Monday, 29 April 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (#1)

3It's Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme held over at Book Journey where participants share what they are in the middle of reading or will read during the week.


Right now I'm reading two books. Yesterday I started Cinda Williams Chima's The Demon King (link to Goodreads) which is the first book in the Seven Realms Trilogy. I'm really hooked on this fantasy novel at the moment, it's captivating and keeps me guessing. I've also borrowed the other two books in the series so I have them at the ready when I finish this one!
 
I'm also in the middle of re-reading the Harry Potter series - in Swedish! It's a good way to practice for my matriculation examination in Swedish which I'm taking next school year. I'm currently in the beginning of Harry Potter och Den flammande b├Ągaren - or more familiarly, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (link to Goodreads). =)

-Eve

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Time to Quote (#1)


This (hopefully) weekly post is partly inspired by Quote it Saturday (Freda's Voice). I will be choosing a favourite quote – sometimes a few - every weekend, share it with you and explain why I think it’s special, beautiful or thought-provoking. Enjoy! P.S. The quotes won’t have any spoilers.

This week I chose the following quote:
"There can be beauty anywhere. Even here. An if it ain't there, you can make it yerself."
-Blood Red Road by Moira Young

 
When I was reading Blood Red Road, I was particularly struck by this quote. I usually don’t remember to write down quotes but when I do, they are words strung together like beads making a beautiful pattern, or puzzle pieces fitting just right into each other, an entity that calls out to me and sticks into my mind determinedly. This particular one was just like that. The rhythm of these three sentences is flowing and effortless, they give each other shape and most importantly, they form together an ageless thought that applies everywhere, to everyone.

                                                              
We choose what is beautiful. It is not truly our eyes but instead our brain and attitude that make the – sometimes - unconscious choice to regard things in a certain way. If we want to, we can find beauty anywhere. It’s always present, often hidden, until the moment we decide to uncover it, to observe something through positive thoughts. When we attempt to stop viewing things judgingly and consciously examine our opinions and prejudices and the reasons behind them, we can realize that really it often is a matter of will to see something or someone in a better light. Every day we can try this – look around us, see the beauty. Sometimes it is so close we don’t even notice.


Those are my thoughts for today – what do you think of this quote?
 
-Eve

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Review: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)
Picture source: Goodreads
Title: Clockwork Princess
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Infernal Devices #3
Published: 2013
Where I got the book from: Borrowed from a friend

This is my first proper review! My style will probably still change as I gradually find out what kind of review-writing works for me.

Warning: This review contains spoilers for the first two books in the series and minor spoilers (mainly things one could guess) for this final book.

Synopsis from Goodreads

"Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

Tessa Gray should be happy - aren't all brides happy?
Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.
A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa's heart, will do anything to save her."
 

My Thoughts



I read the first two books in the Infernal Devices trilogy last September and had forgotten the complexity and wonder of the Shadowhunter world. I had to read online summaries of Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince because I felt it was too soon to reread them and  I didn’t want to dive into the third part of the trilogy with only an idea of the general plotline in the series and barely any memories of the details.
                      
On the very first pages of Clockwork Princess Clare pulled me right into London of the late 1800s and amongst familiar friends who quickly became as beloved as they were the last time I greeted them. There is Tessa, strong in mind and good in heart, conflicted with her emotions towards the two young Shadowhunter men, Will and Jem, one of whom she is about to marry. They are like opposites, but linked closer than two brothers with their parabatai bond - Jem is the forgiving one, kind, quietly passionate and dying, and Will is the flighty one, fierce, quick-tempered and yet tender inside. The rest of Clare’s cast of characters are as varied and wonderfully three-dimensional as the three main protagonists – just and motherly Charlotte, sweet Henry, brave Sophie and the warlock Magnus Bane, as mysterious as ever. Clockwork Princess also deepens the reader’s insight into previously side-line characters such as Cecily Herondale, the impromptu newcomer at the London Shadowhunter Institute, and Gabriel Lightwood, who appears at the beginning of the novel to tell Charlotte and the rest that his father’s demon pox has turned him into a bloodthirsty demon worm.
 
Clockwork Princess starts with hints of secrets that immediately arouse questions and a desperate need to know the truth. Clare weaves with a talented hand an intricate, gripping plot filled with betrayal and battles, romance and revelations, demons and death and everything else that a fantasy novel like this is required to have. I especially liked the fact that the romance wasn’t limited to only the main characters and I think this must be one of my favourite books with third-person narrative. I felt invested in this novel, like I was present with the characters and had access to their emotions. My feelings were all over the place – the waterworks went on and off, I smiled and even laughed out loud, I sighed and frowned anxiously as I frantically read on to see what would happen next. I was definitely startled at times – I practically gaped when I read that one scene where the Shadowhunters were battling the automatons (I think, if you’ve read the book, you know what scene and what “revelation” I am talking about!). The uncovered truths were entirely plausible and satisfactory; I was impressed with how everything suddenly made sense. The story is tied up cleanly and cleverly together in a breath-taking, jaw-droppingly surprising and immensely gratifying conclusion. Truthfully, the only slightly negative thing I have to say about this book is that the “final” battle seemed to end a little too swiftly. I was expecting a proper war-like situation with many parts to the fighting, including casualties and losses and small victories before the final result.
 
Altogether I loved reading Clockwork Princess and think it is a very fitting end to The Infernal Devices. Clare’s writing is heartbreakingly beautiful, sometimes funny – mostly the things Will says, and the bantering between characters - and sometimes dramatic, but always true to her characters and the world they live in. I strongly recommend the entire series to anyone who loves fantasy and a historical setting.  
 

5/5
 
Eve




 
 


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Mini Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)
Picture source: Goodreads

Title: Graceling
Author: Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling Realm #1
Published: 2008

I thought I'd start with a mini review to get into the routine of blogging!

Summary

In a magical world of seven kingdoms ruled by cruel kings, Katsa is born with a terrible and feared talent - a Grace. Katsa's Grace grants her the power and strength to fight and kill, which her uncle, King Randa of the Middluns, exploits mercilessly. Katsa has always felt tainted and shunned due to her skill, and gradually she realizes she no longer wants to hurt people. When she stumbles upon the mystery of the kidnapped father of the king of Lienid she finds herself tangled in a thick web of violence, deceit and manipulation. With her newest ally who is Graced with a skill almost like hers, Katsa decides to find out the truth - and for once use her gift to do something right.

My Thoughts

Katsa is young, stubborn and impulsive, unbeatable in a fight and has perhaps the best aim with a bow in all the seven kingdoms. Despite her flaws and mistakes, Katsa is very easy to empathize with in her feelings of being alone and set apart, her conflict with being controlled by her uncle and her want of independency and also her arising emotions of love. I admired Katsa's development into a woman who listens to her own heart and brain instead of following orders she is against and grew quickly fond of her as a character. In the end, Katsa makes the right choices and acts selflessly, saving lives on the way.
 
The plot of the book was intriguing and exciting to me, I eagerly kept on turning the pages to find out what happens next and I felt invested in the tale of Katsa and her friends. Though certain happenings weren't unexpected, I was still glued to the pages and at some points, even startled by things I didn't see coming. Cashore's writing is effortless, flowing and captivating - in other words, I enjoyed it very much. Her portrayals of the characters were believable and multi-layered, my favourites being Katsa, Po, Bitterblue and Raffin. I would have liked to see a little more interaction between Katsa and Raffin and maybe also the other characters from Randa's castle, but all in all I was very satisfied with Graceling as a whole. Right now I am waiting in anticipation for a chance to lay my hands on Cashore's other two books set in the Graceling Realm, Fire and Bitterblue, which are both standalones thought they partly involve same characters.

5-/5

(Until I figure out a better way to put up stars, it's going to be like above...)

Eve
   

Top Ten Tuesday (#1): Books I Thought I'd Like More/Less Than I Did

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at the Broke and the Bookish - check out their book blog! This week's topic is "Top Ten Books I Thought I'd Like More/Less Than I Did".

Books I thought I'd like more


1) Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
I was excited about this one because I kept reading raving reviews but unfortunately I was a little disappointed. The title is deliciously morbid, the cover is sufficiently creepy and yet I didn't feel the goosebumps as I read the novel, though I would have wanted to. Cas's narrative didn't work for me and the romance felt a little quick. I did enjoy it, but I don't love it.

2) The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
This was my first zombie book and a slow read for me. The idea and the whole set-up of being in a village surrounded by a forest full of zombies was intriguing. However, I didn't really get a feel of Mary and the plot didn't truly captivate me.

3) Legend by Marie Lu
I was really into dystopian when I read this so maybe the fact that I had high expectations and books to compare it to affected my reading experience in a slightly negative way. It took some time for me to kind of sink into the story and I didn't feel a great attachment to any of the characters, though I liked them. However, the plot was engaging!

4) Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann
This is a highly original detective story - a shepherd is found dead, impaled by a spade, and it is his sheep who try to solve the mystery of who is the murderer. I fell in love with the sheep with their distinct personalities, but there was a lot of description which felt a little tedious at times.

5) Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
I am a fan of mythology, so that's why I thought I'd enjoy it better. Unfortunately I wasn't thrilled by the romance, though the unique feel of this book did make up for it.

 

Books I thought I'd like less


6) Where She Went by Gayle Forman
If I Stay is a wonderful novel but it didn't awaken uncontrollably strong emotions in me. That's why I wasn't prepared for Where She Went to be such a mindblowingly amazing emotional rollercoaster ride of which I loved every minute, even when my heart broke a few times.

7) Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
This was a "WOW!" kind of book for me. It's packed with smart humour, thrilling suspese, shocking secrets and heart-racing romance. I guess I wasn't expecting all that!

8) What I Was by Meg Rosoff
My mother bought this for me at a point in my life when I barely read any contemporary. What I Was just captivated me right from the start and I loved it to bits.

9) Blood Red Road by Moira Young
I was inspired by some reviews to read this but once I read the first few pages I kind of felt like I knew I wouldn't like it because of the slang. But I persevered and it has ended up being one of my favourite dystopian novels!

10) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
I know, I know. It's kind of shocking. At first I was put off from reading HP and I swore I never would but when my mother (once again) forced me to at around the age of eight or nine, I was enthralled. I still am. And this love affair between me and the HP books will continue until I die.

So, those were my Top Ten this week! I can't wait for next week's topic. =)

Eve

Joining the Blogosphere


Hello bloggers and booklovers!

I am a 17-year-old girl who lives in Finland going by the blogging name Eve. Reading, my greatest passion, has been dear to me since my childhood. When I was a toddler and didn’t even know how to read yet, I knew some of my favourite books by heart. Today, reading is still my favourite hobby and a part of my life I could never give up. Books transform me and they are an integral part of me – without them I wouldn’t be who I am now.

I first stumbled upon book blogs around a year ago. Before that I hadn’t even heard of them before so you can imagine my thrill in discovering there was an entire world online dedicated to reading, reviewing and obsessing over books. It’s no surprise, really, that I suddenly had a mind-numbingly spectacular idea (or so I thought back then). What if I wrote a blog? On books I’ve read? Little fireworks of excitement exploded in my brain.

Over the past year this idea has gradually grown more powerful, and the urge to start blogging ever more insistent. It took me a year to realize that yes, I can do this, and then actually do it. I had some qualms or more like fears, though – and I still have some, but I’m trying to stifle them – such as the fear of blogging becoming stressful, or taking up both my (reading) time and energy, or maybe me becoming a tiny, insignificant blogger whose opinions nobody would like to hear about.  

Despite all those unsure thoughts, here I am. I’m ready to step into the blogosphere and join the bookish love. I want to share my feelings on everything and anything that inspires me and has a connection to literature. I’m predicting I will mainly write reviews on YA novels (contemporary, fantasy, dystopian, historical and paranormal) but we’ll see – I might review a novel targeted at adults or a non-fiction book every now and then to make my blog a little more diverse.

In brief, let the adventure begin!

Eve