Rachel's Corner

Prof. Rachel Selenia, pr_rch, Hufflepuff

I'm back, with a few more book reviews. Hopefully you will find one or more of these books nice reads.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Genre and Themes: high school, romance, friends, family-centered

First Published: 2013

Fangirl Cover

Cath is a pretty normal teenager who is a huge fan of Simon Snow. People around her would probably say she's obsessed, but they just don't get her. To her, Simon Snow isn't just a character in a fantasy series, he's her world. She's one of the most popular writers of Simon Snow fanfiction and she's on a deadline to finish her story before the final part of the official series is published. But then, high school life comes in the way. This is a story about family crisis, making friends, first love and growing up.

I don't know about you, but I was immediately intrigued when I learned that the fantasy series in this book was inspired by Harry Potter. I'm not a frequent reader of fanfiction (to be honest I haven't really read any fanfiction at all) but I have friends who read and write it. That's why I was interested in reading a book that takes the topic seriously, from the fanfiction writer's point of view. And I think it was well done.

The Secret Ways of Perfume by Cristina Caboni

Original Title: Il sentiero dei profumi

Genre and Themes: contemporary, romance, feel-good

First Published:2014

The Secret Ways of Perfume

Elena Rossini has a gift. Just from the scent, she can tell what ingredients a perfume is made of. This also gives her an advantage in the art and business of perfumery - an art that's been passed down through generations in Elena's family. However, Elena doesn't want to go in the footsteps of her ancestors. She tries to leave her past behind, but she soon finds herself in the perfumery business again.

This is a lovely book. The setting is Italy and France, and the story and the writing both are beautiful. I borrow and read a lot of books but there are only a few that I want to buy afterwards - this is one of them. A true feel-good book definitely worth reading!

The Martianby Andy Weir

Genre and Themes:science fiction

First Published:2011

The Martian

Astronaut Mark Watney finds himself stranded on Mars after his crew is forced to leave the planet during a sandstorm. They believe he's dead and have to go back to the Earth, abandoning their mission. Meanwhile, Mark has to find a way to survive alone on Mars, make contact with the Earth, and hope that someone will be able to rescue him.

This is a good sci-fi story, well-written with good amounts of both suspense and dry humour. Sometimes there are large blocks of scientific details, and some people might find that a bit tedious. I mostly found it interesting, and thought it made the story more believable. There's also a movie, but I haven't seen it. The book is good enough though, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a bit of science fiction now and then.