Pax by Sara Pennypacker ๐Ÿ“š BOOK REVIEW

My review of Pax by Sara Pennypacker ๐Ÿ“š

I read a paperback edition of Pax.

Genre:ย Children’s fiction, middle-grade fiction.

Illustrated by: Jon Klassen

Publisher:ย HarperCollins

Originally published:ย February 2nd, 2016

Pages:ย 288 (paperback)

Audiobook length: 5 hrs and 32 mins

Synopsis by the publisher:

Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.

At his grandfather’s house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should beโ€”with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.

Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own.

My thoughts:

I randomly came across Pax while browsing a Norwegian bookstore and it was cover love at first sight! So much so that I decided to buy the book before I even read the synopsis. When I did read the back, I was even more sure that it would be a good match.

I love when authors write stories from the perspective of animals. Giving the animals a voice of their own adds a whole other depth to a story. I find that it’s even more enjoyable when we get to shift between the perspectives of humans and animals so that we get to experience certain events in two (or more) different ways. Pennypacker did a really good job with that throughout this book.

Pax isn’t just a story about a strong bond between a fox and a boy, but it also tells a story of grief and war. As far as I could tell, which war this story is set in isn’t mentioned, but I got the feeling it was probably World War II. Not knowing doesn’t take away from the story at all though since the focus isn’t on the war itself, but more the experiences of growing up during one.

The illustrations throughout this book are absolutely stunning! I wouldn’t have minded if there’d had been more of them, but hey, quality over quantity!
A big round of applause for Jon Klassen!

Both Peter and Pax develops quite a lot as characters during the short amount of time that we get to spend with them, and I loved being able to join them on that journey.

How about the ending?

I loved the way that it ended, even though it might not have been the ending that I was expecting or hoping for. But I thought it was the right way to end the story.

This story also had me crying a little bit, which doesn’t happen all too often these days! So extra points for having me so engaged in the story!

All that being said, I wish it would’ve been a little longer though. I felt like there was more to this story, but I also understand that even though I enjoyed it as an adult, it was written for a much younger audience so having it be 350+ pages long might not have been the right choice for this particular book.

I highly recommend Pax to readers who loved Watership Down, Charlotte’s Web, or any other story of hardship and struggle that are told through the perspectives of animals. It’s written beautifully and it tells a really heartbreaking but also heartwarming story that is just as enjoyable for adults as for kids.

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Writers and Lovers by Lily King ๐Ÿ“š BOOK REVIEW

My review of Writers and Lovers by Lily King ๐Ÿ“š

I read a hardback edition of Writers and Lovers.

Genre:ย Contemporary fiction, romance.

Publisher:ย PICADOR

Originally published:ย March 3rd, 2020

Pages:ย 256 (hardback)

Audiobook length: 8 hrs and 14 mins

Synopsis by the publisher:

Casey has ended up back in Massachusetts after a devastating love affair. Her mother has just died and she is knocked sideways by grief and loneliness, moving between the restaurant where she waitresses for the Harvard elite and the rented shed she calls home. Her one constant is the novel she has been writing for six years, but at thirty-one she is in debt and directionless, and feels too old to be that way – it’s strange, not be the youngest kind of adult anymore.

And then, one evening, she meets Silas. He is kind, handsome, interested. But only a few weeks later, Oscar walks into her restaurant, his two boys in tow. He is older, grieving the loss of his wife, and wrapped up in his own creativity. Suddenly Casey finds herself at the point of a love triangle, torn between two very different relationships that promise two very different futures.

Lily King’s Writers & Lovers follows Casey in the last days of a long youth, a time when everything – her family, her work, her relationships – comes to a crisis. Hugely moving and impossibly funny, it is a transfixing novel that explores the terrifying and exhilarating leap between the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another. It is a novel about love and creativity, and ultimately it captures the moment when a woman becomes an artist.

My thoughts:

When I first heard about this book, I immediately felt drawn to it. An aspiring writer struggling with finding her place in the world while coping with her demons. It sounded like a book that I could relate to a lot! And on that point, it definitely did not disappoint!

I fell in love with Casey as a character from the very beginning. Her attitude and the pride she has in her work as both a writer and as a waitress was something that I thought was so brilliantly portrayed. As someone who’s worked a lot in customer service myself, I thought it was a breath of fresh air to read about a character that actually took pride in her work even though it wasn’t the profession she dreamt of having in the long run. King also wrote about the struggle and frustration of working with customer service and questionable management, and I thought she was right on point there as well!

Casey also navigates her way through writing, single life, and trying to cope with the grief of having lost her mother. We get to follow her as she tries to make the best choices for her life and her future, and finding it hard to differentiate between what seems like the best choices are and what the right choices actually are. I think this is something that most creatives can relate to in the process of following a dream as well as building a future at the same time.

I loved how none of the characters were perfect. They felt real and problematic, just like real people.

The way that this story touches on family and grief as well was really interesting to read about and I was so invested in all the emotions that Casey went through in her ups and downs.

“Writers and Lovers” was a fresh of breath air in the contemporary fiction/romance genre, and one that made me (as an aspiring writer myself) want to sit down and work harder and write more.
I have a feeling that this book is one that will easily find its way into a very special place in the hearts of a lot of writers, but I also think that it’s a romance that can be loved and enjoyed by those who don’t have a passion for writing.

It was a wonderful story that felt very easy to read even though it touched on some heavier subjects. A story that has stayed with me and I find my mind drifting back to quite often.

Highly recommend!

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Reading Rush 2020 ๐ŸŒป Weekly Vlog Wednesday

Where I show you how I did in the 2020 Reading Rush๐Ÿ“š

Where I show you how I did in the 2020 Reading Rush๐Ÿ“š

Links to all the books on Bookdepository (Free worldwide shipping!):

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

The Shining by Stephen King

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

The Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi

๐Ÿ’›If you buy via my affiliate links, I get a small commission ๐Ÿ’›

Snail Poop and Books ๐ŸŒป Weekly Vlog Wednesday

Where I show you a little of what was going on last week ๐ŸŒป

Where I show you a little of what was going on last week ๐ŸŒป

Nuuna London Bullet Journal

Links to all the books mentioned (Bookdepository with Free Worldwide shipping):

Writers and Lovers by Lily King

Matilda by Mary Shelley

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy

Frost in May by Antonia White

Faces in the Water by Janet Frame

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

๐Ÿ’›If you buy via my affiliate links, I get a small commission ๐Ÿ’›

Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts by Luke Christodoulou ๐Ÿ“š BOOK REVIEW

My review of Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts by Luke Christodoulou๐Ÿ“š

I read a digital edition of Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts that I received for free fromย Reedsy Discoveryย in exchange for an honest review.

Genre:ย Horror

Publisher:ย Self published

Originally published:ย June 13th, 2020

Pages:ย 247 (Kindle edition)

Synopsis by the publisher:

After the death of her two-year-old son, Susan lost her will to continue. Unable to move on, she agrees to her Greek husband’s plan on a summer in Greece for the sake of her three living children. His family’s mansion waits for them. A house with a dark past and a bleak future.
Travel with them to Greece and explore the mystery surrounding the ancient lands. join Susan as she crosses the thin line between sanity and the supernatural. Nothing is as it seems.
Beware of Greeks bearing gifts!

My thoughts:

I don’t often read books that give me the creeps, but this one definitely did just that!

This book follows the perspectives of several of the family members while they are trying to navigate their ways through this family vacation, while also going through the struggle of having lost a family member. In the midst of all this, we quickly find out that what seemed like would be the nice summer break that the family needed, nothing is as it seems.
The characters each have a depth to them, and we get to unravel that together with them as they experience the horror of their own pasts, their own minds, and the supernatural and horrific events they experience while living in the house.

I want to add the trigger warning for child abuse and violence to this story. You will encounter both in this story, and I know that this is not everyone’s cup of tea.
In my opinion, even though the events in the story are hard to read and absolutely horrible, I thought it added to the depth of the story and the characters.

There were a few minor writing mistakes in this, and it felt like it could’ve needed another round of proofreading, but it wasn’t so much that it bothered me or took away from the quality of the story.

I would’ve loved for this story to have been just a little bit longer, just because I felt like I was still left with some questions unanswered at the end. But then again, it might have been the author’s intent to leave the reader with a little bit of mystery after everything was wrapped up.

All in all, I thought Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts was a well-written horror novel that played out like a creepy and utterly terrifying horror movie in my head as I was reading it. It was easy to picture all of the scenarios and they definitely got under my skin and made me shiver.

Highly recommend if you are a fan of horror!

Click on the Reedsy Discovery logo below to get to know more, maybe get your own copy, and let me know what you think of it๐Ÿ’›

Reading Rush 2020 ๐Ÿ“š TBR

Where I show you the books I’ve chosen for the 2020 Reading Rush challenges๐Ÿ“š

Good luck to everyone who’s participating!!

Links to all the books on Bookdepository (Free worldwide shipping!):

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

The Shining by Stephen King

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

The Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi

๐Ÿ’›If you buy via my affiliate links, I get a small commission ๐Ÿ’›

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides ๐Ÿ“š BOOK REVIEW

My review of The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides ๐Ÿ“š

I listened to an audiobook edition of The Silent Patient.

Genre:ย Psychological thriller, mystery, crime.

Publisher:ย Orion Publishing Co, Macmillan Audio.

Originally published:ย February 5th, 2019

Pages:ย 352 (paperback)

Audiobook length: 8 hrs and 43 mins

Synopsis by the publisher:

Alicia Berensonโ€™s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of Londonโ€™s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Aliciaโ€™s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivationsโ€”a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….

My thoughts:

Mysteries, crimes, and thrillers aren’t usually my go-to genre. I think that is why I often find myself being overly critical and harsh when reviewing them, so after listening to The Silent Patient (which I had heard so many great things about) I took my time with letting it sit in my mind before reviewing it. Mainly because I didn’t want my genre preferences to shape this whole review, but also because I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it.

Let’s start with the characters.

Alicia Berenson was my favorite character to follow in this story. There’s something about hearing the written voice of the mystery woman that has suddenly gone quiet that I found extra intriguing.
Theo Faber had quite a few mysteries and some backstory to unravel as well, at the same time as he was trying to get Alicia to find her voice again.
I loved how we got to see both characters evolve in very different ways and in different timelines. That made the mystery even more mysterious, and the psychological aspect more interesting to me.
I also really enjoyed getting to know Theo’s journey with mental health and how that got him into the line of work as a criminal psychotherapist.
Stories and non-fiction that explores psychology and the workings of the mind always seem to appeal to my curious nature.
Michaelides definitely did that with this book!

Now, the story.
A lot of reviewers mention that this book was impossible to put down. I didn’t feel that way because even though I was curious about the story and the mystery surrounding the characters, I wasn’t wholeheartedly invested in the story. This might be due to my genre preferences again, especially since there wasn’t really anything specific that I could put my finger on that made me not as invested in this as so many others seem to have been.
But the pacing was really good, the way the chapters shifted between Faber trying to solve the mystery and Alicia’s journal from before it all went down was really interesting, and I didn’t find myself bored at any time during this story.

There are a couple of major plot twists in this story, and as we were getting closer to them I had sort of an idea of what they were going to be. So it didn’t take me entirely by surprise, but I thought it was all very well thought out and executed.

All in all, I did really enjoy this book, and after letting it rest in my mind for a bit, I liked it even more than I thought I did.
If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers and mysteries, then I definitely think that The Silent Patient is worth checking out.

And I think that I need to push myself to read more of the genres that I’m often too quick to judge as well so that I might not miss out on some brilliant stories just because I judge them by their genres before giving them a chance.

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June 2020 ๐Ÿ“š Wrap Up

Where I talk about the books I read in June ๐Ÿ“š

Where I talk about the books I read in June ๐Ÿ“š

Links to all the books on Bookdepository (free shipping worldwide):

Carrie by Stephen King

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

๐Ÿ’›If you buy via my affiliate links, I get a small commission ๐Ÿ’›