Reading Ireland Month 2017!

Reading Ireland Month is back and I couldn’t be happier about it! RIM is a month long celebration of everything Irish hosted by Cathy Brown @ 746 Books and Niall @ Raging Fluff. This glorious event lasts for the entire month of March and you are more than welcome to join!

This year I’ll be focusing more on watching rather than reading but there are quite a few Irish-themed movies and TV shows I’d like to get to in March.

What better time to educate myself on the history of a country I find so fascinating?

1. The Story of Ireland

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2. Siege of Jadotville

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3. Rebellion

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February 2017 Wrap – Up

February was a very intense month in terms of reading (as you will see in a minute). It was a roller coaster of ‘I’m loving it-I don’t want to come near it ever again-I’m glad I read it-I need a recovery & a nap’

1. Here Are The Young Men – Rob Doyle (read in English)

“Here are the Young Men tells the story of four young men: Cocker, Rez, Kearney and Matthew. Facing into the void that is the rest of their post-school lives, they spend their first summer of freedom in an orgy of self-destruction. Murder, suicide, rape and torture suddenly take a very real shape in their lives, leaving them with a single way out that carries profound moral consequences.”

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It took me almost 30 days to finish this which is quite some time for a 300 page book. I found it very difficult to read for a number of reasons. First of all it is filled with Irish slang  which I found quite troublesome to follow. I needed much help from my lovely Irish friends (thank you Cathy !).

Second of all it was incredibly emotionally draining. It was probably one of  the most emotionally heavy stories I’ve read in a long while. Many times I found myself recoiling and cringing, seriously considering putting the book down. It was a very odd reading experience. On one hand I was on the verge of not finishing the book. On the other I couldn’t keep it out of my head. I still can’t if I’m being honest). After (after a long while) finishing it I had to reread Harry Potter to help restore my inner peace.

I don’t want to go into much detail about the plot because in this case it’s quite difficult to do that without giving too much away. In this case the less you know the better.

It definitely isn’t for everyone. It’s dark, gritty, painfully realistic and disturbing to the core.

I’ve gotten to a conclusion I am yet to find a book written by an Irishman that won’t leave me emotionally drained.

2. The Borgia Apocalypse: The Screenplay – Neil Jordan (read in English)

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Ever since watching Showtime’s historical fiction drama The Borgias I’ve been obsessed with this utterly fascinating family. I read every book I could find regarding the Borgias, watch every documentary (I have a notebook in which I take notes to educate myself. I clearly have a problem, I know). I rewatched Neil Jordan’s TV show so many times it’s not even funny anymore. I was devastated when it was cancelled after its third season. So you can only imagine how extatic  I was to find out The Borgia Apocalypse existed. This is what would have been (and should have been) a proper conlusion to this epic series. As the title suggests it’s a screenplay for the two-hour episode wrapping up the story.

 As it is “last episode” in the series I won’t go into details on the plot. I will say though that I’m pleased with the conclusion (and in denial that I’m done with this series for good). As a whole it doesn’t follow the historical events very closely but I loved it either way. I’m very grateful to Neil Jordan for giving us a chance to know how this story ends.

3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling (read in English)

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This was something I desperately needed after reading Here Are The Young Men. (It has taken its toil if you couldn’t tell by now). This and funny cat videos on YouTube. A reread was in order.

How was your February? 

Watching Wrap-Up | February 2017

I’ve been watching much more TV than reading books as of late (in fact I always have – I watch approximately 4-5 movies a week) so I thought I’d share with you everything I watched (and rewatched) in February.

 

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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This was a rewatch for me and I loved it even more the second time around. The chemistry between all the characters, incredible music. I laughed and cried and laughed and cried some more. One more thing: Ezra Miller is too precious for this wretched world and should be protected at all costs.

2. The Hot Wet American Summer: First Day of Camp

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I expected a light-hearted comedy. It stars Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler and Bradley Cooper so I was sure I was in for a treat. Only…I wasn’t. Even cast like this didn’t save it. It was trying too hard with very dry and almost no-brainer humor. I do enjoy comedy but it was too much.

3. Killing Jesus

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This is a TV miniseries chronicling the life of Jesus of Nazareth based on The New York Times best seller by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Seeing that it stars legends such as John Rhys-Davies and Ridley Scott himself was involved in the production I was very much surprised to have found it on National Geographic one day. I really enjoyed this one for it showed Jesus’ life through the conflicts between the authority, church, politic and social expectations of the era. In the end it shows Jesus as a man who stood in a way of those in power and as such was cruelly punished and made an example of. It is a very well done movie and I’d highly recommend it.

4. The Crown

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I’m pretty sure I don’t have to introuce this one to you. It’s been wildly popular and critically acclaimed. All the hype surrounding The Crown is completely justified. This is how I like my costume historical dramas. Historically accurate, beautifully shot, with outstanding acting and breathtaking music. I found this one very educational as well. I cannot wait for the future seasons.

5. Broadchurch (season 1 & 2)

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My mom recommended this one to me I am officialy hooked (meaning I binged 16 episodes in 4 days). Ever since watching (and absolutely adoring) The Night Manager a few months back, I am a huge fan of Olivia Colman. I did not however know what a ray of very grim, sarcastic sunshine Alec Hardy played by David Tennant was (suffice to say I became a fan).

It’s that typical small British town murder mystery and now I’m certain that this is exactly what I love watching. Any recommendations of something similar?

6. Riverdale (eps 1-5)

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Teen drama meets murder mistery in this one. Sign me up! It’s much less predictable than I anticipated. This isn’t something I’d normally watch but…I’m loving it! it’s strangely addictive and I must say that I love Jughead with a fiery passion.

Have you seen any of these? What did you think?

Have you watched something worth recommending lately? Please share in the comments!

January 2017 Wrap – Up

One month down. Eleven more to go! I cannot believe that January is over. How did that happen so fast?! Anyway, today I’m sharing with you all the things I read last month. It’s definitely not much but I fairly enjoyed everything I read. From now on for every book I read in Polish I’ll add the cover of the edition I read.

 

1. Batman: Year One – Frank Miller, David Mazzucchelli, Richmond Lewis

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An absolute classic. This volume tells the story of the first year of Bruce Wayne as Batman. Great place to start with this iconic character.

 

2. Batman: The Man Who Laughs – Ed Brubaker, Doug Mahnke, Patrick Zircher

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Chronologically it comes directly after Batman: Year One. In this one we learn more about Batman’s first encounter with his gratest nemesis – the Joker. I really enjoyed this one.

3. The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) – Brandon Sanderson

I’ve heard only fantastic things about this trilogy (and Brandon Sanderson in general) so I thought I’d give it a go. My first thought? Why didn’t I read it sooner?! It has everything I look for in a fantasy novel. The world building is outstanding. So well crafted and complex, yet you don’t get confused despite the abundance of details thrown at you from almost very beginning. The magic system is unique. Incredibly fast-paced and engrossing. Likeable characters, healthy dose of sarcasm. It’s the perfect combination. Imagine Ocean’s Eleven with magic and political intrigue driven story. But darker. Much darker. Needless to say I loved it and am looking forward to continuing with the rest of the series.

 

4. The Walking Dead vol. 27: The Whisperer War – Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano

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This volume isn’t out yet but I’ve been buying the single issues individually as they came out each month just so I could read them as soon as I can. Over 160 (!) issues into the story and I still don’t get bored. This series never fails to keep me at the edge of my seat. One more thing I’ll be always grateful for is how much my vocabulary has improved (swear words wise) over the years of reading TWD.

5. The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5) – Brandon Sanderson

Small but rather interesting addition to the first book in the series. I’m officialy obsessed.

 

6. Asking for it – Louise O’Neill

Definitely one of the most important books I’ve read so far. I’ve been praising Louise O’Neill’s work ever since I read “Only Ever Yours”. I’ve been recommending her books to anyone and everyone who’d listen (and tho those who wouldn’t but that’s a completely different story). I even went as far as recommending Asking For It long before I read it myself. Why? I’ve never done that before. I knew I would love it (I don’t think that the best word to use in this case but you get the idea) and I knew this book should be read and talked about.

It’s not an easy read and not a pleasent one. Many times I found myself cringing and wanting to throw the book at the wall screaming my guts out. But it’s an important story. Why? Because it can happen to any of us. It tells the story of Emma O’Donovan who after a party wakes up on the porch of her house not remembering anything that happend to her the night before. But everyone around does.

Asking For It is about rape culture. How the victim has to fight to prove that she’s not the one to blame. How she has to prove to everyone around her (in many cases herself included) that she’s the victim. It’s about people who are so quick to judge knowing only pieces of information (or not knowing anything at all). Sounds familiar? Yes. Beacuse it happens everywhere all the time. There are houndreds of thousands Emmas out there.

I found this book extremely difficult to read. It made me mad. As simple as that. This isn’t sugar coated. It’s brutaly honest and real. And you won’t like it. But that’s the reality of it all.  Please read it and share it with your loved ones.

 

I had a fantastic reading month. What are some of your January favourites?

Stars in Her Hair Art subscription box! February | Review

I was very kindly sent first Stars in Her Hair Art subscription box for review by lovely Lucy Lapinski who’s one very crafty lady (which I’ll prove in a minute). She’s also an author of YA fiction and colorful hair enthusiast. You should definitely follow her on Twitter if you don’t already (cute pictures, feminism & and broadly defined sassiness, do you need more convivcing?).

But let’s go back to the main thing, shall we? Right. This is a review which by definition means that a reviewer (me) shares with an audience (you) her thoughts on certain product. Let me start by saying that now I fully understand why people choose to start You Tube channels instead of traditional blogs. How can one express lots of squealing and other unearthly noises on a page? Exactly. Therefore this is where the “traditional review” part ends. I’ll do my best tho. Bear with me.

Stars in Her Hair Art is Etsy shop which is a paradise for every scrapbooking & journaling loving folk. You can find there all sorts of vintage prints (also framed), paper ephemera and subscription boxes!

Theme for February  was “Feathers and Wings” and let me spoil this review for you: I LOVED IT.

My first thought (and sound I made) when I opened the box was: how cute! But no, seriously everything was so cute (impressive vocabulary, don’t you think?) but most importantly great quality. You can definitely tell that so much effort goes into each item put in the box. My second thought? I’m not gonna be able to use any of it. (What a great thing to say in a review) Why, you may ask? Because I’m not even half as talented as I’d like to be and I don’t want to ruin all of it with my futile attempts at being crafty.

Now let me take you through the contents of the box (incoherent thoughts may occur, deal with it).

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Who doesn’t love tissue paper? Excitment was real!

 

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Oil Pastels – again, great quality
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Canvas – this is one item I’m particularly reluctant to use. You’ve got only one shot at this. And I’m not throwing away mine! (ignore that inadvertent Hamilton reference). 
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Stickers! I’m unhealthy fond of stickers (in all honesty, who isn’t?)
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I’ve heard myths about the wonders of washi tape and I’m unable to express how excited I am for this. 
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Lovely vintige print which I’ll be surely hanging on my wall.
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I know this is a tag of sorts (it is, right?) but excuse me while I use it as a bookmark. I mean, it has ribbon (don’t judge me).
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Set of Mountain Birds stamps. I can’t wait to use it!
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Even the business cards are so nice and sturdy! (another perfect bookmark material. I have a problem, I know).
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Paper ephemera pack – lovely prints of birds (I already used some of them in my own journal and they look fabulous)

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Another case of “too cute to use it” item  – a vintige-looking card. 

To sum it all up: I LOVED everything in the box and if you’re into scrapbooking, journaling and all things crafty you will love it too.

Now the most important part: where can you buy Stars in Her Hair Art subscription box?

Go to Stars in Her Hair Etsy Shop and simply choose between:

  • one-off for £20.00 (plus shipping)

  • 4-month Subscription for £35.00 (plus shipping)

  • 8-month Subscription for £68.00 (plus shipping)

Boxes are bi-monthly, posted on the first of every alternate month (February, April, June, etc.). Each one contains around 20 items based on a theme. The next box available to order ships in APRIL, and the box theme is: MAPS AND TRAVEL (trust me, you don’t want to miss this one).

SIHH ships internationally so you have no excuse not to get it.

! Remember: Orders must be received by the 25th of the preceding month (ie to order April’s box, you must order by the 25th March).

Get yourself a box of goodies and get crafty!

Thank you so so much Lucy for sending the box my way!

December 2016 Wrap-Up

Coming to you a bit late but better late than never, right?

 

1. Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith (Cormoran Strike #3)

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“When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.”

Definitely my favourite in the series thus far. Both in terms of the crime mystery itself and relationships between the characters. 

 

2. Hammer of Thor – Rick Riordan (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #2)

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Thor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn’t just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki–and the price he wants is very high.”

These books are growing on me. Now that I learn more about Norse mythology I feel less detached from the story. I simply adore the humor (as always) and diversity of the characters. I love how all of his books entwine in some ways. Last sentence got me ridiculously excited for the final instalment!

3. The Last Wish – Andrzej Sapkowski (The Witcher #1)

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“Geralt of Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin.

And a cold-blooded killer.

His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world.

But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good. . . and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth. ”

I had really high hopes for this one. Knowing The Witcher inspired wildly popular game series that is loved by millions around the world, I expected to be blown away. Only, it didn’t happen. It was okay and nothing more. Maybe it was the format? This is a collection of introductionary short stories which put me off slightly. I expected more from this one. I am however willing to give the next book a chance.

4. Girl, Interrupted – Susana Kaysen

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“In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she’d never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele — Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles — as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its sanctuary. “

This was the December pick for The Mad Women’s Book Club hosted by Kirsty over at The Literary Sisters.

The Mad Women’s Book Club is a GoodReads group focused on reading books by and about women, historically and contemporarily, who have been termed ‘mad’ in some way. You are more than welcome to join us!  

I really enjoyed this one especially as an insight into the  reality of a psychiatric hospital in the 60’s. For me it rouses a question about the representation of psychiatric care in modern literature and in media in general. As much as it is fascinating to read about it from the historical perpective of a different time period I do belive we need more modern depiction of psychiatric hospital care.  Most importantly positive examples of patient-friendly environment. Especially now when more people suffer form various mental ilnesses and seek professional care. 

The Rapid Fire Book Tag

I first saw this tag on Naz’s blog over at Read Diverse Books. Although it seems like a lot of questions to get through (in all honesty, it is a lot of questions) I think they might help you to get to know me a little bit better (bookishwise at least).

Let us begin!

 

1. E-book or Physical Book?

It depends on the font size if I’m being honest. I do love my Kindle with a fiery passion because I can make the font as big as I want. So there’s a tie.

2. Paperback or Hardback?

Paperbacks all the way. They are much cheaper and much more comfortable to hold.

3. Online or in store book shopping?

I buy all my books online although I do love spending hours (lireally) browsing through bookshelves and just staring at books.

4. Trilogies or Series?

It is the story that matters the most doesn’t it?

5. Heroes or Villains?

I simply adore well crafted villains. The more psychologically ambiguous the better.

6. A book you want everyone to read?

First of all: it is impossible to choose just one. I love recommending books to people, so let me bend the rules a little bit and give you more than one recommendation.
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7. Recommend an underrated book?   

Another difficult one. My most beloved books are rarely talked about. One I’ll recommend might appeal to everyone. Erich Segal’s Love Story tells a tragic love story. There’s also a movie adaptation of it. Even though it is critically acclaimed I don’t know many people who’ve read it (or seen the movie for that matter).

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8. The last book you finished?

Batman: The Man Who Laughs – Ed Brubaker 

9. The last book you bought?

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

10. Weirdest thing you’ve used as a bookmark?

My phone

11. Used books: Yes or no?

YES!

12. Top three favorite genres?

Fantasy

Contemporary

Comics

13. Borrow or buy?

I do love my library, so borrow obviously.

14. Characters or plot?

Both need to be written well to captivate the reader, so…

15. Long or short books?

It doesn’t really matter

16. Long or short chapters?

See question 15

17. Name the first book you think of…

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18. Books that make you laugh or cry?

Both, depending on the mood.

19. Our world or fictional worlds?

Definitely fictional.

20. Audiobooks: Yes or no?

YES! You can read with your eyes closed and multitask like a pro. Who’d say no to that?

21. Do you ever judge a book by its cover?

Shame on me…

22. Book to movie or book to TV adaptations? 

I do enjoy both, again, depending on the story.

23. A movie or TV show you preferred to its book?

Hands down Bridget Jones’s Diary. The book lacks everything I love about the movie.

24. Series or standalones? 

I do enjoy both. Long series do intimidate me though.

 

It took a while but I did it!

 

 

 

#ReadDiversely 2017

This year I want to make more concious choices when it comes to reading. For the last couple of months I definitely have been reading more diversely.

Still, not diversely enough. There are so many amazing books out there I haven’t read yet, and would love to get to in the upcoming months. So here  I made a list of books I plan on reading in 2017!

I won’t be reading them in any specific order because any sort of strict TBR doesn’t work for me, but I’ll be for sure reading at least one of these books a month. If you’d like to join me for a buddyread I’d be very happy!

 

The Dreamblood Duology – N. K. Jemisin 

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‘In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers – the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe – and kill those judged corrupt.’ 
David Levithan – Two Boys Kissing 
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‘New York Times  bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS.

While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.’

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli

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‘Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.’

 

Lies We Tell Ourselves – Robin Talley 

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‘In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.

Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.

Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept separate but equal.

Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.

Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence it.’

 

A Torch Against the Night – Sabaa Tahir 

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‘Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.’

 

Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi 

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‘The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoingtraces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indelibly drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.

Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.’

 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexieimages

‘Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.’

 

Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

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‘Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.’

 

Twelve Years a Slave – Solomon Northup

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‘Perhaps the best written of all the slave narratives, Twelve Years a Slave is a harrowing memoir about one of the darkest periods in American history. It recounts how Solomon Northup, born a free man in New York, was lured to Washington, D.C., in 1841 with the promise of fast money, then drugged and beaten and sold into slavery. He spent the next twelve years of his life in captivity on a Louisiana cotton plantation.’

 

A Darker Shade of Magic – Victoria Shwab

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‘Kell is one of the last travelers–magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King–George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered–and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London–a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand. .

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.’

 

A Gathering of Shadows – Victoria Shwab

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‘It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift–back into Black London.

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games–an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries–a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.’

Favourite Books of 2016!

As 2016 is coming to a close (We can all agree it is about time) I thought I’d share with you my favourite books of the year.

The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss 

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“Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.

The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.

A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.”

 The first book in Patrick Rothfuss’ high fantasy trilogy took me by surprise. I’d heard only praises for his works but the lenght of the novel intimidated me. I never expected to be so immersed in the story. His world – building is exquisite. So ditaled and vivid. I flew through 662 pages in no time.

 

When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

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“At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor making a living treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. Just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.”

I truly believe that this is one book everyone should read and would benefit from doing so. Regardless of your background: whether you are a healthcare proffesional/med/nursing student or a complete layman, Paul’s story will move you in one way or another.

 

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) – Rick Riordan 

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“How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favour.

But Apollo has many enemies—gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go… an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.”

I’ve been Rick Riordan’s fan for years. I’ve read everything he’s written and will be rereading his books until I’m 90. For me they are comparable to Harry Potter. Especially his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and companion series Heroes of Olympus. The Hidden Oracle combining the two brings back all the chracters I love. It’s nostalgic and ridiculously funny and I love it to pieces.

 

A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J Maas

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Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.”

It is book two in Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses. I fairly enjoyed the first book (A Court of Thorns and Roses) so I was excited to read the second installment. Let me tell you: I LOVED IT! In fact I read it twice and plan on rereading it once again (and again and again) in a very near future). It was so much better than the first one. It is a perfect comfort read. It just makes me feel good.

 

More Happy Than Not – Adam Silvera

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“In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?”

It was a roller coaster of emotions. It made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me angry but in the end left me very hopeful. I want to run around handing people copies of it and scream at them: READ IT! I wrote a full review having read only 52% of the story. You can read it here.

 

Vicious – V.E. Shwab

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“Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?”

No list of favourites would be complete without Shwab’s Vicious. I picked it up on a whim thinking it was a standalone (IT IS NOT. I’M IN DENIAL THAT I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL 2018 FOR THE NEXT BOOK. Luckily there’s a prequel short story you can read for free ). I simply found a new favourite author. Her writing is so comforting. Story itself isn’t like anything I’ve read before. Ambiguous characters, revenge, anti-heroes and superpowers. What else would you want?

 

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

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“Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living”

Definitely one of the most important books I’ve read in my entire life. The first ever book to make me cry (not because of Lou and Will’s love story). It shook me to the core. I’m terrified to reread it.
Have you read any of these? What are some of your favourite books of 2016?

Stoneface Films Podcast – Review (sorta)

 

Today’s post won’t be about books (I know what you’re gonna say: This is ola READS! What is the meaning of this?!) You know what? Ola LISTENS to stuff too (now I’m talking in third person and it’s getting weirder by the minute). But let’s get back on track, shall we?

I do love listening to podcasts. Those of you who have to endure neverending commute to work every single day will surely understand. And what can work better to brighten up your mood than 3 bearded Irish lads talking absolute nonsense? Exactly.

Stoneface Films Podcast is the product of three extraordinary gents’ creation. Hosts Jon Hozier Byrne and Davey Reilly are joined by the Engineer, Rob O’Sullivan (aka the biggest Star Wars fan ever known) to bring us joy and sparkles twice a week.

They are each week joined by guests to answer questions asked via Twitter. And those questions are of the utmost importance. Ever wondered who’d win in a fist fight between Margaret Thatcher and Hilary Clinton? Wanted someone to explain the theory of communism using a sandwich? Look no further. Stoneface Films’s got you covered. And this is all as ridiculous and fabulous as it sounds.

I must warn you though. It should be labelled “Listen at your own risk. May cause uncontrollable bursts of laughter. Should under no circumstances be listened to while drinking / eating” (Unless you want to choke to death. This is something I’ve learned from experience).

Where else you’d be able to find soon to become classic lines such us: “Dudes that wrote the Bible”, “I was about to say I adore handjobs. I adore the term handjobs because of the lack of ambition it represents…there’s a great pessimism to it that I really enjoy.” or “There’s a beautiful sadness to the term wank.”?

If you’re into comedy and all things nerdy you absolutely can’t miss this one!

Be sure to check  Stoneface Films Podcast out and join the craic on Twitter !