Tuesday, November 17

First Chapter, First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros | November 17

First Chapter, First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros is a weekly meme hosted at Bibliophile by the Sea.


Share the first paragraph (or two) of the book you're currently reading or planning to read next.


"The Los Angeles Institute, December 2007
 On the day Emma Carstair's parents were killed, the weather was perfect. On the other hand the weather was usually perfect in Los Angeles. Emma's mother and father dropped her off on a clear morning at the Institute in the hills behind the Pacific Coast Highway, overlooking the blue ocean."
                                 ~ Prologue: Fall Like Rain, City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare



Would you keep reading or pass?

Teaser Tuesday | November 17

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm.

> Grab your current read.
> Open to a random page.
> Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book. 

Be careful not to include spoilers!
Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away. 
We don't want to ruin the book for others.

Share the title and author too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR if they enjoyed your teaser!

"Night had fallen over Alicante, and the stars shone down like bright sentinels, making the demon towers, and the water in the canals - half ice now - shimmer."
                                                   ~ Chapter 16, City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare 






Sunday, November 8

Review | Austenland by Shannon Hale

"For Colin Firth: You're a really great guy, but I'm married, 
so I think we should just be friends."


My Rating:  


          Austenland by Shannon Hale (Austenland #1) 
                             (Book Depository | Goodreads
Jane is a young New York woman who can never seem to find the right man - perhaps because of her secret obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaption of Pride and Prejudice. When a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed women, however, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real that she ever could have imagined. Is this total immersion in a fake Austenland enough to make Jane kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?






Jane Hayes, the main character, is your typical stereotype of a young New Yorker: independent, pretty, intelligent, with a great sense of humor and a secure job. Underneath it all she keeps a secret: she's hopelessly in love with Mr. Darcy.

Austenland is a fast read - a somehow charming, somewhat predictable yet decent cheesy romance to be read on a lazy afternoon. It was a fun, lighthearted read that made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion. I was trying to overcome a reading slump and this book certainly did the trick.

It was easy to relate to Jane's character. Her less-than-great dating history, her coming to terms with a likely future as a spinster, her platonic love for a fictional character,... For me, it was exactly her platonic love that I related to the most. Who hasn't fallen in love with a storybook character before?!

Another interesting character is Miss Charming. What a delightful crazy woman! In a way I believe she was meant to symbolise what Jane would've become had she never conquered her Darcy obsession. 

The story takes place in Austenland - a resort in England that promises a typical and unique Austen-inspired Regency-era experience. A make-believe theme park that allows its guests to live in 1816 England, in a property called Pembroke Park, filled with beautiful dresses, elegant balls and chivalrous men. Maybe it's the way my brain conjured it that made it look so perfect but I kept wishing that place was real!

The ending does, however, leave something to be desired. Jane makes a self-discovery and the reader finally gets the point of the book. It was not my favourite part. It was one of those rare occasion in which I ended up preferring the ending of the movie adaption instead of the book. 

Overall, it is a fuzzy quick read with a satisfying romance.

Read in:  March 8 and 9, 2013

Tuesday, November 3

First Chapter, First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros | November 3

First Chapter, First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros is a weekly meme hosted at Bibliophile by the Sea.


Share the first paragraph (or two) of the book you're currently reading or planning to read next.



"I am by birth a Genovese, and my family is one of the most distinguished of that republic. My ancestors had been for many years counsellors and syndics, and my father had filled several public situations with honour and reputation."
                                              ~ Chapter One, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley



Would you keep reading or pass?

Teaser Tuesday | November 3

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm.

> Grab your current read.
> Open to a random page.
> Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book. 

Be careful not to include spoilers!
Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away. 
We don't want to ruin the book for others.

Share the title and author too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR if they enjoyed your teaser!

"Be men, or be more than men. Be steady to your purposes and firm as a rock. This ice is not made of such stuff as your hearts may be; it is mutable and cannot withstand you if you say that it shall not."
                                                        ~ p. 198, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 




Monday, November 2

Musing Mondays | November 2

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Jenn at A Daily Rhythm.
You are invited to answer one of the prompts as well as the random question of the week.


In the past week I bought Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, which I am currently reading. 
After some deliberation I decided to go ahead and acquire the Barnes and Noble Leather Bound edition to add to my pitiful collection of currently 2 volumes of their rapidly growing list of beautiful collectable books. I hope to buy some more leather bound books in the future though, my life won't be complete without the entire collection!


THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION
Have you ever chosen a book mostly because of its cover art and then regretted it because the content didn't live up to your expectations?
Yes, I have. Most recently it happened with September Girls by Bennett Madison. The cover art is absolutely striking. I picked it up knowing nothing about it except that it somehow involved mermaids but I should've known it was going to be a disappointment based solely on its 2.96 average rating on Goodreads. The first chapter wasn't so bad, I was enjoying the main character's playfulness, but it all went downhill from there. I didn't connect with any of the characters and found the plot very dull and unsatisfying. I'm one of those readers who force themselves to finish a book even if they're loathing the content. In the end, I gave it 2 stars. A major disappointment. However, it still won't prevent me from, in the future, choosing books because of their cover art.


Have you ever read September Girls?
Are Bennet Madison's other books more captivating?

Thursday, October 29

Review | The 52nd by Dela

“I was a Watcher. We watched dead creatures abduct humans so they could be sacrificed in the Underworld by their God, no questions asked.” 
                                                                                                               

My Rating: 


The 52nd by Dela

Publisher                    Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Publication Date        25 November 2014
Format                        Paperback | 464 pages

Not one of the sacrifices chosen over the long history had survived - until now.
On the tip of the Yucatan peninsula, the immortal Castillo family gathers in Tulum. Weary and haunted, they receive the names of fifty-two human sacrifices chosen once every fifty-two years for the Underworld, a tradition thought to have disappeared with the fall of the Aztec and Mayan empires.
Driving home one night, college freshman Zara Moss swerves to avoid hitting a ghastly figure in the road. Lucas Castillo witnesses the car crash, but when it comes time to supervise her abduction from the wreckage, he intervenes. Something is different about Zara: Lucas has been having dreams of her arrival for five hundred years.
As Lucas and Zara come together to put an end to the bloody sacrifices, they discover that the ancient tradition isn't so easily broken. The gods are angry, and they have until the Winter Solstice to drag Zara to the Underworld.




The 52nd was one of the most interesting and refreshing books I’ve read recently. Its premise is just magnetising! Ancient Central American gods, sacrifices, danger, action, gore and even a romance! Dela presents us an immortal god who dares commit treason to save the life of a human girl. Yes, it is a story we have all read before but this one is a new twist on an old tale. 

The book is told in two distinct perspectives: Lucas, the immortal; and Zara, the college freshman.

Zara Moss is, in essence, an amiable character but I confess I struggled more than once to connect with her, sometimes she just seemed too mild. Lucas, on the other hand, was my favourite character and presented my favourite narrative. The description of him and his family was an enticing part of the story. 

I felt that the mythology aspect of the book was handled quite well. Sure, at times some names were just too hard to spell and thus hard to remember, and at a certain point in the book we were thrown a handful of information all at once and expected to digest it quickly,… So what?! I was still hooked! In the end, the information was necessary and I personally finished the book fully conscious that I had just learned something interesting and new.

In my opinion, the balance between romance and action was also handled well but, by far, the best part of this book is the underworld! Dela had no problem being graphic and the description of the sacrifices is beautifully frightening. Oh, and it all involves a captivating villain that is both charming and terrifying. 

Unlike many modern fantasy books nowadays, the author made it a point to include the protagonists parents and, in my perspective, having Zara’s parents involved in the action made it all seem somehow more believable. 

I suppose the only considerable thing I disliked about this book was the trivial attempt at generating a love triangle. It didn’t by any means ruin the moment but it was just painfully obvious that Jeff was thrown into the mix to add some sort of drama but it didn’t work and the book could’ve done without it. 

Ultimately, I enjoyed the characters and loved the world Dela brought to life. A well written debut novel and a new author to watch. 

Read in: August 9 to 27 2015