Welcome!

Well, hi there!
Welcome to my first ever attempt at creating a book blog! Well, actually it is my first go at writing any kind of blog EVER. So please forgive any shortcomings!  

On this blog you can explore all things books! Take a wander through the “Book Reviews” tab and you can find reviews for much of what I read. Hopefully these reviews will be able to give you some insight into the book you want to read next! I will also be posting articles about everything and anything related to the literary world such as my favourite  literary heroines, pages dedicated to my favourite authors, reading lists, and my own personal book-related adventures or preferences.

So…….. yeah……… if you’re still around, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy!! 🙂 🙂

Much Love,
XOCeeCee

P.S. Please share and comment if you read anything you like! I would love to hear from you and PLEASE if you have any suggestions, be it book recommendations, better ways of blogging or article requests, let me know. I’m new to this whole shebang so please bear with me and let’s have some fun!

 

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The Harry Potter Tag

I cannot believe that our beloved Harry Potter series has turned twenty this year! I’ve loved Harry and the Wizarding World for what seems like my whole life (really I suppose it’s 16 of my 24 years now) and on the twentieth anniversary of The Philosopher’s Stone, I am indeed feeling a bit emotional and nostalgic. In honor of this special year, I’ve decided to do the Harry Potter tag. I can’t wait to answer these Potter-related questions, take a trip down memory lane, and talk about all the Potter things I love. Let’s do this! ❤

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1. What is your favourite Harry Potter book?

49852Answer: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

I received Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince from my parents when I completed the sixth grade as a kind of “graduation” present. The Half-Blood Prince was always the odd man out in my Harry Potter collection because my parents purchased it when they were on a trip to the United States. I live in Canada, so we get the British editions of the Harry Potter books published here, but I owned the American edition of the sixth book. The huge American edition stuck out like a sore thumb next to all of my little Canadian editions, but I loved it! I remember devouring this gem in my middle school days over and over again! I’m a sucker for backstories, flashbacks, and any kind of exposition methods where we can learn a little bit more about the characters and world of a story. Because of this, it would be no surprise that I love The Half-Blood Prince so much because we get to explore Voldemort’s back story and explore memories in the pensive. On top of those glimpses of back story, we got to see the beginning of Harry and Ginny’s relationship, watch Harry become extremely paranoid about the workings of Draco Malfoy, and the mystery of who the Half-Blood Prince is. PLUS THAT ENDING THOUGH. I have to say, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was my favourite when I read it back in 2005, and it’s still my favourite now ❤

2. What is your favourite Harry Potter movie? 

large_lrynn7snkvqig45kwgeknmxssrxAnswer: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 

The second Harry Potter has always been my favourite, and a huge reason why is because of nostalgia. I remember going to see this in the theater with my dad and my little sister as a special treat and loving it so much more than The Philosopher’s Stone (like that was even possible!) I always smile when I think of going to the movies to see Chamber of Secrets because my younger sister was six at the time and during the Nocturn Alley scene, my dad suddenly realized that this movie might be a little scary for a six-year-old. Concerned, he turned to comfort my sister and tell her that they could leave if she wanted, but she was totally wrapped up and loving every second! When the movie was released on VHS (yes, I’m old) I remember seeing it in the grocery store with my grandmother, and because my grandmother spoils me rotten, she bought it for me. I spent that summer at my grandmother’s house and I probably watched that movie hundreds of times during my stay. That summer is full of memories of playing Harry Potter in the garden and being convinced that the Basilisk had taken up residence in my grandmother’s laundry room. I loved the mystery aspect to The Chamber of Secrets, with the messages, the diary, and trying to find out how the students of Hogwarts were being petrified. As I just said in the last question, I love history and backstory, so learning more about the founders of Hogwarts was so much fun for me! Don’t get me wrong, I love all of the movies, however, The Chamber of Secrets will always hold a special place in my heart.

3. What is your least favourite Harry Potter book? 

224912Answer: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Ironically enough, when I really sat down to think about it, I’d have to say that The Chamber of Secrets is my “least favourite” book. I mean, of course, I love it and it is still dear to my heart (five out of five teacups and all that jazz.) However, in the grand scheme of things, I think I enjoy rereading the others a little more? It hurts my soul to even write this because I love The Chamber of Secrets so much! It’s funny because when I first read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I thought that it was my least favourite book. After many years and rereads, Order of the Phoenix has become a particular favourite to revisit because it immerses you so deeply in the world. First of all it’s huge, and secondly we are exposed to so many amazing things (i.e. Dumbledore’s Army) and not so amazing things (i.e. Bitchface Umbridge.) Due to the fact that Order of the Phoenix has risen so high on my list, Chamber of Secrets has to take its place 😦 (But again, AMAZING BOOK ❤ )

4. What is your least favourite Harry Potter movie?

harry-potter-and-the-half-blood-prince-531b19b4c41d3Answer: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

I’m sensing a pattern here. Being my favourite book, I think it’s only natural that Half-Blood Prince became my least favourite movie. That being said, there are more elements at play here than the butchering of a fave. Of all the Harry Potter movies, I felt like this one omitted the most information (aka pretty much ALL the flashbacks) and the cinematography was just gloomy and unappealing. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if I’ve only seen this movie a few times. And let’s not get into the “movie Ginny” fiasco. Half-Blood Prince is a book where Ginny really shines – the readers see even more reasons to love her and are completely on board when Harry develops his feelings for her. We all know that movie Ginny was just a bland ghost of a comparison with the feisty red-headed feline we all know and love. So yeah, definitely not my favourite movie!

4. Which parts of the books or movies made you cry?

Answer: SO MANY

What other answer can I give for this one? Let’s go through this book by book…

  • Philosopher’s Stone: Yepp, I cried right off the bat because it turns out I was invested right from the start. It sounds cliche, but I was one of the kids that was affected by the Mirror of Erised. When Harry saw his parents in there and you realized that it was because belonging and love was the thing he wanted most in the world, I mean how could that not make you cry?
  • Chamber of Secrets: When Dobby gets his sock, I mean come on now.
  • Prisoner of Azkaban: The REAL backstory of the Shrieking Shack. Seeing the friendship between Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs was really touching and all the more heartbreaking when we learn of the betrayal.
  • Goblet of Fire: DUMBLEDORE’S SPEECH FOR CEDRIC. That is all.
  • Order of the Phoenix: Besides the very obvious Veil incident, the scene where we see Mrs. Weasley battle the boggart really got to me. Molly is simply the most amazingly loving woman I have read about in my life ❤
  • Half-Blood Prince: Again, besides the obvious, the scene when Harry had to force feed Dumbledore that horrendous potion despite his heartbreaking protests always is so upsetting to read.
  • Deathly Hallows: Let’s be real. I was a mess through this entire book.

5. If you could hook up with anyone from Harry Potter who would it be?

Fred_Weasley_IIAnswer: Fred Weasley

Why Fred and not George? I really couldn’t tell you. But these two are my true Harry Potter crushes. I’ve always associated humor with intelligence and they are so utterly charming. They always brighten a scene and the best way to get me to fall in love with you is to make me laugh. Always ready with a witty comment, but at the same time fiercely loyal and loving, Fred Weasley will always own my heart ❤

 

6. Who is your favourite character?

jk-rowling-apologizes-for-another-death-in-harry-potter-and-explains-why-she-did-itAnswer: Remus Lupin 

For most of my life the answer to this question was always Sirius Black. I absolutely loved Sirius and everything he became for Harry after The Prisoner of Azkaban. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love Sirius and I will always want him back, however as I’ve grown up and reflected more on this series and its characters, I’ve come to a realization. One of the reasons I loved Sirius so much was because Harry FINALLY had a father figure who cared about him and wanted to live with him (YES.) I was so excited at the prospect of moving in with Sirius at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban and was so disappointed when it didn’t pan out. That being said, the realization I made was that Sirius wasn’t really all that great of a father figure. Sure he was the most obvious to me at the time, but he is pretty reckless and we can’t ignore the obvious fact that Sirius blatantly sees Harry as James come back to life. Can Harry still have an amazing relationship with Sirius? Yes. Should Harry look to Sirius for guidance or to keep him safe? Maybe not really. Let’s look at Sirius as the fun uncle, shall we? Who then can he really look to for a genuine fatherly love? REMUS LUPIN MY FRIENDS. I am madly in love with Remus Lupin. He is the gentlest, most caring, wisest and just BEST of the Marauders. He is constantly looking out for Harry and genuinely wants best for him, both to keep him safe, but not to treat him like a little kid (see premature teaching of Patronus charm.) Also the romance between him and Tonks? THE SWEETEST. I can go on and on about all the reasons I love Remus Lupin, but this is really supposed to be a quick-fire round. So yes, when I was a girl I was in love with Sirius Black, but as a woman I have the biggest mom crush on Remus Lupin.

Who is your least favourite character?

430a22bc-9e71-407b-8f17-25fe3e6f0dcdAnswer: Dolores Umbridge

Do I really need an explanation for this one? I feel like this is the most common answers for this question purely because of her incredible sadism and utter horribleness. Umbridge is a truly horrid woman. There are many reasons why I dislike her so much. but I want to talk about the two significant ones here. Firstly, Dolores Umbridge is a perfect example of the corruption of power. Did power corrupt her? I’m not sure what came first, the power or Dolores’s corruption, but one thing is for sure, she uses her position of power in order to do whatever horrible thing suits her fancy. She uses and abuses her power and that turns my stomach. Secondly, the sadism contrasted with her bubbly, pink, little girl voice and outward appearance is simply unsettling. Two-faced people are among my strongest pet peeves, and Umbridge delivers her terror under the guise of a “sweet cat lady.” NO THANKS. That woman is pure evil and I will always feel creeped out and unsettled whenever I read about her.

What are some of your favourite quotes?

Answer: SO MANY 

So here we go:

20597418_1426005970813542_7139881909679302540_n“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” – Albus Dumbledore

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” – Sirius Black

“Have a biscuit, Potter.” – Minerva McGonagall

““It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it.” – Albus Dumbledore

“And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.” – Albus Dumbledore

“It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.” – Albus Dumbledore

“Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic, capable of both influencing injury, and remedying it.” – Albus Dumbledore

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” – Sirius Black

“Don’t let the Muggles get you down.” – Ron Weasley

JUST TO NAME A FEW.

7. If you could perform the Patronus charm, what would your Patronus be?

Answer: Mountain Hare

I have indeed taken the Pottermore Patronus quiz, and it turns out that mine is a mountain hare. ‘Nuff said.

8. If you could have the invisibility cloak, resurrection stone, or the elder wand, which would you want?

Answer: The Elder Wand

A wand that will allow me to do ALL THE MAGIC? Yes please. Really though, even a normal wand would be great thanks!

9. Which house would you be in?

22580328_2026612744234758_6098372231925071872_n(1)Answer: Ravenclaw

Again, I have taken the Pottermore Sorting quiz (multiple times) and I am a proud Ravenclaw, which if you know me, really doesn’t come as much of a surprise. I love everything Ravenclaw – creativity, wit, learning, constant questioning and a yearning to know more about the world around me. And really, that describes a typical reader does it not? I love that Harry Potter is so widely loved that we have many different types of readers and people that are enough to fill multiple Hogwarts schools, but I am a cliche Ravenclaw reader for life!

10. If you could meet any member of the cast who would it be? 

mv5bmja4nzyxnjc5ml5bml5banbnxkftztywmtmzotg1-_v1_ux214_cr00214317_al_Answer: Maggie Smith

This question is so difficult because there are so many amazing people who worked on the Harry Potter movies. If I really had to narrow it down to one, I think I would want to go with Maggie Smith. She just seems like a force to be reckoned with, a real queen, and she has been in the industry so long that she’s bound to have some amazing stories. And if I get to feel like I’m meeting the real life McGonagall, that wouldn’t be so bad would it? ❤

 

11. Have you played any of the video games? 

SOS_game_promoAnswer: Original Xbox version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone?

Unfortunately, I wasn’t a kid that grew up with many video games or game consoles in the house (which is ironic since I now have one of the biggest retro video game collections you may ever see in my apartment due to my man’s crazy hobby.) The only thing I owned as a kid was a Game Boy Color, so if I wanted to play anything other that Donkey Kong Country or Mickey’s Dangerous Chase, I had to do so at a friend’s house. The one friend that I had that I remember playing Harry Potter video games with had an Xbox and I couldn’t tell you which game we played. I think it was a game based on The Philosopher’s Stone. Was that released on the original Xbox? Who knows? I will do the research and leave a picture next to this blurb 😛 (Clearly it was not an extremely memorable experience.)

12. If you were on the Quidditch team, which position would you play?

originalAnswer: Keeper 

I am not the most athletically inclined person you will meet. Let’s be real, when I was in school, I was too busy reading in the corner to play any soccer games. Despite this, I have to say that I have pretty decent hand-eye coordination. Great for any position in Quidditch really, however the flying and chasing aspects that come with being a Seeker or a Beater really don’t appeal to me, and I don’t think I would be that good at it, so Keeper it would be! I can just sit there and block the Quaffle when it comes my way! Sounds like a deal to me.

13. Were you happy with the ending?

Answer: Yes!

I really don’t know what else to say about this one. I was completely satisfied and loved every bit of these books. I didn’t mind the epilogue and I eventually came to terms with every death and appreciate this masterpiece of literature that Queen Jo has shared with the world. You will not hear any complaints from this gal!

14. How much does Harry Potter mean to you?

Answer: SO MUCH

Again, this one is so difficult to sum up with the adequate words. Simple language cannot describe how much Harry Potter has given me over the years. It has taught me so many important lessons about life and people and I truly believe I would not be the person I am today with the certain values and life views that I possess. Jo Rowling is a woman I greatly admire and I think she is certainly one of the wisest people that walk our planet today. She has taught us all so much and was able to create this story and these characters that transcend the page and screen to become so much more. Harry Potter is on a whole other level from any other book that’s out there. I can constantly revisit it and it doesn’t feel like a chore, I can view certain characters, plot points or themes from a different perspective every time and always learn something new. This series is simply amazing and I can’t wait to share it with future students, children, or really anyone I can get my hands on! I think having a story like Harry Potter that speaks to such a vast number of people and can shape the lives of so many is a magical thing indeed.

And that was it! The Harry Potter Tag ❤ This one was a bit of doozy, and now all I want to do is snuggle up and devour this world all over again! Happy Birthday Harry and long live the Boy Who Lived! He will live in our hearts forever ❤

XOCeeCee

*Note: All of the Harry Potter photos of me that you have seen in this post were done by my very talented friend, Stéphanie Dugas. This was my favourite photoshoot that we have done together and if you would like to check out more of her work, I will link her instagram and Facebook page here 🙂 *

Instagram -> https://www.instagram.com/stephanie_dugas_photographie/?hl=en

Facebook –> https://www.facebook.com/stephanie.dugasphotographie?fref=pb&hc_location=friends_tab&pnref=friends.all

Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words: Andrew Morton

35197698Rating: ☕☕☕☕☕

This book came to me completely on a whim. I was peripherally aware that this year marked the twentieth anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, but it was never something that was at the forefront of my mind. I had always admired Diana and knew vague details about her life, but being a teenager in the 2000’s meant that I was more wrapped up in Prince William that anything else. That changed as more and more TV documentaries and magazines started bombarding me from every direction about Diana and her legacy on this tragic twentieth anniversary. I decided I wanted to pick up a Diana biography, and after some research chose the famous “Morton book”  I had seen mentioned in some documentaries – Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words. I absolutely LOVED it and would highly recommend this one if you are looking for a Diana biography.

What sets this biography apart from the rest is the hand that Diana herself had in its creation. This biography was really her ticket out of a bad marriage and out of the Establishment that was the British monarchy. She wanted the public to be aware of her struggles so that she could gain some understanding for why she no longer wanted to be a part of the monarchy. This book was published before her death and has since had several rereleases revealing Diana’s part in the publication and more information about her legacy.  This book definitely was the most ground-breaking look into Diana’s private life and I devoured every little piece of it!

I absolutely adored this book. It has been a while since I’ve been so completely absorbed in a book and this one had me hooked. I was reading it at every available moment without regard for how long it would take me to read or what page I was on. I just read and got completely lost in the life of this remarkable woman and her struggles. Through Diana’s story, one can truly see how money, status, and breeding does not make a happy life. Anyone in the world can suffer from mental health and can go through real trials. I was blown away with the revelations of how Prince Charles had treated her, how trapped she truly was, and how the Establishment is not all it’s made out to be. While reading this biography, I felt so connected to Princess Diana, so much so that I felt true sadness for her and I was rooting for her to come out of it all. I was so happy to read about her finally being able to break free, become her own person, and start living the charitable life she wished to lead. I felt so connected and got so caught up in her that it almost came as a shock when I read about her death and saw the picture of the coffin with Harry’s letter inscribed “Mummy.” My heart was broken, just as the world’s had been on that day in 1997. It was so easy to forget the tragic end of the story because in the pages of the book she seems so alive, especially when you are reading the transcripts in her own words. It is truly heartbreaking that after biding her time and waiting all those years to break free, her beautiful life was cut short when she was finally able to start living the life she wanted.

This book certainly earns five teacups from me! I found the writing style and structure incredibly engrossing, from the foreword to Diana’s own words, to the actual biography and the aftermath of her death. It was an extremely easy and accessible read. I also have to give it the five teacups for the effect it had on me. I cannot stop thinking about this book and this woman, and I have gone on to watch some Diana documentaries because I’m not ready to say goodbye! This book has definitely put me in a reading slump so I think I’ll read some Harry Potter next in order to get back into the swing of things. Any other new fiction piece would just seem unimportant after reading about such a remarkable woman. I highly recommend this biography if you are trying to decide which Diana biography you would want to pick up!

XOCeeCee

I highly recommend the Diana documentary you can find on Netflix called The Story of Diana –> https://www.netflix.com/watch/80189025?trackId=14170045&tctx=0%2C0%2C649c1d92-94bf-4a23-9fc0-f5de07e67882-736380569  

I will leave some links here if you are interested in watching some Diana biographies on YouTube:

 

BookTube-A-Thon 2017!

7gerpefsIt’s that time of year again! The BookTube-A-Thon is approaching and I could not be more excited about it. As soon as the announcement video was posted on YouTube, I was eagerly awaiting the release of the reading challenges so I could start planning out my TBR.

Honestly, I’ve been disappointing myself with my reading this summer, even though it is the first summer of my life where I’m not working and have no big travel plans until the end of August. I mean what is wrong with me?!?! I have all the time in the world to read and I waste a lot of it bumming around on the internet 😛 Hopefully during the week of BookTube-A-Thon I’ll have that motivation to power-read through the week! So, here are the books that I am hoping to read!

The Challenges: 

  1. Read a book with a person on the cover: Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
  2. Read a hyped book: Because You Love To Hate Me by Ameriie (with authors and BookTubers)
  3. Finish a book in one day: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire OR The Encyclopaedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg
  4. Read about a character that is very different from you: Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag
  5. Finish a book completely outdoors: Love Her Wild by Atticus  
  6. Read a book you bought because of the cover: Note to Self by Connor Franta  
  7. Read 7 books: Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel (the BookTube-A-Thon group read pick)

This year should go a lot better than last year’s BookTube-A-Thon because last year I was in the process of moving and I was working a full-time job. However, this summer we are settled and since I’m a teacher now, I get summers off (yay!) So the week of BookTube-A-Thon should be full of nothing but sunshine and reading 🙂 I’m super excited! I will let you know how everything went in a BookTube-A-Thon wrap up post that I will write once BTAT is all said and done 🙂

XOCeeCee

20181032_104636096871402_9208544160481542144_n

To check out the BookTube-A-Thon YouTube channel you can click here –> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZhmQgR4l0MMisH-OGO729Q 

BookTube-A-Thon 2017 –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emuKvGJHNxU

Ariel Bissett’s YouTube channel –> https://www.youtube.com/user/ArielBissett

2017 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge

So I am sad to say that once again, I failed at a Pop Sugar Reading Challenge in 2016. I am now determined to complete one of these challenges sometime before I die 😛 This year I am attempting this feat again. Like I said last year, this is mostly just for fun and I enjoy trying to hunt down books that fit the challenges and picking up things I might not have read otherwise, so really these aren’t a lost cause!

Here is a list of all the requirements and the books I’ve read to meet them. If you want to read more about the challenge and Pop Sugar you can visit the website here.

  1. A book recommended by a librarian – Amulet Book One: The Stonekeeper: Kazu Kibuishi 
  2. A book that has been on your TBR for too long – The A.B.C. Murders: Agatha Christie 
  3. A book of letters – This Modern Love: Will Darbyshire
  4. An audiobook – Yes Please: Amy Poehler 
  5. A book by a person of colour – Everything Everything: Nicola Yoon 
  6. A book with one of the four seasons in the title –
  7. A book that is a story within a story – Wuthering Heights: Emily Bronte 
  8. A book with multiple authors – Because You Love To Hate Me: Ameriie 
  9. An espionage thriller – Illuminae: Aime Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  10. A book with a cat on the cover – The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home Vol. 2: Konami Kanata 
  11. A book by an author who uses a pseudonym – Shopaholic Takes Manhattan: Sophie Kinsella 
  12. A bestseller from a genre you don’t normally read – It Ends With Us: Colleen Hoover 
  13. A book by or about someone who has a disability – Wonder: R.J. Palacio 
  14. A book involving travel – With Malice: Eileen Cook
  15. A book with a subtitle – The Tetris Effect: The Game That Hypnotized The World: Dan Ackerman 
  16. A book that’s published in 2017: History is All You Left Me: Adam Silvera 
  17. A book involving a mythical creature – A Court of Mist and Fury: Sarah J. Maas
  18. A book you’ve read before that never fails to make you smile – Lady Midnight: Cassandra Clare
  19. A book about food – Holy Cow: David Duchovny 
  20. A book with career advice –
  21. A book from a non-human perspective – The Book Thief: Markus Zusak
  22. A steampunk novel –
  23. A book with a red spine – I Crawl Through It: A.S. King 
  24. A book set in the wilderness –
  25. A book you loved as a child – The Wide Window: Lemony Snicket 
  26. A book by an author from a country you’ve never visited – Orange The Complete Collection Vol. 2: Ichigo Takano
  27. A book with a title that’s a character’s name –
  28. A novel set during wartime – The Boy In The Striped Pajamas: John Boyne 
  29. A book with an unreliable narrator – The Retribution of Mara Dyer: Michelle Hodkin
  30. A book with pictures – The Illustrated Book of Sayings: Curious Expressions From Around the World: Ella Frances Sanders 
  31. A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you – Persepolis: Marjane Satrapi
  32. A book about an interesting woman – The Female of the Species: Mindy McGinnis 
  33. A book set in two different time periods – Midnight at the Electric: Jodi Lynn Anderson 
  34. A book with a month or day of the week in the title –
  35. A book set in a hotel – The Devil In The White City: Erik Larson 
  36. A book written by someone you admire – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay: J.K. Rowling 
  37. A book that is becoming a movie this year – The Dinner: Herman Koch
  38. A book set around a holiday other than Christmas –
  39. The first book in a series you haven’t read before – The Sword of Summer: Rick Riordan 
  40. A book you bought on a trip – A Little Something Different: Sandy Hall
  41. A book recommended by an author you love – A Darker Shade of Magic: V.E. Schwab
  42. A bestseller from 2016 – The Best Kind of People: Zoe Whittall
  43. A book with a family member term in the title –
  44. A book that takes place over a character’s lifespan – Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words: Andrew Morton 
  45. A book about an immigrant or refugee – Exit West: Mohsin Hamid
  46. A book from a genre/subgenre you’ve never heard of –
  47. A book with an eccentric character – The Kingdom of Little Wounds: Susann Cokal 
  48. A book that’s more than 800 pages –
  49. A book you got from a used book sale – The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tualne: Kate Di Camillo 
  50. A book that’s been mentioned in another book – The Little Prince: Antoine de Saint Euxpery 
  51. A book that is about a difficult topic – Milk and Honey: Rupi Kaur 
  52. A book based on mythology – The Hammer of Thor: Rick Riordan 

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories: Tim Burton

519112Rating: ☕☕☕☕☕

This little book of poems took me completely by surprise! I absolutely loved this volume by the notorious Tim Burton and I would certainly recommend this one, not only to his fans but to everyone. While I was reading these chilling poems, I didn’t know whether to laugh or feel deeply disturbed. These poems were just so eerie! Plus, the illustrations added immensely to the stories told through these poems.

This collection features an interesting cast of characters, simultaneously odd, misunderstood, and for the most part, doomed. Some poems are straight and to the point, while others are twisty narratives that will frighten and delight. As an English major, I can definitely see themes of acceptance and humanity’s fear of “other” woven throughout here, but I don’t know if I’m reading too much into it, as Lit students will tend to do 😛 I wouldn’t mind reading this one with a class on Halloween, either in middle or high school.

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories is dark, macabre, witty, and chilling. I can certainly see this one becoming a staple that I pick up on Halloween each year along with Through The Woods by Emily Carroll. Definitely check this one out if you are a fan of Tim Burton, or if you are a fan of gallows humour!

Until next time,

XOCeeCee

If you’d like to learn more about Tim Burton and his work, you can visit his website here –> http://timburton.com/

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories Goodreads page –> https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/519112.The_Melancholy_Death_of_Oyster_Boy_and_Other_Stories?ac=1&from_search=true  

 

Carry On: Rainbow Rowell

32768522Rating:☕☕☕☕ 1/2

This was my second time reading Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, and I have to say that I enjoyed it even more than the first time I read it a couple of years ago! When I first read this book in 2015, I gave it a 4 teacup rating, however, after reading it again I want to boost the rating a bit to 4.5, perhaps even 5 teacups! I love this book. I love the world, I love the extremely obvious Harry Potter connection, the magic system, the characters, and just everything.

When I saw the paperback edition of this book that had come out, I absolutely fell in love with it because, in my opinion, it is SO much nicer than the original cover. Just look at it! And yes, I did go out and buy this book AGAIN because of this fact. Even though I’d already read it. All right moving on… dare I say let us carry on. Okay, no I’m done. When I picked up this book again, I was in the mood for something quirky, fun, and magical, and Carry On is all that and a bag of chips. It is a fantasy that reads like a contemporary and I love that! I also love the fanfiction aspect of the novel. I could just gush about this for days ❤

*Note: This next section may contain some minor spoilers about the LGBTQIA+ aspects of this book. Major plot points aren’t spoiled, but if you don’t want to know anything going in you can skip this part!*

So if I love it so much, why the umming and ahhing over whether I should give this 4 1/2 or 5 teacups? The reason is so small in the grand scheme of things, that I really don’t know if it’s worth demeriting the book. This hiccup is the way that Rowell approached revealing Simon’s sexuality. This is an incredible LGBTQIA+ book that treats these themes as if they are simply a given and not something abnormal or to make big pronouncements about. I love that Baz’s character is so nonchalant about it and that there’s no confusion or need to make a big deal about his coming out. His family knows and when Simon asks him he’s like “I’m totally gay” without any shame or hesitation. However, I kind of wish that Rowell dealt with Simon’s sexuality in the same way. At the beginning of the novel, Simon has been dating his girlfriend, Agatha for three years. I kind of wish that Simon’s seemingly bisexuality was simply a given and that there wasn’t any confusion about whether he was gay or not. I would have loved it if his sexuality was something that didn’t need to be revealed to the reader and that we could simply work under the assumption that he is bisexual or omnisexual due to the fact that he has expressed interest in Agatha and Baz. I don’t know if that made any sense, but I hope you know what I mean 😛 I guess I just wish there wasn’t that heterosexual assumption. I wish that we could observe the characters’ actions and their relationships and use those observations to learn how they identify and there wouldn’t be a need for the author to explicitly tell us their sexuality. I’ve read so many cutesy romance contemporaries and they never tell us “the characters are heterosexual” because we know who the characters are interested in based on the plot and their relationships. I would have liked to see that in this novel, especially because Baz was so blasé about it, and that’s my only nit-picky issue! But this one definitely hovers around 5 teacups for me!

*END OF SPOILERS*

The last few things I want to talk about are huge reasons why I enjoyed this read so much. I loved the magic system and the fact that common sayings, words, clichés, nursery rhymes, etc. were used as their magic words. It hit my heart as a lover of literature because, in this world, words quite literally have power. And of course, the plot was great with a few mysteries here and there, and the characters had so much dimension to them. I simply can’t recommend this book enough! I will always push this book on people and I definitely see it becoming a staple reread for me over the years. Simon Snow, Baz, and Penelope have certainly earned their places in my heart! ❤

XOCeeCee

To learn more about Rainbow Rowell and her work you can visit her website here –> http://www.rainbowrowell.com/ 

Need more convincing to pick up this book? BookTuber, Katytastic is a fan and can tell you all about her love in this video here –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z43WscaKRf0

Want to read more reviews or a synopsis? Click here to visit the Carry On Goodreads page –> https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32768522-carry-on?ac=1&from_search=true

5 Classics I Want to Read in 2017

It goes without saying that I am a book nerd to the extreme. Not only am I constantly lost between the pages of a book, I have a (mostly inactive) book blog and and English degree to show it 😛 Even though I pride myself on believing that I have read many great classics, the truth is there are more esteemed classics that I haven’t read than those that I have. It’s actually kind of ridiculous. The funny thing about the situation is that all of the classics I have read, I’ve really enjoyed. Well, that is for the most part (no more Dickens for this gal please).

In 2017 one of my bookish goals is to read more of the beautiful classics I have sitting on my shelf. I am currently trying to read one classic a month, so that by the end of the year I will have at least twelve knocked off the list. I will also admit to you now (apparently it’s confession time) that I drafted this post in January. I am clearing dropping the ball on maintaining this blog. That being said, I’ve already read three classics (The A.B.C. Murders, Wuthering Heights, and The Little Prince) and I am currently reading Little Women. For this post, I’ve narrowed it down to the five classics that I am currently most excited to get to, and those that it may shock you to learn I haven’t read. So here it is folks – five classics that I really want to read and probably should have read by now.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

2785278I know what you’re thinking, CeeCee, didn’t you just say that you’ve already read Wuthering Heights? Yes, I have, but I’ve decided to still kick off this list with the famous Brontë classic. To be fair, I wasn’t reading this when I started writing this post (like I said, it took me a long time to actually publish this) and I have since finished the book 😛 However, I still want to have this book on the list because it was quite the accomplishment for me. I’ve been wanting to read Wuthering Heights ever since I was in high school. More confessions: My class studied this in grade 12, however, at the time I think I only read about half of it. I don’t remember why. Maybe there were other things I wanted to be reading, maybe I was busy with school and work. No matter the excuse, at the time I survived on Sparknotes and class discussions. Fast forward five years later, I decided to try to read Wuthering Heights again, but I definitely didn’t pick the right time. Trust me, exam season of your final semester of university is not the time to pick up 19th century literature for fun. I ended up putting it down yet again, but as of February 2017, I have finished it! I don’t know why it has been such a challenge, because I love Gothic literature and Jane Eyre by Brontë sister, Charlotte, is one of my favourite books. Admittedly, I still love Jane Eyre more, but I’m so glad that 2017 is the year that I was able to check off another Brontë sister’s work!

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

16101115Peter Pan was always my favourite story as a kid. The ability to fly and the prospect of never growing up? Sounded perfect to me! Although I’ve seen film adaptations of the famous story too many times to count, I’ve never actually read J.M. Barrie’s novel. I want to correct that this year and finally read what I consider to be one of my favourite childhood classics! It will definitely be interesting to read this as an adult because it can be analyzed in so many different ways. It definitely has the potential to be a novel I study with future classes.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

4406I have to admit, I am surprised that I enjoy the work of John Steinbeck as much as I do. I am not much of a country girl, and a story in the desolate American South or West wouldn’t normally appeal to me. Add on the fact that the synopses of his books don’t exactly sound like a thrill ride, and you’ll see why I’m surprised that he may be up there on my list of favourite classic authors. I loved both Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath. I don’t know if it’s the writing style, the stories, or the characters, but these are some of my favourite classics. This is why I wanted to add East of Eden to my classics TBR. I’ve heard this one praised just as much, if not more than Grapes of Wrath, and it is described as being one of the greatest family sagas in American literurate. Why not give it a go then, eh?

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

18300270Are you ready for the cringiest fact of them all? I (very ashamedly) have never read a Jane Austen novel. I KNOW. I’m very good at faking that I’ve read Jane Austen because I love her stories and have seen so many adaptations, however, I’ve never physically read a book. It is the worst. I cannot believe I’ve let this go on as long as it has. But it ends this year! Why not start with the popular Pride and Prejudice you may ask? Well, I’m extremely familiar with that story and I honestly think the best way to sit down and enjoy your first Austen is to go in not really knowing anything. Sense and Sensibility is another one of Austen’s most well-loved novels, and I know very little about it. This is why I want to knock Sense and Sensibility off my list this year. Well, that reason, and also so I can stop feeling like such a phony 😛

1984 by George Orwell

3744438To end off this list, let’s discuss the classic that is sweeping the world because of its disturbing relevance. It’s no secret that sales of 1984 have sky-rocketed since the beginning of Trump’s administration, and I will be the first to tell you that it scares me. Why not jump back and read a dystopian that seems eerily relevant? Hopefully it will do the opposite of scare me and give me comfort that people can recognize the error of their ways by reading dystopian fiction that highlights how oppressive and dangerous certain notions are. That is the hope of these speculative fiction writers, right? Anyway, enough rambling. I would really like to read 1984 because of the relevancy. And it saddens me to say that a book like 1984 can be called relevant in modern society.

And that’s it! Those are the classics that I want to finally read in the year 2017. It will be interesting to see which of these I read. I mean it’s 5 books, can’t be that hard right? 😛 Let me know if I am alone in my shame of not reading popular classics or if you are endeavoring to also widen your reading experience. Wish me luck!

XOCeeCee

To find these books on Goodreads:

Wuthering Heights – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6185.Wuthering_Heights?from_search=true

Peter Pan – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34268.Peter_Pan?ac=1&from_search=true 

East of Eden – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4406.East_of_Eden?ac=1&from_search=true 

Sense and Sensibility – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14935.Sense_and_Sensibility?from_search=true

1984 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3744438-1984

The Best Kind of People: Zoe Whittall

29220492Rating: ☕

I was sorely disappointed by this one. I went in expecting something reminiscent of a Jodi Picoult book, however, it was far from hitting that mark. I heard great things about this book, and I knew that it was written by a Canadian author, but all of the hopes I had built up around this one came crashing down as I got further and further into this boring mess. Funnily enough, this book was hovering around a 2 teacup rating, but within the last few pages, it simply burned. Long story short, I wouldn’t recommend this one and I don’t really have a lot to say about it. I will, however, go into a few reasons why The Best Kind of People will probably end up being one of my least favourite reads of the year.

First off, the beginning was really promising, but it became clear pretty quickly that this was going to be a character analysis that aimed to delve into how each family member was going to deal with their husband and father’s sexual assault accusation. Normally, I would have loved this sort of thing because I love character driven stories, however, each family member was godawfully boring and I found it difficult to empathise with them, even if you could somewhat understand where they were coming from. One of the biggest problems I had with this book was the utter lack of exploration into George’s character (the man we are accusing of sexual assault.) I would have really appreciated a perspective from him and the chance to take a look into his mind and history. I hated how he was one dimensional in both the saintly town hero trope and the evil, two-faced sexual offender.

Furthermore, this novel claims to be about a sexual assault case, but there is little to no exploration of the crime, case, or legal system. Although unrelated to this book, the author Jodi Picoult (who I love) writes criminal cases and character explorations flawlessly, and oftentimes her books take place inside the courtroom. This case was literally crammed into the last few pages, and don’t get me started on that final verdict. I felt that the ending completely undermined the whole of the book.

All in all, a huge miss for me. The whole book followed the wife and children, who dealt with their problems in annoying and boring ways. I would have loved to see more characterization in our “criminal,” more flashbacks into the past, and more details about the crime and case. This was a complete yawn-fest for me and I definitely wouldn’t recommend.

XOCeeCee

To learn more about Zoe Whittall and her work, you can visit her website here –> http://zoewhittall.com/ 

Want a better Canadian read? Hopefully you can find one in this list! –> http://www.cbc.ca/books/books100.html

Milk and Honey: Rupi Kaur

235133491Rating: ☕☕

I have to be honest, I was underwhelmed by this one. I’ve been really wanting to read more modern poetry, because in collections I’ve read (such as Chasers of the Light by Tyler Knott Gregson) there were lines that have made my heart sing ❤️ I want to find more beautiful poetry that will strike me with its mastery of language and warm my heart. Despite the hype, Milk and Honey fell short of the mark for me. I think there were four poems that stood out to me, but not in any profound way.

This poetry collection was divided into a few different parts and in her poems Kaur discusses topics like abuse, rape, falling in love, and having a relationship fall apart. Although these issues are very touching, I found that she didn’t really do anything different with them. I feel I would have been more impressed if she used more interesting language or thought of unique metaphors. I don’t want to sound like a poetry snob (especially because I have read very little poetry), but for a lot of the poems I felt she was simply writing prose and hitting the “Enter” key a lot.

That being said, I did find three or four of the poems that I thought were particularly striking. But only three or four out of the whole book doesn’t seem like a success to me. Even though I wasn’t a fan, I know that so many people are. You may want to give this one a try, especially if you can relate more to the issues she has dealt with. Personally, I think this one is a bit overhyped! Hopefully I will be a little more successful on my next poetry adventure.

XOCeeCee

To find out more about Rupi Kaur and her work you can click here –> https://www.rupikaur.com/

Here are some video links!

To watch a chatty Rupi Kaur video click here –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PA0v9ANTrY

To hear Rupi Kaur read from Milk and Honey click here –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UxdG3Pvq2k

Here is a TEDTalk that Kaur did called “I’m Taking My Body Back” –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlToQQfSlLA

 

New Years Resolutions Book Tag

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I know that January is almost over and it is super late to be posting about New Years Resolutions, but is that going to stop me from doing this awesome New Years book-related tag? No no siree. It’s still January so it still counts (even if it is the last day of January.) Right?

Anyway, I saw JesseTheReader, one of my favourite BookTubers, do this tag on his channel, and decided that I wanted to have a go to see what some of my goals are for the year of 2017. If you want to watch his video (it’s great) you can click here or on the link at the bottom of this post. Now here is my attempt to answer some of these New Years Resolutions questions and set some new reading goals for myself! Let’s do this! 💪🏻

1. An author that you would like to read that you haven’t read before.

25614492So this was a really hard one right off the bat! I am looking at my bookshelf as we speak and I cannot see and author whose work I want to pursue that I haven’t read before! Give me a minute to think on this one… Okay, my bookshelf let me down so I went over to my LibraryThing wishlist and found Ruta Sepetys. I’ve heard a lot of buzz about Ruta Sepetys and her talent for writing extremely moving and interesting historical fiction novels. I am a huge fan of historical fiction so I have a feeling I am going to really enjoy her books, as they deal with some major historical events that have sort of become lost as time has passed. I think I would like to pick up Salt to the Sea first, but Out of the Easy also appeals to me because I really enjoy reading stories set in or around New Orleans.

2. A book you’d like to read.

Okay, this one is a little easier because there are SO MANY books that I want to read. Naturally, I cannot narrow it down to just one, so some that are currently piquing my interest are The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall, Love & Misadventure by Lang Leav, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairy Land in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente, and A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas.

3. A classic you would like to read.

2785278All right, everyone brace yourselves. The answer to this question is a little sneak peek into a post I am planning about classics I would like to read this year and yes, I have read an embarrassing little amount of famous classics. The classic that I want to read most at the moment and that I would like to read in February is Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. Yes, yes, I know. I myself am shocked that I have not completed this one yet, especially because I love gothic fiction and Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books. I will finally conquer you this month Emily Brontë, mark my words!

4. A book you would like to reread.

33540650Surprisingly enough, I have not read the illustrated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets! When I got it last year, I picked it up every now and then when I would get in the mood to read Harry Potter but didn’t really want to reread any of the books. Instead of sitting down and watching one of the movies, I would read a chapter from the illustrated edition. I think I’m on chapter five or something, but I would really like to keep going with it this year. And of course, every year isn’t complete without a good ol’ reread of Harry Potter 

5. A book you’ve had for ages and you want to read.

17316589So I’m going to cheat for this one and pick a book that I read this month that fits this description. Hey, if these were actual resolutions made at the beginning of the year this would be totally valid. A book that I had forever that I finally got around to reading this year was The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal. This was a complete cover buy for me a few years ago because the book is absolutely stunning with it’s deep red pages and intricate illustrations. I’d say I enjoyed this book overall, but it did gross me out most of the time. I guess that’s what you get when you read a fairytale about syphilis.

6. A big book that you would like to read.

12959233I recently finished Fall of Giants by Ken Follett in December of 2016 and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. It was one of my favourite books of the year, and luckily for me, it is the first in a trilogy. This year I’d like to read Winter of the World, Ken Follett’s second book in his Century Trilogy, and I am so excited to follow the future generations of the families I came to know and love from the first book. I’m looking forward to reading this trilogy in its entirety to see how Follett’s characters live through the biggest events of the twentieth century. This year I would also like to get around to reading at least one of the monstrous Stephen King books I own. I’m really hoping to read It or 11/22/63 sometime this year, maybe around Halloween!

7. An author that you’ve read in the past that you want to read more from this year.

mte5ndg0mdu0oti0mdy4mzy3Earlier this month I picked up The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie, which was the first Agatha Christie I had picked up in a couple of years. I absolutely loved it, as I had with her other novels that I read, and I really want to pick up more this year! I think I have two or three that I haven’t read yet, but I definitely want to acquire more of her books this year and delve into some of her fantastic mysteries. Maybe one day I’ll figure out who the culprit is before the last couple of pages 😛

8. A book you got for Christmas that you’d like to read

29101491I have the best boyfriend in the whole world because, no matter what the occasion, he will always get me books. Christmas is always the big finale of a year of book-giving, and this year he likes to boast and say that he got me 97 books. I know right? Before your jaw hits the floor, 80 of those were in the boxed set of the Little Black Classics that Penguin released in 2015. That being said, I was so giddy to see my huge stack of seventeen books this Christmas. I know I’m extremely spoiled 😛 Anyway, although I am really excited to read all of the books he gave me, I wanted to pick one that I associate with him, and one he picked out for me himself without consulting my wishlist. That book is The Tetris Effect: The Game That Hypnotized The World by Dan Ackerman. My man is a huge retro game collector and Tetris is definitely one of my favourite games (as is the case with pretty much every human 😛 ) This nonfiction book seems like it will be an interesting look at the development of the world’s favourite (video) games, and how it swept the globe as one of the most popular video games of all time.

9. A series you want to read from start to finish.

15724396I recently finished reading the first book in Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series and I absolutely loved it! I’m still in the mood to pick up the second book really soon, and I know that when the final book in the trilogy comes out in the fall, I will buy and devour it immediately. I love Rick Riordan’s writing so much, and I really think that this trilogy is not going to follow suit with most of my trilogies and go unfinished for years 😛 I cannot wait to continue!

10. A series you want to finish that you’ve already started.

25518205Like pretty much every reader out there, I have A LOT of series that I have started and haven’t finished yet. I actually have a lot of uncompleted trilogies the I only need to read the last book to finish. Hopefully I can knock a few of these off my list this year, however the one I think I’m going to finish pretty soon is the Rebel Belle trilogy by Rachel Hawkins. I’m planning on picking up the final book, Lady Renegades in February. I’d also really like to continue with the Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes, because I absolutely loved the first too books!

11. How many books to do you plan to read in the year 2017?

It’s on my bucket list to read 100 books in one year, and for some reason, I’ve decided that I want to aim for 2017 to be that year! I’ve set my Goodreads goal to 100 books, however I’m not going to put any pressure on myself. I just read whenever I want to read (which is pretty much all the time anyway.) I do like to improve upon previous years with every reading year and in 2016 I read 93 books. I’m very hopeful that I can accomplish this goal, and I’ve started 2017 in a very strong reading mood. So far I’ve read thirteen books and Goodreads says I am six books ahead of schedule, so I think I am off to a good start!

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12. Do you have any other reading goals?

The only other bookish goals I have for this year are to be a little more committed to the “TBR Jar” I made last year, and to try to pick up more modern poetry. Each month I pull one of my unread books from my TBR jar and try to read that book, although last year I didn’t do a great job with it 😛 This year I really want to be more successful with this, and if I don’t want to read the book I want to get rid of it. I have also been really intrigued by modern poetry and would really like to pick up some of Lang Leav’s poetry collections, as well as get to some that I already own.

And there you have it! Those are some of my bookish resolutions for 2017 and I am so excited to embark upon a new year full of books and happiness 🙂 I wish you all the best for this new year and happy reading everyone!

XOCeeCee

To watch JesseTheReader’s New Years Resolutions tag, you can click here –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57DeNshxjtk

To watch the creator of the tag answer these questions, you can watch her video here –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PV9kI2UCSJo&feature=youtu.be