Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review : Delirium #1

      Lena Haloway, who is almost eighteen years old, preparing herself to get the procedure to be cured from the disease that everybody in her world feared, amor deliria nervosa aka love. It's a society where love is forbidden and scientists found a cure to eradicate it. Lena was always an obedient girl, can't wait to get her procedure done but just then with few weeks left, everything changes and she is the one who changes it. But what kind of change could that be in a cruel world like hers?

      I was hypnotized by Lauren Oliver's style of writing and her creativity in forming Lena's world. A superb prose, leaving the boring details, yet I was able to picture it all.

     Oliver's world-building and perspective of the story which I thought was overstated turned out to be something that I fantasize and I feel it's something that exists in our real world, not to the point of course but just the concept of it.  

    Lena's character transition was fantastic, she was torn, almost through the whole story, between what's right and wrong, seeing Alex, continuing with procedure, I mean she was confused and I don't blame her. She started off as a true believer in the whole cure thing, but not until she meets Alex. 

    Alex was an Invalid, a perfect guy and just lovable, she falls in love with him, and gets infected by the end. Regarding how she first met Alex on her evaluation day, I think was admirable and we witnessed it from the very beginning.

   The friendship relation between Lena and Hana was rather convincing and touching, I saw in Hana a tough girl yet I really wanted to know more about her. Oliver just lightened up in her innovation of the characters. 
Despite being annoyed by the fact that it reminds me of the Uglies series at the beginning, especially in the part of Hana's influence on Lena, I really liked it. A cliff-hanger ending, it was intense and left me startled. Even in the middle of the story where things were starting to get even more suspense, I was like " Oh my God, no way " for the rest of it. I just can't wait to start reading the second book Pandemonium which I'm super excited about. I'd recommend this book, one of my favourites.

Author : Lauren Oliver
Grade Rating : A

Followed by : Pandemonium
Pages : 441

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Book Review : Where She Went #2

       Three years ago, the accident that altered Mia's life and separated her from Adam, affecting their lives and destroying their love. With  her moving to NewYork at Julliard and Adam in Oregeon, playing with his band. After Mia's sudden cut off with Adam, his strong stream of depression resulted in his band's breakout records. Yet Adam couldn't just forget her, let her go as he promised without a goodbye at least and without knowing the reason for leaving him. Now Adam is a popular rock-star and Mia is a professional cellist, living across the country from each other. Luckily, Adam by chance went to one of her concerts in NewYork and met her, spend a night roaming in NewYork. But will Adam be able to handle Mia's answer to his question? And will they rekindle their love or ever be together again?   
      Where She Went is the sequel to Forman's If I Stay which i have a review on. However, being one of the few readers who weren't wowed by If I Stay, I should say that I enjoyed this book and I was eager to finish it. Yet this isn't one of my top favourites, I mean there are lots of books out there and this was just a fun read.
      Nonetheless, the fact that this book was written from the point of view of Adam was tremendous actually. The book was well written and to some point unpredictable.    

" If you stay, I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll quit the band, go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I’ll do that, too. Maybe coming back to your old life would just be too painful, maybe it’d be easier for you to erase us. And that would suck, but I’d do it. I can lose you like that if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay. "
      This was the vow that Adam gave to Mia during her coma three years ago which sort of touched me but now they have a new vow, but can you guess what it could be?
      Forman was able to take this tagic story to a whole another level in this book, once from Mia's POV and now from Adam's, totally different and emphatic to get in his mind. Although I saw that Adam sometimes overreacted, I liked him as a person and as for Mia, I can see how vulnarable she is and its totally okay after what she had been through, yet she did make wrong decisions.
      Overall, I liked this book much more and if you're like me and didn't enjoy the first book, you'll enjoy this one. I'd recommend it.

Author : Gayle Forman

Grade Rating : B+
If I Stay : Review

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book Review : If I Stay #1

   The 17 years old Mia once had  a traditional teenage life with a lovely family. She was a passionate cellist with big dreams and a chance to be at Julliard. But in a single moment, everything changes. On a snowy day, school is off as well as her parents' work. Mia couldn't remember except that she was riding along a snow, wet road with her family to visit her grandparents and winds up in a coma and wakes up to see that she had lost her parents and her brother, Teddy in an accident. This accident which has changed her life abruptly and forever. Yet, Mia finds herself between life and death, watching her shattered body in a ghost like state. What will she choose, to stay and fight for what she has left or to give up and follow her family and leave her life, present and future ?

       If I Stay is a heartbreaking story but honestly not to the point that could make you cry. Yet it makes you see what's worth it around you, and that life can be full of choices. Nonetheless, everything can be gone in a blink. 

    So I first heard of this book's sequel which is Where She Went and it was raved about, and so I knew that I had to read this book first which I honestly didn't enjoy that much at the beginning. Yet this book is a book where you can only either like or dislike. Forman did write this book well, and through out the story, Mia tells it in an out-of-body experience which is an catchy idea and interesting.

    After seeing herself in the hospital and during the 24 hour course after that horrific accident, Mia starts remembering her past and her memories with her family and how it would be if she is back to life without them, not in chapters but in different times during that 24 hours  and it's cool how everything and everybody she sees in her ghost state brings us a memory, showing us her past. Ultimately,  she was desperate, seemed to be realizing whats happening and that this choice might the most difficult choice she will ever have to take. She even once said: 

    " Its possible that her funeral will also be mine. There's something comforting in that. To go down as a family. No one left behind. "

which sort of struck me. As for her romance with her boyfriend, Adam. I needed more about it but still, the fact that they knew each other before the accident, something we didn't witness through reading, made it more real than a typical teenager love story.

    I do like this book, it exposes simple feelings of a teenager in our real world and the uncertainty and fragility against the world, and I recommend it, it's a good YA novel but I feel that I can't completely judge until reading it's sequel Where She Went which I'm looking forward to.

Author : Gayle Forman
Grade Rating : C
Followed by : Where She Went
Pages : 234

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Multiethnic Society : Brazil

       The sights and sounds were once drawn to the diverse of the Brazilian culture which reflects an ethnic and culture mixing due to the occurrence of colonization, involving mostly Native Americans, Portuguese, Africans, Spanish and Japanese and Arab immigrants, creating a multiethnic society.                                 
After three hundred years of colonization by the Portuguese and as a consequence, the framework of the Brazilian culture was derived from the culture of Portugal, was then influenced by the Native Americans and Africans traditions and others. This diverse culture has helped boast many celebrations that have become known all around the world, such as the Brazilian Carnival and the Bumba Meu Boi, making it a destination for many tourists every year.
       The official language in Brazil is Portuguese spoken by 99% of the population making it a national identity. Minority languages are spoken throughout the nation, one hundred and eighty Amerindian languages spoken in some remote areas, also significant German and Italian speakers in the south. Catholicism was introduced and spread by the Portuguese Jesuits, which identified the religion of the Brazilian culture, was also recently introduced to Protestantism, which became the second religion right after Catholicism.
      The Amazon Jungle, a tropical forest which covers most of the Amazon River, which is the second longest river in the world. The Victoria Amazonica water lilies which is found in the Amazon River, is a species of flowering plants. A long time ago, the indigenous people from Northern Brazil, they had a legend that said that every night, when the moon hid behind the hills far off on the horizon, it was going to live together with its favorite young ladies, if it could like one single girl, it would transform her into a star of the sky.
      Once, a princess was impressed with that story. So, at night, when everybody was sleeping and the moon was traveling across the sky, the princess wanted to be a star, so she walked up to the hills and chased the moon, hoping the moon could see her up in the hills. And so she did, every night, for a very long time. But the moon didn't seem to notice her .One night, the princess saw, in the clear waters of a lake, the image of the moon. The innocent girl wondered if the moon had come down to take her away, so she jumped in the deep waters to join the moon. She was never seen again. The moon, in return for the beautiful princess's sacrifice, transformed her into a different star, the moon transformed her into a "Star of the Waters", whose flower is the "Vitória Régia".
     At that moment, a new plant was born, whose scented white flowers blossom and unfurl only at night. And, when the sun appears in the early morning, the flowers change their colo to soft pink.
Capital : Brasília
Population : 192 Millions
Currency : Real     
        So this post is just for fun. I hope you guys liked it, and my upcoming book review will be about If I Stay by Gayle Forman, so stay tuned.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Review : Forever - The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3

       With Grace turning into a wolf, things got even harder. She and Sam, couldn't see each other for months. Yet trying to handle things, another problem popped up, the pack's safety and so Sam lodged Grace with him. And with her and Cole, they tried to figure things out while it was getting intense between him and Isabel and with him doing science experiments, trying to find a cure for the whole werewolf thing. Will they really ever find a cure? And if not how could Sam and Grace find a way to be in the same form at the same time? and which form should it be?
       In the last book of The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater, things are finally coming to an end. Forever is written from the point of view of Sam, Grace, Isabel, Cole and Shelby and reading from different aspects really helps in getting into the story way more better. This trilogy centers around the whole-hearted love between Sam and Grace and how they seem to complete each other, their love story was spellbinding, Sam and Beck, a father and a son relationship and Cole and Isabel, all weaved with paranormal events.
       Cole and Isabel, their humor, wrangle, dark twists and their affection toward each other. Cole stealing the show with his science experiments and his mature personality. I, at first, thought of him as a careless cute guy, with his rock star grin but his personality develops, also Isabel, I loved her in this book, she cared about her friends which I didn't think she was capable of. They both shone as a highlight through out the pages of the book. I really hope for a spin off novel for them.
      Stiefvater is a fantastic writer. She is able to capture the scenes quite well and deliver it to the reader. Out of the three books Forever is definitely my favourite. In this book i was always dying to know what will happen next, thrilled and anxious. Although I didn't like the ending, it didn't clarify much, leaving me guessing, which I'm not a fan of. You'll be like " No, no, no this can't be it " searching through the last pages seeing if you missed one or something.
   However, I really do recommend this series, you may not be as excited when reading the 1st book but as you go on, you will like it. Recommended if you like romantic paranormal young adult type of stories.

Author : Maggie Stiefvater
Grade Rating : A+

First 2 books review :
     Shiver : Review
     Linger : Review

Pages : 390

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Book Review : Linger - The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2

      Grace and Sam were eager to finally stay together for good, as the problem of Sam's turning to a wolf was solved. Yet leaving a bigger problem, her parents. Until Grace started having headache, almost all the time and fever, thinking it was just a virus, Grace knew that there was more to it than a normal illness. But are they to lose each other again yet after struggling to be together ?
     Linger is the second book in The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy and the sequel to Shiver, which if you haven't read alreadyyou can check my review on it http://booka-holic.blogspot.com/2012/02/book-review-shiver-maggie-stiefvater.html. As i didn't enjoy Shiver as this one, i felt that it was sort of setting up the story for Linger. Linger was written from the point of view of Grace, Sam, Isabel and Cole. Cole is the newest member of the pack, whose own past was a double-edged weapon as it might expose the whole pack but at the same time he was a hero. The storyline of him and Isabel, who was nonetheless drawn to him, gave the story a whole another dimension although it wasn't much, I'm looking forward for more in the next book
      Grace's absent minded parents came into the light in this book, making it harder for both Sam and Grace, seeing Sam as a bad influence on their daughter, more likely acting like parents and grounding her. They were separated, making their relationship appear more realistic, doing different stuff separately although it seemed hard for both of them, feeling torn. It was an enchanting love story, in a way that you'll not be able to forget. While Sam was still grappling between his past as a werewolf and trying to figure how to deal with his future and his dreams which was once impossible and Grace lost and torn, but again was what happened to her what she once really wanted? How will she deal with it? I guess we'll know in the next book which I can't wait to read and
 I highly recommend this book, which I absolutely enjoyed reading.

Author : Maggie Stiefvater
Grade Rating : A
Followed by :
      3rd book : Forever
Pages : 368

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Book Review : Shiver - The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1

      As a child, Grace Brisbane was once attacked by wolves. An accident that was stuck in her head even 6 years later, she couldn't stop thinking about the pair of unique, striking yellow eyes that she saw that day, her saviour, Sam. Sam was a werewolf. He and his pack were to be changed into a wolf form in colder weather and return humans in warmer weather but eventually they turns into wolfs permanently and die. However, after the disapperance of Jack, a boy in  Grace's school, whom ought to be turned into a werewolf. This resulted in a hunting trip of those wolves which freaked Grace out, fearful for ' her wolf '. Yet eventually Sam was shot and Grace found him bleeding, and thats when she first saw him in his human form...  
    Maggie Stiefvater did a superb job in writing this story, I love her style of writing, very descriptive, it was imaginable and so i was captivated to start reading this book, that's what I usually find that drags the reader. This is the first book in Stiefvater's trilogy The Wolves of Mercy Falls. Shiver was written from the point of view of both Grace and Sam, which made it sound down-to-earth and made me able to understand both of them .
    Their love story was the sweetest thing, they were deeply in love. Although her parents' role was illogical, I mean how couldn't they notice that someone was literally living with them, in their daughter's room ? It just didn't fit, one way or another. The temperature effect on the wolves changing was a good addition, although as you go on with events of the story, scientifically not everything is convincing but you know, it's a fiction novel. And i assure you that you'll laugh, too.

     I do recommend this novel but just don't except much, i still liked it. Yet, if you like the supernatural romance stories or Twilight, you'll definitely like this one.

Author : Maggie Stiefvater
Grade Rating : B+
Followed by :
      2nd Book : Linger
      3rd Book : Forever
Pages : 390

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Mystery of the Lost Princes in the Tower

    The unsolved mystery that puzzled people for centuries and until now, the disappearance of the two York Princes, Edward V of 12 and Richard of 9 years old. After reading The White Queen by Philippa Gregory, I was curious to know more about it and so i thought i could bring to light some of the interesting reports that were said about this.

    I personally couldn't believe that Elizabeth WoodVille would give away her second son, Richard just like that to her brother-in-law Richard III who took over the throne of England after kidnapping the rightful king Edward V, leaving her in sanctuary.
Still, the princes were regularly seen playing on Green Tower, or taking the air within the walls, but then, around the beginning of June, 1483, they dropped out of sight. Rumors were being said that Richard III already killed but he denied nothing.

    In 1674, the supposed remains of the bodies were unearthed under the staircase of the White Tower's chapel. At that time, the instant assumption was that it belonged to the two princes and based on that, Charles II ordered to rebury the remains in Westminster Abbey. If such a discovery were made recently, a forensic examination along with a DNA test would have been pieced together, indicating whether the skeletons belonged to the two young princes. However, a scientist involved stated that the younger skeleton almost certainly belonged to a child younger than nine, leaving doubts as to whether the skeletons belonged to the princes and that's why, i mean maybe Elizabeth have hidden her younger son somewhere and came back to live with her as Peter (Perkin) , just as Philippa Gregory wrote in her novel. As it was said that in 1491 a young man named Perkin Warbeck claimed that he was Richard, youngest son of Edward IV.

    Ultimately, there is no conclusive evidence about the case but if they were to be murdered, then our first suspect would be Richard III but I think that he dearly loved his brother and supported him and fought loyally for him in wars unlike his brother George but again maybe his ultimate love to take the throne blinded him,  killed the princes to guarantee that no one will act as a threat to him and take the throne of England. Also James Tyrrell, a loyal servant of Richard III who is said to have confessed, under torture, murdering the princes in 1502, certainly acting on Richard's orders.

     Also Henry VII was another suspect although there is no evidence to connect Henry directly with the disappearance of the princes. His claim to the throne was weak, one might say 'nonexistent', if the princes lived, they both had a better claim to the throne. That, in the eyes of many modern historians, makes him a prime suspect. Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, he was the second Lancastrian heir to the throne after Henry and another suspect. Supported Richard, while plotting against him with the Tudors. Maybe he killed the princes by orders of Richard III or to discredit him. Or according to a plan between him and the Tudors. Buckingham may have hoped to accede to the throne himself. His guilt depends on the princes having already been dead by October 1483, as he was executed the following month.

     In 1789 however, workmen doing some repairs in St.George's Chapel, rediscovered and accidentally broke into the vault of  King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, discovering in the process what appeared to be a small adjoining vault. This vault was found to contain the coffins of two mysterious, unidentified children. However, no inspection or examination was carried out and the tomb was resealed.

    The thing is that we will never know the truth, that's for sure. Which is sad, I mean I really wanted to know, among all our suspects and reasoning and assumptions, there might be something else, which will be left for the public imagination ofcourse.

xoxo, Mariam

Friday, February 3, 2012

Book Review: The Red Queen

      Everyone is seeking for their own weal, their own good, fighting for the throne of England. Margaret Beaufort, heiress to the House of Lancaster and the spotlight of Philippa Gregory's novel The Red Queen, in her second book of The Cousin's War series. 
     At the age of ten, Margaret decided to devote her life for prayers, saying that she was called by God and putting ahead of her Joan of Arc who seemed to be in the eyes people at that time as an innovator. Gave birth to her only son Henry VII at the age of 13, believing that he was born to be the King and realizes that she was called for that purpose. And through her three marriages, controlled by proceedings of life and as a child she had a harsh one.

    Honestly, i felt pity for Margaret as young girl. Philippa Gregory again made me feel torn up. In her first book The White Queen where the story was narrated from the point of view of Elizabeth Woodville. I hated Margaret in that book from the very first second but now in The Red Queen, i saw how she was exposed to life and how she was taught to be in her childhood but as we go on with the events of the story i soon saw in her a cold, ambitious, ruthless, selfish woman, who might give up her religious morals and her humanity just to get the throne of England for son and even to sign her letters as Margaret Regina. She saw Henry as a tool to achieve her ambitions.

    Turning history into reality as Gregory tends to do, she weaves facts with fiction, adding her own embellishment to it, I was captivated to complete reading this book although there was this part where I was bored, away from that i admired how Margaret played a game and adjusted things around her to satisfy her goals by the end. Although I was annoyed by Margaret's attitude declaring that she was called by God and she is to be like Joan of Arc and lead her country into the glory, she said it a lot that it became provocative at some point.

    I loved both The White Queen, which i have a review on and i enjoyed reading it a little bit more than The Red Queen but i recommend them both.To be honest with you guys I am not planning on reading the third book of the series The Lady of the Rivers any time soon, which is about Elizabeth's mother Jacquetta just because I'm not that interested in her and I also heard quite disappointing opinions about it but what I really want to read by Philippa Gregory is The Queen's Fool and The Other Boleyn Girl . I generally want to read more about The War of Roses, and the British history, different books about it hopefully. What books did you read by this author and really enjoyed ? Please leave in a comment down below. :)

Author: Philippa Gregory
Grade Rating : B+
Followed by:
     The Lady of the Rivers
Pages: 400

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hoping: Nicholas Spark

Nicholas Spark ....umm actually i don't know if you will believe me or not but i never like actually read any of his books as i am not a big fan and i know that so many people love his novels, and there were a couple of articles that i read once about him and found them rather interesting and you can check them out "The chemistry of Nicholas Spark" http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20230339,00.html and "Writing through the pain" http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20148283,00.html . And six of his novels were adapted to movies, A Walk to Remember, Message in a bottle, The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe, The last Song and Dear John, i just really want to start reading his novels, i mean eight of his novels spent 156 weeks in The New York Times bestsellers which makes me curious to read them even more. Anyway, i don't know which book should i start with, if it even makes a different. Nonetheless, if you have any recommendations about it please leave it in a comment down below, i will appreciate it.
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