Beguiling Book Stores: Munro’s Books

Hi readers! Today I am introducing a new addition to Bookish Bits and Bobs.

Beguiling Book Stores!

On the 17th July I had the privilege of heading over to Vancouver and the island. It was a beautiful part of the world. While there I got to visit one amazing book shop: Munro’s Books. This book shop was a relatively large with shelves ordered in separate genres making it really easy to navigate.

The front of Munro’s

It is super decorative, the roof covered in beautiful plaster work and ornate patterns.

Munro’s Books ornate ceiling

The staff were really friendly and their range of books was great. They have fiction and non-fiction making it a great place for all readers. They also had a small area with children’s books.

Check out the books I purchased here.

Located in central Victoria, BC’s capital city, Canada it is relatively easy to locate and you can’t miss Munro’s Books hanging cover outside the shop. It was once a Royal Bank and is situated in a part of the town that is very old.

I found out about the shop by reading Bibliophile by Jane Mount. This book store was owned by Munro and passed down to his loyal employees. This book shop has a rich history.

MATFiction’s Note: This post is completely unsponsored and was created as part of my bookish blog.


Do you have a favorite book store? Have you recently bought a pile of books?

Advertisements

Book Meme of the Month (8-09-19)

Hello, readers! Sorry for the late book meme of the month! How did August reading go? I just realized we are well over half way through the year and it’s scary. Here is a meme to keep September reading positive…

Reading Inspo

This shows that all those hours spent reading are not for nothing – on the contrary they are some of the best hours spent in our lives. Who feels like this often? You get so into a book the characters feel like a part of you. This relates to another quote I have heard often in the bookish world: ‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies’, which again shows how awesome reading is.

Also, is there a favorite drink you sip while reading? Red wine? Hot choc? Coffee?
I think mine would have to be fruit tea.

Book Review: Three-Act Tragedy

Multiple murders. Concealed motive. Part played.

The Blurb:

At an apparently respectable dinner party, a vicar is the first to die…Thirteen guests arrived at dinner at the actor’s house. It was to be a particularly unlucky evening for the mild-mannered Reverend Stephen Babbington, who choked on his cocktail, went into convulsions and died. But when his martini glass was sent for chemical analysis, there was no trace of poison — just as Poirot had predicted. Even more troubling for the great detective, there was absolutely no motive!

The Review:

I came by this book when grabbing a load of Agatha Christie’s from my local bookstore Xanadu. You can see some of the books I have got here previously here.

I purchased the book primarily because when I glanced at the blurb my eyes leapt at the simple word “Poirot” as I absolutely adore Hercule in both the books and in the TV series played by David Suchet. I didn’t really realise what the book was really about until deciding to read it.

This book had a interesting starting – it was difficult to know whether it was real or a play but it was obvious that this book had strong links to theater and that this would be a central theme throughout the novel. Eventually I realised that what was going down in the book was not just in a play – it was really happening.

The plot was excellent with the first murder occurring early in the piece: a Vicar Stephen Babbington who died by nicotine poisoning but unknown means of consuming the poison. Later, another murder occurs which I won’t tell the details as this is for the readers to find out.

This book was set out in traditional Agatha fashion, dividing the novel into readable chapters from examining the evidence to questioning the suspects. Poirot took a back seat in this novel to make way for the protagonists: Sir Charles Cartwright, Mr Satterwaite and Egg Lytton Gore, with Sir Charles taking over as playing the “great detective”. These protagonist were deep characters with each having a different agenda in solving the case.

The book was written in a style of simple language with some, not buckets loads, of description.

The best part about Agatha Christie stories is that they follow a predicable set out: the murder takes place, the protagonist find evidence and clues, suspects are questioned, protagonist are stumped and finally Poirot brings all the suspects together in that oh so compelling revealings of the truth when the murderer is announced. This book did not disappoint. Early on in the story I made my pick of who I thought the murderer was, only to be proven wrong with someone I should have suspected earlier. The motive was something Agatha doesn’t often use and I never would have guessed it. How did she come up with these puzzling plots!?

This book was awesome, and funnily enough a love story was at the center of it. I have given it 5/5 as it was compelling and so interesting in the way in which Christie goes into the psychology of each character. The theme of acting played a huge part (pardon the pun) and gave more depth to the plot. Poirot closes the case and the murderer and motive is revealed, which was completely unforeseen. I don’t know why this book hasn’t had more esteem. It should be on the ranks with Murder On The Nile, and in my opinion is better than Murder On The Orient Express.

Content Warning:

As suspected this book contains mentions of murder, duh! Also, mention of love affairs and a brutal scenes. May be triggering for some.

Three-Act Tragedy

Favorite Character

Poirot, how could this little man with the sleek mustache and the little grey cells not be your favorite?

Favorite Quote

In all the world there is nothing so curious and so interesting and so beautiful as truth.

Poirot

The final line of this book is especially one of my favorites but for the purpose of spoiler free content I will not mention it.

matfiction

What’s In A Name?

Three act tragedy is just that – a THREE act tragedy. Did you catch my drift, I promised to be spoiler free. The fact that the title involves the word “act” is that it is implying the nature of the novel being set around plays and people playing their part. Tragedy is simply because the novel is a tragedy, people die.

QFTR (Question For The Readers)

  • Have you read an Agatha Christie novel? What is your favorite?
  • Did you see the end coming?
  • How did you appreciate the interwoven themes of acting and actors playing their part?
  • If you have any questions or don’t understand the plot just ask me below.

Book Haul from Munro’s Books (23-08-2019)

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting Munro’s Books in Victoria, Vancouver Island. It was such a beautiful and beguiling book store.

While there I made a few purchases. Here they are:

  • The Official Sherlock Puzzle Book
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • Sherlock Holmes’ Cunning Puzzles
  • Broken Throne by Victoria Aveyard
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

These books are highly recommended so that is how I made my pick. Also, they were the only ones that would fit in my suitcase. Although Broken Throne was quite a challenge.

Ornate bookmarks from Munro’s

I am super excited to read Little Fires Everywhere as it is rated very highly and looks intriguing. This book haul is a memorable one and now I have the bag and bookmarks to remember it.

I got the Sherlock Holmes puzzle book because I want to challenge my intellect and to discern and detect like Holmes does. Although those puzzles are supremely tough.

What do you think?

Have you read any of these? Are they on your TBR list? Have you ever been to Munro’s or Canada for that matter?

Book Review: Kill Code by Clive Fleury

Dystopian future. Ex-cop fights to survive.

The Blurb:

When the oceans rise… Truth drowns.
It’s the year 2031. Our future. Their present. A world decimated by climate catastrophe, where the sun’s heat is deadly and the ocean rises higher every day. A world ruled by the rich, powerful, and corrupt. A world where a good man can’t survive for long.
Hogan Duran was a good man once. He was a cop, forced to resign in disgrace when he couldn’t save his partner from a bullet. Now Hogan lives on the fraying edges of society.
But after four years of living in poverty, Hogan finally gets a chance to get back on his feet. He’s invited to join the National Security Council, the powerful paramilitary organization responsible for protecting the rich and powerful from the more unsavory elements of society. All he needs to do is pass their deadly entrance exam, and he’ll be rewarded with wealth and opportunity beyond his wildest dreams.

But this ex-cop’s path to redemption won’t be easy. The NSC are hiding something, and as Hogan descends deeper and deeper into their world, he starts to uncover the terrible truth of how the powerful in this new world maintain their power…and just how far they will go to protect their secrets.

In a world gone wrong, can one man actually make a difference, or will he die trying?

Release Date: December 5th 2018

The Review:

I came into this book expecting yet again another version of The Hunger games or another Dystopian fiction novel but I was pleasantly surprised. This novel was different in the way that Clive wove Virtual reality and truth in such a tangled web that it made it very intriguing. The short length of the book made the read fast and furious.

The first 3 chapters of the book were uninteresting and make it hard for the book to get into but those final 3 chapters, wow they really keep you guessing. The plot really started to get interesting around the chapter where Hogan has to complete a serious of tests, which if he failed could result in death. I have to say, I thought I knew the result of the tests but I didn’t. The plot twists, yes I promise I won’t tell, were great. I should have guessed that earlier on, as the clues were there but I was left completely dumb-founded when the characters were revealed for who they really are.

The main character Hogan Duran was a little to ‘Hero-type’ for me. Always stepping up to save the day and telling the minor characters what to do. I think that his side-kick Ruby Mason should have had more to say and not be ordered around so much by Hogan. And why does Hogan always have the answers? There were multiple times where Ruby asks Hogan what is going on and why. Ruby could have been a stronger feminine voice for the novel, which it so desperately needed. Jake Teerman was your traditional annoying character, the kind that leaves the characters for dead to make of with the money. The enemy biker Krails made an interesting addition to the story, but we only knew what they looked like and some of the conditions where they lived. What was their history? How did they get their name? There was a lot more that could have been considered in the making of this book.

This novel had a lot of just strange additives to the plot. Like with the getting naked all the time. Why do the main characters have to keep getting naked to go into the VR tests? It just seemed a bit to much stripping off for me. Also, at the beginning of the book, Jake is seen with two girls on his arm. I understand this part was in the book to introduce characters but it was simply just a little too strange and unnecessary for my liking. I also found General Stoker’s son Jerry a strange addition to the book. I don’t know why but his being trapped in the car made me feel uncomfortable. This part just didn’t make sense.

The final chapter was a little weird too, with an odd ritual/meeting type thing, where of course, you guessed it, the characters take their clothes off! And since when do these people have the power to regenerate their life after they have been severely injured, why didn’t they save the other members this way?

The style of this novel was modern and lacked powerful description. Clive Fleury did go on an escapade of world-building but because he didn’t have the powerful description it was hard for me to picture the look of the setting. The chapters were divided well and created suspense at the end of each chapter. The setting was good, but the time it was set in was a little too near to the present. 2031 is literally 11 and a half years away – I sincerely hope that this book does not come to reality in that time.

I would recommend this book for 18+ because of the violent deaths and abuse which was the result of the intense fights and battles waged against the Krails. I gave Kill Code 3/5 stars because for the majority it was enjoyable but was pretty gruesome. I would recommend this book for thriller and sci-fi lovers. The author Clive Fleury is a film director which I could see come through the writing of this book. This book ended in a way where a sequel is viable.

Content Warning:

Lots of violent and abusive scenes which could be triggering for some. A single mention of prostitution. Blood and gore are rife throughout this novel, with characters dying every which way. Loads of swearing as well. This book is not for the faint hearted.

What’s in A Name?

The title of this book is an integral part of the plot as everything comes down to the Kill Code. Also there are lots of codes and killing in the novel so it is a fitting name. Although it is pretty similar to Maze Runner: Kill Order, I continually got the names confused.

Favorite Quote

Taking a deep breath, I wrote the envelope open and pulled out and official- looking letter. I scan the note quickly as Max period over my shoulder. “Well?”

This is where the story really began. Note: Did you see the grammatical error in the quote? The official- looking should be official-looking or just official looking.

Favorite Character

This was really difficult to decide as I didn’t feel a strong connection to any of them. Maybe Hogan, he did annoy me though because he always seemed to know the right way and bossed everyone around.

QFTR (Questions For The Readers)

  • Do you like dystopian fiction? What would be among your favorites?
  • What did you think of the ending? Did you see it coming?
  • Did you want the book to be longer and would you read the sequel?

Book Review: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Jewel protects blind girl. WW2 begins.

The Blurb:

Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks. When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris in June of 1940, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure’s.

Release Date: 6 May 2014

The Review:

I chose this stand-alone book in my local book store after being entranced by the beautiful cover and immediately spent my voucher to buy it. Little did I know I was soon to be opening the cover of one of the greatest novels I have ever read.

The plot was amazing. I went into the book thinking that I knew what the end would be but I was wrong. It was very unexpected. All The Light was set in 1944 in the midst of the German occupation of France. It is primarily historical fiction but has elements of fantasy with a cursed jewel called the Sea of Flames. The overarching plot was centered around the theme of light and good always triumphing. The protagonists paths of life are so different and their lives interconnect in the most interesting way.

The characters were original and weren’t perfect but both had struggles of there own. Marie-Laure was a relatable character even though she was from the 1940s. Having become blind at the age of 7 she experienced her world in a way through texture and touch. The author specifically wrote her chapters in a way where other senses such as sound and touch were predominant. She and her father were characters that had to adapt to their environment, having to move to Saint-Malo as Paris got taken over by the Germans. Also, the characters all engage in small acts of rebellion against evil in their world which contributed to the overarching themes.

Werner’s story is different and equally interesting. It is interesting to hear what a young German boy experienced and the pressures he had in joining the Hitler Youth. His sister Jutta has a different story where she copes with a life separate from her brother and unsure of what he is really going through. The characters all have their own stories and chapters which have titles connecting to the main idea of the chapter – which I love.

It was written in an enigmatic and beautiful style in a way that reflected the chapters main theme. I actually cried when coming to the end of this novel because I felt so close to the chapters and didn’t want to say good bye. The prose was so delicate. Some people have reviewed this book saying that the delicate prose detracted to the fact that it was a WW2 story – but I say that that was a point of difference in fact the delicacy and beauty of the prose enabled me to understand the lives of the civilians at the time of such drama and importance.

I would recommend this book to ages 16+ as it contains the rawness of a time of war. it contains brutality of the opposing sides in the time of WW2. I would definitely recommend this book to first time historical fiction readers and all those wanting to experience such an awesome book that won the Goodreads choice awards for 2014 in Historical Fiction as well Pulitzer prize in 2015.

I am rating this book 5/5 as it was absolutely beautiful with delicate prose. One of my fav books.

Content Warning:

Ages 16+ as brutal war and abusive scenes, bloody/gory scene murder of a young girl, could trigger uncomfortable feelings.

What’s In a Name?

All the Light We Cannot See title can be taken in different ways being all the “light” as in the radio waves Werner can transmit on his radio and the light that Marie cannot see as she is blind. It could also be the good that goes unnoticed in the world amidst the evil.

Favorite Quote

Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.

the man on the radio

When I lost my sight, Werner, people said I was brave. When my father left, people said I was brave. But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?”

Marie-Laure

Favorite Character

Marie and Werner were very intriguing characters and taught me a lot about whats really important in life. I particularly liked Uncle Etienne as he experienced a story arc of his own as he leaves the trauma of WW1 behind as he develops a fatherly relationship with Marie.

QFTR (Question for the Readers)

  • What do you think the title means?
  • Did the book end the way it thought it would?
  • How does the change in time setting change the way the book evolves? Did you like how the narrator jumps back and forth between time and narrator or did you find it distracting?

What did you think of All The Light? Is it one of your faves or do you did you find it a challenging read?

Book meme of The Month (1-08-2019)

Hello there readers! Here is a question for you: have your ever seen Toy Story? This meme contains a quote from Woody that can definitely relate to some novels.

Today’s meme is…

After All We’ve Been Through

Image Credit: : http://slaplaughter.danoah.com/36-memes-for-book-lovers-that-will-make-them-happier-than-getting-a-letter-from-hogwarts/

Have you experienced this? With what book? I don’t want to be a spoiler but Allegiant sadly did this too me. After 3 books of connecting to the characters and journeying through the different factions and beyond the wall (by the way I think I am an erudite/amity) I was met by a shocking ending where I reacted in the way Woody did here.

I must also mention the film as it had a shocking ending too as it didn’t even exist – where was the ending, where was the proposed 4th film? The 3rd film finished about halfway through the Allegiant book’s plot. Really quite disappointing – but then again did I really want to relive that ending? Well just to see more scenes with Four!

What do you think? Put your comments below.

Book Haul (09-07-2019)

I recently got a mini-book stack from a book sale. Guess how much money they were each?? – 50 cents. Yes, I am being honest. I ended up spending $2 on four books. Here they are:

  • Tales from Shakespeare by Charles & Mary Lamb
  • Pollyanna grows Up by Eleanor H. Porter
  • Treasure Island (Abridged) by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle

I didn’t want an abridged version for Treasure Island as I never really like reading abridged books as it feels as though I’m cheating. But it was only 50 cents so why not?

I have never read A Wrinkle In Time before – I know it is an abomination – but recently saw the film – again I’m sorry – but it was quite good so I got this book.

By the way in the background is my fabulous ‘what I have already read’ bookshelf.

What do you think?

Have you read any of of these? Have you brought any books recently?

Book Meme of the Week (01-07-19)

Hello, readers! How did June reading stack up? Are you on track for your Reading Challenge this year as we are now over halfway through the year! Can’t believe it – time flies when you’re stuck in a book. The meme for this week is…

Living with book problems

This image helps to describe how many readers feel after finishing pretty much any book they have been totally engrossed in. They realize they’ve been living in an alternate reality – one that no one understands but Readers. Books affect us way too much, so why do we go into “post book depression”, as I call it, after experiencing emotional trauma at the hands of a paper back? I know because books are awesome!

Have you had this before? What book really made you feel this way? For me I think a book I was way too emotionally invested in was Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince… Snape, nooooooooo, the trauma you put me through! After I came out of this book’s world I couldn’t stop talking about Snape, Dumbledore, and the adventures of Hermione, Harry, and Ron … and then it hit me – some people don’t even know they exist!

Image Credit: http://slaplaughter.danoah.com/36-memes-for-book-lovers-that-will-make-them-happier-than-getting-a-letter-from-hogwarts/

Book Meme of the Week (24-06-2019)

Welcome to yet again another Book Meme of the Week! How is June reading going?

Today’s meme is…

Book Hangover

I know I definitely experience this often with a really good book, particularly with All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which I recently finished. I felt reluctant to start my new book as was still emotional from the ending of All The Light, I just wanted to hang out with Marie-Laure and Werner. All The Light was absolutely amazing, put it on your TBR list now!

Image Credit: http://slaplaughter.danoah.com/36-memes-for-book-lovers-that-will-make-them-happier-than-getting-a-letter-from-hogwarts/

Book Meme of the Week (17-06-19)

Welcome to my second week of Book Meme of the Week. Leave any bookish or meme related thoughts below.

Today’s meme is…

Feisty Reader

Has anyone had someone steal or “borrow” a book that never got back? This has never happened to me (probably because I am way too protective of my books), but I would expect to react in the way this meme indicates.

Image Credit: http://slaplaughter.danoah.com/36-memes-for-book-lovers-that-will-make-them-happier-than-getting-a-letter-from-hogwarts/

Book Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Girl rebels society, finds love cliché

The Blurb:

In the society officials decide. Who you love, where you work, when you die. Cassia has always trusted their choices, it’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one… until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known, and a path no one else has ever dared to follow – between perfection and passion.

The Review:

This 2010 novel written by Ally Condie is based around the themes of freedom of choice and identity. When protagonist Cassia has to decide whether to go against society or stay within the safety of the rules she is faced with consequences of either action.

I know what you’re thinking – doesn’t this sound like every other dystopian YA romance ever made. Then yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head – it is like every other dystopian YA romance ever made. However, the difference in this novel is that poetry is used in a very inspiring way, to encourage the freedom fighters of this story. Poems used include, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight and Poem in October by Dylan Thomas and Crossing the Bar by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

The style of this novel is modern and much like others of the YA genre such as Divergent and The Hunger Games, but is worse as it lacks creative world building. The limited description of the setting hindered my imagination and therefore interest in this story. Condie does however end her chapter with strong statements that do persuade you to keep reading on to the next chapter.

The plot was alright – it did have more characters then others of this genre but the overarching ideas of the story were predictable. Was she to end up with normal Xander? Or exciting rebellious Ky… what do you think?

The plot, much like other books includes the 16 – 19 year old girl breaking the ordinary and finding love along the way cliché. The addition of the colored pills was a unique aspect of this novel as the purpose was obscured until the final stages of the book.

The characters, I’m sorry, seem shallow and you couldn’t find a deeper perspective of why they made the choices they did ( I don’t call ‘breaking the boundaries’ a deeper motive for a decision). Xander and Ky, in the end, do have some interesting backstories but this is not revealed until later in the series. Cassia and her sidekicks (which don’t do much) are shallow and seem to be only after one thing – to be rebellious for the sake of it. Cassia is intrigued by Ky’s story and all the things he knows (fair enough – as he can… guess what… write!). But poor Xander over here, life-long friend and match, is left in the dirt. However, she won’t break it too him, nope… She will keep stringing him along, using him to her advantage, and hoping in the end that he still cares for her.

Cassia, in my view, just tries to be perfect for Ky – what happened to being yourself and having an identity Cassia! She tries to fit in by being rebellious.

By the way, these insights can only been found on reflection but during reading the book Matched is actually ‘averagely’ enjoyable. I gave it three stars because in comparison to other amazing books out there it simply falls flat (C flat to be exact, for Cassia’s shallow character) and soon becomes forgettable. It becomes very ‘same old, same old’. The lack of world building also contributed to this rating and made cringe moments more cringe… (Cassia giving Ky a piece of green silk from her matching ceremony dress with Xander… why? Why give a random person you barely know something that at the beginning of the book you found so special and wanted to keep as a memory?). The book was also a bit disjointed.

I would recommend this book for ages 14+ because of some mature themes and to people who don’t mind a bit of budget cheese… I prefer Camembert. Matched is part of a trilogy with Crossed and Reached which I will review at a later date… but trust me it just gets worse.

Release Date: 30 November 2010

Favorite Quote:

Do not go gentle into that goodnight
Rage, rage at the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

I know that might not count as it is actually a famous poem, but most of the other quotes were cringe.

Favorite Character:

Xander – he needs some appreciation, but yes, he also annoyed me at some moments. Bram as well, does any one actually remember who he is? He is Cassia’s little bro, who really didn’t have much to do with her or the story.

What’s in a Name?

I think the title, Matched, represents the fact that she was Matched. Done. Sweet. Has anyone had any other ideas of what else the title means?

QFTR (Questions for the Readers)

  • Are you Team Xander or Ky or neither as that is always as option?
  • What do you think are the themes of this novel?
  • Do you think Cassia is just trying to break boundaries for the sake of it?
  • In comparison, what do you think was better: The Hunger Games, Divergent or Matched?

Book Meme of the Week (10-06-19)

Here’s to starting our week off well and full of bookish joy!

Today’s meme is…

A New Adventure

This simple meme sums up what most avid readers feel before bursting into a new book.

I know I certainly felt this way before reading All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, as I was so ready to engage in another wonderful story.

I also love The Hobbit film and novel where neurotic but sweet Bilbo leaves behind Bag End to help the dwarves reclaim their homeland.

Image Credit: http://slaplaughter.danoah.com/36-memes-for-book-lovers-that-will-make-them-happier-than-getting-a-letter-from-hogwarts/

Book Haul 08/06/2019

What I got:

These book purchases that I got were inspired by TV shows and films that I have been watching, such as Vanity Fair and The Count of Monte Cristo.

  • Great Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  • N or M By Agatha Christie
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Vanity Fair by W. M. Thackeray
  • Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

Where I got it:

I bought these from the Rotary Club Book Sale, where there was over 1,000 books. All the money went to the Club.

What do you think

Did I get good books? Have you read them? Have you seen the TV shows or films?

Have you gone to a book sale recently, What did you get?

Book Review: Wonder

Boy humiliated because of deformed face.

The Blurb:

My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever, you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

The Review:

This novel is a feel-good life-giving story. This book gives power to change hearts – where people no longer base their judgment of another upon race, appearance, religion, gender and many other prejudices.

I happen to have written this review a month after one armed man performed heinous acts of hate upon my country and took the lives of 50 New Zealanders. Reviewing this novel was so timely and important as I can reflect on the importance of the message of this novel. No more should we stand for judgments of others based on what we see. And no more should we act on those judgments.

The offender tried to spread terror throughout the world and divide people. However, acts of kindness, charity, and compassion circulate the arteries of many humans who choose to do good. The harrowing and bone-chilling stories of fear experienced by the victims must be drowned out by an earth focused on love. I hope this manifesto of compassion allows and inspires you, The Readers, to allow you to see with eyes that are clear and unprejudiced, because (as shown in Wonder) we can change how we view others.

When we view our planet from outer space (as Auggie would have liked to do) it can be observed that we are all the same and all inhabit the same life-giving planet. We must stand beside those who are unprivileged, physically different, religiously alternate to us, and racially diverse because we all have hearts that beat at the same pace. We are the same! We may all have different struggles and stories like August, Julian, Summer and Jack-Will but we all deserve love and equality.

Now enough of my ranting, on to the review. Wonder is an amazing novel. It is written in a style that reflects it’s narrator, depending on the chapter. Having perspectives of all the main characters in the book really helps to understand the motives of some of the kids actions and helps to see the personal adversities each one faces – whether it be shy and humiliated August or his overlooked sister Olivia, his drifting friend Jack-Will or August’s nemesis Julian.

I would recommend this book to all ages as it discusses lessons that are vital for children and adults alike. After reading this book you may be angry, happy or even in tears. This book is also a major motion picture, which gives justice to the book and reflects it’s different Parts.

The main theme is this novel was that it doesn’t matter what you look like – everyone has their own story and deserves love.

Release Date: 14 February 2012

Favorite Quote

“If every single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, wherever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary—the world really would be a better place.”

Mr Tushman, Wonder

Favorite Character

Probably overlooked sister Olivia and cute dog Daisy. I would say Auggie, but he got a little annoying when he whined a lot and didn’t accept Jack-Will’s apology.

QFTR (Questions for The Readers)

  • How has this book changed the way you see others?
  • Why do you think Jack-Will talked about Auggie behind his back?
  • Do you thinks the way Via feels is justified?
  • Do you think Auggie’s parents were rightly overprotective and treated both Via and Auggie equally?

What did you think about this book? Was it one of your favs or did you expect better?
Write what you think in the comments section : )

Review: Peggy and Me

Miranda gets dog. World turned upside-down.

The Blurb:

Hello dear book browser and welcome to Peggy & Me, the story of my life since getting a beautiful Shih-Tzu Bichon Frise cross puppy (I call the breed a Shitty Frise – fun) in the form of Peggy.

Some of you may be thinking: “a book about a dog, how totally brilliant, I need hear no more, I’m sold.” In which case we should be best friends and go out to tea together, every day.

Others of you may be thinking: “a book about a dog, how totally mad, she must have officially lost it.” In which case I completely understand. For I once viewed dog owners with much suspicion. The way they obsessively talk about their dogs often using voices for them to reply; the way they have a light covering of dog hair all over their clothes and sofas; and worse, an alarming comfort and ease around excrement.

But I now get why people become so mad about their hounds. It wasn’t instant love I have to admit. Getting a puppy when I was at a low ebb in my life wasn’t easy – there was a lot of challenging, what I call, dog administration (dog-min), and the humiliating first trip to the vet still haunts me. It’s been a bumpy old road, but Peggy has been lovingly by my side through some life-changing moments and I wouldn’t have coped without her. Most surprisingly she has taught me a huge amount – not how to get an old pie packet out of a bin and lick it (I could already do that), but real lessons about life and love and trust and friendship.

Put aside any doggy reservations and come walkies with Peggy and me ..

The Review:

If you’ve watched Miranda you already know that she is hilarious. Immediately when I saw this book on the lower shelf in my local book store I just had to bend down and pick up the biscuit, oops I mean book. I chose to read this as I love dogs and the combo of Miranda and a cute puppy – how can you go wrong.

This book is an auto-biography filled with some exaggerated and some not-so-exaggerated stories of Miranda’s life with her “Shitty Frise”, Peggy. Now I understand that this is non-fiction but I felt compelled to review it anyway. in short this book was super humorous. It took place over Miranda’s life and journey and struggles she had whilst creating the renowned TV series Miranda. This story contains funny anecdotes that only Miranda would find herself tied up in.
The dog made an awesome addition to an already funny story. This is a must read for any dog lovers or Miranda Fans and anyone in between.

Release Date: 6 October 2016

Favorite Quote

“It’s me [Miranda] and you [Peggy] against the world.”

Miranda Hart, Peggy and me

Favorite Character

Miranda and Peggy (you can’t have one without the other) – this is an auto-biography, so there are no other prominent characters.

QFTR (Question for The Readers)

  • What was your favorite anecdote? (Mine was probably the Vet story)
  • Have you read any other Miranda books?
  • Have you ever had moments like Miranda has – when you completely make a fool of yourself?

Book Haul 03/05/2019

What I got:

  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  • The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
  • Selected Poems of John Keats
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie
  • Agatha Christie’s 3 Part Crime Collections
  • The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Where I bought these:

I bought these from Xanadu Book Exchange – an independent bookstore absolutely filled with books.

What do you think:

Have you read these? Would you recommend them?

Do you have a favorite independent bookstore?

Book Review: The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

Two strangers come together after crash.

The Blurb:

What if your life depended on a stranger?

On a stormy went tonight, to strangers wait for a flight at the salt lake city airport. Actually Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying east for her much anticipated wedding. Dr Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to return home. When the last outgoing flight is cancelled due to forthcoming storm, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the weather front. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more, Ben offers the seat to Ashley.

Then the unthinkable happens and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness – one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States. Ben, who has broken ribs, and Ashley, who suffers a terrible leg fracture, along with the pilots dog, are faced with a battle to survive. How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, will they ever be the same again?

The Review:

I’m sorry, but this review is not a very positive one. This is one of those rare moments when the book was not better than the movie. They were both equally bad. In the book, the characters were shallow, except for a few flashbacks of Ben Payne’s childhood and relationship with his wife. Of course, he has a harsh childhood where his father abuses him. We get to hear nothing of Ashley’s past though. Why? This story was extremely predictable.

As seen on the blurb “What if your life depended on the stranger?” and “How will they make it out of the wilderness?” seems extremely unoriginal. The story was very uninteresting and sounded like any other survival story – where once again the cliché of two people coming together and through adversity fall in love with each other was used.

Of course that would happen. The way it was written was extremely flat as it didn’t have much description and just stated what was happening. It did not use the well-known story structure of ‘show not tell’ instead it just told everything as it was. The only success of this book was the twist at the end. I did not see this coming and this was the only part of the book that keep it afloat in my eyes. The story is written in first person. The addition of the symbolism of the Dictaphone was a good additive to the story as it made a link to the later twist.

I would not recommend this book to people who love world-building or heavy description as there was none. For those of you who wish to read this, yeah sure, give it ago but mark my words: you may be disappointed. In 2017, the film was released, starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet and was also a disappointment. This film was doomed from the get-go after being based on the book that had virtually no plot and no possible scene development. It closely followed the story but shortened the time it took for them to reach all the memorable points in the book. Strangely enough, the names of the main characters were changed in the film. How would this make a difference to an already dull movie? The names of the main characters in the film were changed to Ben Bass and Alex Martin which was just a completely strange thing to do and made no sense. It didn’t change the story anyway and there was no reason behind the name change. There’s one thing I need to make clear: why did they even bother making a film out of a book that wasn’t made for a film in the first place? The book was worse enough and making a film didn’t make it any more appealing to read. This book was set in the wilderness of the US, so anyone who lives outside of the US, you may struggle to grasp the context of this novel. For those of us who aren’t American, we just won’t get the humor. This book was hard to finish, although the twist made it somewhat worth it in the end. Give it a go if your game. But be prepared that you may just find yourself looking at other books in your bookshelf very longingly.

Thank you, Charles Martin for the personal note to the reader as I felt that I somewhat understood the reason behind your story in the end. I applaud your persistence in writing this novel and having it made into a movie. That is what all authors hope to achieve. The setting of this novel was a very beautiful landscape and it is always awe-inspiring looking at the nature God created for us. We all should “Lift our eyes to the hills and remember where our help comes from”.

Release Date: 9 September 2017

Favorite Quote:

How can I be expected to have a favorite quote as I didn’t like the book. Perhaps the common cliche that I found when I was going through the book trying to find a quote is my fav.

“What was her greatest weakness prior to the separation?”

“The thing that’s also her greatest strength.”

“Her love… for me and the twins.”

Ben Payne and Ashley Knox NOT Ben Bass and Alex Martin

Favorite Character:

This was hard, especially when you don’t particularly like the characters. Can I say the dog, Tank-Napoleon?

***Spoiler Below***

QFTR (Question For The Readers)

  • What did the title represent and why do you think was it chosen?
  • Is Ben to blame for the crash as he was the one who suggested taking a charter plane into a storm?
  • Why do you think Ben kept the real truth about his wife secret from Ashley?
  • What do you think the Dictaphone symbolizes?

What did you think about this book? Write your thoughts below.

Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Lowly girl becomes nobility. Rebellion begins.

The Blurb:

Mare barrow’s world is divided by blood – those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly reds, destined to serve the silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but a twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers an ability she didn’t know she had. Except… her blood is red. To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the silver world, her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting Prince against Prince and Mare against your own heart.

The Review:

This book was amazing! It came to me when I was in a bit of a reading slump and just needed a good book to bring back to my love of reading. Definitely one of my favorite books of 2017. I would recommend it to those who would love the combo of The Hunger Games, Divergent and Game of Thrones with some Ancient Greek influences in naming.

This story takes place in Norta, (think North America) where the long lost remnants of today’s America are apparent.

The plot was action-packed and filled with plot-twists. Complex characters including the protagonist Mare barrow bring the story to life. The pages were filled with original metaphors and inspiring prose. The book brought to my attention the controversial issues of violence to prevent violence. Recommended to ages 13+ RQ is 1 of a 4 book series released from 2016 onwards! Also, there are novellas such as Steel Scars and Queen Song that add another element to the RQ series. RQ may also coming to the big screen sometime in the future! Can’t wait!

Release Date: Feb 2016

Favourite Quote:

“I have lived that life already, in the mud, in the shadows, in a cell, in a silk dress. I will never submit again. I will never stop fighting.

Mare Barrow, Red Queen

Favourite Character:

Diana Farley as she was different and such a fighter.

***Spoiler Below***

QFTR (Questions for the Readers)

  • Do you think the scarlet guards methods were justified and morally right?
  • Are you Team Maven, Team Cal or neither?
  • What was your favourite character?

What do you think about Red Queen? Write your thoughts below.