This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) by Victoria Schwab

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The world is full of monsters, monsters that kill brutally, sly ones and monsters that can steal your soul with a song.

The city of Verity is divided in two factions: on one side the Harker’s that have made a pact with the monsters and provide safety for money and favours, on the other the Flynn’s, who try to kill the monsters and provide a safe life to people.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the two heirs, Kate would like to be ruthless like her father, August instead is a monster and would only want to be human.

Kate and August meet at school, and soon they are involved in plots bigger than them: someone is trying to break the truce between the two parts of the city, and what’s better than kill an heir and blame the other one? Kate and August ends up running from the city without certainty on who is to trust of their families.

I already read and loved the Shades of Magic series and Vicious by the same author, both adult books, This Savage Song is a YA novel where fantasy and adventure meets, engaging and fast paced (maybe it’s not as good as Shades of Magic, but I dont’ complain).


* This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab ★★★★☆

*I read this book in english

How to build a girl by Caitlin Moran

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England, 1990. Johanna Morrigan is fourteen years old and belongs to a weird but nice family: her father lives with a disability check and hopes to get rich with his music (that maybe is not so good), her mother gave birth to a couple of twins (that adds up to the other children, Johanna, Krissi and Lupin) and is going through a period of depression.

Johanna is smart, loves music and books and has a talent for writing, but her character and appearance do not make her attractive for other people of her age. Her worst moment however is during a local television show, and from that time she decides to build herself again and become memorable.

How to build a girl? By changing the name, then orienting the musical taste and improving the appearance (hairs, make up and the way of dressing), and then by finding a job where the girl’s skill is appreciated. Johanna so becomes Dolly Wilde, who works for a musical magazine – and who writes reviews, hardcore smoker and open to any kind of sexual experience.

How to build a girl is a novel about the coming of age; it features an independent main character – even if I honestly do not share the most of her choices – who slowly becomes aware of the society around her and understands better how to fit in. Johanna has an original but realistic family, two parents who love her and want the best for her future e a bunch of complicated brothers.

The novel is overall nice, but I did not particularly like the main character – and the fact it’s difficult to relate weights on the whole reading experience – and the novel does not provide particular ideas or original choices in its development.


* How to build a girl by Caitlin Moran ★★☆☆☆½

*I read this book in english

The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

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La famiglia di Tom Mackee si è disgregata: dopo la morte dello zio in un attentato su un treno londinese, il padre si è rifugiato nell’alcolismo, allontanando da sè moglie e figlia e abbandonando a sua volta Tom. L’altra sorella del padre, Georgie, deve ancora accettare la gravidanza dovuta al rapporto indefinito con l’ex compagno.

Tom da parte sua ha affrontato la situazione abbandonando la scuola e rifugiandosi nelle droghe, allontanando gli amici storici.

The Piper’s Son racconta quello che succede dopo: il ricomporre i cocci, l’affrontare le paure e il ricostruire una famiglia che sembrava persa così come le amicizie di un tempo. Il romanzo alterna i punti di vista di Tom e Georgie e risulta in una storia emozionante in cui la caratterizzazione dei personaggi e la loro evoluzione è ottimamente resa.

Mi è piaciuto molto e l’ho trovato molto ben scritto, l’unica difficoltà è, nella prima parte, capire relazioni tra i personaggi e ricostruire alcuni avvenimenti passati essenziali alla storia.

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Tom Mackee‘s family is broken: after his uncle died in an explosion on a London train, Tom’s father found comfort in booze, pushing away his wife and his daughter, and soon he abandoned Tom. The other sister of his father, Georgie, has instead to elaborate his brother’s death and her pregnancy due to her undefined relation with her ex.

On his side, Tom has faced the whole situation leaving school and making himself lost in drugs, and leaving behind his old friends.

The Piper’s Son tells what happens later: putting together everything, facing fears and reconstructing a family that seemed lost, as well as old friendships. The novel is told by the POV of Tom and Georgie, and is an emotional story where characters and their evolution is wonderfully described.

I liked reading it and I think it’s beautifully written, the only difficulty is, in the first part, understanding the relations between characters and reconstructing past events that are crucial to the story.

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The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta ★★★☆½

[ARC] Travelling Sprinkler by Nicholson Baker

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Paul è un poeta che ha perso lo stimolo per scrivere poesie, e preferirebbe comporre canzoni. A questa incertezza su che attività intraprendere si aggiunge la separazione dalla fidanzata storica, Roz, che gli rimane amica.

Il romanzo, molto bello e scorrevole, segue il flusso di coscienza di Paul che racconta in prima persona quello che fa, gli incontri dei Quaccheri che frequenta, la sua amicizia con Roz, le sue opinioni su poesie e canzoni, dalla musica moderna a Debussy.

Il titolo fa riferimento a quei sistemi di irrigazione automatici che possono viaggiare sul prato, e che riflettono la sensazione di Paul di essere senza un obiettivo preciso.

I FEEL LIKE a travelling sprinkler that’s gotten off the hose. I don’t know where I’m going. I’m unprepared.

Il romanzo sembra parlare in modo scoordinato di mille argomenti, ma in fondo parla di come cercare di essere felici, in armonia con i propri desideri e con le persone che ci circondano.

Ringrazio l’editore per avermi fornito la copia necessaria per stendere questa recensione.

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Paul is a poet and he has lost his love for poetry, he instead would prefer to write music and songs. To this  crisis about what to do in his life it sums the breaking up with his girlfriend Roz, who becomes only a friend.

The novel, very good and nice to read, follows Paul’s stream of consciousness. He tells in first person what he does, the Quaker meeting he attends to, his friendship with Roz, his opinion on poetry and songs, from modern music to Debussy.

The title refers to the travelling sprinkler used in gardening, and it refers to Paul’s uncertainty feeling about his purposes.

I FEEL LIKE a travelling sprinkler that’s gotten off the hose. I don’t know where I’m going. I’m unprepared.

The novel seems to be talking chaotically about a lot of things, but it tells about being happy, and in harmony with ourselves and the people around us.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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Travelling Sprinkler by Nicholson Baker ★★★★☆

Harrowing the Dragon by Patricia A. McKillip

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Harrowing the Dragon è una raccolta di racconti principalmente sul genere fantasy, ma con presenze di retelling e racconti di altri generi.

Della stessa autrice avevo già letto The forgotten beasts of Eld in cui avevo apprezzato sia ambientazione che stile narrativo. Anche questi racconti sono un buon esempio dell’abilità dell’autrice nel descrivere sia ambientazioni (come l’inverno nel primo racconto, The Harrowing of the Dragon of Hoarsbreath) che concetti astratti (la musica di A Matter of Music), e nel creare in generale storie evocative (la malinconica ambientazione di Lady of the Skulls).

Tra i racconti più godibili i tre già citati, i divertenti A Troll and Two Roses e Baba Yaga and the Sorcerer’s Son, eleganti e ironiche fiabe moderne e The Fellowship of the Dragon, più classico ma sempre con un tocco particolare.

In tema di retelling risultano molto ben riusciti The Snow Queen (dall’omonimo racconto) e The Lion and the Lark, bellissimo racconto che riprende la fiaba classica La bella e la bestia. Toad riprende la storia del principe ranocchio (versione dei Grimm) dal punto di vista del principe: bello ma sicuramente meno riuscito dei due precedenti.

Star-Crossed prende il via direttamente da Shakespeare, e segue le indagini per comprendere la morte di Romeo e Giulietta, un compito effettivamente complesso se non si è il lettore onnisciente.

Non tutti i racconti sono allo stesso livello a mio parere, ma è una pecca condivisa da ogni raccolta: Ash, Wood, Fire; The Stranger; Transmutations; The Witches of Junket; Voyage into the Heart non mi hanno lasciato un particolare ricordo.

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Harrowing the Dragon is a collection of tales that belong mainly to the fantasy genre, with hint of retellings and a few other themes.

By the same author I read also The forgotten beasts of Eld of which I liked both the setting and the narrative style.  This collection is also an example of Patricia A. McKillip’s skill in describing settings (like the winter in the first tale, The Harrowing of the Dragon of Hoarsbreath) and abstract ideas (the music in A Matter of Music), and in general in creating evocative stories (the melancholic setting of Lady of the Skulls).

Among the best tales there are the three already referenced, then the funny A Troll and Two Roses and Baba Yaga and the Sorcerer’s Son, refined and ironical modern fairy tales, and The Fellowship of the Dragon, that follows some rules of the classic fairy tale but with a hint of modern.

Concerning retellings I liked The Snow Queen and The Lion and the Lark, beautiful tale from the classic tale The beauty and the beast. Toad takes form from The frog prince (Grimm version), and shows the story from the prince point of view, it is overall nice, but the former are better.

Star-Crossed tells the story of the investigation about Romeo and Giulietta murders, quite a puzzle except for the omniscient reader.

The other tales are in my opinion not good as these I talked about, but it’s hard to find a collection and like all the tales. Here Ash, Wood, Fire; The Stranger; Transmutations; The Witches of Junket; Voyage into the Heart did not leave me a particular emotion – memory.

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Harrowing the Dragon by Patricia A. McKillip ★★★★☆

[ARC] Vox by Matteo De Longis

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Vox è una raccolta di immagini e grafiche dell’autore che rimandano al tema della musica; non è quindi una graphic novel ma un art book.

Le immagini – definite, coloratissime e decisamente ben costruite – rimandano a strumenti e accessori musicali (il titolo stesso è un rimando a una nota marca di amplificatori) e hanno generalmente come protagoniste ragazze affascinanti e sensuali.

Il formato del libro in carta è quello di un disco in vinile, e sicuramente è più spettacolare della versione digitale che ho sotto mano io.

Ringrazio l’editore per avermi fornito la copia necessaria per stendere questa recensione.

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Vox is a collection of images and graphics made by the author that are related to music; it’s not a graphic novel but an art book.

The images – defined, colorful and well constructed – are about musical instruments and accessories (the title itself reminds to an amplifier brand) and the main characters are fascinating and sensual girls.

The hardcover format is like a vinyl disk, and it’s surely more spectacular than the digital edition I am reviewing.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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 Vox by Matteo De Longis ★★★★

Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin

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I recently read a nice novel – for the review see below – that I discovered being a retelling of a novel written by a most famous author.

About retelling I already said something: they are novels or stories that come from something already existing but are inserted in a different context, in this specific case the original story is contextualize in the modern age and the main character are a girl and a boy who want to become famous rock stars.

The original novel, if you are curious – that I did not read but I will soon – is Persuasion by Jane Austen.

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