Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite Heroines In Classics

Top 10 Tuesdays is an original meme created by a multitude of bloggers over at the The Broke and the Bookish. Go over and join if you’d like to participate! For this week’s topic, I am narrowing it a bit further to “classics” and not just the books in general. :)

I am using various images of illustration of characters to movie actresses but I am referring mainly to the book, not the films or the artists’ interpretation of that characters specifically.

10. Sula from Sula by Toni Morrison

I realize she is not the most ethical person but for some reason, I found myself attached to her during my reading of Sula.

9. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

8. Alexandra of O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

7. Margaret Hale in North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

6. Janie Crawford from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

5. Sally Seton in Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

4. Miss Honey from Matilda by Roald Dahl

3. Hermoine Granger, Luna Lovegood, and Ginny Weasley in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter

2. Elizabeth Bennett from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

1. Clarissa Dalloway in Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

I don’t think a lot of people understand Clarissa Dalloway as much they think they do. Personally, I do see her a feminist, just of a different variety.


And before you yell at me for not including any female characters from the Brontës’ works, I have to ashamedly admit that I simply have not read them yet. I am, however, in the process of currently reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. :D

Please feel free to leave a link to your Top 10 Tuesday or simply tell me in the comments what your picks for this week would be! :)

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Happy Reading!

Review | Dark Intelligence by Neal Asher

22859850ABOUT THE BOOK

Published: 3rd Feb, 2015
Genre: Science-Fiction
Edition: Audiobook
Length: 18 hrs. 28 mins.

GoodReads | Amazon | BookDepository | Audible

THE BLURB

One man will transcend death to seek vengeance. One woman will transform herself to gain power. And no one will emerge unscathed…

Thorvald Spear wakes in a hospital to find he’s been brought back from the dead. What’s more, he died in a human vs. alien war that ended a century ago. Spear had been trapped on a world surrounded by hostile Prador forces, but Penny Royal, the AI inside the rescue ship sent to provide backup, turned rogue, annihilating friendly forces in a frenzy of destruction and killing Spear. One hundred years later the AI is still on the loose, and Spear vows for revenge at any cost.

Isobel Satomi ran a successful crime syndicate, but after competitors attacked she needed power and protection. Negotiating with Penny Royal, she got more than she bargained for: Turning part-AI herself gave Isobel frightening power, but the upgrades hid a horrifying secret, and the dark AI triggered a transformation that has been turning her into something far from human…

Spear hires Isobel to track Penny Royal across worlds to its last known whereabouts. But he cheats her in the process and quickly finds himself in her crosshairs. As Isobel continues to evolve into a monstrous predator, it’s clear her rage will eventually win out over reason. Will Spear finish his hunt before he himself becomes the hunted?

☁  ☁  ☁  ☁  ☁

A REVIEW

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this audiobook from Audible in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I do not have much experience with hard science-fiction, certainly not much dealing with AI technology, but I really enjoyed listening to Dark Intelligence. It was at times challenging but overall, a very rewarding experience.

The only issue, which was mainly just a personal one and not one I think would always matter to others, is the technical jargon. I have read a few hard science-fiction novels here and there and more often than not, I am capable of keeping up with the “fictional science” that the author is building and writing about. In this one, it was mostly just the very common, technical things that baffled me at times. Some of these sections were also closely lumped together so I did end up losing track here and there of the explanations.

I also have to show some appreciation for the author’s style of writing. Despite not being able to comprehend all the technical lingo, the writing of this novel still maintained its focus on what the story is about more so than the specifics. I don’t often remark on the writing of a science-fiction/fantasy author, mostly because that doesn’t seem of much importance really, but I couldn’t help but notice that despite having trouble understanding some bits of the science, I was still able to understand everything that was going on, as well as be interested enough to continue listening to the book.

To reiterate the writing skills which this author displays, I also loved how the book starts off at a slow, steady pace and matures into something more complex and more exciting. Seeing as how this is a completely different world from ours, the author does an excellent job of building up everything step-by-step to keep the story, along with the characters and the world building, from overwhelming me.

All in all, if you are a hard science-fiction fan, this book won’t disappoint. If you are not, I think this is still a good, enjoyable read. You may or not have trouble with the specifics but I think you’ll still easily be able to enjoy the story for what it’s worth.

This review is also available on BookLikes and GoodReads.

4star

Short Review | Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

ABOUT THE BOOK

Published: July 3rd, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Edition: Paperback
Length: 368 pgs.

GoodReads | Amazon | BookDepository

THE BLURB

“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver.

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds that his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

☁  ☁  ☁  ☁  ☁

A REVIEW

Going into the book expecting a very cool, high fantasy, dark story, this book was a major fail in meeting any of my expectations. Though, I did think of this as an Adult novel, so that part is mostly on me. Still, I was expecting a lot from this book.

The premise of this novel is very intriguing (the literal interpretation of a “half” man becoming half a king) but the novel isn’t really all about Yarvi struggling to assert himself as a respectable King. The story starts that way but takes an entirely different turn which ends up with Yarvi just struggling not to die.

I liked Yarvi for the most part but he really doesn’t have anything unique or interesting to offer that would make him stand out amongst many other more quirky or more dark or more evil protagonists. He’s just…okay.

The fantasy part also falls flat for me. Though it is labeled a fantasy, there aren’t really many fantasy-related elements in the book. It’s more of just a journey that takes place in a world, which I suppose, you can call “fantasy”—which was creative in its own way but not too exciting really. It could just as easily be rewritten as historical fiction…perhaps Richard III could be the inspiration for another Yarvi?

In the end, I feel like this is a good book for those not closely attached with high fantasy and just want a good, simple story to read. If I had read this as a YA book, I imagine I would have enjoyed it much more since it defies the formulaic plots which are rampant in YA and presents a fresh, new narrative. If you enjoy YA fantasy and want to read something new and different, I would actually recommend this book. Otherwise, it isn’t nearly as exciting as I prefer my fantasy books to be.

This review is also available on BookLikes.

3star

Top Ten Tuesday – Book Related Problems I Have

Top Ten Five Book Related Problems I Have

Top 10 Tuesdays was a meme created by a multitude of bloggers over at the The Broke and the Bookish. Go over and join if you’d like to participate!

5. Fear of big books

I know some of you out there have the heart of a lion, but I don’t. When I see a big book with an enticing premise, I get scared. I want to hide under the covers and attempt to sniff away my tears at the possibility of having to stop myself from reading so all my others books for an entire month or two or three in order to just read one book. It’s almost like a short-term marriage, the biggest commitment you can make to a book. And I am someone who never intends to get married.

4. Amazon

I am all for supporting independent bookstores but unfortunately, there are none near me—none at least not within an hour’s drive—so I’ve gotten in a bad habit of immediately purchasing the book I want on Amazon. I want to stop this. Why? 1) I am supporting a corporation that cares about money and not people who care about books 2) Amazon prime is leading me to pick up books so quickly that sometime I have to return them because I didn’t take enough time to think about them. And I don’t like making returns—it feels like I’m cheating. It’s strange but it’s a bit of an issue for me.

3. Researching books

I seem to have gotten into this new bad habit of picking up books based more on recommendations by people I know/admire than actually bothering to read the synopsis of the book itself—or read differed reviews/opinions…in short, I seem to be picking up books based on what someone said and have stopped doing my research. I’ve paid for this a few times already, since a lot of those books have turned out to be bad reads for me, but really want to try and shake this off in the coming months…

2. Kindle versus Paperback/Hardback?

How do I decide what book I want to get in hand and in print versus on my kindle…the prices usually decides but I really wish I could just buy all my books in print. Unfortunately, my Kindle (whether you like it or not) often saves me a lot of money and encourages me to read more so even though I love my physical books, I still struggle when posed with the question: Should I get a book on Kindle or in Paperback/Hardback?

1. Time and TBR

This should be self-explanatory. My problem is not so much that I have a lot of books that I haven’t read yet (and God forbid, should ever have to go on a book buying ban—I hate those with a vengeance), but rather that I want to actually read everything I own and just don’t have the time.


Please feel free to leave a link to your Top 10 Tuesday or simply tell me in the comments what your picks for this week would be! :)

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Happy Reading!

Review | (Rereading) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

ABOUT THE BOOK

Published: 1813
Genre: Classic, Romance
Edition: Paperback
Length: 339 pgs.

GoodReads | Amazon | BookDepository

THE BLURB

‘Vanity, not love, has been my folly’ When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.

☁  ☁  ☁  ☁  ☁

A REVIEW

What’s better than doing a review of Pride and Prejudice on Valentine’s Day, eh? Happy Valentine’s Day!

There are many excellent things I discovered in this rereading of Pride and Prejudice this month. One of which is that so many who recommended I start with Pride and Prejudice as my first “pleasure” classics were, unfortunately, very misleading. Pride and Prejudice, although a very lovable classic, is not the place to start with classics if you are new to them—and if you want to begin reading classics for fun. The archaic language is sure to throw you off and if cannot follow this novel verbatim, you are likely to have a very difficult time understanding the excellence with which Austen has composed this work—which I too didn’t comprehend when I first read this book 2-3 years ago.

This time around, however, I was able to fully immerse myself into the origin of most modern romances, which emerge from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It would be a mild understatement to say that Pride and Prejudice is amongst one of the cleverest, most sophisticated, and more beautifully written romances. Austen has the ability to write dialogue which, by itself, can coordinate you to the speaker of those words. Every character has a different set of dialogues, in perfect alliance with their personalities. Without having looked at the novel itself, it is easy to identify one speaker from another only by the dialogues which Austen writes for them.

Another thing that makes it incredible hard for anyone new to this story not to fall in love with it are, our very own, Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy. I must admit that although many, many faults lay within these characters, in the end, Austen makes it very difficult for me not to love them. This is because of her ability to point out their faults from the very beginning, via which she takes away my opportunity to oppose to these characters and their actions, by the simple meaning of calling her work, “Pride and Prejudice.” When it has clearly been presented to you that both Elizabeth and Darcy are characters seeped in their pride and their prejudices, it is hard for anyone to complain because really, we have nothing to complain about. If Austen has already informed us of this flaw in her characters, what excuse do I really have left to moan about such things?

As for the characters…there are two different things which I remarked this time around that I may have neglected to notice in my first reading. One being that Jane, although an easy character to like, is often a bit too honest and forgiving. It doesn’t seem as though this should be considered a fault but sometimes, this sort of an attitude to life can be damaging. So realistically, I cannot imagine Jane will have as easy a life as I initially thought because not only is she too laid-back but her husband is clearly an equally naive companion for her. In this matter, Mr. Bennett in the 1995 adaption of Pride and Prejudice puts it the best:

“You’re each of you so complying that nothing will ever be resolved on. So easy that every servant will cheat you!…And so generous that you will always exceed your income.” 

Speaking of which…Daddy Bennett is my second problem. I knew my opinion of Mrs. Bennett would not change much since I absolutely loathed her in my first reading but this second time, I realized how I much clearly disliked Mr. Bennett as well. Despite them providing a charming sense of humor here and there, I can see why Lydia turns out the way she does by the end of the novel. While Mrs. Bennett overreactions to everything are ridiculous enough that it is justified she does not hold much value, Mr. Bennett’s nonchalance attitude towards his daughters’ behaviors, on the other hand, is also misleading because his authority has come to account for nothing in his family. When he does finally set his foot down, after Lydia’s dramatic course of action, the restrictions he decides to place on Kitty are even more disappointing. The parental figures of the Bennett family are clearly, both equally, responsible for Lydia’s failures in this case (as opposed to my prior belief that Mrs. Bennett deserved most of the blame for over-encouraging her daughter to find a husband).

All things considered, Pride and Prejudice remains a classic for a reason and a very good one at that. It is what I look to for comfort; it never fails to amaze me how wonderfully crafted and preserved this book remains in its intelligence, wit, and overall quality.

This review is also available on BookLikes.

5star

(A Late) Top Ten Tuesday – Things I Dislike When It Comes To Romance In Books

Top Ten Things I Dislike When It Comes To Romance In Books

Top 10 Tuesdays was a meme created by a multitude of bloggers over at the The Broke and the Bookish. Go over and join if you’d like to participate! I am incredibly late this week but here I am away… Also, I unfortunately only have 5 things to talk about. I could’ve come up with more but I stuck to the 5 worse pet-peeves I have about romance in books.

5. Whore/Virgin stereotypes

Reality check: modern women do have sex before marriage and this doesn’t make them a whore. Often I see female character placed into either the “whore” or “virgin” category. The ex is usually the whore (apparently we still live in the first century) and the love interest is the virgin—which makes her “pure” and “good”. I loathe these stereotypes.

4. Miscommunication

Oh goodness. Apparently, authors can’t write without including some of this.

3. “Bad Boys”

Let me paint a picture of what constitutes a REAL LIFE bad boy: smoker, drinker, drug abuser, possible thief or gambler, man whore, sexist (possibly even racist), most likely has some kind of STD, lots of baby mama drama, jobless, goalless, and last, but currently not the least, possibly a rapist (I see this in NA often). When a women is reluctant to have sex and says “no,” it doesn’t matter if she still likes you or went on a date with you, she freaking said no! Forced sex is not sexy. Women finding men attractive for how much they misuse other women should not be a turn-on! What is incredibly sad is that the fact that a lot of women are writing such bad boys as central characters. :/ I don’t know (nor do I care) if this is some kind of sick way to play out a fantasy but STOP STOP STOP IT!

2. Insecurity as a conflict

There are other ways to write out a story you know…a girl’s insecurity doesn’t need to be the central conflict all the time.

1. Love triangles/squares

There hasn’t been one book I ever read where I’ve felt a love triangle is absolutely essential to the book…they are absolutely useless. If an author can’t write a book without it, then I don’t really consider them a very good author in the first place. (Yes, this means most of YA and NA)


Please feel free to leave a link to your Top 10 Tuesday or simply tell me in the comments what your picks for this week would be! :)

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Happy Reading!

Top Ten Tuesday – Sci-Fi Books I Can’t Believe I Haven’t Read

IMG_4366

Ten Sci-Fi Books I Can’t Believe I Haven’t Read

Top 10 Tuesdays is an original meme created by a multitude of bloggers over at the The Broke and the Bookish. Go over and join if you’d like to participate! For this week’s topic, I am sticking to Sci-Fi, because I have a humongous TBR pile of books from this genre…

10. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

9. The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells (among many others by Wells)

8. The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

7. Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson

6. (Everything, but specifically…)Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

5. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

4. A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge

3. Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds

2. Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

1. Dune by Frank Herbert


Please feel free to leave a link to your Top 10 Tuesday or simply tell me in the comments what your picks for this week would be! :)

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Happy Reading!