October 18, 2012

Review: A Moveable Feast

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

About: Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway’s most enduring works. Since Hemingway’s personal papers were released in 1979, scholars have examined the changes made to the text before publication. Now, this special restored edition presents the original manuscript as the author prepared it to be published. 

Widely celebrated and debated by critics and readers everywhere, the restored edition of A Moveable Feast brilliantly evokes the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the unbridled creativity and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized. (from amazon.com)

Review: I have to begin by saying a few things. 
1) I received this book from an amazing friend who recommended it and I fell completely inlove with it. 
2) Paris + the 1920's = two of my favourite things.

I started this book while still reading A Storm of Swords so it took be a bit longer than it should have but it made for a much more enjoyable book, being able to devote all my book attention to it. I enjoy reading the way Hemingway writes. You feel like you sat down beside him and seeing exactly what he sees in every person, place or emotion. The story starts out with Hemingway in Paris, after leaving his writing job in Toronto. He writes, and he writes well. He writes about writers in Paris and important and unimportant people in his life, that yet still seem important in some way, even if Hemingway didn't especially like them. I loved the part where they were in Paris, him and his wife and sometimes Bumby (his son) just enjoying it. Even though they didn't have much money. When he talks about Hemingway it put a little damper on the way I saw Fitzgerald. But it was so interesting how he was. You got a glimpse of him through Hemingway's eyes. I'd be interested to see if Fitzgerald  wrote what he thought about Hemingway. The book ends with Hemingway in the Apls with his family. There was one part I was particularly sad about when he wrote about him taking a mistress. It was so subtle and so quick. It was almost as if she felt he needed to put it in but really didn't want to. I took a lot from this book in personal ways, it was an amazing book. Something I will read and re-read again and again.

October 10, 2012

Review: A Storm of Sword

A Storm of Sword by George R. R. Martin
About: Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King’s Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. . . .

But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others--a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords. . . (From amazon.com)

Review: I honestly don't know where to begin. I could rant and rave about Martin's epic books, amazing characters, thrilling story lines, enigmatic writing, and I could, but I wont. Like the first two books, every chapter is gripping and exciting, leaving you thirsty for more.  I am just in awe of this series and still have two other books to finish. And these books are not thin by any means. A lot, and I mean A LOT happens in this book, I just, I just can't even put it into words without giving everything away. But I will say this, if you have not picked up the Ice and Fire series, do so now, because 'Winter is Coming'.

August 14, 2012

Review: The Family Fang

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

About: Annie and Buster Fang have spent most of their adult lives trying to distance themselves from their famous artist parents, Caleb and Camille. But when a bad economy and a few bad personal decisions converge, the two siblings have nowhere to turn but their family home. Reunited under one roof for the first time in more than a decade and surrounded by the souvenirs of their unusual upbringing, Buster and Annie are forced to confront not only their creatively ambitious parents, but the chaos and confusion of their childhood. 

Review: I started out reading the first chapter of this book in Barnes & Noble and immediately wanted to read more. This usually deciphers which books I buy compared to those I borrow from the library. So I bought it. I literally finished the book earlier today, although I didn't want it to. I could have read about the Fangs lives for another 20 years. The book basically bounces back between the present day lives of the Fang children, Annie (Child A) and Buster (Child B). The chapters vary between Annie, who is an actress and Buster who is a failed writer. Then it goes to different art shows their parents put on, which entails then going into a public space, doing something extreme from proposing, stealing, or even setting things on fire. The Fang's film their art and star in their shows. Caleb and Camille Fang believe their children are apart of their art where as their children discover that it actually ruined their childhood. I loved the characters, each and everyone. I enjoyed the way Wilson wrote the characters the way their family was connected, their personalities or the little quirks they have. Events happen and eventually the Fang children are able to move past their parents and live for themselves. Kevin Wilson is amazing writer and really develops each character to a real life person. I left so involved in the story and Annie and Buster I just didn't want it to end! It is a great light hearted comedic book, great for anyone really. So go check it out!

Review: A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

A Song of Ice and Fire series have been extremely popular since they were made into a HBO tv show, Game of Thrones. Which is amazing you need to see it if you haven't yet. I have read the first two books in the so far five book series. So here are the reviews.

A Game of Thrones (Book 1) by George R. R. Martin

About: Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones. (from amazon.com)

Review: I read this book after I had watched the HBO version, which luckily is almost exactly the same. It was a bit hard to follow but since I had faces and names to the characters it made watching the show, and reading the book, really easy. Martin's writing is amazing. Every sentence just oozes off the pages with descriptive awesomeness. I feel like i got to know the characters better as well. The book starts off beyond The Wall and takes you all around The North and South, following different characters, their stories and the ways they became king or want to be king. The book has a Lord of the Rings meets medieval type of feel. With a very realistic yet mystical style. Out of all the many characters, Arya is still my favourite. She is amazing in the books and pretty cool in the tv show. There is a lot for everyone if these books and I just absolutely love everything about them.

A Clash of Kings (Book 2) by George R. R. Martin

About: In this thrilling sequel to A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin has created a work of unsurpassed vision, power, and imagination. A Clash of Kings transports us to a world of revelry and revenge, wizardry and warfare unlike any we have ever experienced.

A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel . . . and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles. (from amazon.com)

Review: The 'About' pretty much says it all. Its the second book and just as amazing. Everyone is fighting for the crown after King Robert has died. Both the Baratheon brothers are wanting to be King, along with Joffrey, Robert's 'son' (actually Jamie Lanister's son with his sister...You should just read the books, they are amazing). A lot of stuff happens, people die, people fight, make love, are awesome, basically you can like someone good or bad, there really isn't a line. All the characters grow a lot and the plot thickens. If you've seen the HBO show then you'll find out a few things that happen in book 3 (which I am reading now). Basically if you've seen the show, or not, you should read these amazing, fantastical books.

August 9, 2012

It's Been Awhile

I feel like it has been forever since I've posted anything on this blog...maybe because its been about four months...Any who, despite all that, I have moved to wonderful San Francisco and I have still been reading so get ready for some awesome reviews! Check back often, this blog will go under some make overs!

April 14, 2012

Review: Casino Royale

Casino Royale by Ian Flemming 

About: In the first of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, 007 declares war on Le Chiffre, French communist and paymaster of the Soviet murder organization SMERSH.

The battle begins with a fifty-million-franc game of baccarat, gains momentum during Bond's fiery love affair with a sensuous lady spy, and reaches a chilling climax with fiendish torture at the hands of a master sadist. For incredible suspense, unexpected thrills, and extraordinary danger, nothing can beat James Bond in his inaugural adventure. (from amazon.com)

Review: Bond is one of those classic characters you just love. To be honest I've never really watched any of the older Bond films with Pierce Brosnan or Sean Connery. But the idea of reading the Bond series intrigued me. After reading that one of my favourite bloggers Foxtrot Echo November aka Fen was reading them and was really enjoying them, I thought I'd give them a try, and I did. Bond was more realistic in the book. He was this suave handsome British guy who did get the ladies but she wasn't as 'invincible' as they make it out to be in the movies. I did enjoy reading about how he analyzed situations and the way Ian Flemming set a good scene. The book was similar to the recent Daniel Craig version of Casino Royal. With the secret lady, American CIA, Le Chiffre, the infamous card game. Along with the Bond character I did like the leading lady as well. I've already purchased the second book while in Kitchener, Ontario while I was in Canada. Now I can't wait to see where Bond heads next, and his new leading lady.

January 24, 2012

Review: Closer

Closer by Patrick Marber
About: The play focuses on the complex relationships, politics and morality of four people trading partners in search of love and lust. It uniquely blends elements of tragedy, comedy, and melodrama and challenges audience perceptions at every turn. Marber turns upside down romantic notions of love and sex uniting two people as one and pointedly challenges the idealistic notion that total honesty is the best way to preserve a relationship. As the four characters move in and out of relationships and expose their individual bleak takes on those relationships, the audience sees their self-delusions and their futile journey to find what they really desire in life. Marber's writing is noted for rapid dialogue with a staccato rhythm and intense exchanges that are at times abrasive and explicit in nature and are infused throughout with dark humor. (from amazon.com)

Review: I got this book from a second hand store for $0.75. I saw the cover and immediately remembered the movie with Natalie Portman, Julie Roberts, Jude Law and Clive Owen so I thought this book would be interesting. Once I opened up the book I realized it was a play, which was a change since I haven't read a play since Shakespeare in high school. I feel like a flew through the book since it was short sentences with only dialogue, but I found the book intriguing. It jumps around a lot from one year, to a month to the next day. Its about four peoples relationships and how they were intertwined sexually and emotionally. It was a quick read but I found it very realistic. These people's lives and how each relationship changed each person in different ways. I didn't particularly like any character, nor did I dislike them. It was more of an observation of their lives than a judgement of their character. I was going to wait till I saw the movie to do a comparison but its hard enough finding time to read these days. Hopefully you'll pick up the book or see the film.

December 13, 2011

Review: The Martian Chronicles

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
About: Leaving behind a world on the brink of destruction, man came to the Red planet and found the Martians waiting, dreamlike. Seeking the promise of a new beginning, man brought with him his oldest fears and his deepest desires. Man conquered Mars—and in that instant, Mars conquered him. The strange new world with its ancient, dying race and vast, red-gold deserts cast a spell on him, settled into his dreams, and changed him forever. Here are the captivating chronicles of man and Mars—the modern classic by the peerless Ray Bradbury. (from goodreads.com)

Review: I really enjoy the way Bradbury writes, in this book he gives everything a sense of life. A gust of wind, the empty cities, the Martian skies, even a hotdog stand. The books starts out with a rocket leaving Ohio and then turns to beautiful golden martians living in a peaceful land. The wife, Ylla, of the martians has a dream about a rocket coming to Mars and a man speaking to her and saying he's from Earth. Basically this is all we hear of this story, besides a few references to the expedition actually happening, the story never comes back to these martians after the first few chapters. The book starts to get interesting when humans come to Mars, expecting to be greeting and congratulated when really the Martians could care less. People die, Americans do what they do best with any new civilization, ruin it, and Mars becomes a second Earth with grocery stores, neighbourhoods, luggage stores and anything else you can think of that would make this pristine red land that was once beautiful, ugly. Each chapter is a different year. Starting off in 1999 when the first rocket leaves to Mars, skipping to 2001, 2005 and jumping to 2026. Each year also follows someone new, either on Mars or Earth. I had a hard time with this, only because some of the chapters I really started liking the character. On the third rocket to Mars, there was a man named Spender, he was my favourite character. When he arrived all the Martians had died away, he understood what humans would do to Mars. That they would rename everything to make it sound like Earth, the memories of the Martians would be swept away. So what happens? The crew doesn't like him, he runs away and dies. The one person I liked dies. And from then on the stories began to bother me. The people, the way they treated Mars and called things New New York and New Texas. Another thing I had a hard time with was the years. I know I know, I understand the book was published in 1946 so obviously this was before 1999, but it was hard reading it and realizing how much things haven't changed compared to the book and how some things have. In one instance there is a man who still owns slaves in 2004...ya. And how in 2006 our houses basically do everything themselves, cook breakfast, clean, read us poems, if only we had advanced in such ways...other than that I did enjoy the book. I always enjoy Bradbury's narrative and descriptions, he had me emotionally attached to a burnt white house, still trying to live once it's family had vanished. Eventually Earth begins a massive war and basically destroys itself. All the people from Earth leave Mars to go back home except for a few. But in the end a family returns to Mars leaving Earth and it's dying existence behind. I liked the way the book began and how it ended but I had a hard time getting through some of the middle. If you enjoy Ray Bradbury, I wouldn't recommend this one first. Try out The Halloween Tree, Something Wicked This Way Comes or one of my next re-reads, Fahrenheit 451.

November 10, 2011

Books For Fashion

In my fashion class I've been assigned to make an accessory. After thinking, hat, shoes, scarf, what do I make? I thought of a more simple accessory. Jewelry. So after many sketches and ideas on what piece of jewelry I should make, I decided on a necklace. Made from what else than one of my favourite things, books. A criss-cross of words from literature all set around your neck. I'm in love with the idea and can't wait to make my necklace. I'll be sure to post pictures immediately after its finished.

Wish Me Luck!

October 31, 2011

Review: Skinny Bitch

Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedom and Kim Barnouin

About: Freedman and Bamouin speak to the reader like a friend who isn't afraid to tell you what's on her mind. They back up their arguments by citing study after study and take the technical talk out of the discussion so as to make a more easily digested point. Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin started a movement when they wrote their bestselling manifesto, Skinny Bitch. Both a wake-up call and a kick in the ass, Skinny Bitch exposed the horrors of the food industry while inspiring people to eat well and enjoy food. They both live and pig out in Los Angeles. (from amazon.com)

Review: I've heard a lot about this book since it was released back in 2005. Six years later I manage to read it. Surprisingly a majority of the information in the book I already knew. Basically the book is about two vegan women who help you understand and realize what, or who, you are eating. They put it in perspective and really, they've made me, a five year vegetarian, go vegan and I've never felt better. It's important to know what we are putting in our bodies and where our food comes from. I found this book to be insightful and helpful for anyone looking for a healthier lifestyle! Best part? They give you a month long menu to help you become vegan! How cool is that.

Fun Reviews from Amazon.com
Hartford Courant
“…incredibly informative and entertaining… Co-authors Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin provide tough-love talk mixed with facts and common sense...This is the first "diet" book I've ever read that has made me laugh out loud numerous times. That being said, since no one warned me, I'll let you in on a secret - the book will gross you out. In the same vein as Fast Food Nation, there are graphic descriptions of factory farming and unsanitary dairy farm practices. It was easy for me to put down Fast Food Nation but this book is so funny, I had to keep going.

Almost immediately, I was one of the transformed. In fact, as soon as I got halfway through Chapter 4, "The Dead, Rotting Decomposing Flesh Diet", I had to call and change my dinner plans because I decided to go vegan on the spot.

West VA University's The Daily Athenaeum, 6/8/10
“a cynical, foul-mouthed read with only good intentions that could get you into your best bikini shape for this pool season…The book’s conversational tone makes for an interesting and entertaining read – not simply just dos and don’ts of dieting and exercise like most weight-loss plan guides.”