Review: The Moonlight Palace by Liz Rosenberg

Author: Liz Rosenberg
Title: The Moonlight Palace
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publishing Date: October 1, 2014
Pages: 176 pages
Source: TLC Book Tours

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Agnes Hussein, descendant of the last sultan of Singapore and the last surviving member of her immediate family, has grown up among her eccentric relatives in the crumbling Kampong Glam palace, a once-opulent relic given to her family in exchange for handing over Singapore to the British.

Now Agnes is seventeen and her family has fallen into genteel poverty, surviving on her grandfather’s pension and the meager income they receive from a varied cast of boarders. As outside forces conspire to steal the palace out from under them, Agnes struggles to save her family and finds bravery, love, and loyalty in the most unexpected places.

The Moonlight Palace was the first book I read during Dewey’s 24 hour readathon. It’s not a chunkster: the pagecount is only 176, but this book doesn’t need much more pages to say what it has to. It’s a story about another culture (at least when you’re European like I am), and about love, family and trust.

Agnes lives in a palace that belonged to her greatgreatgrandfather, but the walls are crumbling around her. The palace is in a bad state and her family doesn’t have enough money to fix everything that needs to be fixed. So she decides it’s time for her to do something: she starts working at a jewelry store and as a writer for the newspaper, even though it’s highly inappropriate for high class women to work in her culture. But then a nice young man shows up, who says he can help her, but he isn’t who he says he is. Agnes has to decide whom she can and cannot trust, while trying to keep her family together.

The Moonlight Palace is a lovely little book if you want to read more about other, historic cultures and if you like to read a book with a nice atmosphere and great. loveable characters.

Ten book series I’ve been wanting to read

I must admit: I often start reading series, but I rarely ever finish one, though my intentions are good. I do WANT to read every book in the series, but then other books cross my path and I’m distracted. Today I want to share with you the book series that are on my To Be Read-list. Here we go!

The Riftwar Saga by Feist: I’ve read the first two books in this series (Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master) about three times, but never have I bothered to open the third book. The boyfriend loves these, so I really should and want to read more of Feist. They’re on our bookshelves, so why not?

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin: George R.R. Martin. I repeat: George R.R. Martin. I’ve reviewed the first two books in this series: A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings, which I found awesome. I’m planning on reading the third book in about two weeks.

The Dark Tower by Stephen King: Stephen King. ‘Nuff said.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: I’ve heard so much about this one, though I think it might a bit longwinding with aaaaall of those books, but I still want to give it a try. The plot sounds pretty amazing.

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier: I love Marillier’s books. I’ve read almost all of the books in the Sevenwaters series, of which I reviewed the first one, Daughter of the Forest.

The Cemetery of Forgotten Books by Carlos Ruiz Záfon: The first book of this series has been sitting on my shelf since forever: time to pick it up!

Discworld by Terry Pratchett: I’ve read about three books in this series and I LOVED them (you can read my review of The Colour of Magic here). I HAVE to read the other books and I have a long way to go. There are currently 41 books written within this series.

Cormoran Strike by Robert Galbraith: I love Harry Potter + this is a J.K. Rowling pseudonym. That’s why.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: As with some of the other series I’ve mentioned, I’ve read the first book of this one, but I haven’t gotten to the other ones. Time to do something about it.

Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: I’ve heard this one is rather creepy and I like creepy. Maybe I’ll read this one for Halloween!

What series are on your TBR? Do you ever finish reading a series or are you as distractable as I am? ;)

Dewey’s 24H Readathon Master Post

Hi everyone! I’m so excited, because today is the day of the 24 Hour Readathon, yay. :)  This is my first time ever participating, but reading everyone’s excitement on Twitter already makes me so happy! The readathon is hosted by a few lovely ladies, whom you can follow here during the course of the event. They’ll be updating the website every hour, announcing mini challenges, reading sprints and hourly prize winners.

So, what will I be doing? This is the masterpost to keep track of my experience during this event. I’ll let you know my goals and I’m going to try to update this post every hour. Are you also participating? Leave a link to your website or your Twitter handle in the comments below, so we can connect, ’cause I’d love to get to know you! :)

My goals:

  • Read as many books as I feel like.
    I have an exam coming up on Monday, for which I already studied two days in a row. So let’s not set my aims to high. I’m just going to read what I like. I do have a TBR pile waiting for me, but I’m not sure if I’m going to stick to that. We’ll see how it goes!
  • Talk to fellow participants on Twitter.
    Browsing the bookblogosphere is an awesome things to do, so I’m planning on following the #readathon hashtag on Twitter, so I can keep track of what everyone’s doing and so I can meet new people.
  • Participate in at least two sprints.
    Reading sprints seem like so much fun! The goal is to read as many pages as you can in about 45 minutes. Challenge accepted!
  • Enjoy!
    I’m not participating in this event for anyone but myself, so my main goal is to enjoy and just see what will happen.

My TBR pile:

Yay books! This is the pile of books I compiled for this event. As I said: I’m not sure if I’m going to stick to it and I’m definitely not going to read all of these books, but it’s just a way of organizing the event for myself. I’m going to start reading The Moonlight Palace by Liz Rosenberg, because it’s been on my ereader since forever and there’s a TLC tour coming up for this one. And I’ll just see how it goes from there.

Do you want to talk to me during all of this chaos? You can leave a comment or you can follow me at @WensendBlog on Twitter.

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Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Title: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Genre: Modern fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publishing Date: January 2014
Pages: 258
Source: Publisher

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A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island-from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming.

Omg, this book was so fantastic! Do you love books? Do you want to read books about books? Do you want books to be the center of everything? Then this one is definitely for you. If you don’t really like books (but occasionally read one) this is also something for you: I can promise you you’re going to love it.

A.J. Fikry is a sad, grumpy (but not so old) man who owns a bookstore, which he runs by himself after his wife passed away. No one likes him and he doesn’t really have any friends, but then one day a cute little kid is left behind in the shop: Maya. Throughout the story Fikry and Maya grow to love each other, which is made much stronger because of their shared love of books. Also, there’s a sales representive from a publishing house who has a special kind of interest in Fikry, which makes the plot even more interesting.

I didn’t think I could grow to love books more than I already did, but this book made me do it. At the beginning of every chapter there’s a review by Fikry himself, describing a book and making connections with his own life and life in general. Everything in The storied life of A.J. Fikry breathes books and the love for them, which made me appreciate those little binded things so much more. :)