Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Why I Absolutely Loved "Nevermoor"

Title: Nevermoor
Series: Nevermoor #1
Author: Jessica Townsend
Publication Date: October 31st, 2017
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Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she's blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks--and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It's then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city's most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart--an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests--or she'll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

Review


If you want to read any Middle Grade novel this year, (before the year comes to an end eeeppp), Nevermoor is the one to dive into. 

1. The world is spectacular 

Any fantasy novel that draws me in, is one with a vivid and expansive world, that encompasses various elements to make it believable. I felt like I was transported into Nevermoor with Morrigan and really, truly wanted to be there. There is a magic in Nevermoor that escapes from the pages purely just by reading about Nevermoor and its history and the city’s make up. Townsend has created a intricate and exciting world that, much like Narnia and Hogwarts/Hogsmeade, you can’t help but want these places to exist so that you can be there as well. 

2. It's perfect for all ages

Nevermoor carries the tone of a Middle Grade novel but has layers that have built a strong story line. It was straightforward enough to understand for any reader, but kept up the suspense and plot twists to keep me entertained and engaged. It was quite exciting really, between the trials and Morrigan’s integration into Nevermoor. I liked the pacing and am really glad that this is pretty much an all-age read.

3. Townsend was made to be a writer

Nevermoor is Jessica Townsend’s debut novel and already her first piece has been such a strong and admirable read. Townsend’s writing delivers a strong world and solid plot that has me anticipating not only the sequel to Nevermoor, but her future works. She’s made me remember why I absolutely love reading Middle Grade to this day. There’s a kind of emotion attached to it, like I’m reliving my childhood, going through the kiddish excitement from reading about a magical adventure and experiencing the feeling of really being there. 

Nevermoor is a win for all ages and I cannot wait to continue this adventure with Morrigan. 


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Thursday, 7 December 2017

Talking Personal: 'Tis The Season To Get Back Into Blogging

My last Talking Personal post was in May. That was a good 7 months ago. We have a lot of catching up to do! 

The last time I did one of these, I had just come back from traveling. Since then, I’ve started a new job in a new role. The place has an amazing team and the position I’m in has given me much more of a learning experience, which I’m grateful for! I also started my Masters in August, just completing my first semester and somehow, miraculously, passed all 3 subjects. I’m currently studying a Masters in Criminology, which I am loving and I’m really excited to see where it can take me! 

Besides working and studying, I actually got up to some really fun things, which has made the last half of 2017 really exciting! 


I went on a Snow Trip and learnt to ski for the first time! Truth be told, I hate the cold. But skiing was super fun, albeit really hard and exhausting. I want to try and make it an annual trip so I don’t forgot how to ski. 




I got the chance to see The Book of Mormon, which was hilarious! I didn’t expect to love it so much. The cast all had amazing singing skills. On top of seeing the musical were a number of different concerts. I’ve been to so many more concerts this year than I have in my life altogether. Kehlani was superb and so fun, being really intimate and just full of love. Ariana delivered a great show. Drake absolutely killed it, I would see him 1000 times alongside J.Cole, who is a fantastic artist and so grateful to his fans. He was engaging and humorous, and so passionate about his music.




My birthday came and went, and was actually less exciting than previous years. The older I get, I feel like the less I’m keen to celebrate my birthday. Still, it’s been fun seeing my friends and family, and eating to my heart’s content! I got to celebrate Halloween though, which was super fun. Everyone’s costumes were great. 



Whilst taking a break from blogging, I did manage to start up an Instagram page for my food adventures. I absolutely love food, reading comes second - I know, how can I say that. So if I couldn’t share my love for reading, I figured sharing my love for food was the next best thing. Take a look at it here to see which places I’ve loved both locally and internationally! 

I’m going to be seeing The Weeknd tomorrow, which I’m really excited about!! He’ll top off the crazy list of artists I’ve seen this year. The next time I’ll catch up with you guys will most likely be after New Years SO Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years guys! Hope the rest of the year is amazing for you all.


How Have You Guys Been? Let Me Know What You'll Be Doing For The Holiday Season


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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Laini Taylor Delivers A Beautifully Gripping Read With "Strange The Dreamer"

Series: Strange The Dreamer #1
Author: Laini Taylor
Publication Date: March 28th, 2017
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The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around - and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he's been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries - including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo's dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Review


(Nts: I finished this book months ago and found a half written review, which I tried really hard to complete, true to what I remembered about reading it)

Strange The Dreamer completely obliterated my expectations for it. I’m well aware of how well Laini Taylor excels in writing, with her series Daughter of Smoke and Bone being one of my favourite reads. I went into STD expecting it to be a great read, but finished it in awe and am so excited for the series to come. 

Taylor has a way with her words, which reflects in strong characters, world building and plot development. She writes in prose, painting a stunningly realistic world alongside creating a whirlwind of emotions that had me invested in the entire story from start to finish. What I really love, which Taylor did amazingly well, was give each character a voice of their own, no matter how major or minor their role was. They each had their own characteristics, and I found that I was invested in some, if not most, of the characters own progression. It was great to see that most of them had their own background story, to create depth to the story and make the characters come to life. It was easy to relate to them and attach myself emotionally. 

The world building in STD is absolutely genius! Taylor has created a rather expansive world with so much detail around each city including the people, their history and the culture within them - I could really envision each city and map them out to be part of an actual world. She built such a rich history around the world and the cities in it that it almost felt like I was reading about places that truly existed many years ago. This also reflected in the plot development, with Taylor producing such a complex but completely mind-blowing story. The novel is based around magic and mythical tales. Taylor’s whimsical and lyrical writing is the perfect accompaniment to make everything seem believable. Alongside that is her ability to explore worldly aspects including war, love, hate and discrimination to deliver powerful messages alongside her story. 

I haven’t finished a book within a day in awhile, but STD was so engaging and compelling, I had to keep reading. The one thing I would be a little nit picky about is that the ending focused a little too much on romance, which made the mystery and character developments take a back seat for a tiny bit. As a whole though, Strange The Dreamer delivered an excellent read - well thought out, with immense detail to visualise every moment of the novel, paced perfectly and delivering an ending that had me shocked. I cannot wait for the sequel! 

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Thursday, 13 July 2017

Recapping The Movies I've Watched In 2017 So Far


I feel like 2017 has been the year of movies for me. Not in the sense that every movie I’ve watched has been outstanding but rather, I’ve watched an immense amount, for someone who only watched She’s The Man in 2012 and have not seen a single Lord of the Rings or Star Wars movie. Basically, I’m not a huge movie buff - I don’t rush to watch movies unless I feel like it’s necessary and I’m not fussed on whether I do get around to it or not. I guess the biggest difference this year is that the friends that I’ve been hanging out with all love watching movies, and it’s become a social thing for me. Almost like a movie club! 

So without further ado let’s get into the first half of the year recap. 

Movies that I’ve watched


Most, if not all of these, are pretty mainstream movies with heaps of hype around them. 

Best Movies

I’m going to admit it, I’ve barely seen any of the other Wolverine movies, but Logan was amazing in that I didn’t have to know much about the other two to watch this one. It was such an emotional journey, played out spectacularly by Hugh Jackman and Dafne Keen. The plot was detailed enough, without dragging out moments, and I loved that it conveyed themes around equality, discrimination, love and family. 

I’m a Disney fan and this pretty much exceeded my expectations of it. I always go into adaptations quite apprehensive, but I throughly enjoyed this. Full review here. 

Worst Movie

Don’t even ask me why I watched it. From the plot to the script, it was all so cheesy and barely made any sense. Do not waste your time. 

Most Surprising

I watched this at the beginning of the year, after looking at what was on and not seeing anything else my friends and I would’ve liked to see. Surprise, surprise, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Maybe it’s because I didn’t expect too much, but I loved the design of the spaceship and the world building, the flawed characters and yes, even the sappy plot line. It was an enjoyable movie and would be great for a night in. 

Most Disappointing

Okay, let’s just get this straight. “Split” was one of those movies that I pictured what would happen in my mind and hope it would blow my mind. Instead, it left me confused and unsatisfied, veering from psychological thriller to having supernatural elements. I was hoping for darker elements that would leave me questioning the entire plot but really, all I'm questioning is why they decided to do what they did. 

Let’s be real, I expected this to be a disappointed. I don’t even know why I thought this would be better than it was. I mean I liked the transformation of the cars. I liked the humour. I liked the fighting. But everything else was way, waaaaay too cheesy. Optimus Prime had so many monologue moments, I thought I was watching a Shakespearean play. 

Thoughts on other movies


Gal Gadot was badass and beautiful. I’m not a huge DC fan nor do I know much about the history around Wonder Woman, so I felt like the context was strange. Nevertheless, it was an amazing movie celebrating a female superhero so I’m all about it. 

Can you tell I really like superhero movies? I really appreciated this re-make of Spider Man, because it explored Peter’s younger years and how he struggles to balance his teen years with his secret missions. It’s so realistic and relatable, from the peer pressure to thinking that he can tackle everything in the world because he has powers. It was definitely different to other superhero movies, but once I got past the lack of action - there is action, just not the same amount as per usual - I found I really enjoyed it for the message it portrayed. 

I'm in two minds about this. I liked it. It had a good back story to Kong, his demeanour and personality and how, as humans, we tend to take things for granted and assume that every land is ours for the taking. The island was incredible and so rich in creativity, and I loved that they filmed part of it in Ha Long Bay. On the other hand, it wasn't as engaging or captivating as I wanted it to be, so there were times I zoned out or felt like it was dragged on.

Bottom Line - go see Logan, Spiderman, Beauty and the Beast and Wonder Woman because they were all incredible and had so much to take away from. 

What Movies Have You Guys Seen This Year?

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Monday, 10 July 2017

Why You Should Read "The Handmaid's Tale" Once In Your Life


Title: The Handmaid's Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Publication Date: 1985
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Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She has only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness.

But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs. 





Review



The Handmaid’s Tale is one of those reads that you know will leave an impression on you, at least it did for me.

What I loved most about this was the way Atwood introduced profound ideas, which were explored somewhat, but for the most part I was left to delve further and reach my own conclusions. At first, it was a little frustrating, seeing as I wanted to know more, but overtime as I began to engage and construct my own opinions, I realised that I was taking more out of the plot by being forced to think about what Atwood was presenting. I really would’ve liked to have studied this sometime during high school or university because I feel like I would’ve gained so much more. There are so many aspects to this novel that can be discussed and to hear people’s opinion about it would’ve made for great debate.

The best part of The Handmaid's Tale as well, is that your opinion of it will change depending on when you read it during your life. For me, being at the ripe old age of 22 (kidding, I know I’m still very, very young), this novel has given me so much to think about but I’m also aware of how much I would’ve missed. I say this because Margaret Atwood, whilst writing this in 80s, was well ahead of her times and introduced ideas that can only really be grasped from knowledge gained through life experiences, studying these aspects or being well read. Personally, I think my feelings around this novel will definitely evolve between now and say 10 years later.

The writing itself is almost like the stream of consciousness style, reflecting Offred’s mindset perfectly. It felt like she was recounting her time, moving to and from the past and present as she remembered moments that related to her present time. I found that it was almost like I was reading a diary - intimate and compelling - and I couldn’t help but become attached emotionally. The world building was also fascinating and slightly terrifying. It depicts a society with ideals and hierarchy that can be considered as exaggerated to reinforce Atwood’s portrayal of the negative consequences in creating such a society. However, there are notions of truth within it, and as terrifying as it sounds, this world presented in the book could potentially become a world we might live in. This is why I find Atwood so impressive, because the story is well beyond its years and will remain relatable for generations to come.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a thought-provoking and precautionary tale that speaks of equality, power and identity that will stay with you and is well worth the read and re-read later on in your life.

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