A Literary Journey: The Brontë Land

Hello Everyone!

Today I thought I might do something different and share with you my first experience of a literary journey ever. Since I am studying here in England for a semester, I knew before coming here that I absolutely wanted to go to Haworth at least for a couple of days. For those of you who don’t know, Haworth is a small village in Yorkshire where the Brontë sisters grew up, along with their brother Branwell.

IMG_4811I decided to stay there for two days, so that I would have the time to visit the parsonage where they lived but also to walk on those same moors that inspired them to write the brilliant novels they produced during their short life. So, on Monday April 18th I took a train to Leeds from King’s Cross Station – yes, the same one from where Harry Potter left for Hogwarts. During the train ride I listened to my audiobook of Wuthering Heights, my favorite of the Brontë novels; the weather was gloomy and dark outside of the window, and I certainly did manage to get into the right mood.

As soon as I arrived in Leeds I had to take another train to Keighley, so I asked information on what kind of ticket to get; unfortunately, I hardly understood what the man said, the accent was so different! At the second try I understood that the train I needed was leaving from platform 8 in 5 minutes. Once I arrived in Keighley I needed to walk to the bus station and take a bus to Haworth; the village is so lost in the Yorkshire moorland that only a few buses reach it, and its train station only works in June and July. The bus driver was nice enough to tell me when to get off the bus to get to the parsonage.IMG_4867
When I got off, I saw a small street that wiggled its way among cottages: it was the only way to go. So I walked up the street and I finally found myself in a familiar place: in front of the Black Bull pub and the Apothecary, where I was staying for the night. I had seen pictures of this part of the village, and I know that the Brontë Parsonage was only a few steps ahead, behind the church where the Brontës are buried.IMG_4822.JPG

 

The owner of the Apothecary came out of the door to greet me and showed me to my room, a small single with a nice bed that faced the Main Street of the village. After putting my stuff down, I could wait no longer and I walked behind the church to go to the Parsonage Museum. As soon as I rounded the corner I saw the famous graveyard facing the Brontë house, and long shiver ran down my spine: I could see the three sisters writing in the parlor looking outside of the window on a wintery night, and seeing all the ghosts that inspired their stories. I walked among the tombs and then reached the museum. After getting a ticket, I entered the Brontë home, and I loved seeing where they wrote, Charlotte’s wedding dress, and seeing the original poems they wrote in their tiny handwriting.

IMG_4814

One of the things that always gets me about the Brontë sisters is that, even though they lived together and they grew up together, their minds worked so differently. All of them had different writing styles and different ideas. While I was inside the parsonage, a wuthering wind started to howl outside, rolling black clouds obscured the village and a pounding rain started to splatter onto the windows. Now I understand why people talk about a ‘wuthering’ weather around here… I thought.

Of course, that did not stop me from exploring the moors in the afternoon. It had been years since I had walked among such wild nature; the path was still the same as it was in the 1840s and I could understand why, especially Emily, loved the moors so much.IMG_4828

Walking by myself in those moors, void of any other thought, I felt really good, and i understood the importance of sometimes taking some moments to spend with ourselves and ourselves only. Enjoying the little things and appreciating what we have.

IMG_4872That night I washed down these philosophical thoughts with a good Yorkshire beer and dined with the Yorkshire pudding. Yum! The following morning was a sunny day, so I returned to the moors, and I sat on a bench that overlooked the entire landscape. It was so peaceful up there, but most of all, it was silent. I could not hear any sound: cars, trucks, airplanes, nothing of that sort. In fact, as soon as I returned to London, the first thing that I noticed was the buzzing sounds of people talking and yelling, cars running everywhere and the tube underground.

The two days that I spent in Yorkshire really helped me clear my head and get away from all the pollution that surrounds me most of the time. Now I want to go on literary journeys more often, I find them healing! I hope you guys enjoyed reading this blog post, and if you have gone on literary journeys yourself please let me know! All of these pictures have no filters, and I cherish them, since they remind me of the wonderful place I visited.

Until next time!

Keky

BR: Clockwork Princess

clockwork-princess-247x400

Title: Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices Trilogy #3)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Genre: Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Adventure

Published: 2013

Pages: 569

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 


Synopsis from Goodreads:

A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.
Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.


Hello Everyone,

and welcome to my review of Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. It took me a while to write this because of school work, but now I am almost done with all my papers and I am thrilled for summer! Anyway, I read this book in a day and a half because I could not stop. I gave it 5/5 stars and keep reading if you want to know my thoughts!

SPOILER-FREE SECTION

  • Plot: as always, Cassie Clare did a great job with plotting. I really admire her capacity of interweaving all the smaller details which all come together once you finish the trilogy/series. When I finished TID I could really see how she had thought about the overarching story as a whole. Obviously there were a couple of major plot twists, of which I will talk about in the spoilery section.
  • Characters: once again, I was pleasantly surprised with the character development. If I thought that the two previous books had done a good job, this one went above and beyond. Other than the amazing character development which Tessa Jem and Will go through, I loved seeing Charlotte grow, along with her husband, and how their relationship bloomed. I liked seeing the Lightwoods grow as well along with Sophie and another character of whom I cannot talk about because it would be a spoiler.
  • Writing: There’s not much to say. The only downside I find in Cassandra’s writing every now and again as I continue reading TMI (The Mortal Instruments) is that the pacing can be a bit slow. But the depth of her themes and the beautiful emotional descriptions make up for it a thousand times.

This is it, this is the non spoiler section of my review. If you have not read this book, I would advise you to leave now and come back once you have done so. Also, random fact, my copy of Clockwork Princess smells sooo good! I don’t know why the paper smells so good in this particular book but I love it. Let me know if you like the smell of paper as well, and if you have read this book please leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it!

Until next time,

Keky

**SPOILER-ALERT** SECTION – Do not read further if you don’t want to be spoiled.

I don’t want to go onto a detailed review about every single aspect of this book, first of all because it could take forever, and secondly because it has been talked about so much. What I wanted to talk about here is this book’s ability of touching your deepest emotions. I don’t know about you, but it had been a very long time since a book made me fall into its claws and kept me there. I read this book in a day and a half and I was completely sucked up in the story. I laughed aloud without realizing it, and I also talked aloud as if speaking to the characters. And I sobbed at the end. It was not a sad sobbing, but a comforting one.

Another thing that this book did, was to shake some of my beliefs, and I love when books do this. I was angry at Tessa for the first half of the book because she did not pick between Jem and Will. When Will and her slept together I was really happy, but a part of me could not help but think that Jem had just – supposedly – die. I don’t know, I did not like it. Until the Epilogue. God the Epilogue. It’s the best one I have read in my life apart from another which I read years ago, and is part of one of my favorite books. In the epilogue I could not stop crying of bittersweet happiness, reading about aging Will, the pain that Tessa felt I felt. And then healed Jem showed up, and I felt once again what Tessa felt, and then I understood: the love, affection and esteem the three characters felt for one another surpassed any moral boundary and I loved seeing how such emotions can transcend time and space. Amazing.

I have to say I like Gabriel and Cecy together as well as Gideon and Sophie. Sophie a Shadowhunter, yeah! And finally I loved Charlotte and Henry’s relationship development. It was inspiring.

BR: Clockwork Prince, by Cassandra Clare

6f74df32a6998118604743e33ba9f5f5

Title: Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices trilogy #2)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Genre: Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Adventure

Published: 2011

Pages: 500

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

 


Synopsis From Goodreads:

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.


Hello everyone,

and welcome to my review of Clockwork Prince, by Cassandra Clare, second installment in The Infernal Devices trilogy. I flew through this book, reading it in a day and a half. I obviously gave it 5/5 stars.

SPOILER-FREE SECTION

  • Plot: Oh my goodness, this plot. Even if it started off somewhat slow, we learn so much in here, and it is both amusing and heart-wrenching. This second book definitely shaded more light on the romance, which I did not mind at all, especially because it gave insight on humanity’s darkest desires, which I really enjoyed. Overall the plot was well developed and though-out.
  • Characters: I loved the character development in this story. Other than the progress that Will, Jem and Tessa made, I was really pleased with the introduction of one of my favorite characters in the trilogy: Magnus Bane. I like his sharp mind and compassionate soul, and I cannot say more without spoiling some things. I despised Jessamine, and enjoyed Charlotte’s strong personality. I very much enjoyed the collision between Will and Gabriel as well. Good job Cassie.
  • Writing: I very much enjoy Cassandra Clare’s writing, I think she has the rare ability of describing emotions and situations in a way that is light but deep at the same time. This is not very common, and I love it. Her dialogue is at times extremely witty and funny, and it flows really well.

Having already finished the trilogy, I decided to pick up The Mortal Instruments (TMI) series as well, and I am reading the first book right now. Let me know if you have read Clockwork Angel or Clockwork Prince, and what you have thought about it.

Until next time,

Keky

**SPOILER-ALERT** SECTION – Do not read further if you do not want to be spoiled.

IMG_4770.jpgFirst of all, I have to say that I had predicted both that Will was cursed, and that the curse was not real. This did not make me enjoy any less Will’s part of the story, also because this book was the one in which I fell in love with his character. I love how deeply he can feel, and how deeply he can love. He is compassionate but also extremely smart, and he loves reading. Basically the perfect man.

I was not expecting Tessa saying YES to Jem… also because I did not want her to. Not because I am team Will or anything of that sort, but because I thought she was not being completely honest with herself nor with the two boys. I wish we could’ve gotten more insight on her thoughts. (Loved the scene in the balcony, hilarious Magnus’ reaction).

I LOVE Magnus Bane. He is an amazing character, and I enjoyed knowing that he could still feel for others and that an immortal life had not hardened him too much. He is not in love with Will, nonetheless he recognizes brokenness, and for this reason he helps him find the demon that supposedly cursed him years previously. Magnus also gives Will advice on life and on himself, and I really liked their relationship. Magnus is hilarious.

Jessamine – oh Jessamine. Why are you so stupid? I feel bad for her just for how naïve and stupid that girl is. She is superficial and silly, and for these reasons she follows Nate – who by the way is another horrible person. I guess some people are just born evil.

I apologize if my thoughts are completely scattered. Hope you enjoy anyway!

BR: Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare

CA_cover_repackaged-267x400

Title: Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices trilogy #1)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Genre: Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Adventure

Published: 2010

Pages: 448

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

 

 


Synopsis From Goodreads:

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…


Hello everyone!

Welcome to my review of Clockwork Angelfirst installment in The Infernal Devices (TID) trilogy by Cassandra Clare. First of all, let me begin by saying that I had no expectation at all going in this trilogy. When I was in middle school I remember trying to read City of Bones, the first book in The Mortal Instruments (TMI) series, and I did not like it. However, I have heard many amazing reviews about this trilogy, and I decided to give Cassie’s books another try, and I was right. I gave the first book 4/5 stars.So, without further ado, let’s get into the book review.

SPOLER FREE SECTION

  • Plot: Tessa Gray has lost everything: her parents are dead, her aunt and carer is dead, and now she has to leave New York and go to London to stay with her brother. It is 1878, and as soon as she lands in England, she is kidnapped by the Dark Sisters, and her world will not be the same ever again. She discovers the Shadowhunters world, and from here, the plot of the first book unfolds. I definitely felt that this first book was meant to set up the other two, and the trilogy as a whole. Never having read any other Shadowhunters novel, I found it easy to get into it, and learning about the world was not hard at all. Though at times a bit slow, I found the plot very engaging, and full of plot-twists.
  • Characters: all the characters were extremely well-developed and unique. As I have already mentioned in other reviews, I really do appreciate when the reader can tell each character apart as if they were real people; I could do this with the characters in Clockwork Angel. I have to admit that I despised Will Herondale at first as much as I admired Charlotte Branwell. I also have to admit that I really liked Henry from the very start, and I was indifferent to Jem. But then time passed, and they grew, and I grew with them.
  • Writing: Cassandra Clare’s writing is peculiar. I don’t know how she does it, but she manages to suck you in and you just keep reading until it is dark out – at least that’s what happened to me. She can jump from one point of view to another, from a slow scene to a fast-paced one without you realizing it. The word choice is beautiful and thought out, and the dramatization of emotions is polished, clear and not over the top. Once again, in certain points it is a bit slow, but it’s worth it.

There is not much else I can say without spoiling any part of the book. If you have not read it, do not read further and just read the trilogy, you will not regret it.

Until next time,

Keky

**SPOILER ALERT** – Do not read further if you do not want to be spoiled!

IMG_4778I loved this first book. Yes, in the beginning I despised Will, but after that kiss… I understood that there was something there, something that he was not telling anyone. As long as Jem is concerned, I really appreciate how he can see through people without judgment; in fact one of Tessa’s struggles was to find herself in the midst of all the people she could transform into, and Jem had the right words to offer: “Certainly it would be wonderful if we all knew exactly who we were. But that knowledge doesn’t come from outside, but from inside. Know thyself as the oracle says”.

I was sure that DeQuincey was the bad guy, even the sound of his name screams “I’m the bad guy!”. I was a bit disappointed at the fact that he was a mere vampire, but when I found out that Mortmain was the real bad guy, and he had played us all, I was furious. He is unctuous, creepy, and wonderfully human. I love it. The idea of automatons has always creeped me out, because they were the army of the bad guy in the first book that made me fall in love with reading when  I was 7 years old. I remember reading it and being afraid of my own shadow! So good job Cassie Clare for scaring me. Overall, this is a good start to what I am sure is a great trilogy.

BR: Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes

9780718157838-me-before-you-reissue-jacket-2

Title: Me Before You

Author: Jojo Moyes

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Published: 2012

Pages: 498

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

 


Synopsis From Goodreads:

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.


Hello everyone,

I have recently read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes because there has been much hype on Booktube due to the movie release this upcoming June. This book tells the story of Lou, a 26-years old young woman who suddenly loses her job and is forced to become the carer for 35-year-old Will, a man who, because of an accident, has become quadriplegic, and how their friendship develops. Almost everyone I have talked to has loved this book. I gave it 4 stars, even though it was more of a 3.75/5 stars for me, and I will explain my reasons for it in the spoiler-alert section.

SPOILER-FREE SECTION

  • Plot: as mentioned above, the plot is pretty straightforward. I already knew how the novel was going to end, and if I may say so, I liked how it ended. Some people did not, but I thought it was necessary. I found this novel quite slow in the beginning, and to me it did not pick up until page 178, which is pretty far in. Other than the slowness, which I think was sometimes misused, I really enjoyed how the plot flowed, and how it was easy to read. I really appreciate when a book flows well, and this one did, even though sometimes – and I say only sometimes – I felt like some scenes were unnecessary and I would have liked the focus to be on the main issue the most.
  • Characters: If there is one thing I absolutely and unconditionally admired of this book was the construction of the characters. They felt so down to earth, and real. All of them had flaws, all of them had amazing characteristics, and I feel like the author did not only develop well the main characters, but also all the support characters, especially Lou’s family. I loved it.
  • Writing: Jojo Moyes writes really well, and that is undeniable. As I mentioned above, the story flowed, and it was not over-wordy. I really liked the dialogues, and how witty some of the characters were, as well as how much of the characters showed through the words they spoke. Having the skill of knowing how to do that properly is amazing.

These are my general thoughts on the novel as a whole, but there is much else that needs to be said. In the next section, I will discuss the rest of my ideas about why I did not give this book a 5/5 stars. Be aware: spoilers are to come, so if you have not read the novel yet, I suggest to leave this page and pick up this book and read it. If you have read it, read on and let me know about your ideas on the matter.

**SPOILER-ALERT** SECTION – Do not read further if you do not want to be spoiled!

IMG_4764Alright, here we go. Let’s start from the premise that this book dealt with an extremely serious matter, and one that needs some kind of medical/scientific knowledge that I do not possess, and so what I will say in this section are my own opinions and ideas.

My mother has always worked in the Bioethics field at the hospital, thus I have always discussed with her the medical conditions that might lead someone to decide to commit suicide. In this novel, Will decides to end his life, and I do support his decision. What I thought could have been done better, was to quit spending so much time describing other stuff and actually get into Will’s mind, in order to explain better where his decision came from. I throughly enjoyed this book, but I felt like that it was a bit ‘ableist’; as readers, we never got to know if Will had psychological support, or if his depression was treated. I did not give this book 4 stars because I felt that the last 150 pages were rushed, and when dealing with such topics, brushing it off is not the way. I have to admit, I loved the ending, of Lou reading Will’s letter in Paris; at the same time, why was Lou’s life worthless before Will, I mean she was content, wasn’t she? I just did not understand why Will had the need to shape her into the ambitious person I felt like she was not, when he lost his ambition. And I do understand why he did, so I am not criticizing his choice, I am respecting it, I just wish we got a little more insight about this point in the novel.

I also did not cry nearly as much as everyone else said they did. I cried once, and you can imagine when. Also, favorite line:

“Best before: 19 March 2007” and many more.