The Nest (2015) by Kevin Oppell

★★★★☆ 4/5

For some kids summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered. – Goodreads


Horror/Fiction/YA – read on Kobo Ereader

Writing a good review for this read was a little difficult because I only use my Kobo when I am at the gym during cardio sessions! This should-be quick read probably lasted close to a month for me, but regardless I loved it.

This read has sometimes been referred to as a children’s book, other times a young adult. In my personal opinion, to really grasp the subjects in this book the reader would need to be old or mature enough to understand the pressure placed on a family in circumstances where a family member is sick.

It is hard to give an honest review without spoiling anything, so I will sum it up with saying the reason this book was so great was that it kept the “supernatural” horror alive and real, while simultaneously addressing the natural horrors that can be encountered in life and managed to tie them together. Two forms of horror working as one keeps the reader on edge and curious right up until the very last word, and the fear even continues to linger afterwards.

"But maybe Vanessa was right, and all those other people were broken 
too in their own ways, maybe we all spent too much time pretending
we weren't."

 

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) by Oscar Wilde

★★★☆☆ 3/5

Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it first appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting influence, he responded that there is, in fact, “a terrible moral in Dorian Gray.” Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde’s homosexual liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment. Of Dorian Gray’s relationship to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.” -Goodreads


Classics/Fiction/Horror – can be read in a few days

Written in Old English language, this read was not only entertaining for the story, the brilliant quotes worded beautifully are reason enough to give this book a try. Lord Henry had many wise words about life, I couldn’t even pick a favorite quote.

I was tempted to give it 4 stars, however there was a stretch in the book where I was very confused and missed a significant amount of time. I was still able to understand the general plot of the story, but it did impact my rating of the book. I’m sure if I reread this book I would be able to appreciate it much more.

REGARDLESS – IT IS A MASTERPIECE. 

I definitely had the homosexual vibe from Basil which contributed to the controversy over this book.

In the book Basil keeps emphasizing that he feels he have put too much of himself into the portrait he painted of Dorian, this could be Oscar Wilde’s metaphor for how he has put much of himself into this book when he references that each character is semi autobiographical

“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.”

"Because to influence a person is to give him one's own soul."
"Youth is one thing worth having."
"Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world's original sin. If the
caveman had known had to laugh, History would have been different."

 

 

 

A Man Called Ove (2012) by Fredrik Backman

★★★★☆ 4/5

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations. -Goodreads


Fiction/ <500 Pages / Can be read in about a week 

This book was on the top of my TBR for a very long time, you can imagine my disappointment when I started this book and I didn’t think it was for me – but, I was very wrong.

Ove comes off as a bitter old man, however readers get to learn about what has happened throughout his life and how he feels, and it really influences you to be more open minded when perceiving Ove.

There was such great character development and I fell in love with the story very quickly. One minute I would be crying and the next I would be laughing out loud.

This read was great because it reminds the reader that everyone has a history which has shaped them into who they are today. Ove’s actions and perceptions are heavily based upon the influence of the important people he had in his life.

"Ove feels an instinctive skepticism towards all people taller than one 
eighty-five; the blood can't quite make it all the way up to the brain."

"And she was colour. All the colour he had."

The Bell Jar (1963) by Sylvia Plath

★★★★☆ 4/5

This read was beautifully heartbreaking, you can feel the emotion all the way through.

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Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche.  -Goodreads

 


Classics / <300 pages / Can be read in a couple of days

Fun Fact: When The Bell Jar was originally published the author used the pseudonym Victoria Lewis.

What I personally held onto throughout this book is it deals with mental illness and depression, however it shows that even people who you would say have it “good” can still live unfulfilled lives. It also makes the point that sometimes the severity of an event that drives people to go under does not necessarily have to register as a severe event to everyone. A situation that is no big deal to you may be the breaking point for someone else.

This book is said to be semi-autobiographical, Sylvia Plath struggled with depression herself and sadly committed suicide in 1963.

"The silence depressed me. It wasn't the silence of silence. It was my own
silence"
"There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know 
many of them. Whenever I'm sad I'm going to die or so nervous I can't sleep,
or in love with somebody I won't be seeing for a week, I slump down just so
far and then I say 'I'll go take a hot bath.'"

 

 

 

The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald

★★★★☆ 4/5

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After the war, the mysterious Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire pursues wealth, riches and the lady he lost to another man with stoic determination. When Gatsby finally does reunite with Daisy Buchanan, tragic events are set in motion. Told through the eyes of his detached and omnipresent neighbor and friend, Nick Carraway, Fitzgerald’s succinct and powerful prose hints at the destruction and tragedy that awaits. – Goodreads

 


Classics / Fiction / <200 pages / Can be read in a day

You have probably seen this book all over your social feeds, and the hype is well deserved. I loved the story and I loved the writing. However, I could not give it 5 stars because I found the ending happened so quickly.

I wish I had read this long before now, it is a great read and I will definitely be reading more of his work.

The main story is clear and interesting, however I found I need to re-read it to understand more of the relationships and personal conflicts occurring in this book. I was so interested in Gatsby I ignored Nick and I would like to try again in order to understand him.

"'I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool- that's the best thing a girl can be 
in this world, a beautiful little fool.'"

The Martian (2011) by Andy Weir

★★★★★ 5/5

Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetAfter a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive. And even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive. – Goodreads

 

 

 


Science Fiction / <500 Pages / Medium Difficulty read – because of the science aspect.

I couldn’t resist giving this 5 stars, I am a huge space nerd and I am doing an undergraduate degree in Geology – so I loved every minute of this read.

I seen a book about an astronaut, of course I had to buy it. I snagged it at a huge book fair for just two dollars!

Yes, there is a huge science aspect to this story, but it is not long winded and it is explained in simple terms. I think that even if you do not have a strong background in science that you can enjoy this book if science interests you at all!

I was in suspense the whole read. I loved how funny Mark Watney was, I’m glad I read this story from a character who was hopeful, innovative, and hilarious. If I would of had to read this from a character who was complaining or felt doomed the whole time, well I probably wouldn’t of read very much.

The novel is set up into astronaut logs and conferences at NASA, the set up makes the read flow great and builds suspense.

This read was perfect for me.

"Mars is a barren wasteland and I am completely alone here. I already knew
that, of course. But there is a difference between knowing it and really experiencing it. 
All around me there was nothing but dust, rocks, and endless empty desert in 
all directions. The planet's famous red color is from iron oxide coating everything. 
So it's not just a desert. It's a desert so old it's literally rusting."

 

The Book Thief (2005) by Markus Zusak

★★★★★ 5/5

Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetIt is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up an object, partially hidden in the snow. It is ‘The Gravedigger’s Handbook,’ and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down. – Goodreads


Historical Fiction / WWII / Classics / >500 pages / Takes time, but an easy read 

The author has 3 ways to win you over, introducing the narrator as death interests you from the start, the unique and fun writing style keeps the read interesting, and then once the story unfolds you are bound to fall in love with the characters and the story consumes you.

I have seen praises for this book all over social media, and then my cousin recommended it to me so it was on my TBR list for a while. I found someone selling it for 5 DOLLARS so I just had to

LOVE historical fiction, and I am fascinated with world war II. However, you don’t need to be a history fanatic to follow this story. Of course, Hitler’s influence at this time in Germany is important to the setting, but the story itself can be followed and loved just with that general knowledge and any extra historical information the author may provide. If you are not a fan of history, you can definitely still enjoy this book.

My favorite aspect of this book is the point of view in history. Often when reading about WWII whether it be fiction or  non-fiction, it is from the point of view of the Jewish victims, or the Allied powers. There is not usually stories told from a German perspective, especially not German civilians. This story is important for showing the perspective of the people who lived in Germany at this time in history, and reminding everyone that there were still good people.

For me, this book reminding me to have faith in humanity, because even in the worst of times, there are still good people.

"You don't always get what you wish for. Especially in Nazi Germany."