Book Review: Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

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Plot: “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 Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners—one of the most popular novels of all time—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. Renowned literary critic and historian George Saintsbury in 1894 declared it the “most perfect, the most characteristic, the most eminently quintessential of its author’s works,” and Eudora Welty in the twentieth century described it as “irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.”
–penguinrandomhouse.com 

I started to write this already at the halfway mark of the book, so as to not forget any of my thoughts. I can tell you that I am going to pretend I am British for another week now (the same inevitably happens when I watch Downton Abbey). I had the best time working through Pride and Prejudice and can really not think of a time this year when I felt so content reading any book.

This is finally a successful attempt at reading Pride and Prejudice – the first time I picked it up I only managed to get through half of the book. I have no idea why, perhaps I just wasn’t as inclined as I was this time around. I watched Pride and Prejudice and Zombies AGAIN the other day, and I love the 2005 adaption of this novel with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFayden. The plot speaks to me on many levels – the unerring feminism of Elizabeth Bennet, the courage of Jane Austen to write about Elizabeth Bennet, the love story between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. I can tell you now that I find difficult people so much more appealing than the Mr. Bingleys of the world. Their loyalty is ultimately more rewarding and unyielding. Pride can be attractive in any person. Mr. Darcy is a difficult man, but truly appealing. It is fun to find a character that isn’t written in the typical hero fashion – he’s so ornery and stubborn and proud.

The differences between the movies and the original work are perhaps not significant but the book is naturally more illustrative to the characters. Mr. Wickham is even slimier than his onscreen presence shows, Mr. Collins is a phenomenal, pompous and amazingly irritating pain in the ass.  Mrs. Bennet is truly an embarrassment to her offspring. Her antics are mortifying and she has a cold disregard to Elizabeth that is not shown often in a film adaption. She never ceased her ambition to have her daughters favorably married. Whatever true care she felt for each of them was very much overshadowed by her need to see her daughters settled with men of high fortunes. It was embarrassing.

There is only one section that felt tiresome eventually. The section where Lydia runs of with Wickham is pivotal in the romance of Elizabeth and Darcy, but it really took an extraordinary amount of pages to get through. The conclusion of Pride and Prejudice is the most delightful British ending you can hope for. Feelings are expressed in the utmost British way – please tell me they are still like this! – and the overpowering sweetness of Darcy’s happiness when Elizabeth expresses her love and admiration is lovely. I really did enjoy how sweet he became eventually when he was around her, and that the strength of his feelings could make him do such introspection and radical personal change.

The theme of the book is clear the very descriptive title, but there are also themes of family, learning to look deeper into a person and not expressing yourself in anger – Elizabeth’s family had quite the shock when she professed to love the man she had been so against the majority of the time she’d known him.

Pride and Prejudice really isn’t a quick and easy read, and it takes time to get yourself acquainted with the author’s writing. It is high English, and it was a good exercise for me as a predominantly Afrikaans speaking person to read through it. You also really need to be in the mood to read this book, it isn’t going to be pleasing or successful if you want a fast read.

I am giving this a 9.5/10. It is a very high rating, yes, but I found it very deserving of the classic cult status and many adaptions it has gone through. I really enjoyed it so much! One of my favorite books this year!

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Book Review: Island of Glass (Nora Roberts)

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Book #3 in The Guardians trilogy

Plot:

The final Guardians Trilogy novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Bay of Sighs and Stars of Fortune.

As the hunt for the Star of Ice leads the six guardians to Ireland, Doyle, the immortal, must face his tragic past. Three centuries ago, he closed off his heart, yet his warrior spirit is still drawn to the wild. And there’s no one more familiar with the wild than Riley—and the wolf within her…

An archaeologist, Riley is no stranger to the coast of Clare, but now she finds herself on unsure footing, targeted by the dark goddess who wants more than the stars, more than the blood of the guardians. While searching through Irish history for clues that will lead them to the final star and the mysterious Island of Glass, Riley must fight her practical nature and admit her sudden attraction to Doyle is more than just a fling. For it is his strength that will sustain her and give her the power to run towards love—and save them all…

Rating: 8/10

Concluding the Guardian’s trilogy, Island of Glass was packed with drama and bravery and heroics. Did I like it? YES. This series swept me up and kept me entertained for the entire two weeks I read it in. It is rare nowadays for me to drop everything and push to get through three books in two weeks, but I had to know. Island of Glass focuses on the last two remaining characters that haven’t resolved their feels yet for each other (hey, this is still a Nora Roberts series). The immortal Doyle and the lycan Riley deal with their growing attraction for each other and the fact that Nerezza wants them all dead, and the stars in her possession.

The last book is similar to the first two in writing and execution. The end left me happy – I won’t give it away but everyone is given everything they would ever want. Riley remains my favorite female character with her academics and abrasive nature. Doyle and Riley make a perfect couple, and their road to each other was the best across the series. I really liked Doyle – cantankerous people are always better to read about than affable sweethearts. His outbursts and clear insight to what lies ahead made him valuable to their mission, and through all of that he showed that he still cared for the lot of them.

The ending of the book was slightly drawn out – catching the last star and then meeting the goddesses and then still having to defeat Nerezza. In my opinion the book would have been stronger if they had done all of that in one huge fight.

I’m likely to reread this series quite soon. I enjoyed it very much and is some of the better fantasy novels Nora Roberts has produced.

 

Book Review: Bay of Sighs (Nora Roberts)

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Book #2 in The Guardians trilogy

Plot:

THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The second novel in the Guardians Trilogy from the bestselling author of Stars of Fortune.

Mermaid Annika is from the sea, and it is there she must return after her quest to find the stars. New to this world, her purity and beauty are nothing less than breathtaking, along with her graceful athleticism, as her five new friends discovered when they retrieved the fire star.

Now, through space and time, traveler Sawyer King has brought the guardians to the island of Capri, where the water star is hidden. And as he watches Annika in her element, he finds himself drawn to her joyful spirit. But Sawyer knows that if he allows her into his heart, no compass could ever guide him back to solid ground…

And in the darkness, their enemy broods. She lost one star to the guardians, but there is still time for blood to be spilled—the mermaid’s in the water and the traveler’s on the land. For she has forged a dangerous new weapon. Something deadly and unpredictable. Something human.

Rating: 8/10

I wasn’t too excited for this part of the trilogy. Since she came in to the first novel, I thought Annika was a bit not all right in the head. I also couldn’t relate to her. I could relate to Sasha with all her stress levels and Riley as the brash academic, but this bubbly, sweet 2and excited mermaid just didn’t exhibit any signs of who I identify as.
I still don’t think she would have worked well as a standalone novel (whereas Sasha and Riley were both developed well enough to succeed at that) . Annika won’t be my favorite character of Nora Roberts anytime soon, but she managed to not irritate as much as I thought.

I still maintain that this is some of the freshest ideas Roberts has produced in ages. I enjoyed this book very much, maybe a bit less than the first, but really still very much. I liked Sawyer’s character; he seems like an affable adventurer, something which is always a plus in my book. His banter with Riley amused me to no end as it is a wealth of popular culture references.

Bay of Sighs also had some shocking moments – I mean, when in the history of ever has a Roberts character been captured and tortured? I was horrified and feared for both their safety. Malmon turns into something disgusting, his inner character shining finally showing on the outside. It was decidedly creepy and I wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of Nerezza, ever. Or even on her right side, now that I think of it.

Bay of Sighs progressed with the same easy rhythm as Stars of Fortune. Naturally we end up with idealistic relationship expectations everywhere and dashing scenes of courage and bravery. You guessed it, they find the second star and that makes their nemesis pissed. I also like how they hide the stars from Nerezza, it is ingenuity combined with powers from two characters.

Definitely worth a read if you read the first book/are a Roberts fan or like some fantasy mixed with your romance.

Book Review: Stars of Fortune (Nora Roberts)

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The Guardians Trilogy #1

Plot: From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts comes a trilogy about three couples who join together to create their own family and solve an ancient mystery through the powers of timeless love…
 
Sasha Riggs is a reclusive artist, haunted by dreams and nightmares that she turns into extraordinary paintings. Her visions lead her to the Greek island of Corfu, where five others have been lured to seek the legendary fire star, part of an ancient prophecy. Sasha recognizes them, because she has drawn them: a magician, an archaeologist, a wanderer, a fighter, a loner. All on a quest. All with secrets.

Sasha is the one who holds them together—the seer. And in the magician, Bran Killian, she sees a man of immense power and compassion. As Sasha struggles with her rare ability, Bran is there to support her, challenge her, and believe in her.

When a dark threat looms, the six must use their combined powers—including trust, unity, and love—to find the fire star and keep the world on course.

Rating: 7.5/10

For all my love of Nora Roberts her books generally follow the same route. She’s a good writer who thoroughly researches everything she writes about, but I’ve never really stumbled across a book of hers that felt like fresh air until Stars of Fortune. I avoided this series mainly because I so strongly disliked The Dark Witch series. I was sure that another venture into magic was a poor choice for Roberts. You know, because I speak with the authority of a gazillion New York Times bestselling author.

Hidden Treasures is the first of three books which covers the adventures of six people who are essentially strangers in the beginning. Each has a secret, and everyone is unwilling to share. Sasha is an artist who has flashes of the future. Her Seer qualities have led her to lead a reclusive life, and you can’t really blame all the boys for staying away from her as she can read emotions. She’s been having troubling dreams where she sees evil and alternatively a really hot man being her boooyffrrriieeend, and ends up deciding to go to Corfu because literary characters have a lot of money and also because of possibility of hot boyfriend (don’t blame her). She immediately meets Riley and Bran. Riley is a girl, as the name can be a bit confusing, and Bran is the loverboy she’s been dreaming about. They are both in the game of hiding shit from their new friend, and that promises later drama. The three decide to rent a place together to search for the three stars that was hidden centuries ago, because that is totally safe and believable. The three are soon joined by another three, which tidily brings it up to three boys and three girls each. Convenient AF, am I right?

So I’ll stop amusing myself and actually review now. I liked the book. It is original for Roberts although it still has some of her traditional plot devices in. She really spent some time developing each of the secret supernatural abilities each of the character possesses. The book is well structured and doesn’t lag. It was good enough that I’m now progressing to the second book, although I must admit of the three inevitable love stories that of Sawyer and Annika interests me in the least.

As for the two leading characters in Stars of Fortune, Sasha is continuously a wet blanket with a poor me attitude and a certainty that she’s beleaguered and weak and everyone hates her. Bran is a lot more fun and for reasons not clearly understood immediately attracted to Sasha. He’s pretty cool, he’s a sorcerer, and seems the most formidable of the team up to this point. Their fights with Nerezza is increasingly testing on the team, and their trust grows in each other as all secrets are revealed in due course. I’m rooting for all our characters, since Nora has never really killed anyone off, but still I will work through the series and sees what happen.

This series is a bit of a trick with recommendations – it certainly contains new mystique and an interesting supernatural element, but it is still Nora Roberts at the end of the day, so if you aren’t a fan of her usual work I’m not sure if you’d even enjoy this. But I sure did!

Book Review: After You (JoJoMoyes) – CONTAINS SPOILERS –

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Plot: How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future…

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

Rating: 8/10

The events of After You take place after Will Traynor’s assisted suicide in Me Before You. Louisa Clark, his handler and eventual love interest, is dealing with the aftermath of his death. Society is no different than usual and judges her for her actions, thinking that she benefited from his death and perhaps should have done more to have stopped him. But they aren’t on ground zero with Louisa. They don’t know how hard she finds it to cope and to live to up to the expectations she can feel from beyond Will’s grave to live an extraordinary life. An accident makes her parents wonder whether she was planning to commit suicide as well, and despite her best assurances she still attends a support group for bereaved people to ease her parents’ mind. Slowly, life starts to normalize and even look more positive, but the appearance of someone who she thought impossible usurps her life once again. Can she fix herself one more time? Move on from Will?

On the new character front Sam appears, and I can now list him as a book boyfriend. I loved him. I knew from the get go that this couldn’t be the guy Jake was referring to. I knew somehow somewhere there was a gap in communication, and serve Louisa right for thinking the worst. Sam was decent, trustworthy, dependable, really hot and not without scars. Someone perfectly whole wouldn’t have been a good choice for Lou. She’s seen too much and gone through a lot of heartbreak. I was ready to write all the angry letters to JoJoMoyes during the last few chapters in the book, but it would have been for nothing as the end result really pleased me.

The biggest shocker of the book is the existence of Lily, Will’s daughter. I immediately pitied Lily. Her mother was clearly horrible at parenting, she had no foundation and everything she needed to turn into a stable kid was removed at her mother’s whim. Discovering that she had a father that became quadriplegic and chose to end his own life couldn’t have been a joy, and realizing that the family he left behind was neither whole nor perfect sure was a shocker too. I called most of the eventual developments on this character, but that doesn’t mean that I am not happy she ended up with Mrs. Traynor. They both needed something to get them through life, and they are perfect to depend on each other.

Lou’s family is still a driving force in her life. Her brilliant sister, saddled with a young boy so early. Her mother discovering her feminism and her father’s objection to it causes some hilarity but is also a reminder of how life must look for women who spent their entire lives looking after their children. I really liked that these characters remained in the book as it was such a central part to Lou’s character.

I really liked the pace and development of each character. After You certainly is more conventionally romance than Me Before You was. I was reminded of how I thought Marian Keyes would be if she chose to write about normal things. JoJoMoyes has the ability to get you unhealthily involved. I was so stressed about every character in that book. Her support characters are as well developed as her main characters, and she writes them with empathy and humor. You can’t help root as hard for Lou’s mother who is refusing to shave her legs as you are rooting for Lou, worry about Jake, think about Donna and most of all, wonder about the wellbeing of the Traynor family.

I was a huge fan of this book. It made me sad when it ended. I would have loved a third instalment. I checked but I seem to be unlucky in that regard. I recommend naturally that you read the first novel first (the movie doesn’t do it justice) and then read this one. Both are compelling reads that will touch your heart.

PS: Can I please have a Sam?

Book Review: The Power Of Six (Pittacus Lore)

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The Lorien Legacies #2

Plot:

I’ve seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he’s a mystery. But to me . . . he’s one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We’re hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we’ll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I’ve been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.

And I’m ready to fight.

Rating: 7/10

Before I start this review I have to say that I am really pleased that I am reading new books this year. I’m really a problem child when it comes to reading new books. I love to read my favorite novels on a loop, and while that isn’t an unforgivable crime, it certainly limits the amount of literature you get exposed to.

The Power of Six is the second book in the Lorien Legacies, which co-written by James Frey and Jobie Hughes. I noticed and appreciated that it doesn’t have that thing where the book doesn’t make sense because it received input from too many people. The pacing of the books are good, the content interesting and quite unique in the overpopulated genre where people most often than not “borrow” a few ideas. The characters aren’t as annoying as one might expect teenager characters to be, and the books lack melodrama.

The Power of Six introduces Marina, who is the Sixth Garde that was sent down to earth in a hope to preserve the Lorien race after an attack by the Mogadorians. Her Cepan, Maria, has lost all courage and is content to live in a quiet nunnery in Spain. This results in Marina not being trained or informed properly by her Cepan of her heritage, and she becomes increasingly desperate to escape. Her Legacies are also developing and she has trouble hiding them all the time. A little bit of light at the end of the tunnel occurs when she meets Ella, an orphan who quickly becomes a form of a confidante.

Meanwhile Four, Sam, Seven and Bernie Kosar is still on the run from the FBI after the destruction of their high school in Paradise. Here an irritating little love triangle develops and Four starts to pay more attention to Seven than which would be appropriate considering his good friend likes her and he is already in a relationship. It is a part of the story I really didn’t find enjoyable. I’d really hoped that they would omit love triangles, but I guess that is too much to ask.

For the girls here, I like Seven’s proactive attitude but I do not appreciate her playing with the emotions of both boys. Marina has amazing powers and I thoroughly enjoyed that, but she had a bit of an apathetic attitude that got grating quickly. Ella has to be mentioned because (spoiler): she is number 10. Her gift is by far the most impressive thus far.

The boys: Four (or John Smith) is a pretty cool character and I enjoy him, though he can be too impulsive and selfish at times. I am a huge fan of Sam and he does great work representing the human race. The later inclusion of Number 9 was unexpected but decent too, and I think the next book, which focuses primarily on him if I look just at the title.

A real problem I had with the book is the constant switching between characters without any indication except a font change. It happened more than once that I was confused about why everything was different. I also feel that the fighting scenes really get out of hand. It takes pages to resolve something and I get bored at the third strange animal attacking a character. Ugh.

Overall I enjoyed The Power Of Six. The different Legacies keep me quite entertained, they are really ingenious and fun! I hope the third book continues to interest me. They are fast paced novels that aren’t too intense. I’m planning to get to book three after I finish my current book, so you’ll definitely end up knowing what I thought of it!

Have you read the The Power of Six? Tell me all about it!

Book Review: Chasing Harry Winston (Lauren Weisberger)

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Plot: Meet Emmy, Leigh, and Adriana. Best friends since college, each has seen her share of career foils and romantic foibles over the past decade. Now, as they approach thirty, they’re looking toward their future…but despite all the success and luxuries they’ve attained—they’re not quite sure they like what they see.

When they are each alone for one reason or another on Valentine’s Day, the trio makes a pact. Within one year, each woman will change the thing that most challenges her. For Emmy, whose boyfriend of five years just left her for a personal trainer, it will be to find romance—or a fling—in every foreign country she visits. For Leigh, a book editor with a dream boyfriend and dream apartment, no change seems necessary—until she starts to notice a brilliant and brooding man named Jesse. And for commitment-phobic, drop-dead-gorgeous Adriana, her goal is to have an engagement ring and a house in Scarsdale. Each woman starts the first day of the year with the best of intentions—which is exactly why the pact goes immediately, and exceptionally, awry.

Filled with delicious insider details, Chasing Harry Winston whisks readers into the heart of an elite world, where friendships will be tested to the point of breaking, and showcases Weisberger’s best storytelling efforts to date

Rating: 5/10

This had to be one of the most grating books I’ve ever read. If you don’t remember, I felt like the other novel of Weisberger (The Devil Wears Prada) was essentially full of white girl problems where the character felt she was being treated badly because work was tough and people didn’t automatically just like, like her. While Chasing Harry Winston doesn’t directly deal with Privileged College children that expect stellar treatment everywhere they go in life, it deals once again with the type of people I suspect the author knows and understands way too well because she is one of them. Emma, Leigh and Adriana are all three insufferable for legion of reasons. Adriana was the worst of the three – a privileged trust fund baby that hasn’t had to work for anything in her life, which is spoiled and is weak of character and completely lacking of morals. I rarely consider myself a prude, but with the amount of men Adriana has slept with she seems to be the ambassador for the local brothel. I found her way too annoying – her constant attention seeking, her sleeping around and her lack of any direction was just too much in one character to deal with. I felt that the character was written in a way to represent Sofia Vergara’s character on Modern Family – anyone share that notion?

Emma was more frustrating than she was intolerable. She’s just one of those women who are so stuck on relationships becoming married that she’s a shadow being without any real personality and that makes me furious. I appreciated that she took note of the fact that she should immediately think marriage when meeting a man, but it was extremely ridiculous that she felt ashamed with only sleeping with three men in her life – again, I must be a prude here to dare think that three sexual partners are sufficient (a bit more than).

Leigh was probably the character I identified the most with – she’s so happy to just be by herself and constantly worrying whether it is a crime, and living a stress ridden life that most people think is perfect but is actually just a lot of managing crises after crisis. Although, she really should have dumped Russell’s ass early on – while he seems to be a nice man he’s obviously a walkover and not the man for her. I’ve been where she was – in a relationship because everyone wanted her to be in one, which is about as healthy to your mental well being as tuberculosis is to your physical well being.

Something that made me see red was the constant use of the “dear” and “sweetheart” –I use “dear” only to friends when I’m being a little sarcastic and really only in emails in work where I am forced to be polite. These three characters? DEAR DEARDEAR SWEETHEART. Every conversation contains these endearments and really, who even addresses people they know like that? What is wrong with you?

This book lacks originality – the story has been used ten million times and nothing new – people who need to change: one woman is too commitment heavy, the other too commitment phobic and the last is seemingly perfect but really not. This is a standard story for any half-baked author who wants to push chicklit onto the market and if you’ve read it once, you’ve read it a hundred times.

The ending very slightly redeemed the book. It wasn’t an original ending by any means– like I said, if you read it once, you’ve read it a hundred times. Everyone ends up being more themselves than they were, more accepting of their own worth and heading forwards into life. Emma discovers that she can truly walk away, Leigh finds the courage to do something that she should have done ages ago and Adriana finally gets a job. It’s worth something that Adriana didn’t end up marrying Toby, but gosh, still one of the most disgusting characters I’ve read about in a while.

I was obviously riled enough at this book to write this entire review out, so there’s something. The print was also exceptionally tiny on my copy – so the book was actually quite long. However, reading it went quick, so I can probably mention one thing good that it is a fast paced read. Anyway, it was an exceptional waste of time. Have you read it? What did you think?

Book Review: The Dressmaker (Kate Alcott)

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Plot: Just in time for the centennial anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic comes a vivid, romantic, and relentlessly compelling historical novel about a spirited young woman who survives the disaster only to find herself embroiled in the media frenzy left in the wake of the tragedy.

Tess, an aspiring seamstress, thinks she’s had an incredibly lucky break when she is hired by famous designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon to be a personal maid on the Titanic’s doomed voyage. Once on board, Tess catches the eye of two men, one a roughly-hewn but kind sailor and the other an enigmatic Chicago millionaire. But on the fourth night, disaster strikes.

Amidst the chaos and desperate urging of two very different suitors, Tess is one of the last people allowed on a lifeboat. Tess’s sailor also manages to survive unharmed, witness to Lady Duff Gordon’s questionable actions during the tragedy. Others—including the gallant Midwestern tycoon—are not so lucky.

On dry land, rumors about the survivors begin to circulate, and Lady Duff Gordon quickly becomes the subject of media scorn and later, the hearings on the Titanic. Set against a historical tragedy but told from a completely fresh angle, The Dressmaker is an atmospheric delight filled with all the period’s glitz and glamour, all the raw feelings of a national tragedy and all the contradictory emotions of young love

Rating: 7.5/10

The Dressmaker focuses on the following issues: The sinking of the Titanic and the grand ineptitude that lead to it and the disaster that unfollowed; the true nature of the human beings on board that couldn’t help but be exposed while faced with such horrific events, the aftermath of the sinking of the ship, the suffragette movement (briefly); the class system that was so debilitating to the lower class and a love triangle for the main heroine.

Is it too much to address in one book? I didn’t think so. I had a great deal of fun with this book. It’s well written and the main character is endearing. I liked Tess enormously – she was determined to be something and work hard for it. She didn’t expect any favors, she just wanted a chance. Lucille and Cosmo were the most disgusting examples of privilege in this book – even though Lucille seemed to have some redeeming qualities a few times, she was haughty, overly privileged and cruel. Cosmo seemed like the lesser evil, but obviously he was just as pompous and power hungry as his spouse. I also really liked Jim Bonney – he was pure and honest and hardworking. Jack Bremerton was an interesting character, one who I thought would turn out devious but never really transformed into anything like that.

What I really liked was an insight to how people dealt with being in full survival mode on top of an “unsinkable” ship. I’ve always wondered, and assuming that everyone would act like Jack Dawson / Rose is naïve – fear makes people reveal their true core nature. Most people acted cowardly, and I’m not really sure we are allowed to blame them, not having been in that situation and witnessing what they have witnessed.

I also really loved the character development of Tess Collins – her character sets out as this naïve and determined girl who somehow still believes that the upper class will end up treating her well because she has some talent. Everything that held her stable is destroyed with the witnessing of the Titanic disaster, the following aftermath and the less reputable actions of her Madame both onboard and on mainland.

The end of the book concluded nicely, with Tess realizing what was important and making decisive moves that meant she could live with her choices. I might also add for those worried that there really isn’t any melodrama involved, both with the love triangle or any other part of the story. It is simply a nice read that asks important questions in an unimposing way, and I stupendously glad I read this novel.

December 2016: Watched, Read, Loved

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Happy 2017 everyone! I pretty much disappeared from the blog in December. I needed a break. I often am way too harsh on myself about blogging – wanting desperately to post five times a week. It is important to remind myself though that blogging is supposed to be fun and for times where I actually have the time. So I gave it a bit of a break and I am back feeling all refreshed!

It was also quite a sad December globally with the deaths of George Michael and Carrie Fisher. It seemed like 2016 kept knocking everyone down and I am really glad it ended. Let’s hope for a peaceful and fantastic 2017.

Series Watched:

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Vampire Diaries Season 5: I am currently stalling with this season. It is a pretty rotten season and by far the worst of all the seasons so far. I need to finish it up but definitely not feeling all the bullshit of the season.

Alias season 1 and 2: EEK! I am having so much fun! It is so much fun! I can’t wait to review this.

Movies Watched:

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Rogue One: A Star Wars movie. It was good, great excitement and all. I did like The Force Awakens better though.

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Memento: This was my second last blindspot for 2016. It is mind tingling and interesting, well directed and acted. Definitely worthy of watching, despite me taking ages to get it done!

Annie: I put this on for my mother to watch. It was okay – very singy and full of children but not overly offensive. It’s definitely a film that parents can watch with their children without wanting to cry because it is so boring.

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Twilight: I had such a weak moment! Want to review them all at some stage again.

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Scream 1, 2 and 3: this was so much fun. I’m planning to do the fourth one soon. Great entertainment!

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A Nightmare on Elm Street: Same here. I am having way too much fun with these old school thrillers.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:  second time watching this and I loved it way too much.

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The DUFF: I am racking up the watches on this film. I showed it to my mom and my bestie on separate occasions and they both really enjoyed it. Why so much hate against this film? I know it is completely different from the book, but the additions worked really well.

The Departed: The Departed is a film my bestie has told me to watch or be disowned. So I watched it with her just to make sure she had the evidence and everything 😀 did I like it? Yeah. Excellent performances and directing all around. I got a bit exhausted with the length of it, and that is about the only thing I didn’t like.

Me Before You (2016): after reading the thought provoking book I was quite amped for the film. I pushed it back when the reviews didn’t garner the most promising reviews I pushed it back. Bestie and I watched it on our visit, and it was okay. Not really bad, but Me Before You doesn’t carry as much emotional baggage as the book does.

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Cruel Intentions: What a deranged film. I enjoyed it, but wow, deranged. Not something to watch with your parents, if you weren’t already aware.

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Ocean’s Eleven:  I really liked this! Heist films done right is a treat for the soul man. Clooney and Pitt together? There can’t be a better idea out there.

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Seven:  I got to see a young Brad Pitt as the excitable and young cop and Morgan Freeman as the intelligent, calm cop. It’s quite dark and deals with a demented serial killer. It had a dark and depressing atmosphere.

Books Read:

Dawson’s Creek – this is a compilation of short stories based on the series. I’d love to watch the series at some stage, but the book isn’t worth reviewing.

The Collaborator – Margaret Leroy – I can’t wait to post this! I really loved the book, and was so unhappy when I finished it.

The Martian – Andy Weir. The Martian was my favorite film of 2015, and I really wanted to get my hands on the novel. However, I’m struggling at this stage to get through it as it contains some unnecessary jargon in my opinion.

What were you up to in December? Tell me!

Book Review: From Dead to Worse (Charlaine Harris)

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Book #8 in the Southern Vampire Mysteries Chronicles

What I liked:

There were some stories that hopefully came to a close, and I was thankful for that. Alcide becoming packmaster was finally one of them. At this stage you need a large dose of being able to deal with a lot of fantasy, because the were war and Sam turning into a lion was quite a lot to handle. I also liked that Eric got his memory back to the time he spent in Sookie’s house, and hopefully they will get together some time soon.

Some of my favorite characters were included a bit more. Sam definitely springs to mind, as I really like him. I don’t I think that he and Sookie would work out, but he is an enjoyable, affable guy without too many chips on his shoulders, completely unlike the other supernatural creatures. We also had some more Eric. Reading the novels just proves what an excellent casting Alexander Skarsgard was for this character – the look and the attitude is spot on, and I honestly can’t think of anyone else who would have been a better fit.

The characters I appreciate less – especially Bill and Sophie-Anne, were featured very little or not at all. Bill really only had a few pages where he showed remorse and wanted Sookie back etc. etc. Sophie finally met her end, and I was really not that sorry to bid her farewell.

I was also really happy when they turned Bob back to his human form. That was stupid to the ninth degree, and I am glad it’s done. I’m fine with Amanda as a character, but this part was way too grating.

What I didn’t like:

The story escalates in incredibility and preposterous some more. I think the worst is Sookie being 1/8 fairy, and the inclusion of her grandfather Niall. There really isn’t a need for more supernatural beings at this point, and it is getting tiring to read about it.

The conclusion with Quinn – I thought he was a good character and thought he was both human and supernatural enough to deal with Sookie and all her shit. She basically ends up dumping him because he has family problems, and that is a really mean thing to do.

Jason and Crystal have to be two of the most boring and grating characters in these books. Hotshot was always a strange decision to include, and I hoped that after Sookie turned down Calvin Norris they would move on to better things. However, it was just another case of Poor-Sookie-needs-to-get-involved, and it was exhausting. The whole crushing of fingers business added some more stupidity – it was marketed as this dangerous treatment and ended up as a mild joke considering the Panthers heal so fast.

Sookie saving everyone – at the Were war, Eric and Sam and the New King, taking Octavia in, breaking Calvin’s fingers. Man, this girl loves the drama too much.

Rating: 7/10

From Dead to Worse was a much more enjoyable read than the previous book in the series. I generally liked everything more and getting to read about some of my favorite characters a bit more cheered me right up. I thought the idea of Niall and fairies are still an impressive waste of my time, and hope they disappear in the next book!