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Athena

Athena's Reading List 2018

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I read Corinne Duyvis - On the Edge of Gone.

 

The synopsis:
----
January 29, 2035.

That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit — the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter near their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time.

Then a last-minute encounter leads them to something better than a temporary shelter: a generation ship that’s scheduled to leave Earth behind and colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But each passenger must have a practical skill to contribute. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister?

When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?
---

 

I loved that the book featured a biracial main character with autism (the author also has autism). A comet is scheduled to hit Earth and Denise is trying to survive. I loved the diversity in this book (Denise has autism and is biracial, her sister is trans* and biracial and bisexual, there are Jewish, Muslim and gay characters). I liked the writing style and most of the characters. I wasn't keen on Denise's mum. I liked that the book takes place in the Netherlands (which is not common for originally-in-English-written books). I was expecting more of a fast-paced space action adventure which the book wasn't (it's more slow and more character-driven than plot-driven I feel), but I still really enjoyed the book anyway. There aren't many futuristic books with main characters who have autism, and even less of them that are actually written by someone who has autism. I personally really liked this book a lot.

 

OnTheEdgeofGoneCover_025.jpg

 

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I read Larissa Verhoeff - Dikke pret. This is a Dutch memoir about a woman who goes on a weight-loss journey. I didn't realise there was another book that preceded this one, until after I finished it and did some research online. It was a nice read, nothing that special. I found it interesting while I read it but I don't think that it's one that will stay with me over time.

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I read Dirk Bracke and Herman van Campenhout - IQ 140. This is about two teenagers who both have a high IQ (in Dutch we call this 'hoogbegaafd', but there doesn't seem to be a good English equivalent word). They go to different schools and both are bullied. They meet at a 'school party' ('galabal'). I enjoyed reading this book.

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My thoughts on:

 

Stacey Turis - Here's To Not Catching Our Hair On Fire: An absentminded tale of life with Giftedness & Attention Deficit - Oh look! A chicken!

 

This is an AD(H)D memoir. I enjoyed reading about Stacey's life. The beginning was a bit hard to read, because Stacey was abused. So if you're sensitive to reading about that, you might want to keep it in mind. I could really relate to Stacey in some ways, and really didn't relate in others (I have autism next to ADD). There were some funny moments in the memoir and overall I enjoyed reading it.

 

StaceyTuris_HeresToNotCatchingOurHairOnFire_050.jpg

 

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10 hours ago, Lau_Lou said:

What a great title for a book! Glad you enjoyed it. 

 

Thanks Lau Lou :)!

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I read Sara Barnard - Goodbye, Perfect. This is the author's third novel (as far as I'm aware). I read her second novel, A Quiet Kind of Thunder which I loved and it was one of my favourite books I read in 2017. I haven't read her first novel, Beautiful Broken Things, yet. Goodbye, Perfect is about a teenage girl whose best friend runs away with her teacher (the male teacher being almost twice as old as the student).

 

I didn't like this book as much as I loved A Quiet Kind of Thunder. I do think the book portrayed the situation realistically, and that's good. I was a bit disappointed with the book though. I guess I was hoping for something more and something different. I didn't like some parts about the ending. I didn't think I'd love this book as much as I did A Quiet Kind of Thunder, but I was expecting to like it more than I did. In the end, it was just an okay read for me.

 

SaraBarnard-Goodbye,Perfect_050.jpg

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I read Larissa Verhoeff - Vette Pech. About a week and a half ago I read her book Dikke Pret. After I'd read it, I found out it was actually sort of a sequel to her debut memoir, Vette Pech (if anyone reads all my reviews, you might remember me mentioning it in my review for Dikke Pret). So I decided to order Vette Pech online and then read it.

 

I liked this book more than the sequel. I recognised some things from my own life, others definitely not though. While DP was more about her weightloss journey, this book (its predecessor) ends with the start of her journey. Most of the book is about various things about being overweight and how people respond to that. An interesting read. I liked the parts the best where I could identify with the author and think 'me too!'. But the negative experiences she'd gone through (ie. with what some rude people said to her), that I gladly haven't had to that same extent, were also interesting to read, even if it isn't my experience (and I'm glad it isn't).

 

Overall then I'm glad I liked this book more than the other one, and I think I'll remember this one more than its 'sequel' (though they can both be totally read as standalones).

 

VettePech_050.jpg

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22 hours ago, Little Pixie said:

Another great cover. :D

 

Thanks :).

 

I read Henny Beaumont - Hole in the Heart: Bringing Up Beth. This is a graphic memoir written by a mother whose third child has Down's Syndrome. I can't speak from any personal experience (I'm neither a parent nor do I know someone with Down's Syndrome), this 'review' is just my personal thoughts. Overall I liked reading the memoir, but there were a couple of things I want to mention. Sometimes I wasn't sure who was who, I felt some side-people were drawn without an explanation of their name or who they were (or ie. how they related to the author and her family). That was a minor niggle though. I liked the illustrations a lot otherwise, they were very well done! I was a bit disappointed with the 'story', it seemed to jump from the parents being extremely unhappy in the beginning to them being very happy, a bit quickly. I had wanted to see more of Beth's character and the author's family. The book was mostly about her and I felt I didn't see enough of the rest of the family. I felt like I didn't really get to know Beth all that well. Overall then, while I enjoyed this graphic memoir, I was also a bit disappointed with it as I was hoping for something more.

 

HennyBeaumont-HoleintheHeart_050.jpg

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I read Chrissie Manby - The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club. I was really in the mood to read a book like this ('rom-com'), something a bit lighter and easier on the mind, fun, with themes of friendship and love between adults (I was feeling sick when I started this book, from what I think was a stomach bug). I had pre-ordered Chrissie Manby's newest release for last September (when it came out) but I didn't feel in the mood for it until now (and I pre-ordered her next release two days ago). I enjoyed reading this book, it was nice to have something lighter on the mind. There are some funny situations in the book. I liked the friendships between the characters. It's not absolute favourite of her novels but it is a good one, I enjoyed it.

 

20180528_130114[ChrissieManby-TheWorstCaseScenarioCookeryClub]_025.jpg

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Today I read Mirjam Mous - 2C. This is a YA thriller about a class of high school students, they are planning to go on a school trip in a bus. But when they've only just left the school, the students all get a strange message on their phones. It turns out there's a bomb on board the bus. The story is told through multiple points of view, and some chapters take place in the 'now' and others in the past. I thought the book was pretty suspenseful. I also liked that there was a bit of diversity in the teenagers and that the author addressed issues such as terrorism and racism. Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this book, I enjoyed it a lot.

 

MirjamMous-2C_050.jpg

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I read Tim Collins - Dagboek van een Vlogger (The Vlogger Diaries: Confessions of an Online Sensation). It's about a girl named Olivia who has no friends at her new school and who decides to start vlogging, because she wants to make money so she can go on her class trip to New York. But she's insecure and shy in front of the camera so Olivia hires another girl at her school to act out the scripts she (Olivia) writes, so it is a fake vlog. I enjoyed the book, it was good.

 

Btw, on the front of the cover of the book, the name of the publisher is misspelled and on the back the character's name is misspelled once. So that's a bit of a shame, but okay. I like the cover otherwise. It seems to be easier to find Tim Collins' books in Dutch translation rather than the English original, for the Dutch website I often buy stuff from. Even Amazon UK doesn't sell some of his (older) books new anymore.


Anyway, it was a nice read. I thought the translation was quite well done, and the book had some humour in it :).

 

TimCollins-DagboekvaneenVlogger_050.jpg

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The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club looks like it would be right up my street. I was sure I had read a book by that author before, so I had a look and I have. It was one of my least liked books, gave it one star, but thinking of adding this one. 

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Do you remember which one it was? I hope you'll like The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club more than that one :)!

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2 hours ago, Athena said:

Do you remember which one it was? I hope you'll like The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club more than that one :)!

I think it was called A Proper Family Christmas?

It is very possible :) It certainly wasn’t the author’s writing so I will be more than happy to try her out again. 

 

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1 minute ago, Lau_Lou said:

I think it was called A Proper Family Christmas?

It is very possible :) It certainly wasn’t the author’s writing so I will be more than happy to try her out again.

 

Ah, that one is book 2 in a series of books about the Benson Family. I read that before reading book 1, not realising it was part of a series. It's not really needed to read them in order but one gets more out of it if you read them in order. I'm glad it wasn't her writing, The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club is a standalone so I hope you'll enjoy it more :).

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During the June read-a-thon (though I started near the end of May), I read some books.

 

Akiko Higashimura - Princess Jellyfish 4: Volume 4 (Kuragehime 7 & 8)
This was a pretty good installment in the series, I liked it a lot.

 

Konami Kanata - The Complete Chi's Sweet Home 4 (10-12): Part 4
I really liked the direction the story went into and I enjoyed the conclusion of the series. I am a little bit sad though that it's over now.

 

Keiko Tobe - With the Light 4: Volume 4 (re-read)
It was nice to re-read this next volume.

 

Clamp - Chobits 1: Volume 1 (re-read)
I've seen the anime of this series and decided to read the manga (my boyfriend has had the manga for some time). According to GoodReads I'd read the first volume before, which I didn't quite remember, so, thanks GoodReads! It was fun to re-read this volume, I look forward to reading the rest of the series (I haven't read them before but I did see the anime).

 

Simone Arts and Tante Beun - Fashion Academy 1: Flamenco Meets Flowerpower (re-read)
It was a bit quick for me to re-read this book, since I read it in November 2016, but because I recently bought books 3 and 4 in the series but couldn't remember a lot of books 1 and 2, I decided to re-read them. It was fun to read this book again, it was nice.

 

Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki - This One Summer
I absolutely loved the artwork in this graphic novel. However, the story was a bit disappointing. There were two interesting things going on, but they didn't really have a conclusion.

 

Maggie Thrash - Honor Girl
This is a graphic memoir of a girl who goes to a summer camp where she falls in love with another girl who is several years older. I enjoyed this graphic memoir. There wasn't much of an ending but since it is based on real life, that's something I can't quite fault the book for. The drawing style isn't my favourite and was a bit simplistic, sometimes I had trouble telling characters apart. But it was cute and I liked that the illustrations were in colour.

 

Alison Bechdel - Fun Home
This is a graphic memoir of a woman and how she grew up, not liking her dad. I thought the art was well done but the memoir drew a lot of comparisons with works of classic literature, and I haven't read these books, so it lost me a bit there, it kind of went over my head. I think it's probably more enjoyable though for those who have read these works of literature.

 

Iasmin Omar Ata - Mis(h)adra
This has to be the highlight of the read-a-thon for me. This is a graphic memoir of an Arab-American student who suffers from epilepsy. I really loved the artstyle, the way things were drawn, the colours, the symbolism of how certain epilepsy seizures were portrayed as a chain of sabers/knives, I really liked all that. Overall I loved this graphic memoir.

 

 

 

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May 2018 Summary

Books read: 25
Pages read: 6934

Genres:
Fantasy: 0
Science-fiction: 2
Contemporary Fiction: 10
Rom-com: 1
Historical Fiction: 0
Literature: 0
Detective / Mystery: 1
Thriller: 1
Horror: 1
Paranormal: 0
Biography: 7
Information: 2
'Disney': 0

Age Ranges:
Infants: 1 book(s)
Children: 2 book(s)
Young-Adult: 6 book(s)
Adult: 16 book(s)

TBR vs. R:
Re-reads: 2 book(s)
New Reads: 23 book(s)
Combination: 0 book(s)

Types of books: Novels: 7
Short Stories / Short Story Collections: 1
Novellas: 0
Omnibusses: 6
Information: 2
Biographies: 6
Picture Books: 1
Combination: 0

Most impressive / Favourite(s) of the month:
Sam Killerman - A Guide to Gender
Alice Oseman - I Was Born For This
Corinne Duyvis - On the Edge of Gone
Akiko Higashimura - Princess Jellyfish 4: Volume 4 (Kuragehime 7 & 8)
Akiko Higashimura - Princess Jellyfish 3 (5-6): Volume 3 (Kuragehime 5 & 6)
Konami Kanata - The Complete Chi's Sweet Home 4 (10-12): Part 4
Konami Kanata - The Complete Chi's Sweet Home 3 (7-9): Part 3
Keiko Tobe - With the Light 3: Volume 3 (re-read)
Keiko Tobe - With the Light 4: Volume 4 (re-read)
Christel Land (ill. Shanaka Thisara) - The Superhero Brain
Sarah Andersen - Sarah's Scribbles 1: Adulthood is a Myth
Sarah Andersen - Sarah's Scribbles 2: Big Mushy Happy Lump
Sarah Andersen - Sarah's Scribbles 3: Herding Cats
Mirjam Mous - 2C
Dirk Bracke and Herman van Campenhout - IQ 140
Chrissie Manby - The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club
Tim Collins - Dagboek van een Vlogger (The Vlogger Diaries: Confessions of an Online Sensation)

Pretty enjoyable:
Stacey Turis - Here's To Not Catching Our Hair On Fire
Tom Gauld - Mooncop Emily Carroll - Through the Woods
Larissa Verhoeff - VP / DP 1: Vette Pech Larissa Verhoeff - VP / DP 2: Dikke pret

Somewhat enjoyable:
Sara Barnard - Goodbye, Perfect
Henny Beaumont - Hole in the Heart


Disappointments / Least favourites of the month:
Brian Selznick and David Serlin - Baby Monkey, Private Eye

Abandoned book:
None!

Shortest book(s) read this month:
Christel Land (ill. Shanaka Thisara) - The Superhero Brain (24 pages)
Tom Gauld - Mooncop (94 pages)

Longest book(s) read this month:
Keiko Tobe - With the Light 3: Volume 3 (re-read) (523 pages)
Keiko Tobe - With the Light 4: Volume 4 (re-read) (518 pages)
 

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I am glad to see the Chrissie Manby book is in your most impressive list :) gives me more of a good reason to try it out. 

 

Looks like you have had a good reading month! It’s nice to see most of the books you have enjoyed. 

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Thanks :). I hope you had a nice reading month too :).

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I read Rachael Lucas - My Box-Shaped Heart. I really liked her book The State of Grace, which had an autistic girl as the main character. My Box-Shaped Heart is about Holly, a teenage girl who loves to swim. Her mum is a hoarder and at school she's a social outcast. At the pool she meets Ed, who also likes to swim. He has his own problems.

 

The middle of the book was a bit slow for me, though it could have been my mood. I really liked the last third of the book. Overall I didn't enjoy it as much as The State of Grace, not that I was expecting to enjoy it as much. It was a fun light read and I liked the themes of swimming and mental illness and abuse ('liked' is perhaps the wrong word for it?).

 

NewBookPreorderBolcom_2018-05-17_Cover_025.jpg

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I read Boris O. Dittrich - Barst, which is the free novella for 'Spannendeboekenweken' (or 'suspensefulbooksweeks'). You get it for free it you spend over a certain amount of money on Dutch books (in most Dutch physical (book)shops and on most Dutch (book)webshops). Anyway, my mum bought a book for a collegue and she gave me the free novella. I was thinking of buying a book myself to get the free book, so it was awesome she gifted it to me.

 

The novella is kind of a literary thriller and it follows two 'storylines', each alternating per chapter (if I remember it correctly). I liked the writing style and that the chapter were short. The story was nice. I did guess whodunnit by the end of the book (it's 96 pages), but not a while before then. Overall I enjoyed reading this novella, I gave it an 8 / 10 (or on GoodReads, 4 out of 5 stars). 

 

NewGiftBook_2018-06-07_Cover_0125.jpg

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17 hours ago, Little Pixie said:

Always good to get a freebie and maybe discover a new favourite author.  :)

 

That's true :). I'll have to look into what else he's written :).

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