Beast Rider – Tony Johnston [BOOK REVIEW]

beast rider tony johnston arc netgalley abrams amulet books book blog diary of difference diaryofdifference goodreads social media facebook instagram twitter mexico us

★★★

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.

Purchase links: Amazon  🌟 Barnes & Noble

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 endeavours, 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.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest

Advertisements

Down The TBR Hole #23

down the tbr hole book books blog diary of difference

Hello guys! Happy Saturday!

This week I have some various genres and interesting titles. Let’s see how I’ve done.

How it works:

❤ Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
❤ Order on ascending date added.
❤ Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
❤ Read the synopsis of the books.
❤ Decide: keep it or should it go

 

Here’s the next patch:

#23

Unwrapping Her Perfect Match (London Legends, #3.5) by Kat Latham

Seems like a cute Christmas read, but it’s #3.5 in a series. I’d rather start from book #1.

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

Jay Walking (Pastime Pursuits #2) by Tracy Krimmer

A second book in a series again. I have to let it go.

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

Afraid of Her Shadow (Rom-Com on the Edge #3) by Carol Maloney Scott

A third book in a series – why do I even put these on my shelves if I haven’t read the first books?

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

Pierced (Lucian & Lia, #1) by Sydney Landon

Romance and erotica. Not now. Not now…

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

Diamonds (All that Glitters, #1) by K.A. Linde

This seems like a Fifty Shades Of Gray type of thing. And you know what? I’ll keep it!

Verdict: KEEP ☑  

The Billionaire’s Need by Crystal Caswell

Contemporary Romance – this might not be the right genre for me right now.

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

Fluent in French: The most complete study guide to learn French by Frederic Bibard

I was going to read this to improve my French, but there are so many apps out there, and the reviews for this book say it’s mostly motivational.

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

Love Me Tonight by Kelly Jamieson

Book #2.5, so no explanation needed.

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

Matilda by Roald Dahl

A British classic, a book that my friends keep telling me it’s a must read.

Verdict: KEEP  ☑ 

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life Inspired by Wyatt North

I love the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, but the reviews on this biography seem to be quite not what I would expect to read, so I am passing on this one for now.

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

flower-divider-flower-dividers-clip-art-flowers-line-divider-stock-vector-illustration-of-elegantWe only kept 2 books and removed 8 this time. My TBR is shrinking, and I love it!

Which books would you keep or remove? Please let me know in the comments – I love reading your comments and thoughts! 

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest

To Best the Boys – Mary Weber [BOOK REVIEW]

to best the boys mary weber book review blog diary of difference diaryofdifference netgalley goodreads bookshelf reader love women

Synopsis:

Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. The poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.

In the province of Caldon, where women train in wifely duties and men pursue collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.

With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the deadly maze.

Welcome to the Labyrinth.

Purchase links: Amazon  🌟 Barnes & Noble

My Review:

★★

I love Mary Weber as much as her food recipes she shares with us every single month! I don’t usually decide whether to read a certain book by its cover, but this cover made me want to find out more about it. When I read the synopsis, I had to read it, as it captures women fighting for their rights in a young-adult format, and it simply was something I couldn’t miss.

I will be honest with you and say that this book didn’t deliver. Maybe it was my expectations, after all, that got me too excited for my own good.

Let’s start with Rhen. She is a girl that loves science, and her father has taught her everything he knows. They are poor family and don’t have all the equipment in the world, but that doesn’t stop them to keep discovering and learning every day. In their kingdom, an unknown disease comes around, and Rhen’s mum is ill, with no cure yet. Rhen wants desperately to find a cure, and a rich boy wanting to marry her might promise her all the equipment she needs, but now it’s time that she lacks.

When the men’s annual tournament is about to begin, with boys fighting for the science scholarship, Rhen knows that she has no choice but to enter, disguised as a boy, and try to win this – for her, for her dad, and most importantly, for her mum.

The book flows really slowly. We get to about half of the book when Rhen decides to enter the tournament. I expected this to happen in the first couple of chapters, and to then have the adventure from within the labyrinth. For me, it was quite a slow beginning, but some of you might enjoy that. The writing is beautiful throughout.

I loved the fighter within Rhen. She is a fierce person, determined to fight for what she wants. Even though throughout the book she has trouble with realising what is it that she really wants, we can see a bit of character development in her.

As a book that is supposed to cover gender equality, and women fighting for the same rights as men, this book didn’t really deliver. The letter states that every gentleperson – not gentleman. Which means, that inequality never truly exists at all. Women could have entered this competition, but they just chose not to.

The whole competition, the labyrinth and the scholarship lacks details and has enormous loopholes: one scholarship is given to one person – the one that wins the labyrinth. And after the winner is chosen, we have a scene where they all take a test, including the winner?

The disguise was a huge and important part of this book, as Rhen and her friend are pretending to be boys. Rhen cuts her hair, and her friend just pins it and ties it with a hat. They both wear boy clothes and barely remember to lower their voices. And that is all they do to not get recognised. And somehow, the people that know them their whole life fail to recognise them. A bit unbelievable…

I wish I loved this book, because I truly fell in love with the cover and the synopsis. But the whole labyrinth set-up seemed to be a side-story, with the illness being the main story, and the realisation of what Rhen actually wants to achieve. Random characters were introduced, that didn’t drive the story one bit, and the author also happened to throw in an inconsistent romance and a love triangle.

I hate to say this, but the book seems like an unfinished draft. It seemed so promising, and all I thought I would get out of this was non-existent.

I am not sure if I would want to recommend this book to you guys. If you want to give it a try, I encourage you, and would love to talk about it and hear what you think, but if you are here because you loved the synopsis, this book will probably not satisfy you.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson and Netgalley, for giving me a complimentary ARC e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest

Down The TBR Hole #22

down the tbr hole book books blog diary of difference

Hello guys! Happy Saturday!

This week I have some various genres and interesting titles. Let’s see how I’ve done.

How it works:

❤ Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
❤ Order on ascending date added.
❤ Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
❤ Read the synopsis of the books.
❤ Decide: keep it or should it go

 

Here’s the next patch:

down the tbr hole books book review blog diary of difference love tbr am reading harry potter lord of the rings the hobbit romance erotica kindle amazon free

The Defiant Heart (Heart, #2) by Anita Gordon

I haven’t read Book 1 in the series, so no point in keeping this one.

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

What Once Was Perfect(Wardham, #1) by Zoe York

I am not quite sure about this one, and when I am not sure about a book, it goes. 

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

The Art of Peeling an Orange by Victoria Avilan

It’s supposed to be a classic and it’s supposed to be good, so I will keep this one. you better be good!

Verdict: KEEP  ☑ 

Return To Sender: An Alex Glauberman Mystery (The Alex Glauberman Series #1) by Dick Cluster

I love mysteries, but this one seems to have a lot of bad ratings, so moving on.

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

Rain Shadow (Rainshadow #1) by Tess Oliver

Nope.

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

Gandhi: A Life Inspired by Lunn M. Hamilton

Not quite sure about this one…

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

Find Her, Keep Her (Love in the USA, #1) by Z.L. Arkadie

Again, too many bad ratings. Why do I have so many freebies on my shelves?

Verdict: ☑ REMOVE ✖

Day-Day (Chop, Chop, #2) by L. N. Cronk

As a second book in the series, I am letting it go. I read the synopsis to the first one, but not interested in reading that one as well.

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

Belle of the Ball (Three Graces #1) by Pam McCutcheon

This is not a book I would usually read, but I will keep it, because I might enjoy it.

Verdict: KEEP  ☑ 

Peter Pan and Wendy by J.M. Barrie

I am a huge fan of Peter Pan, and I can’t miss this for anything in the world!

Verdict: KEEP ☑ 

flower-divider-flower-dividers-clip-art-flowers-line-divider-stock-vector-illustration-of-elegantWe only kept 3 books and removed 7 this time. My TBR is getting back on track.

Which books would you keep or remove? Please let me know in the comments – I love reading your comments and thoughts! 

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest

The Guilty Party – Mel McGrath [BOOK REVIEW]

guilty party bannerbluefinal

★★★★★

A mystery that left me curious until the very end. A psychological paradise of a thriller that captures people at their very worst, right when they realise their lives are at stake. These people did nothing. But that doesn’t mean they’re innocent…

Four friends are returning from a festival, and they see a woman being raped in the forest. They all decide to do nothing about it. A few days later, her body is found in the river. Are they guilty for not doing anything? If it was you, what would you have done?

The story begins with the event mentioned above. The plot opens straight ahead, and I loved that fact. We witness the story through the eyes of all these four friends. They have always been together and stood for one another, but after so many years, their friendship has turned into a group of frenemies, a group of proving to each other, lying all the time and negative emotions.

Because nothing is straightforward, least of all the human heart. At some point or other, we all become mysteries to ourselves.

Purchase links: Amazon  🌟 Barnes & Noble

Even though we get to see through the lives of Anna, Bo and Dex, Cassie is the one member of this group that gets the most exposure in this book. She is the one that seems to feel the most guilty about not doing anything to intervene that night, and she is the one that keeps bringing this subject to her friends, even though they refuse to listen. Cassie is the most reasonable one, but this seems to bring her into more trouble. The more she pushes the group, the more she realises how capable they are of stopping her from sharing their secret.

Anna is the person that leads the group. She seems to control everyone and everything, and they all seem to obey her and be fine with this. She comes out as this controlling and annoying person, the one hard to ignore or say no to. But when she feels threatened and scared, she is prepared to do anything.

Bo and Dex, for me, didn’t have much direct impact to the story, except one of them right at the very end. They seem to have snuck out throughout the book quietly, without any direct noice, but leaving a mess behind them.

We have four characters, all different and unique, all really complicated, with their own thoughts and lives. And we have one evening, and all their actions indirectly result in this girl’s death. None of them killed her, but all of them are guilty. They all have their own secrets, that they don’t tell to anyone, and they all are ready to go until the very end, keeping their secrets safe.

I loved how the plot and what actually happened on the nights slowly reveals itself, where we have two parallels happening – one from the night of the incident, and from everyone’s perspective, and one from around a month later, when they gather around together for a weekend. The chapters were so well made that made you keep going, and right when you think you know something, you get another point of view with a bit more information and another plot twist. Very smart and enjoyable to read.

And even though a mystery, and a thriller, this book was also hilarious and made me laugh out loud at times. Needless to say anything, I will let you read the quote below and judge for yourselves. This quote was so unexpected and I think it highlighted my year so far… Amazing!

Ink Man’s real name is Jake but for the purposes of sex he likes to be called Gandalf. Really. Being Gandalf is what turns him on. That and the ink of Middle Earth on his back.  

I really enjoyed this book, and I am looking forward to reading more books from Mel McGrath. A huge thank you to HQ Publishers, and Joe Thomas for sending me a hardback copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
#AreYouGuilty 

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest

Follow the blog tour:

the guilty party blog tour mel mcgrath are you guilty areyouguilty diaryofdifference book review blog blogging

Once Upon a River – Diane Setterfield [BOOK REVIEW]

once upon a river diane setterfield book review diary of difference love fairytale fairy tale story telling england uk

★★

‘’A river no more begins at its source than a story begins with the first page.’’

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield is a story that had the perfect plot potential to be amazing, but it didn’t deliver at all. As a huge fan of storytelling, this was a big disappointment for me, the biggest one so far in 2019.

Purchase links: Amazon  🌟 Barnes & Noble

‘’There are stories that may be told aloud, and stories that must be told in whispers, and there are stories that are never told at all.’’

The story happens in a small city, on the river Thames. It features the pub Swan, where people gather every night, and everyone knows each other, and they all tell stories all night and enjoy their company.

If you have ever been to England, it is so easy to imagine the setting of a pub, warm place, crowded with people laughing and talking loudly, glasses clinking and people singing random songs in the background. A lot of positive noise and enchanting atmosphere.

And one night, the usual setting is being disturbed, when a man enters the pub with a little girl in his arms, and then passes away. The girl appears to not be breathing for a while, and everyone thinks she is dead, but suddenly, she is breathing again. And the man that is with her is not her father.

As the town is used to, they make stories of it. How it happened, who is the father, does she have a family, why was she drowning in the river… The plot entangles when the family is to be found of the little girl, but a few people claim she is their relative.

‘’Something happens and then something else happens and then all sorts of other things happen, expected and unexpected, unusual and ordinary.’’

The storytelling and the writing of the author was beautiful. At times. The beginning was a paradise for booklovers. The best first chapters I read this year. But after the plot opening, everything started going downhill.

It felt like being on this rollercoaster,excited, going slowly upwards, slowly reaching the top, ready to fall so fast, ready for an adventure, only for them to tell you that there is a fault, and you have to get back and exit the ride without even making the adventure out of it.

I wanted to love it. The writing at parts was great, and I am including a lot of quotes throughout the review, because I loved those parts. But the chapters and characters were too many, and things were happening too fast and without a purpose, that it was hard for me to pick up the pace. I had to leave the book and pick it up again, and it took me three months to complete it. A hard book to swallow and process.

Purchase links: Amazon  🌟 Barnes & Noble

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Random House UK, Transworld Publsihers for sending me an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest

Join 2,788 other followers

Down The TBR Hole #21

down the tbr hole book books blog diary of difference

Hello guys! Happy Saturday!

This time, it seems we have a lot of steamy titles, but will I keep them? Let’s go and see.

How it works:

❤ Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
❤ Order on ascending date added.
❤ Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
❤ Read the synopsis of the books.
❤ Decide: keep it or should it go

 

Here’s the next patch:

down the tbr hole books book review blog diary of difference love tbr am reading harry potter lord of the rings the hobbit romance erotica kindle amazon free

BWWM: HER BILLIONAIRE STRIPPER QUICKIE #2 by Lisa Cherry

Oh, I have erotica here.. And a second book of a ”series”? Nope.

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

Of Myth and Magick by M.E. Brines

I have always loved these types of books, and I think this one should stay, as I will enjoy it.

Verdict: KEEP  ☑

Aren’t You Glad You Didn’t Turn On The Light? by Drac Von Stoller

I love horror stories, but this one has so many bad reviews, so I’ll pass.

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs (31 Horrifying Tales From The Dead Book 4) by Drac Von Stoller

Same author as above, so no point in keeping one if I got rid of the other.

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

The Werewolf Proposal (New Moon Wolves, #1.5) by Michelle Fox

Another erotica, and a 1.5 of a series? And the cover is steamy… But will I ever buy book 1? No. Should I keep book 1.5? No. Well, that was easy. Thank you, next. 

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

Saved By The Bear by Mercy May

Another steamy book – eep… Still getting rid of it.

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

Find Her, Keep Her (Love in the USA, #1) by Z.L. Arkadie

This is a contemporary romance, but the reviews are bad. Not sure if I will pick it up, to be quite honest with you…

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

Titanic 1912: The original news reporting of the sinking of the Titanic by Ken Rossignol

I have always been intrigued by real-life mysteries, and the sinking of Titanic has been always a little gem for me. I should really get to this book, because I know I will enjoy it!

Verdict: KEEP  ☑ 

Beneath This Mask (Beneath, #1) by Meghan March

This one is a MAYBE. I will let you guys decide on this – shall I keep it, or should it go?

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

Love’s Unfading Light (Eagle Harbor #1) by Naomi Rawlings

Christian fiction is not for me, sorry.

Verdict: REMOVE ✖

flower-divider-flower-dividers-clip-art-flowers-line-divider-stock-vector-illustration-of-elegantWe only kept 2 books and removed 8 this time. My TBR is getting back on track.

Which books would you keep or remove? Please let me know in the comments – I love reading your comments and thoughts! 

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest

February 2019 – Monthly Book Wrap Up

monthly wrap up - january book blog diary of difference children of blood and bone nicholas sparks tomi adeyemi leigh bardugo holly smale happy girl lucky girl with a pearl earring court of thorns and roses sarah j maas

February was a very hard month for me. I was away for two weeks, and even though I tried to catch up as much as I could with my reading, I haven’t read as much books as I wanted to. See the books I have read below – as usual, click on the book title for a link to my book review.

I focused on my TBR and all the books that I have recently received by authors and publishers. Thank you to all of you, for sending me your books, and don’t worry – I haven’t forgotten about you – I will continue to read your books in March and finish off my never-ending reading list.

I have also continued with my Down The TBR Hole Tag and I am excited to see what progress I will make this year. Below are all four posts I did this month:

🌟TBR Hole #17 🌟 TBR Hole #18  🌟 TBR Hole #19 🌟 TBR Hole #20 🌟

Books I read: 

Happy Girl Lucky (The Valentines #1) by Holly Smale – ★★★★★

| ReviewAmazon | Harper Collins |

 

The Visitor by Ti Ca – ★★

| Review Amazon |

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier – ★★★★★

| Review | Amazon | Barnes & Noble|

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – ★★★★★

| ReviewAmazon |  Barnes & Noble |

How did your February went? How many books did you read and what was your book of the month?

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest

A Court Of Thorns And Roses (A Court Of Thorns And Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas [BOOK REVIEW

a court of thorns and roses sarah j maas author goodreads netgalley bestseller novel series faerie love romance book review diary of difference

★★★★★

Here I am people! I can hang out with the cool kids now that I’ve read the book. It felt like I was hiding in a cave until now, refusing to read Sarah J. Maas, thinking the hype is too forced. But to be honest, this book surprised me a lot. I enjoyed it with all my heart, and even though I wouldn’t cry and scream over it, I am very pleased that I read it, and I just can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

Purchase links: Amazon  🌟 Barnes & Noble

A Court of Thorns And Roses is a story about a young lady, Feyre, who is a huntress and goes out in the woods to hunt food. The more she hunts, the better her family can eat. And when one day she kills a wolf, she learns the hard way that killing a magical creature has its price…

She is imprisoned in an enchanted court and she is free to walk around, but not allowed to escape. The creature that captures her is a beast with fighting skills, with a mask on his face and piercing eyes that make her heart beat fast.

As Feyre starts to grow warmer about Tamlin, danger lies nearby and secrets are all over the place, and Tamlin and his kind might not be who she thought they were.

Fighting to break a curse that might make her lose her true love forever, Feyre must fight with all her forces, but she is just a weak human in this faerie world. Will she be able to make it?

I have to start with mentioning that the beginning was extremely slow and I was almost on the point of asking all of these people why they love this book so much. But once the plot started revealing itself, and a few twists happened straight away, I was glued to my sofa, reading page after page.

It gives us a slight resemblance of the Beauty and the Beast, even though the plot is quite different. There is a powerful beast who locks the girl, and they fall in love, but there is so much more twists, adventures and danger that I can’t compare them beyond that.

I loved Feyre, for the fierce woman she is. I loved the fight she had in herself, despite being a tiny human in a world of powerful magical creatures. I loved the fact that she would stand up for what she believes in, no matter the consequences, though sometimes, quite recklessly done.

I loved Tamlin, and his warmth despite his cold appearance. The way he cared for Feyre was so heartwarming and cute. The love they feel for each other, and those scenes that made me cry – I will cherish that!  

I am not sure how I felt about the ending – it was a bit forced, and too soppy, but it opened a space for another book, which I will be reading soon.

A wonderful magical tale, a fierce woman, a fiercer love, and even fiercer danger, this one won’t let you sleep at night, and it will haunt you to find answers. A true masterpiece!

Purchase links: Amazon  🌟 Barnes & Noble

Let’s talk – Have you read A Court of Thorns and Roses? Did you enjoy it? Have you read anything else from Sarah J. Maas?

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest

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

girl with a pearl earring tracy chevalier diary of difference book review books vermeer johannes art painting

★★★★★

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.

Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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.

Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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?