Tuesday, March 3, 2015

[Review] "A Girl's Guide to Life" by Michelle Herman


A Girl's Guide to Life is a timeless book of warm and sensible advice for young girls, originally written by a mother for her own eight-year-old daughter. From compassion and empathy through self-expression and creativity, from thoughtfulness and helpfulness and good deeds through gratitude and heartfelt apology, from the incomparable joys of friendship to the importance of learning how and when to say no, this little book offers wise counsel that will be of use for many years to come.


3 out of 5 stars.


I got this ARC from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.

“A Girl’s Guide to Life” is, as you could’ve guessed, a guide on how to live written by a mother to her 8 years-old daughter. While it starts by stating that no one but you will ever live your own life, it follows by giving general advice that while it’s quite obvious once you read it, you soon realize you may not be acting the right way. The author emphasizes the importance of empathy and accepting and expressing one-self, which is something we all cherish in others, but sometimes we fail in showing it. 

This is a short guide “to life.” While it’s directed towards a little girl, the advice it states are global and useful for little boys, and grown-up adults who already know all this stuff, but may need to be reminded of it. It’s highly recommended not only for people who struggle with little things in life, but also for mothers who want to raise confident and loving children, and Thought Catalog followers (we should point out this is a Thought Catalog Book after all). It is a quick, easy guide with cute drawings by Glen Holland, and it’s quite obvious that the author wrote every sentence with love while reminding herself of her own memories.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

[Review] "Bomb" by Sarah Mussi

I’m giving “Bomb” by Sarah Mussi a well-deserved 4’5 “what-a-thrilling-story” stars.

A few days ago I discovered this website called NetGalley, maybe some of you guys already know about it. I found out today that you actually need to request most books you want to read and it turns out if you are not from an English-speaking country you’re quite screwed. Still, the very first day I was looking through the website this book caught my attention, and it was available as a “Read Now” in Europe. So, yeah, I want to thank NetGalley and Hodder Children’s Books for I got this ARC from them.

Have you ever read a book that you loved, but at the very same time freaked you out? Let’s say you wake up strapped on a bomb. Like, how do you think you would react? Would you follow the orders you’re given? Would you break knowing you are a walking weapon risking the life of everyone near you? From the moment you start reading this book, there’s a lot of “what ifs” that will come to your mind and, believe me, it is scary. I’m-becoming-paranoid scary. 

We’ve all seen the rise of terror in modern times, and especially last year. We talk about it over dinner with family, we talk about in our lectures in class, and the News online and offline keep reminding us: terrorism is here, is a fact, and we are all in danger. This is what “Bomb” is about. The fear, the paranoia, and the danger we face every day without even knowing. And I can honestly say, I will never forget this story, it made me feel frightened and fragile.

As you can read, I loved the book, though I must say the first couple chapters of the book were quite hard to read. The book is written from Genesis, the main character, point of view and in present tense. Which means when she’s freaking out her thoughts step on each other, and it’s difficult to follow her thinking. I can honestly say if you go through the first two chapters, it gets better. Gen turns out to be an awesome and likable character: she may seem childish and obsessed with her ex-boyfriend at the beginning, but she grows out of it after a while. 

There aren’t lots of characters in this book, but I’ll say there are three important ones: Genesis, Dave, and Naz. It’s kind of like a love triangle, only that is not. Genesis dated Dave, dumped him for Naz, and then she was the one getting dumped. Ouch. But still, you get to see their strong and weak points; you get to see why she liked them so much, but also why she shouldn’t like them too. I guess everyone who reads the books will obviously be on Team Dave, but Mussi has done an awesome job showing the good side of Naz too. Thumbs up for it. 

Besides pointing out everything I liked, I would also like to state my opinion on something Gen does. She likes to write poetry, and she wants to know the meaning of life, so she’s obsessed over composing one-sentence poems regarding this. I didn’t like the LIFE IS sentences, thought I may say some of them were Awesome (capital-A-Awesome), just like “Life is a novel with the last page ripped out.” But there were some one-sentences that made me cringe. Let’s say you are reading an awesome book, your devouring eagerly every page of it, and suddenly you read “Life is a Tin of Sardines: We're all of us looking for the key.” It really kills my mood. Also, I don’t think a key will help you get out of a tin of sardines; you‘d need a tin opener for that. 

I recommend “Bomb” to everyone who likes books that linger, thrilling stories, not knowing what will happen till the last page, great endings, and who want to find out the purpose of life.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

[Review] "Snow, glass, apples" by Neil Gaiman


A young princess … her skin as white as snow … her hair as black as coal ... her lips as red as blood … an innocent young girl victimized by her evil stepmother.
Or is she?
Neil Gaiman’s “Snow, Glass, Apples” turns the traditional “Snow White” fairytale on its head and tells the story from the point of view of the “wicked” stepmother, who knows the truth about this less-than-innocent girl and attempts to save the kingdom from her unnatural and monstrous stepdaughter.



(Caution: it contains spoilers that will ruin the story for you!)
I love re-tellings. My favorite ones are usually focused on Cinderella's tale (Gilded Ashes is the best re-telling I've ever read), but, since Snow White is my favorite Disney princess, I decided to give this a try. Before I started reading it, I didn't bother to read any review nor the summary; I wasn't quite expecting this kind of story.
I gave "Snow, Glass, Apples" two stars out of five, and that's because the idea was great. If I had to write the summary, I would write:
Do you remember the sweet Snow White scared, running around in a wicked forest, and later on poisoned by her horrible stepmother, the Queen? Well, think again. Because the story has changed, and the Queen (while still being a witch) is a responsible woman that cares for her citizens. Snow White isn't the sweet princess you remember, but a 13-years-old blood-sucking monster that kills anyone who dares entering the forest. While she is not killing innocent human beings, she (probably) enjoys having sexual intercourses with seven short-and-hairy men. The Queen is decided to get rid of Snow White, while she also plans to marry a prince that's not as charming as we saw in the famous Disney's movie.
It's an awesome idea. This is the kind of story that I would re-read a thousand times, but being a short story, it didn't have much charm. I believe, if I don't write this review now, the only detail I will remember about this story is that it involves a kid having sex with way too many men (involving his own father). I understand that Gaiman was trying to dehumanize Snow White by turning her into a monster who's life turns around blood, sex and murders. But still, a 6-years-old having any type of sexual relationship grosses me out (specially if it's with his father). It is possible that I didn't get to enjoy this story because of all the scenes involving underage sex or rape. 
I would like to write about the Queen as well, but I really don't know what to say about her. I read her as some kind of Mary Sue: she was a witch, she wasn't innocent, she wanted to kill a 6-years old (monster? vampire?) little girl. But still, she cared for her citizens and everything she did, she did it "because she was the Queen." I see the real woman isn't a Mary Sue, but she is obsessed with the idea of being the perfect Queen, but that turns her too good for me to enjoy the character. (I wonder if other readers had the same feeling, or is it just me?)
Besides the parts I didn't enjoy in the plot, I would like to be Captain Obvious and say that Neil Gaiman's writing was as good as always (maybe not as good as in The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which was perfect) and it did not disappoint me. If he would re-write this to be a long-story, I would most certainly read it - but the plot is too rich to fit into a short story! Reading it felt like being in a ever-lasting maze of words: I just read a few pages, but I got too much information to process. 

If you've read this story, please let me know your thoughts on the Queen in the comments! :)

First post!

Hello there, fellow readers and bookworms!
I've been thinking about having a blog for a very long time, but it wasn't till today that I actually decided in creating one. I always wanted to be like one of these people who blogs about their life, or post pictures and reviews on restaurants, or books, or movies - I just couldn't decide for which type of blog would be better for me. You see, I don't have the time to read hundreds of books, or watch movies, or the money to afford reviewing a couple restaurants a week. I just realized I don't really care anymore about being constant on the blog. After all, it is my blog and I can post whatever I want, whenever I want it.
I will mostly post book reviews, but I can't promise I won't post anything related to my life or movies or TV shows (I can totally picture myself posting about How to Get Away with Murder). If this blog gets followers, or readers, or whatever, I'll just have to recognize I'm usually very busy. I don't usually enjoy this thing called "free time" unless I'm on a school break or I'm on a "fuck it, I'll fail this class" mood. But still, I'm always reading books, so I'm going to use this space to post my reviews. If you also want to comment on anything, please feel free to do it!
Now, I'll briefly introduce myself so I can officially start this blog. Most of my friends call me Kery, Chucky or Egg (this is a long story guys, I may explain some other day in another post). I'm currently 21 years old, and majoring in East Asian Studies with an specialization in Chinese and Korean (I actually spent a year living in Seoul, it was pretty awesome. You guys can expect pictures of Korea, because I love looking at them). I love watching horror movies, traveling, writing, taking pictures, and laughing. My personality type is ISFJ, like Dr. John Watson.
You guys will probably get to know me through my posts, but I would really like to explain something vital. I'm Catalan, which in case you don't know means I live in a region of Spain called Catalonia (you may have read online about us, we want to be independent from Spain?) which means my native language isn't either English or Spanish, but Catalan. I learnt English by watching Lost, which is the best freaking TV show in the entire world, so I may make lots of grammar mistakes or whatever. If you try to read something and it doesn't make sense, that's probably because I wrote it and my brain turns into a potato from time to time and my English gets crappier. I apologize for that. But that's one of the reasons I'm making this blog: I want to write more in English, and I want to read more in English.
So if you want to follow this blog and join me in my English-journey, you are invited to do so and laugh at my mistakes.