Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review | A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

SYNOPSIS
‘If I had my way, every idiot who goes around with Merry Christmas on his lips, would be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. Merry Christmas? Bah humbug!’

Introduction and afterword by Joe Wheeler
To bitter, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, Christmas is just another day. But all that changes when the ghost of his long-dead business partner appears, warning Scrooge to change his ways before it is too late.

Part of the Focus on the Family Great Stories collection, this edition features an in-depth introduction and discussion questions by Joe Wheeler to provide greater understanding for today’s reader. A Christmas Carol captures the heart of the holidays like no other novel.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
undefined Charles John Huffam Dickens was a writer and social critic who created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories enjoy lasting popularity.

MY THOUGHTS
To start with the fact that I loved all Dicken’s novels that I have read, it isn’t surprising that I enjoyed reading this one too. A Christmas Carol is a holiday read and I am so happy to choose this time of the year to read it. I was familiar with the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the whole concept of the story. Actually, I had this book in my hands couple of times, but somehow I always found myself reading something else. However, I think that the message in the book is very clear and it will never get old. There are times when all of us become Ebenezer Scrooge. Sometimes we get lost in all material things that life has to offer. We are crazy about money and Christmas is all about ridiculous sales everywhere and yes, sometimes we give in. We forget what Christmas is truly about. Charles Dickens with his characters is there to remind us that it is important to keep the christmas spirit all the time. Be nice to each other. Love each other. Forgive! Do not let the bad times destroy your kindness.
Also, I think everyone is familiar with the story and there is no need for summary. What is the most important here is the message that the book hides. I think everybody should read this book at least once in their life because it will open their eyes. A Christmas Carol will put you in your right place. Being that type of reader who has never seen any A Christmas Carol adaptation in their lives, I, for sure, will see one of them very soon.

I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shout out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!

A Christmas Tale, Charles Dickens

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and I will always cheerish the christmas spirit in books because it is something very important for me. However, this book is not my favorite Charles Dickens book, but I think that everyone should read this book at least once in their lives.

My rating: 3.5/5⭐

Title: A Christmas Carol
Author: Charles Dickens
Published on: September 23rd, 1999
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Classics, Fiction
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Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Never Google Heartbreak by Emma Garcia

BLURB

When her fiancé Rob breaks off their engagement for the third time, Viv does what any girl would do – she Googles heartbreak.

Confronted by tales of misery, she decides to set-up her own self-help website for the broken-hearted. But as Viv passes through the three essential stages of grief (denial, vodka, disastrous haircut), she becomes determined that it’s not too late to try and get Rob back.

When things get out of hand after a drunken declaration of love at an extremely inappropriate moment, Viv’s scruffy, tequila-swilling best friend Max is there to pick up the pieces. Viv starts to realise that maybe the real thing has been under her nose all this time, and now – one ex and a massive error of judgement later – she has to face the question:

What’s the craziest thing you’ll do for love?

MY THOUGHTS

I was really looking forward to reading this book ever since I saw it on goodreads. I thought I was going to love this book because I like everything about female fiction/chick-lit genre. It’s always delightful, funny, and interesting but I had a really hard time reading this book. I almost didn’t finish it, but I don’t like to keep my books unfinished so it’s probably my only reason why I read the entire book.

Vivian is a 32-year-old woman who just broke up with her fiance, Rob. She’s desperate and she wants him back. She would do anything to get him back. However, Rob finds new girlfriend called Sam and after a month, he wants to marry her. Sam is everything Vivian wants to be – she’s successful, gorgeous, smart, and interesting. Despite Rob and Sam’s engagement, Vivian tries so hard to get Rob back. She wants him back in a way that it’s so irritating and unbelievable. A thirtysometing-year-old woman would never do that. You can’t be that much desperate to ‘steal’ a man from another woman. Grown-ups don’t do that. Another thing that bothered me so much was that relationship between Vivian and her best friend Max. They have been best friends since college, and immediately after Vivian’s break up, she jumps into Max’s bed and they spend few days together. Max tells her he loves her. All that in two pages. Vivian tells him that she loves him too, but as soon as she leaves his apartment, she is back with her ex fiance. These things are WRONG. Also, the relationships between Vivian and her friends are just poor. For example, according to Vivian, Lucy is her best frend, but I can’t see that relationship that best friends are supposed to have. They are friends, but based on the conversations they have, they can’t be best friends. My favorite character is Max and there is one part in this book where the author describes Max’s place, and it’s probably my favorite part. Also, he’s an artist and I loved his passion for his work.

To sum it up, my big expectations made me slightly disappointed. This book is not for me, but according to other people’s reviews, people who got their heart broken loved this book and they say it helped them during their crisis. In case you are broken hearted, I suggest reading this book because it might make you feel better.

My rating: 2/5⭐

Posted in Book Reviews, Nekategorizirano

Book Review: Caravan by Adam de Collibus

✦ SYNOPSIS ✦
William Abney is a war journalist from London, England. After serving in the first world war as a photographer he returns to England and makes his living taking baby portraits. He gets desperate for money and decides to find another job. The novel opens with him going to an interview to work for a newspaper called, The London Dove. He meets Reginald, the owner of the newspaper, whose is an unstable alcoholic, and a little disillusioned. William senses that there isn’t something right in the job, but takes the job anyway. The Contract, proposed by Reginald, is that William travel first to Morocco then across the Sahara, taking pictures of the locals and anything of cultural value that can be used in the magazine, this demand for news on the cultures of North Africa coming from the British soldiers returning from fighting there.

William takes a ship to Arish, a town on the coast of Morocco. He stays there for several days and meets some very interesting characters, some openly cold to him, others extremely warm and welcoming. He sees that the population in the city are divided into three groups. The foreigners, manly Europeans coming because of the news from the soldiers, and the locals of Arish who are split into two groups, one side wants the foreigners there because they are good for business. The other half doesn’t because they have taken so much advantage of the foreigners being there that they unknowingly made it so that if the foreigners choose to suddenly leave a lot of business will go bankrupt and hard times will come.

William takes a caravan across the desert and little by little he becomes more interested in the desert. He becomes obsessed with seeing the dunes and feeling the silence at the center of the desert. During his travel he meets Hans, a chess champion from Germany whose history, like William’s, is marred by the First World War. He meets Alexander, a once wealthy factory man from England whose wife framed him and he is hiding in the desert. He becomes good friends with the leader of Caravan, Hakeem, a charismatic leader who has two sides, the fearless politician and the sensitive human side. He falls in love with a Gypsy woman who is travelling to a small village out of Yemen to see her grandfather, who is getting old. He also hears of a strange and frightening legend. The legend of The Desert King, a soldier whose soul was taken over by an evil spirit and who has spent the centuries hunting and killing anyone who crossed his sacred desert with his army of blood thirsty warriors.

When the caravan gets close to the middle of the desert, its most vulnerable point in the journey, William begins to think about his life in the caravan and realizes how much he loves his life here instead of the one lived in England. When William decides that he’s going to find a way to stay, the people of the caravan discover that their well is poisoned. Because of the vast amount of people affected by the poisoning the caravan has to stop and recover. People begin deserting the camp and more and more clues begin to reveal themselves to William in sinister ways that they are in fact being hunted. When he discovers who is hunting them it’s already to lateand what happens next forces William to fight for his life in the caravan and the lives of his friends.

✦ IMAGERY AND SYMBOLISM ✦
While I was reading this book, I couldn’t help but think of caravan in terms of life. For me, Caravan represents our different life phases. Each stop, each station stands for one phase in our life. For William, Caravan is a lifechanging experience and each station reveals something new. William, the man we meet in the beginning of the book, is not the same William in the end of this book and it’s fascinating. Caravan is historical fiction in terms of genre, but I think it is also psychological in some way. Its focus is also on human experience and feelings.
Another thing that I loved about this book is imagery. I absolutely love the author’s writing style. Adam de Collibus did an amazing job here and the beginning of the book is great. I’m not a huge fan of long, boring descriptions, but the author’s descriptions here absolutely blew me away.

The cobblestone street was empty and lined with lampposts glowing yellow in the fog. Over the roofs, long tongues of smoke emitted from industrial factories added to the grey sky. The coach came to a gradual stop on the left side of the street.

Adam de Collibus, Caravan

✦ WHEN CULTURES MIX ✦
What is really interesting is that contrast between cultures, and it is a huge deal in this book. There is some kind of anxious feeling between people – they are afraid of everything that is new. It’s fascinating how one foreigner can learn so many things by observing one culture. You just have to pay attention to it.

✦ OVERALL ✦
To sum it up, this book was good. It’s very different from my usual read and I somehow enjoyed reading it. The plot is very interesting and one can learn so many new things from this book. On the other hand, I found some unnecessary parts that could be left out and the story will still keep its powerful meaning. I’m glad I read this book and it’s a perfect read for my September reading challenge.

My rating: 3/5⭐

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Art of Breaking Things by Laura Sibson

In the tradition of Laurie Halse Anderson and Sara Zarr, one girl embraces the power of her voice: rules are meant to be broken and she won’t stay silent.

About The Art of Breaking Things

✦ SYNOPSIS ✦
Seventeen-year-old Skye has her sights set on one thing: getting the heck out of Dodge. Art school is her ticket out and she’s already been accepted to her first choice, MICA. All she has to do is survive her senior year, not get too drunk at parties, and be there for her little sister, Emma. Sure, she’s usually battling a hangover when she drives to pick Emma up, but she has everything under control. Until he returns.

When her mom’s ex boyfriend slithers his way back into her family, it’s all Skye can do to keep the walls of her world from crumbling. Her family has no idea Skye has been guarding a dark secret about her past – about him – and she never thought she would have to face him again. She knows she has to get away from him at all costs. But how can she abandon Emma?

Skye’s heart is torn between escaping the man who hurt her years ago and protecting her loved ones from the monster in their midst. Running away from her fears isn’t an option. To save her sister – and herself – she’ll have to break all the rules.

✦ SEXUAL ASSAULT, PEDOPHILIA, DRUG ABUSE ✦
Skye is an art student in high school and she works hard to get her scholarship at an art school. Her Mother and little sister are everything in her life. She loves them, but because of her secret – she can’t truly express her love for them. When she was twelve, Mother’s boyfriend, Dan molested her. Because of that, Skye hides herself in drugs – she drinks every night, she smokes joints, and she hits on the random guys.

The truth is that nobody knows how she feels. Even Sky herself don’t know what to do. She realizes that it is not natural that Dan touched her the way he did, but she can’t search for help when even her Mother doesn’t believe her. She’s on her own. Skye’s Mother is an alcoholic – she drinks every night and she is often moody. Because of that, it is difficult for Skye and Emma to have any kind of healthy relationship with their Mother.

Ben is a friend of Skye and she has a crush on him. He plays in a band and he does drugs at parties. Once he crosses the line, Ben’s parents send him to a rehabilitation centre expecting him to be clean after some time. They think Skye is the bad influence and they won’t let her get in touch with Ben. In some way, we realize that Ben is the one who badly influences Skye, because she just follows the pattern.


✦ ART AS A MEANS OF COMMUNICATION ✦
In this book, Skye uses art to express her thoughts and feelings. She has tried so many times to tell her Mother what Dan did that night, but somehow she couldn’t. She was scared and she thought that her Mother won’t believe her. She has tried once to tell her what happened, but she was too drunk to believe it. Skye sees her rescue in painting. Once, she starts working on that big, mosaic project – the truth comes out.

✦ CHARACTERS ✦
Skye is a brilliant and really strong character. Well, her only option is to be strong because she has to protect her little sister. She doesn’t want Emma to suffer the way Skye does. She is protective, but sometimes it cannot be seen because Skye shows her love towards Emma and her Mother in a wrong way. I think that’s because they, as a family, never had a healthy relationships. They could never talk about their feelings and secrets. There was no time for such things.

The little Emma is so smart and energetic character. She is amazing and even though she is only twelve, she knows how to deal with problems. I think she was forced to mature early. There are times when their Mother cannot take care of them just because she is drunk. Their Mother is the weakest character and her miserable life destroyed the perfect childhood.

‘There’s no such thing as perfect, Lu,’ I say softly.
‘Because we’re all a little fucked-up.’ I poke her in the arm and she looks at me,unsmiling. ‘That’s what makes us interesting.’

The Art of Breaking Things, Laura Sibson

✦ OVERALL ✦
This is a glorious book and I am so happy I got the chance to read it. It was emotional and I wanted to hug Skye and give her some love, she really deserves it. It broke my heart that she went through so many things alone. I love the strength in her and she will always be my hero, my super woman.
On the other hand, I hate Dan and I think the ending isn’t so strong. I don’t like how he just vanishes into a thin air. I think the ending could be a bid different and I felt like the book is unfinished.
To sum it up, I quite enjoyed reading this book and I will definitely read more of Laura Sibson books.

My rating: 3.5/5⭐

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Dark Soul Experiments by Bre Hall

What if you could relive a past life by touching a piece of it?

✦ SYNOPSIS ✦
Ren Morris is a snarky, sixteen-year-old girl living in the middle of nowhere. When she meets cute and mysterious Peter in the local antique shop one day, he buys her the most unique charm bracelet she’s ever seen. Soon, she discovers an object hidden inside one of the charms and is transported to Civil War-era South Carolina, where she lands in the body of Southern Belle, Charlotte, one of her past lives, just days before Charlotte’s death.

When Ren returns to the present, Peter explains that her soul has been cursed. Splintered. She has been forced to die tragically, and far too young, in each lifetime. It will happen again – soon – unless Ren can trust Peter and his unconventional experiments to help stitch her soul back together and stop the curse once and for all.

As Ren begins to discover her past lives, she also realizes just what’s worth living for in her present one. But when she uncovers a secret, Ren starts to question the outcome of the experiments and whether or not falling into the past will in fact save her from a doomed future or if it will be her final undoing.

✦ CHARACTERS ✦
I think that Ren is a brilliant character and, in this story, she is a heroine. I love her so much! She is curious and energetic, but aren’t all teenagers like that? She is so caring and kind! I liked the way she treats her Father and Gran . Huh, her grandma is annoying, but I still found her funny, she always makes that special kind of orders like putting Whiskey in her tea, she is hillarious.

Also, I really liked Alfie, especially in the first half of the book. He is protective, brave and clever. He is a real gentleman and I think he was ready to die for Ren. However, the author had something different in their mind.. *no spoiler*

Am I allowed to say that I have some feelings for Peter? I know that I am not supossed to like him or anything, but I fell for him from the beginning. Is it possible to like someone who is not a good person? Yes, it is definitely possible. He is selfish, arrogant, but oh how handsome and intelligent! I want to read the story from Peter’s point of view, please.

The guy we’re actually looking for is about five-foot-ten, curly black hair, jawline models envy. He also has a tattoo of a bird’s wing on one of his fingers.

Dark Soul Experiments, Bre Hall

✦ RELATIONSHIPS ✦
My favourite relationship was that between Ren and Alfie. Their friendship is everything. Alfie is so understanding and protective and he is just amazing. Everyone needs one Alfie in their life.

How long have we been friends?
What does this have to do with anything?
Just answer the question, will you?
She shrugged. I don’t know. Forever?
Exactly. ,he said. I’ve put up with your wild antics forever and I’m going to keep putting up with them, I’m going to keep being here. Forever.

Dark Soul Experiments, Bre Hall

✦ MAGIC ✦
Another important factor is definitely magic. Beside humans, we learn about Discentem and Auxilium, whose brains are structured to function on a larger scale than humans. I loved how Ren learns to levitate it was so magical. My favourite was the ability to move the objects around her, it is amazing.

✦ OVERALL ✦
I loved this book so much. I cried, I laughed, and I enjoyed. And I would do it again, it’s worth it. Everything in this book was perfect for me! The plot is very unique and interesting. I also loved the concept of story within a story.
My favourite thing about the book is the character development. They are wonderful and so realistic that they made me feel like I am a part of their story.

The book will be available on 8/6/2019
It is definitely a five-star read for me, I highly recommend this book.