Review: The Book of Tomorrow – Cecilia Ahern

6631792Title: The Book of Tomorrow
Author: Cecilia Ahern
Publication Date: January 1, 2009
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre/themes: Mystery, Fantasy, Contemporary, Chick Lit, Magic Realism
Source: My local library
Series?: No this is a standalone.

You can add this book to Goodreads by clicking the cover.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Born into the lap of luxury and comfortable in the here and now, spoiled, tempestuous Tamara Goodwin has never had to look to the future–until the abrupt death of her father leaves her and her mother a mountain of debt and forces them to move in with Tamara’s peculiar aunt and uncle in a tiny countryside village.
Tamara is lonely and bored, with a traveling library as her only diversion. There she finds a large leather-bound book with a gold clasp and padlock, but no author name or title. Intrigued, she pries open the lock, and what she finds takes her breath away.
Tamara sees entries written in her own handwriting, and dated for the following day. When the next day unfolds exactly as recorded, Tamara realizes she may have found a solution to her problems. But in her quest to find answers, Tamara soon learns that some pages are better left unturned and that, try as she may, she mustn’t interfere with fate.

My thoughts:
I was so misled by the cover and the author. To be honest, I had expected to find a romancy, chick-lit type book. Instead I found an amazing story, full of magic and mystery. So much more than I had bargained for and therefore it exceeded all of my expectations.

Tamara was the one that found him; her father after he killed himself. Turns out that daddy has immense debts and she and her mom are losing everything. Since they no longer have a house they move to rural Irish countryside to leave with Tamara’s uncle and aunt. One day she finds a blank diary in a traveling library. The next day, however, the diary is not so empty.

This was such an amazing book <3! With every page there was more mystery. Mystery about the diary, mystery about her mother who since moving only sleeps, about her aunt who wants to control everything and then there is that mysterious house on the other side of the road, where Tamara is not allowed to go. Questions, I had so many questions. I just wanted to know so bad what the hell was going on! This book was like a puzzle. Every few pages there was a new clue, that exposed a little bit more about all the weird stuff that was going on. But there were always such plausible explanations for the mystery that at one point I began to question Tamara’s sanity, and even my own! I was totally ready for a very disappointing end, but instead the ending I got was everything I hoped for. Like I said, the entire story fitted together like a puzzle!

Tamara was an amazing narrator. She left nothing out. Especially her self-reflection was very inspiring. Tamara is not a nice person. If I would have met her like she was at the beginning of The Book of Tomorrow, I would never have liked her in a million years. But Tamara knows this about herself. Under all the harshness and meanness, Tamara is just a young woman afraid of abandonment. Coming from a one child household, where her parents were already busy, she feels really alone. This loneliness drives her to lash out against anybody that is coming close, even people that mean very well to her. I have a lot of respect for the side characters in this book. They had to put up with a lot of trouble and a lot of bad mouthing from Tamara, but they all saw the goodness in her. Brick for brick the wall around Tamara came down.

I also really liked the concept of the diary. I won’t give away to much about it because you have to find out for yourself what the impact of the diary is. I can say that it was really cool concept and it added a lot of magic to the story. I would have liked even more diary! But in the end I totally agreed with Tamara’s decision concerning the diary. It prevented her from fully living!

The setting of this book was also really magical. Tamara’s aunt and uncle live on the grounds of a burned down castle, in rural Ireland. The descriptions about the former glory of the castle and the chapel were amazing. The story just really fit into the setting and added to the mystery. After long walks through the empty woods and a visit to a scorched castle I would start to question the freaky things too! All in all this was an amazing book that really went above and beyond my expectations. I am certainly glad that my prejudice towards this cover did not stop me from reading it! Consequently I have added all of Cecilia Ahern’s books to my wishlist :).

5 Stars

Review: The Girl Who Circumnagivated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making – Catherynne M. Valente

9591398Title: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Publication Date: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Much-In-Little
Genre/themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Magic, Fairies
Source: My own bookshelf
Series?: Yes #1 in the Fairyland Series

You can add this book to Goodreads by clicking the cover.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

My thoughts:
This was a re-read for me. I read this for the first time last year and I was very charmed with the book. I took me a very long time to buy books 2 and 3 so I decided to re-read this one to get more into the story.

This story starts with September, a little girl from Omaha. She rides on the back of the Green Wind to Fairyland where she meets the evil Marquess, and finds out that Fairyland needs saving. Is September up for the job? This story is wonderful! The cover is gorgeous, the characters are magical and the adventure is just all over the place, in a good way ;)!

Let me start with September. September is such a sweet girl. She has a good heart (well, at least she grows a good one) and she is desperate for an adventure. She gets this in the form of a quest. September meets really awesome beings on this quest. She becomes friends with a Marid, named Saturday and a Wyvern, named A-through-L. There is really not much I can tell you about all the other creatures she meets because there are just so many! Catherynne Valente did such a fantastic job coming up with the magical world of Fairyland. She really has great imagination!

I first thought that this book was Middle Grade but I really think that this book is a little too difficult to classify it as that. The language is not geared toward Middle Graders as it quite complex and also there is some plus 14 content, as some scenes are painted quite vivid. I think this is a pity because this would be such a wonderful book to read out loud. Don’t know if there are any fourteen year old’s out there that want to be read to, haha.

It is just really difficult to explain why this is such a fun and good book. It has really pretty chapter headers, with wonderful illustrations. September is a really likeable character and I would want to go on an adventure with her! It was not all rainbows and sunshine however, because there was certainly some evil going on. There is not a lot of depth in the characters but I think that would only muddle up the magical qualities of this story. This re-read was somewhat less enjoyable than the first time I read it, just because of the flatness of the characters, but still well worth a read. There is really not a lot more I can tell you other than: read it!

4 Stars

Life’s Snapshots 22/9/2014

Life's Snap Shots
Another weeks bites the dust! It is incredible how fast time is flying right now! So what did I do last week?

  • Saturday the bf and I were planning on going to a local food festival. We were so excited to go! They promised all sorts of food trucks and music and so much fun. We were about to go when we noticed that our youngest kitty was not walking very well and he also displayed some labored breathing. As a safety precaution we took him to the vet. Unfortunately he had a lot of pain in his left hind leg, and the vet told us that he probably had an infection in there. He was given a shot of antibiotics and a painkiller and luckily we could take him home again. He had a similar infection a couple of weeks ago so this time round we are really going to make sure he stays inside for at least a week, until he is fully healthy again. Right now he is slowly becoming his normal, healthy self again! Luckily it was not something major, because he had as scared for a moment!
  • New Girl season 3 is on Netflix! 28304Finally.. I waited for so long to watch it. I blasted through season 1 and 2 about 8 months ago and then I had to wait. And wait. And do so more waiting. Finally my sister texted me that it was online. So far I have only let myself watch 1 episode because I know I will just get sucked in until the end of the season. I am also watching season 2 of Criminal Minds which I am about halfway through :).
  • My first essay was due today and I am happy to report that I was finished on time! I have such problems with time-management when it comes to assignments for school. Well, it is more that I never want to work on them. At the beginning of this semester I vowed to change my ways and start on time. I am really glad that I did. It feels so much better to finish with time to spare, rather than trying to wing it or come up with an excuse for why I haven’t finished. I hope to get this going all semester. Fingers crossed.
  • I want to read 15 books this month so I really got to push myself this week. I have been eying a beautiful hardback bind up of The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry, and I promised myself that if I read 5 books this week and do all my schoolwork, I can buy it. It is just so gorgeous :). I also really like the individual hardback editions but they are significantly more expensive. To not break the bank entirely I settled on the hardback bind-up. 9780544340978Ain’t it pretty? ❤

Q: What book is on your next to buy list?

 

One Lovely Blog Award

olba

I just received some really lovely news. Aida from Scripturiently nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award! I am really happy that she likes my blog and thought it good enough to nominate me! I am not going to nominate other people (despite how flattered I am with the reward!!) because I just don’t have the time to do that. I will however list 7 facts about myself, one of the rules for this award :).

7 Facts About Me:
1) I like to spend my Sundays in bed, regardless of what I have to do that day. I eat, watch tv, read, do homework.. Basically everything, as long as I don’t have to get out. Perfect excuse to stay in pajamas all day <3.
2) I have an immense obsessing with lists. I have numerous reading lists on my fridge. I use stickers to mark the books I read (bonus fact: I love stickers!). There is something so immensely satisfying in crossing something of a list. I don’t only have book lists, I also have movie lists, restaurant lists, recipe lists, to do lists, gaming lists. I have a list of my lists (haha, just kidding).
3) History was (and is) my favorite subject in school. Since I have gone to university 4 years ago I haven’t done any history courses, which I really hate, but I hope to some history course again in the (near)future.
4) I am football fan. I try to watch all the games of my favorite football club Ajax. Unfortunately I live very far from their stadium, as in 2 hours away, but when I can I go to games. I just finished watching a game. They played awful but they took the 3 points home (which meant they won :))!
5) I have two younger sisters, 18 and 16 years old. You might know by now that my name is Jirrine, but my sisters also have a name starting with J. In fact, my parents also have a name starting with a J. We called ourselves J5. And all our names have a different vowel as a second letter. So Jo, Je, Ji, Ja and Ju. My parents spent a lot of time coming up with names!
6) I cry really quickly. If I see a sad movie or read a sad book, I can wail intensely. At times so much that I scare my parents and bf. They think that something really bad has happened and than I have to explain that a character in my book died. They find it hilarious that I can cry because of a book. I just see it as an amazing compliment to an author. I mean, if they can provoke such emotion, there book is darn good!
7) Like Aida I really like to game. A lot. I am currently playing Assassin’s Creed I, a game I have already finished before but wanted to play again. Since my bf is also an avid game, we own all the AC games so I just want to play them all after one another ^-^!

So, these were 7 facts about them. Again, I really want to thank Aida for nominating me :D. Go take a look at her blog if your are interested!

Movie Review: Divergent

maxresdefaultI finally saw Divergent this week!!! That was so long overdue. I have been meaning to watch the movie for so long, but for some reason I never actually got round to doing it. Until this week that is when I convinced my bf that I would be a fun movie to watch together :).

I liked this movie! As far as I can remember the movie was quite true to the book. In my head the books are all muddled together a bit, so I don’t quite know if a scene ended at the end of Divergent or at the beginning of Insurgent but it seems to me that the movie was well done and ended at a good point. I am really impressed by Shailene Woodley, as I think she is an excellent actress. It is, however, very weird to see her and Ansel Elgort as brother and sister after having see The Fault in Our Stars. But the other way around would have been much worse. It helps that Ansel has only a few lines in Divergent so is not really one of the main characters.

At first I was not a massive fan of Theo James (Four). He just has this really dark look about him, all the time. He was nothing like the Four I had in my head. But, over the course of the movie he really began to fit his role and in the end it is fitting that he plays Four. Theo and Shailene seem real together, so that makes it a lot more believable.

I would have liked to see more of each Faction’s characteristics. We see Abnegation wearing grey and Dauntless wearing Black and so on, but the scenes before the trials the Abnegation are just as outspoken as the rest. I would have expected their heads bowed, walking in long lines etc. There are some many rules that Veronica Roth created for the factions and they did not really implement that in the movie. The faction system is the entire basis of the Divergent universe so more could have been done with that.

I was however surprised by the wide shots they did of the city. It looks all so real and daunting. All the empty buildings, most with no windows, no people and no electricity… Those shots were really spooky! They looked great and really gave a lot of credibility to the movie :). I am really looking forward to Insurgent coming out in March 2015. Hopefully they manage to portray Insurgent just as well. Of course, it is a movie and not a 500 page book but still they did a good job.

What was really striking when viewing this with my bf was that he could predict a lot of things that were going to happen. He has never read the movies and I have not told him about them, but he new the bad guys, and a few other things that were really surprising to me in the book. I began to wonder if Divergent was really so predictable or if he is just really good at ‘reading’ movies. I don’t know. Hopefully Insurgent will be a little less predictable for him!

Stacking the Shelves (11)

Stacking The Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I am on a library kick. Currently I don’t have a whole lot of money to spend on books but I still want to try out some new series. Turns out that my library has more than I thought!

Library
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I really want to read Horns by Joe Hill because it is supposedly being made (or already made?) into a movie with Daniel Radcliffe. I always want to read the book before I see the movie so that’s that. I’ve heard so many things about Audrey Niffennegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. I’ve heard that the beginning is kinda slow but that it is a really good book. I did not see this movie so I am looking forward to this book! In last week’s Stacking the Shelves I showed you Dune. Well, I made sure that if I start the series (hopefully this week!) that I can read right on through. Dune Messiah, Children of Dune and God Emperor of Dune are books 2/3/4. There are 10 books in this series and I am really hoping that my library has the rest of them as well!

Q: What did you get this week?

Review: Three to get Deadly – Janet Evanovich

Three to get Deadly - Stephanie PlumTitle: Three to get Deadly
Author: Janet Evanovich
Publication date: February 15, 1997
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre/themes: Mystery, Humor, Crime
Source:
From my own bookshelf
Series?: Yes, the is book 3 in the Stephanie Plum series.

You can add this book to Goodreads by clicking the cover.

WARNING THIS IS BOOK 3 IN A SERIES. THIS REVIEW MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS.

Goodreads Synopsis:
A “saintly” old candy store owner is on the lam – and bounty hunter extraordinaire Stephanie Plum is on the case. As the body count rises, Stephanie finds herself dealing with dead drug dealers and slippery fugitives on the chase of her life. And with the help of eccentric friends and family, Steph must see to it that this case doesn’t end up being her last….

My thoughts:
Stephanie is tasked with bringing in candy store owner Moses. Mo is a well loved member of the community and nobody believes that he could be capable of doing anything illegal. Stephanie runs into a lot of hostility and seems to be stuck, nobody willing to help her. Except of course, Joe Morelli who would do anything to catch the bad guys!

This was such a fun book! One for the Money was my first venture into mystery and I haven’t yet regretted it. The Stephanie Plum novels are funny and mysterious at the same time! Stephanie is still in the process of learning bounty hunting and like I have said before, this is one of the most realist aspect of the novels. I would not have believed in she had turned bounty hunter extraordinaire overnight; the fact that she is still make lots of (funny) mistakes really makes her super endearing!

I was a little disappointed that Grandma Mazur did not have a large role in this book. I really like her Two for the Dough and I had hoped to see more of her. I expect that she will show up in future novels though ;). Instead Stephanie had a different sidekick in Three to get Deadly. A woman, who packs a little bit more punch than Grandma Mazur. Lula, now also working for Vinnie’s bond agency, was a hooker that Stephanie rescued in One for the Money. Since then, Lula is looking for ways to repay Stephanie for her kindness. She feels that the best way to do this, is aiding Stephanie in her research into Mo. Lula is a kick ass woman and I would not want to meet her angry. She is also really funny and has hilarious one liners! Lula, however, has an intense aversion for law-enforcement so Stephanie found herself alone and abandoned more than once, which made for some awkward situations :).

The only down side of this book was that the ending was a little hard to follow. The ending made sense but I did not really quite get how Stephanie connected the dots to get to the conclusion. I might have read over the lines but still it could have been a little clearer! Nothing really major wrong with this book. It is just really enjoyable :).

The last thing I want to mention is that I think that all three Stephanie Plum novels I read so far were all really original. They have widely varying story lines and I don’t have the feeling that I am reading episodes of a TV show where the patterns are always the same. Hopefully Janet Evanovich will keep me guessing in books to come! I have ordered book 4 and 5 a few days ago so hopefully I’ll get them soon.

4 Stars

Review: Romeo & Juliet – William Shakespeare

286808Title: Romeo and Juliet
Author: William Shakespeare
Publication date: 1597
Genres/themes: Classic, Play, Romance, Drama
Source: The No Fear Sparknotes edition online

You can add this book to Goodreads by clicking the cover.

My thoughts:
I will not go very in depth in this review because so much has already been said. I am not an expert of 16th century literature and have nothing to compare it to so these are just so random thoughts.

This was not the first time that I read Romeo and Juliet; when I was in high school we got a visit from a group of actors who perform Shakespeare plays. We got a week long workshop and at the end of the week we did a small performance of the play (luckily only our teachers and the Shakespeare crew were in the audience!). We went rather in depth during that week but to be fairly honest I did not remember a single detail when I began reading the book this time around. I first tried to read the original text but I got so bogged down that I read the Sparknotes’ No Fear text instead. It is basically the original text with a modern English version alongside it. I did not need the modern version all the time but I was very convenient to consult it from time to time, to make sure that I understood the play correctly!

If you want to critique this play there are so many things you can find that are worthy of critique. Yes, Romeo is totally weird for loving Rosaline so much he almost drowns in self-pity first, and then all of sudden becoming infatuated with Juliet. Yes, Romeo is arrogant. Yes, Juliet is just a spoiled girl. Yes, Juliet is 14. All those things are true. People often forget, however, that you have to read Shakespeare in the context it was written in. It was perfectly fine to marry at a much younger age in the 16th century. Love was an entirely different concept, and Romeo has a right, as a male, to feel superior to girls. These things all make sense when put into perspective. If you strip down Romeo and Juliet, its core just shows to what lengths people in love are willing to go. For me, that is exactly the message I got from these. Sometimes two people just feel that they are meant for each other and nobody can keep them away. I loved that the Friar recognized that the love between Romeo and Juliet was real and that he helped them to get married rather than let them commit sins. The Friar, and his female counterpart The Nurse really made Romeo and Juliet happen. Without them, the ending would not have been as tragic, but they probably would have wither slowly, unable to ever be together. Although harsh, at least they are together in death.

The first act I listened to in audiobook form. I really liked the idea that I was listening to an actual play because each character had his/her distinct voice. As I said, it was hard to follow, because they recited the original version but now that I have read the play and feel more familiar with it, I really want to see the play sometimes. I know that there are many troupes that regularly perform Romeo and Juliet, so if they ever play here I am certainly going to try and see it!

Because it is a classic love story, I give Romeo and Juliet 4 stars.

4 Stars

 

 

Life’s Snapshots 16/9/2014

Life's Snap Shots

Books are big part of my life. I love them! But there is more to my life than just books. Since I would like to share more than just books and reviews this is going to be a weekly feature, on Monday, in which I share some fun things and facts of the last week or things that are currently happening in my life. Welcome to the very first Life’s Snapshots!

  • Another week has flown by! It is unbelievable how fast time is going. The first two weeks of class are already over. Only 5 more weeks until I have 3 reading weeks. I have only 1 assignment due in those 3 weeks which means I basically have 3 weeks off! Super nice :).
  • Last weekend, a friend and I went to a local market. We had never been there, as it is apparently a once a month thing. They had all kinds of local food products, produced within 50 kilometers of the city I live in. I saw lots of great produce I really want to eat but it was all (obviously) a little bit more expensive that store bought products. I went for a small cheese wheel and some eggs. The man who sold them to me said that I would probably never eat other eggs ever again. I’ll have to wait and see if that is true ;).
  • Last Friday my bf and I got a chance to visit some of our friends that have moved away over the summer. All three of them have started new studies in a different city, luckily all in the same city or visiting them would have been hard! We saw their apartments and got the chance to catch up!
  • I have not been feeling all that well the last two days. I’ve been drinking lots of tea though and I have just spend some time in my bed reading. Hopefully I will feel better soon! Luckily one of our kitties want to cuddle all the time <3.
  • I am currently reading a super interesting book called Born in Blood and Fire, A Concise History of Latin America. It is required reading for one of my classes but it is written in a really engaging way. If you want to read something straightforward about the history of Latin America, read that book :).  8930010
  • I am researching some options for when I finish my BA American Studies in July next year. I am considering to study abroad, possibly in the UK. I have always dreamed about living somewhere else. I would like to do some literary related studies, preferably an undergraduate program. I have seen some great English & American Literature programs, so maybe I can make that happen. Fingers crossed!

I should really try to make some more pictures next week!

What have you been up to this week?

Review: Girl of Nightmares – Kendare Blake

Girl of Nightmares - Kendare BlakeTitle: Girl of Nightmares
Author: Kendare Blake
Publication date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Orchard Books
Genre/themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Ghosts, Supernatural
Source: From my own bookshelf
Series?: This is the second and final book in the Anna series

You can add this book to Goodreads by clicking the cover.

WARNING, THIS IS BOOK 2 IN A SERIES, REVIEW CAN CONTAIN SPOILERS.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Cas Lowood is no ordinary ghost hunter – he’s in love with a dead girl. Her name is Anna Korlov. Anna Dressed in Blood. The girl who sacrificed herself to save his life. Racked with guilt, Cas sets out to do what he does best – hunt a ghost. But this time his aim is not to kill. He must rescue Anna from the depths of Hell. But Hell is also home to a creature Cas has battled before…Just your average boy meets girl, girls gets sucked into hell story.

My thoughts:
I was disappointed with this. After reading Anna Dressed in Blood I was really surprised with the YA Horror genre. Girl of Nightmares did not live up to the expectations set by Anna. And that really bummed me out.

First off, I thought that Cas was incredibly selfish throughout the first half of the book. His mom worries about him so much and he just totally disregards her emotions. Not once, not twice, but all the time. She is the only family she has left and Cas puts himself into danger over and over again. Since he is not particularly careful with himself I cannot imagine the dread his mother must have gone through. I just could not understand why we was so self-centered. He just demanded so much of his mom and friends and really gave them nothing in return. I was amazed that they were willing to put up with his ego. They must have been super good friends to go through that and still remain loyal. The second half was better. Cas started to realize that his behavior was negatively effecting his mother and became more careful. From then onwards he also tried to keep Thomas and Carmel out of his business. But, guess what, they were not going to let themselves get chased away. Convenient, huh?

This book was really not scary at all. Really hard if your trying to be a horror book. In Anna Dressed in Blood I had a few arm hair raising moments but there was only one scene in Girl of Nightmares where I was generally spooked. That scene was not even really long. That was perhaps my biggest disappointment; not living up to his genre. If this had been a paranormal book, fine. But this is a horror book and it was not scary. And there was not a whole lot of action. Certainly in the middle the book dragged. Never a good sign.

What did I like? Most of all the ending. For once (without spoiling) Cas was not selfish. He did what was best for all the parties involved. It gave the book a really neat, closed-off ending. There was no argument and no chance to get back from it. I like it when there are no loose ends. The last couple of scenes in general were just really good. I would have liked that much action throughout the book though. Another thing I liked was the further development of Thomas and Carmel. They really became more and more there own characters. I already found this a huge plus point in Anna Dressed in Blood, but in this it became more evident. I really liked the world, although I am glad that ghost are not real, and the concept of Cas’ astame sending away those ghost is really cool. Despite my disappointment about this book, because it just couldn’t live up to my expectations, I am definitely going to check out more of Kendare Blake’s books because I do really like her writing :).

3 Stars