Doodles In The Park // August 15-16, 2015

 

I haven’t posted any pages from my art journal for over a month. I did some art journaling and doodling in June, but when July came I wasn’t very inspired and at the end of July due to some circumstances I had to pack all of my things. All of my art stuff is still packed. I did sneak out one journal and a handful of pens.

So here are some of my weirdly dimensional doodles in the park.

Book Review: Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

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I usually do not read graphic novels. It is hard for me to find a book with graphics that I really like, and I in general prefer books with more text. The only graphic/comic series that I have ever read, and loved, and am still reading is ElfQuest.

I saw this book recommended on BookTube and I was sort of intrigued. I picked it up from the library, as I didn’t want to buy something that I was not going to read again. I decided to read it this morning while having a coffee and it was the quickest and the easiest read ever. I read in about an hour. I think it can be either classified as a middle grade or YA.

I enjoyed the graphics (they are sort of grey-blue, which I like) and the story is very curious. It is about a girl Anya, who struggles with her appearance, the fact that she is not popular at school, that she was not born in America (she is Russian and the book is peppered with some cultural differences/references/Russian words), that she has a crush on a popular guy; she smokes because she thinks it is cool, she tries really hard to fit in, etc. One day she falls into a hole in the ground. There, she meets a ghost of a girl named Emily. The ghost follows her home and wants to be her friend. Anya is excited, because Emily is really helpful, but soon it is starting to become overwhelming.

I found Anya to be a very likeable character, and it was very easy to relate to her, especially for me personally. I think it is a great and easy read and I highly recommend it. I hope that the author will release more books like that.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

August TBR // July 31, 2015

So here is my TBR list for August! Some of these books I have already started reading, so I am hoping that I will get through this list no problem:

  • Andy Weir “The Martian” (I bought this book 2 days ago and I am already half through it! The movie based on this book is premiering at TIFF in September this year and I am SO pumped to see it!)
  • Charles Bukowski “Absence of The Hero: Uncollected Stories and Essays Vol.2 1946-1992” (I got it from the library and I have read the half of the book although I admit that it is a slow progress, as I do not enjoy it as much as vol.1.)
  • Margaret Atwood “Moral Disorder And Other Stories” (I had it on my July TBR and I didn’t read it, so I am adding it again)
  • Maggie Stiefvater “Shiver” (I plan to start this series in August)
  • John Green “The Fault in Our Stars” (I haven’t seen the movie and I don’t think I would, so I’d rather read the book)
  • Vera Brosgol “Anya’s Ghost” (I saw it mentioned on booktube and got it from the library; it is a graphic novel)
  • Andrew Smith “Grasshopper Jungle” (It was recommened by Regan at “peruseproject” on YouTube and it sounds fantastic, so I am really excited about reading it – also a library book)

In July I got 4 ARCs from the authors on GoodReads (one is a hard copy with a gorgeous cover, and three are ebooks). I started one of ebooks and I really like it so far. I hope I will finish it as well in August.

Seeing as it is the last day of July and I am already half way through two of the books on my list, I have very high hopes for this month! I am trying to balance the types of genres I am reading, so I have YA, fantasy, contemporary, a graphic novel, a collection of short stories, sci-fi and a dystopia. I am VERY excited! 😀

p.s. I need to stop buying books. And stop requesting books at the library too.

 

Book Review: “Ash” by Malinda Lo

I picked this book at the book store from the shelf marked as “lgbt teens”. I had never heard about this writer, but both the cover (which is pretty) and the blurbs (“Cinderella retold” and “It’s not the fairy tale you remember”) got me curious.  So, I dived into the book with rather high expectations.

The book is said to be a retold story of Cinderella, but to be honest the only connection to the original is in the fact that Ash’s parents die and she has to live with her stepmother and stepsisters who are mean to hear and treat her like a servant, and later she meets the fairy who grants her wishes and she goes to a ball. This is it. These are the all connections. Otherwise the story is quite different.

Sadly, I was a bit disappointed. The book is raw and not in a good way. The style is quoted to be dreamy and enchanting, but it rather cliched and uneven at times jumping from rather trite to more exciting passages. I loved the main character, but often her actions didn’t resonate with me as she seemed to be very confused about what she wanted. I wanted intense emotions and conflict, but sadly the emotions felts washed out to me. I felt that the ending was a bit rushed too (and too easily resolved).

I had an issue with the world building as well. There are several paragraphs at the beginning of the book explaining how there were people who believed in fairy folk and witchcraft/magic and how there were philosophers who thought that it was fiction. Ash’s mother used to be an apprentice to a greenwitch and she believed in fairies, while Ash’s father did not. There was a potential for the conflict between other characters in the book who followed one or another beliefs, but it was really never addressed again in the book (except for few very feeble mentions that didn’t influence the plot whatsoever).

The book is split into two parts: The Fairy and The Huntress. That division didn’t make much sense to me as both the fairy and the huntress are throughout the book. I think the author wanted to mark the role those characters played in Ash’s life, but it was not very reflective in the narrative itself – at least not to the extent that would require it to be marked in the book.

I had a feeling that it was a debut novel (which I confirmed later visiting the author’s page) which would explain the weak narrative and some style blunders. Those small things, like, for example, the mix of theme and rheme (“She wrapped her arms around herself and felt the chill of the early morning.”), and an abundance of colons. Seriously, Malinda has a thing for colons. I don’t mind it. On the contrary, I like when writers use colons and semi-colons. Unfortunately, in “Ash” I found the use of long sentences and colons and semi-colons to be a bit unnecessary. More so, either Malinda (or her editors) are not particularly sure about whether the first word in the clause following the colon should be capitalized or not – I saw both. So let me tell you: it is not necessary because those sentences are connected in meaning.

While reading “Ash” I kept thinking that I really want to give this book at least 4 stars out 5, because the idea was very interesting and I liked the fact that it was not a usual romance, but a queer romance. There are quite interesting fairy tales in it, and overall the book has a lot of potential, which was not realized. It is a very easy read though and it is pretty short, so it may be attractive to some of you.

It is a lgbt young adult book written by a female author (or colour), so I feel that it should be praised just for the diversity of it (I really need more books like that in my life!), but the style didn’t work for me. I am sorry, but I found it hard to fall in love with the story as I was trying to ignore the weak language. I will definitely check out “Huntress” by the same author though, as I have a feeling it will be set in the same world, and I am excited to learn more about the huntresses and their hunt and fairies. I am also hoping that Malinda’s style has improved with years.

This book is a solid 3 out of 5 stars. Wish I could give it more, but alas. If you like fairy tales and if you are not as particular about the writing as I am – check it out. You might love it. I was slightly disappointed.

 

 

 

 

 

July TBR, Books // July 2015

I have no shame when it comes to books. Once I start buying, I can’t stop.

Books bought in July: 

  • “Ash” by Malinda Lo
  • “Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe” by Benjamin Alire Saenz
  • “On Writers and Writing” by Margaret Atwood (non-fiction)
  • “Moral Disorder and other stories” by Margaret Atwood (collection)
  • “Notes of a Dirty Old Man” by Charles Bukowski

July TBR:

  • “Portions from a wine-stained notebook” by Charles Bukowski – collection of short stories and essays (already done, skipped a couple of essays, but the short stories were great)
  • “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth (I have been trying to finish this one since last year; it’s my 3rd attempt)
  • “Moral Disorder and other stories” by Margaret Atwood (collection)
  • “On Writers and Writing” by Margaret Atwood (non-fiction)
  • “Ash” by Malinda Lo (already started)

I admit that I ordered 2 more books online today. This needs to stop.