Posted in Rant

Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery

emily of new moon Emily Starr never knew what it was to be lonely—until her beloved father died. Now Emily’s an orphan, and her mother’s snobbish relatives are taking her to live with them at New Moon Farm. She’s sure she won’t be happy. Emily deals with stiff, stern Aunt Elizabeth and her malicious classmates by holding her head high and using het quick wit. Things begin to change when she makes friends: with Teddy, who does marvelous drawings; with Perry, who’s sailed all over the world with his father yet has never been to school; and above all, with Ilse, a tomboy with a blazing temper. Amazingly, Emily finds New Moon beautiful and fascinating. With new friends and adventures, Emily might someday think of herself as Emily of New Moon.

The Anne of Green Gables series has been one of my favorites heroines since I was a little girl. Anne was so dreamy, imaginative, and so positive. For the longest time, I also believed L.M. Montgomery, the author of this series, had not written any larger works besides Anne. Now, I knew she had written Chronicles of Avonlea, but I did not think she had created other little girls with quaint, lovely villages. Thus, when I discovered that she had (thank you Bookstagram!) I snatched them up as quickly as I could.

When I finally made up my mind to read Emily’s trilogy, I was scared that she would be too similar to Anne or too different. Emily is her own person; her own, loveable, spunky, and a bit proud person.

Emily Bryd Starr is an imaginative and nature-loving girl like Anne is, but she is also proud (but not too proud), straight forward, and courageous. Emily inhabits Fairyland most of the time and the Real World at others. When adults and other children attempt to tell her to be normal and not ‘so queer,’ she asks why in earnest for she also likes to know things. When others ridicule her, her little soul rises up and shows her adversaries that she is serious about her words, her poetry, and her stories. Emily, in short, is full of courage, full of hope, and full of love.

Her new family at New Moon is excellent in the terms that she has discipline and order instilled through Aunt Elizabeth and encouragement and indulgence in Aunt Lara. A ‘good cop, bad cop’ routine that allows Emily to grow up healthy in body, mind, and soul. Her other family members are a mix of mean and rude, understanding and kind, and everything in-between. They allow for adventures and misadventures that shape Emily’s character.

Perhaps, one of the things that I enjoyed about this book ——besides Emily and her great personality—is how the idea of Hope and Love are shown through the characters. Their words, their actions, their thoughts. Emily shows great amounts of Love for those lucky enough to gain her affection and those who love her show the many different ways one can love. Easy and simple, stiff and true, shallow and in-the-moment, deeply and sweet.

The novel, Emily of New Moon, is great if you want to be reminded of the magical nature of words and their power to touch one’ s soul; as well as an inspirational and endearing story of a girl as she attempts to follow her dream and make both her dead father and her new family proud.

 

 

Posted in Review

The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

The_Hidden_Oracle My father’s voice still rings in my ears.

Can you believe Zeus blames me for the gods’ battle with Gaea? Just because the earth goddess duped one of my progeny—Octavian—into plunging the Greek and Roman demigods into a civil war that nearly destroyed human civilization. I ask you, how was that my fault?

Now I’m cast out of Olympus in the form of a sixteen-year-old mortal boy, acne and all! Sadly, I’ve been punished this way before. I know I will face many trials and hardships. I can only hope that if I suffer through them and prove myself worthy, Father will forgive me and allow me to become a god again.

But thus time my situation seem much more dangerous. One of my ancient adverseries knows I am here and is having me followed. The Oracle of Delphi remains dark, unable to issue prophecies. Most embarrassing of all, I am bound to serve a demigod street urchin who defends herself by throwing rotten fruit.

Zeus could not possibly expect me to fix the Oracle problem by myself. Not in my present weak condition. It’s time for me to drop in on Camp Half-Blood, where I might find some talented fodder…er, I mean heroes to help. No doubt they will welcome me as a celebrity! They will bring me holy offerings, like peeled grapes, Oreos, and—oh, gods—perhaps even bacon!

Mmm. Yes. If I survive this, I really must write an ode to the power of bacon…

The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan (Book 1)

Published: May 3, 2016, Hyperion Books

Edition: First Edition, Target Edition

Genres: YA, fantasy

Shelved: YA. fantasy

Pages: 376

Rating:glasses iconglasses iconglasses iconglasses icon

How I Came to Read the Novel 

My sister is a big Rick Riordan fan and now that summer has begun for me, she thought it was high time I read The Trials of Apollo.

My Thoughts 

What a great start to a new book series! Rick Riordan is a master in intermingling humor and dire circumstances into a coherent and laugh-out-loud novel.

From its first sentences, The Trials of Apollo: The Hiden Oracle is funny, sarcastic, and enjoyable.  I had some reservations about this series, for what can compare to Percy Jackson and his friends as they do their best to save human civilization from ancient curses, demons, and gods? Apparently, Apollo the Sun God turned human and attempting to regain his godly status while saving humanity along the way.

Apollo is extremely sarcastic, funny, full of faults, and for the first time realizing the full spectrum of emotions and the human body and what it is capable of. For the first time, really human. In this manner, Rick Riordan creates a novel that captures the human spirit and the trials and triumphs that one faces throughout a human life. Simultaneously, he continues to teach so many of us about Greek and Roman mythology. By continuing these series, he continues to encourage us to not only enjoy the act of reading but also to keep learning for there is so much still to learn. And perhaps most importantly of all, Rick Riordan continues to show to his readers what friendship and what a life fully lived looks like through the adventures and interactions of his characters. Of Apollo and Meg, of Will and Nico, of Harley and Leo, and Percy and Annabeth and Grove before them.

Live fully and without fear (376)

I also greatly appreciated how Percy finds himself inside this novel, no matter how briefly. He who started it all may not be the main star no longer, but it is still nice to see him involved and alive in the universe still. I hope some of the old favorites will continue to pop up here and there as this series progresses.

Posted in Rant

Musings On Kafka’s Metamorphosis

the metamorphosis trilogy.jpg

I have owned The Meowmorphosis, the Quirk Classic of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, for at least two years; however, me being me, I refused to read it until I had read the original work of which it was based off. Thank you, Barnes and Nobles for having a sale in which all of your Barnes and Noble Classics edition were all on sale for $5 flat.

Now, going into The Metamorphosis, I knew the gist of the story (or arguably, the novel)

0803bmi
“Bugged” Season 8, Episode 3

for it is one of those stories that you cannot escape knowing the gist of. Popular culture has rendered this impossible. Perhaps my earliest introduction to Kafka’s famous work was through the children’s television series known as Arthur (1996-present) which parodied The Metamorphosis in the episode titled “Bugged.”

 

Nevertheless, no matter how much exposure I had had for the fictional work, I was not prepared for the beautiful and grotesquely vivid prose that I now know is characteristically Kafka. The story follows Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman and dedicated son, who one day wakes up to discover he is a creature most disgusting. From then on, one follows his life as a bug and the son who provided for everyone is now a burden upon those he most loves. The story is disgustingly vivid, horrifying, and at times heart-wrenching; a reader takes turns feeling sorry for Gregor and sorry for his family.

The edition I bought from Barnes and Noble also contained some of Kafka’s other short stories, which I greatly appreciated. Although The Metamorphosis is perhaps his most well-known story, I found myself enjoying “The Penal Colony” the most. It is twisted, vivid, and at its core, profoundly sad. It conveys the feelings of one who is stuck in the past, who remembers the glory of the old days and refuses to accept the new coming age. Thus culminating in an act of deep symbolic meaning that is reversed and made instead into a hideous act for those who look on. All of this, of course, while commentating on the use of torture in the criminal justice system, the bureaucratic nature of our civilized societies, as well as what it means to be a civilized person.

After enjoying Kafka’s disturbing and yet enchanting work, I then finally decided to tackle Coleridge Cook’s The Meowmorphosis that has stared at me morosely on the shelf for two years. It follows Kafka’s original work almost to a T, except of course that Gregor Samsa is transformed into an abnormally large and cuddly kitten instead of the cockroach he is so often through as; there also seem to be some references to Kafka’s novel The Trial, although not having read it, I cannot be too sure. This reimagined classic, while perhaps easier to read than the adventures or misadventures of a bug loses some of the great genius of the original. It is more trying on one’ emotions for it is tens times easier to feel sorry for a cat than it is for a cockroach. And perhaps, this is one of this reimagining’s strong points: it allows the reader to more easily see the family’s ingratitude, selfishness, and meanness— something that is harder to achieve in the original.

I am glad I was able to have my own sort of Kafka Fest for I read his short stories, the graphic novel of The Metamorphosis, and Cook’s reimagining. Without a doubt, he has made it onto my favorite author list. I encourage you all to read something by Kafka if you have not already, and to my fellow feline lovers definitely give The Meowmorphosis a read.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Review

Melody’s Key by Dallas Coreyell

Cover-Melody's Key.png

“His eyes settled on her…piercing green embers of flame that revealed the ferocity of his pain and passion, yet still shrouded him under veils of ever deepening mystery that made every ounce of her ache to unravel him.”

Tegan Lockwood’s dreams were dead, sacrificed on the noble altar of duty before they ever had a chance to live. Her entire existence was disappearing into the abyss of apathy as she labored her days away keeping her family’s struggling business alive. There would be no emotion, no color, no beauty in her life. That is, until a mysterious visitor begins to draw her out of the darkness of her past towards something that will challenge the boundaries of her world, and unlock the most deeply held secrets of her heart.

Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell

Published: June 24, 2016,  AsherRain Publications

Edition: Alternate cover edition, pdf.

Genres: Romance

Shelved: Romance

Pages: 305

Rating: glasses iconglasses iconglasses icon

How I Came to Read the Novel 

A digital copy of this book was provided for me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts 

Dallas Coryell’s Melody’s Key inhabits the genre of Romance, a genre that I do not typically venture into. Having said that, I found this novel to be addicting in the same manner that television sitcom is addicting: brilliant at times, cheesy at others, cringe worthy at its low points, and incredibly profound in its high points.

I was especially pleased with all the music, both fictional and real (the lyrics that appear in the novel are from actual songs the author has written and performed) that is incorporated into the novel. I am no master of music, but the incorporation of the music gave the novel an added beauty that really allowed me to enjoy the book. It also gave me so appreciation into how much work it takes to create the music that so many of us appreciate today.

Aside from this music love, Melody’s Key also provides the reader with amorous love, the love of friendship, and the love of family. By having so many ranges of the emotion, Coryell provides an incentive to keep on reading and catch glimpses into the different facets of Love.

The adventures that Tegan Lockwood and Mason Keane undertake are endearing, shocking, and entertaining to read. At times these adventures appear to be far fetched and seem implausible, but for the most part these adventures are amusing scrapes, wild nights, and the familiar rites of passage that any new couple undertakes. As a reader, I found myself mortified at the moments when this couple gets caught and pleased when they got away with their escapades.

Becoming emotionally invested in these characters is a sign of a good book and I definietly recommend this book to all of you who love a good romance. My only concern is that there are some scenes that might not be appropriate for younger readers. If you are 16 and older, I think this would make a good romance book to read.

Posted in Monthly TBR

April TBR

 

My spring quarter begins in two days! Perhaps three books on top of all my assigned reading is too ambitious, but one never learns one’s limits until one tries.

Iris Johansen’s Shadow Play was a book gifted to me by my sister and it has been on my TBR too long already. One thing I have learned over the years is that my sister always buys me the best thrillers.

Emma Donoghue’s Room was suggested to me by one of my best friends. I bought a copy off of ThriftBooks.com in early January.

Jennifer Donnelly’s Lost in a Book was gifted to me by my mother. She knows Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales ever.

What books are you reading this month? Have you read any of the ones I propose to read? Let me know in the comments below.

Posted in Review

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Carve the Mark CYRA is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

AKOS is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost.

Then Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Published: January 17, 2017, HarperCollins

Edition: First Hardcover Editon, Katherine Tegen Books (an imprint of HarperCollins publishers)

Genres: Science Fiction, YA

Shelved: Science Fiction, YA

Pages: 468

Rating:glasses iconglasses iconglasses iconglasses icon

How I Came to Read the Novel

The book came in February Out of this World themed BookBoyfriend Box.

My Thoughts

I have read very mixed reviews on this book, but for the most part, it seems, that not many people are enjoying this book. The major complaints are that this book is too slow or boring. I very much disagree with these sentiments.

Yes, at first the book is a bit disorienting. It is a science fiction YA novel, so there is a learning curve to the culture, lifestyle, and slang of a very different universe. Aside from this small learning curve, the book is very intense. There is a ruthlessness to more than one of the characters, perhaps another reason some of my fellow book bloggers have not enjoyed the novel, but that I find to be very realistic of the setting described and the childhoods these characters are said to have lived.

The book is told in two alternating points of view, those of Akos and Cyra. When different viewpoints are used, I find that one of the characters is either a hit or miss for me. Veronica Roth wrote two very distinctive viewpoints that I enjoyed. I did enjoy Cyra a little bit more due to her blunt manner of speech, her strength of both body and mind, and the fierceness in which she loves. Akos was a wonderful opposite to Cyra’s cutthroat surroundings, though this does not mean he is a weak character himself. Akos is sensitive but very capable. Together, these two characters create a narrative that displays very different kinds of strength: from bodily strength to mental strength to emotional strength.

For those who claimed the book to be boring, I find it a shock when one considers just how much action there is in the forms of battles, specifically those that have Death as the fate of the loser and Life for the winner. Add a form of supernatural power for every character and prophecy into the mix and the story never lulls.

Speaking of prophecy, I very much enjoyed the villain of the novel, Ryzeck. While a complete manipulative and desperate mad man, I must admit that his main conflict is the ever controversial binary of Fate vs. Freewill. And perhaps, this debate of predestination and the option of choice sums up the novel very well. Being an advocate of Free Will, I found myself very much surprised by how much I was on the side of Fate during the course of this book. Ryzeck is truly an example of how far Man will go to attempt and change their Fate, their own personal being for success, and the length and costs of appearing Strong.

If you have read the book, let me know what your thoughts were. Were you bored and let down? Or appreciative and amazed as I was?

 

 

 

Posted in Monthly Wrap Up

March 2017 Wrap Up

 

 

Hello, fellow bookworms!

I am very sorry for being MIA for the past two months, but I am back! And just so you all know that I have still been reading here all the lovely books I have read for March.

  1. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
    • This was vigorously recommended by a friend. She was right about its splendid prose and enchanting style that is so uniquely Oscar Wilde. I recommend it to all of my classic lovers or if you just want to try out a classic but don’t know where to start, then give this little novel a try.
  2. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
    • This one was required reading for my Tragic and Comic Vision course. It was an interesting to read. I am not completely sure I understood all of it even though it is such a short play (only two acts).
  3. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by MitchAlbom 
    • This was my remaining Mitch Albom book that I had yet to read. It os just as good as all his previous work. Mitch Albom does not disappoint!
  4. Little People, Big Dreams: Agatha Christie by Isabel Sanchez Vegara
    • This is an adorable children’s book that I saw floating around Bookstagram and that I just needed to buy.
  5. At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie
    • I read this for the Agatha Christie online book club on Bookstagram known as the Maidens of Murder.  This is a Miss Marple mystery.
  6. Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie
    • Being a huge Agatha Christie fan, I couldn’t just stop at one book! This was a Hercule Poirot mystery.
  7. Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell 
    • This is a book I was given by the author to read and review. Review will appear on my blog in the following week, so keep your eyes peeled for it!
  8. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
    • I received this book through one of my book boxes. I was very excited to read another book by the woman who wrote the Divergent series. A review will appear very soon.

2017 goodreads Goodreads Update

If you have been following me here on this blog, Instagram, or Goodreads then you know that I typically read 100 books a year.

I barely managed this goal last year and I also realized that I did not enjoy the rush. Reading had become a sort of chore at the end of last year, which really shocked me, seeing as reading had been my escape and stress reliever for years. In light of these feelings, I have decided to make my reading goal this year 50 books. If I surpass this goal, great, but I just do not want to be adding any more stress to my already stressful life.

Current status: 17/ 50.

Monthly

It was my birthday month, so I thought I would splurge.

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelley was a gift from my mom. Everything else was bought by me in either my campus bookstore, Barnes and Noble, and Book Depository.

Posted in Review

At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie

At-Betrams-Hotel-v2 When Miss Marple comes up from the country for a holiday in London, she finds what she is looking for in Bertram’s Hotel: traditional décor, impeccable service and memories of childhood. What she doesn’t expect is the unmistakeable atmosphere of danger behind the highly polished veneer.

Yet, not even Miss Marple can forsee the violent chain of events set in motion when an eccentric guest makes his way to the airport on the wrong way…

At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie (Miss Marple #11)

Published:  November 15, 1965

Edition: 2008 Harper Collins UK paperback

Genres: Mystery

Shelved: Mystery

Pages: 320

Rating:glasses iconglasses iconglasses iconglasses icon

How I Came to Read the Novel

At Bertram’s Hotel was the Maidens of Murder’s March read. Once I found this out, I quickly purchased a copy from Book Depository.

My Thoughts 

I am always amazed by the skill of Agatha Christie and her mysteries. Miss Marple has always been an endearing character to me, and her sweet old lady appearance paired along with her top notch sleuthing skills make her a remarkable foe to all crime-doers. Miss Marple continues to bring on the charm in the novel At Bertram’s Hotel.

Christie’s novel captures the danger of reminiscing, with all of its bittersweet tones and belief of the better time. It does a marvelous job at interweaving the old with the new, not only in types of characters that play a part in the novel’s plot but also in the beliefs the character’s hold, the advances in the realm of technology, and most importantly of all the zeitgeist of a changing United Kingdom of the 1960s and 70s that was vastly different from the 1940s and 50s.

In this installment of Miss Marple, the lovely old lady finds herself aiding the police in their search for a murderer as well as a large criminal ring that primarily deals with large robberies of banks and other items of value. In this double mystery, Miss Marple truly demonstrates that old age is no match for a sound mind and a little ingenuity. The modern family is given a glimpse at with all its new perks and disadvantages, of which I argue persist to this day.

For all of you who enjoy a good love affair, a very complex and (at times, unsavory) love triangle is hinted at that testifies to Christie’s forwardness in her writing and mark the writer as a truly ahead of her time. Yet her ability to bring together the old with the new in a seamless narrative leaves me extremely impressed and longing for more of her novels.

All of my mystery and historical fiction bookworms need to add this novel to your TBR.

Posted in Rant

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

Frankie Presto Mitch Albom’s most critically acclaimed novel yet is a stunningly original tale of love: love between a man and a woman, between an artist and his mentor, and between a musician and his God-given talent.

Narrated by the voice of Music itself, the story follows Frankie Presto, a war orphan born in a burnig church, through his extraordinary journey around the world. Raised by a blind guitar  teacher in Spain and gifted with a talent to chnage people’s lives—using six mysterious blue strings—navigates the musical landscape of the twentieth century, from the 1950s jazz scene to thr Grand Ole Opry to Elvis mania and Woodstock, all the while searching for his childhood love.

As he becomes a famous star, he loses his way, until tragedy steals his ability to play the guitar that had so defined him. Overhwlemed by his loss, Frankie disappears for decades, reemerging later in lif efor one spectacular yet mystefying farewell.

Part love story, part magical mystery, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto is Mitch Albom at his finest, a Forrest Gump-like epic about one man’s journey to discover what truly matters and the power of talent to chnage our lives.

As always, my book rants will contain spoilers so if you have not had a chance to read The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto than turn away now.

Mitch Albom never ceases to amaze me. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto was the only book by Mitch Albom that I had yet to read and let me tell you, it was worth the wait!

Albom has a distinctive style that is immediately entrapping and enjoyable. He spins a tale so marvelously entertaining with equal parts sad and happy that gave me a sense of complete satisfaction by the end of the book.

I was so moved by the lyrical quality of this book and the amazing music references that I did two things immediately after finishing the novel:

  1. I opened Pandora and typed in “Francisco Tarrega” in order to hear some of the much talked about classical guitar pieces  of the novel
  2. I looked up if Frankie Presto had been an actual musician

The answer: he was not. He is pure fiction from the mind of Mitch Albom and this blew me away! I am beyond impressed with Mitch Albom’s writing skills and ability to weave a story.

Once again, Mitch Albom’s work has touched my soul and made me believe in something beautiful. He also opened many different new doors of music for me as well as given me a new-found appreciation for all the work that artist put into their work.

I recommend this book to all of you! It is just that good.

Posted in Monthly Wrap Up

Janurary 2017 Wrap Up

 

Hello, fellow bookworms! This month I managed to read four books (a shocker for me too since I started school again!), although to be fair, two of these books were assigned reading. Can you guess which two?

So the four books I read in order were:

  • Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
  • Heart of a Dog by Mikail Bulgakov
  • As You Like It by William Shakespeare
  • We Are Still Tornadoes by Micahel Kun and Susan Mullen

Battle Royale is a bloody adventure of what-ifs, young love, and the extent at which people will go to save their own skins. I definitely recommend to all my adventure and dystopian-loving friends

Heart of A Dog is a satiric novella, with science fiction elements, of what it felt like living during the time of the early stages of the Soviet Union and how there were contradictions between Bolshevik and Tsarist regimes not only in contrast to each other but also on their own. It also raises questions of humanity, kindness, and survival.

As You Like It is one of Shakespeare’s comedies that grapples with concepts of love and gender identity. There are moments very witty banter and conversations between characters that I feel somewhat save the poor plot line. I found the most prominent concept of this play to be the ideas of feelings and the rational battling within different characters.

We Are Still Tornadoes is a lovely novel grounded in the ideas of young love, friendship, a determined spirit, and the different kinds of strength needed to face all of Life’s challenges.

Let me know if you have read any of these novels before and what you thought! I have review posts on both Battle Royale and We Are Still Tornadoes but if you are interested in a review or rant on either Heart of a Dog or As You Like It feel free to let me know.