Monday, December 5, 2016

Book Review: How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are by Anne Berest


What the book is about:
This witty self-help book documents the traits that make a Parisian truly Parisian. From Parisienne etiquette to effortless style and beauty, it uncovers the grand enigma that is the classic French woman.

My rating:
4 out of 5 stars.

Review:
This was a fun and quick read, one I took great delight in reading. The humor was definitely unique to the author, whom I could tell was well aquainted with what it means to be "Parisian." Ultimately, what I learned from this novel is that Parisian is not simply a culture, but a lifestyle. I bought this book because I was interested in learning more about the popular "French chic" that so many women wish to attain. What exactly is it that gives those Parisiennes their casual and cool aura? I expected to read a practical How-To Guide, but was instead surprised with a hilarious documentation of anecdotes and clever lines that left me laughing out loud. I thought this book to be very clever and well-written, and I admire the artistic elements like the different fonts and beautiful photography collectively added to create the pleasing aesthetic. The visuals were lovely and wonderfully compositioned. I highly recommend this book if you, like me, are interested in learning about the Parisian lifestyle.
 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August 2016 Wrap-Up!



1. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: 4.75/5 stars
Synopsis: If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he's not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan's secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake.


2. Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat
Rating: 4/5 stars 
Synopsis: Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos. But when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative, and deadly, his new master, Prince Laurent, epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else…


3. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Rating: 4/5 stars
Synopsis: Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who's "saying" the stories. In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits and money. "To despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable." Forty years later the stories and history continue.With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters. As each woman reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined. Mothers boast or despair over daughters, and daughters roll their eyes even as they feel the inextricable tightening of their matriarchal ties. Tan is an astute storyteller, enticing readers to immerse themselves into these lives of complexity and mystery.


4. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Rating: 5/5 stars
Synopsis: First published in 1813, "Pride and Prejudice," Jane Austen's witty comedy of manners - one of the most popular novels of all time - tells the story of Mr and Mrs Bennet's five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr Bingley and his status-conscious friend, Mr Darcy, have moved into their neighbourhood. "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." So begins the novel, that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues.


5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Rating: 5/5 stars
Synopsis: It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.


What were your favorite reads this month?

 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

In Honor of National Book Lover's Day...

"We live and breath words. ... It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them." — Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince


Ever since I was child, books have been my most loyal companions. They, unlike many other friends in the past, have remained by my side through thick and thin. They have been there for me at my worst and at my best. I have lived vicariously through the lives of hundreds of fictional characters and their stories, relishing in the wonder of it all.

These characters—their journeys, their hopes, their most fervent desires—are instilled into my own very heart, and collectively form a single person: That person is myself. I am those characters (both heroins and villains). I am every story I have ever read. I am those fantastical kingdoms, villages, worlds.

There is nothing quite like reading a novel. They are a gift from the minds of some of the most brilliant human beings on this earth. They are an escape route from the mundanity of reality. They provide relief, consolation, truth, and insight.

My passion for books—for the written word—is unlike anything I have felt before. I know indeed, that if it were not for books, I would not be who I am now. Literature is something that I crave incessantly; I can never get enough of it, nor do I think I ever will. It is, one of the greatest innovations that ever occurred to mankind. It has transformed me, and I will forever be thankful.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Book Review: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, Book #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Dream Thieves
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Paranormal; fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 437
My rating: 4.5/5



Synopsis: 
If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take? Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself. One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams. And sometimes he's not the only one who wants those things.Ronan is one of the raven boys - a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan's secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface - changing everything in its wake.


Review:
Enchanting, enigmatic, and engaging are the three words I would use to describe the second installment of Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Cycle. The first book was great, but this book was amazing. Stiefvater's exceptional writing had me hooked from cover to cover. I could not put this book down. I spent every moment I could immersed in this masterpiece and fascinated by the characters, the world, and all the anomalous happenings that went on. Just like Blue, I found myself in love with each and every one of the raven boys in their own beautiful and unique way. The characterization was flawless--each role was so well-rounded and perfectly portrayed that I could not help but identify with all of them. I feel like I had a little bit of everyone in me. I loved this book to pieces. I would highly recommend this series to anyone and everyone, as it is one of the most fantastic and gripping series I have read, and it seems that each book just gets better and better.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

July Wrap Up 2016

The truth that summer break is almost over is quite heartbreaking. I only have one month left to completely immerse myself in all the books I want to read and take as many photos of books as my phone can handle. Just one month, which is not nearly enough. (Nothing is never really enough, is it?) 

I read four books in the month of July and I can't wait to see what amazing books I'll read in August. Something I guess you should know about me is that I don't quite enjoy making monthly TBRs just because I don't like restricting myself to a certain list of books. 

Anyhow, here is my monthly wrap up! What did you read in the month of July?

1. Emma by Alexander McCall Smith
Rating: 3/5

2. Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
Rating: 3/5

3. The Yoga of Max's Discontent by Karan Bajaj
Rating: 4/5

4. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: 5/5 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Book Review: The Yoga of Max's Discontent by Karan Bajaj

Title: The Yoga of Max's Discontent
Author: Karan Bajaj
Published: 2016
Pages: 336
My rating: 4/5




Brief synopsis: Max, a man who is living the American Dream, finds himself discontented at heart and begins to ponder over questions about suffering and mortality that have bothered him since his mother's recent death. He one day makes the spontaneous decision to go to India and continue his search for nirvana & transcendence under the tutelage of a Yogi, where he undergoes a total inner transformation that changes his life. 

Review: I remember closing this novel after I had first finished and having to take a few minutes to contemplate what I had just read. This book was wonderful--wonderfully written, wonderfully told. Max's journey as he seeks enlightenment was both captivating and inspiring. Living in a society where everything is quite rushed and overwhelming, I could not help but deeply relate to Max's disillusionment and desire to find that *something more.* This book's pacing was perfect--I am being completely honest when I say I flew through this story; it's definitely a page turner. The principles discussed in this book concerning our place in this universe and who we really are, was interesting. Although I did not agree with all the perspectives and values portrayed, I still enjoyed it and appreciate its thought provoking ideals. Not to mention that mind-boggling ending.

**Disclaimer: I was sent this novel in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my thoughts on the novel; all opinions are entirely my own.

Monday, July 25, 2016

My Top 5 Favorite Books of 2016 (so far)



Wow, time flies. I can't believe that we are already more than half way through the year. (Although, I don't mind because that just means we're closer to Autumn and Winter and everything cozy.)

I have read a total thirty books so far, and I must say that most of my reads have been quite pleasant. Choosing my top five was not as difficult as I worried it would be, however, since these five are quite undeniably amazing.