Review: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle #1)

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The best words to describe this book would probably be charming or whimsical. While meant for younger readers, I can see many adults looking for a lighter read enjoying it as well.

It was odd. As a girl, Sophie would have shriveled with embarrassment at the way she was behaving. As an old woman, she did not mind what she did or said. She found that a great relief.

Sophie is the eldest of the three sisters and following fairytale logic, this means misfortune. Initially resigned to her fate of inheriting her hat shop, she instead gets tangled with the Witch of the Waste, who turns her into an old lady. Then she stumbles into the Wizard Howl, and, well, an adventure begins.

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Review: A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (Wayfarers #2)

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This is exactly the sort of book I needed. I flew through it so fast. I have almost forgotten what that’s like. Any book that can make me attached anough to the characters to cry is something special. And while it’s a light, uplifting, overwhelmingly optimistic read, it’s also the proof that neither of those descriptors has to mean shallow.

“I have so many questions I want to ask you. You’ve got me thinking about things I’ve never chewed on. It’s not comfortable, realising that you’ve been wrong about something, but I suppose it’s a good thing to do from time to time. And you…you seem like you have questions, too. You came to me because you thought I could help. Maybe I still can. So…if you don’t think I’m a complete asshole, maybe we can try again. Y’know, being friends.”

Despite it being a sequel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, it can be be read as a standalone, as long as you don’t mind a part of the ending of the former being spoiled.

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Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (Montague Siblings #1)

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This is so, so far outside of what I usually read. I’m not much for romance, I mostly avoid YA. I’m not averse to historical fiction, but I still don’t read it very often. Yet I’m glad I picked it up because I have enjoyed it immensely.

The great tragic love story of Percy and me is neither great nor truly a love story, and is tragic only for its single-sidedness. It is also not an epic monolith that has plagued me since boyhood, as might be expected. Rather, it is simply the tale of how two people can be important to each other their whole lives, and then, one morning, quite without meaning to, one of them wakes to find that importance has been magnified into a sudden and intense desire to put his tongue in the other’s mouth.

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Review: Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #8)

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This review is way overdue.

Guards! Guards! is not the first Discworld book I tried to read. I have read a few books in translation before and bounced off. I have something of a history with comedy – The Princess Bride I hated, Hitchhiker’s Guide I DNF’d. I was reluctant to try again, but I promised that I will give the series one last try, in English, and this seemed like a good entry point.

And hey, it worked.

“I wonder what’s the difference between ordinary councillors and privy councillors?” wondered the merchant aloud.

The assassin scowled at him. “I think,” he said, “it is because you’re expected to eat shit.”

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Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children #2)

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A short review for a short book.

It can be easy, in the end, to forget that children are people, and that people will do what people will do, the consequences be damned.

Forced into roles since they were born by perfectionist parents, Jack and Jill were never allowed much choice in their lives…until a door opens and adventures begin. They were the two characters I was the most curious about in Every Heart a Doorway and was very excited to learn more about them. It did not disappoint.

It suffes a bit from its length – I wish we got to spend more time in the Moors and that most of their life there wasn’t as glossed over – and gets a little heavy on its message sometimes, but the prose is as amazing as in the first book and fairytale atmosphere, the worldbuilding, and the illustrations(!!!) are all great. I also liked the complexity of their relationship.

It’s a quick, delightful read and a perfect palate cleanser between longer books.

Enjoyment: 5/5
Execution: 4/5

Recommended to: those who wanted to learn more about Jack and Jill, fairytale enthusiasts
Not recommended to: people who like less message-heavy books

Review: Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold (World of the Five Gods #2)

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Hopeful and pretty damn enjoyable.

Foolish beyond hope to send a middle-aged former madwoman running down the roads of Chalion to fetch up here, and for what? Failed saint, failed sorceress, failed royina, wife, mother, daughter, failed … well, lover was not a role she’d ever attempted.

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