The Girl Who Lived Twice by David Lagercrantz

“I will be the hunter not the hunted.” – Lisbeth

Following on from the last book in the series, Lisbeth is still trying to track her sister’s movements while staying hidden herself. She ends up in Russia and has managed to hack in to cameras around Camilla’s house. Meanwhile back in Sweden Mikael is working on his story about the stock market crash. But he’s bored and uninspired, he can’t find an answer to his questions so he decides to take a break. But because he Mikael Blomkvist, he gets dragged into a mystery anyway. A homeless man died but a doctor who had seen the man often suspects fowl play. The man kept to himself and as far as she could tell there was no reason to murder him.

I realised how much I had missed Lisbeth and Mikael when I started reading this. They’re both so determined and intelligent yet chaotic, I forgot how fascinating they are. Lisbeth hasn’t told anyone where she is or what she’s up to, she works well on her own but Mikael is really worried about her, he’s searching for signs of her everywhere.

“He was fed up with it. He was tired of the news in general, tired of all the depressing political developments around the world.” – what a mood!

I felt like we’re back at what this series does best, we have a mystery, it’s possibly political but none of the pieces fit together. Lisbeth and Mikael make a brilliant team even though they’re not together. The jumps from one character to the next are seamless, it’s not confusing or difficult to follow and it keeps a nice pace to the book. It becomes incredibly tense and dramatic as the story goes on.

I like how a few times the story touched on the damaging effects the media can have. The hate campaign towards Johannes and Catrin’s dealings with negative reactions to her journalism. Social media has become this terrifying place where horrible people can sit safely behind a screen and tear down others for fun. It needs to stop.

I am so sad that this is the last book in the series, I will miss Lisbeth and Mikael a lot! The tension and action towards the end is so dramatic, I couldn’t put the book down. The whole series has shone a light on how dangerous our world is, there are secret threats everywhere when it comes to governments and spies. How much can we really trust our leaders? My bet is not at all! But there are still good people like Lisbeth and Mikael, Bublanski and Sonja who give us hope.

Top Five Tuesday – A-Z Favourite Characters

It’s Top Five Tuesday which is hosted by Meeghan Reads, every week we’re given a book related topic and we choose our top five! This month it’s another A-Z this time our favourite characters, this week it’s K-O.

K – Klaus Baudelaire

The poor Baudelaire siblings have a terrible time after their parents die, they’re moved from one awful place to the next but they stick together always and try to make it through. Klaus loves books and libraries, he is always able to find comfort in reading.

L – Lisbeth Salander

Lisbeth also had a really tough upbringing, she is a complete badass and a genius. Her hacking abilities allow her to track down criminals and help solve mysteries and scandals. Lisbeth never gives up, not when she’s severely injured or being hunted down by dangerous people. She can be standoffish and obsessive but she’s brilliant!

M – Margaery Tyrell

Margaery is clever and manipulative, when she took Sansa under her wing, although it was partly for her family’s gain I believe she did actually care about her.

N – Neville Longbottom

I always felt so sorry for Neville and how much he got picked on but he overcame that and grew in strength. In the Order of the Phoenix when he learns to do all the defensive spells, he has so much doubt in himself but by the end of the year he’s fighting side by side with Harry and the rest.

O – Oberyn Martell

I mean what a badass! My favourite thing about Oberyn is that he doesn’t care at all about what anyone else thinks. He does what he wants and when me meet him he wants to avenge his sister’s death.

The Familiars by Stacey Halls Review

The Familiars is set in 1611-1612, Fleetwood is a young noblewoman, she has had multiple pregnancies but none of them have gone to term. She has recently discovered a letter from her doctor to her husband stating that another pregnancy may kill her. Yet she is pregnant again, Richard didn’t care, he would rather have an heir. Fleetwood is desperate to find help, she meets a young midwife, Alice, by chance and their lives become intertwined. When Alice is accused of being a witch Fleetwood tries desperately to save her, it could mean a death sentence for all of them if Alice isn’t there to help with the birth.

“Women carried life and death in their stomachs when they conceived; it was a fact of our existence.”

Fleetwood is treated awfully by her husband, he knows that another pregnancy would kill her but he chose not to tell her and is still obsessed with having a child. Then he ignores her worries and tries to control everything. However there is an air of mystery in the story that makes me eager to read more.

The king is not a supporter of women trying to make their way in the world any way they can: helping neighbours, and driving off sickness, and trying to keep their children alive.” – Alice

I love that Fleetwood and Alice team up to run away from the witch hunters. It makes me shudder to think what women went through during James I’s reign. The treatment of women in this age makes me so angry.

Fleetwood’s sass knows no bounds! I was so proud of her when she was investigating and trying to save Alice. She is an absolute badass, she’s riding around the countryside, heavily pregnant, threatening people who are lying about Alice. She’s determined and brave in a society that constantly puts women down or tries to kill them.

“The realisation was lapping at my edges again, the knowledge that without Alice, I may as well have a rope tied too.

This book is very well written, Fleetwood’s feelings and pain are so vivid that I felt everything with her. I wanted so desperately for her to succeed and survive along with Alice. I strongly recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and anyone who loves strong female characters.

Top Five Tuesday – A-Z Favourite Characters

It’s Top Five Tuesday which is hosted by Meeghan Reads, every week we’re given a book related topic and we choose our top five! This month it’s another A-Z this time our favourite characters, this week it’s F-J.

F – Fleetwood Shuttleworth

What a name! I recently read The Familiars and Fleetwood was such a strong and fierce character, she never gave up and risked everything to save her friend from being executed for being a witch. Fleetwood herself thought she was going to die but she never gave in, she fought to save herself, her baby and her friend Alice.

F – Frieda Klein

My favourite fictional psychotherapist! Frieda is very clever, she’s creative and protective ober those she loves. She’s naturally an introvert but attracts people who are in trouble to her life. Frieda’s friends would also do anything for her.

G – Granny Weatherwax

Granny is a witch in the Discworld novels, she is so funny. I love her because of how stand-offish she is and her friendship with Nanny Ogg her fellow witch is hilarious.

H – Harry Potter

I still can’t get over how Harry grew up to be kind and accepting having lived with the Dursley’s for his whole life. He has his off moments, but he tries his best and stands up for his friends and himself and what he believes in, I learnt a lot from him.

J – Jackson Brodie

Jackson seems to always find trouble wherever he goes. He’s an ex policeman turned private investigator but his life is a bit of a mess! What I like about Jackson is that he’s a nice person but not in an annoying way, he tries to do what’s best for those around him and help his clients.

Top Five Tuesday – A-Z Favourite Characters

It’s Top Five Tuesday which is hosted by Meeghan Reads, every week we’re given a book related topic and we choose our top five! This month it’s another A-Z this time our favourite characters. We start with letters A-E, I for some reason found this more difficult than I thought, I think it’s because my memory is terrible…but here are my picks for this week:

A – Tiffany Aching (Discworld novels)

Tiffany is a trainee witch, her books were the first Discworld novels that I read becuase they were aimed more at children. Witchcraft was frowned upon where Tiffany grew up until she started openly practising it. She is strong and independant and proud to be a witch.

B – Brienne of Tarth (A Song of Ice and Fire)

This pick will come as no surprise, Brienne holds a special place in my heart. I am in constant awe of her emotional and mental strength, as well as her badass fighting abilities. She has been bullied and ridiculed her whole life just becuase of how she looks but she still carries on being herself and fighting to protect the innocent.

C – Cersei Lannister (A Song of Ice and Fire)

Okay so in contrast Cersei is kind of a bad person, but I just love this woman’s sass and inner strength. All Cersei wants is to break away from the men in her life and rule in her own right as Queen, she has that power when Tommen is on the throne, but she could have used it better. My girl is a mess and I think that’s what I relate to most!

D – Fitzwilliam Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)

I didn’t know that was his first name until I looked it up…no wonder everyone just calls him Mr Darcy! He’s mysterious and brooding, but not a complete arsehole! He cares about his family and realised he needed to change his behaviour when Elizabeth critisised him for being rude, respect.

E – Eliza Makepeace (The Forgotten Garden)

Eliza lived in the late 19th and early 20th century, she had a tough upbringing, she lost her mother, father and twin brother when she was a child, then her mother’s family tracked her down and adopted her. But her aunt and uncle were cold and sometimes cruel. Luckily she found a friend in her cousin, but Eliza’s favourite thing to do was explore and make up stories. Eliza is a free spirit, an author and she has such a kind heart.

The Folklore Book Tag

When Taylor Swift announced her surprise album a few weeks ago I was so excited! The album is so beautiful and probably my favourite from Taylor. I wasn’t tagged for this but I saw Orangutan Librarians post and really wanted to do it, I’m also glad I found a fellow Swifite!

THE RULES

  • Link to the original creator: Ilsa @ A Whisper Of Ink
  • Tag at least 3 people.
  • Declare the rules and list of prompts in your post
  • Thank whoever who tagged you and link to their post

folklore - the 1

“I hit the ground running each night, I hit the Sunday matinee.”

Such a great opener to the album, it’s uplifting but feels nostalgic at the same time.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

I read this book in June and I was so invested in it but because it’s a prequel I thought I knew roughly how it would end but I was still stunned and sad. The book also has a lot of folk songs in it and music is an important part of Lucy Gray’s life and her part in the Hunger Games.

folklore - cardigan

“When I felt like I was an old cardigan under someone’s bed. You put me on and said I was your favourite.”

This is probably my favourite, it’s beautiful and poetic and it was the first song on the album that I listened to repeatedly. So many of my favourite lyrics come from this song.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

This books is so beautiful, it’s set in different time periods but in the same house. It’s partly narrated by a ghost who stays at the house and watches over the residents. We see glimpses into her life too and how she died. But it made me happy to know that she cared for the people that lived in the house and that she had found peace there but sad because her life ended so tragically.

folklore - the last great american dynasty

“There goes the maddest woman this town has ever seen. She had a marvelous time ruining everything.”

I love the story this song paints, a woman causing chaos in a rich town for fun.

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

This is such an incredible read, it’s set on a planet that scientists tried to terraform for humans to eventually live on it, but things went wrong and instead of monkeys evolving at an accelerated pace, spiders rule this planet. It’s not scary in any way, just very clever.

folklore - exile

“I think I’ve seen this film before, so I’m leaving out the side door.”

Good duets are my jam! The harmonies and lyrics are so gorgeous.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Honestly, I have denied the existence of this terrible story since I read it. It’s not canon to me and I think most HP fans feels that way. It’s a screenplay but the characters that we know and love are not accurate, the plot is terrible, it might be better as a play but I found it almost insulting to read.

folklore - my tears ricochet

“And if I’m on fire, you’ll be made of ashes too.”

The underlying rage in this song speaks to me!

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

Most of ASOIAF makes me cry but this book is probably the most emotional. Two words: Red Wedding.

folklore - mirrorball

“I’ve never been a natural, all I do is try, try, try. I’m still on that trapeze, I’m still trying everything to keep you looking at me.”

Another of my favourites, it’s so soft almost like a lullaby and again the imagery is perfect.

The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen

This is a historical AU where Anne Boelyn gives Henry VIII a son so he doesn’t have her killed. William grows up with Elizabeth and Anne lives to old age and at the start of the book Henry dies so it’s the perfect book for me!! I love all the new characters in it as well.

folklore - seven

“Just like a folk song, our love will be passed on.”

The lyrics are so cute in this one, it’s also very relaxing.

The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton

Me and my sisters used to love these books, some of the copies we have were my Mum’s so they’re even more precious. I miss the Famous Five and their adventures, I think my favourites were when they went to explore the small island near their home, they had the whole place to themselves.

folklore - august

“But I can see us lost in the memory, August slipped away into a moment in time, ’cause it was never mine.”

So chill and gorgeous, it makes me want to sway along.

Atonement by Ian McEwan

This book is set mostly during the summer, on a hot summer’s day in 1935 the Tallis’ are having a dinner party but the evening takes a dark turn. I’m actually re-reading it at the moment!

folklore - this is me trying

“And my words shoot to kill when I’m mad, I have a lot of regrets about that.”

This is probably the most ‘me’ of all the songs, I feel very connected to it and it makes me quite emotional.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This book is a tough read but it captures perfectly the isolation and loneliness you feel when depression takes over.

folklore - illicit affairs

“You showed me colours you know I can’t see with anyone else.”

This song has beautiful melodies but I don’t connect as much to the story.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling

I remember when I first read this staying up late to finish it and being heartbroken by the ending so then I couldn’t really sleep. It definitely affected me for days, especially knowing that the next book would be completely different because Harry wasn’t going back to Hogwarts.

folklore - invisible string

“And isn’t it just so pretty to think all along there was some, invisible string, tying you to me.”

This is a pretty song, I’m not sure I believe in fate but this song could convince me!

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

This book! I was struggling with anxiety and wasn’t feeling motivated at all even reading wasn’t as fun but then this book came into my life, it is phenomenal and one of my favourites ever.

folklore - mad woman

“You’ll poke that bear ’til her claws come out and you find something to wrap your noose around.”

This reminds me of I Did Something Bad with the lyrics about witches, but it’s slightly less angry. I absolutely love it.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Katniss is a fierce and brilliant but also blunt and stand-offish. She’s Panem’s hero but she doesn’t want to be, the power and responsibility that comes with troubles her. The trauma Katniss suffers is awful but she steps up anyway to try to save everyone.

folklore - epiphany

“Only twenty minutes to sleep, but you dream of some epiphany. Just one single glimpse of relief, to make some sense of what you’ve seen.”

This song is so beautiful and it makes me cry almost everytime I hear it.

Lost Among the Living by Simone St James

It’s set in 1921, Jo’s husband disappeared in WWI and she is still mourning his loss but she currently works for his aunt, travelling through Europe with her acquiring art work. When they return to England Jo sees her husband’s childhood home for the first time. She is also haunted by his cousin’s ghost. It’s a chilling tale, the whole atmosphere makes you feel cold and on edge.

folklore - betty

“I’m only seventeen, I don’t know anything, but I know I miss you.”

The country feels of this song make me happy!

Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister from ASOIAF

These two give me life, when they’re separated in AFFC but still keep thinking about each other, it’s adorable because they don’t realise how in love they are.

folklore - peace

“But I’m a fire and I’ll keep your brittle heart warm.”

This gives me chill vibes and the lyrics are once again beautiful.

Tyrion Lannister from ASOIAF

Tyrion breaks my heart, he has been bullied and treated like rubbish his whole life by strangers and his family. I would definitely protect him with my life, Tyrion is incredibly clever and funny, Westeros needs more people like him!

folklore - hoax

“You knew it still hurts underneath my scars from where they pulled me apart.”

This song is gorgeous, I love the melody and it’s definitely one of my favourites.

Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

This is about those ‘what if’ moments and how three characters lives could have turned out if they had chosen different paths. It sounds right up my street, I love the idea of parallel versions of ourselves but it was quite difficult to follow and I had to keep reminding myself what was going on.

Rating the songs:

This is quite difficult because I love so many of them, I’ve gone from favourite to least, here you go:

cardigan

this is me trying

mad woman

mirror ball

epiphany

hoax

exile

betty

the 1

the last great american dynasty

my tears ricochet

august

seven

peace

invisible string

illicit affairs

I’m tagging anyone that wants to do this, I had so much fun making this post and listening to the album endlessly!

Top Five Tuesday – Characters I would trade places with

This week we have to pick five characters we would trade places with, I decided to pick characters from places I would enjoy going to rather than ones I could save from their fates.

1. A Ravenclaw student in Luna Lovegood’s year

A bit random, basically I want to go to Hogwarts, but I also want to be Luna’s friend. She’s caring, quirky and doesn’t care what others think. I wouldn’t let anyone pick on her either (I’m looking at you Ginny).

2. Susan Pevensie

Getting to go to Narnia and become a Queen, sign me up! I relate most to Susan, she’s more cautious/sensible and cares a lot about her younger siblings. For their first visit to Narnia the Pevensie’s save the land and then live as royalty for half a lifetime before they returned to the 1940s.

3. Eliza Makepeace

Eliza has a tough upbringing but her home in the hidden cottage on the Cornwall coast sounds idyllic. She writes stories and walks through the countryside all day.

4. Lyra Belacqua

When I read His Dark Materials I was a bit jealous of Lyra having Pan with her always, I would love to know what my daemon would be and Lyra’s world isn’t as modern and suffocating as ours.

5. Elizabeth Bennett

I love Jane Austen’s books but Pride and Prejudice is my favourite, I would live to live as Elizabeth for a time, she has a lovely home in the countryside with all her sisters around her. Also the outfits!

Top Five Tuesday – Characters I would dress up as

It’s Top Five Tuesday which is hosted by Meeghan reads, each week Meeghan gives us a promt and we have to come up with five books that fit. This week is about dressing up, even as a child I was never that keen on dressing up in costumes but I still managed to think of five characters I would like to emulate.

1. Cersei Lannister (ASOIAF)

1x05 The Wolf And The Lion 830

 

No surprises here, I love her, I already have the long blonde hair and slightly mad look in my eyes. I just need a crown and an elegant red dress!

2. Alice in Wonderland

Alice - blue dress

I love Alice’s cute blue dress and hair band and her aesthetic in the live action Disney film is gorgeous, so I’d probably aim for that.

3. Tonks (Harry Potter)

Tonks

Tonks always has a funky hair colour which I would love to do but I don’t want to ruin my hair! Magic would help, of course and getting to walk around with a wand would be pretty badass!

4. Circe

Circe

I’m reading Circe by Madeline Miller at the moment and I love it. Circe is a witch and nymph she works with herbs and potions, I get hippy vibes from her and she doesn’t really care what she looks like which is always a positive.

5. Visenya Targaryen (ASOIAF)

Visenya Targaryen - A Wiki of Ice and Fire

The Targaryen look is stunning with their purple eyes and white/silver hair, I would love to look like Visenya for a day, she also wears armour so I’m in.

Circe by Madeline Miller Review

“You cannot know how frightened gods are of pain. There is nothing more foreign to them, and so nothing they ache more deeply to see.”

Circe is a story of fierce strength, loneliness, rejection, a mother’s love and a woman who fought against the bullies around her and succeeded, all of this is tied into the Greek myths, we meet some of the gods and goddesses but my favourite parts were with Circe when she was on her island, fighting to keep her child safe and standing up to the people who had tried to belittle her.

“For a hundred generations, I had walked the world drowsy and dull, idle and at my ease. I left no prints, I did no deeds. Even those who had loved me a little did not care to stay. Then I learned that I could bend the world to my will, as a bow is bent for an arrow.”

I was so excited when Circe found out she is a witch. She had been scorned and bullied her whole life and now she had power and a purpose. I love the style of writing, it’s almost poetic, that’s why I have so many favourite quotes!

“In a solitary life there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.”

Circe is fierce and powerful but she still has compassion. She cares about her animals and the mortals she endangered by creating a monster. But when Circe was attacked by some sailors she started murdering all the horrible men that invaded her island, honestly what a mood.

“Humbling women seems to me a chief pastime of poets. As if there can be no story unless we crawl and weep.”

I love how the book shows that just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. I prefer my own company a lot of the time, and when Circe is at peace on her island so does she, she has her pet lions and it suits her well. But because Circe is immortal she faces an eternity alone which I’m not sure I could cope with!

“The air would smell like buttery olives and iron. I would speak her name and the sky would glow bright as polished silver.”

I was very emotional at the end, I loved everything about this book, I highly recommend it, you don’t have to know about Greek myths to enjoy it.

“I thought once that gods are the opposite of death, but I see now they are more dead than anything, for they are unchanging, and can hold nothing in their hands.”

Top Five Tuesday – Books where something went right

It’s Top Five Tuesday which is hosted by Meeghan reads, each week Meeghan gives us a promt and we have to come up with five books that fit. This week it’s books where something went right, I found this a bit difficult to think of at first, maybe I don’t read enough cheerful books!

30969271. sx318 1. The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley

Star is struggling with her purpose in life after the death of her father, for her whole childhood and young adult life she lived in the shadow of her sister CeCe but by chance she comes across an old book shop that needs staff and stumbles upon her true ancestry.

8320982. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Lily runs away from her home with her nanny Rosaleen, thankfully they find shelter and a new home with the Boatwright sisters, they’re bee keepers and they teach Lily how to look after the bees. Their quirkiness and kindness helps to heal Lily and Rosaleen.

2249123. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling

Harry had spent most summer at the Dursley’s house, when he accidentally ruined their dinner party they locked him in his room and put bars on the windows. Harry couldn’t receive of send any letters. But one night Fred, George and Ron took it upon themselves to visit Harry and save him from his horrible relatives. Although they got in trouble with their mother, it still ended up with Harry spending the last few weeks of summer blissfully.

131472304. The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

For eternity there have been parallel Earths, some are uninhabitable but others have animals living on them. One day an internet phenomenon where children create ‘steppers’ and all disappear together, they have stepped into a parallel world. Humanity was saved, we had used up our planet and destroyed most of it, it was dying, now we have as much space as we could imagine.

50095371. sx318 sy475 5. The Garden of Lost and Found by Harriet Evans

This book is so good, it’s a nice mix of historical and present time. Juliet’s life is thrown upside down at the beginning of the book when she is fired from her job at an art museum and then discovers that her husband is having an affair. But a few days later she receives the deeds to her grandmother’s old house and the keys. Juliet takes the opportunity and moves to the countryside with her children. Juliet struggles at first but she loves the house her children grow to love it too.