Ramblings |On Reading

We all have a little bit of an adventurer inside. There are only so many adventures a person could go to in a lifetime. But more often than not, we are not brave enough to do the things we want to do in life. There is always something holding us back. There are so many things we would like to experience. But how?

That’s where books come in.

Books are the gateway that makes the impossible, possible. They are there to provide us with the things we are unable to do in the constraints imposed on us by time.

Reading is never at all boring, it is only boring to the unimaginative mind.

They give us adventures we could never imagine, we live lives we could never imagine for ourselves. We go on journeys to save a whole country, a whole race, a whole universe. We travel to places where real life can never take us.

Places where giants exist, where dragons and all these fantastical creatures roam the earth so freely causing awe to those who behold them.

I am in-love with the worlds I got to experience when I am reading. I have lived a hundred different lives in my 20 years of existence.

Monthly Wrap-Up | February 2016

Hello everyone,

It has been a while since I have last posted anything on my blog at all – and I have a legitimate reason for this.

I have been away on a school trip/holiday and it has been such an amazing experience! I was able to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum – walk down the streets of Naples and climb the peak of Mount Vesuvius. Not only this, but I also got to see an art made by Banksy!

Continue reading

eARC Review: Risuko: a Kunoichi Tale by David Kudler

  • Author: David Kudler
  • Title: Risuko: a Kunoichi tale
  • Series: Seasons of the Sword
  • Format: eARC
  • Publisher: Stillpoint Digital Press
  • Publication date: 15 June 2016
  • Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Historical

Rating: 4.5/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Can one girl win a war?

My name is Kano Murasaki, but most people call me Risuko. Squirrel.

I am from Serenity Province, though I was not born there.

My nation has been at war for a hundred years, Serenity is under attack, my family is in disgrace, but some people think that I can bring victory. That I can be a very special kind of woman.

All I want to do is climb.

My name is Kano Murasaki, but everyone calls me Squirrel.

Risuko.

Though Japan has been devastated by a century of civil war, Risuko just wants to climb trees. Growing up far from the battlefields and court intrigues, the fatherless girl finds herself pulled into a plot that may reunite Japan — or may destroy it. She is torn from her home and what is left of her family, but finds new friends at a school that may not be what it seems.

Magical but historical, Risuko follows her along the first dangerous steps to discovering who she truly is.

Kano Murasaki, called Risuko (Squirrel) is a young, fatherless girl, more comfortable climbing trees than down on the ground. Yet she finds herself enmeshed in a game where the board is the whole nation of Japan, where the pieces are armies, moved by scheming lords, and a single girl couldn’t possibly have the power to change the outcome. Or could she?

Continue reading

Currenlty Reading: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Hello my lovelies,

I feel good with myself as I have been posting so much for the past week, and that hasn’t happened before I don’t think.

It has become a habit of mine now to write at least one post everyday or every other day so that I could interact more with people – I have been looking at all the different book blogs out there – and I must say I am a little bit envious of the beautiful and amazing bookblogs out there. Of course there is no malicious intent in this – more like a benign envy – like “Oh, how I wish I have a blog like this. I will work hard to make mine as good as this blog – or I can just enjoy the way things are and be content with it” kind of envy.

Today, I would like to talk to you about my recent book purchase and am currently reading, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. A Little Life

Waterstones had a Half Price Sale on some of the books that they have, and A Little Life was one of them – I wasn’t going to buy any books, I just went there to get myself some bookmarks, because I kept of losing the bookmarks that I use… thinking that with me buying a bookmark I won’t have to worry about losing it because I would be too careful as to where I’ll be leaving the bookmark.

But, in the end I bought this book and Hollow City by Ransom Riggs.

 I have heard so many good things about this book, and all of the things I hear about it is always positive. I’ve only just started reading it and I’ve only managed to read the first chapter – but already I can tell that this book is going to break me and I will be reduced to tears and my heart into tiny litte smithereens and there is no one stopping me from reading this book.

It is a humongous book and no doubt it may take me a while to read it. Granted that it has nearly 800 pages – But I am determined to finish reading it within this week, and hope that when I am reading it in public I will not cry, although I think I was at the verge of letting out a pained sound while reading the book earlier on the bus, but I managed to keep my discomfort to myself – but I did have to stop reading for a couple minutes though.

I already adore the writing style, and it is easy to read and it flows so well. Therefore, I am hoping that with this type of writing style I will be able to whisk through the book and be absorbed in the lives of Willem, Jude, Malcolm and JB in no time at all.

Now I want to ask you guys whether you have read this book – and if so, how did you find it? Was it good? Bad? I want to hear from you.
If you have not read it however, are you planning to?

Well, that is all I have to say for now!

See you guys on the next post,

Nielle xx

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – A book review

I have been meaning to post a review for this book, but I needed some time to think about it and comprehend what happened. And after giving some thoughts, I’ve come up with a review that is well deserved.

Title: ALL THE BRIGHT PLACESAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Author: Jennifer Niven

Rating: 3.5/5

I would recommend it to anyone really, and I suggest that you don’t get swayed by my review and keep an open mind when you are reading this book. This has just been my opinion and review. 

This contains spoilers and read at your own desecration.

What is it about?

It’s about Theodore Finch and Violet Markey, about their meeting at the school’s bell tower, their wanderings, and how they’ve fallen in-love. But it isn’t just about the romance because the novel delves into taboo territory – it talks about mental illness and suicide.

Theodore is fascinated by death, and writes down different ways people have committed suicide. He’s a very troubled character, and although at the beginning he seems to be a cheerful individual as the story progresses he becomes more closed off and the themes becomes darker.

Violet on the other hand is still grieving the loss of her sister from a car accident, and she blames herself for it. She’s become closed off and no longer acts the way she was before – she marks everyday with a big black X as she counts the days before graduation and she could finally leave Indianna.She attempted suicide but was saved by Finch. Her story becomes more happy as the story progresses as she finds her world expanding and with atheists she was becoming more like old self herself, but forever changed.

Initial impression after reading the book

First of all, I know I rated this book a 3.5, however it does deserve a 5-star rating, but I have my reasons for this.

It was an extraordinary read, and it was able to reduce me to tears, in my book that’s a good, great even, novel right there because it made me feel! Yes, it is quite like the Fault in Our Stars, with it’s “quirky” teen characters.

I couldn’t put the book down, because 1) it is very well written 2) I love the characters and 3) because it tackles the topic of mental health of teenagers – something you don’t see in many YA books, and a topic we tend to avoid. So, I’m glad that someone has written a novel that centres the mental health – and how truly important it is for people to be aware that it is a subject that needs to be addressed!

Additionally, I really enjoyed reading about their wanderings and reading about all of the places they’ve visited. 

After careful deliberation 

The book is great in a sense that it addresses the issue of mental health of teenagers, and how the stigma and discrimination attached to this topic affects the sufferer of a mental health illness greatly.

I’ve already said the good bits before, in my initial thoughts of the book, but now it’s about the things that I didn’t quite like, I’m going to make a list for it, because it’s easier to focus that way.

  1. Finch and Violet’s characters are well developed and are wholesome, whereas the rest of the characters just comes and goes, and it feels like they’re just fillers – there are no substance into their existence. Which brings me to…
  2. … The parents of these two teenagers! Finch’s mum just doesn’t care about his problems and instead dismisses it as him being too tender hearted and that the only kind of illnes acceptable is physical pain – what about emotional and mental? Same goes for Violet’s parents… They tried to help, but the way they tried to wasn’t enough – just calling in to offer a name of psychiatrist? It would have been better if they actually tried to talk to Finch – but that’s my opinion and ok now it’s just a book, but I just can’t imagine how much these adults just doesn’t seem to care. 
  3. Near the end of the book, I wish I could have read more about what was going through Finch’s head, what was he thinking? 
  4. There are so many questions I want to ask the author! What is Finch’s history? There were hints, but I couldn’t be sure- there’s no clear explanation. 

INTO THE TREES by Robert Williams – a book review

In the middle of a forest is a house…

Many people are drawn to the forest, and the house at its centre.

Firstly the Norton family – Thomas, Ann and their two small children – settling into the peaceful retreat of their new home. Then there is Raymond – a shy, awkward man, who seeks the solitude of the woods on lonely walks. And finally, the masked men, who creep out of the trees and invade the Norton’s home, as the lives of these three very different sets of people become intertwined in dramatic and unexpected ways.

Into the Trees is such a great read, initially I was drawn by the cover of the book (yes, I judged a book by its cover) and I picked it up, and soon enough I was drawn to it after reading the synopsis.

The book is about a family who moved from the town into the woods/forests, and then there is also Raymond – the shy “giant”, and Keith – a man who has a ‘short man complex’ who we later on (spoiler) realize is one of the masked men (spoiler).

The book begins with the incident that involved the masked men – the robbery. Then we go back to 7/8 years into the past, where everything began and how Thomas and his family got into the situation they are now in and the events following the incident.

What I liked about the book:

  1. The way it’s written – the author (Robert Williams) has a great way of writing that engages his audience, from reading the book, I could imagine myself being put into the position of each of the characters we’ve met. The characters are also believable, to me they seem real and not just a work of fiction.
  2. Having three(five?) perspective within the book is interesting as well, because you aren’t focusing on only one side of what is happening to the characters throughout the book, and I enjoyed reading what is going on in each of the individuals involved… there’s also the fact that we also learn about each of their past – although I don’t think they contribute that much into the story apart from learning more about their past.
  3. I really like the cover, it’s simple and eye catching 🙂
  4. I really liked Thomas and Raymond, they’re easily likable characters. They both depict what it is like to be anxious and to an extent paranoid of what’s going to happen (Thomas) and how an introvert/shy person truly feels when it comes to dealing with places and situations outside their comfort zones (Raymond). 

What I disliked about the book:

  1. The first thing I disliked about the book is the fact that it was never truly explained as to why baby Harriet cried so much or how come she only calmed down when they’re in the woods – did it have something to do with the fact that the family is relaxed and Harriet could sense it (as their psychiatrist have suggested)? Or was it the smell or general feeling of the forest? I don’t know, this issue just suddenly disappeared – and I only realised this when I was in the middle of the book, during the incident. 
  2. Back stories of characters in a book are great and fun to read, especially if it adds to the story. There were some parts of the book where I found it unnecessary, but that’s probably just me. Like (spoiler) learning about Ann’s old love interest. It didn’t really add much to the plot, just acted out as a filler of some sort to the story to build up Ann’s character and – I suppose, relationship with Thomas.
  3. To an extent I feel as if the ending was a bit rushed, how rash Keith was with his plan to invade the home again and then his sudden death – it all happened all too quickly – actually after taking many things into consideration a few days after I’ve read the book, I just now realise that it’s probably just me because – well, most things in real life happen so fast you don’t even realise that it’s happened… 

Overall, I would recommend this book, and would rate it 4.5 🙂

Thanks for reading,

THE OPPOSITE OF LONELINESS by Marina Keegan

The Opposite of LonelinessThe Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

Marina Keegan’s star was on the rise when she graduated magna cum laude from Yale in May 2012. Tragically, five days after graduations, Marina died in a car crash.

Her unforgettable last essay for the Yale Daily News, ‘The Opposite of Loneliness’, went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. Marina had struck a chord.

The Opposite of Loneliness captures the hope, uncertainty and possibility of her generation and articulates the universal struggle that all of use face as we figure out what we aspire to be and how we can harness our talents to make an impact on the world. 

The main reason I was drawn to the book, The Opposite of Loneliness, is because of the title. It is ambiguous,  it makes you think to yourself “what is the opposite of loneliness?”, we never really think about it I guess, we just know how it feels – as Marina Keegan put it “it’s not quite love and it’s not quite community” – it’s just that sense of belonging. The essay itself is insightful, she highlights how we’re young and we have so much time to make mistakes and how it’s never too late, that it is just the beginning.

Another factor that drove me into buying the book is because of the tragic death of the writer, Marina Keegan, she had her whole future ahead of her – with a job in line at the New Yorker, it is sad how she has been taken away from this world far too early.

But, I was curious (very curious) about her essay, The Opposite of Loneliness, I knew I could probably have accessed it online and read it there, but I wanted to buy the rest of her works as well. I am glad that I did.

I think, her work would be more towards a younger audience because her language is written in the way we understand. It is easy to empathize with her characters in her short stories – they were believable, their situations were believable and you can relate to each and everyone of them in one way or another. But there were also instances where they made me cringed and just look at the page repeating in my head “what?” But nontheless, they were well written and I enjoyed reading them.

Although, I did prefer her essays over her fictional works. Through her writing, you learn about her as a person, you can relate to what she is saying and you feel like she understood so much. She presented her work in her voice, she didn’t use another persons – no she wrote in her own unique way. Her essays opened issues for the reader to ponder on – from her essay “Why we care about whales” and “Even Artichokes have doubts”.

It is clear that she had a talent, that she was the one of the greatest writer in the making. It is just tragic how her time was cut much too short.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.