Monday, 30 December 2013

O Meu Primeiro Blog: De Volta aos Quinze por Bruna Vieira

Dizem por aí, e eu concordo plenamente; a melhor maneira de ser feliz com alguém é aprender a ser feliz sozinho. Daí a companhia será questão de escola, e não de necessidade”

O livro, De Volta aos Quinzes por Bruna Vieira é o primeiro da triologia do Meu Primeiro Blog. A história é sobre uma mulher - chamada Anita - de 30 anos que estava muito infeliz com a vida, sobretudo estava infeliz com o trabalho, falta de relacionamentos e acima de tudo com as escolhas dela. A amiga de Anita manda o link para o velho blog de Anita, e desde esse momento a vida da Anita se transforma. Quando ela abriu o site, ela é transportada para o passado, de volta aos quinze, e tem a oportunidade de mudar e recomeçar a vida. Mas, as consequências das escolhas não são como ela esperava e acabam deixando a vida dela muito mais complicada.

Vou começar dizendo que eu amei este livro! Eu li o livro inteirinho em apenas um dia e meio. O que me deixou mais impressionada foi o quanto Bruna já conseguiu com só 19 anos. Saber isso, me deixou inspirada para seguir os meus próprios sonhos. Voltando ao livro, eu sempre adoro livros que lidam com a idéia  de trocar de corpo ou, come neste caso, trocar de idade. Histórias assim sempre são muito engraçadas, são um jeito interessante de escrever críticas da sociedade e ensinar bons valores para o leitor. Fazer a Anita voltar aos 15 anos várias vezes, mesmo depois de ter aprendindo uma lição foi um jeito muito bom de botar uma novidade em uma idéa velha.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Zoé et la sorcière du quatrième

« Vous aimez votre fille. Seulement, ça ne suffit pas. Il faut prendre le temps de le lui dire, à cette petite biquette. Aujourd’hui, et puis demain, et puis toujours… »

Zoé et la sorcière du 4e par Thierry Lenain et Colonel Moutarde est une livre sur une petite fille, qui s’appelle Zoé. Elle est toujours seule parce que ses parents travaillent beaucoup. Zoé a pleine d’imagination et  elle croit que sa voisine du dessus, Mme Mizu, est une sorcière.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

“If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness. " - [Monseigneur Bienvenue] Les Misérables.

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo is the story, set in the 19th Century, of the intertwining lives of Jean Valjean, Fantine, The Theodores, Javert, Cosette and Marius Pontmercy. Jean Valjean was a convict, released after 19 years in prison. He goes from a distraught, dark and even malicious man to a "saint". He grows to become very successful and a respected man in his new town. That is, until Javert (a police agent) discovers the truth and Jean Valjean must escape. The others are characters that he meets later on that affect his actions and attitudes. 

This book was amazing!!! Don't get me wrong,I struggled a lot at the start and it took me months to read the book, but it was all worth it! Because the stories all intertwine at the end, it is only at the end of each chapter and especially at the end of the book that the story seems to be making complete sense and it is at such moments that the book becomes so gripping. Victor Hugo did a fantastic job exploring the darkest parts of society and while it seemed dry at some parts, it all joined up to create a very well written and intriguing book. It is one of those times that you have to step away to see the whole picture. I have to admit, the language was quite hard at times and I did not understand everything and I'm sure I missed important ideas Hugo wrote. I will definitely revisit this book in a few years to get even more from it...

Sunday, 18 August 2013

The Quentaris Chronicles- The Cat Dreamer by Isobelle Carmody

"Magic is a kind of dream, and love is a dream, and hope is a dream. Without our dreams, there is no sweetness, no purpose to life.” 

This book is one of many in the Quentaris Chronicles. Each book in this chronicles are written by a different author and has different characters and the only thing that is the same is the setting. The Cat Dreamer is about a mysterious fog that appears in Quentaris, followed by many unexplained suicides. Iakas, a secret agent, is sent to the city to investigate this. She can change from being a woman to a cat and she can also enter people's dreams. Iakas enters Igorik's dreams to learn what he already knows and tell him how to fight the fog. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Dead of the Night by John Marsden

In The Dead of the Night, Ellie and her five friends decide to go back to Wirrawee to see if Corrie and Kevin are fine and try to get more information about the Showground. After sharing what they found out they decide to go to see what's on the other side of Hell and hopefully find  more people. 

This is the second book in the Tomorrow series. It's more violent and more adventurous than the first. They kill more soldiers and there are more attacks. Because of this, Ellie feels guilty and feels 'shadows' following her. 'I live in the light, but carry my dark with me' is how she describes what she is feeling. The group continuously change from young and naive teenagers to more experienced and strategic people. They are more careful and aware of the situation that they are in. They are already giving each other advise on how to keep calm when they are attacking and aren't as clueless as they were in the start of the first book. 'When you're scared you can either give in to the panic and let your mind fall apart, or you can take charge of your mind and think brave.'

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick (#4 Hush Hush Series)

“Arrogance can be deadly.”  - Finale

Finale is the fourth and last book of the Hush Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick. In this book the leader of the leader of the Nephilim revolution has died and now Nora must lead them. Nora wants to end this upheaval and bring things back to peace. However, other don't agree and there is a lot at stake. Nora must find her inner leader all at the same time maintaining her relationship with Patch. The people she thinks she can trust are the people that will surprise her.

As I mentioned, this is the last book of a series. I do not usually write a review on the sequels so I will keep this short and sweet. (If you would like to read the longer review on her it all began here is the link, Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick )

Friday, 7 June 2013

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

"I didn't feel like a criminal, but I didn't feel like a hero either." Chapter 16 in Tomorrow, When the War Began.

Ellie, the protagonist, and her friends went camping in the bush for a few days. When they come back everything has changed.... A war has started and they are one of the only people in their city that aren't captured. Now they are struggling to stay alive without being captured but not everything turns out how they want it to...

Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

"... Sometimes when I saw him at a distance ... I forgave him a hundred times over... Unfortunately, these were often the moments when he chose to attack ... that I would vow not to forget it, and never to forgive him again. I broke that promise many times... all petty things, really, irritants - too minor, it would seem ... The danger he presented was, after all, not immediate but slow and simmering... hundreds of small, unavenged humiliations which had been rising in me for months..." - excerpt from The Secret History

The Secret History by Donna Tartt is the story of of college students who end up killing their "friend". The first part is the story of how Richard moved to a New England college and found himself trying to fit into the Greek class, full of mysterious, rich college kids. As he befriends them and joins the class he ends up getting mixed into all the trouble and murder of Bunny, the first part is the story that leads to the death. The second part of the book is after the death and how each of them live on. 

This book was lent to me by someone else, henceforth the reason why it is so different to the usual books that I actually read. This book is a murder mystery. While I was quite entranced while reading this book, I didn't find it a really good novel. If you have read any of my other posts you would have realised that I like books that are more passive books, with happy endings. This book from the first page had a murder  (this didn't detract from the book, talked about later) and from then on even more deaths or attempted deaths. The end is quite mysterious and it definitely ends in a very pessimistic mood. Another reason for my contempt in the book is the fact that I couldn't empathise with any of the character's extreme personalities, and this is something I find really important. (I will talk about this later on this post.)

Friday, 17 May 2013

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a classic American novel. The story is told by Nick as he shares his point on view of the people around him and of course, about the mystifying Gatsby. Gatsby, like the country, is young. Gatsby’s past mysterious, his stories don’t match up and the reasons he has done everything so far is unclear. Nick uncovers the truth, or at least what we think is the truth, of the man.I guess if you are reading this you want to know if it is a good book to read. Before I start discussing the novel and analyzing it, I will start by answering this. I have heard many people who have enjoyed this book, it is even being made into a movie but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali

‘Compared to dreams, reality can be truly cruel. But it can also come up with beautiful surprises.’
I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced is a real life story about Nujood Ali. She was a ten year old girl living in Yemen, a country in the Middle East. The quote above sums up what the whole book is about. Nujood had so many dreams; seeing the ocean, learning how to read and having a better life. However, her reality is completely different. When she was only 10, her father forced her into marrying a guy three times her age! Because of this, Nujood had to leave school and her family to live with him. She then suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse from her husband every single day. A few weeks after her marriage, she ran away and went to the court. Although child marriage is common in Yemen, she was one of the first to file for divorce. After a long time, she finally managed to get divorced and go back to school.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

We the Living by Ayn Rand

File:AynRand WeTheLiving.jpg
“To a life; which is reason unto itself.”  - Ayn Rand

We the Living by Ayn Rand is set in the early 1900s in the uprise of communism in Russia. Although it is about the U.S.S.R. the story is still relevant (as Rand points this out, in her foreword) because it is about totalitarianism and how humans should never think them above anyone else to have the right to decide who lives and who dies, because it is those that are fighting for life that deserve it and make progress and those who kill or live for others have much to learn. The plot revolves around Kira, a young woman who returns to her family home in Petrograd. Kira is very passionate about life and living it for her own sake, she dislikes the communists and yet she dislikes their enemies, she prefers to live not for a group but for herself. Kira studies at the institute to become an engineer. At the institute she meets Andrei Taganov. Andrei is a strong proletariat but starts developing feelings for Kira. However, Kira falls in love with a handsome stranger she met in the park at night time. This is the story of her own battle and struggles that she faces to become the woman she always wanted to be.

This book was amazing! It was captivating and had a nice love story, and yet it still taught a lot about Russia at the start of the Communist movement. There were some parts that I wished for  a 'glossary' at the end of the book or at least notes to explain some terminologies, however, the overall book was not so hard to understand. Just if someone has troubles understanding, here are the words I got stuck at,

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

“Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?”  - Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers is the first book in His Fair Assassin series. After escaping the brutalities of her father and her newly wed husband she is sent to a convent.There Isame learns that she is a daughter of death, just like the other girls of the convent of St. Mortain. She has been assigned a duty to kill those with a 'marque', to bring justice into the world. Ismae learns all the ways to kills a man and is ready for where her duties will take her. She has sworn loyalty to her God and convent to do their bidding. However,  everything is shaken when she starts falling in love with the man she is supposed to snoop and potentially kill. Also, she is starts to realise that maybe the convent can make mistakes.

To start off I have to say that this book is an older youth fiction; it is suitable to girls in their 20s. At the start I was a bit discouraged and thought that this book would be inappropriate for someone in their mid-teens. However, the book shifts in their focus, away from the villainy and brutality towards more of a mystery and romance novel. 

Although this book is all about an assassin, I think it can relate a lot to real life. The theme/idea that stayed with me through this book is one that I have always debated; the relationship between believing in religion and believing in the religion's faith.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

“Tucking my nose into a book makes me completely oblivious to my surroundings. I would have made a terrible spy in the army--the first person to hand me a novel would have been able to shoot my head clean off without me noticing.”  - Haunting Violet

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey is the story of Violet and her new abilities to see the dead in the midst of 19th century society. Her mother was a fake spiritualist with a great desire and ambition to join the rich and live in luxury. Violet must obey her mother and follow her schemes however everything changes when Violet finds that an assassinated young girl wants her to solve a real ghost mystery. 

I quite enjoyed reading the book and I found myself pondering if real life spiritualists really do exist. I'm sure many are like Violet's mother, lying and deceiving just for fame and money. However, the world has such a numerous population, I really do think that maybe at least one person actually has this ability to see and talk to the dead. 

While reading this book I realise I would have really liked to be able to go to the past an spend some time in that era; in the richer side of the population, of course. All the dresses, no matter how uncomfortable thy are described as, hold some appeal to me. I realise how girls were treated as having to be all polite and obedient and that the thoughts there were very much sexist but I would like to spend just a week in that time so I can wear those clothes and live in such grandeur and splendour, with so many people to take care of you. 

Spoilers Below!!!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Persuasion by Jane Austen

“How quick come the reasons for approving what we like.”  - Jane Austen,

Persuasion by Jane Austen is the story of Anne Elliot; a witty, independent and intelligent woman of the upper class in the 19th Century. Eight years before the start of the novel, Anne was still a young woman when she fell in love with Officer Frederick Wentworth. However, she was persuaded against this love. Now, in the present she is already 27 and much wiser. She meets again with now, Captain Frederick. This is not only their love story but also the satire of society’s vanity and social class.

At the start I found the book quite hard, I thought that I would actually be writing this review differently and saying that I didn't think this was a book for my level and age, mid-teens. The words were quite hard, like any other classic and the names sometimes got me confused, especially the two Charles and it didn't help they were cousins. However, once the story started taking shape the whole thing became easier to read and follow. 

I quite enjoyed this book, but I do have one comment that to me seems to correlate with Jane Austen’s literary work; I find that Austen writes books that if they were written nowadays they would have been considered ‘teen fiction’ with a bit of romance. It may be because I am used to the thrill of fantasy novels but I found that Persuasion didn’t have a very strong plot. As I said, I enjoyed reading the novel however, as I go over the story I don’t know how the story took over so many pages. It was basically the day to day life of Anne Elliot and her seeing Captain Wentworth again. There were little complications, like there would be in real life but nothing major. I read in the trusty J sparknotes that the climax was when Wentworth gave Anne the letter announcing that he still loved her.  However, this scene was one of the last in the books, were all the other 150 or 200 pages just the introduction and a very small build-up?

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.”  - From the novel, Frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is Gothic genre book written in the 1818. Victor Frankenstein is an university student whose ambitions and passion for the science leads him to create something no one has ever deemed possible, he created life using dead humans' body parts. However, as soon as he finishes his project he realises the mistake.To him, the monster is vile and gruesome. The story is told through the letters of Captain Robert Walton, who found Frankenstein nearly at a state of emaciation. His letter not only incorporates Victor's story telling but Victor's own letter and even the monster's side of the story as he tells it to Victor who then tells it to Walton. 

How do I begin..

The novel was completely different to what I imagined and it gets me so frustrated that the movies are so different to the book. I don't think Mary Shelley would have been too happy with the movies made of Frankenstein  not only because they are so different but because they lose the themes and morals. There are various movies that came out on Frankenstein but most of them have the Creature as some sort of complete monster who can't talk at all other than grunts. In the book Frankenstein was so eloquent and always gave an explanation as to why he became the way he was. In one of the movies the Monster was bad tempered was because the brain used was a criminal's brain, however in the book the Monster killed people because of the injustice that he suffered because of his appearance. Also, they even changed the name of Victor Frankenstein to Henry and made the character lose the feeling of isolation. In one of the movies there are sequels (eg. Frankenstein's Bride) but in the book Frankenstein died... I mean, I know movies are usually a bit different to books so that it flows more and scenes are changed so that emotions and reasoning are depicted visually rather than worded out but this is just ridiculous.  

Friday, 5 April 2013

Refugee: the Diary of Ali Ismail by Alan Sunderland

This book is about the journey of a 14 year old boy refugee from Afghanistan to Australia. Ali is looking for freedom but when he comes to Australia, he is locked up with other refugees in a detention centre in Woomera, South Australia. It takes place from 2001 to 2002.

Although it is a fictional story, it realistically describes what the life of a refugee in Australia would be like. At the beginning of the book, the author doesn't describe what is going on with details. I found this the confusing because if Ali doesn't know what is happening, then how are we supposed to know?

Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

'You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.'

Sherlock Holmes is a series of mystery and crime fiction books. Holmes is a consulting detective and Watson is his sidekick. Together, they solve crimes. Sherlock Holmes has a very strange personality. He is very intelligent and observant but isn't empathetic and usually doesn't say what his thoughts are about the crime only when he has solved everything.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Diving for Pearls by Katherine Thomson

Diving for Pearls by Katherine Thomson is the story of working class Australians in the changing world of the 1980s to 90s. It is set in an industrial (most probably Wollongong) town, where the industries are now being sold to create a resort. The main characters are Barbara, her lover Den, Barbara's daughter Verge and Barbara's brother in law Ron. 

I am not sure if Diving for Pearls fits into the book review categories but I read the play as if it was a book so I am writing about it. Actually, this is more me complaining and whining about the play. I had to read it for school and I didn't even understand hot it can pass as an actual play. 

The play is supposedly trying to show what it was like for Australians in the late 80s and early 90s, especially for those in the steel industries. If the book was successful in doing so, then Australians were really rude, pessimistic and unmotivated or just plain unskilled. It was ridiculous how many swear words were in the play, while I understand that Thomson was trying to show the real day to day life (very generalised) of the working class Australia of that time period, it didn't make the play any less inappropriate for a class reading as well as making Australians seem really bad. 

The worst part of the play was that I couldn't empathise with the characters. I couldn't understand their personalities and motives and so the story was never real to me. A good book or play is supposed to make you feel for the characters and understand them so that their story becomes real. This play was the complete opposite

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

“The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter - often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter - in the eye.” 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is a gothic romance novel that has become a classic. It is the story of Jane Eyre a strong, fierce, passionate, educated, god-righteous woman as seen by her eyes. Jane was an orphan, she was sent to a boarding school for the destitute when she was 10 by her neglecting aunt. There, she received quite a good education and found a teacher that really inspired her. Jane always wanted to travel and discover the world so after completing her schooling and teaching there for two years, she becomes a governess to a rich family with a mysterious master. The story is her struggle in finding the balance between the morally right thing and her own passions, between being obedient but independent and free-willed. Jane critiques the social class division however sticks to it and believes in it all through her life.

Charlotte Brontë made my thoughts on old novels change. Through Jane Eyre I found that there can be classic that I become absolutely enthralled. Sure, it still had some of the conventional language found in older and gothic books: long paragraphs describing something that appears to be insignificant (I’ll confess that sometimes I end up skipping a line or two when it is too descriptive) and the complete opposite, when a scene changes without notice that you are left to wonder what is going on.

I think that Brontë used Jane Eyre to explore concepts of social hierarchy and if status and behaviour is innate. However, she did not use the protagonist to challenge these concepts but rather, through her writing, gave the readers a ‘challenge’ to ponder for themselves in this issue. Jane Eyre was a strong, independent woman however she never saw herself as an equal.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Hana's Suitcase by Karen Levine

With each loss of a friendship and each new restriction, Hana and George felt their world grow a little smaller. They were angry. They were sad. And they were frustrated.” - Hana's Suitcase

This is the real story of a little Jewish girl, Hannah Brady. When a Japanese women, Fumiko, decided to teach children about the holocaust she contacted many museums until one finally sent her some artefacts, this included Hana’s suitcase. Everyone who visited Fumiko’s museum was very interested in finding out more about Hana and make her really come to life. Fumiko was very determined to find out more and so she kept on contacting museums and people until she finally got hold of a survivor of the holocaust, George Brady – Hana’s brother.

I was very impressed by Fumiko’s determination and found her to be doing an exemplary job. I think this added to the hope mood of the story.

Monday, 11 February 2013

The Giver by Lois Lowry

" The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.” – The Giver

Jonas was born into a perfect society. Every little detail was organised and planned, everything was methodical and conventional. No one ever experienced thirst, hunger or pain – no one even knew these things could exist. By the time children reach 12 they are told what they will work as; even though they didn’t have the freedom to choose what area they would work, their job was a perfect reflection of their personalities. Jonas was given the most honourable job as the “Receiver”. He will be in charge of all the memories, therefore no one else has to experience pain but there is one person to remember and not repeat mistakes in history. However, when Jonas starts receiving memories he opens his eyes to a whole other world. No one feels pain but nor do they feel love, everything is the same for everyone but there is no colour – the world is grey - there is no sunshine or soft snow. Jonas realises holding memories may be painful but they hold so much warmth and happiness that everyone should have the opportunity to experience them and most importantly have a choice in life.

The Giver by Lois Lowry is a science fiction book reflecting on the perfect world and the importance of memories, experiences and free choice. Lowry wrote the book after her father lost most of his long term memory. Memories can traumatise someone but they are so important to learn from and to grow from. Memories also contain just as much, if not even more, goodness in them.

Lois Lowry tries to create the perfect world, but the whole concept of perfectness can never be truly established within the limitations of human’s imaginations. It is only subjective to one’s perceptions. Therefore when the characters in the book went through their lives they didn’t question it.