Quote of the Day

The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart , and all they can do is stare blankly.

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Quote of the Day

“Where are the people?” resumed the little prince at last. “It’s a little lonely in the desert…” “It is lonely when you’re among people, too,” said the snake.”

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Top 5 Wednesday: Authors I’d Want to Write Like

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Lainey, every Wednesday you get to list out your top 5 of a selected topic. Read more about this on the Goodreads group.

Well to be frank, being able to write like any kind of author would be amazing. Since I am no writer, anything would be an improvement.

Still, when I read, some stories are interesting and entertaining, and then there are some that have an ability to change your whole perspective about the world. The suck you in this magical world of fiction and do not let go long after you are finished with a book.

Although I respect most of the authors, there are some people that make me wonder ‘how is it possible to write like this’?


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J. K. Rowling. Let’s be honest. this lady changed so many lives. If you were lucky enough to grow up with Harry Potter, you know that nothing will ever compare. Rowling brought us magic and made the journey from childhood to adulthood a magnificent experience. Who wouldn’t want to have her ability to bring so much happiness to the world?

 

 

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Amy Harmon is my latest obsession. Her writing is incredible and her stories – magnificent. Some of her books that I’ve read are my absolute favourites, and some are just good. Yet every single story written by this lady is filled with magic. Her voice is hopeful, it always makes my heart ache, and makes me believe that magic exists in the real world. There aren’t many authors that can make a reader feel like that.

 

A Darker Shade final for Irene

Victoria Schwab is an amazing storyteller. Her world building is so real; her characters imperfectly human; and the storylines complex and heart-breaking. All the books that I’ve read by her are so different, yet all left me with major book hangovers. Plus, Shades of Magic series made me feel two things that I never do when I finish a series. First, I really wanted to visit the world that has been created. And second, I wanted more. I usually prefer series that end sooner rather than later. This one was my only exception. Any writer that has an ability to make me want more is incredible.

 

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Renee Ahdieh’s writing is like music. People sometimes ask me ‘What does it mean, a beautifully written book?’ I instantly recommend them to read anything by Ahdieh. Her sentences just flow, it is like a melody, soothing and breath-taking. Although her ability to craft characters and plot complex storylines is nothing other than brilliant, it is her ability to write that steals the show.

 

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Colleen Hoover. Since this list’s purpose is to admire writing skills, Hoover has to make the list. Although I find quite a few of her stories problematic, and I rarely like her books after I finish them, this lady can definitely write. Every book of hers that I read demands 100% of my attention. I am always thoroughly engaged, and with every single book, she makes me feel so many emotions. I am always in awe of Hoover’s ability to make her readers feel. And although I am sometimes not a fan of the storylines, I always admire her writing. Plus, my favourite book is written by her, so she’s on the list.

 


So here are my top 5 authors whose writing I admire so much. Let me know your top pics, and whether any of my favourites made your list.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Winter TBR

Another Tuesday has come and it is time to do another Top Ten post. Just so you all know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, bloggers list their top ten for a selected topic. This week’s theme is Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR list.

Oh boy, my TBR list is looking pretty intimidating, especially since I haven’t had time to read as much as I used to before, yet I keep finding the time to add new books to the list. Nevertheless, here are my very top ten books that I want to read this winter.


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Turtles all the Way Down by John Green

Although I think that John Green is a bit overrated, I feel like I need to read this one just so I could talk about current book trends.


Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Meyer’s stories are always highly entertaining and I thing this book will be pure fun.


The Cider House Rules by John Irving

I have started reading this book a couple years ago while I was on holiday, but lost access to it when I came back. I feel like it is finally time to finish this monstrosity because I know this is the kind of book that I’ll absolutely love.


Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

I have been seeing this series a lot, and although I don’t know much about it, I am definitely curious.


The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

I feel like I really like reading romance books in the winter, and I really liked Kulti, so this one is definitely on my list.


The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

I wanted to read this book for ages, so hopefully I’ll do it this winter.


Infinity + One by Amy Harmon

This year, I have realised that I absolutely adore Amy Harmons writing and storytelling abilities, so I’ll probably try to read all of her books. If you do not know who Amy Harmon is, go and read her books!


Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

I have no idea why I haven’t read this one yet as I’ve heard so many amazing things about it.


The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

I have taken this book on so many trips, yet I’ve never started it. I think I am ready to reed it now.


Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

This is probably the one book that I really don’t want to read, yet I feel I have to. First, I feel like I invested too much time in the series to quit now. Second, this series is so incredibly popular that I just want to be able to discuss it, even if I can only express anger and disappointment. I really do not get why so many people are obsessed with Maas’s books, they just leave me exhausted. I guess I like torturing myself. I mean, I read Fifty Shades of Grey just so I would be able to argue its stupidity.


So here is my list. Let me know what books are on your winter TBR.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’m Thankful For

Ok, I think after more than a year, I have finally figured out how to balance work and blogging, yay! So I am doing a TTT today!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, bloggers list their top ten for a selected topic. This week’s theme is Top Ten Books I’m Thankful For.

Although I am most thankful for books in general and there are many special ones to choose from, I am going to list out the ones that affected my life in some way.


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Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

For obvious reasons, it changed my life and made my childhood and adolescence truly special.


Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

It was the first classic that I was completely obsessed with, and after so many years of reading it, this book still remains one of my top 5.


Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I don’t know why, but for many years I have thought that Fantasy genre was just a guilty pleasure and fantasy books (*cough twilight*) were stupid. This book made me fall in love with fantasy.


In the Stillness by Andrea Randall

Again, I have thought that romance genre was silly and unnecessarily dramatic. This book has toughed me so deeply that it revaluated my love for reading completely.


Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The book itself was an addictive entertaining read. It was not the quality of the book why I’m really thankful for it and for the whole series. It brought me joy while I was suffering through my dissertation.


The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

I read the book after I found out that the musical is the best single thing to happen to this world. I was really lonely and this book made me weep and then healed me.


It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

This has to be my favourite book of all time. It had changed my view on a few really important issues, has opened my eyes about my life, and just really affected me deeply.


The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

This is the first instalment of a truly magnificent story. Also, I read this series while I was on the most amazing holiday in my life.


A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I find this book and this sereis as a whole so special to me as a) it got me through a really bad period of my life and b) it was the first magical world after Harry Potter where I would love to go.


From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

This has to by my favourite book of the year and probably my favourite WW2 book of all time.


I hope you enjoyed reading. Let me know what are the books you are most thankful for?

Quote of the Day

“Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.”

-Albert Camus

Bright Side by Kim Holden

Book Review

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Ratings

3 stars

Plot: 5/10

Setting: 6/10

Writing style: 6/10

Character building: 7/10

Enjoyment: 6/10

Overall: 6/10

My Opinionated Review

Bright Side is an emotionally gripping book that shows the importance of loving life even when it is difficult to find a reason to. It is a story about life through the eyes of one special girl who finds a silver lining in every situation. The book is beautiful, sad, unfair, and real to the core.

This book is written in two perspectives, although for the majority of the story we get to see everything through the eyes of Bright Side – the heroine of the story. This contemporary romance features extremely delightful characters, concentrating on the simple beauty of love and romance, but never putting it above family and friendship. Kate, or Bright Side, is a girl who moves away from California, leaving her best friend Gus behind, who is on the road to becoming a rock star, and is never forgotten throughout the book. She moves to Minnesota to attend college in hopes of becoming a special needs teacher. There, she meets many people who are in need of this girl’s help to face their demons, get out of their comfort zone, and to take chances. One of the people that she meets is Keller, a guy who instantly develops a connection with Kate, but who hides some important details of his past. But secrets surround Bright Side as well, and the reader embarks on the journey of finding some painful elements behind Kate’s world of sunshine and rainbows.

There are a lot of great things that I can say about this book. First, it is not a sappy epic love story. I thought that the portrayal was very realistic, characters’ connections were beautiful, and the pasts that they were hiding – emotional but believable. I really liked the romance in this book, especially since it was not the main focus. A lot of time was dedicated to friendships, the fact that I absolutely loved. This book featured a truly unique and delightful connection between two people in quite a platonic sense (although not fully). Nevertheless, it was delightful to experience it. Gus and Kate’s friendship was the core of this book, and more connections like this should exist, both in fiction and in real life.

Moreover, the main character Bright Side was just wonderful. Her easy-going persona, addictive positivity, chatty personality and strong opinions made her one of the most delightful female character that I have read about. She was much different from the overly used innocent good girl, Bright Side really had a strong personality.

I really liked the story behind the book and even shed a few tears in the last couple of chapters. I thought that the story was done wonderfully, making the reader connect to the characters, and then breaking their hearts. I really think this book is worth reading, since it does make you care.

However, I did find quite a few really mediocre sides of this story that are impossible to overlook. First, I did not think that the length of the book was really necessary. I get that the author tried to make the reader care about the characters before introducing some emotional themes, and focusing on so many different relationships needed quite a lot of time. Nevertheless, I feel like this book got a bit boring at times, and shortening it would have worked in favour of connecting the reader to the story even more.

Secondly, I just did not get the reason behind introducing the dual POV until the very end. In the first half of the book, we only got one chapter in Keller’s perspective, and I did not understand why it existed at all. You either do two perspectives or one, but not one unnecessary chapter in between one character’s perspective. I did get the point of it at the end of the book, but not before.

Thirdly, the overused thrope just really killed the book for me. There were so many different directions that the author could have taken, so the big cliff-hanger came as annoyance rather than a shock. I would have loved to see more concentration on Kate’s past, because all the traumatic experiences seemed to be brushed away under the rug.

And lastly, even I know that I said that I really liked the main character, again I find a problem with her being a little bit too perfect for my liking. I want flaws and complexity, not rainbows and sunshine.

All the negatives aside, I still think it was a decent story that is superior to quite a number of books in this genre. It is emotional, hopeful and really heart-breaking. It concentrates on love, and friendship, and family, and loving yourself. It is a beautiful story, even though I wished some elements were a bit altered.

Book Playlist

  1. Bright Eyes – First Day of My Life
  2. Ben Harper – She’s Only Happy in the Sun
  3. The XX – Angels
  4. Sophie Zelmani – Ready
  5. Birdy – Skinny Love

 

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Book Review

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Ratings

4 stars

Plot: 8/10

World Building: 8/10

Writing Style: 9/10

Character Building: 8/10

Enjoyment: 9/10

Overall: 8/10

My Opinionated Review

An intriguing story with an excellent balance between fantasy and politics, a promising start to the series.

The Winner’s Curse is a fantasy romance with typical structure, expected characters, the romance storyline that everyone has experienced one too many times, and despite all the cliques, everything working out just perfectly. It makes the reader fall in love with the characters, be intrigued with such an unusual fantasy world, where the main issues are incredibly close to the real world, and see boring storyline grow into an incredible plot, making the reader anticipate to read the next book instantly after finishing this one.

The main story is quite simple, although it does deal with quite a sensitive topic – slavery. In this world, the book starts 10 years after the war between Heranni and the Valorians. Valorians won, enslaving all the Heranni people that survived. The main character Kestrel, the general’s who won the war daughter, does not share the ideals her father has and refuses to enlist to the army as her true passion is playing the piano. However, one coincidental day, she stumbles upon slaves’ auction, and the slave’s rebellious behaviour blended with the promise of his ability to sing, end in Kestrel purchasing the slave for the incredibly high price. This one action starts a complicated journey of love, betrayal, and war between the duty for your people and desires of the heart.

I have heard quite a lot of mixed opinions prior to reading this novel. I was quite worried about this story being too clique or too romantic, because I could not help myself and have read way too many reviews beforehand. Therefore, I had quite low expectations when going into the book expecting it to be filled with romance. However, I needn’t worry, the book actually surprised me in the best possible way. Was it filled with cliques? Definitely. The whole premise of the story is very expected, and road the story was going to take was very obvious. We have a typical forbidden love story, where characters, despite from having so many differences and fighting for a completely different cause, fall for each other. Cheesy, right? Yet I loved every minute of it. It might be that I am a complete sucker for romance, or that my low expectations ended up working to my advantage, but this book just gave me all the feels.

I saw so many good aspects in this book. First, the writing style. It is obvious that the author is a very skilled storyteller, and her rich language made the journey incredibly pleasurable. Everything floats so wonderfully, there aren’t too many descriptions or dialogues, and the mystery is kept at the right level, always giving insight into both of the main characters’ thoughts when it is necessary. Secondly, the idea of the book. I absolutely loved the fantasy novel without any magic. The author has created the world much resembling our own, she was bold enough to write about the horrors of slavery, and somehow, the lack of magic and the realness of the problems, just made the story much more magical. And although I did not find many shocking revelations along the way, I believe more surprises will come in the later books, and this kind of beginning was needed.

Thirdly, I will just say it, I absolutely adored the romance. Although there was quite a lot of time dedicated to the interactions between the two main characters, I did not think that there was any need to cut the romance. Actually, I thought that this was quite a perfect blend with the book being the fantasy romance, yet the romantic plot never overshadowing the main storyline. I loved the forbidden angle, loved all the angst, and I can honestly say that Kestrel and Arin might be becoming one of my favourite fictional couples.

However, the factor that makes me want to praise the author the most for is her male character. Having read quite a number of fantasy books with the main protagonist being a young female, I have seen many strong heroines over the years. However, more often than not, I find the male characters a bit lacking. Usually, I feel like they are mere love interests without their own storylines, used only for the purposes of romance, and often, comic relief. However, in this case, Arin was an incredible character, with his storyline being even more important than Kestrel’s. I never felt like Kestrel was being overshadowed, I was just joyful to finally read about an interesting male character, who was not snarky and flirtatious, but a true hero of his own people. I know I cannot wait to continue with this story, because that ending was just incredible, promising much more to come for the main characters.

I completely understand why many people would see this book as one of many in this kind of genre. As well as I absolutely agree with the ones that loved the book. I am just glad that I decided to pick this book up, as it delivered fantastic world, with incredibly strong characters, and the potential to go far. Honestly I have no idea which direction the story will take, and I am so excited to find out.

If you love romance, or you love fantasy (ideally both), I recommend picking this series up.

 

Book Playlist

  1. Roo Panes – Know Me Well
  2. Dum Dum Girls – Coming Down
  3. Deerheart – Breakdown
  4. Ross Copperman – Holding on and Letting Go
  5. The Sorry Kisses – Abandon Ship

 

London life is busy, but I will try to bring blogging back

I have been saying to myself that I should get back to blogging for so long that it seems I have forgotten my reasons altogether. I guess moving to London and starting a full time job does not leave enough spare time for everything that I would like to be doing. Although I don’t miss Uni even a little bit and would not want to go back to the life of a student, I do miss having the time to do so many things that I’ve liked (I procrastinated a lot and avoided my deadlines on a daily basis, that is probably why Uni has not been such an amazing experience).

I keep telling myself that I am too busy, but somehow I find the time to waste hours and hours on silly television shows, therefore I keep thinking that my excuses do not have any ground, it is only laziness. I guess the busy big city life and the new challenges that came with starting my new job did not leave much space for my hobbies. Or maybe there was no need to escape anymore, since I have found a place I feel perfectly content at.

Still, lately I have found myself missing the calm that writing would bring, or maybe it is the space where I can express my love for books and actually see others do the same. With moving around quite a lot and not being a social butterfly, it is quite difficult to find the people who share your passions. Even in London.

This time, I am making myself a promise that I will try to blog at least once a week, and I hope that I will actually be able to keep it. My New Years resolution, although a bit belated.

Today I am going to a book event – I will get to meet V. E. Schwab – an author whose books became my favourites of the year. I got to love London for these kinds of opportunities, even though none of my friends will come with me. I am still really excited, and will consider this event as my official coming back to blogging party.

If you happen to be around Piccadilly today and going to an evening with this amazing author, come say hi.

Hopefully, my wallet will not suffer too much today, and I will be inspired to find more time for reading, writing and blogging.

 

 

Poetry Sunday: The Tyger by William Blake

Tyger Tyger, burning bright, 

In the forests of the night; 

What immortal hand or eye, 

Could frame thy fearful symmetry? 


In what distant deeps or skies. 

Burnt the fire of thine eyes? 

On what wings dare he aspire? 

What the hand, dare seize the fire? 


And what shoulder, & what art, 

Could twist the sinews of thy heart? 

And when thy heart began to beat, 

What dread hand? & what dread feet? 


What the hammer? what the chain, 

In what furnace was thy brain? 

What the anvil? what dread grasp, 

Dare its deadly terrors clasp! 


When the stars threw down their spears 

And water’d heaven with their tears: 

Did he smile his work to see? 

Did he who made the Lamb make thee? 


Tyger Tyger burning bright, 

In the forests of the night: 

What immortal hand or eye, 

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?