Unexpected Surprising Books

Occasionally, when we start reading a book, we’re already expecting to be surprised by some event, outcome or revelation. We may not know what that surprise will be, but we know it’s coming, possibly because there may be some mystery awaiting to be solved. The books mentioned below have the particularity of featuring surprises that I was not expecting at all for various reasons. I could have chosen a few more, but these were the first that sprang to mind.


The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

The first reason why I was surprised by Jessie Burton’s debut novel was that I knew close to nothing about the plot before buying it. I just had fell in love with the cover. However, after reading the first chapters, the main mystery seemed to be the identity of the miniaturist who sends Nella small replicas of people and objects from her daily life that she didn’t order. So, it was with great astonishment that I realised that many other and more interesting surprises had been awaiting me.


A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

Through a non-linear narrative, A God in Ruins introduces the reader to the life of Teddy Todd. Despite desiring to be a poet when he was younger, he ends up becoming a bomber pilot during the Second World War. I got immersed in his life and became quite interested in his relationship with his family. The revelation near the end of the book saddened me and took me completely by surprise. Continue reading


My Least and Most Viewed Reviews

Book reviews are the type of posts I most like to write for this blog, and they are also the ones that take me the longest to complete and edit. Nevertheless, they tend to have less views than the rest of the content on my blog. At least this is the perception I have. I don’t analyse my blog statistics thoroughly and frequently, thus there is a slight possibility that I’m wrong.

But this is something that has been intriguing me lately. So, I took a quick look at my blog stats to discover the reviews with the most and the least number of views. The titles of the books mentioned below link to the full reviews.


My Three Most Viewed Reviews

The Power by Naomi Alderman

The reason why I think this is my most viewed review is that it was published around the time when The Power was announced as the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2017. Told from various points of view, it delves into what happened when women discovered they had the power to electrocute other people with their hands. I quite liked the premise but didn’t enjoy the execution as much. Continue reading

Graphic Novels, Comics and I

Many children and young adults seem to love comics and graphic novels. But I wasn’t much of a fan when I was younger. I recall buying Disney comics in the summer to read on the beach and almost always never finishing them. If I remember correctly, my main problem was having to read the dialogues on the speech balloons, maybe because the font and the panels were too small. I much preferred reading illustrated novels.

However, some graphic novels and comics have been catching my eye since the beginning of last year, and I even ended up reading two in order to realise if my feelings towards this way of telling a story had changed. The first one I read was The Black Project by Gareth Brookes. Its main character is a really ingenious boy who wants to create his own girlfriend. I was a bit disappointed by the ending and the lack of colour, although it was rather funny at parts. Afterwards, I decided to read The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg and quite liked it. This graphic novel about the power of love and storytelling made me appreciate much more the conveying of ideas through images combined with text and other visual information.

I discovered then that there are various genres of graphic novels, including fiction, non-fiction and anthologies, and that they differ from comic books, because these are periodicals, while the first ones are single works. I was also wrong to think that all pages featured the same amount of small squared panels with drawings and speech balloons inside. Many graphic novels and comics have drawings occupying full pages, or panels in a variety of sizes and formats. Furthermore, the illustrations can be much more appealing than I first thought. I’m not particularly tempted to read those with simple drawings in black and white. Instead, I prefer a wide-ranging palette of colours. Continue reading

Reducing the Number of Books on My Wish List

One of the results of following so many great bloggers and BookTubers is that I keep adding new books to my wish list. I’ve recently created a Goodreads account (yes, it took me quite a while) and decided to only add books I own but haven’t read yet to my “want to read” shelf. Therefore, I’ll continue to take advantage of Amazon lists to keep up with all the books that caught my attention and that I want to read in the future, as I’ve been doing for years, regardless if I end up ordering the books from there or not.

The number of books on my wish list grew a bit out of control, though. So, I decided to take a closer look at it in order to assess if I still yearned to read all those books. After spending almost two hours scrolling through it and reading many blurbs, I realised that I didn’t even remember why I had added some of them to my wish list in the first place.

I had around 560 books on the list before going over it, and have to admit feeling relieved after removing 94 which I didn’t feel like reading any longer. Nevertheless, I’m listing them below so, if some of them are among your favourite books of all time, you can convince me to read them after all. Continue reading

Dragons in Books

Many books in the fantasy genre feature dragons as real animals and not as mythical creatures no one has ever seen. They are serpentine beings who spew fire, and have both reptilian and avian traits. Despite sharing these characteristics, the role they play in a specific story vary according to the world created by each author. In some books dragons can speak or have riders, while in others they are subject to scientific studies. I’ve read a few books which include dragons, all having different parts to play.

When we think about the Harry Potter series the first word that comes to mind is wizards. But the books in this beloved series also feature dragons, although they are not one of the major elements of the world created by J.K. Rowling. They were used as an obstacle to be overcome in the first task of the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, for example. Dragons, in the world of the Harry Potter series, are generally considered impossible to either train or domesticate. They are seen as dangerous, since they can kill wizards. Nonetheless, there are people trained to work with them.

Dragons assume a more relevant and totally different role in The Memoirs of Lady Trent series by Marie Brennan. This is a fantasy and adventure series where the protagonist, Lady Trent, recalls how she became a famous and respected dragon naturalist. So far, I’ve only read the first two books – A Natural History of Dragons and The Tropic of Serpents. However, it is obvious from the very beginning that in this series dragons are not portrayed as magical or mythological creatures, but real wild animals who roam free in various parts of the world and are scientifically studied. Continue reading

Most Owned and Read Authors – Update

At the beginning of last year, I published a post on my most owned and read authors and decided to write a similar one every year to see how that list changed over time. The most predominant writers among my read books are more or less the same this time around, and the slight changes which occurred are mainly due to my decision of taking some of the books from my childhood and teenage years out of my shelves, since I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be reading them ever again.

So, I now believe that writing a post like this every year is a bit excessive, since no substantial changes are bound to occur in such a period of time, unless I get rid of more books, which is unlikely in the near future. I’m now keener on only writing an updated version of my most owned and read authors when I can distinguish significant changes on the list below beforehand.

The current list features four of the same authors as the first one and there is only one new addition. Continue reading

Bookish Resolutions for 2018

A new year, a new set of bookish resolutions. This year I want to embark on a new reading project and create new types of content for the blog. But I’m also repeating one of the goals I had for 2017.

2018 is the last entire year during which the UK will retain EU membership, unless someone manages to stop this Brexit madness (I’m sorry, but this is how it looks like from outside of the UK). So, this year I want to read at least one book by an author from each of the still 28 EU member states. This idea was inspired by Marina Sofia at Findingtimetowrite who last year started the #EU27Project as a way to say farewell to the remaining 27 countries. I’m taking a slightly different approach and am also reading a book by an author from the UK, more precisely from Scotland, since the vast majority there voted to remain in the EU. You can see a list of all the books I’m reading for this project in the ‘EU still 28’ page on my reading projects section.

As I hope to read more books than the ones on that list, mainly some by the authors I want to read every year, I’m planning to finish 35 books until the end of the 2018. If I accomplish that goal, I will have read one more book than in 2017. Continue reading

2017 Bookish Resolutions’ Evaluation

Now that 2017 has come to an end, and before revealing my bookish resolutions for 2018, it’s time to assess if I managed to achieve the goals I had set for last year. I wanted to try to read graphic novels again, read both more non-fiction and short stories collections, read at least 25 books, and publish a post twice a week (every Tuesday and Friday) on the blog.

Last year I read two graphic novels: The Black Project by Gareth Brookes and The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg. Although The Black Project didn’t considerably motivate me to read more graphic novels, I ended up picking up The Encyclopedia of Early Earth and quite enjoying it. Since a really young age, my main problem with graphic novels and comics has been having to read dialogues inside speech balloons. I cannot explain why, but it has always deeply annoyed me. However, I didn’t feel such an exasperation while reading the book by Isabel Greenberg. In fact, it made me want to read more graphic novels in the future.

I also wanted to read more non-fiction in 2017, but ended up reading the same amount as in the year before: just one… I tried to read more, but ended up not finishing The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell, having given up on it just after one chapter. Nevertheless, I quite appreciated reading The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria by Janine di Giovanni, a book that I recommend to everyone. Continue reading

Most Disappointing Books of 2017

Unfortunately, we, readers, not always enjoy the books we decide to pick up. Irrespective of how much research we do on a book, our expectations may end up not being met. In 2016, the year I started blogging, I read two books that disappointed me, although I didn’t completely dislike them. They were just tolerable reads I was expecting to like much more than I actually did. This year, however, I can surely say I didn’t like three of the books that I read.


Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

The main character of this novel, Jim Hawkins, unknowingly joins a group of pirates in search of Captain Flint’s hidden treasure. I was hoping for a thrilling adventure, but instead got a joyless bland story which I, nevertheless, manged to read until the end.


Homens Imprudentemente Poéticos by Valter Hugo Mãe

After liking A Desumanização by the Portuguese author Valter Hugo Mãe, I was expecting to also enjoy this novel about two Japanese neighbours, Itaro and Saburo, who are in open conflict. But my expectations were completely misplaced. The plot didn’t appeal to me at all and the writing style completely overpowered the story. Its pretentiousness even irked me in some instances. Continue reading

My 5 Star TBR Predictions Wrap Up

More or less four months ago, inspired by Mercedes at Mercys Bookish Musings on YouTube, I selected four books from my TBR pile which I then hoped would be five-star reads. I have now read all of them and regret to inform you that not even one has deserved a 5-star rating from me. I still liked them all, they were all 4-star reads, but none of them ended up meeting my high expectations for various reasons.

I can only wonder if I would have appreciated them more for what they are and wouldn’t have paid so much attention to what I perceived as faults, if my expectations had not been so high. It’s true that I don’t rate that many books with 5 stars, as I expect to completely love everything about them to do so, but sometimes expectations influence our way of thinking.

Although I rated all of the following books with 4 stars, I can easily rank them, because I liked some more than others. These are the four books that I expected to love from my most to my least favourite: Continue reading