Fiction

Books for the Wistful Season Mini Reviews #3

I loooooove autumn. I think I might have already told you that. Again and again, and… agaaaaaain. But there’s also a trend for books I tend to read in autumn. They’re usually slow and make you think. I’ve decided to make a list of this kind of books, and a lot of them coincide with what I’ve been reading lately! So I’ve decided to make it into a mini reviews post as well. Two birds with one stone!

Let me tell you a little bit in short about all of these books. Finding Baba Yaga is for you if you want to read more about women and finding yourself. The Innocent and Primrose Street or A Beautiful Place to Die is for those slow sunny or rainy days when the weather is shifting, but everything is the same, day in and day out, and you feel like you’ll always stay in this autumn. Emotions Explained with Buff Dudes will bring you that ray of sunshine and laughter when the weather’s too rainy. And A Year of Living Kindly is just for your soul. That last book is for nothing in particular, I just felt like I want to post a mini review of it! So there you go. Pick your read!

Finding Baba Yaga, ★★★★★ 5 stars
Finding Baba Yaga

I absolutely adored Finding Baba Yaga. It surprised me! Because I have never read a novel in verse before, and let me tell you, I am not a fan of poetry. It’s very hard to make me read poetry!

Despite that, I didn’t find this book to be pretentious or hard to understand. The verse didn’t feel complicated, instead, it made it a quick read that was easy to connect to. It’s about struggling with being understood and too controlled by your family – religious parents and being a woman in society in general. Not having any say in your life, and making a stand about it. As well as actually finding your own self, as well as your new place, your new family. It’s also about disappointment, love and being understood. It was a beautiful story, laced with modernized Russian mythology that was really a delight to read about. Very recommended!

I thank Tor.com for sending me a copy for review in exchange for my honest opinion. It doesn’t affect my opinion.

[ Shelve on Goodreads | Buy at Book Depository ]

The Innocent, ★★★★☆ 4 stars

The Innocent (Beneath the Alders, #1)

The Innocent is such a strange, slowly winding book. I can see a lot of current day readers possibly being bored with it because it was so slow – but I wasn’t. I loved it. The book is slow and comfortable, despite always running around a theme of a secret that the family keeps from the child. The mood of it contrasts so well with the safety of growing up in a rural town. You can’t place a lot of events at first, but they aren’t without meaning – they form a bundle of yarn, spun together, and merge in the end. You can see the bigger picture of seemingly unrelated events through a child’s eyes, and can’t help but interpret them as an adult. The book is made up of small story blocks, it’s more like a family saga with loads of descriptions and detail. It circles around the theme of keeping secrets in families, on the pretense of some people being too young to know them. In the end, I’m not entirely sure if I got what this book was about – but I did like the journey, and I would like to follow the characters through the sequels as well.

I thank Blue Moon Publishing for sending me a copy for review in exchange for my honest opinion. It doesn’t affect my opinion.

[ Shelve on Goodreads ]

Primrose Street, ★★★★☆ 4 stars

Primrose StreetPrimrose Street was much like The Innocent, but much darker. It’s also about the intertwined lives of a small rural town – but through a completely adult point of view, and not tied to just one person’s life – but rather the lives of a community, as a collective whole. The author shows us the flow of life of all the people living in the town, and how their lives intertwine – and they intertwine in the most unexpected ways, sometimes beautiful, sometimes even scandalous. It’s a study of human behavior and the secrets they keep and how the smallest decisions can sometimes affect multiple lives and change them completely. I can’t say the book was particularly sad or aimed at being so, I would rather say it was realistic – but one might come to agree that reality can be grim. Some of the situations in the book got me down with their sad reality of love, loss and ‘it’s just how it is’. Ultimately, the book could be set in any small neighbourhood or town – that’s what I found most interesting about it.

I thank Blue Moon Publishing for sending me a copy for review in exchange for my honest opinion. It doesn’t affect my opinion.

[ Shelve on Goodreads ]

A Beautiful Place to Die, ★★★☆☆ 3 stars

A Beautiful Place to DieA Beautiful Place to Die is the perfect progression from Primrose Street – but, as a short story collection, it’s got that vibe of strangeness that they always have. It’s mostly about morally grey situations. What is different from most short story collections, though, is that it’s interconnected. The interconnectedness was both a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing was that I think it’s absolutely awesome when the same characters appear in different stories at different points in their lives. They form storylines that are not central to each short story in question – and so, they make the book bigger than just the sum of all the stories. But there’s also a bad side to the characters reappearing. It’s because some of the stories are there just to be a connecting bit for the storyline of the character, but if they were to be read as stabdalones, you’d just look like the dude with question marks around his head, like the GIF:

A GIF of a guy turning his head in a questioning manner and smiling

That was me throughout parts of the book. So the stories absolutely have to be read in sequence, and that’s how it goes. But nevermind that, the story collection was a one-evening read for me, and it was engaging. There were a few stories that hit me right in the feels too. So if you like stories about the human condition, weirdness and morally confusing situations, definitely go for it.

I thank the author for providing a free copy in exchange to an honest review. It does not affect my opinion.

[ Shelve on Goodreads ]

Emotions Explained with Buff Dudes, ★★★★★ 5 stars

Emotions Explained with Buff Dudes: Owlturd ComixThis was just so good! Absolutely, absolutely read it! It will be sure to lift your autumn spirits. I had the best time reading this one, and it’s too bad it’s such a fast read. I could read an entire encyclopedia of these little cartoons! They’re incredibly relatable and funny. My favorite ones would perhaps be the Personality A and B type cartoons which are pretty accurate xD the whole book will take you probably only a half an hour or so to read, but you will probably be coming back to read it again and again. Something that should definitely be on your shelf, if you like cartoons like Sarah’s Scribbles or The Oatmeal and similar stuff.

I thank the publisher for giving me a free copy of the book in exchange to my honest review. This has not affected my opinion.

[ Shelve on Goodreads | Buy at Book Depository ]

A Year of Living Kindly, ★★★★★ 5 stars

A Year of Living Kindly: Choices That Will Change Your Life and the World Around You

I know I’ll be talking about A Year of Living Kindly more properly in a bigger post at some point, but since it’s been recently published, I just want to mention it at least in short now. This book talks about how, despite popular belief, kindness shouldn’t be considered a weakness, but rather a strength, and that it is more likely to bring you success in life rather than get you trampled on. What I loved about it the most is that it analyzes kindness outside of the religious viewpoints, so it works for absolutely anyone. A Year of Living Kindly is comprised out of separate topic chapters, at the end of which you will find actionable insights on what things you should focus on in your own day to day life to help you strive to be more kind. It also explains in detail just WHY kindness is WORTH IT, and why you should try to be more kind, and I mean truly kind to others – not just nice. This book was amazing and I was so happy to find good thoughts on a topic that nobody really talks about, but everybody desperately needs to start discussion on, and especially OUTSIDE the religious context (because that is often something that builds more barriers between people, rather than encourage positive change.) I recommend this book from the bottom of my heart and think everyone should read it.

I thank the publisher for sending me a copy for review in exchange for my honest opinion. It doesn’t affect my opinion.

[ Shelve on Goodreads | Buy at Book Depository ]

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead, ★★★☆☆ 3 stars

The Things We Learn When We're DeadDoes it sometimes happen to you that it seems everyone else loved the book, but you just… DON’T GET IT? Yup. This is it.

I feel like I’m missing out on something here. A lot of you wildly loved this book (there are so many good reviews!). I just… Half-didn’t get it. I guess in the end, this book wasn’t for me, because I found it pretty trigerring and hard to stomach. The author himself commented to me that this book was supposed to be light-hearted, and some of the other readers say that as well, but I just don’t get what’s light-hearted about having a sibling die in a way that could have been avoided, having some really regrettable misses in relationships and in the end killing oneself. I just… None of this is light-hearted. Not to me.

This is why it was really hard to read this book. I felt everything much too keenly and was rather inclined to weep, and not laugh. This book felt like it was soaked in regret and pain. I think that it’s only me who felt like that, reading it..? Despite that, I finally got into it, after I was halfway. (Considering it’s 501 pages? Halfway is a feat.) I have to say, the ending was nice indeed, but that still didn’t fix the entire experience for me. And I kind of feel bummed out about this. But I guess you can’t really always like and understand the things everyone else does, right?

I thank the author for sending me a copy for review in exchange for my honest opinion. It doesn’t affect my opinion.

[ Shelve on Goodreads | Buy at Book Depository ]

What kind of books do you like reading in autumn? Is it slow ones like me, or do you prefer more action to warm you up during the rainy season?

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

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Lydia Tewkesbury
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What a fantastic selection. They all certainly sound thought provoking! The first time I picked up a book written in verse I had my doubts as well but ended up loving it. It was YA (I know not primarily your thing), by an author called Sarah Crossan who writes beautiful but devastating (serious warning I am not over selling on the devastating) books in verse. A Year of Living Kindly sounds so lovely. It’s important to have values like that brought to the front of your mind every once and a while. I think a lot of people believe, in… Read more »
Sophie
Guest

You intrigue me with your Baba Yaga Evelina!

Northwoman
Guest

I’m glad you have found some great books. I have wanted to try Jane Yolen so I’m glad you loved it. Anne – Books of My Heart

Laura Thomas
Guest

So many books! And it sounds like you got much from them. Many of these are new to me. I tink it’s time to try some new authors!

Sarah
Guest

Thank you for sharing! I read thrillers in autumn. I am curious about A Year of Living Kindly, though!

CG @ Paper Fury
Guest

Unsurprisingly I have not read any of these but I’m SO intrigued by Finding Baba Yaga!! I really like novels in prose (I didn’t used to, but I’ve been converted?!). And I actually don’t really gravitate towards reading seasonally since most books I read are American therefore I always get hit with the wrong seasons. My shelves are filling with these cosy books and I’m like: It’s SUMMER. I’m sweating here. But some of my favourite autumn-y ones are definitely The Accident Season, The Raven Cycle (!!) (surprise!!) and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before!

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Caro @ bookcheshirecat
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Great Recommendations! I looove fall as well, so I’m always happy for some recs 🙂 I have to admit that I know none of the books you mentioned, but I want to check them out! I usually read spooky books in fall 😀

Sim @ Flipping Through the Pages
Guest

Well, I have not read any of these but Finding Baba Yaga sounds so much fun 😀 I love book sin verse. I recently read The Poet X and it was so good. And it is always a treat to read your mini-reviews 🙂
I don’t read the books as per season, well actually I never tried 😀