Review: As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka

I think the sure fire way of making me post a book review is if I got the book from Blogging For Books. I’ve been lucky that I like majority of my choices. Thank you for sending this my way and I hope to find more new-to-me reads through this platform.

There is something about thriller novels from Sweden, Finland, Norway, thereabouts that I absolutely love. They translate well into English. They keep the fear, tension, and suspense. Not that I can read Swedish or whatnot. It’s the setting that helps keep the integrity; it’s always cold, rough, snowy, almost desolate at times. I definitely felt that in the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson, which I devoured back-to-back. Sure the names and places were confusing but I just remembered how they were spelled and I was good to go. They do thrillers so well that I am looking forward to reading more of them in the future.

Speaking of Lisbeth and her cast of characters, this book is marketed as The Girl… for YA. Here, we have Lumikki Andersson, an independent high school girl who tries to keep her nose out of trouble but her curiosity gets the better of her. As she tries to get away from dramas of high school, she stumbles upon a pile of bloody cash hidden in her school’s darkroom. From there, she traces the source of the money and the forces working behind it.

It is very reminiscent of the Millennium trilogy in that it deals with gangs, corrupt government officials, sneaking into places in disguise, kidnapping, mistaken identities, and of course, killing. Yes, this is YA but it doesn’t shy away from the idea of killing innocents and graphically describing how it was done.

I loved Lumikki. She’s a bit one-dimensional and flat. Think Daria. (I can name more anime characters that better describe her but let’s stick with Daria.) But she’s bad ass. And she is a good person. Yes, her curious nature propels her to find answers but she agrees to help an acquaintance that she doesn’t really know and frankly, thinks low of. But she was game to dress up, sneak into a private mafia party, get chased in the snow and shot at… all in the name of solving the mystery and saving this female acquaintance. And don’t confuse this to be a fairy tale retelling. “Lumikki” is Snow White. The trilogy is unofficially called the Snow White trilogy. References of blood on snow are repeatedly mentioned throughout the book. But there are no fairy godmothers or dwarves in this book. But those references provided a perfect set-up for tension.

However, there’s this one point in the book where I’m not sure if they were queer-baiting or I just missed something. There is technically no romance in this book but there were mentions of a love interest for Lumikki. For almost a whole chapter, there were no pronouns used to describe this love interest and the descriptions of Lumikki at the beginning of the book make her seem rather androgynous. But then she begins to pine for this person who ends up being a guy after all. And yet until they mention his name, I was convinced that it was a girl. Eh.

Overall, it was a quick read. Less than 300 pages of all action. Lumikki is a great character and you just can’t help to root for her.

Rating: 3.5 stars. I am interested to acquire the rest of the trilogy.

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TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Spring Forward!

I really could use that one hour. For sleep, for reading, for watching two more anime episodes… guh. But at least I get home with the sun still up and high in the sky.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is the Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR.

I always say that I’m not much for TBRs but lately, I’ve been making lists of books that I definitely do want to get to this month, this season, this year. And actually writing them down so I won’t forget. That counts for a TBR, right? It makes me so excited; but not too excited. The reason why I never formally followed a TBR because I don’t want to feel boxed in like I’m obligated to read these titles just because in my head, writing them down means I’m committed. I ain’t that deep. LOL. But I’ve accumulated quite a few books that I really wanted lately. February was a huge month for me in terms of meeting authors and acquiring signed books. This list is basically by February book haul.

Spring starts on March 20 but it’s already upwards of 80s and 90s here in Southern California. I won’t have many upcoming releases on this list. Other than that, I own all of these titles. Man, what a difference. I wouldn’t be able to say that same time last year.

This list is in no particular order. I will definitely read these books but I can’t guarantee I’ll read all of them by the end of spring, June 20. We’ll see.

(I met the authors of these first four books in two days.)

  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I’m sure you’ve heard of this book already. It’s the most hyped book of the winter season. It is compared to The Night Circus. I loved that book. I’ve been hearing praise for Caraval left and right… except from people that I trust. Yikes. I saw how excited the author and the fans were for this book at the signing. The girls there were so passionate about it. But then I hear disappointments and DNF’ing from vloggers and bloggers that I trust. So… I don’t know. I still want to read it but I’ve heard some scary things.
  • Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones. I met her during her book launch the day before I met Stephanie Garber. I also have a special art print. It’s a loose retelling of Labyrinth and the way her fellow authors describe the writing, I really want to experience it myself. I love anything with music and I can’t wait to see how she put that into words.
  • A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi. I met her at the same event with S. Jae-Jones. I read The Star-Touched Queen last month and enjoyed it. (Today is the last day to pre-order this book and receive a perk.) I love her energy! I also love how she incorporated the Indian culture in her book. It was gorgeous. I already pre-ordered this and hopefully, I can get to it as soon as I receive it. (Release date: 3/23/2017)
  •  The Young Elites by Marie Lu. Rounding out the three authors. Yes, it was a very fun night. I absolutely love Marie Lu’s writing. I then managed to acquire signed copies of this trilogy. I loved Legend and I heard nothing but good things about this one. She has a new series coming out this year. I hope to read that too. Ah, I just love her.

[I realized that I have trouble starting (another) series without finishing the one I started before that. I did finish two series lately: Shades of Magic by VE Schwab and Orange by Ichigo TakanoSo I guess I can start some new ones now!]

  • As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka. I received this from Blogging for Books. I have 90 days to read it so I guess it’ll definitely fall into my Spring reads. It’s a thriller and that’s all I need to know. I’ve glanced at some reviews and they are pretty positive so I would like to go into this blindly.
  • A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro. I might read this next, after I finish Battle Royale. There’s a story behind this — I already bought a copy from Target. About a month after, I saw a signed first edition paperback copy at that same Target. I bought it and planned to return my unsigned one with the newer receipt. But then I just decided to pass it along to someone else who might like it also. I saw the book trailer at Target, yep the same one, and I got intrigued. The second book just came out so we’ll see how this goes.
  • Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry. I have all the books in this series. I told myself I will go through all of them last year but I only managed to read the first one. I enjoyed it so much and I’m definitely ready for more. I’m not really a “seasonal” reader so I’ll still read this in the middle of a park lush with trees and green grass. XD
  • The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. Seriously, I’ve been wanting to start this trilogy for years. Ever since it came out. Now I have all three so there’s not reason not to marathon this, right? I honestly don’t know much about this trilogy apart from it’s about a pianist. Or there’s something about a pianist. That’s all. You got me.
  • Another Episode S/0 by Yukito Ayatsuji. This is a companion to Another. It is about Misaki Mei and her experiences with a ghost. Really, any continuation to Another, I will inhale it.
  • Loop by Koji Suzuki. This is the 3rd book in the Ring series. I loved Ring and Spiral. I actually wanted to read this in February but things got in the way. I want to hopefully get to this book this month. I wanted to read one Japanese novel per month this year and I already missed February.

That’s my list. I must stay, I’m genuinely excited to read all of these books. Hopefully, I get to them. Follow me on Goodreads to find out!