s writing style was truly beautiful, that is something I love about classics, you can tell that the writers really knew what they were doing and putting their heart into it instead of just trying to make a quick buck. The writing was very atmospheric and I could easily make out the scenes in my head, that is something that I’m always happy about. I did like the romance in Jane Eyre, I think the pairing did love each other even through all the twists and turns throughout life.

Overall, I feel strange writing a review for a book that has been with us since the mid-1800s. I know people love this book but it just didn’t do it for me. If a book is hundreds of pages longer than it needs to be I find myself getting bored and not wanting to read. The plot didn’t really seem important to me, it wasn’t something extravagant that caught my eye. Yes, I did not expect some of the plot twists and those were fun but it just wasn’t my favorite book, or classic, for that matter, that I’ve read.

August TBR 2019

In August, I went back to randomly selecting my books from my TBR, to be read, jar. I chose one book that I want to read without going in the jar, I will continuing doing this every month. This month I plan on participating in the Disney-a-thon, I am on team simba!

I am starting out August with a classic, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. In high school, I did watch some of the movie in my English class but we did not read the Victorian set novel.

Jane Eyre was orphaned and sent to live with an aunt who had no love for her and found her difficult to handle. Jane didn’t want to live with the only family she had, getting an education was one way out of this. We follow Jane to her boarding school and then later in life when she falls in love.

Secret For A Nightingale was published in 1987, so it is no new release. It is actually a funny story how I cam across this book. I was looking through Etsy, not looking to purchase anything, and I saw this novel and another by the same author, the cover stood out to me. Little did I know I have some Tudor era books by the same author just under a different alias!

Susanna is a young girl growing up in British run India. She had a talent at being a nurse and helping heal those around her. Susanna gets swept off her feet and married. When returning to England, she settles down as a proper wife, forgetting about her own dreams. She uncovers that her husband isn’t exactly what she thought he was.

I’ve heard that Elin Hilderbrand is the summer author. This was the book that I chose on my own to read this month, I figured I needed a summery read to end out the season. As some of you probably know, I read The Girls by Emma Cline last month which is also set in the Summer of ‘69, I have been loving the sixties setting and want to discover more books set in that decade.

The Levin family spend their summers at their grandmother’s home in Nantucket, Massachusetts. The last summer of the decade is no different, except not all of the siblings will be able to make it. The eldest daughter is pregnant and stuck in Boston, the middle daughter is spending her summer like many Americans, protesting, and the one son of the family has been sent to fight in Vietnam. Jessie is left with her grandmother, who she isn’t close with for the summer.

It may come as a shock to some that I have not read the widely popular book, The Book Thief. It has been on my TBR forever, and I will finally be getting to it this month! Markus Zusak’s other work, A Bridge Of Clay, was my favorite book of 2018. I can’t wait to read Zusak’s more popular book.

Set in 1939 Germany, we are told the story of Liesel from death. Liesel is a girl who discovers one book and leads her down the rabbit hole for a love of reading. She begins to take books from anywhere she can, including Nazi book burnings. The war changes her life forever and opens and closes doors for her every where.

My Sunday read this month will be Harry Potter and the Chamber Of Secrets. I am continuing my Harry Potter reread, I won’t be giving a summary since it is such a well known book.


August TBR

Disney-a-Thon

June Wrap-up 2019

 

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In the month of June, I finished six books, three being novels and the other three being graphic novels. I participated in one read-a-thon, that being Sims-a-thon, all my books were for challenges in that, which I finished with a total of twenty-nine points. In June, I read a total of 1,261 pages. (I don’t give ratings to graphic novels, so these ratings will be for the actual novels.)

IT by Stephen King – 3/5 stars, e-book and audiobook.

IT by Stephen King Review

Da Vinci’s Tiger by L.M. Elliott – 3/5 stars, physical book.

Da Vinci’s Tiger Book Review
A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood – 3/5 stars, physical book.

A Sky Painted Gold Book Review

A pretty average reading month.

June Reading Wrap-Up Video

All the Books that I Want to Read in June

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Today I will be sharing with all of you, my June TBR, this month I will be participating in the Sim-a-Thon, reading challenges. All these books will be helping me complete the challenge in this read-a-thon, if you would like to know more about this, click the link at the end of this post.

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Da Vinci’s Tiger tells the story of the girl in the painting. Ginevra Da’ Benci, was one of Leonardo da Vinci’s muses. This book takes place in renaissance Florence, a city filled with the arts thanks to the Medici family. We really venture into what inspired this painting by one of the most intriguing men throughout history.

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With this one, I don’t think I need to do a lot of explaining. This is the graphic novel for episodes I-III of the Star Wars Saga. Unpopular opinion but I love the prequels, they are my favorite movies in the whole series.

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First off, can we look at this cover? It’s beautiful!!! A Sky Painted Gold is set in Cornwall, in the 1920s, the setting and the cover is what really brought my interest to this story. Lou has always been fascinated by this old abandoned mansion in her village, one day a set of twins come and open it back up. Attending lavish parties and becoming more invested in these siblings, Lou has started forgetting about her original dreams and ambitions in life. Will she remember them?

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The word ‘Kids’, in the title but an adult book, that’s ironic. Meddling Kids is said to be a Scooby Do like story, but I am getting more of IT by Stephen King vibes. The plot is that four kids in 1977 have had to solve a mystery but then Cantero skips ahead to 1990, the friends must come back together again and see if they really did solve the mystery from when they were children.

 

You can expect reviews for all these except the graphic novel throughout this month!

June TBR Video

Sims-a-Thon Announcement Video

Social Media

IT by Stephen King Review

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This is the strangest book that I have ever read but what else would I expect from my first Stephen King novel and my first read in the horror genre. I am not going to write a paragraph describing what this 1153-page story is about since it is a well-known story, in this review I will just be giving my thoughts.
IT by Stephen King is a great coming of age story about friendship, in my mind that is our main theme. This story has phenomenal characters and I loved the Losers, the main seven characters. I believe that the characters are what makes this story. I know that some have complained about derogatory terms being used throughout IT, we have to remember that this story takes place in the 1950s and later in the 1980s, the sad truth is that it was common for Americans to be racist and homophobic at these times, but I will say there is a trigger warning for those two things and abuse.

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Movie poster for IT
(This is not my picture. It belongs to Warner Brothers Pictures.)

Now, after my praising of the plot and characters of IT, you are probably wondering why I gave this book a three out of five stars. (Three stars isn’t bad! It’s average.) Firstly, this story is 1153 pages when I think it would be good at 400 pages. It is too long! King gives us too many details at time, which can be good, he does great at getting a picture in the reader’s mind! There are too many lists and unnecessary details. I also did not like the formatting of this novel, how there are about ten subsections in a chapter, not a fan, just give us shorter chapters! However, I have since learned this is common in Stephen King’s works. IT is a great story and I loved it but it needed to be shortened down and possibly better formatting, but I do think the characters really do make up for this. Thank you for reading my review!