The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski (The Witcher #0.5 Book Review)

Publisher: Gollancz
Page Count
: 280

It is a well known fact on this blog that I very much like the Netflix adaptation of the Witcher (it made a surprise entry into my favourite shows of 2019 list, because I couldn’t stop watching it upon its release). However, before that, I never played the games and honestly didn’t even know that the books existed. The Last Wish was originally published in 1993 (my birth year, or as I like to call it, the best vintage) and just completely escaped my notice until now. Upon closer inspection, it turned out that The Last Wish wasn’t a Witcher novel but a Witcher anthology instead, with everyone recommending to read it first. That truly explains a lot about this book!

Much like the show, you have to be prepared to not really know when things are happening and what their connection is. Reading The Last Wish, I felt like the show had done a great job, as I could clearly identify the contents of episodes 1 to 5 (not necessarily in that order) within the pages. Some character names were changed (why is Dandilion called Jaskier on the show?) and some might not have appeared yet (or will never appear at all?), but I think I had a grand advantage having watched the show before reading the book. I was prepared for the jumbled up timelines, for the messy tasks Geralt has to perform and for the characters that slowly crept into his heart.

I was especially surprised by the nonchalant mention of several well known fairy tales (such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, etc.), because they weren’t just tales within that universe, they actually happened there (even though in an even more sinister way than most remember it). Some got their own chapter, others were just mentioned in passing, but the inspiration was very clear behind the use of those characters/tales. That really made me think that Geralt was always just a village away from all the nighttime stories I knew so well from my childhood. A strange thought, a bit of a funny one too, but also a befitting one for it helps build a familiarity with an utterly different world.

“Evil is evil, Stregobor,” said the witcher seriously as he got up. “Lesser, greater, middling, it’s all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I’m not a pious hermit. I haven’t done only good in my life. But if I’m to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

So, if you pick up The Last Wish, you will find a series of tales introducing Geralt to you. He will show his true character and keep you guessing at what kind of massive mess he has gotten himself into. It ends on such note, that you will want to know more about the (in this version not THAT stoic) witcher and the trials that await him. It’s exactly what was promised on the cover! However, you should not expect a traditional story with beginning, middle and end. There are hints at something that spans greater for sure, but it’s just really not what The Last Wish is.

I am definitely intrigued and would pick up further novels. My only problem for now is that I am an absolute cover snob and this is the only one Netflix has released with the TV show cover and I would like matching ones. There are about eight or nine books in total though, so I feel like the show still has a lot of material to draw from and will hopefully release the other books with the tie-in covers as well!

Never not proud of this drawing I made. Geralt, my foul-mouthed hero.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! Definitely worth a read if you are a fan of the show (or games too, I suppose)!

Have you read any of the Witcher books? Have you played the game? Loved the show? Let’s chat!

Anna K. by Jenny Lee (Book Review)

Publisher: Flatiron Books
Page Count
: 374

It’s time to make a confession: I have never read or watched Anna Karenina in all my life. Why is that little tidbit of info about me avoiding/being oblivious about a Russian classic vital to you in this very moment? Well, Anna K. is a the glorious modern retelling of said classic and I hereby freely admit that I have no way of comparing the two, but I hope that still gives me a “unique” view on the book. It definitely made me curious about the original novel, that’s for sure.

Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way.

This book really left me in some sort of emotional state of mind! It took me a bit to find my footing, but from the get go, Anna K. is a fast-paced whirlwind of amazing characters. A lot happens as you sort of play tag with the characters and switch from one POV to the next almost seamlessly. At first, I was a bit unsure of just the vast amount of characters, but they were interconnected beautifully and each had their own voice and personality and depth to them despite all of it being told in the 3rd person (to me that sometimes feels a little less personal, but not here). On the one hand, it felt like you were just observing the characters’ lives, but on the other hand, you had clear insight into all their motives and desires.

What I first believed to be a superficial glitzy love-at-first-sight teenage foolery, turned out to be so much more than that. I loved the upperclass Manhattan/Greenwich setting. I loved that Anna K. was a Korean-American teen and that her family’s tradition clashed and blended with American society standards. I adored the character dynamics and how everyone was connected in a more or less expected way. I loved how heightened and extra a lot of it was. At some point, there was one tragedy after the other and each time I thought my heart couldn’t possibly break any more, but then there was another one just around the corner. Yet, you don’t leave this book sad (maybe a little wistful), but rather full of hope and love for all these characters.

There’s not much fault one can find with this book in my opinion. The characters aren’t perfect paper cutouts, but actual human beings with faults and flaws. Anna and Steven even made it into my list of favourite literary characters and that’s not an easy one to get on. So, if you aren’t into cheating plotlines and characters using an excessive amount of drugs, maybe this isn’t the read for you. The love is also very … insta? Love at first sight in general comes quick to these characters. But if you want a Gossip Girl approach to a Russian classic (and I’ve been told Jenny Lee did a pretty remarkable job with the retelling) with a more diverse cast of characters, you should definitely check it out! I promise you will keep turning page after page in anticipation of what might happen next and how things could possibly go so terribly wrong for someone so lovely.

As a last thought, I would really encourage you to check out the Author’s Note at the end of the story. It really added even more spark to an already very entertaining and heartfelt rollercoaster of a read for me.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! A fun and emotional take on an old classic!

Have you read Anna K. or Anna Karenina for that matter? Would you be interested in doing so? Let’s chat!

The Cheesy Goodness Book Tag

You may (or may not … who am I to know what you are thinking) have noticed that Tuesdays and Fridays have been suspiciously void of #CurrentlyWatching posts. I promise, they are not gone for good, but I had noticed a decline in readership of those posts and they are A LOT of work, so I just wanted to give you all a breather. I may have overdone it with the recommendations and I know that not everyone can watch as many shows as I do. I don’t even know how I do it. Anyway, long story short, #CurrentlyWatching will be back but reduced to once per week. In the meantime I am here to do some other tags and features?

I saw the Cheesy Goodness Book Tag over at Kay’s blog Hammock of Books and I LOVE CHEESE SO MUCH (we are completely going to disregard that I am trying to consume less milk products, because cheese will still forever be my weakness). And, while I wasn’t personally tagged for this, there was an invitation for everyone who loves cheese to do this – queue my entry!

THE RULES

  • Pingback the original creator (Sydney @ Fire and Rain Books) so she can see all your cheesy goodness answers.
  • Pingback the person who tagged you!
  • Have fun!

CHEDDAR: THE TRADITIONAL CHEESE | Name your favorite classic novel

Usually, I would say The Great Gatsby, but since that was Kay’s answer, I am going to dig deep and come up with something else. Classics really aren’t my specialty, you know? But I do adore Persuasion by Jane Austen, so that is not too shabby of an answer either.

SWISS: THE HOLE-Y CHEESE | Name an emotional roller coaster

While Midnight Sun definitely has its faults, you could laugh and cry equally with this book. That constitutes as an emotional roller coaster then, right?

BLUE CHEESE: THE CONTROVERSIAL CHEESE | Name an unpopular book opinion you have

I … okay, how do I say this? *deep breaths* I did not like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I know it’s a modern classic. I know a lot of people love it and it has helped quite a few as well, but I could not connect to it at all and I blame the writing and not the story for that. Because when I actually watched the trailer for the movie, that evoked more emotion in me than the entire book.

BRIE: THE FAVORITE CHEESE | Name an author you always want more of

There’s a couple go-to authors I can never get enough of and it’s quite hard to choose from them all. However, I have read every. single. book Morgan Matson has written and there are no regrets there whatsoever.

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GOUDA: THE DUTCH CHEESE | Name a book that makes you want to travel

Call Me By Your Name made me want to go back to Italy. I’ve been there and I wasn’t in love with the place I specifically went to. But books like that always make me want to disappear in the country side for a couple of months, get to know the locals and learn the language.

I’d be Elio, just sitting at some piazza and reading and enjoying the sun. Also, Italy has good cheese, right?

AMERICAN: THE FAKE CHEESE | Name your least favorite book

Wow … that’s actually a really tough one! I checked Goodreads and I gave The Homecoming a solid 1 star-review. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that’s rare, but for the life of me, I could not tell you what happened in that book. I am good at erasing the memory of things I did not like.

COLBY JACK: THE MIXED CHEESE | Name your favorite ship

Again with the hard questions!?!? I am very bad at choosing just one thing/person/ship/whaterver … buuut, Sevro and Victra (Red Rising series) are the weirdest yet one of the best couples out there.

*actual life tips Victra would give*

MOZZARELLA: THE SIMPLE CHEESE | Name an old favorite you’ll never stop loving

The Thief Lord is one of my childhood favorites and I will never not love it. Same goes for the Inkheart trilogy. Basically everything Cornelia Funke was my jam when I was younger.

PEPPER JACK: THE SPICY CHEESE | Name a book you can’t judge by its cover

Disregard this odd cover choice for My Lady Jane! I am so, so, so, so glad it is not the only one available, but that cover just totally ruins the vibe for me.

MUENSTER: THE MONSTER CHEESE | Name a villain you wish would never have the joy of eating cheese again

Since I just finished To Kill a Kingdom, I can say that I hate the Sea Queen with a passion. I don’t know if she lives off of anything other than her enemies’ tears, but now she is getting NO cheese, not once, not ever.

I TAG THEE

I am going to make this very simple since I wasn’t technically tagged myself either, I am opening up the possibility for everyone who loves cheese to do the tag as well. You are hereby tagged, cheese lovers!

What did you think of the tag and my answers? Can you relate??

The Netflix Book Tag

Seen as I am basically already an unofficial Netflix hype girl, I was more than happy when Heather @Frozen Books Blog tagged me to do the Neftlix Book Tag! I am so pumped to answer some questions! Let’s get started!!

RECENTLY WATCHED: The last book you finished reading.

Coincidentally, I have another tab open with the not yet finished review for this book and that is Dear Martin by Nic Stone! It wasn’t an easy read, but a necessary one that I absolutely loved. The actual review should be up soon!

TOP PICKS: A book that has been recommended to you based on books you have previously read. 

To Kill a Kingdom

Uhm, this is actually a tough one … I am currently reading To Kill a Kingdom and on the cover it says for fans of Leigh Bardugo’s writing – does that count? I am going to say it counts, just because in addition to liking Leigh Bardugo, I also ADORE siren and pirate stories, so it would make sense as a recommendation anyway.

RECENTLY ADDED: The last book you bought.

Technically that was also Dear Martin, but since that’s a boring answer, I am going to go with the last book that was delivered to me aka the last book mail I got. And that is the movie tie-in from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

POPULAR ON NETFLIX: Books that everyone knows about. (2 you’ve read and 2 you haven’t read or have no interest in reading.) 

Books I have read:

Books I haven’t read:

Please don’t kill me for not having read HP, but it’s just not going to happen anymore.

COMEDIES: A funny book.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo #1)

For some reason, I tend to gravitate more towards sad books, but The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is definitely a book that has had me laughing out loud a couple of times.

DRAMAS: A character who is a drama queen/king.

Stealing Candy

I don’t know why this book came to mind, but Candy from Stealing Candy basically enjoyed being kidnapped and decided one of her abductors was hot? So … she scream drama queen to me.

ANIMATED: A book with cartoons on the cover.

We Are Okay

Cartoon may be an overstatement but I do love the illustration on We Are Okay. It is so freaking beautiful and I am in love with the imagery and the colour scheme just as much as I love the story.

WATCH IT AGAIN: A book or series that you want to re-read.

Sooooo … I have said this a lot already, but I do NOT re-read. However, sometimes I go back and check on certain paragraphs and quotes and I have done that the most for Call Me By Your Name recently.

DOCUMENTARIES: A non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone.

I actually struggled to choose a book for this particular question. Born a Crime is a fantastic book that I would definitely recommend, but in the end I want to go with Quiet by Susan Cain, because I think it’s just more generally applicable. It touches upon the differences of introverts and extroverts and how we can understand each other better. I absolutely love it!

ACTION AND ADVENTURE: An action packed book.

My first thought here went to the Wolf by Wolf duology! It has a bike race, deceit and high stakes – if you don’t call that action-packed, then I don’t even know.

NEW RELEASES: A book that just came out or will be coming out soon that you can’t wait to read.

Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood, #2)

There’s a lot of books I am excited to get my hands on this year. I feel like we just get better and better content each year (with a couple unfortunate exceptions), but Leah on the Offbeat has been on my list for probably the longest time.

I TAG THEE

As always, don’t feel obliged to do the tag if you don’t want to! And let me know your thoughts on my answers in the comments below!

The Superlatives Tag!

Once again, I want to thank the ever amazing Orang-utan Librarian for always tagging me in super fun tags. Today I am coming at you with the Superlatives Tag! The name alone already suggests it has to be the best, right? I hope you enjoy!

#1 MOST LIKELY TO BE IN THE MOVIES: THE BOOK THAT WOULD MAKE THE BEST MOVIE

This simply HAS to be the Night Circus! I’ve been screaming about needing a movie adaptation for it for years and with the advancement in CGI and such, I really believe that the right producers could create a true and magical gem out of this book.

#2 BIGGEST DRAMA QUEEN/KING: THE MOST (OVERLY) DRAMATIC BOOK OR CHARACTER

If we are going for character here, my first thought was definitely Lola from Lola and the Boy Next Door. There was drama wherever that girl went and a lot of it was her own doing. I don’t mind people being eccentric, but she was a tad too much for me and that’s probably the reason why I liked her book the least.

#3 BEST DRESSED: THE BOOK WITH THE BEST COVER

I only got this one in the mail recently, but I immediately fell in love with my new edition of Anne of Green Gables! The gold lettering and the illustrations are just adorable.

#4 MOST CREATIVE: THE BOOK WITH THE MOST UNIQUE PLOT, CHARACTERS, & STRUCTURE

Tough one … tough one indeed. My heart wants to say Call Me By Your Name but my head tells it is Shatter Me … just because I haven’t talked about it for a while and I am pumped to read Restore Me. The writing style was unique for sure, the characters not that out of this world, but I liked how my allegiances completely changed throughout the story.

#5 MOST POPULAR: THE BOOK WITH THE MOST RATINGS ON GOODREADS

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

Sooo, I totally just went to Goodreads and checked on my “Read”-shelf which book had the most ratings and it’s The Hunger Games with more than 5 million ratings.

#6 MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED: THE BOOK THAT IS GOING TO BE APPRECIATED FOR MANY YEARS TO COME

NOW I get to say Call Me By Your Name! It’s just … I can’t get it out of my head and it was so beautifully written but so sad and quite strange and oversharing at the same time, but I loved it.

#7 CLASS CLOWN: THE BOOK THAT MADE YOU LAUGH OUT LOUD

I am going to have to go with The Epic Crush of Genie Lo for this one. I laughed A LOT while reading it and didn’t care who heard it or didn’t.

#8 MOST IMPROVED: THE BOOK THAT STARTED OFF SLOW, BUT REALLY PICKED UP

To me, that just feels like almost every Victoria Schwab book I have read so far (except her series finales, cause they are action, action, action). She always takes her time in setting up the world and letting us get to know characters before the true chaos begins. I am just randomly going to go with A Gathering of Shadows now.

#9 CUTEST COUPLE: CUTEST COUPLE IN A BOOK

WHY WOULD ANYONE MAKE ME ACTUALLY CHOOSE FOR THIS ONE!?!? I can’t make those kinds of decisions.

Okay …

Kasia and Dyson! HA! I can always root the most for my own couple from Arcadia and they ARE the cutest … when they are actually together.

#10 BIGGEST HEARTBREAKER: THE BOOK THAT BROKE YOUR HEART

The Orang-utan Librarian definitely already stole the perfect answer *whispers* Words in Deep Blue will always break your heart! But I can come up with something else! A Monster Calls! Very sad – no doubt!

I TAG THEE

I hope it goes without saying that I don’t want you to do the tag if you don’t feel like it or if you’ve already done it! What did you think of my answers? Could anyone relate?

The Goodreads Book Tag

We shall not speak of when I was actually tagged for this Goodreads Book Tag! (Seriously peoples, I don’t understand how there are drafts from 2015 to now? I apparently never check my drafts …) Anyway, the lovely Flo @flowlessbooks tagged me and I want to thank her for her patience and consideration when she wrote the tag over a year ago …

What was the last book you marked as ‘read’?

Die Wunderübung

The last book I marked as “read” was Die Wunderübung by Austrian author Daniel Glattauer. I went to the signing for this book and it was really fun. One of my former teachers is the director of the movie adaptation of this book and he was there as well … and didn’t recognise me. Somehow I wasn’t surprised.

 

What are you currently reading?

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African ChildhoodBorn a Crime by Trevor Noah! (Finally – as Cristina has wanted me to read this for the longest time)

What was the last book you marked as TBR?

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)Apparently that was The Cruel Prince by Holly Black because EVERYONE just seems to scream about how amazing and fun this book is, so I want to know if the hype was justified. But also, I am not actually going to read it anytime soon until the hype has died down. If that makes sense?

What book do you plan to read next?

I think it will be Everything, Everything, but I refuse to actually be tied down to one book. I am way too much of a mood reader for that and there’s so much out there that I could chose from, you know?

Do you use the star rating system?

Yep, I do. I have this theory that all the books I read start out as a 3-star-book and then either improve or get worse from there on out. I would love to have half-stars as well though, then I wouldn’t always have to decide if I should round up or down.

Are you doing a 2018 Reading Challenge?

Again, this is also a yes. I decided to go with 60 books as a goal and so far so good.

Do you have a wishlist?

Actually, I do have a wishlist but not on Goodreads? It’s just some place I can keep track of what I want, because I don’t use the “Want to Read” option all too regularly. Most of the time I forget to even check on there unless someone directly prompts me to.

(Should you want to see my Amazon wishlist for whatever reason, you can do so here)

What book do you plan to buy next?

Something from my wishlist????

Do you have any favorite quotes? Share a few.

I just randomly made screenshots from two quotes I someday in the past liked on Goodreads!

Who are your favorite authors?

SO MANY!!!

  • Pierce Brown
  • Leigh Bardugo
  • Victoria Schwab
  • Becky Albertalli
  • Nina LaCour
  • Jeff Zentner
  • Morgan Matson

Have you joined any groups?

I think I did at some point, but I can’t even remember at this point because I never visit them. So, I am just going with a simple no instead.

I TAG THEE

Do you use Goodreads to keep your books in order? Did you relate to my answers? Let’s chat!

The #NotAll Book Tag

I got tagged by the lovely Orang-utan Librarian who created the#NotAll Book Tag. When I saw their answers, I absolutely agreed on so many of them, but I think it’s still going to be so much fun to come up with responses of my own. Here we go!

#NOTALL COVER CHANGES – A COVER CHANGE YOU LIKED

I really didn’t have to think about this for very long. I am one of the first to scream about how unfair it is when covers don’t fit together, but sometimes there is just no denying that it was for the better.

#NOTALL ADAPTATIONS – AN ADAPTATION YOU LOVE MORE THAN THE BOOK

Do I need to explain this?

#NOTALL TROPES – A TROPE YOU’LL NEVER TIRE OF SEEING

I always enjoy the whole enemies-to-lovers-trope. It doesn’t even necessarily mean that they initially have to hate each other, but just proving each other wrong about the image the other person has in their mind and realising that they are meant to be is a feast to watch.

#NOTALL INSTALOVE – YOU INSTALOVED THIS INSTACOUPLE

Generally, I do understand instalust, but instalove annoys me. Of course you can fancy someone after only seeing/meeting them once, but that is not love. However, if we put the story in the right setting and make the circumstances almost fairy tale-like, I might be persuaded to be okay with it. Therefore, I am just going to go with the book The Siren and won’t spoil what happens in it.

#NOTALL LOVE TRIANGLES – AN EXAMPLE OF LOVE TRIANGLE DONE WELL

Ugh, the Orang-utan Librarian only picked THE most perfect love triangle there is and that’s the one from The Infernal Devices. I swore I would try my best to not repeat answers, so this is me trying. Since I had to find a default answer, I want to say that I was really okay with the love triangle in Shatter Me, especially how the tables turned over time and my allegiance really switched fast.

#NOTALL PARENTS – BOOKISH PARENTS THAT, YOU KNOW, PARENT!

The Garretts, without a doubt!

#NOTALL VILLAINS – A VILLAIN YOU LOVE

When the villain is done well, I will almost always end up loving them. So very often they are just really misunderstood. One of my favorite “villains” was Holland from the Shades of Magic books, although I put those quotation marks there on purpose because sometimes he just really didn’t feel like a villain at all, but more like someone who did what he had to to survive.

#NOTALL CHOSEN ONES – A CHOSEN ONE YOU CAN GET BEHIND

I like the Percy Jackson series, even if I never finished it. So, I can definitely get behind the various chosen people in those books.

#NOTALL HYPED BOOKS – A BOOK THAT LIVED UP TO THE ACCLAIM

Thank the heavens there were several ones!

#NOTALL *INSERT FAVOURITE GENRE* – A BOOK YOU’RE NOT KEEN ON FROM YOUR FAVOURITE GENRE

The genre I probably lean most towards is Fantasy/Magical Realism, so if I take a look at books in that area, I have to say I was really disappointed in Winter’s Tale. I could not get through that book for the life of me. However, I did love the movie. Just the right amount of cheesiness for me!

#NOTALL *INSERT LEAST FAVOURITE GENRE* – A BOOK YOU LIKED FROM A GENRE YOU DON’T OFTEN READ

I am not really a fan of thrillers, especially for adults, but I was sort of … kinda … alright with Gone Girl? It still took me forever to read, just because the first part bored me to no end, but then it picked up and I actually enjoyed it.

I TAG THEE

*please don’t forget to tag back to the original post by the Orang-utan Librarian if you do the tag!*