F*ck, Marry, Kill = Borrow, Buy, Burn!

I want to start a fun game of F*ck, Marry, Kill with books!

Please suggest me other books to play with!

Welcome to my first edition of BORROW, BUY, BURN!

I hope it’ll bring you fun! If it goes well, I’ll start tagging other people to play as well. I asked one of my friend to suggest me the first three books, and here they are:

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
  2. The Lord of the Rings : The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
  3. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

BORROW

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Simply because there’s no way in hell I’m burning a book from my childhood, and it didn’t leave as big an impression as LotR so I can’t marry it.

BUY

The Lord of the Rings : The Fellowship of the Ring. Duhhhh. It’s part of my favorite series, so of course I’m marrying it.

BURN

City of Bones. Sure, Simon and Jace especially were my obsessions for a few months, but still can’t compare to the other two. I’d kill it.

.

Et voilà! I hope you’re enjoying it, but please help me find a name and maybe tell me what I should improve? Thank you!

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Wednesday’s Headline: Laini Taylor & Kerstin Gier

Wednesday’s Headline is a series/feature on my blog where I will share with you my current read and my thoughts and expectations for them!

This Wednesday, I’m reading two books : Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor and Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier. I’m particularly excited about this duo because they sound so amazing!!

Laini Taylor is the acclaimed author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone series! Stranger the Dreamer will be published on March 28th, 2017.

[Pictures+summaries from Goodreads]

  1. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

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Summary:

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way aroundand 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?

OUhhhhhh I’m SO HYPED FOR THIS!!!! So mysterious and mythical and IT SMELLS OF MAGIC AND ENCHANTMENTS!!! And I’m a few pages in and the writing is totally awesome, so I think I found one of my favorite reads of 2017!

2. Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

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Summary:

Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon–the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

My friend recommended this one to me, and I’m totally hooked by the summary! I love time travel stuff and I’m pretty sure I’ll love the ship in there 😉 A kind of Time Traveller’s Wife, people? A few pages in also, and I think it borders on too childish, but not yet, you know? We’ll have to see where she goes with that.

Thank you for reading my Wednesday’s Headline!

Book Review: The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin

92625Title: The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

Author : Ursula K. Le Guin

Publisher : Creative Education, Inc.

Release date : April, 1997

Rating : 6/5

☯ Synopsis :

With deliberately both vague and vivid descriptions, the narrator depicts a summer festival in the utopian city of Omelas, whose prosperity depends on the perpetual misery of a single child.

⚜ Review :

The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas (TOWWAFO) is a short story of about 10 pages. Initially, I didn’t plan on reviewing it. It was just a passion reading, encouraged by the music video of a K-Pop band that I love in which Omelas is mentioned (“Spring Day” by BTS). Go take a look; although you probably won’t understand a word of what they’re saying, the song’s melody is upbeat and melancholic at the same time, the rap/singing is on point, the cinematography is actually quite beautiful, and the video has tremendous depth and meaning. (Ok now I have the urge to publish a whole article on BTS). Back to the topic.

TOWWAFO is… a masterpiece. In less than 10 pages, it managed to pave a path to my mind, to my heart, to my soul. Its influence is still rattling in my head. I’m constantly thinking about it, its meaning, its consequences.

The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting.

How more wrong can we get?

As you can deduce from the title and the synopsis, once the citizens of Omelas are made aware of the misery of this particular child, some of them choose to accept this sacrifice and stay in their ideal life, for they cannot fix it without destroying everything else. Some of them choose to leave, as they cannot live with this on their mind. Those are the choices they have. For this city, in order for it to remain perfectly happy and prosperous, it needs only one imperfection, only one atrocity to balance everything else, and it’s the child.

Does the benefit of many outweigh the suffering of few? Should perfection be achieved at the expense of someone else? Is the happiness of thousands of people worth the suffering of a child?

That is exactly what Le Guin presents to us in her mesmerizing, yet chilling story. Happiness is, after all, not stupid, nor simple. With only a few words, this incredibly powerful and complex short story delivers some of the most fundamental questions in our society. Think about it. No, please, think about it.

I honestly understand both sides, and it’s part of the reason why TOWWAFO is so emotional. I understand those who stay, because I too dream of a happy, harmonious, perfect life. The idea of leaving my happily ever is horrifying to me. But I also understand those who leave, because I have empathy and conscience, and I don’t think I’d survive contributing to this child’s suffering.

But Le Guin’s story isn’t only about that, I realized. As the title goes, it’s also about the ones who walk away. The ones who leave everything they’ve known behind, to walk towards an unknown destination. Because that’s exactly their state of mind: they don’t know where they’re going, but surely anywhere’s better than here? They’re leaving because it’s not working for them anymore. And although they may start their walk on their own, they aren’t the only ones leaving or who left. They never walk alone.

The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

Nowadays, those conflicts are still very relevant. We have, on the one hand, the many vs few dilemma. On the other hand, we have the familiar vs unknown dilemma.

From childhood to adulthood, we walk towards the unknown. We don’t have a map of the World of Adults, we don’t know how to navigate its waters, but we are headed there nonetheless. We leave the utopian world of our childhood.

In mourning, we must leave behind the world in which our close one is still present, in order to face the world without them.

The moment we open our minds, we only have but two choices : close our eyes, or keep them open.

But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

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Random Monday: Short VS Long Reviews

☂ Random Monday is a series/feature on my blog where I will talk about, you guessed it, random, bookish stuff! ☂

Hey there!!! It’s been a while since my last Random Monday, but I’m back 😀

When I’m looking for a book to read, I often go on Goodreads to see if it’s generally viewed as a good book or not. Sometimes, I even quickly check the actual reviews. What I’ve noticed in those occasions is that I’m immediately drawn to the short reviews, because I’m lazy.

When people write short reviews (and by short, I mean 5 Goodreads-lines), they automatically put in less effort. I know because I tried. What could I actually say in those 5 lines? “It was great”, “I really liked the story”, “The characters are all likable”, “But I didn’t like the plot twist”, etc. Short and simple. It was much easier for me, yes! I had the perks of stating my opinion, but keeping it lowkey and time-saving.

But what am I looking for in a review? When I’m genuinely interested in the book, whether I read it or not, I want to know what people thought, what they liked, what they disliked. I want to read constructive arguments as to why that wasn’t good and this was. I don’t want an overview, I want the details. Of course, if I’m merely curious about a novel, a short review would be enough, but…

That’s why my reviews are long-ish. It’s important, for me, to tell you the why to my opinions, so that you can get a complete idea of what I’ve been going through. I know I sometimes get lazy to read them, because there are so many letters and words and paragraphs. But the thing that makes long reviews bearable is an organized structure.

You can go about it in many ways:

  • What I liked / What I disliked / Would I recommend
  • Bullet points
  • Characters / Plot / Writing
  • Fanart / Gifs / Drawings in between paragraphs
  • Bolding key phrases

Really, you can structure your reviews in many ways; those are just the ones that I encountered.

(My way to write reviews is the Bolding key phrases)

Anyway, thanks for reading this!

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

onesheet.jpgTitle : Beauty and the Beast

Director : Bill Condon

Starring : Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad

Release date : March 17th, 2017

Genre : Drama, Musical & Performing Arts, Romance, Fantasy

Synopsis (from RottenTomatoes) :

Rating : 70%

“Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within.

☀ Review :

** By NO MEANS am I a professional critic, I have never taken cinema classes or anything, so there won’t be any technical language or over-the-top comment about this movie. I’ll just tell you why I liked/didn’t like it.

Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test!

Beauty and the Beast (BatB) is my favorite animated Disney movie, and that makes me completely biased towards the live-action one <– warning.

Oh, how nostalgic and enchanted I felt when the Prologue song came on! I was hooked from the beginning, and not only because of the song, but also because of the decor and the setting! The castle was more impressive and grand than in the animated version, the village was just as cozy, and the landscape/forest gave me shivers. Disney really nailed the setting/CGI (?) for this one, because it was so beautiful, so magical. I just wanted to fall into that world!

The plot was mainly the same (read synopsis above), so there was no real surprise there. I won’t tell you about the plot changes they made, though, because I don’t want to reveal any spoilers, but they’re darker than the animated counterpart. My opinion didn’t change much because of those tweaks.

I read some of the criticisms made about the Stockholm Syndrome. What IS Stockholm Syndrome? In short, “Stockholm syndrome is a condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity.” But, in Emma Watson’s words :

[Belle] has none of the characteristics of someone with Stockholm Syndrome because she keeps her independence, she keeps that freedom of thought.

Belle doesn’t have the Stockholm Syndrome because she always tries (and succeeds) to escape, so she doesn’t need any survival strategy during captivity. She chooses to come back on her own, because she’s grateful to Beast. And that is it.

However, the only downside I had with the movie was that I wasn’t as awed as with Cinderella (2015). In Cinderella, we had the beautiful dress made of magic, the too-beautiful-for-his-own-good Prince, the vibrant colours. Everything was enchanting to the eyes and to the heart. So I was a little disappointed to see that BatB didn’t have this extra-ness.

But I loved and admired the changes they did for Belle. She’s now the inventor of the family, not Maurice. It completes and actually explains why Belle is such an oddity (because just being able to read was a little thin as an explanation, for me). And they had lines that actually made sense and were funny! The musical parts weren’t too cliché, they added new songs as well and one of those became my favorite! *sigh*

All in all, I was more than satisfied with BatB. It was out of this world, and I’d watch it again and again!! Totally recommended!

 

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany & Co.

29069989Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Author : John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling

Publisher : Arthur A. Levine Books

Release date : July 31st, 2016

Rating : 4/5

☯ Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

⚜ Review :

I’m super duper biased right now, so of course I enjoyed it immensely and gave it a good rating. I mean, HARRY POTTER and the Cursed Child is a sequel and it’s CANON since Rowling co-wrote it. It was a joy to see familiar characters, to dive back in HP’s world, to be welcomed at Hogwarts once again.

Um… but I’ll try bringing more reasoned arguments on the table.

The writing is definitely not Rowling, despite her co-writing it. It lacks the quirkiness and the dry humor that I’m used to. Maybe it’s because it’s all dialogues, or maybe they had to adapt our characters to adulthood. Actually, it’s probably one of those two reasons, but I missed the giddy feeling I had while reading HP. But since it’s theater, I think they put all the quirkiness they could into the characters.

And I do love the characters. My favorite one, unsurprisingly, is Scorpius. Such a sweet and considerate guy, so different from his family’s heritage. He’s supportive and through their mistakes, he doesn’t waver and he’s genuinely caring and determined. When you think about it, he’s also the embodiment of Draco Malfoy’s job as a father. I’m proud, on behalf of Draco, of his son. His friendship with Albus was mesmerizing. And that’s all I can really say about Albus. I was pretty indifferent to him through it all; even when he acted up, I was only waiting for Scorpius to reappear.

The book was cheesy, I admit. But my biggest problem is that they didn’t stay true to the characters that we know and love. Some arcs were believable, and actually realistic. Harry is struggling with his role as a father, and I totally get it. He says things and does stuff that I wish he hadn’t and that I can’t reconcile with the HARRY we know. But he’s an adult now, and life happens, and in 19 years, I guess some things changed. Hermione lost her sass, but she’s still bossy and smart. Ron was… well, I had hoped he would become “cooler”, but he’s… a disappointment to me, unfortunately.

But the story was fun, funny and light, full of twists and magic! It gave me a great lasting impression. I felt as if it was more about the relationships and conflict between characters, than about the actual plotline. And I was totally okay with that, because Harry doesn’t need another story. Harry doesn’t need any addition. Harry doesn’t need a bow on top. But along the way, Harry got a companion. Harry got a friend. A cute and nostalgic one, and I fell in love.

 

Quote of the day

The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist

– Ursula K. Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

ARC Review: Bang by Barry Lyga

31420736Title: Bang

Author : Barry Lyga

Publisher : Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Release date : April 18th, 2017

Rating : 3.8/5

☯ Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one–not even Sebastian himself–can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father’s gun.
Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend–Aneesa–to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past.

It took a gun to get him into this.
Now he needs a gun to get out.

⚜ Review :

I realize I don’t have the same enthusiasm towards this one than most people.

Maybe I watch too many Hollywood movies, but I was expecting more “bang” from Bang, you know what I mean? However, it was a great read, thoughtful-wise (I think I just invented a word, English not being my first language, woopsieeee).

I was very impressed with the subject Lyga tackled, and the message it delivered. We hear too often about gun violence, victims, guilty and how to properly handle such an issue. In the political realm, that’s great, right? It MUST be fixed. But here we have another part of the story: the aftermath. What happens to the family left behind? What happens with the killer? But more shockingly, what if the killer is part of your own family, and you have to live with it? With such a plot, I was immediately attracted to it.

BANG met my storyline, characters and depth expectations. No, honestly, it SURPASSED those expectations. Really, it deserves a standing ovation!

Let me start with the characters: Sebastian is the one who killed his baby sister (nop, not a spoiler). His desire to die is well-structured, he’s very reasonable about it. Although he’s not the most fun and engaging MC I’ve ever read about, his character development was masterfully done. It was believable. It wasn’t white to black in a second. There was no epiphany, there were no life-changing, tearful arguments. And it all contributes to the fact that he’s quite complex, as a character. Lyga managed to capture his state of mind and his shifting thoughts in a well-paced and well-structured way.

But the real joy was Aneesa. Personally, I felt as if the spotlight was on her, as I liked her very much and she was the only sunshine in this rainy novel. Aneesa’s the new girl in the very-white neighborhood. Why is that relevant? Because she’s a Muslim who wears a hijab in a very-white neighborhood. I particularly enjoyed and appreciated the theme of islamophobia, as she often referred to it to talk about her worries of living in America, and the very real discrimination against Muslims. Apart from this awareness, she is so sweet, and funny, and smart and creative. Fiercely proud and supportive till the end, she’s the kind of friend you’d like to have.

What makes Bang truly remarkable, however, isn’t the characters. What made it soar beyond my expectations was the realness and unflinching honesty of the aftermath’s depiction. We see the difficulty of reconciling a terrible mistake Sebastian did as a 4 y/o with who he is now. Not only is he trapped in this ordeal, but he’s also painfully aware of how others see him, his reputation as a sister-killer, and it taints every relationship he has. While I was reading through it, I had to have several times this thought :”Wow…” (in a good way!). I don’t have enough English vocabulary to describe how I felt, or how it is. It was just so… realistic.

I highly recommend this book for… well, everyone. Awareness of this kind of mental and social issues is to be spread like a virus because it’s too easy to blame, to judge, without taking into consideration all the details. But I’d advise not to dive in with expectations of excitement. Often, I found it very dull. But that’s just a matter of opinion.

** I’d like to thank NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing me with an e-ARC of this novel!

 

Book Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

25494343Title: Lady Midnight

Author : Cassandra Clare

Publisher : Sourcebooks Fire

Release date : March 8th, 2016

Rating : 4.8/5

☯ Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

⚜ Review :

I read this one a while ago now, and I’m so sorry I didn’t post my review earlier! But let me just say that it was “A” TO THE “MAZING”.

While reading Lady Midnight, I constantly forgot to write down my thoughts when they arose (like I usually do when I read). It’s maybe because I felt that, despite the different plot and characters and settings, it was like a perfect continuation of The Mortal Instruments series.

We already know Emma, Julian, the rest of the Blackthorn family, etc. Unlike TMI’s main character, Clary, Emma deserved my love and respect. She is a confident, cool girl; the kind  you’d admire from afar in your high school and wish you were. She’s totally awesome and funny, determined and brave. Bref, the kind of protagonist you’d definitely picture in an action-packed book/movie!! On the downside, she resembles Clary a little bit, in the sense of her recklessness and her annoying I-do-whatever-I-want-and-things-better-go-my-way aspect. Since this is only the first book, I can get over it, mainly because she’s strong and badass!

However, I’d hate to see the Clary-ish side of her take over in the next books. Emma’s kind of action-teen typical, easy to like, but it would be Clare’s mistake to forge, yet again, a golden path for her main character.

Julian, for his part, isn’t the swoon-worthy type, but I admit I had my fangirl moments with him! Basically, all characters are designed to be liked by the readers, and I did like them, even the “bad ones”. They all have redeeming qualities. We meet a new High Warlock, Malcolm, who’s not at all like Magnus, who even seems too incompetent to be a High Warlock. Maybe I missed a part, but are powerful abilities the only requirement to be High Warlock?! His quirkiness was pleasant, though, so as a character, I liked him (hahaha).

Cassandra Clare’s writing style is very good for a Young Adult book, as expected. It flows like water, very easy to read and understand. Point of views alternate, so we get in depth insight into different characters and events. Los Angeles could have been better described, because I feel as if Clare only knows about the sea and the pop culture? It was definitely not in a local, personal way. Clare didn’t do her homework correctly, because I didn’t get the feeling Emma’s lived her whole life in LA, although that’s her backstory.

One of the most important themes of this book is, according to me, family. Whether it’s blood family, or life family, it’s such an important aspect of everything they do, everything they fight for. I could also sense that Clare wanted to breach certain social issues, such as sexual orientation, but it was too vague and stored in the background. It is, however, a start to Clare’s literary awareness.