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Bookish thoughts about 2015

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 Geraldine 0 Comments


2015 was a huge year for me, in terms of my personal life. I did major assignments for school, had my formal and graduated! With all this craziness in my personal life, I didn't really have time to read... :( Usually I read more than this, I promise!

Bookish Awards! 

Book with the Best Quotes?

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde! Although it's technically a play, and not a book, this play was so quotable, I found memorising quotes for my final English papers on this book to be simple! 


Book That Brought the Most Feels?

Without a doubt, Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns. It is the only book that has made me cry during and after reading the book. 

Book I related to the most?

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden - because even though I'm not a geisha in 1900s Japan, I really related to the motif of change throughout this book. In my final year of high-school, so much changed, and this book articulated everything I felt really well



Mini Book Reviews~

These are all the books I've read in the past year, along with one or two lines about how I felt about the book! There aren't that many this year... Funny what your final year of secondary schooling can do to your reading habits... Enjoy :) 
1. Binge by Tyler Oakley - Funny and thought-provoking, this book really got me out of my reading slump.
2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - An insightful book, which was written really well.
3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey - A friend recommended this - it was initially hard to get through, but quite interesting towards the end.
4. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - One of the best books I read this year
5. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden - Rich and full of meaning, books like this are the reason why I read.
6. The Alchemyst by Michael Scott - A reread, and I remembered why I loved this series so much
7. The Novice by Taran Matharu - Reminded me so much of Digimon, and I really want to keep reading more!
8. Inked by Eric Smith - An ARC that was difficult at first, but proved to be a very snappy, fun read.
9. Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford - Quaint book, that does the "two stories in one" style really well
10. Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare - More Simon, need I say more?
11. The Calling by James Frey - Really jam-packed with action - I liked it :D
12. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas - I didn't quite like this book compared to Throne of Glass - I felt that it was harder to keep track of the story.
13. The Empress Chronicles by Suzy Vitello - I didn't finish this book... :/ 
14. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - I never go a year without reading this beloved classic.
15. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin - The countless times I had to reread this for my English Works in Translation paper deadened me to the initial appeal I had for this book.
16. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde - Humorous, this play really blew me away!
17. The Crucible by Arthur Miller - Dramatic and made me think about the power of the minority. I liked it!
18. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw -  I couldn't relate to any of the characters, because I felt that were quite unrealistic..didn't fully enjoy as a result
19.  Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore - LOVE LOVE LOVE
20.  Violinist of Venice by Alyssa Palombo - Got me out of a huge reading slump - and reminded me why I like reading historical fiction
21. The Living Goddess by Isabella Tree - Was in Nepal and was intrigued by the idea of the Kumari (living girl goddesses) and this book told me pretty much everything I wanted to know!
22. Keepsake by Suzy Vitello - Still in the middle of reading this... 
23. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde - Still in the middle of reading this... 



Bookish thoughts

This year, I don't think I really read much of my favourite genre - YA. I mostly read classics and general fiction...which was alright, but looking back now, I would definitely love to see more YA books. New Year's Resolution - read more YA!!! 
Despite not reading too much, I'm really glad to be back blogging. Looking at my archive, I kinda dislike not having a continuous stream of posts, but yeah I realised this year that I missed blogging, and I'm happy to be back doing it, and seeing all different books on other people's blogs! 

How was your bookish year? Let me know in the comments below, on if you have any regrets, what joys you've experienced...etc! 

Keep reading and loving books,
Geraldine

Musing Mondays - Christmas books for others

Monday, December 28, 2015 Geraldine 0 Comments


Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of a couple of prompts to answer. It's hosted by Jenn at The Daily Rhythm!

I'm currently reading...
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. It's not as good as I expected, but some of the quotes are stellar. The parallels between Park and Eleanor are really nice and sweet~
"But Park's face was like art. And not weird, ugly art either. Park had the sort of face you painted because you didn't want history to forget it"
"Eleanor was right: She never looked nice. She looked like art and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something"
Eleanor and Park really remind me of Hazel and Gus from The Fault in Our Stars. The premise of the books are different, but to me, the characters are similar.

Two misfits. 
One extraordinary love. 
Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor. 
Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try


For Christmas this year, did I end up buying any books for others?
For Christmas this year, I didn't end up buying any books at all! I wanted to buy the Shadowhunter's Codex, but the store sold out :( The only 'book' I bought was a 2016 diary for my sister... hope that counts?? At least she will be organised this year!
What about you? Leave your thoughts below!
Keep reading and loving books,
Geraldine

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Sunday, December 27, 2015 Geraldine 0 Comments

The Breakdown


Excellent:
- Writing style
- Analogies
-Quotes
Meh: 

- Ending was a bit 

Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads | Amazon

The Review

Memoirs of a Geisha is a book that I picked up at the library, after hearing about it for a while. I was blown away by this book - the synopsis doesn't really do this book justice.

The only part of the book that didn't agree with me would have been the ending. I personally felt that it didn't make sense, that it was a rushed ending, which didn't make too much sense to me. However, this is my only complaint with the book, because Golden really kept me hooked onto this novel.

The writing style engaged me. I loved how the Japanese language was combined in the text - it really richened it for me. Furthermore, the plot was interesting - from Chiyo's struggles with Hatsumomo to Sayuri's search for the Chairman's love. I really liked how Golden also refers back to previous small details, like when he mentions what happened to Raiha, a geisha mentioned in passing  earlier on in the novel.
His analogies are also really memorable, such as the one about the eel and the cave. 

One of my favourite quotes from this book includes:

Adversity is like a strong wind. I don't mean just that it holds us back from places we might otherwise go. It also tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that afterward we see ourselves as we really are, and not merely as we might like to be.

They're really poetic, and yet encapsulate the meaning of adversity for me perfectly. 

Memoirs of a Geisha is a wonderful historical novel, that is perfect for those who love books like A Thousand Splendid Suns. A story about the transformation of a girl to a woman, and her journey through the difficult years of World War II, this was an enchanting novel that kept me reading. Five out of five stars from me. 

Keep reading and loving books, 
Geraldine


Dashing Through the Snow Book Tag

Thursday, December 24, 2015 Geraldine 0 Comments


Thank you to the lovely Zhana over at Confessions of an Addict for nominating me and spreading the Christmas spirit! This is such a great tag - these questions are really great! Thanks of course, goes to Astra at A Stranger's Guide to Novels for creating this tag in the first place! Without any further ado...here is the tag! 


1. Name a book you woukd like to see under the Christmas tree
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. I don't really know why...but recently, this book has kinda become like a siren call...impossible to resist! 

2. Name a book you'll be reading during the Christmas season
It's not very Chrismassy, but I'm actually reading a book called "Slow Boat To China and Other Stories". It's non-fiction, but it's about my roots, so yeah haha, I'm diving into a book of comfort and familiarity this Christmas season! 

3. Name your favorite Christmas movie
...I don't really watch Christmas movies! Maybe Bridget Jones's Diary? 

4. Do you like snow?
YES OMG. I experienced snow for the first time on this very day (Christmas Eve) a whole year ago, in Nepal. It was just stunning. I made my first snowman and everything! Freezing, and a bit hard to walk around, but it was just one of the best moments in my life. 

5. Name a character you would like to spend your Christmas day with.
HAHAHAHAHA
Nice.
Forcing me to choose??
Okay... if I had to pick just one...I think Neville Longbottom. He'd be the perfect Christmas date, being really sweet, showing me cool Herbology things to do with Christmas... I dunno, that sounds nice to me :) 


6. To give or receive
I actually prefer receiving presents. Giving presents involves so much pressure for me... I always worry about getting them the right gift. And I can never give gift cards too - when I was younger, someone made an offhand comment about how impersonal they are, and that comment has stuck with me ever since >.< 

7. What fictional place would you like to spend Christmas at?
My own place. 
*cue laughter*
It's fictional for now...but hopefully, in the next five years, I can have my own place to spend Christmas in. 

8. Fondest Christmas memory?
Except for this year, my whole extended family on my dad's side gather at a hotel to have a Christmas brunch. I'm not particularly close with that side of the family, but yeah, this is the one time I really see them every year, so I get a chance to catch up with my cousins. 

9. Can you say Christmas tree ten times fast in a row (pronouncing it correctly)?
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!
Christmastree-Christmastree-Christmastree-Christmastree-Christmastree-Christmastree-Christmastree-Christmastree-Christmastree-Christmastree-
YES! :) 

In the Christmas spirit (It's Christmas Eve, y'all!) I'd like to nominate Lilivette over at Reading Against Time for this tag! 
If you wanna join in the Christmas spirit as well, feel free to take part in this book tag!

Merry Christmas (a day early)!

Keep reading and loving books,
Geraldine

Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year

Tuesday, December 22, 2015 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish, and, by golly, when I found out about it, I decided to join in on the fun! Every Tuesday, a new topic comes out for bloggers to post a list about. This week, it's the  Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year.
I'm gonna change it to five...because I've taken some time off, and haven't really been looking at books too much :S 
  1. The Shadowhunter's Codex by Cassandra Clare - I've been meaning to get this book for a year and a half now, but I never seem to find the time to get it....
  2. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - One of my favourite books of this year, I would love to have my own copy of it, instead of having to borrow it from my friend
  3. Dare To Be a Champion by Lee Chong Wei - I love badminton, and I come from Malaysia. Lee Chong Wei's story has always intrigued me, but it's been really hard tracking down this book... :(
  4. Origin by Jessica Khoury - been on my TBR list for ages!
  5. Just One Day by Gayle Forman - so many people have recommended this book!
  6. Any Stephanie Perkins book - I loved Anna and the French Kiss, and would love to have a copy! Haven't read Lola and the Boy Next Door or any of Perkin's other novels, so it would also be cool to have one of them to read!
  7. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai - Wanted it since the day it came out, but I've been caught up in my final year of schooling... Now that my senior year is over, hopefully I can get a copy to read!
  8. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell - I've been hearing lots of good things about Rainbow Rowell. I tried reading Fangirl and it didn't appeal to me, so hopefully I can try Eleanor and Park and be blown away!
  9. The  Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - the premise sounds amazing - fingers crossed for a copy of it to peruse!
  10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - My friend keeps saying that it's a great book, but she hasn't been able to lend me it....I'm hoping for a physical copy of my own to read at this stage!
What are your top ten books that you hope Santa will leave this year? Link me to your response or let me know in the comments below!

Keep reading and loving books,
Geraldine

Musing Mondays - A Song for a Favourite Book

Tuesday, December 22, 2015 Geraldine 0 Comments


Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of a couple of prompts to answer. It's hosted by Jenn at The Daily Rhythm!

Up next, I think I'll read...
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I recently got this book from the library, and I think I'll start reading it. I tried reading this book about this time last year, but found it really hard to get through. However, I read A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author and really loved it, so I think I'll give it a try again. 



Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir's choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had. The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies. A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic. 

Think of your favourite book... If you had a song that you think represents it well, what would that song be? 
I love this prompt! I love music and books, and I love listening to some book soundtracks One of my favourite books right now is Memoirs of a Geisha. I recently read it, and was completely hooked. I couldn't help but think of New York City, by The Chainsmokers. The narrator of Memoirs of a Geisha is narrating from NYC, and some of the lyrics of the song deal with loss and change, a bit like how the book does as well. 





What about you? Let me know your answers to the prompts above in the comments below! :) 

Keep reading and loving books!
Geraldine

Books that I was Forced to Read

Saturday, December 19, 2015 Geraldine 0 Comments


In the past, I've been forced to read many books, mostly from my friends though. However, there have been a few circumstances when I've had to read books and plays for school work. This week, I'll have two categories, the top five books that I liked (after they were suggested to me) and the top five books that I disliked (after I was forced to read them).

Top Three Books I Liked


  1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - I recently had to study this book for school, and I found it to be an amazing book! I found the plot pretty interesting, but then when I took a closer look at it, I loved finding all the symbolism and hidden meaning stored away!
  2. Mozart's Sister by Nancy Moser -This was a book that I selected from the school library as a book to broaden my reading experiences. It was forced upon me, as my teacher didn't want me reading YA :/ But, in the end, I loved it, as it was heart-wrenching!
  3. Vampire Academy- I kinda imposed this book upon myself, since my friend was reading it. I was so wary of starting it; I had gotten sick of vampires, but it was amazing!

Top Three Books I Disliked



  1. Peeling the Onion by Wendy Orr- Peeling the Onion was a set reading text for 9th grade. I think it annoyed me a lot, mainly because I felt like the main character was ridiculous and such a fool
  2. Tulip Touch by Anne Fine- Like Peeling the Onion, Tulip Touch was a set reading text. I remember everyone hated in, mainly because the main character, Natalie was so detestable and weak, in our opinions. A couple of people ended up burning the book, which was kind of ironic (if you've read the book).
  3. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick- This book was very Twilight-ish. 'Nuff said. 

Which books would be on your list? Comment below! And what were your experiences reading these books above?

Keep reading and loving books,

Geraldine

Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish, and, by golly, when I found out about it, I decided to join in on the fun! Every Tuesday, a new topic comes out for bloggers to post a list about. This week, it's the Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015! 

I haven't actually read many books published in 2015...I don't think I even read 10 to be honest, that's how big my reading slump was, so this list is about the top 5 books I read in 2015. 
  1. The Violinist of Venice by Alyssa Palombo - It frustrated me a lot at the start, but after, I really enjoyed the sense of closure that this book brought. Plus, it involves music, Vivaldi and Venice ^_^
  2. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde - Whilst it is a play, it was immensely enjoyable to read. 
  3. Binge by Tyler Oakley - This book was full of laughs and I really enjoyed how infectious Tyler's enthusiasm is! 
  4. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - This book was really emotionally charged for me, and I liked how it didn't preach a particular political viewpoint.
  5. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey - I didn't really understand this novel at first, but it got to be more interesting. 
What do you think? What were your top reads of 2015? Let me know in the comments below! 

Keep reading and loving books,
Geraldine


One Lovely Blog Award~

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 Geraldine 0 Comments


I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by Zhana over at Confessions of an Addict! I'm so excited because this is the first time I've ever been nominated for something like this, and I'd like to thank Zhana for nominating me and making me feel more at home with the blogging community :)

Anyway, here are the rules!

The Rules:

- Thank the blogger who nominated you.
- List the rules 
- Give seven facts about yourself!
- Nominate fifteen other bloggers for the award and make sure to notify them!
- Display the award button on your blog and follow the blogger that nominated you.


Nominations!

I don't actually have many, because I'm new to the blogging community, but here are are my top 5 :) 

Paperback Princess - I only recently started following you, but I love your posts! You are goals for me, with what I want to achieve in my blog. 
Gone with the Words- Your posts are great! I especially love your Thursday Tracks meme :) 
A Daily Rhythm - I love your memes! They're always really well thought out, and it's a pleasure participating in them!
Confessions of an Addict - You've made me feel so welcome in the blogging community - you're one lovely blogger! <3
Writer of Wrongs - You read tonnes of books that I also read, and your reviews are great. They help me decide what to read next :) 

Seven Random Facts About Myself!

  1. I love reading! Especially young adult books, or books about China and women, anything that relates to me. 
  2. TV shows are my life. I prefer watching TV shows, because the energy required to watch a movie exhausts me xD TV shows I'm currently watching include: Castle, Bones; New Girl, 2 Broke Girls and 
  3. I recently graduated! I finished my final exams in November, and I'm waiting for my final results in January - lots of time to blog in the meantime! :D 
  4. I'm hoping to study Medicine at university next year :) It's something that I've wanted to do for the past five years, so fingers crossed that I'll have the grades for it! 
  5. I also like painting and drawing in my spare time. I'm not great at it or anything, but I like how I can create something that I will look back upon in a couple of years, and admire. 
  6. I try to maintain a positive outlook on life. Seeing the glass as half-full, as such :) 
  7. I keep a journal. I'm really all about the nostalgia, so I have this 4-year journal, where each page for a day of the year, is sectioned into four parts for four years, like below. That way, I can look back on what happened that day on each year. 
I totally understand if you guys don't want to repost this :) I just wanted to acknowledge all of you guys, who have made blogging an enjoyable activity for me again!

Keep reading and loving books!
Geraldine

Musing Mondays - Books I'm hoping to get for Christmas

Monday, December 14, 2015 Geraldine 0 Comments


Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of a couple of prompts to answer. It's hosted by Jenn at The Daily Rhythm!

I'm currently reading...
Inked by Eric Smith. I signed up for a blog tour, via YA Book Bound, and whilst it was a rocky start, I'm really coming to enjoy this book! I'll be uploading a review as part of the blog tour on January 18th - don't miss it! 

What books are you hoping to get for Christmas (whether as gifts, or ones you'll purchase yourself)?
This is kinda tricky for me, there are a couple of books that I wanna get! I've really been wanting to get the Study series by Maria V. Snyder in a paper copy though. The Shadowhunter's Codex by Cassandra Clare is also another book I want, to complete my collection of Clare's books. There's just an endless list of books, really.... xD 


What about you? Let me know your answers to the prompts above in the comments below! :) 

Keep reading and loving books,
Geraldine

Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore

Saturday, December 12, 2015 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments

The Breakdown


Excellent:
  • Plot twist! :) 
  • Characters - Mark James, Agent Walker, Four/John... most of the characters tbh 

Meh: 
  • Characters - felt like some weren't explored well enough (MARINA)
  • Didn't really hook me in until the last few pages 

    Rating: 3  stars

    Goodreads | Amazon

    The Review


    I've been meaning to get around to this book for the past year or so, and recently bought it (along with Fall of Ten - expect a review soon!) as my graduation present~ I brought it along on my holiday, and read a bit of it there and a bit of it once I got home. Spoiler alert for those who haven't read the previous four books!

    The Garde have suffered an unbearable loss. Number Five has betrayed them. Eight is gone forever. Ella has been kidnapped. The others are now scattered.

    In Chicago, John makes the unlikeliest of allies: Adam, a Mogadorian who turned his back on his people. He has invaluable information about Mog technology, battle strategies, and weaknesses. Most important, he knows where to hit them: their command base near Washington, DC. During the assault, however, John and Adam learn the unimaginable truth: it is too late. The Mogadorians have commenced their ultimate invasion plans.

    With a front-row seat to the impending invasion, Ella finds herself in the hands of the enemy. For some reason she's more valuable to them alive, and they'll stop at nothing to turn her.

    Meanwhile, Six, Nine, and Marina make their way through the Florida Everglades, hot on the trail of the traitorous Five. With the development of a new Legacy, Marina finally has the power to fight back—if her thirst for revenge doesn't consume her first.

    The thing with these Lorien Legacies books is that they're really jam-packed. I completely forgot what happened in Fall of Five (the book before this) when I embarked upon reading this novel, because it's been a year since I delved into this series. Needless to say, the writing in this book rapidly got me caught up to date, which I really appreciated (after all, whilst rereading Fall of Five would be fun, I'd much prefer moving on with the series!)

    I definitely feel like this book wasn't as good as some of the other Lorien Legacies novels. I wasn't quite sure what to think of this novel - some parts were awesome and others were meh. The real let down was Marina's characterisation. In Power of Six (the second Lorien Legacies novel), she was such a strong character, and really established. However, in this novel, Lore characterises Marina as a forlorn character, one that only reacts whenever Eight is mentioned. Despite this, it was great to see the reappearance of some old, familiar characters, like Mark James and Agent Walker. Four/John's characterisation was great, completely consistent with what Lore built up with in previous books. Furthermore, I loved how Lore didn't overtly flash the Sarah/John relationship in this novel (I found that a bit tiring in Fall of Five), and explored Sarah and John as individual characters in their distance from each other.

    This book wasn't the greatest in that it didn't keep me addicted to it. With all the other Lorien Legacies books, I've always engulfed the novels, eager for more, but with this one... I don't know, it just didn't hook me in. I found no interest in most of the characters, other than Nine and Ten/Ella.. Five did intrigue me a little though. Despite the little interest I had throughout most of the book, I really loved the plot twist at the end. I don't know if you can call it a plot twist... but I liked it.

    !Spoiler!


    It was something that I only really realised could happen in the last few pages.

    Revenge of Seven didn't really keep me reading. For me, it was an alright novel, 3 our of 5 stars. I'm hoping that Fall of Ten will be better though!~

    Keep reading and loving books!
    Gerri

    Musing Mondays - Best Season for Reading

    Monday, December 07, 2015 Geraldine Lee 7 Comments

    This is my first time doing Musings Mondays! Hopefully it works out - this meme sounds very interesting!

    Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of a couple of prompts to answer. It's hosted by Jenn at The Daily Rhythm!

    I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
    I recently bought Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, and I've actually finished reading it now! It's an interesting book, and I can definitely see why it's considered a modern classic. Look out for a review in the near future! 
    If you were forced to choose the best season for reading, what would it be?
    Great question! Definitely Winter! Winter is the best season for reading because it's cold. Great time to cuddle up with a nice blanket and book, hot drink (anyone up for hot chocolate?) and listen to the wood crackle in the hot fireplace. 

    What about you? Let me know your answers to the prompts above in the comments below! :) 

    Keep reading and loving books,
    Geraldine

    The Violinist of Venice: A Story of Vivaldi by Alyssa Palombo

    Saturday, December 05, 2015 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments

    The Breakdown


    Excellent:
    - Characterisation - something I only fully appreciated at the end of the novel 
    - Imagery 

    Meh: 
    - Pacing is a bit off... read the review for more details 

    Rating: 3.5 stars
    Goodreads | Amazon

    The Review

    I picked up this book for many reasons - firstly, because I love music, especially some of Vivaldi's compositions and secondly because I like historical fiction.
    Palombo's The Violinist of Venice reminded me of the book Mozart's Sister by Nancy Moser (one of my all time favourite books), from the synopsis below, as both stories share elements of historical fiction, music, love and loss.

    A sweeping historical novel of composer and priest Antonio Vivaldi, a secret wealthy mistress, and their passion for music and each other

    Like most 18th century Venetians, Adriana d'Amato adores music-except her strict merchant father has forbidden her to cultivate her gift for the violin. But she refuses to let that stop her from living her dreams and begins sneaking out of her family's palazzo under the cover of night to take violin lessons from virtuoso violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi. However, what begins as secret lessons swiftly evolves into a passionate, consuming love affair.

    Adriana's father is intent on seeing her married to a wealthy, prominent member of Venice's patrician class-and a handsome, charming suitor, whom she knows she could love, only complicates matters-but Vivaldi is a priest, making their relationship forbidden in the eyes of the Church and of society. They both know their affair will end upon Adriana's marriage, but she cannot anticipate the events that will force Vivaldi to choose between her and his music. The repercussions of his choice-and of Adriana's own choices-will haunt both of their lives in ways they never imagined.

    Spanning more than 30 years of Adriana's life, Alyssa Palombo's The Violinist of Venice is a story of passion, music, ambition, and finding the strength to both fall in love and to carry on when it ends.

    I definitely found this book a bit hard to get into. The start was difficult for me - it ran too quickly. The romance between Vivaldi and Adriana felt forced, and rushed, and didn't appeal to me. It was only at the halfway point of the novel, where I started to feel more comfortable with the pacing. Furthermore, the plot development improved after the halfway mark for me as well. I especially loved how Palombo showcased the coming of a full circle with Adrianna's children.

    I really liked how Palombo constructed her characters too. Adriana, at first, was a naive child, one that I couldn't help but distaste because of what I saw as petulance. However, as the novel progressed, Palombo weaves more into Adrianna's character, and by the end of the novel, there is a true character development. Adrianna transforms from a naive child into a confident, self-assured woman.

    "I genuinely enjoyed his company. But this only made me want to push him further away" <-- Adrianna at 29% of the book

    "It is my inheritance to give away" <--- Adrianna at 76% of the book

    Another aspect of this novel that particularly appealed to me was Palombo's use of imagery and figurative language. Now, this probably sounds really analytical right now... but Palombo'a words swept over me, and I loved Palombo's use of different ideas, ranging from music to nature, to express Adrianna's thoughts. See below for an example:

    "My youth was spring and my affair with the man I loved was summer, with all its heat. And autumn came as we began to come apart and winter when we were undone, and I was forced to give up our child. And yet surely that winter has ended long since. Then spring came again with the births of my children and this peace and contentment I know now is like the beautiful sun of summer once again" 
    - 88% of the book, in relation to The Four Seasons and how it related to Adrianna's life - it's beautiful, isn't it?

    The Violinist of Venice: A Story of Vivaldi by Alyssa Palombo is not a story of Vivaldi, in my opinion. It is a story of maturity, of growth. Romance and the historical and geographical aspect features heavily, but ultimately, I feel like this book is about the ability of people to move on and change, not necessarily for the better, but to adapt to their surroundings. For anyone who loves romance novels, historical fiction, music, I would 100% recommend this book.

    Keep reading and loving books,
    Geraldine

    This review copy was provided to me in exchange for an honest review on Netgalley. 

    The Pact by Jodi Picoult

    Tuesday, December 01, 2015 Geraldine 0 Comments

    The Breakdown


    Excellent:
    • Characters
    Meh: 
    • Court scenes started dragging a bit
      Rating: 4  stars

      Goodreads | Amazon

      The Review


      For eighteen years the Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other, sharing everything from Chinese food to chicken pox to carpool duty-- they've grown so close it seems they have always been a part of each other's lives. Parents and children alike have been best friends, so it's no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily's friendship blossoms into something more. They've been soul mates since they were born. 
      So when midnight calls from the hospital come in, no one is ready for the appalling truth: Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head. There's a single unspent bullet in the gun that Chris took from his father's cabinet-- a bullet that Chris tells police he intended for himself. But a local detective has doubts about the suicide pact that Chris has described.

      I've only read one Jodi Picoult book before this day, and it was called 'Handle With Care'. It was saddening, and I sobbed all throughout, especially at the end. I picked this book up for my yearly dose of sadness and tears. True enough, I did shed a few tears while reading this book.

      I've read a few reviews on Goodreads about this book, and most of them had pretty bad things to say about the characters in 'The Pact'. However, I disagree with these reviews. Sure, I found some of the characters really irritating (cue Melanie Gold), but they were very realistic and consistent with their own story. Picoult has a marvellous insight into human nature, and it is because of this that I believe that her characters are drafted so well and consistently. Picoult makes us, the readers, grieve, because we feel close to the characters. She builds them all up over a gradual amount of time, and then sends us crashing when something bad happens to them. We feel everything so intensely because we have the added background, and we feel like we knew each and everyone of the characters intimately.

      Although this book didn't match up to the standard that I set for Jodi Picoult, it was, nonetheless, a gripping story. Which is why I'd rate it 4 stars out of 5. It drew me in, captivated me and was a perfect showing of human nature.

      Keep reading and loving books,

      Geraldine