Category Archives: Books

The Beauty of Darkness

The Beauty of Darkness is book 3 in The Remnant Chronicles saga and is my book number 2 for 52 books in 52 weeks.I talked about the second book in a recent post and was looking forward to reading the final installment. I will be as vague as possible, but some might consider what I will write slight spoilers 🙂

This was a thick book at 679 pages, so if you are someone who cannot commit to long books you might struggle, but I don’t mind them personally and I felt it was worth the read. When the story is good I don’t generally notice how long it is. Plus I was already two books in, I wasn’t about to stop now 🙂

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Love the cover art for this series!!!

There was this really interesting message through this whole story that I felt repeated over and over again through different storylines and that was that ‘no one is too great to fall’. This is SUCH a true message in day to day life for every person as well as in this book and I think that is why I appreciated it. It also shows how those that fall respond, do they become desperate and cruel or evil, or do they have an inner strength and sense of self that sustains them through the harshest of times. Let’s not mince words, these characters went through some hellish ordeals, particularly the female protagonist Lia. From a waited on princess to someone’s prisoner covered in filth and blood wearing a hessian sack, Lia’s resolve never faulted and her inner strength and leadership qualities just grew. Everything was taken from her and she didn’t crumble. This is a great book for young women to read for this message alone.

The other thing I liked about Lia and some of the other main characters is that they often didn’t make the popular choice. They were not afraid to make the difficult choice that would be immensely harder and possibly end in death because ultimately it was the right thing to do and could save many lives. Too often you read books where people throw the lives of thousands out to dry in the name of love and whilst I understand that being an impossible choice I do get frustrated by the sheer amount of these type of novels – like the Fallen series for example (not that I didn’t enjoy it – you can tell here and here).

Relationships were so interesting in this book. To be honest it didn’t end the way I wished it had. The ending I wanted wouldn’t be the popular version, but to me it was more realistic and I cannot say much more about how I felt about this without spoiling things so I will stop here.

I was a fan of the overall ending and was definitely a fan of many of the messages in the book. I was a particular fan of the women in this book. There is a strength to the women in this book that you cannot help but admire. Seriously SUCH a great read for young women today.


52 books in 52 weeks is back!

Wayyyy back in 2014 as one of my New Year’s goals I decided to undertake a 52 books in 52 weeks challenge (52b52w). Though I am a librarian and surrounded by books everyday I found that I rarely had time to read anymore. As it was my favourite past time I decided to find a way to get it back into my life.

My chill out time used to include a cup of tea a couple of smokes and a good read. Last year on Feb 15 I decided to put the gaspers down for good, in one more month it will be a year since my last cigarette. To be honest giving up smoking after a decade of doing it has made me probably the most proud of myself I have ever been, even more than graduating after 4 years of Uni haha. However, it did mean that I avoided reading. I realised that when I read I would sometimes crave so I stopped, this means I did not read much in 2016. Thankfully I am now over this phase and am ready to get back into reading big time!

So I thought I would start with book 2 and 3 in the Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson. I have been waiting to read these since I read the first book in the series The Kiss of Deception in November 2015. I really enjoyed the first installment and couldn’t wait to get into the second. However, knowing the cliffhanger I was left at the end of the first I decided to wait until both books came out so I could read them one after the other. LOVE me some binge reading!

So my first read for this year is The Heart of Betrayal book #2 in the Remnant Chronicles series.

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I really enjoyed the first book in this series. It was very well written.

This second installment was written in a different manner and you were able to see the story from more points of view. Whilst I loved the first book and the fact you didn’t know who was who until the final curtain call this book felt like a step forward. It felt more adult. The development of the characters in this book was wonderful, often coming from witnessing or being subjected to brutal incidents.

I loved Lia’s development through this book. She really came into her own and I love her backbone. I really liked how I could see her love of the people and her gift growing, her sense of self was in constant development throughout this book.

This ended almost exactly the way I wanted. I have an idea of where I would like the next installment to go, but I feel it is unlikely the ending I will get.

I have already started on the third book and so far it is exciting too 🙂

Library lovers day in Australia is fast approaching on the 14 February. In support I am currently borrowing all of my books from the library and sharing them on my instagram with the hashtag #librarylove Feel free to do the same 🙂

library-lovers-day


52 Books in 52 Weeks – Harry Potter cont…

Fair warning… it’s all about Harry Potter 🙂

41. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling

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I won’t lie, the movie of this book is my least favourite in the series. Having now read the book I think the movie cheated it. There was so much more depth in a variety of characters that was erased from the film.

I really enjoyed this second book. Loved that Dobby threw Lucius down some stairs at the end and that the flying car was an actual character that was self-aware and had feelings and went wild in the forest. I also liked that nearly headless Nick was a much bigger character in the book than I expected having seen the film first.

I do love the relationships in this book and if I were in need of a family I would wish with all my heart that the Weasley’s were real and looking to adopt!

Great book, can’t wait for the next one 🙂

42. Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling

Harry-Potter-And-The-Prisoner-Of-Azkaban_novelI am loving how my appreciation of this series is getting deeper as I go on. At this point I am pretty much tearing through these books.

I love Ron attempting to use the phone and very much wish that was in the movie. I also found the character of Crookshanks very interesting, in the film he is just a cat, but in the books he is so much more.

Sirius and Lupin were some of my favourite characters from the films and Lupin was definitely my favourite Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher, so I am glad that my love for them was only made bigger by reading the actual book 🙂

43. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling

Harry_Potter_and_the_Goblet_of_FireOh Cedric, Cedric. He was such a good and wonderful person. Sorry, it’s all just so much more real when you are reading the book, you feel like you really got to know him and then… well… all the feels.

I love the Weasley’s rocking up through the fireplace and the Dursley’s just not know knowing what to do about it hahaha.

I did feel like a lot of the descriptions of Krum were quite negative, maybe it is just me, but that’s how I was left feeling about him which I think was unfair because there is nothing wrong with him.

There was more Dobby in this book, I was kind of surprised by that because Dobby didn’t show up at all really between the Chamber of Secrets and Deathly Hallows. Poor Dobby. I actually really liked him as a character in the book. Hermione trying to save all the house elves that don’t want to be saved gave me a giggle too.

44. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling

harry-potter-coverI have so many evilish feelings and thoughts about Umbridge. She really is the Antichrist! What a truly evil woman.

I have noticed (maybe because I know what is coming from the movies) that Rowling has little hints in earlier books of things to come which is pretty awesome. It certainly shows that she had this whole story and world planned out completely.

Fred + George Weasley Forever! Those boys are something else and I just love it!

I feel like A LOT was missed out from the book to the film and that makes me sad. For starters in the film didn’t Bellatrix “kill” Neville’s parents rather than just drive them batty? Why? St Mungo’s isn’t even shown in the films which means we never see loopy Lockhart again. Harry felt a lot of angst around the fact that Hermione and Ron were made prefects and he wasn’t, I thought it was great they were made prefects and interesting that this was not in the film.

45. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling

coverI think this was my favourite book so far. The back story into Voldemort was colourful, clever, well-rounded and very informative without giving too much away.The book is FAR better than the movie and I feel as though I have a much greater understanding of Voldemort now.

The way the characters are developed through this series is very well orchestrated and I can only applaud Rowling’s brain for that. Every character is so well thought out and carefully built and true to their nature in the way that they react and interact within the story.

Every chapter with adventures using the Half-Blood Prince’s potions book was fascinating and Harry’s internal thoughts and emotions whilst the story unravels are fascinating. Definitely my favourite so far!

46. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling

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Nooooo….. it can’t be the last one already! I have read these way too fast!

I can certainly understand why they split this into 2 films, there is an immense amount that occurs in this book. In the final book of this wondrous and now quite beloved (for me anyway) series Rowling brilliantly and tear-jerkingly ties up all the little fragments she has planted over the years throughout the books. This final volume is an absolute triumph and this along with the Half-Blood Prince are absolutely 2 of the best junior fiction novels I have EVER read.

I laughed and shed tears reading this book. A favourite part was hearing Fred and George Weasley on the radio station ‘Pottermore’ hosted by Lee Jordan, I literally laughed out loud during this part of the book. I can’t for the life of me imagine why they wouldn’t have included this part in the first Deathly Hallows film instead of just watching them camp for the majority of it.

I adore how intricately interwoven this series is, the story of which spans literally two generations (more if you include the Dumbledore back story). I know I have mentioned my adoration of the effort that has gone into the characters, but honestly I don’t feel I can state enough how impressed I was with the development of the characters. Harry and Ginny’s relationship was so well done in the books, I really feel it suffered in the films (emotion fueled teenage looks non-withstanding).

Also the end fight scene in this was SO much better than the film. I always liked the film’s final fight, but the book’s was amazing!

I do truly wish I could have experienced the series without having seen the movies, but let’s face it there are so many spoilers around it wouldn’t have mattered. What does matter is that I have finally read them and loved them and now I won’t cause shock by saying “I haven’t actually read Harry Potter”

 

I couldn’t believe it when I was reading these books and the last book almost coincided with the passing of Alan Rickman. I was so very sad to hear of his passing, he was a spectacularly talented man and I am a big fan of his work

What are you guys reading???


Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Harry Potter

2016

I have been a very, very naughty blogger. I have neglected you and I am sorry. Why have I abandoned you? Quite simply the crazy season was crazy and every minute I wasn’t committed to cooking, cleaning, celebrating, catching up or other such activities I was reading the Harry Potter series. I managed to finish the last book before the New Year.

I also realise I seriously owe you some 52 Books in 52 Weeks posts. I will get them done. Basically I am behind because I was reading too much and seriously surpassed my goal.

Let’s talk about resolutions… did you make any? I have done some over the past few years which were more like goals rather than resolutions and I will be keeping some of the ones from last year. So here are my goals for 2016…

  • 52 Books in 52 Weeks – yup, here we go again. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this, but I need to get better with my planning and posting. I was doing well last year until about half way through and then it all fell to pieces LOL.
  • Try new things – I have really enjoyed this and haven’t done as much of it in 2015 as I should have so I am bringing this back with a vengeance. I do often tie this in to trying new foods (particularly healthy foods) which is a great thing, but I want to get some more activity things in there too in 2016.
  • Healthy lifestyle – This is something that one constantly works towards I think. It is a choice you make each day. Hubby was good enough to gift me the Garmin tracker I asked for so my first goal for 2016 health wise is to keep my steps up each day. I have also been chatting to a friend at work and may have talked her into joining the work gym and being my gym buddy… we’ll see what happens there. Sadly I gym better when my commitment has been made to someone else rather than myself. I am also going to explore more foods, ways of cooking and preparing and organising my meals better.
  • Get knocked up – This is probably my biggest goal for 2016. Someway, somehow I want to be knocked up by years end. I don’t think this is too much to ask really is it? This means more to me than pretty much everything apart from my family. Please let this be my year. Fingers crossed.

What goals have you set yourself this year?


Christmas Book Critters

You might remember the Halloween Book Critters I created back in October. Well, due to popular demand I was asked to create some Christmas Book Critters for our Christmas display. Woohoo! I was so excited and got straight to it and I am very happy with the results (although I think my Elf needs a hat, I will have to find some time to work on that or take some stuff home and work on it lol).

Introducing our Christmas Book Critters.

Santa:

Santa

Elf:

Elf

I really do think this guy needs a hat. Will have to work on it 🙂

Rudolph:

Rudolph

And last, but certainly not least… Olaf 🙂 :

Olaf

Unfortunately you cannot see his arms and hair too well in this photo, but I swear he has them 🙂


It’s okay to be me

This post was inspired by WordPress’ Daily Prompt ‘It Builds Character’.

I have already accidentally deleted this entire post twice because of strange things that the new interface does. I am unimpressed to say the least. So I will now write this in Word and copy paste 🙂

When I think back on characters that have had an effect on me, there is one in particular which stands out as being integral to the person I have become.

When I was young (prepubescent young), I was already aware that I was different from most of the other girls in the class. Whilst they were obsessed with ‘The Baby Sitters Club’ and ‘Sweet Valley High’ (both of which I read and enjoyed, but mainly they just gave me numbers for the read-a-thon each year) I was off reading ‘Matilda’ and authors like R.L Stine (not the Goosebumps books, the advanced stuff) and Tamora Pierce. I had great access to YA novels because my Mum was a Teacher Librarian at a High School.

Other girls my age wanted to play makeovers and weddings and I wanted to ride bikes and run through the bush. The girls I knew made games of imagining their weddings to a member of the Backstreet Boys or Hanson whilst I danced about the house singing to the score of ‘The Pirates of Penzance’.

Jo March from ‘Little Women’ was a trailblazer, in a time where it wasn’t proper for women to run through the woods, traipse about through brooks without shoes, yell out to or play with boys or write epic novels she did it all and everyone who mattered accepted her and loved her for who she was. Everything about this girl/woman appealed to me. It would be fair to say that as a young girl my biggest dream was to grow up to be Jo March. She was a hero to me. To this day she remains one of my favourite literary characters. In fact Jo March is probably the reason I have the guts to write online.

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Jo also appealed to me because of her love of the written word and her strength of character and independence. You have probably noticed from my reviews of my books for 52 Books in 52 Weeks that I have a thing for strong female characters that shuck the norm and stereotypes. I still believe that this love of certain qualities in this character made me try to develop those characteristics in myself. As soon as I was old enough to work (14) I got an after school job. This made me feel amazing because I didn’t have to ask my mother to buy me things like deodorant and tampons (you have no idea how amazing it was as a 14 year old to not rely on someone else for your tampon stash!), this was my first step to real independence and I liked it. I saved my money from my job and when I graduated I paid my own way on a holiday with my friends, that is a pretty huge thing for an 18 year old to be able to do. Then when I was 19 I moved interstate to the desert, yup I moved to Ayers Rock, it was arid, hot, confronting and I was pretty innocent at the time (I hardened up quick though – read more about that here), I had no safety net there. I knew no one. It was the bravest and most awesome thing I think I have done. It was an amazing experience and I am so glad I did it to this day!

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I believe I have a lot to thank Jo March for. I have previously written about my love of both the book and movie and after reading back over this post I realise how big an impact my love of this character has had on me. As far as role models go I am pretty proud that she has been and continues to be mine.

 


Book spine poetry

I decided to try my hand at book spine poetry. Here is my first attempt:

My first attempt...

My first attempt…

Then a friend at work decided to challenge me to do a haiku. Sheesh… okay, here is my attempt at a haiku. Just saying, this one was much harder than I anticipated.

haiku 1

The third book title is “hidden”… irony???

Next I have been challenged to create some rhyming verse. Man, see what comes of randomly trying a new hobby? Hahaha.

In good news though, I posted the first pic to my FB page and 2 different schools are looking at putting together a teacher competition, how cool is that?!

What do you think? Are you into this whole book spine poetry thing?