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#anureviews2018
the making of gabriel davenport - beverley lee

i've "known" bev through bookstagram for a while now and i had promised her that i would soon get around to meeting her boy gabriel, the protagonist in her paranormal trilogy.

that "soon" arrived in the month of october. with appropriate atmosphere to boot. i read much of it on a dark and stormy night and it added to the deliciously dark world that bev creates in the book. she has a way with words that paints vivid pictures. which when combined with poetic, soft descriptions, makes for some beautiful writing.

gabriel davenport is a teenager who has never been told why he's been under protection from the time he can remember. he lives in the village of meadowford bridge, in a place called the manor where supernatural and paranormal occurrences are studied. but the secret is ready to rip apart his world and everything he has known as familiar. over the course of a single night, gabe's life is going to change forever.

i loved the stakes here. they felt real and weighty. the pacing was a bit uneven at times and certain parts lagged/felt a bit repetitive, but overall, the short, punchy chapters from various points of view ensured that, more often than not, you would compulsively turn the page.

i don't read much in this particular genre, but when i have in the past, i have struggled with relating to the characters. here, the opposite is true. gabriel, noah, carver, ollie, olivia, clove, moth - there's a range of carefully drawn, layered characters that the author takes enough time to develop, so that we are invested in what happens to them. (i'm just being greedy when i say i wish there was more about each πŸ˜πŸ˜ƒ i hope the next two books fill in those gaps!) i'd anticipated the end, but that did not stop me from enjoying it and wishing i had a shining in the shadows and the purity of crimson with me right away.

darkness done right πŸ–€ thanks @theconstantvoice for a book out of my usual genres that i adored 😘

comment 4 star 40 7 hours ago

Here's to sunday bargain finds 😍

i was at the @brooklinebooksmith earlier today for market research related to a school project. of course, i had to pay their used cellar a visit - and look what was waiting just for me!

i've read a lot of good things about the book and a quick skim seemed to prove the point. this is a slim volume and i'm hoping to get to it later this month.

have you read this author or this particular work? what was your last notable bargain find?

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comment 1 star 56 Yesterday

#grimdragon - random factoid

"we who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. but they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. and who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort. and that is why we write.”

happy birthday @neilhimself! thank you for everything you continue to do πŸ’™πŸ™πŸ½

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comment 1 star 167 2 days ago

#grimdragon - unpopular opinion time

i'm yet to read through his entire bibliography, but, apart from south of the border west of the sun which i loved, i've been unable to get into murakami and feel that there is too much hype surrounding his work πŸ™ˆ

your turn!

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comment 7 star 62 5 days ago

#grimdragon - november tbr

how can we be in november already?

starting this month, therese (@dreamsinslowmo ) and i have a pact to reread at least one book a month. we realised that we don't do that as much as we like anymore. almost not at all. and that we've forgotten the joy and enjoyment that comes from revisiting a favourite.

what better favourite to revisit than one by not one but two beloved authors?

cindy (@motsetgourmandises ) and i are doing a buddy read of this to prep for the adaptation coming out in january 2019. who wants to join us? i think we're just going to read at our own pace and discuss whenever we can.

for the rest of the month, i have no set tbr as such except a few books for @footballparadiseofficial reviews and research. though i am excited to read the bridge of clay as well as past tense, the new reacher novel out this month.

the lovely flowers are my housemate's and will feature in many a future photo πŸ˜„ thanks @poem58! •

comment 7 star 88 2 weeks ago

Since my personal instagram no longer exists, i'm totally reposting this from salem last year πŸŽƒπŸŽƒπŸŽƒ #monthlyroundup
this month started off really well but ended up with a bit of a mixed bag, including a book i will return to in the future because i just wasn't feeling it at the moment. there was also a book i was planning to read which i couldn't get around to, but i'll do it in november. not as many books as earlier months but this was my busiest month with school and i read a ton of big non-fiction books alongwith two giant novels.

1. an odyssey - daniel mendelsohn (review on the blog, i loved this!)
2. almost invincible - dan betts (review up on @footballparadiseofficial, must read for all gooners) @jokafc
3. the glass town game - catherynne valente (eventually disappointing) (buddy read with @rubyhosh )
4. j.r.r tolkien - humphrey carpenter (the best, most delightful kind of biography, i'll post a review soon)
5. the making of gabriel davenport - beverley lee (loved it, a mini-review will be up soon) @theconstantvoice
6. my life next door - huntley fitzpatrick (i needed a palette cleanser and this one more than sufficed)
7. the labyrinth of the spirits - carlos ruiz zafon (mini-review on my previous post, this broke my heart with how disappointing it ended up being)

i also started reading the season of migration by nellie hermann before deciding that it was a book i would enjoy, just not right now. when was the last time you did that?

this month also saw me attend the boston book festival (@bostonbookfest ) and meet madeline miller. but one of my favourite parts was finally meeting the lovely @booksnourish_caroleann in person thanks to the magic of the #bookstagram community β€πŸ™πŸ½

comment 15 star 91 2 weeks ago

#anureviews2018
what do you do when you have been looking forward to a book for so long and the start of it gets you super excited that it's going to be as amazing as your favourite book in the series but then it goes way downhill way fast? and when said book is 922 pages and you end up skimming a ton of it because you just want to know how it ends 😭

friends, bookstagrammers, i have to confess that the labyrinth of the spirits was a major personal disappointment the likes of which i haven't experienced since the battle of the five armies.

there's no doubt that this is a very ambitious, multi-genre tome spanning generations, time periods, and characters. almost dickensian in parts. and it starts off brilliantly despite moving between timelines. but beyond roughly the halfway point, it started falling apart for me. much of it felt too repetitive and blended into one - situations, character histories, language - and the pace was very uneven. the intricate descriptions of places and the atmospheric prose are still as gorgeous as zafon is capable of (lucia graves continues to do a fab job as translator), but there were also large parts when it felt overdone and the story overstuffed. for me, not enough time was spent developing or further developing characters so that they went beyond the tropes they seemed to represent.
this tried to do too much and ended up not doing justice to most πŸ’”

and don't get me started on that epilogue. it makes the hp one look non-twee in comparison. the world-building and the epic story that this series has spanned is an amazing achievement, but for me, the only story i will continue to reread is the shadow of the wind, the first, and for me, the best of the quadrology.

what was the last book that sent you into the reading pits of despair and gloom?

comment 11 star 59 2 weeks ago

#grimdragon prompt for today is #selfiesforbookstagram
we all know how terrible i am at them, but here you go.

this is me smiling despite being massively let down by a book i finished over the weekend. can anyone guess which one it is? a mini-review will be up later today.

what's everyone reading this week? drop me some recommendations (even as my creaking tbr glares at me).

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comment 11 star 84 2 weeks ago

#currentlyreading - the labyrinth of the spirits by carlos ruiz zafon

this book is not what i expected, but in a very good way. so far, it has the magic that so utterly s****d me into the shadow of the wind all those years ago, magic which, for me, the next two didn't have in quite the same potency. to say i'm excited and engrossed is stating it lightly! by chance, i seem to be continuing to pick up those atmospheric books so apt for this time of year πŸ˜€

🍫 courtesy @simranrohira23 😁


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comment 2 star 76 3 weeks ago

#grimdragon - blood, sweat and tears

yesterday provided me the prompt both on a physical and reading content level πŸ˜‚

we had to hide in a car for 20 mins of rain, thunder, and lightning, but the track workout that followed (4x1000) was worth it, thanks to the @tmircebos lads!

coming home to read the rest of bev's book (the making of gabriel davenport) couldn't have happened at a more appropriately atmospheric time. @theconstantvoice, a #minireview is coming, but i finished it in under two days and cannot wait to get the next books 😍

when was the last time the weather or the situation perfectly complemented your current read?

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comment 2 star 75 3 weeks ago

#grimdragon - the suspense is killing me

after waiting so many years for this final book, it had to arrive during midterms week. thanks, library. i still have a few more days before i can actually start reading it, so i'm torturing myself by sitting around with it and taking photos of it until then, because you know, why not?

what's the last book you had to wait to start reading though you wanted to immediately drop everything else to get to it?

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comment 11 star 95 4 weeks ago

#grimdragon - the kids aren't alright

#anureviews2018
what better prompt to share my review of an odyssey: a father, a son, and an epic? daniel mendelsohn with a thoughtful, emotional mediation on fathers, sons, identity, love, why we study the classics, and whether we can really know even the people most dear to us.

when his 81-year-old retired research scientist father asks daniel if he can attend his spring undergraduate seminar on the odyssey, his son agrees despite their complicated relationship. this is the story of what follows.

review is now up on the blog, link in bio!

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comment 2 star 66 4 weeks ago

#anureviews2018
after being delighted by howl's moving castle and wanting more of that world and its characters, i moved on to its companion novel, castle in the air, not quite sure what to expect.

south of the land of ingary, where we spent most of our time in howl's, there's the city of zanzib in the middle of the desert. this city is home to a young but not very prosperous carpet dealer named abdullah who is the despair of his father's first wife's relatives. but abdullah would rather spend his time daydreaming, conjuring elaborate stories and colourful characters. one day, after being sold a magic carpet, abdullah has a serendipitous meeting with flower-in-the-night who is beautiful and clever and the woman of his dreams. there's a bit of insta love which normally irks me, but fits the exaggerated, whimsical nature of this story and its narration. but then this maiden is kidnapped by a djinn and the adventure begins.

many of the characters in howl's feature in this  story, albeit later, but abdullah is our protagonist. with the help of the temperamental magic carpet, a grumpy, almost malevolent genie, and a drifter former soldier, our young dreamer must find where the djinn is keeping flower-in-the-night and save her so they can have their happily-ever-after.

abdullah is adorable in his sincerity, naivety, and his general personality. it's also nice to learn more about the world dwj has created. there's some unexpected but spirited feminism in the final third of the story (saying any more is in spoiler territory). and, of course, there is the author's trademark whimsy and imagination with enough for her younger as well as older readers to enjoy.

one of my favourite parts is the difference between how people speak in ingary and zanzib, with the latter preferring an over-flowery, exaggerated style of talking which is super amusing.

the ending is a bit chaotic with an almost scooby-doo style of unmasking and activity, but plot-wise, this book was easier to grasp than howl's. overall, though, i think i still prefer the first.

comment 5 star 66 4 weeks ago

#anureviews2018
i buddy read this with @rubyhosh and though there were enjoyable parts, i was, on the whole, pretty disappointed.

review is now up on the blog. link in bio.

the glass-town game is a middle-grade novel by catherynne valente. charlotte, emily, branwell, and anne brönte grow up in their small yorkshire parsonage. they spend their free time in a make-believe world called glass town which helps them escape the fact that charlotte and emily must, at the end of summer, return to their evil boarding school.

when the train actually takes them to the world of their invention, which has grown elements not of their creation, the siblings need all their wits and courage about them if they are to survive and return safely to england.

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comment 2 star 65 5 weeks ago

Reading and very much enjoying my friend @jokafc's book on the almost invincible arsenal team of the 1990-91 season. review, as usual, will be up on @footballparadiseofficial as soon as i complete writing it.

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comment 5 star 47 last month

Finally started reading the glass town game by catherynne valente which i am buddy reading with @rubyhosh and it's quite charming so far. the perfect read for a long weekend when i'm a bit under the weather.

have you read this or heard of this before?

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comment 5 star 80 last month

I finished reading this 2 nights ago and will post a #minireview of it soon. would definitely recommend for fans of greek mythology, but also fans of personal essays which link to larger, more universal themes.

#currentlyreading the official tolkien biography by christopher tolkien and very much enjoying it!

on long weekends such as these, do you prefer shorter, easier reads or longer ones that you can sink into?

i hope to start the glass town game tonight which looks like it is one of those immersive books perfect for when you have extended reading time.

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comment 0 star 49 last month