Top Five Wednesday: Favorite Villains

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**SPOLER ALERT** > If you have not read A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas yet, You might want to skip this one.

Hello Everyone,

And welcome back to my blog! Today I have been inspired to do this week’s topic for T5W (Top Five Wednesday). To find more about it, click here to go to the Goodreads page for it!

This week’s topic is all-time favorite villains, and I am so excited about it. As a disclaimer, I will not include any Harry Potter villains, however, if you wish to know who my favorite villain from the HP series is, well, obviously dear old Tom Marvolo Riddle, aka Voldemort, but that is not a surprise. So, without further ado, here are my top 5 favorite villains, in no particular order.

  • The Lord Ruler, from The Mistborn Trilogy. I love the figure of the Lord Ruler; even though I cannot say much without spoiling the whole plot, if you have not read this series you just need to know that he is not as black and white as you may think. He is a real person, going through real struggles, and with a mind of his own. Yep, he’s great, and he is written so well you feel for him, even though, in the end, he’s a horrible person.
  • Jack Randall, from the Outlander series. So, this is a villain I openly loathe. I think this is the only antagonist I genuinely feel no sympathy for, I truly despise and dislike him. When reading scenes in which he appears, it would be really hard for me not to tear the page, snort at him, or yell. One of the most horrible fictional characters I have EVER read about.
  • Tamlin, from A Court of Mist and Fury. I know he is only a minor villain, but I really dislike him. He is a controlling and psychologically abusive male who lacks empathy and or sympathy. I really hope Sarah will redeem at least part of him in the last book of the trilogy. I somewhat liked him in ACOTAR, and I am eager to see what is going to happen to him.
  • The Red Queen, from the Queen of the Tearling Trilogy. The Red Queen of Mortmesne is the typical villain who is self-absorbed, self-righteous, vain, and scared of both death and old age. She is cold, calculating, and delightfully ruthless. I cannot wait to learn more about her in the last book in the trilogy.
  • Heathcliff, from Wuthering Heights. I know, I know, Wuthering Heights again. Well, guess what, Heathcliff is one of the most ambiguous ‘villains’ you will ever read about. He is mistreated in childhood, and the question of nature versus nurture has never been more real.

These are the five villains that popped into my mind when I read this week’s topic. Please comment down below what some of your favorite villains are, I would absolutely love to know!

Until next time,

Keky

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BR: Allora Mi Prenderò un Cappello

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Title: Allora Mi Prenderò Un Cappello

Author: Maria Cristina Benetti

Genre: Non-fiction memoir

Published: 2016

Pages: 110

My Rating: 5/5 stars


Salve a tutti,

oggi vi propongo qualcosa di diverso.

Innanzitutto questa recensione sarà scritta in italiano, la mia lingua madre. Il mio è un sito in inglese, ma questa è un’occasione speciale.

L’autrice di questo libro, Maria Cristina Benetti, mi ha contattata un mese fa chiedendomi se ero disponibile per una recensione del suo libro, Allora mi prenderò un cappello. Questo libro è una memoria della sua esperienza come donna ed essere umano durante la malattia “cancro”. Essendo stata paziente di mio padre ed avendo io vissuto l’esperienza del cancro nella mia famiglia, non potevo dire di no e così ho deciso che avrei fatto una recensione sia in italiano che in inglese per promuovere questo libro.

Date le circostanze non mi atterrò alla guida che uso di solito (personaggi, trama, scrittura) ma userò una cornice più ampia; parlerò del messaggio trasmesso e del potenziale che un’opera letteraria come questa può avere all’interno della società. Ovviamente gli ho dato 5/5 stelle. Questa è la mia recensione.

Non ho mai letto nulla di simile a questo libro. E’ diviso in capitoli, certo, ma ogni capitolo ha una sottosezione e ogni paragrafo tratta di un tema diverso. Questo libro è un excursus di tutte le emozioni ed i problemi che hanno afflitto la protagonista da quando ha avuto un tumore al seno fino a quando ha avuto, recentemente, un linfoma.

L’autrice descrive la sua esperienza in modo molto chiaro, utilizzando un linguaggio semplice ma allo stesso tempo metaforicamente elaborato, creando così un’opera intersezionale.

Questo libro può essere letto da chiunque e penso che questa sua qualità sia fondamentale.

L’autrice è stata estremamente coraggiosa a trasferire i suoi sentimenti sulla carta mostrando la sua vulnerabilità al mondo, ma il fatto di rendere la sua esperienza pubblica è anche la sua forza perché consente alle persone di riconoscersi e identificarsi con la sua esperienza.

Penso sia molto importante che più libri come questo siano scritti.

La parola cancro include concetti come paura, disillusione, morte; leggere l’esperienza di una persona che è pronta a combattere, anche se a volte perde la speranza, è fondamentale perché alla fine la speranza è sempre ritrovata. Parlare più spesso di questo tema aiuta a togliere lo stigma alla parola, ad aprire la comunicazione e a rendere la vita del paziente e della sua famiglia più semplice.

Una delle cose che mi sono rimaste impresse di questo libro è il fatto che il cancro può davvero trasformare una persona e stravolgere la sua vita. Infatti l’autrice parla della sua esperienza lavorativa in una casa di moda, comparandola con la situazione attuale in cui non si riconosce in se stessa: non può prendere il sole, non può andare in bicicletta senza che le manchi il respiro, non può fare una doccia normale e ha perso amici che vedevano la malattia prima di vedere la persona.

Alla fine, è vero, il cancro l’ha cambiata, ma ci sono altre cose positive che sono nate con la malattia. Connessioni più forti con una diversa comunità, incontrare gente nuova e, finalmente, riuscire ancora a nuotare.

La frase conclusiva del libro è:“Non ti volto le spalle, ti voglio guardare negli occhi. Uno dei due li abbasserà. Tanto vinco io”. Penso che questa espressione sia emblematica per la forza che possiede: una buona dimostrazione del fatto che non è facile accettare la malattia e che, anche se ognuno ha un modo diverso di affrontarla, l’importante è trovare un modo per combatterla.

E’ stata davvero una bella esperienza leggere questo libro, sono contenta che Cristina mi abbia contattata per scriverle una recensione.

Potete trovare la pagina Goodreads qui. Spero davvero che il messaggio sia apprezzato e divulgato.

Alla prossima,

Keky

BR: Allora Mi Prenderò un Cappello (Then I Will Get Myself a Hat)

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Title: Allora Mi Prenderò Un Cappello

Author: Maria Cristina Benetti

Genre: Non-fiction memoir

Published: 2016

Pages: 110

My Rating: 5/5 stars


Hello Everyone,

and welcome to my new book review. Today, I bring to you something a little different, and let me explain. The author of this book, Maria Cristina Benetti, contacted me about a month ago, asking me to review her debut release Allora Mi Prenderò Un Cappello, which, translate from Italian means “then I will get myself a hat”. Let me give you a little bit of background on the author and the novel. This is Cristina’a non-fiction memoir and her experience as a woman and as a human being while she went through cancer. She used writing as a therapeutic and cathartic tool in order to deal with all the troubling emotions and feelings she felt while ill, and this is the result of such reflections. Because this is a special review and because this book has grown to be dear to me, I will use a different frame than my usual one in order to review this particular work. I will talk about the importance of such work of literature within society and then about the message it gives out to people. I gave ti 5/5 stars and so, without further ado, let’s get into the review.

This book is like nothing else I have ever read. It is divided into chapter, sure, but each chapter has a headline and each paragraph has a different theme. It deals with all the inner emotion and turmoil affecting Cristina from the very first time she has breast cancer, up to when she discover to have a new one, two years later. She describes it all clearly, with a simple but at the same time metaphorically elaborate language, so that the work in itself becomes intersectional. It can be understood by all, and I deem this to be very important. The author was very courageous to put her thoughts and feeling on paper, to show her vulnerability to the world; however, this is also her strength, making her experience public, so that other people could relate to it and identify with the experience as a whole. I think it is extremely important that more works like this one are written: the word cancer implies other concepts such as fear, hopelessness, death. However, hearing the voice of someone who is ready to fight, even though sometimes she does lose hope, is fundamental, because that same hope is always found again. Talking more about these issues will help to de-demonize this sickness, and open communication will make the patient’s (and also his or her family’s) life easier.

One thing I took away from this book is that cancer really can turn someone’s life upside down. The author talks about how she worked in the fashion industry, and how now she was barely able to recognize herself. She could not stay in the sun, she could not bike around without losing her breath, she could not take a normal shower, she lost friends who saw the illness before they saw Her. However, in the end, it is true, cancer had changed her, but there were new positive things that were born. Stronger connections with a new community, meeting new people, and finally being able to swim in the water again. Her concluding lines are as follow: “I will not turn my back on you [cancer], I want to look at you in the eye. One of us is gonna give out. And I will win.” I find this final sentence to be so empowering, and a good demonstration that it is not easy to come to terms with this illness, and that even though everyone has a different way of coping with it, the important thing is to find a way to get to that point of acceptance and fight back.

Overall, it was a very good experience to read this book, and I am so glad Cristina contacted me to review it. You can find the Goodreads page here. I really hope her message will be spread and heard.

Until next time,

Keky

 

BR: Every Heart a Doorway

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Title: Every Heart a Doorway

Author: Seanan McGuire

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

Published: 2016

Pages: 173

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars


Synopsis From Goodreads:

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.
But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.
Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.
But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.
No matter the cost.


Hello Everyone,

and welcome to my review of Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. This is the first book I have read by this author, and I have to say I was a little disappointed. As a disclaimer, I was also reading the Well of Ascension at the same time, so that did not help! However, without further ado, here are my thoughts and feelings about this book.

SPOLER-FREE SECTION

  • Plot: The plot was really straight-forward, and I have to say, I saw the ending coming already on the second chapter. I knew who the bad guy behind all the murders was from the very beginning, so the plot was not well developed, or at least, the novel was too short to develop it properly. I have to say that I like the ending though, and I will probably read the sequel if it comes out, just to know what happens. After all, it’s a pretty quick read.
  • Characters: once again, there was no room for development. The headmaster of the school basically never appears, and there is not enough explanation about the character’s personalities. Even the main character was awkward and not developed.
  • Writing: finally something I really liked. I really like McGuire whimsical and poetic writing style, I really appreciated some of the metaphors and the phrasing in this novel. However, the world as not developed enough and it was hard to keep track of the world-building, because it was never fully explained. Another thing I really appreciated though, was the diversity in this book: the main character is a-sexual, while another is transgender. I thought that was really interesting.

Here are all my spoiler-free thoughts about this book! Please let me know if you have read it and what you thought of it. Since there is not much else to say about this book spoiler-wise, I will not have a spoiler section. The only thing I would say is that I enjoyed the ending.

Until next time,

Keky

 

October Wrap-Up

Hello Everyone,

and welcome to my October wrap up! It was a good reading month, and between reading things both for school and for fun, I read a total of 9 books. Some of these were great, some a little less great, but without further ado, here are the things I read in October. As per usual, they are in the chronological order I read them.

  • mistborntrilogyMistborn: The Final Empire, by Brandon Sanderson. I finally gave in and decided to dive in this world. The Mistborn Trilogy is one of the most famous adult high fantasy series and for a good reason. Sanderson is a master at world building and characterization, and I throughly enjoyed this first installment. It wrenched my heart, and I could not wait to read the second one. 5/5 stars no doubt.
  • La Storia, by Jerre Mangione and Ben Morreale. This is a non-fiction survey of the Italian American Experience, from before the great migration of the 1880s. This book was well written even though a bit repetitive, and it gave a good overview of both the history and the culture surrounding the Italian American community in the US. I gave it 3/5 stars.
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Childrenby Ransom Riggs. miss-peregrines-home-peculiar_book-coverI finally read this, and it did not disappoint. I enjoyed this YA book, and I am planning on picking up the sequel in the future. I felt that there was not a well developed characterization of the people featured in the story, however, I heard it gets better! I gave it 3.5/5 stars.
  • Rosa: The Life of an Italian Immigrant, by Marie Hall. This book is the biography of a woman, from her childhood in Italy until she dies in Chicago after migrating in the country. This was a heart-wrenching tale of hardships and hope, and I wold advise anyone to read it. I gave it 4/5 stars.
  • 9780765385505_custom-f5a6896c76bab91434bb389e0c5eae3ff2599afb-s300-c85Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire. I was so excited to pick this one up, because it had been in my TBR since it came out. However, unfortunately I was disappointed, and I think the reason why was the length. This is a short book, and for the topic it explores, I felt like it was a bit superficial. I did really enjoy the writing though. I gave it 2.5/5 stars.
  • The Well of Ascension, by Brandon Sanderson. This is the second installment in the Mistborn Trilogy. There is not much to say, except that I loved it. 5/5 stars.
  • Goblin Market, by Christina Rossetti. I loved this poem. Other than the fact that Christina Rossetti in an extremely intriguing figure, her writing and ideas were revolutionary for the Victorian period she lived in. This poem talks about desire and the role of women in society, and it was extremely fascinating. Definitely 5/5 stars, and I am excited to read more by her.
  • A Great and Terrible Beauty, by Libba Bray. libbabraybeautyI had such high expectations for this one, and unfortunately I did not like it. The narration was superficial, the characters were really unlikeable, the historical setting and the language were not accurate to the time period. I might be over-critical about this because I am a sucker for anything Victorian, however this was not that good. 1.5/stars.
  • Ottoman Empire and Islamic Tradition, by Norman Itzkowitz. And finally, another non-fiction read. This text was a very good overview of Ottoman history, it was precise but not overly-conceptual. It was a good read for anyone interested to know more about the history of one of the biggest empires ever existed. 3.5/5 stars.

These are all the books that I read in the month of October. Please let me know if you have read any of these, and comment down below, so we can discuss it. As usual, any reviews that I have done are going to be linked to the title. Thank you for reading!

Until next time,

Keky