5 for 5 – May Mini Reviews

Hello all! It’s the first Friday of the month- and for me that’s become synonymous with “time for my monthly mini reviews”. Basically this is my way of catching up on my increasing backlog of unreviewed books.

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It’s heating up now that it’s May and I’m finally paying some lip service to books I read wayyy back at the beginning of the year. So with that said, I should really just get on with it!

ender's game

Ender’s Game– okay, let’s start with the book I read the longest time ago (January *cough cough*). I didn’t review at the time, not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because I just didn’t have all that much to say about it. Bearing in mind how little I know about the sci fi genre, was that it felt pretty unique to me and was very enjoyable, with plenty of drama, solid world building and intriguing characters. I recommend it for everyone just getting into the genre (like me) and everyone that’s been a fan for years (though let’s face it, you’ve probably read it by now). I will be honest and say that surprisingly for such a good book, it didn’t leave me with a burning desire to read more in the series. Let me know in the comments if you think the rest of the series will change my life or something and I’ll bump it up my tbr- otherwise this is going to be a “maybe one day” sort of thing.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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The-Romanovs-bookcover_600x906

The Romanovs– annnd this book reminded me of the times when I thought non-fiction wasn’t for me. I did not enjoy this in the slightest. I was promised intrigue and drama and extreme characters… what I got was an endless stream of wars, hardly fleshed out historical figures and very, very dry commentary. If you like the kind of books that send you to sleep, then this is for you!

Rating: 2/5 bananas

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bluest eye

 

The Bluest Eye– so this book is a realllly really long time coming for me- fun fact I met the author back when I was still at school and have been wanting to read this ever since. Finally, finally I picked it up and I get why this is a big deal now. It’s cleverly written, has intriguing characterisation and a powerful commentary on race. Furthermore, the mixture of the slow reveal coupled with knowing the end result at the start builds up the layers of revulsion and horror as the book progresses. I can also seriously recommend the audio book for this one, because Morrison’s voice is gloriously rhythmic and beautiful to listen to.

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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killing fields

Killing Fields– I didn’t know much about the Cambodian genocide, so it was worth reading for that purpose alone. Some of the characters (or I should say people since this is non-fiction) stood out to me, such as Pran, however I didn’t connect much with anyone else and found the journalistic writing style a little dry.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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ivan-denisovitch

One Day in the Life of Ivan Densovitch– so I have mentioned this, briefly, on my blog before, but I totally failed to review it. It’s a quick, but absorbing read, gives an full insight into daily life in a communist gulag. Despite its length, I would say this is one of the most impactful books I’ve read so far this year. Plus, together with The Killing Fields, this should fill most people’s daily quota of reminders why communism is bad 😉

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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So that was a very different array of books. Have you read any of these? Did you like them? And which non-fiction books have you read lately that didn’t make you excited? Let me know in the comments?

Also, I’ve finally done that thing where the book covers link up to goodread synopses- so click away 😉

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53 thoughts on “5 for 5 – May Mini Reviews

  1. Bookstooge says:

    Ender’s Game:
    The following books are very different beasts, as they follow Ender as an adult and is more about Card’s life philosophy than just a SF story.
    If you want more like Ender’s Game, read Ender’s Shadow. It follows Bean and shadows Ender’s Game. I loved it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sarah Angleton says:

    I also have never had a strong desire to read more of the Ender series, though I liked the original. I’m also not a huge sci fi reader, but I love Card and have read him a lot. I don’t actually think Ender’s Game is his best work.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Sarah Angleton says:

        My favorite is Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus, because it’s sci fi that plays with history so beautifully, asking the question, what one even in all of human history might be changed to cause a better outcome for the world. It’s just a really interesting intellectual exercise and very well written. I also liked his Pathfinder series, though after the first one it got a little rough to try to follow for me, a person who doesn’t spend a ton of time with sci fi.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Christy Luis says:

    Great review of The Bluest Eye- it basically is a horror story 😦 Absolutely worth reading, though. Aaaand I saw the Ender’s Game movie, which kind of ruined the big “twist,” for me, so I’ve never been tempted to actually read the book! lol I know, practically sinful for a SFF reviewer! But I liked another book I read by the author, so maybe I can be forgiven 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

    I’ve seen the Romanovs around lately, I thought it was a new book. I guess it was just being rereleased under another publisher or something. Quite unfortunate that it wasn’t compelling. Seemed interesting. I do have Ender’s Game in my TBR. Quite curious now to pick it up some day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      I think it’s fairly new- it was published about a year ago I think? Yeah it was a shame, because I was very interested in the subject matter- it’s just the way that it was written was too dry for me. I didn’t take much away from it. But I think that’s a stylistic thing- if that kind of thing doesn’t bother you, you might like it. Awesome!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nicola @ Thoughts on Fantasy says:

    I also oddly never felt very compelled to read more in the Ender series, although I LOVED Ender’s Game. I think when I listened to the audiobook there was a taster for one of the other books at the end, but the characters were entirely different and I was a bit confused as to what was going on, so that probably didn’t help. Anyway, so glad you liked it, it was one of my first forays into science fiction too (I think Dune was the first classic sci-fi I read, and I wasn’t a huge fan, so was happy when I read Ender’s Game afterward!).

    Liked by 2 people

      • Nicola @ Thoughts on Fantasy says:

        Haha that’s funny we feel the same about Dune! It gets listed on every sci-fi must-read list. I understand its value and why it’s a science fiction classic… but I still just wasn’t into it! Did you do a review for Dune? I have a vague memory I might have seen a review of yours for it but perhaps I am imagining things or confusing it with another book.

        Liked by 1 person

        • theorangutanlibrarian says:

          haha yes!!! I know right!!! Yeah, I get it too… but I just wish there was more of a balanced view on it. I haven’t yet- haha probably a different book- though I’ve lost track of a lot of reviews I’ve done at this point, I know I haven’t done it yet cos it’s sitting on my (really really scarily long) list of books I still need to review 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  6. LizScanlon says:

    Sorry to see the Romanov’s book fell flat for you… you would think that with such an era and dynasty, the book would deliver on.. well.. everything 🙂

    I haven’t read Ender’s Game myself, but I recall checking the book out quite a whilke back and not being impresse with the blurb… well, the blurb is fine, but you know, in terms of what the book was about. Maybe I had an overload of similar topics from the current reading back then 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Yeah it was a shame because I am still interested in the time period. But the writing style was just not for me.
      Ah yes that’s fair- I wasn’t too excited to read it- especially since it sounded so run of the mill, but it was really well done, so I was pleasantly surprised 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • LizScanlon says:

        I think it would be a really good thing to keep in mind for authors- just because the era is great and there’s tons to write about, it doesn’t mean they don’t have to put in a bit of work to exectue and present it in a way that engages… interesting, note to self 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • theorangutanlibrarian says:

          haha yes, that is all so true. I also think if an author wants to write a book like this, that’s absolutely fine, but don’t market it as one of those “history for the masses” books- it just didn’t work as one of those (in my opinion)

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Zezee says:

    Oh maaann!! Yours is the second review I’ve seen that said The Romanovs is dry. Actually the first reviewer DNF’d it and all others I’ve seen are currently slowly plodding through it. I still want to try it though I might end up DNF’ing it.

    And it’s been such a long time since I’ve read Bluest Eye. I need to read/reread Morrison’s books. So far my favorite is Beloved.

    Liked by 2 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      hehehe me too!! I can understand that- since it wasn’t my first sci fi, I think I liked how it fitted into the genre and acts as a bit of a precursor to a lot of ideas. No- I haven’t yet- but I definitely will at some point 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      hahaha well I am a bananaholic! 😉 Ah that’s fair enough- I really struggled with it for years, cos frankly it bored me, but then I discovered that a lot of it was really interesting and now I love (some) of it as much as fiction! 😀 hehe I suppose it’s best to start with a subject that interests you most, cos I personally find it requires a bit more stamina to read non-fic (but that might just be me!)

      Like

  8. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    Mini reviews are a brilliant way to get through being behind on reviews! I might need to steal that idea in the future…

    I love Ender’s Game, but you’re right, I was not inspired to keep going after the book was done. Ender’s Game was originally a short story, and O.S. Card made it a full-length novel since he felt it was an important start to the rest of the series he was writing. I’ve been told it’s SUPER different than Ender’s Game and focused more on politics.

    I haven’t read any of the other books, but I do have The Bluest Eye on my TBR! I really should read more non-fiction, honestly. Baby steps, I guess. Great reviews!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      haha yes they are- oh please do- I love to read them just as much as I like to write them- I think they give a good snapshot of what people are upto in their reading and their thoughts on books 😀
      ahh that makes a lot of sense- I had no idea about any of that- that’s so interesting!
      Haha I know the feeling- I’ve only started reading non fiction in the last 2 years I’d say, so I definitely get it!! Thank you so much!!

      Liked by 1 person

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