Posted in book reviews, books

October/Fall TBR!

‘Tis the season for scary and mystery novels! I personally won’t really be reading anything that isn’t for my University course, but if you have the spare time, then I would definitely read these books. They are great for getting in the Halloween mood.

Best Ghost Stories – Charles Dickens

This book is full of ghost stories written by Charles Dickens. This includes ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘The Chimes’. So there are some Christmas stories inside, but you could always leave those until November or December.

Stephen King novels

Pretty much any Stephen King novel is suitable for this time of year! He’s such an amazing and talented writer. He writes things that are so thought provoking. ‘IT’ would be a great read this year with the remake not long being released in cinema (which is amazing btw!). I would also suggest ‘Carrie’ and ‘Misery’ though, because they’re so well-written and are far better than the movies – and I love the movies! It’s so cute the way he waffles sometimes, too.

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Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

This classic is a must-read! Shelley is such a talented writer, especially for her time, and I’m not surprised that this novel is so iconic and well-known. At some points, it can drag on, but it’s actually quite necessary.

Dark Shadows Visual Companion – Tim Burton

While this isn’t really a novel as such, but it’s a great quick read. And, it’s also a great excuse to look at pictures, and read about, Johnny Depp, Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter!

The Gingerbread House – Carin Gerhardsen

I read this book a while ago, not knowing anything about it, and was pleasantly surprised. It’s a fantastic, thought-provoking horror/mystery, great for Halloween. I wish it was more well-known, because it deserves so much more recognition!

White Death – Daniel Blake

I also read this book a while ago, knowing nothing about it, and was pleasantly surprised. It’s about a serial killer, playing by the rules of a chess game.

Dracula – Bram Stroker

Another iconic scary character/novel! I have yet to read this book, but I know that it’s definitely another great read for this time of year.

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image via tumblr

Macbeth – William Shakespeare

As one of the best known plays of Shakespeare, this one in particular would be fabulous to read at this time of year. It has witches, magic, spells, a thought-provoking narrative, blood, death, tragedy! Everything! Yes, it can be hard to understand his plays, and to read plays in general, but after a few pages, it’s easy pops and so worth it. Plus, it’s Shakespeare, he’s awesome!

Welsh Celebrity Ghost Stories – South Wales Paranormal Research

This would be a great read because it’s all associated with Wales (yes, I’m biased because I’m Welsh!) and they’re all true stories. True stories are always quite creepier, so if you’re looking to be spooked this Halloween, this is the way to go.

The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

I heard about this book because my English teacher was telling my class about how scary it was. So, naturally I went out and bought it. I still haven’t read it, but I’m definitely planning to! It’s about murders and a creepy kid. Perfect for Halloween!

The Visitors – Simon Sylvester

This mystery/fantasy, coming-of-age novel would be great for Halloween. ‘The island always seemed such a safe place. But now it appears that a killer may be living on Bancree.’ Spooky!

Jack the Ripper

An account on one of the most well-known serial killers would be very interesting to read about. It doesn’t have to be about Jack the Ripper, you could read about any serial killer, if that’s what you’re in to. I definitely find it ‘interesting’, I guess, so I will try to fit a book about Jack the Ripper into my reading schedule this Halloween.

Coraline – Neil Gaiman

I recommended this in my ‘Halloween Must-Watch Movies’ (you can find that here: Halloween Must-Watch Movies (Part 1) 😉 ). It’s pretty deep and thought-provoking, plus it’s suitable for all ages.

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image via tumblr

What are your Halloween/Fall reading recommendations? Do you agree with mine? Let me know!

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Posted in book reviews, books, disney books, pixar

Summer Reading Wrap Up!

I haven’t written on here in such a long time because I’ve been pretty busy, sorry!

I hope everyone had a great Summer. I know I did! Unfortunately, I didn’t read as much as I would have liked to, though. Here are the books I did get a chance to read:

  1. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

My GoodReads Rating: 5/5

2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling

My GoodReads Rating: 5/5

3. Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur (twice!)

My GoodReads Rating: 5/5

4. The Vegetarian Tigers of Paradise – Crystal Jeans

My GoodReads Rating: 5/5

5. Qudditch Through The Ages – J. K. Rowling

My GoodReads Rating: 5/5

6. Pixar Character Encyclopedia – Steve Brynghau

My GoodReads Rating: 4/5

7. Shakespeare’s Sonnets

My GoodReads Rating: 5/5

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

My GoodReads Rating: 5/5

9. The Extraordinary Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

My GoodReads Rating: 5/5

10. The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde

My GoodReads Rating: 5/5

11. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J. K. Rowling

My GoodReads Rating: 5/5

I know it seems quite biased since most of them 5/5 stars, but I honestly thought they deserved that rating! I wish I read more, but I’m quite pleased with how much I enjoyed these books and how much I read, anyway.

What did you read in Summer? And do you agree with my ratings of these books? 😀

Posted in book reviews, books

‘Milk and Honey’ by Rupi Kaur book review

Rupi Kaur’s ‘milk and honey’ is a poetry book about life. Each chapter is about a different part of life; hurting, loving, breaking and healing. With every other page having a drawing on it, the poems are beautiful and inspirational.

Each poem is very deep and truly makes you think about life with a different perspective. It involves love, trauma, abuse, loss, healing and femininity. There is bound to be some poems every person would find relatable and touching in some sort of way. They are beautiful. moving, and, some, simple. But all are effective.

With a strong, defined theme of femininity, most of these poems are definitely aimed at feminist, or, at least, the female gender. And this isn’t meant to offend men. But I don’t think most men would find certain poems very enjoyable or relatable. Here’s an example of one, just so you can see what I mean:

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image via justagirlinthisworld.com

Some men might like the poems like this, though. But it won’t be for everyone, not even every female will like the poems like this.

There are other poems which carry a deep meaning which aren’t as suggestive as that one, though. So there is something for everyone in this. Here’s an example of one, which has to be my favourite:

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image via pictaram.com

I just love how true and realistic it is! Throughout the book there are more poems like this which I think more people need to read. More people need to realise how important this in (even me, I think).

I’m not a huge poetry lover, but lately, I have been. So this was definitely the perfect, quick read – it literally took me about 20 minutes to read, including time to Snapchat some of the poems. I highly recommend this, even if you’re not a fan of poetry!

 

Posted in book reviews, books

‘Stardust’ by Neil Gaiman – an epic fantasy

I first discovered Stardust back when it was released in cinema, in 2007. Instantly, I fell in love with the movie and listened to ‘Rule the World’ on repeat. To this day, it is still one of my favourite movies.

It wasn’t very long ago that I found out it was based on a book. I had to read it.

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To my surprise, the book and film were quite different from each other. Yet I still loved them both!

Neil Gaiman’s novel is about love blinded Tristran Thorn, who lives in Wall. Tirstran isn’t like anyone else, though; his father is a human while his mother is a magical creature. When Tristran turns 17, he develops a big crush on the beautiful Victoria Forester. One night, they both see a falling star and Tristran makes a bid with her; if he retrieves the star for her, she’ll give him anything his heart desires. And so Tristran goes off into the land of Faerie.

Meanwhile, there are others whom are also in search of the star; three ancient witches who wish to cut out her heart to regain their youth. Did I mention the star is a lady, named Yvaine? The remaining sons of Stormhold also seek out the star because she has their dead father’s topaz necklace.

So, as you can probably tell, there’s inevitably a lot of action and magic throughout the novel. But that’s the best part. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, wanting more. The action and magic are unpredictable, and, at some points, original.

The language Neil Gaiman uses throughout the novel truly gives it a ‘fantasy’ vibe, and you can actually imagine the magic he invents. The colours, dialogue, and clothing described gives it a sense of ‘otherness’. This is perfectly fitting for the setting of the novel. It actually made me not want to finish it quickly, because it was so fun to read, and was so exciting.

The characters and settings also add to that ‘different’ vibe. In Wall, they are probably what we’d consider (close to) ‘normal’. They live in a strong village, have traditions, and everyone knows everyone. They’re almost like us. However, in Faerie, they’re magical and unalike. There are witches, Lords, stars, hairy-old men, trees that can move… And much more. They’re fascinating and make the novel intoxicating.

However, I did have one problem with the novel. I didn’t think the representation of the witches, particularly the queen witch, at the end, was very realistic. Throughout the novel, the witch queen, Lilim, seems quite desperate to capture the star. She uses all of her youth and a lot of magic and effort to find and kill her. But when she finds Yvaine at the end, she doesn’t try to kill her, or even, at least, try to kidnap her. Instead, she has a conversation with her. And Yvaine – who almost died because of Lilim – talks to her and gives her a kiss. Yes, it was sweet and quite original to not seek revenge or anything. But throughout the movie, you’re set up to expect something more than that.

All in all, this was a very good read and I enjoyed it so much. I haven’t read many fantasy novels; I usually stick to young adult, romance and horror. But this has definitely persuaded me to read more of this genre – and from Neil Gaiman.

 

 

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‘Me Before You’ by Jojo Moyes – a love story or a story about life itself?

I wrote this book review for one of my University modules. I had a pretty good mark on it, so I thought I’d upload it on here as well;

 

“Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just LIVE.”

This is the type of romance that would have hopeless romantics like me crying while the cynics would be throwing up. The novel focuses on a young girl, Louisa Clark, who loses her job as a cake seller but soon finds another. This new role that Louisa takes on involves taking care of a very handsome quadriplegic, Will Traynor, for six months. Will had his beautiful, adventurous life taken away from him in a tragic motorcycle accident. Now, left bound to a wheelchair, Will wants to end his life and has promised his parents six months until he does so. Louisa has relationship problems with her current boyfriend, Patrick. She has also suffered a traumatic experience. You can already tell this is not for the faint hearted. It’s not long before it becomes apparent that Will and Louisa can help each other have a brighter life. But things aren’t that simple. Like the iconic couple Romeo and Juliet, Louisa and Will’s relationship was destined to be doomed.

One of the things I love most about this novel is that you can see their passion slowly growing. At first, Will keeps making digs at Louisa by saying things such as “go and raid your Grandmothers wardrobe, or whatever it is you do when you’re not making tea”. Then, later on, his tune soon changes as he ends up confessing, “You’re pretty much the only thing that makes me want to get up in the morning”. Can you hear me crying? Because I am! You don’t realise how meaningful it is until you read the book!

Their relationship is portrayed in a very realistic manner. It doesn’t happen straight away; it happens naturally. Moyes also shows us that, while Louisa’s relationship with Patrick does have its problems, Louisa still does actually care about Patrick. That in itself adds to the drama of the novel because she almost creates a love triangle for herself without realising it. Because, who said love was easy?

Louisa’s birthday party was something I also loved. It was a fantastic scene. The quote that comes to mind here is “she certainly gives a good bed bath” – that was how sarcastic Will is at this point.  How Louisa was happy with everything apart from her boyfriends present for her was priceless. It was a cute and funny scenario at the same time. And the way her boyfriend, Patrick, looks at Will’s present questioningly and just says “tights?” in a judgemental tone, nails the ‘jealous boyfriend’ act perfectly. And Will likes that; he makes Patrick even more jealous by simply having Louisa do her job. Perfect! But, let’s be honest, we’re kind of rooting for Will anyway.

(Warning: from here on, there are spoilers!)

However, this book didn’t just make me cry (in a good way) or shout “GOALS!” all the way through it. The ending. Tissues at the ready, you’re going to need a lot of ice cream and chocolate to get through this. I feel that Moyes missed a great opportunity to show that a disabled life is still worth living. That you can do more than just be “stuck in bed waiting for someone to bloody get [you] out again”, as Will put it. Despite this, a good thing about it is that Moyes showed us that you can’t force someone to live. Love won’t solve everything. “You can only help someone who wants to be helped.”

Heart-breaking and dramatic are the best words to describe this book. It really has you questioning what life must be like for someone in the same situation as Will. It also forces you to think about how you would feel in his situation; to not be able to do anything you love anymore. Moyes makes readers empathise with Will and it really does add to the effect of the novel. It caused me to be a blubbering mess.

They said that The Notebook was ‘a love story to end all love stories’. They will definitely rethink that after reading this! But, do you want to know another good thing? The movie has been released on DVD, so you can cry for a good hour and a half, if you don’t feel like reading.