we are infinite.

There is a particular scene in The Perks of Being a Wallflower where the character exclaims: “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite”, and this quote truly resonates with me. I guess it can be interpreted differently by different people, but it always reminds me of that feeling you get when you feel one with the universe, where you are free from wants, needs or worries and are content with the present. When you feel like you can conquer everything and nothing can hurt you. And when you feel like you are part of everything, from the air that you breath to the people around you. It’s the kind of feeling that it quite hard to put into words, and I guess that’s what makes it so special. But “where words fail, music speaks” and undoubtedly, Hans Christian Andersen knows what he’s talking about.

Sometimes you come across a song that fills you up with this ethereal feeling and goosebumps appear all over your arms, like your body wants to display this enchantment to the whole world. I always save these songs so I could listen to them on repeat whenever I feel uninspired or disconnected from the world around me. They are a medicine to my soul on those days when I feel numb inside, as if I am merely existing but not truly living. So if I had to describe to you what it personally means to feel infinite and whole, just like Charlie, my only words are: listen to this playlist! If nothing else, I hope you at least enjoy the music 🙂 x

>Outro– M83
>Too Much Is Never Enough– Florence + The Machine
>Skeletons– Of Monsters and Men
>Strange– LP
>Believe– Mumford & Sons
>Punching in a Dream– The Naked and Famous
>Welcome Home, Son– Radical Face
>Moving Mountains– The Brevet
>Don’t You Cry For Me– Cobi
>Desert Song– Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
>March: Hills to Climb– Tim Myers
>Once There Was A Hushpuppy– Dan Romer, Benh Zeitlin
>Ends of the Earth– Lord Huron
>Torches- X Ambassadors >Last Words First- Volunteer

[SPOTIFY]

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January.

Where has this month gone?! My mind still cannot process that we’re already a month into the new year…in fact I’m still scratching out that number seven on my notebooks! It hasn’t been such a great month health-wise, but one thing I promised myself to do this year is to focus on the things that always make me smile and help me keep a positive outlook towards life. So I am very excited to share with you my very first favourites blog post of 2018, which will include some of the things I’ve been enjoying lately, from a simple song to a quaint coffeeshop.


 

Books

I read a total of 7 books this month and I enjoyed mostly all of them. In fact two of them have made it onto my all-time favourite list:

Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me– Lily Collins || 2 ☆

City of Thieves– David Benioff || 5 ☆

The Raven Boys– Maggie Stiefvater || 5 ☆

Shadow and Bone– Leigh Bardugo || 4 ☆

Memoirs of Geisha– Arthur Golden || 2 ☆

Siege and Storm– Leigh Bardugo || 4 ☆

Matilda– Roald Dahl || 4.5 ☆

I was really looking forward to read Lily Collins’ essay collection since she is one of my favorite female actors. However I was sorely disappointed in so many ways but mostly in the way that it was written. It felt quite childish, filled with meaningless and fluffy sentiments without any substance and while she did tackle various issues, she didn’t delve deep into the subject. Having said that, I found her chapters dealing with anorexia and bulimia quite insightful and I found that I could relate with her experiences. I appreciate the way she focused on eating disorder as something that can never be cured but is an ongoing process towards recovery. It will always be there waiting to come out again but she reminds the readers that they are strong and admitting you need help is never a sign of weakness. The rest of the book though just kept on repeating the same cliched advice and I wish she could have branched out in terms of subject matter and delved deeper into her experiences.

Memoirs of Geisha was quite an interesting read but it was only after finishing it that I learnt about the author’s misdeeds. According to Mineko Iwasaki, this book is riddled with errors and is quite offensive in it’s descriptions of a Geisha going through mizuage. Mrs Iwasaki gave an extensive interview to the author while he carrying out research for the book but after reading his work she brought legal action against him, with allegations of confidentiality breech and a damaged to her reputation. For this reason, I had to ditch my original 4 stars.

Weirdly enough, when it comes for me to talk about the books that I love, my mind goes blank. Maybe because there are no words that can describe all the feelings that such books can conjure, and City of Thieves is definitely one of them. The story is equal parts poetic, hilarious and devastating. I was rendered speechless with the way Benioff transitions from humour to tragedy in a single sentence and manages to show the true horrors of war while still holding on to the goodness of humanity. It is definitely one of those books that I’ll reread a thousand times! The same goes to The Raven Boys. To put it simply, this series has: an amazing cast of characters, a sassy female protagonist, a deadly kiss, GANSEY, a house full of psychic women, a dead Welsh Kings, Ley Lines, Ghosts, a mysterious Latin teacher, talking trees, a peculiar forest and unique writing style. I LOVED this book so much and I cannot wait to continue on with the series!

The first two books in The Grisha trilogy and Matilda were all rereads and I enjoyed them even more the second time round. One of the reasons why I decided to reread Leigh Bardugo’s series is so I could mentally and emotionally prepare myself for her Nikolai Lantsov duology, which is expected to be published next year. The wait is going to be absolute torture and the only way to make it bearable is to reread the hell out of her books!

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Music

Don’t you just love that feeling when you discover a new favourite song and you know it’s going to be played on repeat until your ears start to bleed?! It’s been a month filled with music that gave me chills and made me feel like I could conquer the world. Here are some of my favourites:

> The Greatest Showman soundtrack 

> Too Much Is Never Enough – Florence + The Machine

> Frozen Pines – Lord Huron

> Winter Winds – Mumford & Sons

> Don’t You Cry For Me – Cobi

> Wildfire – Seafret

> Skeletons – Of Monsters and Men

> Thunder – Imagine Dragons

If you want to check out my Spotify playlists, here is the link 🙂 x


 

Places

Talbot and Bons is my favourite spot to unwind and enjoy the best cup of hazelnut cappuccino I’ve ever tasted. Also, it’s interior design is on point! The place is a short walk away from the airport and my boyfriend and I often go to the Observation Deck after having lunch. It has a wonderful view of the runway where you could watch exciting take-offs and touchdowns…and this is honestly one of my favourite ways to spend my weekend!


 

Food

A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand, more specifically the All Butter Pistachio & Almonds cookies from Marks and Spencer. I would eat a whole packet in a heartbeat if I could! And if cookies are not enough, I encourage you to try the classic scones with jam and clotted cream. I use the BBC Good Food recipe because they have the best texture and flavour plus they are extremely easy to make. I do sound like I’ve been having a month-long sugar rush, which is far from the truth. But I do indulge myself over the weekend because everyone needs a treat sometimes!


 

Random Items

Paperchase 2018 Diary:

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>Starbucks Mug: My tea tastes better in it 😉

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What was your favourite thing about this month? ❤

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2017 || My year in books

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I am still coming to terms with the fact that another year is coming to an end. Looking back now, I would say that it wasn’t the best reading year, mostly due to the number of reading slumps that I experienced along the way. There were weeks where I couldn’t read anything to save my life and the thought of picking up a book made me even less excited to read it. All the same, I will still consider 2017 a  memorable one because this year I was willing to broaden my horizons and  explore new genres, specifically literary-fiction, non-fiction books and classics, and all of them have become my go-to choices when buying new books.

This year I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge to 80 books and for the first time ever I did not finish it. But I will in no way allow this to drag me down. After all I read for my own enjoyment…and anyway, quality over quantity right? I ended up reading a total of 66 books, which according to Goodreads translates to 21,486 pages and I’m quite happy with that number.

My shortest read was The Yellow Wall-paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (55 pages) while the longest book was The Diviners by Libba Bray (800 pages). My first read of 2017 was Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys, a heartbreaking story that opened my eyes to the horrors of WWII. I enjoyed her writing so much and I’m really looking forward to read Salt to the Sea next year. I ended the year with Miss Brill by Katherine Mansfield, a collection of short stories that are simple yet profound.

Top 10 Favourite Books of 2017:

These are my top 10 favourite books of this year and I recommend all of them!

The Diviners– Libba Bray

The Sun and her Flowers– Rupi Kaur

The Secret History– Donna Tartt

The Language of Thorns– Leigh Bardugo

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind– Yuval Noah Harari

The Muse– Jessie Burton

Homegoing– Yaa Gyasi

Crooked Kingdom– Leigh Bardugo

Gemina– Amie Kaufman

Purple Hibiscus– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

It’s next to impossible for me to choose a single book out of this list as my ultimate top favourite, but if I was forced to make a decision I would probably say Crooked Kingdom because my love for Kaz Brekker, Inej and the rest of the characters in the Grisha universe knows no bounds. I remember that fateful evening when I finished this book, my face was all red and blotchy and I was trying to hide my tears from the rest of the family. Honestly I am still caught between wanting to hug the book to my chest and throwing it across the room for destroying any semblance of self-control I’ve ever possessed. But it was all worth it!


Reread Books:

I love rereading books and revisiting my favourite characters, and this year was no exception. I reread a total of 19 books which seems quite a lot but Saga and Harry Potter make up most of that number.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower– Stephen Chbosky

Saga Vol 1-6– Brian K. Vaughan

Since you’ve been gone– Morgan Matson

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour– Morgan Matson

The princess saves herself in this one– Amanda Lovelace

Harry Potter series– JK Rowling

The Graveyard Book– Neil Gaiman

The Night Circus– Erin Morgenstern


New favourite authors I discovered this year:

Donna Tartt– The Secret History was my first Donna Tartt book and it became an instant favourite. It is one of those books where you end up not knowing what to do with yourself after finishing it. Donna Tartt is a wordsmith goddess who is able to write the most pretentious and flawed characters in existence but still makes you love them dearly. I am really looking forward to read The Goldfinch next year!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie– After finishing Purple Hibiscus, I knew I had to buy the rest of her books. Her perfectly detailed descriptions paint a wonderful picture of Nigeria and I loved reading about it so much. Also this book confirmed my innate love for character-driven stories and I hope the rest of her books are just as wonderful!

Anthony Doerr– I picked up The Shell Collector on a whim but I am so happy that I did. It is a collection of short stories that focus on nature and the human condition in all it’s forms. His writing will compel you to go outside and revel in the beauty of nature. He explores the experiences of different people, their suffering, grief, loneliness, hope…and unites them with the surrounding nature, giving each story a unique touch while at the same time combining them all together through the beauty of the universe. I am sure that All The Light We Cannot See will be just as beautiful.

Ali Smith– After reading Autumn I can confirm that Ali Smith is a genius when it comes to storytelling across a timeline. I was struck by her unique tone that changes according to the need of the story, from poetic, to conversational to downright crude and I think this is what makes her books so remarkable.


Disappointing Books:

All of these books mentioned were released in 2017 and this fact makes me even more disappointed because I’ve been anticipating their release for so long. I guess I need to learn not to allow the hype to get to my head…and my bank account.

> Caraval by Stephanie GarberI was so excited to read this book purely because it was constantly being compared with The Night Circus, which is my all-time favourite book. Fun fact: it has nothing to do with The Night Circus. Nada. I wasn’t a fan of Garber’s writing style at all. I felt like she was trying too hard to be poetic and atmospheric but ended up being too superficial and juvenile. I also didn’t like the romantic relationship in this book mostly because it felt quite rushed, forced and unnecessary and there are certain scenes that the book could definitely have gone without. I also hated the way Garber used suicide and abuse as plot devices and I would definitely not recommend this for those who are triggered by these topics.

> An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret RogersonReview Link 

> The Inexplicable Logic of my life by Benjamin Alire SaenzReview Link

> Origin by Dan Brown– Dan Brown’s books always tackle various interesting topics so I was really looking forward to read it, even though I’ve never been a huge fan of his writing style. I thoroughly enjoyed the discussions that this book raises and it made me want to read more about the subject. However I think this book fell flat when it came to the writing and the characters. The characters lack any sort of depth and ironically the only character I found truly interesting was an Artificial Intelligence. The writing felt childish at times and long paragraphs describing the history and general information about the subject slowed down the story way too much. I think this book would have been much more interesting if it was written as non-fiction.


Favourite Quotes:

“Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it.”

-The Secret History, Donna Tartt

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“This goes to show you that sometimes the unseen is not to be feared and that those meant to love us most are not always ones who do.”

-The Language of Thorns, Leigh Bardugo

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“There is no greater power on this earth than story.” Will paced the length of the room. “People think boundaries and borders build nations. Nonsense—words do. Beliefs, declarations, constitutions—words. Stories. Myths. Lies. Promises. History.” Will grabbed the sheaf of newspaper clippings he kept in a stack on his desk. “This, and these”—he gestured to the library’s teeming shelves—“they’re a testament to the country’s rich supernatural history.”

 

-The Diviners, Libba Bray

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You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.”

-When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi

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“You want to know what weakness is? Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves.”

-Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi


Looking back at all these wonderful books that I’ve read makes me even more excited for  next year and all the books that will bring with it. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful year and made some wonderful memories and I hope 2018 will be a good one! To quote Neil Gaiman:

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

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> Goodreads: My year in books

2018 || Bookish Resolutions

Being such an avid list maker, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make a list focusing on bookish resolutions for next year.  These resolutions will be my own personal guidelines that will hopefully help me along the way and motivate me to read more. This year was quite disappointing in terms of books and reading in general and I can only blame myself for being such a huge procrastinator and for my bad choice of reading material. So here are my ten bookish resolutions that will hopefully make 2018 a wonderful reading experience:

1. Do not accept books for review. I know this seems a tad bit harsh but part of the reason why I didn’t read much this year was due to the fact that I never said no when authors or publishers contacted me to review their books. This inadvertently led to me stressing out over my long list of ARCs to read and review, and all this pressure took the fun out of my reading experience. I spent long weeks in perpetual reading slumps and with constant headaches trying to read eArcs on my phone. So I apologise in advance for not accepting any review requests.

2. Read more non-fiction books and classics. This point seems to crop up in every bookish resolution that I make but this time I truly mean it! A few years ago I never would have thought of checking out the non-fiction or classics section in a bookstore mostly because I’ve always had this huge misconception that such books are boring. But this year I decided to read Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and my opinion changed completely. Non-fiction books can be as wonderful and engaging as fiction books and you can learn so much from them as well. The same can be said for classic books. My point is, don’t be scared to read a new genre…it might end up being your new favourite!

3. Read big books. Specifically A Little Life, The Goldfinch and The Bone Clock because they have been collecting dust on my shelves for way too long. I’ve always found big books intimidating, which stems from the fact that when I take a long time reading a specific book, I am more likely to fall into a reading slump. So to avoid this I will probably read a shorter book at the same time, like a poetry book or a graphic novel.

4. Participate in more Read-A-Thons because they are the best motivators to read more books. Here’s a list of the ones I will potentially take part in:

5. Finish series that I have already started. I’m talking about you Lord of the Rings. I read Fellowship of the Ring about 2 years ago and the rest of the series has been staring pleadingly on my shelves, waiting for the One Ring to be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom. I will help you Mr. Frodo. I promise.

6. Read a Shakespeare play. The only reason why I’ve been putting this off is due to my life-long fear of the language and not being able to understand anything. But a friend of mine recommended the No Fear Shakespeare editions because they have the original text of the play on one side of the page and then the modern English version on the other. So I’m definitely giving the Bard a chance!

7. Do monthly wrap-ups on my blog. This is the only resolution that concerns this blog. As from next year I will try to do a general wrap-up at the end of each month, highlighting the books I’ve read and any monthly favorites including music, food, drinks and places I’ve visited.

8. Participate in the 2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge. The prompts seem like a lot of fun and also a great opportunity to find and read books that are not so well-known.

9. Goodreads Reading Challenge: 80 books. Despite the fact that I didn’t finish this year’s goal of 80 books, I will still attempt the same number for next year. But I will definitely not allow this challenge to stress me out and will only participate just so I could keep tabs of all the books that I read.

10. Lastly, READ FOR FUN. Do not allow any reading challenges to stress you out. Life is already taxing as it is without the added stress of books as well.

Do you have any bookish resolutions for 2018? I hope you all have a wonderful reading year!

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Frozen Pines || A Winter Playlist

Frozen Pines || A Winter Playlist

What does Winter….

look like? Stars coming out in the early evening. Animal tracks in the snow. Bare branches. Multicoloured umbrellas dotting the streets. Christmas lights. Snow-capped mountains.

taste like? Hot cocoa. Ginger cookies. Peppermint tea. Christmas pudding. Banana bread. A snowflake on your tongue. Eggnog.

smell like? Firewood smoke. Baking bread in the oven. Evergreen trees. Chestnuts. Coffee beans. Caramelised sugar.

sound like? Muffled sounds after a snowstorm. Rain pattering against the window. The splash of a puddle. Wind dancing through the branches. Children playing in the snow. This playlist.

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Never Let Me Go // Florence + The Machine
White Blood // Oh Wonder
Sense of Home // Harrison Storm
Fellow in the North // Cold Weather Company
Fireworks // First Aid Kit
O’City Lights // Gregory Alan Isakov
Frozen Pines // Lord Huron
Arctic // Sleeping At Last
All I Want // Kodaline
Like Real People Do // Hozier
Cold // Novo Amor
Oh Ms Believer // Twenty One Pilots
Vapour // Vancouver Sleep Clinic
Winter Winds // Mumford & Sons 
The Safety Dance // Sleeping At Last
Winter Came Early // Ilustrada

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Spotify.

Winter TBR

Winter TBR

Despite the blustery weather and the bone-deep chill of winter, there is something beautiful and whimsical about this season, and not only because of the Christmas holidays. The scene unfolding outside the window is almost ethereal: a milky moon hanging in the skies like an ornament dangling from a Christmas tree, the bare branches swaying in the wind and snowflakes dancing in the cold air, blanketing the sidewalks.

Winter makes me acutely aware of the simple things in life that make me happy. I love those moments spent inside toasty warm coffeeshops, sipping a warm cup of tea and reading to my heart’s content. I love the steam rising from cups of coffee, the feel of the scarf wrapped around my neck and the seasonal music playing in the background. I love snuggling in my warm bed while listening to the rain pattering against the window. I love the smell of baking bread wafting from the kitchen and hot homemade soup that always burns my tongue. I love oversized sweaters, hot chocolate with melted marshmallows and burning teakwood scented-candles.

The cold weather is basically the perfect excuse to stay at home and read all day. And there are honestly so many books I want to read this Winter that have been waiting on my shelves for so long! Here are a few of them but I am open to any recommendations 🙂


 

  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden || At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honouring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened. And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent. As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales. [Goodreads]

 

  • City of Thieves by David Benioff ||During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible. [Goodreads]

 

  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr || A stunningly beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. [Goodreads]

 

  • The Final Empire [Mistborn Trilogy #1] by Brandon Sanderson || In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more? [Goodreads]

 

  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor ||The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever. [Goodreads]

 

  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain ||At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society–from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer. Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. [Goodreads]

 

  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson || Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake. Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do. [Goodreads]

 

  • Memoirs of Geisha by Arthur Golden || In this book we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction – at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful – and completely unforgettable. [Goodreads]

 

  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen || Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love. [Goodreads]

 

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Review || An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Review || An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
A prodigy artist. An Autumn Prince. An adventure across seasons.

In a small village called Whimsy, where Summer reigns all year round, there lives a young portrait artist called Isobel. Her Craft gives her life purpose and this is evident in her paintings, so much so that they are highly prized amongst the Fair Folk. Since the Fae themselves cannot create, human Craft is craved amongst them, and they are willing to pay in enchantments just to get a small taste of it. One day Isobel receives her first royal patron, none other than Rook, the Autumn Prince. However she makes a terrible mistake when painting human sorrow into his eyes, thus revealing his weakness. Furious, Rook whisks her off to the Autumnland to stand trial and pay for her actions. However, this trip instantly turns into a dangerous journey, with monsters, the Wild Hunt and the Alder King endangering both of their lives and their alliance is the only thing that could lead to their survival.

“Why do we desire, above all other things, that which has the greatest power to destroy us?” 

An Enchantment of Ravens has been one of my most anticipated releases of this year, with promise of magic, Fair Folk, adventure and a land where Autumn reigns all year. And it did deliver all of these…and yet it did not live up to the hype surrounding it. Maybe I had really high expectations or I was still reeling after finishing The Secret History, but I was quite disappointed when I finished it.

First of all, this book is quite short for a fantasy story, considering you have to get acquainted with a new world while also describing the characters and plot along the way. Moreover, I think the author did not utilise this short length of the book in an effective way, thus ended up with long stretches of protracted scenes, leaving only a few pages for the good ones. There was also a lot of focus on the journey of the characters, with long descriptive scenes of the forest and the surroundings, and while I did enjoy reading them, I would have liked to learn more about the actual plot and the world as well. I usually adore slow paced books but I think this story dragged a lot and didn’t motivate me to read that much…hence why it took me so long to finish it.

One of the things that I truly enjoyed was the writing. Margaret Rogerson has such a wonderful talent in weaving intricate sentences that conjure up scenes of flaming Fall leaves littering the forest floor, or of hot summer days of endless blue skies and golden wheat fields. She is able to breath life to each season with every word, making the forest alive in a riot of colours, beauty and power. Having said that, while descriptions of the setting were abundant, I was hoping for more world building especially into the laws governing the Fair folk, the World Beyond and what sets this apart from the other lands. I am still filled with so many questions about the Fair Folk, where they came from, why the Alder King came to be so powerful or why human craft has such a devastating effect on them.

Also, in terms of writing, I extremely appreciated the author’s astute descriptions of Isobel’s talent, from the in-depth way that she explained how she made the paint from scratch to the blending of colours. She truly motivated me to pick up my pencils and paper and start drawing again!

 

“It’s difficult to explain what happens when I pick up a charcoal stick or a paintbrush. I can tell you the world changes. I see things one way when I’m not working, and an entirely different way when I am. Faces become not-faces, structures composed of light and shadow, shapes and angles and texture. The deep luminous glow of an iris where the light hits it from the window becomes exquisitely compelling. I hunger for the shadow that falls diagonally across my subject’s collar, the fine lighter filaments in his hair ablaze like thread-of-gold. My mind and hand become possessed. I paint not because I want to, not because I’m good at it, but because it is what I must do, what I live and breathe, what I was made for.”

 

I also extremely enjoyed the author’s rendition of the Fair Folk, giving them such unique attributes that made them appear both formidable and alluring. To mention a few, the Fair Folk are incapable of lying, appear quite flawless in appearance due to the use of glamour to hide their inhuman looks underneath, attempting human craft is fatal to them and they also cannot feel human emotions. The author contrived this mysterious aura around them, reminiscent of their own glamour, that one cannot truly decide if they are good or evil- if such an argument is valid considering they are not even human.

 

“A road stretched before us and behind us. The fair folk cavorted along it in a line, pale forms flickering like sepulchral flames, a procession of ghosts. The forest rose on either side of the path, but it wasn’t the same forest that existed in the world we had been in before. The trees were as big around as houses. Roots rose from the ground at such a height I wouldn’t have been able to climb them if I’d tried. The fair folks’ white luminosity cast flittering shadows across the bark.

 

Isobel is quite an engaging character and wonderful to read from her perspective. She is hard-working and intuitive, never failing to do her utmost in protecting her family with enchantments received as payments for her paintings. She also craves adventure and something different from her predictable routine and endless days of summer. But along the way she slowly turns into the usual cliched heroine, loosing all reason in her infuriating infatuation for a prince she only just met. Because the dreaded insta-love unfortunately makes an appearance and it instantly became the main focus of the story. I found it so disappointing when such an interesting concept-of Isobel painting mortal sorrow in Rook’s eyes- ended up being just a thinly-veiled plot device for these two characters to fall head over heels for each other when there was no actual chemistry between them. The love confessions were laughable at best, especially seeing how they were never given a chance to slowly grow in character and as a couple. Basically the romance took over the whole plot which is quite sad considering all the potential routes this book could have taken.

 

Rook is an interesting character with many layers to uncover. Despite his lack of human emotions, there are still human attributes to his personality, mainly his arrogance and pride, along with his deep love for Autumn. He is also good-natured and sometimes surprisingly well attuned to the feelings of others, apologising profusely when he thinks he’s offended someone. I appreciated his respect towards Isobel’s wishes and never attempted to push her boundaries without asking her first. Rook also has the power to shape shift and I actually found Isobel’s interactions with him as an animal quite endearing to read. Despite all this, he has an aura of mystery surrounding him and there are so many things that we never get to know about him. I guess this is quite fitting seeing how closed-off he is as a character, but this in-turn deprives the reader from fully connecting with him. I wanted to learn more about his past, get to know him better just so I could actually care about him.

Secondary characters are as important as the main characters, but for the same reason mentioned above, this book was too short and there was no time for the author to focus more on Isobel’s family or the other Fair Folk mentioned later on in the story. Aster was the only character that I had some sort of connection with, but like the rest of the characters, she was put in the sidelines and only mentioned briefly. In my opinion, books that focus on their ensemble cast of secondary characters put fresh light on the main theme of the story, and without their perspective, the story would lack credibility and creativity.

Sadly I didn’t like the ending of this book, mainly because it felt quite rushed and convenient. The way the author dealt with the evil Alder-king and his oppressive laws lacked any inspiring or intricate plot and there were so many loose ends that I kept asking myself if this book was actually part of a series (which is not).

Overall I found this book underwhelming and disappointing, which is quite sad considering how much potential it had. While I enjoyed the writing, it failed to deliver a proper fantasy story with intricate world building, character growth and a realistic relationship. However I would still recommend it to those people who love slow-paced journey books… and insta-love!


Rating: ☆☆ [2.5 stars]

  • Genre: Young Adult- Fantasy, Romance
  • Edition: Margaret K. McElderry Book, September 2017, Hardback
  • Pages:300
  • Source: Book Depository

 

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