The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

via Goodreads

Rated: 4.5 stars

Blurb

Invited to an extravagantly lavish party in a Long Island mansion, Nick Carraway, a young bachelor who has just settled in the neighbouring cottage, is intrigued by the mysterious host, Jay Gatsby, a flamboyant but reserved self-made man with murky business interests and a shadowy past. As the two men strike up an unlikely friendship, details of Gatsby’s impossible love for a married woman emerge, until events spiral into tragedy.

Regarded as Fitzgerald’s masterpiece and one of the greatest novels of American literature, The Great Gatsby is a vivid chronicle of the excesses and decadence of the “Jazz Age”, as well as a timeless, cautionary critique of the American dream.

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I didn’t think I’d like this as much as I’d previously thought, the classics genre often hint to a bore of a book, often but not always. The Great Gatsby is, in short, a tragic love story and you’ll find here that a woman can spell ruin for a man, not that it’s news. I can see why many before me consider this a great book. Fitzgerald captured a drop of human nature during the time of easy money and high living in beautiful prose.

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Here’s to mothers and to trying

Thank God for mothers, and if you’re an atheist then thank … the universe? Thank goodness. I love mine, and there are moments times when I am acutely aware of how fortunate I am. She’s funny, kind and well, very motherly. Seldom do I see her genuinely serious and friends, those are times to thread lightly. Like right now, I can just walk up to her and give her an impromptu hug (most hugs are, aren’t they?) and she’ll give me a mama grizzly’s feathery embrace.

Why am I thinking about mam? I’m pissed at particularly no once person or group of persons, at the entire world actually and she makes me feel better. I want to be able to talk freely, to express myself without fear of exposing a weakness and generally not give a single crap about bigoted idiots (and I mean completely not waste any braincells) because there are some things one just can’t help at a whim. But that’s a perfect world. Of course I can abruptly choose not to but that’s instability right there. I try to be this tough girl out and about when I’m still plagued by major insecurities and my mind is split and I have to consciously make decisions of what to say in response to someone. Conflicted. I will add that I’m grumpy today.

Let me tell you something Continue reading

So, I went to the book store …

And this is what I found when I got back.

Looks like a pretty good haul if you ask me.

Looks like a pretty good haul if you ask me.

Eeep! I’ve been waiting for a couple of ages to get the Divergent series in physical copy so I could gobble them up properly. The covers are delicious and the two last ones are lovely hardcovers! I’ll be taking it easy with Percy Jackson but I have high hopes for those. A few of my aunts have recommended Agatha Christie, so check. Who am I kidding, I got my last push of encouragement from Doctor Who, there was that episode of Christie and a freaking huge wasp, Donna was cute about the whole thing.  Not exactly big a fan of Girsham, however, Kid Lawyer looks interesting though it sort of reminds me of his The Client, the most obvious difference is that this one’s for ages 8 and up.

I have an inclination to devour bits and pieces of archaeological finds, basically origins, and naturally when I stumbled across Written in Stone, I said why the heck not. I made sure to check that the narrative wasn’t bone dry, fortunately it seems promising. Unfortunately, when I was about to leave my eye snagged on a much larger, much detailed and graphic text. I was officially broke save for a few bucks and boy didn’t that suck? Also, upon the discovery of my cold pockets my heart clanged in painful angst when I saw Stephen King’s neat guide on writing. I’m mentally wailing at this point.

Oh well, I did go on a budget. I’m kind of worried though. I already have a stack of books to be read and I’ve finally dusted off The Fault in Our Stars Continue reading

Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6) by Ilona Andrews

via Goodreads, click to see more info.

Rated it: 5 Stars

Recommends it to: Generally the Young Adult crowd into the urban fantasy realm. If you liked The Edge series (haven’t read it yet myself), chances are you might like this one as well.

GR blurb

Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack’s shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there’s little available in Atlanta.

Kate can’t bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute—and they’ll pay him in medicine. With the young people’s survival and the Pack’s future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer—but they have little doubt that they’re heading straight into a trap…

My review

A slight spoiler is in here somewhere

I think this might possibly be the best book in the series. Not only because this wasn’t happening in Atlanta but half way around the world made me pause; it could be either really good or disastrous, because they’re going to be way out of their territory so any crap can happen but that made the prospect of reading this even more exciting. It was awesome.

Punctuated with the much loved smart-mouth remarks, Kate, Curran and Co. sail across the Black Sea on body guard duty. Having no choice on the matter really, they agree to a contract drawn up where in exchange of protecting the werewolf mother-to-be Dessandra in exchange for the precious panacea, a substance capable of drastically reducing the probability of young shifters falling prey to loupism. Dessandra though, oh my goodness, that woman is a case by herself, complex and at times pitiful (and I suspect that’s on purpose) but certainly not stupid.

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The Chocolate Kiss (Amour et Chocolat #2) by Laura Florand

via Goodreads

Rated it: 5 stars    Recommend it to: 18 and above. People who liked The Chocolate Thief, and chocolaty romance.

GR blurb

The Heart of Paris

Welcome to La Maison des Sorcieres. Where the window display is an enchanted forest of sweets, a collection of conical hats delights the eye and the habitues nibble chocolate witches from fanciful mismatched china. While in their tiny blue kitchen, Magalie Chaudron and her two aunts stir wishes into bubbling pots of heavenly chocolat chaud.

But no amount of wishing will rid them of interloper Philippe Lyonnais, who has the gall to open one of his world famous pastry shops right down the street. Philippe’s creations seem to hold a magic of their own, drawing crowds of beautiful women to their little isle amidst the Seine, and tempting even Magalie to venture out of her ivory tower and take a chance, a taste…a kiss.

Parisian princesses, chocolate witches, patissier princes and sweet wishes—an enchanting tale of amour et chocolat.

My take on the cake

How do I even begin? Magalie has trust issues that stemmed from her uprooted childhood of continent hopping due to her parents’ complicated love. Now all grown up, she’s her aunts’ protégé and sole heir to their charmingly delicious shop, La Maison des Sorcieres, stirring her sweet concoctions of dark hot chocolate thrice and a good wish for the sipper, unaware that there was magic in her mindless ritual. There on her little island just outside the bustling city of Paris is where she’s felt truly at home in a long time.

Enter Philippe Lyonnais, le Prince des Pâtissiers (which I’ll hazzard a guess means Prince of Pastries). He’s opening a new branch of his world renowned pastry shop. Magalie goes on the defensive, threatened by his presence on her territory, her future, since his very presence there can put her out of business. I believe that the fear of losing their shop means she’s going to be losing her place, her center, her only anchor. This panic inside of her blinds her to the man who Phillipe is. Okay, he can be arrogant, righteously so in his opinion. He didn’t go there specifically to  snuff them out but he doesn’t see why he shouldn’t be where he wants to be. After all, Paris was his.

They both longed for someone to love, only that she’s reluctant as hell and he’s more open to the prospect of love. Nothing was rushed, nor was it lagging much. But did I mention his arrogance? She calls him on it almost every time but then takes it upon herself to label him as ‘spoiled’, which wasn’t entirely true as he explained to her. Like Magalie, he had the passion for all that was devilment to the palate. They were meant to be, but first they must learn to control the sparks they sent flying, instead of burning each other, they could stir a love so true under that blaze of theirs.

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The Army of Ghosts, and I’m scared

TARDIS

How often does a television show change the way you feel, the way you see the world, even if the sensation is a momentary flame whose echo of heat will follow you to the corners of your life? I’ve mentioned before that I’m watching Doctor Who from the start, I’m now at season two, and about to see episode 13; Army of Ghosts. I’ve witnessed the regeneration of the Doctor and the obliteration of several great evils but I’m not sure I’m emotionally stable to survive this one and talk properly.

I sure as hell wasn’t prepared for this series, never dreamed how it would affect me, the way it make me want to dream and wander. I’m overwhelmed by David Tennant. Christopher Eccleston was fantastic – you’ll never hear me say otherwise – but David has that extra ‘oompf’. Rose. Oh sweet custard, Rose is a storm. Continue reading

The Chocolate Thief (Amour et Chocolat #1) by Laura Florand

via Goodreads

Rated: 4 stars             Recommends it to: Chocolate lovers, those interested in Paris, romance enthusiasts.

Note: This is my first review for the year, and I’m once again participating in The Mad Reviewer’s reviewing challenge. Check it.

GR blurb

The Parisian sorcerer of artisan chocolate, handsome Frenchman Sylvain Marquis, and the American empress of chocolate bars, Cade Corey, play a decadent game of seduction and subterfuge that causes them both to melt with desire.

Personally, I think this snippet is a tad misleading. It’s not your typical romance with a lot of those scenes. You know what I’m talking about, and even those aren’t explicit, it’s more emotional than physical if anything.

My review

 Sweet. That’s this book in one word. The cream is in the gradual shift in Sylvain and Cade’s relationship. And the conflict too. Oh yes, when these two decide to have a go they go at it. I liked how Florand translated the passion of the craft of chocolate making. They both have that passion but are on different wavelengths but the same intensity.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a woman that I like Sylvian more. It ‘s just that I feel he has more texture and complexity as a character compared to Cade, that’s not to say she’s not interesting. No, Cade’s got the brass to go and break in to Sylvian Marquis’ lair of secrets, tenacity right there.

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Masques (Shifter’s Wolf Pt.1) by Patricia Briggs

via Goodreads.com

Rated it: 3½ stars      Recommend it to: Fans of the fantasy genre; shape shifters, period fantasy novels.

This is my second review of Masques (if you’re curious this is the first)

I was excited to read a couple of the first books by Patricia Briggs, a natural compulsion being I’m a fan of her Mercy Thompson series. Basically Shifter’s Wolf is an anthology, Masques and Wolfsbane both set in a fictional realm of a mercenary and spy from Sianim and her enigmatic companion, Wolf.

Mrs. Briggs did mention that it might not meet up to her current standard of writing that her recent readers are accustomed to since she was, obviously, a novice back then. The books went out of print until lately and she didn’t want to change anything from the original plot, only to brush up and polish what was there so that their first readers can come back to something familiar and for us, the new lot, so we won’t find it terribly juvenile. I think that’s very thoughtful and sweet of her.

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The art of being a fan

Originally posted on Cristian Mihai:

No matter who or where we are, we consume art on a daily basis. We listen to songs, go to the cinema, or spend a lazy afternoon enjoying a good book.

But why is it that art is so important? Why is it that our lives would feel empty, pointless, filled with blank spaces without art?

Art is important for a million different reasons: we consume art because it inspires us, because it gives us purpose, motivation, ambition, and it makes us dream. Art shows us a world we would’t dare imagine by ourselves. We consume art simply because it’s beautiful… a beautiful voice can be admired just for that, so is a beautiful painting.

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