April Wrap-Up

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to my April Wrap-Up. April was a good reading month for me, considering the fact that I was out of town for Easter and I also was extremely busy with school work! I read a total of seven books, one of them being a huge monster of a book. Without further ado, here are the books I read this month!

  • 61ug-qlo6NL._SY346_The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead. This neo-slave narrative recounts the story of Cora as she flees her plantation in Georgia. This book has many trigger warnings, so be mindful when you read it. This story is bleak, violent and harsh, but I think it is so important for everyone to read it. I gave it 4/5 stars.
  • The Routledge Companion to Critical and Cultural Theory. This I had to read for my Critical Theory class, and it was a good introduction to different theories. I thought that the Feminism chapter should have gone more in depth, but overall it was clear and concise. I gave it 4/5 stars.
  • Warbreaker, by Brandon Sanderson. 13343734Warbreaker is an adult High Fantasy novel following two sisters, one of whom has been sent away to marry a mysterious God King. Set in one of Sanderson’s fantastic world and including one of his amazing magic systems, Warbreaker is definitely a must read. It is also a standalone, which is great! I gave it 5/5 stars.
  • Cracking India, by Bapsi Sidwha. This novel about the Partition is a buildungsroman that talks about the atrocities that result from ideological hatred. It follows a young girl affected by polio living in Lahore, and her struggle to deal with violence and religious prejudice. I gave it 3/5 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling. There is no need to explain the details, I have read this series countless times. I am listening to all of them on audiobook and alas, I am on the last one now. Obviously 5/5 stars, event though I really do dislike Ron.
  • The Lazarus Project, by Aleksandar Hemon. This book is hard to place for me. I appreciated the overall story and the deconstruction of metaphysical concepts, but sometimes it was dragging. I felt like this could have easily been a short story or a 25020c03e81e5472d5ea9924bc959a40novella and it would have worked equally fine. Overall, I gave it 3/5 stars.
  • The Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss. And now, to the huge book I read the last two weeks of April, and to Mr. Rothfuss, without whom the world would be a bleaker place. This second installment in the Kingkiller Chronicles did not disappoint. I am just amazed at how many facets Kvothe has, and I cannot wait for the third and last book to come out. 5/5 stars.

 

These are all the books that I have read this month. Please let me know if you have read any of these and if you liked them!

Until next time,

Keky

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February and March Wrap-Up

Hello Everyone!

I hope you had a lovely March and are ready to jump into April as much as I am. This is my last month of Senior Year in college, which means that I will be graduating in May and then leaving Chicago for good. It is a bittersweet feeling for sure, but it also means that I am drowning in papers to write and books to read. The books you will see in this wrap up are mostly for school, even though I have managed to read some for fun as well. Between February and March I read a total of 19 books. So, without further ado, here we go!

FEBRUARY 2017

  • Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys. Even though I am not particularly fond of modern/contemporary fiction, I was able to really enjoy this little novel because I love Jane Eyre so much. It recounts the story of Bertha Mason – if you have read the victorian novel you will know who I am talking about. I gave it 4/5 stars.
  • 41nhwszqa7l-_sx328_bo1204203200_Three Dark Crowns, by Kendare Blake. I had heard mixed things about this novel, therefore I did not have very high expectations when I read it. Overall, I gave it 3/5 stars, and I also have a review up for this, so if you want to know more of my thoughts, click here.
  • The Known World, by E.P. Jones. This is a very important book to read – let’s start with that. I had to read it for my Contemporary African American Lit, where we are mainly reading Neo-Slave narratives. This book was so hard to get through for me. It took me forever to read, and It just did not click. I do appreciate it for what it is, but I just did not enjoy it. I gave it 2.5/5 stars.
  • Of Fire and Stars, by Audrey Colthurst. 25164304Once again, I enjoyed this book but it was nothing special. I gave it 3/5 stars and I have a review here.
  • The Woman Warrior, by Maxine Hong Kingston. This book is a memoir written by an American author whose parents migrated from China. It is a very interesting read, and Maxine is an amazing person overall. If you read the book, I would highly recommend watching an interview with her as well. I gave it 3/5 stars.
  • Dessa Rose, by Shirley Anne Williams. This book is a Neo-Slave narrative looking at two women, one black and one white, and how power relations works cross-race as well as how the institution of slavery was not only perpetrated when people were officially in bondage. It is a very interesting read, and I gave it 4/5 stars.
  • 51SZMN-YEhL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Ancient Rome: From Romulus to Justinian, by Thomas R. Martin. This non-fiction book is so easy to read. It is a very good overall account of Roman History, starting from the legends to the foundation of Constantinople. It is a very good introduction for beginners, and I gave it 4/5 stars.
  • I Speak English, by J.R. Colvin. This is a good book to read if you tutor adults that are ESL speakers. I gave it 3/5 stars
  • Snow Like Ashes, by Sara Raasch. I enjoyed this book. I went into it completely blind, and I had no idea what to expect. The beginning was a bit slow for me, but then things picked up and I really enjoyed it! I gave it 4/5 stars.

MARCH 2017

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling. There is not much to say here – definitely 5 stars! I am re-listening to all the audiobooks before going to sleep and I am loving it. By this moment I have lost count as to how many times I have read this series.
  • 9780147510983Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll. I ready enjoyed this little book. I had wanted to read it for such a long time, and finally I got a copy at Strand Bookstore in New York and read it. I would like to read it for class as well, and be able to discuss it with other people. However, I gave it 4/5 stars.
  • Bellum Catilinae, by Sallust. I have to read a lot of classical literature and this is one of them. It was not my favorite, so I gave it 3/5 stars.
  • Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman. downloadI had been wanting to read more Norse Mythology in such a long time, and Neil Gaiman was so good at narrating his own book, I loved it. It was the first time I had read a Neil Gaiman, but I also have the kindle version of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which I hope to read soon.
  • De Tranquillitate Animi, and De Vita Beata, by Seneca. Both of these treatise are really good. I really like Seneca, and his way of explaining Stoic philosophy is flawless. I gave both 4/5 stars.
  • July’s Poeple, by Nadine Gordimer. I know she won the Nobel Prize for Literature – but I hated this book. I just could not keep up with it’s broken language and if the professor hadn’t unpacked this in class, I would have taken away nothing from it. I gave it 2/5 stars.
  • Beauty and the Beast, by Jeanne-Marie Beaumont. Of course I read this right after watching the movie which I loved. I had already read this fairy tale, but it had been so long that I had forgotten. However, I gave it 4/5 stars.
  • Thyestes, by Seneca. Thyestes is a very gory and brutal tragedy. It is a fast read and very fascinating, commenting on the detrimental nature of Civil War and Fratricide. I gave it 4/5 stars.
  • f_mcbride_goodlordThe Good Lord Bird, by James McBride. Let me start by saying that I loved this book. It might have become one of my favorite books of all time, and I don’t know why. It’s a Neo-Slave narrative describing the events at Harpers Ferry. But it is also a tragicomedy, so be ready to laugh and cry at the same time. McBride has a very good way of writing about important topics and getting the message across without being boring. Definitely recommend. 5/5 stars.

These are all the books that I read in the months of February and March! Let me know what you have read during those months, and I will come back with a Book Review soon!

Until then, Happy Reading.

Keky

BR: Of Fire and Stars, by Audrey Coulthurst

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Title: Of Fire and Stars

Author: Audrey Coulthurst

Genre: YA Fantasy

Published: 2016

Pages: 389

My Rating: 3/5 stars


Synopsis from Goodreads:

Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.
Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine—called Mare—the sister of her betrothed.
When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two become closer, Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. And soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.
But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.


Hello Everyone,

welcome to my review of the debut novel Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst! This is a YA Fantasy novel which includes a queer relationship between two lead female characters. I had heard about male homosexual relationships in YA, but never a lesbian one, so I was curious to read this one. Especially because queer relationships are very rare in fantasy novels! I gave this book 3.5/5 stars, and if you want to know why, keep reading!

SPOLER-FREE SECTION

  • Plot: the plot of the novel was pretty straight forward. Definitely fast paced, there was intrigue and mystery, even though my suspicions from the very beginning ended up being true. Because this novel is a stand-alone, I felt that much of the world building or plot development were impeded by the restrictions of pages. If this book was a duology or even a trilogy, I think it would have so much more to offer in terms of plot and development of both social and political relations. Overall, for being a stand-alone it was well developed.
  • Characters: again, because it is only one book, the author did not have the space to well flesh-out side characters. The only two characters that were well developed were Mare and Denna, however, the prince and everyone else was just a support to the main characters.
  • Writing: The writing was good, the narration fast paced and the style proper to a YA novel. What I really appreciated was the creation of a world that is slightly more egalitarian than usual, and where homosexual relationships are almost considered equal to heterosexual ones. The diversity in the novel was its main strength, for sure.

These are all my non-spoilery thoughts about the novel. If you have read it and wish to discuss it, please do not hesitate to comment down below and let me know your thoughts and opinions. Thank you for reading!

Until next time,

Keky

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

I did see the plot twist coming. The fact that Coulthurst built the general to be the bad guy was too pushed, because that rendered her just a very bad general overall. I knew that the Zumordan wanted to get close to Mare just to get power. As I previously said, the world-building, plot and character development really did lack any depth, and Nils death was unnecessary to me.

BR: Three Dark Crowns, by Kendare Blake

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Title: Three Dark Crowns (#1)

Author: Kendrare Blake

Genre: YA Fantasy

Published: 2016

Pages: 398

My Rating: 3/5 stars


Synopsis from Goodreads:

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.
The last queen standing gets the crown.


Hello everyone,

and welcome to a new book review. Today I am talking about the debut novel Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, a dark YA fantasy that deals with a rotten kingdom in which sisterhood is synonym for murder and hatred. I had high expectations for this one, probably because it was so hyped up. However, I only gave it 3/5 stars, and if you want to know why, keep on reading!

SPOLER-FREE SECTION

  • Plot: The plot was one of the main reasons why I was a bit disappointed. I found it to be extremely predictable, except in two instances. I knew what was going to happen throughout most of the book, and sometimes I also found myself being confused about certain elements, since they were not fleshed out well. Only the ending was surprising, and made me give it 3 stars instead of 2.75
  • Characters: characterization was okay. Sometimes I felt that side characters took over the protagonists (for example in Jules’ case) and other characters that had a major role in the novel were not detailed enough. Also, there was only one romance that I found to be credible, all the other ones were a bit too much of a stretch.
  • Writing: The writing is simplistic. Sometimes we get good metaphors, but it is nothing compared with some other adult or even YA fantasies (i.e. The Kiss of Deception). Overall, I found this book to be slightly mediocre, and I hope the sequel will make up for it.

These are all my non-spoilery thoughts about this book! Please let me know if you’ve read it in the comments below and what you thought of it.

Until next time,

Keky

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

Did you by any chance get as mad as I did about Jules’ stupidity about Joseph? I hated both of them when they were hanging out. She was so naive, and he was straight up cruel. It is obvious that the fact that Arsinoe burned the spell at the beginning of the book led him to like more Mirabella, but since it is not explicit, this still gives Joseph agency.

I knew Pyetr would throw Katharine off the mountain. I knew the bear would go crazy and Arsinoe would be blamed. I knew Katharine was not really dead. In short, the plot was very predictable to me, however I did enjoy the final cliffhanger, which leads me to think that I might read the final book of the duology. I am still not positive about it though…

BR: The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss

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Title: The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1)

Author: Patrick Rothfuss

Genre: High Fantasy

Published: 2007

Pages: 722

My Rating: 5/5 stars


Synopsis from Goodreads

Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.
The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.
A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.


Hello Everyone!

Welcome to my review of the epic The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss. Now, I know a lot of people have told me that I had to read this book, and yes, I finally have. And may I tell you how happy I am I did, because let’s be honest, this is one of a kind. I obviously gave it 5/5 stars, and so, without further ado, here are my thoughts.

SPOLER-FREE SECTION

  • Plot: Mr. Rothfuss is a genius in weaving plots. He truly is. It is very hard to describe how incredibly thought out the story is, unless you read it. It is not only a mere fantasy story, or the memoir of a hero. There is so much more in it that is worth anybody’s time.
  • Characters: Kvothe is the best. Extremely flawed, extremely clever, all around lovable. As you keep reading, you grow and learn along with him and you suffer with him. Denna is very bad ass… I still do not know how suspicious I want to be of her, and I am definitely intrigued by her past. I loved Abenthy too. Such a good man and well developed character. And then Sim and Wil.. how can you not love them? All the characters were portrayed extremely well, they felt like real people. Both likable and not, I can definitely say that Pat Rothfuss is a master when it comes to characterization.
  • Writing: The writing is probably the most beautiful part of this book. Whimsical, poetic, eloquent, but also rough, dry and severe. Every line is well crafted, and if you like amazing writing with versatility this is for you. Even though sometimes it could feel a little slow paced, the writing was so beautiful that it was a pleasure reading it nonetheless.

These are all my non-spoilery thoughts about this epic novel. If you have not read it yet, please do yourself a favor and do so. I cannot wait to read the second installment! If you have read this book please comment below so we can talk about it, I need to know what you think and if you liked it 🙂

Until next time,

Keky

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

Where to start… I do not even know. This novel is everything you could ever want. A memoir, historical Fantasy, a mystery, an action book. I cannot wait for Kvothe to face the Chandrian, and oh my god, when he was expelled from the University I thought, “here we go”. I knew he was going to be expelled and I was very confused when in reality they let him stay and study under Elodin. But I do know that he will be expelled once and for all in the near future and I do not want that to happen.

I am very curious to see what is going to happen with Ambrose, and some bad things are bound to come up. I also want to learn more about Denna’s past… there is something off about her, and I want to find out why. When Kvothe went into the Archives with a candle I thought how dumb he was, of course he was expelled, and argh, I need to know what is behind that door! Ari is another very interesting character and I want to get to know her better, as well as about Bast and Chronicler.

Okay guys, this is pointless I don’t even know what I am talking about anymore, it is so hard to pinpoint anything because there is so much to this story and I want it all! I will wait a bit to read the second book so that maybe it will be closer to the date when the third one comes out (which I hope will be soon!)

Semester Reads: Spring 2017

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Hello Everyone,

Today I thought I would do something a little different. I want to share with you most of the things that I am reading this semester for Uni. I say most of them because for my Classics course we have to read a lot of sections from numerous authors, but not whole books. Therefore I will only tell you which physical books I have to read this semester. I am taking a total of five classes, four English classes and the Classics one.

English 395: Contemporary African American Literature – Slavery and Postmemory.

  • The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass, by Frederick Douglass
  • My Bondage and My Freedom, by Frederick Douglass
  • The Known World, by E. P. Jones
  • Dessa Rose, by Shirley Anne Williams
  • The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride
  • The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead

English 290: Human Values in Literature – Non-Western Voices

  • Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe
  • Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys
  • The Woman Warrior, by Maxine Hong Kingston
  • No Telephone to Heaven, by Michelle Cliff
  • July’s People, by Nadine Gordimer
  • Cracking India, by Bapsi Sidhawa

Classical Studies 384: Humanist of Antiquity II – Rome

  • Ancient Rome: From Romulus to Justinian, by Thomas R. Martin
  • Miles Gloriosus, by Plautus
  • Adelphi, by Terentius
  • Thyestes, by Seneca
  • Aeneid, by Virgil
  • Pro Lege Manilia and Pro Caelio, by Cicero

English 354: Critical Theory

  • The Lazarus Project, by Aleksandar Hemon

Please let me know if you have read any of them and if you have any tips about these readings!

Until next time,

Keky

 

January Wrap-Up

Hello Everyone!

I cannot believe January is already over and we are well off into 2017! The first half of this month I have barely read anything because I was on vacation back at home, and between traveling and seeing all my family I did not have that much time.

In the second half of the month, however, I did read quite a lot and managed to finish about 11 books! Here they are:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling (5/5 stars)

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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, by Frederick Douglass (4/5 stars)

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You, by Caroline Kepnes (3/5 stars)

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My Bondage and My Freedom, by Frederick Douglass (4/5 stars)

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Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur (3/5 stars)

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Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe (4/5 stars)

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We Should All be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (5/5stars)

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling (5/5 stars)

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Miles Gloriosus, by Plautus (4/5 stars)

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Adelphi, by Terence (3/5 stars)

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The Name of the Wind, by Pat Rothfuss (5/5 stars, even though it should have been a million stars)

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These are all the books that I read in January 2017! Please let me know if you have read any of them, and what were your thoughts and feelings about it!

Until next time,

Keky