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Wonder Women by Sam Maggs | BAMF Women Everywhere!

Friday, September 30, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments



The Breakdown


General Info:
     Title: Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History
     Author: Sam Maggs
     Genre: Non-fiction, STEM, Women
     Publisher: Quirk Books
     Publishing Date: October 4th, 2016

Thoughts:
     Excellent:
          - Lots of women I had never heard of
          - Could learn things whilst enjoying myself

    Things that could have been better:
         - Writing style was offputting 

Rating: 3.5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Quirk Books website

Initial Thoughts

As a BSc university student, and a future M.D. student, I was really excited when Quirk Books contacted me to review Wonder Women. I'm a strong advocate for women in science, being one myself, so I was really excited to dive into this book. Plus, the gorgeous graphics!! 
A side note before I continue - I've omitted the Plot section of this review, because it's a non-fiction book, and hence I can't really comment about plot, because there would be no plot! 

Ever heard of Allied spy Noor Inayat Khan, a Muslim woman whom the Nazis considered “highly dangerous”? Or German painter and entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian, who planned and embarked on the world’s first scientific expedition? How about Huang Daopo, the inventor who fled an abusive child marriage only to revolutionize textile production in China? 

Women have always been able to change the world, even when they didn’t get the credit. In Wonder Women, author Sam Maggs introduces you to pioneering female scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors—each profile a study in passion, smarts, and stickto-itiveness, complete with portraits by Google doodler Sophia Foster-Dimino, an extensive bibliography, and a guide to present-day women-centric STEM organizations.


Characters

Wonder Women is filled with a plethora of successful, but unheard of women, in a variety of fields, such as science, medicine, espionage, exploration and invention. 
Have you ever heard of Wang Zhenyi? Noor Inayat Khan? What about Maria Sibylla Merian? I know I hadn't, before I read this book!

I honestly thought I would know more of the women here, doing a BSc degree and all. After all, some of the most inspiring lecturers I have had, have always given lectures about some important people in science - for example Maud Menten is known for her work in Michaelis-Menten kinetics, and I learned a bit about her in university. But she doesn't appear here. So it was just really refreshing to hear about more women in different areas, apart from science. 

Writing Style

I was really put off by Maggs's writing style. It seems like a combination of both first and second person, which definitely made it feel like she was talking to me, the reader. But at the same time, the use of italics, parentheses and other textual manipulations was off-putting, as it felt condescending at times. As Briana @ Pages Unbound stated in her review, there is a Tumblr-feel to the writing style. 

For me, the writing style felt condescending to my age and my knowledge. I feel like younger audiences might find the writing style entertaining, witty and sarcastic, but for me, it just felt very condescending. 

There is just a discrepancy with the writing style and the target audience - I believe that the target audience are teenage girls, but it felt like my ten-year old sister would enjoy it more than I did, with regards to the tone throughout the novel. 

Entertainment Value

Wonder Women is a fascinating book that has the capability to make a change, to increase awareness of many women who have impacted the world in a huge way. In that way, it filled my time meaningfully - I learned so many new things about BAMF women, whilst enjoying myself. 

Final Thoughts

Wonder Women is an empowering book for any girl considering to go into STEM related fields. With the large variety of women, from all different backgrounds, profiled here, I'm sure any girl can find a role model within this book! Sadly for me though, the tone and the writing style just didn't appeal to me. 

But...if you want to get in early on reading this gorgeous book, you can sign up for a preorder here! If you preorder it, you'll get exclusive access to some downloadable wallpapers, created by comic artists Jen Bartel and Paulina Ganucheau, as a bonus. Also, two lucky winners will be given a framed print signed by the artists and Sam Maggs, the author. 

Rating


Thoughts in a Phrase 

The content was great - delivery, not so much. 

Keep reading and loving books!
Geraldine

Disclaimer - Quirk Books sent me a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review


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The Happiness Tag | In Which I Cheer Myself Up With Happy Things~

Monday, September 26, 2016 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments


As always, I'm late on tags... OH WELL! 
I came across this tag when Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books did it - and honestly, I was hooked! I love anything that makes me happy - and I had to share it! 

List five things that make you happy 

Studying 
This is weird right? But I think it's more the feeling of accomplishment that comes from completing my list of things to study for the night. 

Writing in my diary 
I have a four-year diary, where each page represents one day of the year. It's subdivided into four blocks - one for each year. I love writing in it, because I get to reflect on what happened the year before. Although there are some sad parts in some days, on the whole, it makes me happy because I'm always astounded by how it's been one/two/three years since that event (it usually seems like it was just yesterday) 

Sleeping
I LIKE SLEEP OKAY?? 

Reading
George R.R. Marin once mentioned something along the lines of how a person who reads many books lives many lives, whilst the person who doesn't read lives only once. I like to live many lives, I like to experience the world, and reading lets me do that ^_^ 
If it's a good book, I love reading, and it's really something that can cheer me up! 

TV
I've been watching lots of comedies recently, and they never fail to make me laugh! Always a great pick-me-up on some heavy days. Want any recommendations?? HERE THEY ALL ARE!! :D 
  1. The Office - it's already finished, but it never fails to get me laughing. The diverse set of characters, the wonderful relationships...oh, how I love this show <3 
  2. Modern Family - If you want a family oriented comedy...definitely Modern Family! I love how everything ties together at the end of the episode, how each arc is beautifully tied together in a wonderful conclusion! 
  3. New Girl - The things that the people at that apartment get up to sometimes... :') 
  4. Brooklyn Nine-Nine - HAHAHAHAHA I always thought that cop shows had to be serious, procedural shows, but Brooklyn Nine-Nine blew away my expectations!
  5. The Mindy Project - Mindy is honestly such an inspirational character and person! 
I probably have many more recommendations...but those are just a few to get you started! 

List five songs that make you happy 

Cool by Alesso 
This song has such special memories for me...I don't even know where I first heard it from, but nowadays, whenever I work and this song comes on, my productivity actually increases tenfold - I get so motivated! 


Satellites by Cash Cash 
Just that whole motivational vibe again ^_^ 



Clarity by Zedd 
This song has so many levels of meaning for me. I first heard it in my first year at a new high school, and I was finally starting to fit in, have my own friends, be popular, you know? So yeah, this song just reminds me of that time, and makes me happy ^_^ 


Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars
OH MY GOSH THIS SONG IS JUST ICONIC, OKAY?? 
Plus that music video is one of the best music videos I've seen :D 


Fireflies by Owl City 
MEMORIES :') And also, I can't help bopping along to the beat~ :) 


I tag...

..plus anyone else who wants to do it! Go off, be happy~! :D Revisit all the things that make you happy by doing this tag, like I did! 

Got any good music recommendations for me? Any nice music videos with a story (those are my fav music videos)? What makes you happy? Let me know in the comments! :) Always love chatting to you guys! 

Keep reading and loving books!
Geraldine


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The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Thursday, September 22, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments



The Breakdown


General Info:
     Title: The Winner's Curse
     Author: Marie Rutkoski
     Genre: YA, Fantasy 
     Publisher: Farrar, Straux and Girroux
     Publishing Date: March 4th, 2014

Thoughts:
     Excellent:
          - World-building and politics - so intriguing! 

    Things that could have been better:
         - Characters - just didn't feel real/relatable to me
         - Plot - too coincidental for me to believe in 

Rating: 2.25 stars
Goodreads | Amazon


Initial Thoughts

I've heard so many people rave about The Winner's Curse!  Plus, that gorgeous, gorgeous cover was calling to me. So I decided I had to take the plunge and just read it! 


Winning what you want may cost you everything you love... 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart. 

Characters

Kestrel was very difficult for me to understand. I just didn't feel like I connected with her at all - she wasn't relatable. I feel like this was partially due to the writing style, with the use of third person. The third person format really distanced me from Kestrel, and she was just unfathomable to me. 

Arin was even worse than Kestrel. He didn't make sense. In a normal world with consequences - I feel like Arin would never have been kept around in Kestral's household, with how rebellious he was at times. I felt like his purpose was to be the love interest, and it was very difficult for me to suspend my disbelief that he and Kestrel were right for each other. 

Let's talk side-characters now. I honestly didn't get Kestrel's attachment to Jess? It didn't seem like they were honestly that great friends - we get told they are best friends, but the actions in the novel don't support that, with how little we see of Jess. Ronan was really interesting to read about - he seemed like such a nice guy, and if I read the sequel - Ronan will be one of the reasons that I do so! 

Plot

The plot wasn't very interesting to me. It all felt contrived, it felt like things just happened for the sake of happening. For example, some plot points felt too convenient - highlight for spoilers. I thought that it was just too convenient that Kestrel happened to come by Arin being auctioned off, and Cheat was just REALLY lucky to engage Kestral into buying Arin. 
That being said, whilst I had problems with the plot - I did love the world-building. It was a familiar world to me, easy to grasp hold of, and I enjoyed learning more about each of the groupings - the Herrani and the Valorian. I especially loved reading about the Valorians, because they had such interesting beliefs/morals - women were allowed and even encouraged to enlist. This is so different to our society, because yes women are encouraged to go to combat in our world, but with Valorians, it seems to be more of an expectation. 

Finally, Rutkoski left us in a good spot for the ending. I'm curious to see how everything plays out in the second book, because the ending involves politics, is all I'm saying. And I'm interested to see how Kestrel will maneuver herself out of the spot she's in. 

Writing Style

The writing style wasn't my favourite. For one, there was the third-person format that hindered the character relatability. I didn't feel like I got to know Kestrel very well - it felt like I only knew superficial things about her, like that she likes music, or that she's bad at combat - not her thoughts, her wishes, her desires. I really feel like this is because of the third-person format. 

Furthermore, it seemed like everything was being dumbed down for readers. Sometimes, I felt like Rutkoski was repeating information previously mentioned. Whilst this is good because it reinforces that this information is important and keeps it fresh in readers' minds - at the same time, I feel like there was too much repetition, and it was almost as if Rutkoski was dumbing things down a bit, and I skim read a lot of The Winner's Curse as a result - just to reduce the amount of time I had to spend reading repetitious material. 

Entertainment Value

I kind of did have to force myself to read this book. I was really excited to start, because I heard so much great stuff about it, but I don't know I just didn't get immersed into the world. Nonetheless, it did keep me occupied, and reading for a couple of hours, although I did have to take a couple of breaks because I just wasn't loving it. 

Final Thoughts

I think an English teacher told me once that in order for a book or a movie or a play to be successful, sometimes there needs to be the suspension of disbelief. With The Winner's Curse, I couldn't suspend my disbelief with the plot and characters, and ultimately I couldn't enjoy the novel. The Winner's Curse, whilst easy to read in a couple of hours (even though I didn't fully enjoy it) is an ultimately forgettable novel to me, with little that distinguishes it from other fantasy books and other characters in separate novels. 


Rating




Thoughts in a Phrase 

It's not you, it's me. 

Keep reading and loving books!
Geraldine


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Conversations: Which Blogging System Do You Use?

Saturday, September 17, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments


Hi everyone! 
This is gonna be a short one today - more mid-semester exams to study for! 
The topic for today is...
Which blogging platform do you use and why? 
But of course, this is a bit of a sparse topic - so there are more prompts below! :) 

I use Blogger, as you all can probably tell. There's honestly no real reason for this - it's just the first platform I came across. 

Why haven't I been wooed by Wordpress yet though? It's too tricky for me. I tried using it once, but it felt like it was too much for me, with so much functionality, so much possible! I could probably spend a week trying to customise a blog with Wordpress. Time that I kiiiind of don't have. 

Blogger wins me over with its simplicity. Even though there are lots of times where I groan and sigh and hiss over how ridiculously simple it is, preventing me from doing more complex things that I would like. But I prefer this simplicity - after all, so long as I have a platform that allows me to post and comment with as little trouble as possible, I'm happy! 

I know this is probably a difficult topic to talk about - not much subject matter for a Conversation as such. So there won't be a link-up - sorry! 
I haven't caught up with you all in ages, I have been a bit AWOL. So...in addition to telling me about your blogging system, tell me about YOU! What has been going on in your wonderful lives? Big events? Birthdays? Blogoversaries? I want to know! 

Keep reading and loving books!
Geraldine


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Conversations: Which Commenting System Do You Use and Love?

Sunday, September 04, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments


Hi everyone! 
It's been a long time since I've posted! Sorry about that - lots of things happening at uni! But this week, the Conversations post is something I'm very interested in...
Do you use a particular form of commenting system? 

For me, I use Disqus, as you all can see, if you scroll below. 
There are many reasons why I use Disqus. 
As you all know, I HEAVILY emphasise how blogging should be about communication, making friends, etc. Disqus has such a wondeful system to facilitate that - it has notifications, a bit like Facebook, for if someone has replied back to your comment, and all that jazz. It's truly awesome. 
It also looks really good. I'm a huge fan of the minimalist look - it's difficult for me to implement, but it looks awesome! Disqus is pretty minimalistic, so it's nice to have on the blog. 
Then, let's not forget how Disqus can be integrated with pretty much anything. If you're using Disqus, you don't have to make a Disqus account or anything - you can sign in with Facebook, Twitter, and some other options, I believe! So pretty much anyone can comment on your posts, let you know what they think! 
Finally., Disqus is awesome because you get to "thumbs up" comments. Sometimes, I find it's hard to reply back to some comments - you know, the generic ones, that are like "oh, nice post!". But I still feel that obligation to do something, to acknowledge that comment, so instead of spending ten minutes thinking of an adequate reply - I just thumbs up! :) 

To be honest, I can't really think of reasons NOT to use Disqus. The only drawback is the lack of a mobile app - but even then, I think that has been resolved! I just have to play around with some code-y things..which I'll do sometime soon... >.<
Actually, thinking about it, Disqus can be a bit confusing to implement. Denise @ The Bibliolater and I have had many panicked conversations about how to install Disqus and how to keep it working (there was one time when Blogger had changed its system or something, and Disqus couldn't cope o_O ) 

What commenting system do you guys use? Why do you use this system? Can you think of any reasons not to love Disqus - I know I'm very biased! 
I love finding out more about each commenting system - so let me know! :) 


Keep reading and loving books!
Geraldine


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