eARC Review: The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking) by Katie Mack

The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking) by Katie Mack

Categories: Non-Fiction, Science

First Publication Date: 2nd July 2020


I received an advance copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Synopsis: You’re going to die. The Earth will, one day, be toast. So too, our Sun will eventually shine its last. But what’s next?

The End of Everything is a unique exploration of the destruction of the cosmos. Drawing on cutting edge technology and theory, as well as hot-off-the-presses results from the most powerful telescopes and particle colliders, astrophysicist Katie Mack describes how small tweaks to our incomplete understanding of reality can result in starkly different futures. Our universe could collapse in upon itself, or rip itself apart, or even – in the next five minutes – succumb to an inescapable expanding bubble of doom.

This fascinating, witty story of cosmic escapism examines a beautiful but unfamiliar physics landscape while sharing the excitement a leading astrophysicist feels when thinking about the universe and our place in it. Amid stellar explosions and bouncing universes, Mack shows that even though we puny humans have no chance of changing how it all ends, we can at least begin to understand it.

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eARC Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Category: Fantasy

First Publication Date: 6th October 2020


I received an advance copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Synopsis: France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.


Addie LaRue is a young woman with a free and stubborn spirit. She’s a dreamer and wants to see what’s beyond her little village and her little life, but when she’s forced to marry and leave her freedom behind, she despairs and call on the gods that only answer after dark. This is one of the most interesting premises on fantasy I’ve seen this year, and I was very excited to pick this up! So far I’ve only read Vicious by this author and I loved it, and was curious to see how she fared with this dark, lyrical fantasy.

I will probably be in the minority when I say I was disappointed by this book, although I generally did enjoy it. The romance and the writing style reminded me of Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones, just not as charming or magical, and it’s possible that I had misplaced expectations on The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. The writing style did not quite work for me: it tries to be poetic, fairy-tale-like, even timeless, but I just got exhausted by how it did not feel seamless at all. It just felt so overdone. The constant use of long, unnecessary metaphors got me impatient and the author uses repetition so often I found myself skipping a few lines.

“A dreamer,” scorns her mother.
“A dreamer,” mourns her father.
“A dreamer,” warns Estele.

I also did not connect with any of the characters except Addie – they all seemed so flat and a collection of stereotypes: Estele is a wise older woman who’s considered odd and eccentric and the only one who understands Addie; her father the gentle giant who teaches her things she shouldn’t know as a woman; her strict mother who disapproves of anything Addie does; and so on and so on. Addie also took a while for me to warm to, she felt so modern in the way she thinks and acts, and so dismissive of her friend’s love for family and motherhood.

However, the story is actually very interesting and it kept me turning pages – I read this book in one sitting, despite it being a hefty 450 pages. That, too, was a mixed experience for me because a lot of the story did not really go anywhere, it was just… things happening. But not necessarily driving the plot forward or bringing any sort of emotional impact for me. The ending, however, had me holding my breath – it was just really good. This is definitely one of V. E. Schwab’s strength, finishing the book with such a high note that you think “wow, this was an amazing read!”.

I also enjoyed the difficult and toxic relationship Addie developed with Luc, the dark entity who cursed her and the only one who remembers her. I am a bit biased here because I love a good story with dark, powerful entities and their difficult relationships with humans, so I was always going to enjoy that part of the story.

This was a mixed experience for me: the writing and characters mostly didn’t work for me but I eventually warmed up to Addie and even to Henry, a bit. The strongest part of this book for me was the plot and the ending, and V. E. Schwab’s imagination really impressed me! From what I’ve seen from other reviewers, I think if you’re a V. E. Schwab fan, you’ll love this, and for non-fans I’d say if you love character-centered stories and love the premise, you’ll probably like it. My issues seem to stem from my personal expectations and taste in books, and I’ve seen that most people really adored this book. However, if you’re nitty-picky about writing and generally tend towards literary fiction or emotionally devastating books, I don’t think it will work very well for you.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

eARC Review: Luster by Raven Leilani

Luster by Raven Leilani

Category: Contemporary Fiction

First Publication Date: 4th August 2020


I received an advance copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Synopsis: Edie is stumbling her way through her twenties—sharing a subpar apartment in Bushwick, clocking in and out of her admin job, making a series of inappropriate sexual choices. She’s also, secretly, haltingly figuring her way into life as an artist. And then she meets Eric, a digital archivist with a family in New Jersey, including an autopsist wife who has agreed to an open marriage—with rules. As if navigating the constantly shifting landscapes of contemporary sexual manners and racial politics weren’t hard enough, Edie finds herself unemployed and falling into Eric’s family life, his home. She becomes hesitant friend to his wife and a de facto role model to his adopted daughter. Edie is the only black woman young Akila may know.

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Weekly Wrap Up 22 Sept – 12 Oct: My Vacation Reads

Hello readers!

My vacation is over! (boooo!)

I managed to read 5 books in two and a half weeks, which is less than I hoped for and lower than my average, but still a pretty good amount. I’m glad to have gotten a few ARCs done (4 of those were ARCs and1 a backlisted title). I have now 11 ARCs to hopefully finish this year, and one of them I’m reading already so I’m feeling actually positive about my chances.

I’m actually quite pleased it’s October. Sure it’s cold, dark, foggy and seasonal depression is just around the corner, but at least there is pumpkin soup! I find German winters quite depressing, but Fall is in fact one of my favorite times of the year. I do much better with the cool weather than the harsh cold or the unforgiving heat, plus it’s a great time for baking and cozying up with a book.

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Review: The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Categories: xx

First Publication Date: 11 February 2020

Synopsis:

Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Magnusdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of the tiny Arctic town of Vardø must fend for themselves.
Three years later, a stranger arrives on their shore. Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. He brings with him his young Norwegian wife, Ursa, who is both heady with her husband’s authority and terrified by it. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God, and flooded with a mighty evil. As Maren and Ursa are drawn to one another in ways that surprise them both, the island begins to close in on them, with Absalom’s iron rule threatening Vardø’s very existence.

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Books I Want to Read until the End of the Year (please send help)

Hello readers!

I am currently on vacation so this post is pre-scheduled and I SURE HOPE vacation-Naty is getting LOTS OF READING DONE. The year is slowly coming to an end and I realized lately that my “Best of” posts is missing a lot of books on some genres simply because Miss I-Can’t-Follow-TBRs reads whatever she feels like and then it’s all thrillers and literary fiction and then her ARCs get late and she’s like Oh how did THAT happen.

So I like writing these posts to remind myself that there are some books I want to finish still this year.

Do I absolutely need to read all the books below? Of course not. But most of these are 2020 ARCs that I’d like to post and talk about before the new year comes around and I receive a boatload of new ARCs and get gifted books for my birthday and Christmas and the books below are forgotten. Plus, it’s always nice to read ARCs in a timely fashion.

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eARC Review: Sisters by Daisy Johnson

sisters daisy johnson

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Categories: Suspense, Horror

I received an advance copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Born just ten months apart, July and September are thick as thieves, never needing anyone but each other. Now, following a case of school bullying, the teens have moved away with their single mother to a long-abandoned family home near the shore. In their new, isolated life, July finds that the deep bond she has always shared with September is shifting in ways she cannot entirely understand. A creeping sense of dread and unease descends inside the house. Meanwhile, outside, the sisters push boundaries of behavior—until a series of shocking encounters tests the limits of their shared experience, and forces shocking revelations about the girls’ past and future.
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Halloween Reading Recommendations (2020 Edition)

Hello readers!

Every year I like to come up with a list of creepy or atmospheric reads to read in October, when the days become colder and darker in the northern hemisphere, and it hypes me up for Halloween. This year a lot of us will be staying home for that, and I think it’s a great opportunity to consider doing a readathon of great October reads! I also added a few not scary recommendations, because I know some people would like to join a Halloween-themed readathon but hate spooky reads, or simply need a break from horror.

You can get a few more ideas from my October TBRs:

Halloween Reading Plans (2020 Edition)

My Halloween-themed TBR for October, 2019 Edition

My October 2018 Spooky TBR

If you like supernatural horror & mystery

Sisters by Daisy Johnson

Something unspeakable has happened to sisters July and September.

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