Gregory and the Grimbockle by Melanie Schubert

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The story revolves around a ten-year-old boy named Gregory, who discovers that a strange creature called the Grimbockle has been living inside his mole. Together they explore the mysterious world of Bockles, creatures who take care of the threads that connect people across the world. They have to keep hidden of course, because humans can’t know about these creatures and the threads and so Gregory and the Grimbockle set out on a secret journey, become great friend and finally learn how to really take care of the threads that connect us all.

The story is charming and incredibly funny, I laughed out loud while reading it. The silly Grimbockle’s talk was adorable and the illustrations complemented the story perfectly. I wished for more of them but the story was so good that in the end the number of illustrations didn’t matter.

The main character Gregory is very relatable, I loved reading about his attempts to try to mend the threads. I think the message of the book is very important not only for children but also for their parents. We have to nurture our friendships and meet new people when we can to help each other out and make our lives easier and fuller.

Gregory and the Grimbockle is a lovely, hilarious and feel-good children’s book that readers will definitely enjoy! Despite being fun to read, it contains an important message. I would recommend it to children and their parents and suggest they talk about it, not just the story, but the meaning behind it.

Thank you Melanie Schubert for sending me a copy of your wonderful book, I really enjoyed reading it and can’t wait to read your next one!

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Wrap-up: October 2017

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Halloween has come and passed and it’s November already. Today we celebrate the Day of the Dead in Slovenia so I’ll be visiting the cemetery with my family after lunch. (What a nice dessert, right? 😀 ) But before I have to be social again, it’s time for my October wrap-up. I managed to read 5 books last month which is my personal average – I usually manage to read one novel per week. And here is the list:

  • Frostbite by Richelle Mead (book 2 in the Vampire Academy series)
  • Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead (book 3 in the Vampire Academy series)
  • The Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
  • Puffy and the Formidable Foe by Marie G. Lepkowski
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

The first two were my attempt to remember what exactly happens in the Vampire Academy series since I’ve forgotten pretty much everything. I watched the film (though pretty bad it had some likable moments *cough* Dimitri and the chemistry between Rose and him *cough*) and got sort of sucked back in the vampire world. Plus, my best friend is currently reading Shadow Kiss and so I was constantly around her books and I took that as a sign it was time to re-read them. When I got to the fourth book however, my enthusiasm vanished and so I decided to leave the series to rest for a while.

Around that time my copy of The Beauty and the Beast arrived and so I just had to read it! I really enjoyed the story, it was so different from the Disney version but different good. It didn’t hurt that the book is so pretty to look at as well. That’s why I love buying fairy tales because they make the prettiest books on my shelves. There’s a thought, perhaps I should write a post on fairy tales. Soon to come!

Puffy and the Formidable Foe was a short but lovely children’s book which I actually read in exchange for an honest review. I know I’m supposed to read ‘real’ novels at my age and all that but I absolutely adore children’s literature! The books are so funny and charming and magical and I will probably never feel guilty about reading them. (I can already imagine my sister rolling her eyes when she sees this.)

Last but not least, I finished reading Strange the Dreamer on Monday. Boy, was that exciting and heart breaking. I can’t wait for the second novel! Laini Taylor is one of my favourite YA authors, her writing style is poetic and enchanting and her stories expand the realms of my imagination. I highly recommend her books (Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and Strange the Dreamer duology), especially if you like epic fantasy, fairy tales and stories about star crossed lovers.

November is here and I’m already thinking about the books I’ll be reading. I have quite a lot of them on my bookshelves but I still have to decide which ones I’ll actually pick up. The next one on my to-read list however, is Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. I want to read the novel before I see the film.

I hope you had a productive reading month and that the next one will be even better. The new theme for my bookish photos is “strolling through a seaside town” so be sure to follow me on IG. Enjoy the rest of the week, lovelies!

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

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I have very mixed feelings about this novel. What I love about it is the double narrative; the first story takes place in 1911 and revolves around a nurse called Clara Wood, and the second one is set in 2011 and talks about Taryn Michaels, who lost her husband in the Twin Towers. The two women are connected with a scarf that has been passed on through generations. They are both in mourning, trying to face the terrible events of their past. The negative part of the book however, lies with Clara Wood in the first story. Also, the writing style wasn’t quite to my liking though it may well be the fault of the translator.

So we get two stories in this book. Clara works at Ellis Island because she witnessed the terrible Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and the man whom she loved died in it. But here is the thing; she only just met the man. They’ve known each other for two weeks. They’ve barely spoken. How can you fall in love so easily? Because it’s not the person you fall in love with, but rather the idea of them. And to be so heart-broken that you have to leave New York City and fled to a place that is basically an in-between? Well that seems a bit far-fetched.

Anyway, Clara now works as a nurse and she meets a recent widower who is in her charge. Once again, Clara is drawn to that man especially when she helps him retrieve some personal belongings and then she stumbles upon a secret letter written by his wife and she has to decide what to do about it. Seriously, how can you fall for someone that easily? And to top things off, a young doctor starts courting her and later on helps her face her demons.

The second story is far more believable since Taryn lost her husband in the Twin Towers and she barely managed to escape herself. She was pregnant and she desperately wanted to let her husband know he would be a father. But she kept the reason for being near the towers to herself and now it’s time to share it with her daughter. The scarf saved her life because if she wouldn’t have picked it up from a client she would be in the Towers as well.

Overall, the story was pretty good, it was interesting, it flowed easily, the suspense was always there and I liked Taryn and I even enjoyed reading about Clara’s life. But seriously, falling in love so easily and mourning a man you didn’t even know? They barely exchanged more than everyday pleasantries! Ethan was my favourite of the three men and I rooted for him throughout the novel. The ending was also superb, I was really happy for how things turned out. If you look at this novel as a story of hope and finding meaning amidst chaos and pain, it does offer a lot and that is why I gave it 4 stars out of 5.

“I understood nothing really about love, only that it was the most devastating, most spectacular, most desirable force on earth. Love was both the softest edge and the sharpest edge of what made life real.”

Susan Meissner, A Fall of Marigolds

The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki

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The novel tells the story of the Austrian empress Elisabeth, who ruled in the second half of the nineteenth century. Although the central story is based on factual evidence, there is some degree of artistic freedom to it that makes this book a novel, not an actual biography. Generally, I really enjoy reading historical literature, especially when it revolves around influential women but it took me three weeks to get through this book and I wasn’t exactly impressed by it.

The novel begins with a journey; Sisi’s older sister Helene is chosen to be the new empress and they are both taken to meet their cousin Franz Joseph. However, when the two sisters meet the emperor, he falls madly in love with Elisabeth, who then becomes his new fiancée. After several months they get married and Sisi starts her new life at Austrian court which is often filled with hardships. She gives birth to two daughters before a son and successor is born. Sophie, Franz’s mother, is an extremely stubborn woman and she basically steals her grandchildren from their mother. Elisabeth cannot bear it anymore so she leaves to travel. When she returns after four years spent abroad, she starts her relationship with count Andrassy, who later on becomes her lover. The book ends with the coronation of Franz and Elisabeth as king and queen of Hungary.

The novel isn’t exactly badly written, I liked the historical background and reading about Sisi’s side of the story, I just felt like the author stretched too much. For example it was never proven that Sisi and Andrassy were in fact lovers and some depictions of actual historical figures were a bit far-fetched. I also had issues with the Slovenian translation which was far from acceptable. The writing style didn’t work well, some metaphors tried to be sophisticated but they were not.

Overall I’d say I enjoyed the novel, because despite the downfalls the story ran smoothly and there was some obvious character development, not just with the main protagonist, but also with Franz and Sophie. And the love story between Sisi and Andrassy was so gentle and beautiful, I was sorry it didn’t last longer. I’ll be sure to pick up the second book and find out for myself just what happens to the two lovers. (Unfortunately I already know because I googled it but a girl can always dream.)

A deity does not quake simply because the crowd yells. An empress stands fixed, immutable: the calm that continues on, even as the world rages.

Allison Pataki, The Accidental Empress

Permanent Rose by Hilary McKay

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Permanent Rose is not at all happy. Since Tom left for America, she patiently awaits his letter (every morning she waits for the postman to arrive and every morning she is left empty handed), a phone call (not a single one), a surprise visit (nope), anything at all from her beloved friend. Indigo in the meantime befriends his former enemy David, who isn’t such a bad guy after all. He also reads from Morte D’Arthur which is the first book Rose also enjoys and she draws parallels between Lancelot and Tom. Saffy and Sarah are trying to find out more about Saffy’s father (Sarah thinks he is a rich and handsome Italian) and dear Caddy is engaged to Michael though she doesn’t seem all that happy about it. Eve is a bit upset because Bill lives with his girlfriend in London while she has to paint the walls of the local hospital. A lot is happening at the Casson’s family home and new revelations are about to surprise them all.

The third book in the series reveals that Rose might actually be McKay’s favourite character (or is that just my humble opinion?). She is certainly one of the best written characters I’ve come across. Though the other siblings don’t play such a big part in this book I am happy to report that we finally get more of Caddy! Poor Caddy, she has to face the fact that love is far more complicated than she imagined it. And darling Bill, we finally get to see just who he really is! Eve is just as distracted and loving as always though she has a hard time remembering David’s name. Poor old David, nobody really likes him, Saffy and Sarah think he’s a weirdo and Rose resents him for bullying Indigo and trying to step into Tom’s shoes.

This actually isn’t my favourite book in the series despite being Rose’s but I missed Tom too much to really fall in love with it. Sure, he is ever present, but he isn’t really there and I missed him terribly! David was an interesting fellow and I loved his character development but Tom and Rose and Indigo, well, they are the loveliest. This book is so charming and full of warm sensations, it really pulls you in until you become addicted to the Cassons. Luckily there are three more books left to read!

 

“I always say a little prayer when I put cakes in the oven,” remarked Eve, as she stopped to kiss Rose good-bye.
“What do you say?”
“I say, ‘Please, God, don’t let me forget I’ve put that cake in the oven.

Hilary McKay, Permanent Rose