The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Synopsis

It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive. There is primal horror here, and menace unleashed – within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.

His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac – as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly’s wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark.

From Goodreads

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane published by Headline Publishing Group (2015)

This is the kind of book anyone who was deeply affected by their childhood’s memories will understand. I don’t believe it’s easy or straightforward. It is a fantasy book, yes, but also a strange sort of memoir. The main character is trying to remember his childhood and some of the most important moments of his life. What we are left with is his perspective of what happened in those moments. I said ‘his perspective’ because, after all, “Different people remember things differently, and you’ll not get any two people to remember anything the same, whether they were there or not.”

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

This is the third time I’ve tried to write a review for this book. It’s a hard thing to do when you can’t believe it’s already over. You tend to go into denial if you hate endings like I do.

Synopsis

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

From Goodreads

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Me Before You published by Penguin Books 2015

Me Before You was, fortunately, the book I chose to read in order to take a (much needed) break from fantasy. What I wasn’t really expecting was to get the same amount of magic from a love story that you can get from a fantasy book.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Warning: this review contains (unnecessary) sexual content; just like the book does.

Synopsis

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf, a beast-like creature arrives at her home to avenge it. Forced to go to a dangerous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal: he is Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, Feyre’s feelings for Tamlin change. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

From Goodreads

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A Court of Thorns and Roses published by Bloomsbury 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses (or, like Chaos always said when asking me if I was done with it already, A Thorn of Court) turned out to be a surprise. I was very curious about it and my curiosity grew every time I saw a beautiful drawing of the characters, or people talking about it on Instagram. I thought I was on my way to discover another book series that would make me fall in love. I was wrong.

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1) by Ransom Riggs

This book has grown in popularity ever since the screen adaptation by Tim Burton was announced. It has a huge fanbase and I’m sure that when the movie comes out, everyone will rush to the bookstores to get it. So it’s time to review it.

Synopsis

After his grandfather’s mysterious death, sixteen-year-old Jacob travels to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for a good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children published by Quirk Books (2013)

It hooked me from the very first sentence:

“I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.”

I’m lucky to have thought “oh, I know that feeling” when I first read it. It is precisely because of this that I defend the idea that a book must have, mandatorily, a good opening line. But this book has way more than one great line. And that’s mainly the reason why I didn’t stop reading it when I got slightly bored with it after the leading mystery was solved.

Ransom Riggs has the kind of writing that makes you feel guilty of putting the book down before you’re officially finished with it. That’s why I don’t regret having stuck with his peculiar story until the very end. Even though it gets too weird at some point, his writing makes everything seem better, sound better, work better.

I won’t spoil anything. Instead, I will leave here one of my favourite passages from the book in an attempt to seduce you into his strange world:

“Stars, too, are time travelers. How many of those ancient points of light were the last echoes of suns now dead? How many had been born but their light not yet come this far? If all the suns but ours had collapsed tonight, how many lifetimes would it take us to realize that we are not alone? I had always known the sky was full of mysteries – but not until now had I realized how full of them the earth was.”

Fae

If you’re fond of peculiar things, click here:

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Tomb Raider: The Ten Thousand Immortals by Dan Abnett & Nik Vincent

“She was back on the island. On Yamatai. A hellish storm raged all around her.”

The Ten Thousand Immortals is a Tomb Raider novel released in 2014, written by Dan Abnett and Nik Vincent. It tells the story of Lara Croft coping with her life after returning from the island of Yamatai. The novel takes place right after the events of Tomb Raider (2013) and before the new Tomb Raider Comic Series.

Synopsis

Back in her London flat Lara and Sam try to get back to their old life. However, for Sam this proves to be too difficult. When a call from the hospital reaches Lara, she is informed that her friend has suffered an overdose of a substance, allegedly trying to end her own life. Sam has left a goodbye letter addressed to Lara in which she explain, that it’s all too much for her to deal with and that she believes that she cannot be saved from Himiko, the Shaman Sun Queen of Yamatai.

Desperate for a solution, Lara searches for anything that could help her. A wisp of hope arising from a myth gives Lara purpose: the story of an ancient and mysterious artifact that could heal her friend.

No matter how thin the trail may be at times, Lara is willing to go wherever she must to find something that will help her friend. The hunt drives Lara across Europe, in a voyage through a twisted web of conspiracy, suspicious contracts, and life-or-death intrigue, as she seeks salvation for her friend and the truth behind the legendary talisman.

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The Ten Thousand Immortals by DK Publishing (2014)

As expected from a Tomb Raider novel, we are offered an invitation into the world of archaeology, history and mythology. This is a fast paced book with plenty of action to go around. One of the things that I really enjoyed about it was getting to know more about Lara’s character. The reader sees through her eyes, knows how she thinks and acts in normal circumstances (like taking a train/subway or simply walking around the streets of London) as well as when she’s under stress or in danger.

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

What a wonderful book.

That’s what I thought when I finished this famous work. I confess that I was afraid I would think of it as yet another overrated classic everyone pretends to like but now I am so happy I was completely wrong about it.

 Synopsis

A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel – a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man’s struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

From Goodreads

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To Kill a Mockingbird 50th Anniversary Edition published by Cornerstone

Because it is written in a child’s perspective it is moving and endearing, which I think wouldn’t happen if it was an adult telling the same story. We watch Jean-Louise Finch grow up and the world around her – a world which is little more than a small town – change as fast as mean people can spread their wickedness to others. What makes it even more special is the ever-present honesty: it curls up in every word with such force I’m lead to think it would turn even the most devious person into an honourable one. Harper Lee is able to write her protagonist’s thoughts in such a way that every injustice stabs at your chest as if it was happening to you; her powerlessness becomes your own. Many writers can do this but not many can do it even when their readers are being bothered by noisy people on the train and take almost two months to read their damn book.
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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1) by Alan Bradley

“Heaven must be a place where the library is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.”

Synopsis

Flavia de Luce, an 11-year-old aspiring chemist and with a particular interest for poison, invites us into her life full of a series of inexplicable events: a dead bird is found on her doorstep with a post stamp pinned to its beak. Hours later, she finds a dying man in the garden who whispers her something in Latin. For Flavia, who feels both appalled and delighted by what happened, life begins at last: exactly when murder comes to Buckshaw, her home.

 

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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1) published by Not Avail (2015)

 

Flavia is more than what she seems at first: she may be rude but she is also thoughtful; she is incredibly clever but definitely dangerous. She is impossible but somewhat realistic. Because children are unusual in their own ways and Flavia is no exception. She just has an inclination towards poison and trouble. But that’s not exactly what made me love her so much.

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