Nemesis (Tom Wilde #3) by Rory Clements

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★★★★★

Nemesis is the third book from the Tom Wilde series by Rory Clements. I haven’t read the previous two books, and I also haven’t read any books from Rory Clements before. I received this book through ReadersFirst, and I will be honest, I was quite reluctant to read it. You already know my opinion on reading sequels before reading the previous books – but I went in blind in this book.

The blue cover is simply gorgeous and I knew it was a thriller and a mystery, so I decided this was enough to get me going. If this book review ever captures your attention, I advise you to also go in blind. I think going blind made me enjoy this book even more.

The fact that this is a third book in a series doesn’t mean anything. The only similarity with the other books is the main character. Almost the same basis as Dan Brown’s series and his professor Robert Langdon. The books are entirely standalones.

It is very hard to reveal what the plot is about without spoiling the fun. Tom Wilde is a university professor and one of his very talented students, Marcus, has left to join the International Brigades in Spain. Now, two years after, he is in trouble, and Tom helps him come home.

Meanwhile, numerous things happen, involving World War 2 Politics and propaganda, and in these times, no one knows who to trust. And when Tom Wilde finds himself in great danger, who will help him? And who does he needs to be afraid from? Has maybe helping Marcus been his greatest mistake?

Nemesis is full of suspense from the very first chapter, and the thing I loved the most about it was that the chapters are quite short, and always leave you hanging, hungry to find out more. Every word that Rory Clements types had a meaning and a purpose in this book, and that was the bit I admired the most.

The time setting revolves around the Second World War – a subject I don’t often read about. I can’t judge about the historical fiction element. However I do know that while I am a person that doesn’t enjoy war books, this one struck me in a nice way. The war setting was very well written, and you could even feel the atmosphere around it. The ending was pleasantly surprising and it involved a mystery I could simply not resist.

I will definitely read more books by Rory Clements, as I really enjoy the writing. If you enjoy thrillers and if you are a fan of Dan Brown, you will probably enjoy Nemesis a lot!

Buy Links: Amazon UK * Amazon US

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Brightley and Glow by Sophie Carmen

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★★★★

I don’t often read Children’s Bedtime stories, as I think myself to be a grown up person (sometimes). But I couldn’t ignore Brightley & Glow by Sophie Carmen, as the cover was too gorgeous.

Even though I am past this whole bedtime story moment, I sometimes do read children’s books. Maybe because I get nostalgic. Or maybe, because sometimes, we forget to look and remember the little things. And Children’s books are all about little things in life. Moments and fragments that we often remember to forget as adults. Take a moment to look in the sun. A moment to smile to a person. Create a little space for yourself. Breathe. And be happy!

Brightley & Glow is quite short, but full of amazing art. I loved the way everything was represented, the dark background and the bright colours surrounding it. The story was also really cute. Brightley is a shooting star and his job soon will be to start bouncing and slowly fall out of the sky, so children can make their wishes. But his brother, Glow is a shining star. And his job is to stay close with the Moon and keep shining at night.

When it’s time for Brightley to leave, both him and his brother become very sad and try to solve this unfairness so they can stay together.

I found the story in Brightley & Glow quite moving and absolutely adorable. It brought  out many feelings inside me. How it feels when you see a loved one leave, and you know they have to go, and you have to accept the fact. But it also shows us how you can still love someone so fiercely and innocently that you are willing to give up everything for them.

If you have little ones, I highly recommend this Children’s Bedtime Story. It is short, but adorable, and the images are really cute as well!

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The Battle of Trafalgar Square – David Winship

Goodreads 

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★★

I have this rule about books being sent to me – I try to read and review them all, because people spent time, effort and resources to write and share their works with readers. I received this book through a giveaway on LibraryThing almost a year ago, and decided it was time to give it a go. 

This being said, my readers are the most important thing in the world. My reviews simply cannot be compromised, no matter how I acquire a book.

I think I should stop babbling now, and start talking about this book.

I dived into ‘’The Battle of Trafalgar Square’ not knowing what to expect. This is a book where two pigeons are the main characters and through dialogue and presentation they share this historic battle, but from their point of view.

It is lucky that this book is only 120 pages long, because otherwise I wouldn’t have finished it. It is a boring book, where one pigeon is desperately trying to tell this story of the battle, and the other pigeon is disturbingly annoying and keeps interrupting. The second pigeon also has terrible grammar knowledge. And even though I know this is on purpose, I applaud the author for the wittiness, but couldn’t enjoy it. Some people might find this funny though, and that’s also okay.

The idea of pigeons telling a story is quite interesting and unique to me, and this is something I admire about this book (therefore, the two stars). However, the plot is unstable, and the story keeps being interrupted and delayed to a point where I started to get fed up. I also expected some more references of the actual historical moment. The only references in the book are the pigeons that were in the battle and had names of famous leaders. However, their pigeon story was not similar to our history books. I really think that keeping the story as close as possible to the real event would have made a difference in this book.

Not an enjoyable read for me, but if the plot sounds like something you might enjoy – go for it. Try it out. Your opinion is also valid!

Until next time! x

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Beast Rider – Tony Johnston [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★

A fantasy that stays true to many young people, that dare cross a border, searching for a better life. A fantasy, but also a cruel reality of what truly happens to these young boys and girls, and all the journeys they have to go through, fighting for a better tomorrow.

This is the first book I have read by Tony Johnston, and the reason I chose to read Beast Rider was because we get to see a twelve-year-old Manuel leave his small town in Mexico to join his older brother in the US.

As a girl myself, I had a family member that lived in another country, and I have always had my inner battle of going abroad to search for a better tomorrow and sadness of leaving my old life behind. With Manuel, you get to feel his hopes and fears, his nostalgia for his hometown and family, his thoughts and learnings at every step of his journey.

A few points bothered me slightly; the grammar in this book needs to be edited immediately. The character keeps using two words in a row row, and after a while while, it gets quite off putting off putting (you see what I mean?). I truly hope this is editing mistake, and not a writing style. There are a lot of Mexican words, without any glossary included. I can understand the words, but some people wouldn’t – and not being able to know the meaning can be a nuisance.

While reading about the journey of Manuel, I couldn’t help but remember exactly how I felt in a few points of my journey:

  • To Go or Not To Go

Manuel’s brother left the small Mexican village and now lives in Los Angeles. Manuel loves his big brother, and wants to join him desperately. He secretly plans his journey and decides to leave the town, after a lot of hesitation, in order to find his older brother. The battle between to go or not to go is the biggest battle one person can have with themselves. It is always hard, no matter which way one decides to go. And when Manuel decides it is time to go, I knew exactly how he felt, when I myself made that hard decision as well, and left my comfortable home to go and live in a foreign country.

  • The Journey To a Better Tomorrow

Manuel’s journey is not easy at all. In order to cross the US border, he had to become a ‘’beast rider’’ – someone who hops on a train. He tries multiple times, and various unlucky things happen to him, he gets stopped by the police, he is attached by a gang, people steal his most valuable items. But despite everything, Manuel’s spirit never leaves him, he is always hopeful he will find his brother soon. I loved the motivation and determination in the young Manuel, and it is so amazing to watch him grow through his experiences.

  • The Final Destination – Was This What I Really Wanted?

After all his endeavors, we finally get to see Manuel reunite with his brother. But what happens if you finally reach your destination, and this happens to not be what you wanted to? Manuel struggles to fit in this lifestyle, he can’t recognise himself, or his brother, and he is emotionally wrecked. He misses his family back home, and he realises that what he thought he would achieve once he finds his brother is not happening. When you feel all roads are closing on you, it is time to make a decision. And making his final decision, Manuel proves to have grown so much, and I admired him this entire book.

A beautiful story about all the emotions and journeys that young people go to. We all have dreams, and some of us reach for them, and act on them. Sometimes, these dreams turn out to be our life-changers, and sometimes, these dreams seem great, but are not ours to take. And this book showed me that that’s fine too. It’s okay to realise you suddenly don’t belong. It’s okay to act on your dreams, and it’s also okay to make mistakes. As long as you stay true to yourself, everything will be alright.

Thank you to the publisher Abrams Books and NetGalley, for providing me with a complimentary e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Girl with a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★★

I have read this book so many times. And even after re-reading this book so many times, it is and will always remain one of my favourite books, a story that is evergreen and has such an emotional story worth retelling.

Tracy Chevalier has been inspired by the artwork of Johannes Vermeer, and his most famous painting, the Girl with a Pearl Earring, that she decided to write a story of what she believes might have happened behind that painting. For me, when looking at paintings, this is one of the things that cross my mind – what is the actual story behind it, what was the relationship between the painter and the people on the painting, what were they all thinking and what did their lives look like… In this book, we are able to enter this world, where we see a story of what might have happened here, and this story is a wonderful experience.

This is a story about Griet’s life. Griet lives in a house with her poor family, a blind dad who worked all his life to gather a bit of money for them, and a mother that always fought for the family. With their money running low, Griet has to go and work as a maid in the house of Vermeer, who is a famous painter. Even though quite young, Griet quickly knows her tasks, to iron, to cook, to grab groceries from the market, and the most important bit – to stay out of everyone’s way and do her job.

In the house, things are not easy. Griet is not treated with respect, her family is worried about her, the plague kills her sister and the butcher’s boy wants to marry her. Griet doesn’t feel anything for this boy, but having meat on the table every day for her and her family is too big of an advantage to be just thrown away. I personally never liked the butcher boy, because he knew very well what his advantage was, and he kept reminding Griet how she depends on him to feed her family.

 

‘’Her words surprised me, but when I looked in her eyes and saw there the hunger for meat that a butcher’s son could provide, I understood why she had set aside her pride.’’

But Griet has a secret crush on Mr. Vermeer, and a great admiration for his work. And Mr. Vermeer notices Griet’s curiosity and gives her tasks around the studio, which in the end, results in him painting her. Griet gets to be involved in his world, learning what he does, and working for him in secret, while his wife is bearing another child of his. Even though Griet secretly feels like she is betraying the wife, she can’t help but feel joj when Vermeer pays attention to her.

‘’ The clothes soaking in the kitchen went cold, the water grey. Tanneke clattered in the kitchen, the girls shouted outside, and we behind closed door sat and looked at each other. And he painted.’’

Now, in the 21st century, it is normal for ladies to pose, and be painted, but in that time, it was a disgrace for a maid to be painted. Men didn’t have the respect towards women as they do now (some of them). And when Griet finds herself being painted, she knows the consequences, but as a maid, she has no voice to object. She knows this quite well.

In the end, the story is very powerful and heartwarming. While we read about how Griet sees and thinks, we will start to love her, watch her grow, and learn so much. I am forever grateful I have found this book.

I have read the 20th Anniversary Edition of this amazing book, which was kindly sent to me by the publishers, The Borough Press, and Love Reading UK, in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read the Girl with a Pearl Earring?