Book review 6: Macaron Murder, Harper Lin

Well that is it! I’m done the quick and fun summer challenge, this is the last review and then I promise we move on! Did you enjoy the reviews?

For the category A “beach book”, I had wanted something light, not too intense. Something than you can read quickly, on the beach. Something that entertains you for a couple hours and done! Well, I have lots of e-books on my tablet, on different apps, that I got at some point and then never actually read so far. In a moment of pure desperation as to what my next book should be, I decided to check out my iBook library. the cover of Macaron Murder was very summery, with macarons on it of course, a pink background and I thought, huh, that should do for a quick read. Plus it takes place in Paris, which I love.

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The book is just under 100 e-pages, it read very quickly, and as the title says there is murder in it. It is however an entertaining read but not much more. Not specially well written, the characters are not deep or attaching in any way. I find very annoying the french words used in an English sentence, I find that writing technique or style snobby and really annoying. Ok so you know  a few french words, but it just doesn’t work in an English sentence. Now if you used a full french sentence, great! And then possibly translate it, that would be nice! Anyways, that was just a little bothersome to me.

There is not much to the story really, Clémence comes back to her family apartment and business after traveling the world. She hasn’t even unpacked yet when there is a murder in her building. After being wrongly accused, she decides to solve the murder herself. Everything goes really fast, it’s a basic mystery plot, no suspense there.

That is definitely the book I loved least on my list. But I guess it fits the prompt really well. Which book did you read for this category? Did you enjoy it?

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Book review 5: Ce que le jour doit à la nuit, Yasmina Khadra

I chose this book for the category ” a book you bought on your last vacation”. That was my last vacation before I wrote the reading challenge . I was going for another one, but when the moment came to pick up the book, I was actually more tempted by this one.

Set in Algeria in the 30s, this book if first and foremost a story of love. The love of a country. Algeria, loved both by its natives and the French born there. It’s an epic story of frienship, love and heartaches of all kinds, but also honor and cultural differences. Younes, later called Jonas, the protagonist, tells us his story. The story of his family, interwoven with the story of his country, and in the midst of it all, how he lives that story, how he grows and changes. He is full of emotions that he shares.

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Yasmina Khadra has a beautiful writing style. Poetic but direct, not always soft. He knows how to play with emotions and words to create the best impact. He knows when a beautiful sentence can convey in a few words the most powerful feelings, and when one word is enough to say it all. I will definitely be reading more books of that author. It was one of his titles that once caught my eye, I read the back cover and thought I would read it but didn’t buy the book on the spot. When I remembered his name and looked for it in Strasbourg, that specific title wasn’t available, so I decided to just pick one. This book is definitely of my top 5 of the year.

Who, or which book, is on your top 5 reads of the year? Would you want to read this one?

Book review 4: A book you’ve been wanting to read for ever

Well that’s it guys! The summer is coming to an end! I haven’t posted blog posts for the past few weeks, so now is the time for the last reviews of the reading challenge and then move on to something else… How do you like challenges? I’m thinking of another one already, but let’s take a break first.

So review number 4, I had mentioned The Book Thief as a book I’ve been wanting to read for ever. But it still didn’t happen. Let’s just say I was happy to enjoy my busy vacation and read paper books rather than ebooks. But this year I finally read (yes I know don’t be too shocked) HARRY POTTER! Hooray! And I haven’t been able to put them down. I am currently waiting for the 6th one already from the library.

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I doubt that a review is really necessary! I will say that: I don’t know what I was waiting for to read them. My sister was a big fan and she tried, really hard, to get me to read them. I was very resistant to the idea. So I guess I owe my sister an apology and  thank you, I think it’s her nagging that finally got me reading the books. I also discovered J.K. Rowling through her adult book, The Casual Vacancy, which is extremely different of course. very down to earth, no magic at all, but very well written. I then moved on to her detective series, which she writes under the pen name Robert Galbraith. Following detective Cormoran Strike on cases and discovering yet another world that Rowling created. One thing i really like in all her books: her characters. They are so well thought out, well written with complex personalities and full background stories that are revealed here and there and help us get attached.

Have you enjoyed Harry Potter? Or maybe another book that someone has been trying to get you to read for a long time?

Book Review 3: Demain j’arrête, by Gilles Legardinier

Last prompt of the challenge! I’m not necessarily reading the books in order though, no panic! I still have two to go. For the “animal on the cover” prompt I changed my first pick. I had mentioned Demain les Chats, by Bernard Werber, which I would still like to read, but I ended up going for Demain j’arrête, by Gilles Legardinier, which has a funny looking cat with a Peruvian hat on the cover.

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The cat on the cover is a sort of trademark of Gilles Legardinier. Third most author read in France, that was my first and only book by him so far. His goal when he writes: make people laugh, the covers are meant to make people smile.

The book opens with this question: what is the stupidest thing you’re ever done in your life? Right there, you’re swept into the story by Julie, who then proceeds to tell us what her stupidest exploit has been. I don’t want to say more for fear of revealing too much. Very humoristic, I laughed out loud quite a lot, specially at the beginning. Then it kind of dragged on a little and I laughed a little less as Julie becomes a bit more predictable. This is not a deep story or a deep book, perfect for a little break after you’ve read too many serious novels or thrillers. A breath of fresh air! What did you read for this prompt?

 

Book Review 2: Risky Business, by Nora Roberts

This is the first prompt of my reading challenge: a book you saw someone read on public transport. Well I had seen a woman read a Nora Roberts book but I wasn’t able to catch the title. I had a quick look at the cover but wasn’t too concentrated at the time. My efforts to try to find the book based on that quick glance were fruitless. So I decided to read a Nora Roberts book anyways and check that prompt.

I discovered Nora Roberts in my early twenties, when leaving Canada after a summer vacation there, I needed a distraction at the airport. So I walked into the Relay store and picked up a mystery book, in English. That was the deal: I would buy a book, but in English. I then went back to my gate, sat down and cracked the book open. I couldn’t put it down and finished it over that one trip. It was a murder mystery, full of suspense, and the one ingredient that makes Robert’s book so entertaining: romance.

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So Risky Business is a classic Roberts’ mystery novel. Ten years ago, Liz left the US to settle down in Cozumel, without every looking back. She worked hard, made herself a place in the community and when ready, opened her own diving shop. When Jerry, her newly hired diving instructor is found dead two weeks after setting foot on the island, things get a little chaotic. Specially when Jonas, Jerry’s twin brother shows up to try and get some answers on his brother’s murder.

The book is a light entertaining read. It would work well for the “beach book” prompt of the challenge as well. It has all the elements of a Nora Roberts’ book you would expect: a strong independent woman, a stubborn handsome and protective man, sparks flying, the hate-love relationship between the two main characters, and in this case suspense of course. The characters are always very well penned and developed, with complex emotions and background stories slowly revealed throughout the novel. All in all an enjoyable read.

Have you checked that prompt yet? Have you read a Nora Roberts book before? Come tell us more about it then. And don’t miss next week’s review!

Book Review: Couleur de peau:miel, by JUNG

Following the reading challenge I launched last week, I thought reviewing the books I selected would be a nice idea. I’ve had an interesting reading year, and have widened my horizons. It’s all so great! So today, I’ll review the first one I finished for the comic book prompt, it was a quick read, comic books are always easy to read.

What? Couleur de Peau: miel, tome 1

Who? JUNG, profession: comic book writer, nationality: Belgian, of Korean origin

What exactly? A five year old boy wandering the streets of Seoul finds himself swept up by a police officer to an American orphanage. That will eventually lead to his adoption by a Belgian family in the 1970’s.

As the memories start to fade, Jun Jung-sik, alias Jung, revisits his past. In this autobiographical comic, he tries to find answers to certain questions left hanging. Through witty text and beautiful graphics, he explores themes like identity, adoption, racism, teenage-hood and more. He talks about trying to find your personality, growing up in a big family, naughty things kids do, trying to reconcile his past with his present, tying who he was with who he became.

I found the graphics gorgeous, the choice of black and white only enhancing the emotions. At times sad or nostalgic, it is also very funny. Although written when he was 41, the text is very pertinent to a child’s behavior and thought process. All in all a very nice read, I can’t wait for my library to re-open so I can get the second and third parts.

Best of all, for those who don’t enjoy comic books, a film mixing documentary real life footage with Jung’s drawings as well as archive photos and 2D and 3d animations was produced under the same title. I will definitely check it out.

What about you, have you checked this prompt yet? What did you read?

 

Reading challenge anyone?

It’s the summer and a lot of us take some time to stop and relax. The nice weather keeps us motivated and in a good mood. All we’re missing is a few books to really enjoy the time. Just think about it, reading on a bench in a park, on the beach, on the train or plane… See a pattern? It’s the book that does it! So here’s a fun and short summer reading challenge for you, totally based on a whim. Let’s go for 6 books?

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Here are the prompts for the challenge, feel free to interpret them any way you want (specially number 5)

  • A book you saw someone read on public transport
  • A book you’re been wanting to read for ever!
  • A book you bought on your last vacation
  • A comic book or a book with pictures
  • A “beach” book
  • A book with an animal on the cover!

So, are you in? Do you know what you’ll  be reading? Share your list with us! Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations as well.

Here is what my tentative list looks like:

  • A book you saw someone read on public transport: Just yesterday I saw a woman read a Nora Roberts book in German, I just have to figure out which one it was from the cover. I think I’ll push it and read it in German as well.
  • A book you’re been wanting to read for ever! I’m thinking The book thief, by Markus Zusak I’ve had it in my Kobo library for about 5 years already!
  • A book you bought on your last vacation: Heureux les heureux, by Yasmina Reza, bought at Christmas in Strasbourg, France
  • A comic book or a book with pictures: Couleur de peau: miel, by JUNG borrowed at my library
  • A “beach” book: not sure for that one, but I’m thinking something that doesn’t require too much neuron activity! Maybe a Sophie Kinsella book or something funny!
  • A book with an animal on the cover! I think I’ll go for Demain les chats, by Bernard Werber (although I’m not much of a cat person).

Have fun, enjoy and keep us posted!