April Bookish Haul

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Hi guys, today I’m sharing my April Bookish Haul, featuring books and stationery! Some of it I bought it myself, and some of it were gifts or giveaway prizes… Here we go! Once again, I got more stuff than I expected. However, I’m still trying to go on a book buying ban, since I want to spare money to go to Copenhague to visit a friend, and so far, I cannot afford it!

Books:

Vicious by Victoria Schwab (giveaway prize)

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Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard

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Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

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The original version of Grimm’s Fairytales in German

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Mémoire de Fille (A Girl’s Memory) by Annie Ernaux (gift)

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E-books:

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Lady in the Mist by Laurie Alice Eakes
New World Rising by Jennifer Wilson

Stationery:

I bought a new notebook because I always have one in bag, I use it as a diary and also as an organizer, and I needed a new one.

The lovely sticker as well as the  Minnie Mouse elastic book holder are a giveway prize!

The sticker says “Books are proof that humans can work magic.”

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And finally, I got this awesome set of bookmarks from an Instagram friend who sent them to me straight from China, I love them so much! You can expect to see them a lot on my pictures, both here and on my Bookstagram account ♥

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So far, I have read Mémoire de Fille and Cruel Crown, which I just finished today. My monthly wrap up will be up on the blog in the next few days, as well as my May TBR and a review for Cruel Crown!

Game of Thrones: Season 6 Premiere

To change a little bit from my past articles about TV shows, I’m going to talk about Game of Thrones, because IT IS FINALLY BACK and I’m so excited about this!

I just came back from a four days trip yesterday night, and I finally have access to Internet, so I was able to watch the season premiere, and I loved it!

A lot of you are probably watching this shows, if you haven’t seen this episode yet, than WARNING, SPOILERS!

We saw different story lines here, and I’m going to try and talk about them all, then talk about what I wanted to see in the premiere…

_ Sansa and Theon: from the trailer, we knew they would survive the fall, and indeed they did. Theon finally seems to have his senses back, and I really like the bond he has with Sansa, and how it makes him try and do the right thing. And yes, Sansa is finally reunited with Brienne (and Pod!) I can’t wait to see how this will turn out! As usual, Brienne was pretty badass, and we saw a lot of blood – because what better way do we have to start a new season of Game of Thrones?

“It’s a bloody woman!”

_ Cersei and Jaime: they finally reunited for good, and so far, are mourning the death of their daughter. I realised I like them more and more, since they both lost so much. Even though they hurt so many people, they lost so much, and soon I’ll see myself rooting for the Lannisters. And also I’m damn curious about the musterious new guard we saw at the end of last season, I really hope we’ll learn more about him soon!

_ Dorne storyline: another bloody episode. I have to admit I don’t really like Elara and her gang, but it turned out rather awesome in that episode. And even though they are violent and all (which is something I definitely need to get used to with that show) I thought what they did made sense. After all, this show is about fighting for your people, and Doran was clearly doing nothing. And it’s great to have women take the power! I really want to see how this will turn out, and how they will interact with other families. Since Stannis died, there was one less opponent for the throne, but with this new plot twist, the Dornish probably won’t let the others rest!

_ Daenerys: as usual, she fought her best, and impressed her opponents. But I find her still desilusional, especially when she sees herself as queen and everything. Well, she is the queen of Mereen and the cities she conquered, but really, after all this time, how can she still claim to be the heiress to the Iron throne? (Yes, I’ve been wondering about this ever since the beginning of the show, and I probably never will stop.) And just when she thought she had won her freedom, they want to lock her up with other widows… That’s another interesting plot twist (and the perks of not knowing the tradition of the people you hang out with) and I can’t wait to see how she will fight her way out of this.

_ As for Tyrion and Varys, they try their best to rule the kingdom Daenerys abandoned, and find themselves stuck there after a fire. I don’t have much to say about those two. I really like their dynamic though, but so far, their storyline doesn’t make me very curious.

_ Jorah and Daario are on their way to find Daenerys, and find out she has been taken by the Dothraki. I really like the dynamic between those two as well, and I’m also curious as to how Jorah’s illness will turn out… After all we didn’t talk about it a lot in the previous season, but it’s clearly getting worse.

_ Winterfell: with both Sansa and Theon gone, Ramsay is deep in the shit, especially since his father doesn’t seem to trust him anymore…

“You played your games with her. You played your games with the heir to the Iron Islands and now they’re both gone.” – Roose Bolton, who perfectly sums up the situation

_ Castle Black: Jon is dead, and only a few men are still faithfull to him, as well as Davos, who is taking lead. Ghost is mourning his master, and Allister is ready to take over and kill everyone who stands in his way. Meanwhile – and this is probably the biggest schocker of the episode – we find out that Melisandre is actually an old granny who maintains her gorgeous appearance through magic!! This is such an interesting plot twist, and I realised I like her character more and more…

_ Margery: we didn’t get to see much of her at the end of the last season, so I’m glad we finally got some updates. I guess since Cersei had to confess to get out of her dungeon or prison or whatever she will have to do that too… It was great to see her alive and beautiful, and I would love to see her sneak out! Or maybe Tomen could finally do something about it! (Where is he by the way? His father/uncle is back, his sister is dead, his wife is in prison, and we didn’t even get to see him…)

_ Arya and the mad girl: I’m seriously losing interest in Arya’s storyline, so I hope there will soon be some kind of interesting plot twist, at least, I hope we will se more than the crazy blonde girl beating her up with a stick…

What I wanted to see:

_ Come on, I’ve been waiting an entire season to see what happens to Bran, and he still wasn’t in the season premiere? What are you doing people, really? He is my favourite character and I want to see what’s up with him now that Jojen (my other bae) is dead… I want to see him and Meera, please, thank you, that’s all I ask.

_ I’m also curious as to what happened with Rickon but since we haven’t heard about him for seasons, I wonder if we will ever hear what happened to him and Osha…

_ While I’m complaining about people who disappeared from the show, I really wonder what happened to Gendry, it’s a pity he disappeared like that.

_ And finally, is Loras even still alive? I really want to see how it will turn out for him and Margery… And Olenna too, she’s so great!

_ Wait, now that I think about it, will we see Sam again? Does anyone know it? Because I hate it when characters just disappear from the show and we don’t know anything…

Here we go, that’s about it for today! Now, dear Game of Thrones, bring on episode two!

The Secret Life of a Book Blogger Tag

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I was nominated by Jen from Jen’s Bookish Journey for this lovely award, so here we go! (That’s her article, go check it out.)

Here are my answers to the questions!

How long have you been a blogger?

I started blogging in August, so that makes it about 8 months. And I’ve been on Bookstagram for a year!

At what point do you think you will stop?

When I’m old, I guess? I’m not planning on stopping any time soon.

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

I take some time doing what I love. I’m reading more and more, and I can’t complain about that. I realised I really love writing reviews. It makes me think about what I want to do in the future…

What is the worst thing about being a blogger? What do you do to make it okay?

I don’t really know. What’s important is that you don’t have to feel the need to post every day or on a regular basis. Just do what you want, it’s not a job, it’s a hobby.

How long does it take you to create/find pictures to use?

I use the pictures I post on instagram to illustrate my posts, and I don’t know, it takes about 10 minutes for a picture.

Who is your book crush?

Quentin from Paper Towns

What author would you like to have on your blog?

I don’t know, there are so many authors I enjoy reading… I would love to have Claire Lucas, the author of The Weaver’s Riddle because I really enjoy talking to her on instagram!

What do you wear when you write your blog posts?

Well right now, I’m wearing my pajamas, and that’s the case when I write them at home, but I also write sometimes at the school library, so obviously I’ll be wearing regular clothes!

How long does it take you to prepare a post?

It depends on the kind of post, but I would say about 30 minutes? I have no idea actually.

How do you feel about the book blogger community/culture?

I love it, I don’t really have much more to say about it…

What do you think one should do to get a successful blog?

I think the most important thing is to be sincere and post about what you like. If what you want is to get more views/comments, etc. then I would recommend doing weekly memes, but don’t do too many of them because it gets boring for the readers. Just select one you like, and it brings a lot of people on your blog (I do Teaser Tuesday, but there are many other ones!) Comment on other people’s posts, answer comments on your posts. Just be yourself!

I’m tagging:

Kristy from The Reader Dragon
Silanur from Aloofbooks

And anyone who wants to do it! (If you have already done it, just ignore this…)

Teaser Tuesday #16

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme is hosted by MizB from Books and a Beat.

1. Grab your current read

2. Open to a random page

3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Swann's Way (In Search of Lost Time, #1)

I’m currently reading (among others) the first book of “In Search of Lost Time” by Marcel Proust, which is called Swann’s Way (or Du côté de chez Swann in French)

Genre: Literary Fiction, Classics

My quote:

“In his younger days a man dreams of possessing the heart of the woman whom he loves; later, the feeling that he possesses the heart of a woman may be enough to make him fall in love with her.”

Goodreads

The Bell Jar: My Review

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The Bell Jar  is Sylvia Plath’s only novel, and it was published in 1963.

Genre: Classics, Mental Health, Feminism

Rating: ★★★★☆

The story:

The Bell Jar is a semi-autobiographical novel, and is also Sylvia Plath’s only novel, since she mostly wrote poetry. The main character, Esther Greenwood, suffers depression after spending the summer in New York to work in a magazine. She describes her state of mind as living “under a bell jar” which explains the title of the novel. Through the story, we follow her first in New York, and then through several suicide attempts, and then in different asylums that will take care of her.

Warning: I honestly believe that however great this book is, it is not fit for everyone. If you have depression or suicidal issues, DO NOT read this book. There will be a time better fit for this.

My opinion:

First of all, I have to say that this book is truly fascinating. The subject it deals with is not easy to talk about, however, I don’t think it could be done any other way. It is cleverly and well-written, and the main character, Esther Greenwood, is really endearing. Every time, I wanted to know what would happen next, and when she would get better, and how, etc.

Second of all, because this was really important to me, I wish I had realised what I was getting myself into before starting this book. Don’t get me wrong, it is amazing. But the parts were Ether makes her suicides attempts made me rather uneasy, if not really sick. I understand this is what makes The Bell Jar such a great book. But if I had known, I would probably have waited before reading it. If this is something that makes you uneasy, you have to know what you will get yourself into before starting the book!

Another thing I wanted to talk about was Esther herself, and her personality. In many ways, I found her relatable, and could do nothing but admire her. You can’t do much about depression, except get help, and this book showed it perfectly. She describes what it feels like, how worthless she feels, and why she wants to die. This book is not pretty, trust me, from vomit to suicide it has everything. But it is an important book nevertheless. It obviouly has a deep meaning. It will show you things you ignored, it will transform you.

I don’t know what else to say. In many ways, it is a gloomy book. It’s definitely not something you will read in one sitting. You will need breaks, you will need time to think, to check how you fill. But trust me, when you finally put it down, when it’s over, you will not regret it. This book is worth reading, but read it with caution, read it little by little.

The Bell Jar has also been categorized as a feminist novel, and indeed, it shows the road of a woman who doesn’t need a man. She is independant, even if her issues also make her vulnerable. And obviously, this is something new in the 60s. She is different. And I love how strong she is.

Recommended for:

If you’re looking for a classic, if you are curious about mental illnesses, if you’re looking for feminist books. And if you love Sylvia Plath, obviously.

Final note:

This review was really hard to write, and I don’t even feel like it’s a proper review, but I wanted to talk about this book, and how big an impact it had on me. I hope it helped see a bit what it was about if you haven’t read it, and if you had, I’d love to discuss it in the comments!

Sunday Recommendations: Mangas

This week’s recommendations are a bit different, as I have decided to feature mangas. I used to read a lot of mangas, and not so much lately, but I still have some favourite that I wanted to share and recommend to you guys! Feel free to comment with your own favourites!

Warning: I mostly read shojos, so that’s mostly what the article is about…

Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai by Ai Yazawa

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The title can be translated to “I am not an angel”, and it’s a high school romantic comedy in 8 volumes which was published between 1991 and 1994. This one is my absolute favourite manga, I have read it at least five times, and probably more, I don’t keep track anymore. It’s a story about love, but also about friendship and growing up. I absolutely love it, it’s really adorable, and Yazawa’s drawings are gorgeous, as usual.

Love So Life by Kouichi Kaede

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This is another adorable story. The main character, Shiharu Nakamura, lives in an orphanage. She becomes the baby sitter of two adorable twins. Slowly, she also grows closer to their guardian, Seiji Matsunaga, who works as a TV presentator.

I have to admit, this story has lots of cliché but it’s actually the case in a lot of shoujos, and it was so adorable I couldn’t help but love it.

Ao Haru Ride by Sakisaka Io

Blue Spring Ride

Ao Haru Ride, or Blue Spring Ride, is another high school romance between teens who find each other again after spending some time together when they were younger. Yes, I know, that’s a shitty summary, but the story is also cliché and there’s nothing much to sum it up… However I found it really cute and terribly worth reading.

It has also been released as a movie and an anime.

Kiyoku Yawaku by Ikuemi Ryo

Puzzle

I thought that this manga was rather unique, and different from other. It is set in different “acts” and retraces the stories of people who appear to be strangers at first, but book after book, their lives appear to be intertwined. I thought it was really beautiful, and it also has a deeper meaning behind, I really recommend it if you’re looking for something a bit deeper from what usually read. It was definitely interesting and so worth reading.

Ojousama wa Oyomesama by Hazuki Megumi

Mademoiselle se marie

This one is a bit of a silly story, but it’s cute and hilarious, which is why I enjoy it so much. It may appear stupid at first, but it definitely gets better.

Towako is the heiress of a great family in Japan, and following the tradition, she will have to marry on her 18th birthday a boy who is exactly the same age as she is (they are born on the same day, at the same hour…) She has received pictures of him her entire life, but he has no idea of what is awaiting him, and when they meet, things go bad… Or do they?

Dengeki Daisy by Motomi Kyosuke

Dengeki Daisy

Ever since her brother’s death, Teru has found comfort in texts she sends to a myserious “Daisy”, whose number she has gotten from her brother before he dies. Little by little, she meets her brother’s former friends, and realises there might be more to his death than what revealed…

I love this story so much, I really love the chemistry between the main characters, and how there is always so much more than appears at first. It’s definitely a great manga (especially if you have a geeky side in addition to enjoying shojos!)

Akuma to Love Song by Tomori Miyoshi

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Maria Kawai comes from a prestigious private school, and is transferred to the local high school. But her new comrades think she despises them and is here to mock them, and she has a hard time making friends. Things don’t get better when she admits that she had to leave because she hit a teacher, especially when she is so spontaneous in saying what she thinks, even if it’s not nice to hear. But of course, she will meet people who accept her as she is, and also turns out to be a wonderful singer…

This is another great story where the characters have great chemistry in my opinion, and the drawings are also wonderful!

Have you read any of those? If so, what did you think of them? Please share your opinion in the comments!

Mémoire de Fille: My Review

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Mémoire de Fille (or “A Girl’s Memory”) is Annie Ernaux’s last book, which was published in early April. Annie Ernaux is a French contemporary author who writes non fiction about her life, and what it’s like to be a woman raised after World War II (she was born in 1940).

This work hasn’t been translated yet.

Genre: Non Fiction

Release date: April 2016

Pages: 160

Rating: ★★★★☆

The story:

Summer of 1958. The narrator is 18, and spending her first summer without her parents as an organizer in a summer camp. There, she will discover love and sex, and what it’s like to be rejected.

The narration is divided between the “I” of the present, and the “she” of the past. As in many of Ernaux’s other books, we get descriptions of pictures along with the story, as the narrator tries to encapture how she was in the past.

The narration also follows the two next years after the summer camp, and show how this completely influenced her life.

My opinion:

Annie Ernaux is brilliant, and I’m never going to say otherwise, though this was not my favourite of her books.

Obviously, the subject is not an easy one to talk about, and maybe that’s what made me uneasy. Or the fact that I can’t relate at all with the narrator. I recognize her from her other books, and yet I can’t connect at all. Maybe that’s because we are not from the same generation, or the same social environment. Yet we like the same things, I’m studying literature and so has she. I have also been an organizer in a summer camp, even if we don’t see things the same way.

I think this book is unique because of the subject it deals with, and because of the writing style, which is crude and can be described as “écriture plate” (this is how the author herself describes her writing style), which can be translated as “plain writing” or even “flat writing”.

Ernaux’s work here in this book in particular is very interesting in a feminist context, in my opinion, because it raises the question of rape and abuse, even if the victim didn’t feel that way at the time. It raises the question of the woman as an object, which is something the author tried to fight, and this points out a very big difference between how she was in the past (and how she describes herself) and how she is now. I think this shows the evolution of her thoughts, and to some extent, the evolution of the society.

This book is important, it is a very personal confession and at the same time, it speaks for many girls, girls from then and from now. I think this is part of the power of non fiction, and what makes those books so unique. They tell a story, and that story is the truth. It has to be recognized as such. And in the case of Mémoire de Fille, it’s part of a bigger plot, of a fight for women’s recognition and freedom.

I recommend it for:

People who like non fiction and feminism. However, if you haven’t read any book by Annie Ernaux, I wouldn’t recommend you start with this one. I would rather recommend The Place which won the Renaudot price, or The Years (though it hasn’t been translated in English – but you can check out my review here!)