Book Review: The Rosie Project- Graeme Simsion

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*****

After only one reading, this book has made it into my ‘All Time Favourite’s list. It was totally not what I was expecting, I thought it was about a scientist that created an A.I. woman after giving up on finding love. I was completely wrong! (Although that would be interesting to read) Continue reading

Book Review: Bitter Greens- Kate Forsyth

****

I am so glad that I found this book in the library. It’s so GOOD! It tells the tale of three women- their whole lives interwoven into a single story. Kate Forsyth has certainly done her homework on this one, finding the origins of the tale ‘Rapunzel’ and telling us how it made its way to being written in both Italian, and later French. Charlotte- Rose de Caumont de la Force was a noble at the Sun Court of Louis XIV, a real woman, and she is the lynch-pin of this whole story in a way.

As Forsyth tells the true story of her misfortunate life she weaves in the stories of Margherita (Persinette/Petrosinella/Rapunzel) an Italian child who was accidentally sold to a witch by her parents. The witch bathed in her blood for youth and longevity. Margherita is taken from her family to a nunnery to live until she is on the cusp of womanhood, and then transferred to an abandoned tower. She discovers that the witch has kept other girls there and as they died has shorn their heads. Margherita is forced to bear the weight of their hair as the witch has sewn it into the girl’s own. That story runs the way that the story of Rapunzel usually runs, except that in this version Margherita meets Giambattista Basile and tells him her story. He writes is down, but mentions to her that he would change the ending. (Giambattista Basile is the Italian man who first wrote down the story of Rapunzel)

The third woman that is integral to this story is the true lynch-pin, La Strega. The Witch. Selena Leonelli was born in Venice, the daughter of a courtesan. She grew up in a large house and dressed in the best clothes, but when her mother tries to leave the city a  rich and powerful patron has her punished severely (this scene is quite graphic and involves rape, so don’t buy this book for your kids) and she dies soon after, leaving Selena alone. She becomes apprenticed to a witch named Sibillia who bathes in her blood for youth and teaches her her secrets. She also binds Selena to Venice with a spell, preventing her from ever leaving. Selena thrives under Sibillia’s tutelage but then the plague comes to Venice and she is left alone once more. She carves a life for herself as a courtesan, now completely terrified by the passage of time. She has an affair with painter Tiziano and was immortalised in his work, but that was not enough. She took eight girls to the tower (Margharita being the ninth) and bathed in nine drops of their blood every month.

It’s a fascinating book and beautifully written, one that I recommend to all of you. I think all three women are fantastic examples of life in the time period, whilst obviously having elements of fantasy (Witchcraft, anyone?) My favourite would probably be Charlotte-Rose however, because she was a real person and because the things that happen to her in the book, really did happen. Even the more fantastical things like dressing in a bearskin so that she could smuggle herself into the home of her fiancé. She was daring and sparkly and just fantastic and I wish that she could have had a happier life, because if she didn’t exactly deserve it, she was still worthy of it.

This is definitely one that’s made it onto my buying list!

Let me know what you thought of it.

Have a lovely day,

Alys.

Book Review: Thinner- Richard Bachman/Stephen King

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It surprises me that anyone was ever fooled by the pseudonym of ‘Richard Bachman.’ This book has all of the Stephen King traits; Buicks, Maine, long road trips and a protagnonist that is almost human in their contradictions; perhaps that is why ‘Bachman’ didn’t really last very long.

Thinner is about a fat man who is cursed by a gypsy and loses weight. If that’s all there was to it I’m sure we’d all be running out to find ourselves a Romany, but that’s not how curses work. Billy Halleck, the fat man, can’t stop losing weight and it’s going to kill him.

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Top Ten Desert Island Books

As always, I have nabbed this idea from The Broke and Bookish and The Perpetual Page-Turner. Now for this one I have cheated a little, but I’m going to let myself off because most of the books that I actually read are in series’ so that’s what I would want on a desert island. So, there’s a lot more than ten books on this list, but I don’t care! (Besides, I’ve only listed nine anyway…)

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Book Review: From a Buick 8- Stephen King

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‘From a Buick 8′ is all about a Buick 8-cylinder that turned up at a gas station in Pennsylvania one day. Sounds innocuous enough right? But this is Stephen King and things are rarely as simple as that with him. This particular Buick is highly irregular; it’s exhaust system is made of glass and there is an uneven number of windows on the sides. When it’s driver disappears and abandons it at the gas station, the local police troop carts it off to their station. And that’s where the story really gets going. As it turns out the Buick is a sort of portal to another world, and every so often, it breathes. And when it does, bad things happen to the people nearby.

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Book Review: Good Omens- Terry Pratchett and NeilGaiman

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****

Two of my favourite writers. Allow me me a moment to fangirl a little about the fact that these two guys knew each other before they were famous. Nine years before I was born, two men met and a friendship was formed that may not have changed the world, but it certainly changed mine. Not the book, their friendship.

How Good Omens was Not Written- by littledogstar

How Good Omens was Not Written- by littledogstar

It was strange to read this book, already knowing their two distinct styles. I actually found that it was quite difficult to distinguish between the bits that Neil wrote and the bits that terry wrote. It seems like a TRUE collaboration. I love it. I don’t think that it’s as good as other books that I’ve read by both Neil and Terry. But it’s awesome to read something that has elements from the heads of both of them.

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Book Review: Abhorsen- Garth Nix

*****

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The conclusion to the trilogy of the Old Kingdom does not disappoint. Whereas the second book had me glazing over some of the details, this one had me taking everything in. It’s set immediately after the events of the second book, Lirael, and is the resolution of all of the issues that all our favourite characters had to face. Lirael, always the stronger of the two main characters steps into the shoes of Abhorsen with hardly a blink, whilst Sameth only begins to accept and embrace his own role of Wallmaker. Although, while he’s inventing toys, perhaps he could come up with a better moniker? The Wall has already been made after all.

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TV Tuesday: The Midnight Beast.

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The Midnight Beast just finished it’s second season in the UK and it was just as funny as the first season. I’ve always liked this show because it’s hilarious and it really does show guys in their slobbish ways. Namely, eating pizza in their boxers whilst playing video games. Now that doesn’t sound particularly funny, I know, but when you listen to some of their songs you will be weeing yourself!

It’s about three guys that are living together in a flat in London, trying to make their rent by playing music anywhere that will have them. Unfortunately, their particular brand of parody music isn’t to everyone’s taste and that gets them into trouble. It also means that the show isn’t particularly popular among certain circles, especially the parental circles. I wouldn’t want my kids watching it, even if they were old enough. So I suppose I understand that, but I’m still going to watch!

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Stef- the one with the hair

Stef, Dru and Ash get into all sorts of trouble, Stef being the one that really works hard at the band, writing all of the songs and finding all of their gigs. Dru is the one that just smokes weed all the time, eats pizza and plays video games. Ash is the one that is always chasing girls, but is also the child of the group. Stef and Dru are always looking after him as though he’s their son.

 

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Dru- the one with the face fuzz

I just like it because of the music, it’s funny and catchy and makes a statement about the music industry today. And also, Ash is pretty hot. Sorry, but I’m female. I notice these things!

 

 

 

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Okay! If you’ve seen it, let me know what you think, I know there’s a lot of controversy around it!

Have a lovely day,

Alys.

Book Review: Lirael- Garth Nix

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****

This is the second book in the trilogy of The Old Kingdom. As I’ve mentioned before, sequels lack the originality of the first and therefore aren’t as good, but Lirael is great. The first part of this book is set fourteen years after the first book, Sabriel, and the last two thirds are set eighteen years after.

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A HUNDRED Posts and A Surprise for YOU.

Well hello there!

On Wednesday three weeks ago I reached 100 posts on this blog and it went unmentioned because I have been very busy lately. But now I can mention it!

100 posts is quite a big thing for me, especially because it means that I’ve read roughly one book a week for fifty weeks! Anyway, the point of this post isn’t just to brag about having published a hundred posts, it’s to share something with you that you may be interested in. (Or not, I don’t know, I’m not a mind-reader)

You can now follow me on Instagram! (oo so exciting) It’s really not all that exciting, but I set it up a little while ago and I thought that it might be nice to share it with you. I post things on there that I don’t post on here so there’s a little insight into what I’m up to during the weeks. Rather than just book reviews every Wednesday and a little update on my life on a Friday, you can now live in my pocket! (Yes I am being rather sarcastic, but I assure you, the instagram account is real…)

If you’re interested do go and have a gander, it would make me smile!

Have a lovely day,

Alys