Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Update! aka I haven't fallen off the face of the earth!!

Hello blogosphere!

Apparently I've taken a highly unanticipated hiatus from blogging which sucks because I had a bunch of blog topic ideas  that I wanted to get out there. Plus a review for Eleanor and Park which I absolutely loved, by the way. My unintentional hiatus began with my week long beach vacation - had a great time but after, however, life struck and my time for blogging went out the window.

Why you may ask? I shall explain via gifs:

This is me minding my own business: 
Enter my mom: "Hey, I'm going away two weeks. In the mean time, can you remodel the kitchen?"
My reaction:
 My boyfriend's reaction:
[Note the differences there.]
[ Note also that no, I don't think my boyfriend is Ian Somerhalder but how freaking crazy would that be?! But my boyfriend is definitely not a geeky book nerd like me. ]
Long story short, this is my kitchen right now:

And this is me because I still have work and I have no place to cook or eat:
Or make coffee:
And that is why I haven't been blogging. I'll be back to bother you all again with my reviews and all the stuffs soon.
Until then, happy reading! =)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Reflections of Queen Snow White Review

The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith
Published: October 2, 2013

Synopsis from Goodreads: What happens when "happily ever after" has come and gone?

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fiancĂ©, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:

The king is dead.

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what "happily ever after" really means?

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

My rating: 3.8 of 5 stars

First off, I'd like to say thank you author David Meredith for sending me a review copy of his book. I received an e-book gifted to me through my Kindle app. I'd also like to apologize to Mr. Meredith for taking so long to write my review as requested. Personal stuff and work got in the way.

This was my first venture into reading an e-book in a long time and it took me much longer to read than it should have considering The Reflections to Queen Snow White was only about 150ish physical pages long. However, in those few short pages, Meredith managed to create a beautifully written short story about what happens once "happily ever after" ends.
The Reflections of Queen Snow White picks up long after the fairy tale ends, after Snow White and Prince Charming have had a daughter and they've lived a long happy life together. However, a year after Charming has passed away, Snow White believes all of her happiness has come to an end. Meredith could not have picked a more perfect title as the story is comprised of a conversation between Snow and her stepmother's infamous magic mirror. In a series of flashbacks, the mirror takes Snow What back to different points in her life in order to help her remember her strength and bravery and to help her find her happiness again.

"I am a mirror," it replied flatly. "I do not offer advice. I simply show that which is right in front of me. You must decide how to act on what you see. You can run from it or you can embrace it. I think you can guess what your stepmother decided..."
The best part of this book is by far the writing. Meredith's writing style is poetic and beautiful. He uses his language and writing to create an in depth look at grief and the pain of losing someone you love dearly. At the same time, his way of describing scenes - both familiar from the original story and entirely new - wraps you up and tucks you in tightly until the storytelling is over. This short book is filled with wonderful descriptions and elaborate scenes that further develop the Snow White story and characters and fill in the little gaps and what ifs that the original story overlooks. If I could rate solely on writing, I would have given this book a five of five stars.
As wonderful as the writing is, I would have liked to have seen more development of the characters and more details about Snow White's past. There were several relationships that there just wasn't enough page space to flesh out fully. I was left wanting to know more about Snow's father and how his marriage to Arglist came to be, more about Snow's childhood with Arglist, more about Snow's relationship with Charming, and more about Princess Raven. Snow White came off to me as a very passive character even before Charming died. Although it was said that she was considerably younger than her husband, even as she moves into adulthood, it seems she doesn't leave her childlike naivety behind. She often relies on others to get her out of situations even as the mirror tries to remind her of her own strength. As a lover of strong female characters, Snow White herself just didn't sit well with me - especially after her suicide attempt because she couldn't produce an heir.
The Reflections of Queen Snow White is an enjoyable read from a talented author. I'd recommend it to fans of the original story and lovers of fairytale retellings/re-imaginings. I do have to mention that this is not the Disney version and it certainly isn't for kids as there are scenes of abuse, suicide, sex, grief, and depression. All in all, this was a good imaginative read.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Top Ten Tuesdays #7: Top Ten Classics I'm Guilty of Never Reading

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
So this week's list is technically Top Ten Favorite Classics but I did exactly that on Freebie Week not too long ago. Instead, I'm going to do my own spin on the classics theme. Having been an English literature major, I've read a lot of classics. However, there's a lot out there that I'm guilty of never having read. Some of these I don't really plan on reading, others have been sitting in my TBR for much longer than I've been calling it a "TBR" list.
I'm not going to link back to Goodreads like I usually do - partially because I'm feeling a little lazy today but mostly because if you haven't heard of these books, you should probably consider coming out from under the rock you've been hiding under.
Top Ten Classics I'm Guilty of Never Reading
1. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain - I've also never read Huckleberry Finn. It's terrible I know. I was in my crap-tastic school production of Tom Sawyer in fifth grade though so that counts for something, no? What makes it worse is neither of these have even made it to my TBR list.
2. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck - I think I was supposed to read this my sophomore year in high school but I read the sparknotes instead. I blame The Grapes of Wrath. That was part of my required summer reading that year and I absolutely hated it. It gave me a stigma against John Steinbeck which I still haven't gotten over.
3. Dracula by Bram Stoker - During my teenage Twilight-induced vampire phase (don't judge, you know you had one too) I meant to read this. After all, what's a vampire phase without reading the penultimate vampire novel that started it all? Answer: a pretty lame one with sparkling vampires and terrible female protagonists. Dracula is still deep in my TBR though. He doesn't sparkle.
4. Every Jane Austen book besides Pride and Prejudice -  I've only read Pride and Prejudice and I only read it because I liked the Kiera Knightley movie version. I've heard the Colin Firth version is better but I haven't gotten around to watching it yet. I own a really pretty leather bound copy of Jane Austen's complete works and I've been to the Jane Austen Museum in England but I've only read one of her books. I'm thinking Sense and Sensibility will be my next Austen read whenever I decide that will be.
5. Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank - I feel really bad for never reading this. It was never part of my school required reading for some reason. I really should read it though.
6. 1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell - I've never read George Orwell period. Again, it was never part of my required reading. And to think, I took all honors and AP courses - you'd think they'd at leat cover the basics. But, apparently not. 1984 at least is still on my TBR though.
7. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - I started reading this in high school but, you know, who reads what they're supposed to in high school? Well, I did most of the time but somehow, this one didn't make the cut. I think I read about half of it before I stopped. I blame my teacher though for showing us a terrible movie version of it before we read it in class. I mean, really, why would you start the movie by panning over to Gatsby's dead body? And for a group of kids who've clearly never read it, why would you automatically spoil the ending for them? Bad calls all around that was.  
8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - This is really bad, I know I saw some movie adaptation of this (I think Wynona Rider is in it? Could be wrong) but I don't remember it at all so I don't even know what Little Women is about. Besides women, of course, who may or may not be of the vertically challenged nature. But yeah, I literally could not give you even the most basic of plot points for this book. I know there's a character named Jo though so that's something at least, no?
9. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - I've seen so so soooooo many adaptations of this story that reading the book never actually occurred to me until just this past Christmas. Maybe I'll read it some day but I'm in no rush.
10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - **cowers from all the incredulous stares** I know!! I know!! So many people in the bookish community love and rave and gush about this book and I've never read it! Of all the classics I've listed so far, this one weighs most on my conscience. I just feel as if it's such a loved book that carries so much meaning for so many people that I'm almost afraid to read it in case I'm disappointed. I also feel like I'll need a lot of mental preparation to read this. I definitely plan to read this sometime this year.
Is there a classic that you feel guilty for never having read yet?
Or do you think there's something on my list that I should really get to?
Let me know!
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