Chill Friday + Book Reviews

I think I have managed to drag myself out of a reading slump for now. In the next few days, I will probably binge read a bunch of books, and then fall back into a slump again, no matter what. To celebrate this brief period of reading again, I may have written a few lines on the books I have finished. I’m no good at writing reviews, nor am I very good at writing anything to be honest. If I don’t practice, however, nothing will change.

I honestly struggled for so long to finish any of these, even the poetry books. So I am so glad I finally finished reading these.

I decided not to go to the cinema today, purely because of the logistics of leaving the dogs home alone. I’m thinking about going tomorrow, but I’m worrying about the dogs again. Hence, I may change my mind tomorrow and just go another day. Perhaps tuesday.

Book Reviews

Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #2)Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At first, I really struggled to get into this. It felt like it had a really slow start, unless it was just personal stuff that held me back from reading in general.

But I did quite enjoy reading this, and I’m still really glad I picked up this series. I only wanted to read it, after seeing the movie and noticing massive loop holes (then overhearing somebody saying they tried squeezing three books into one movie -and, quite frankly, failed). Before the movie, I had seen the books, but never seemed very interested. Now, I can’t wait to read the last book, to see how the characters get on. I know I’m way above the age it is aimed at, but I do enjoy the characters, and the story line quite a bit. A very enjoyable read.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel SketchesThe Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches by Bashō Matsuo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this, and the haiku. This really helped me focus on small details in life, that I don’t have to wait for something grand to happen, but that I can simply enjoy the simple things in life. View all my reviews

The Poems of Phillis Wheatley: With Letters and a MemoirThe Poems of Phillis Wheatley: With Letters and a Memoir by Phillis Wheatley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

To be fair, I every other poem at some point. I picked this poetry book, to have some diversity in what I read, the same reason as to why I read The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches by Bashō Matsuo. As expected, this gave me a new and different insight to poetry, a different kind of style and topic area to find something to write about. Similar to Matsuo, Wheatley writes about events I had not really considered writing about.

Catching the CascadeCatching the Cascade by Paul Lyalls

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Lyalls’ poetry heck of a lot. It’s very relatable to me, entertaining in a way and I just really loved reading the poems. They’re the kind of poetry I aim to write, and a lovely contrast to the poetry I have read earlier today.

Reading this, after reading the other poetry books, has been a lovely conclusion to my poetry readings for today. It was also very short, similar to the poems themselves, which was really quite nice. The style is very different, and so are the topics. So it was a very delightful change to the previous stuff I have read today. I’m starting to repeat myself now, oops!

Anyway, I think I picked this up at University, at a free book sharing kind of thing hoping to read more poetry. So far, finally, I have succeed in achieving that goal of 2017. It’s only been three poetry books so far, but it’s only April. Furthermore, its three more poetry books than before!

View all my reviews

Poem of the day: First Winter without my father

Each and every week and day
of the winter,
me and my mother knew you were gone
because each and every
hour and minute
of that winter,
we had the central heating full on
– by Paul Lyalls

Photos of the day

Spring in the Woods
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Tokyoform
Wind Direction | Kaunas Aerial
Andrius
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Andre

Videos of the day

End of 2016 stuff

This is mostly bookish stuff. But there is some general stuff at the bottom.

Bookish things

I have not read as much as I had planned, and I hope to read a lot in the new year. This is something that happens every year, but I have stopped beating myself up about it. At the beginning of 2016, I took a deep breath and realised that I will just read as I want. I promised myself to just read for enjoyment and, as soon as this enjoyment goes, that I should take a step back and take a break.

Personally my favourite book this year has probably been Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. I love her writing, the story she tells through the characters, the characters are very intriguing and I cannot wait to read the rest of the series. Everything just fits together very well, and I am so glad I finally got into this series.

The tale of the Body Thief by Anne Rice is also one of my favourite books this year. In general, I love her writing. I do find it quite tiring to get through all of the nitty gritty. At the same time, I do enjoy the pictures she paints with her words.

I haven’t really done a very good job at keeping track of the books I have read this year, as much as I meant to do so. I have started a few books over summer (and recently), that I still need to finish.
One of these three books is Assassins Creed (AC): Forsaken by Oliver Bowden. Nothing like the games, as expected, but they are a very, very easy read. I fall back onto books like these, if not Harry Potter, if I am in a reading slump. For some reason, I started this book recently, but then got distracted by another book and finished that instead. Now I got caught up with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs instead, so the AC book will have to wait until 2017.
The second one is Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. This is purely taking so long because of it’s thickness to be honest. I am not a huge fan of Cassandra Clare herself, but I did enjoy The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices a lot and felt somewhat obliged to try out this series as well. I don’t feel like I have favourite characters in this series yet, so I am finding it a bit difficult to really get into the series. I do hope that this will change the more I read. The plot is the main reason I want to carry on reading it. While we’re talking about Cassandra Clare, I still want to read The Bane Chronicles. Magnus Bane is one of my favourite characters so I really do not know why it is taking me so long to read this.

In the next year, I really want to read Stranger in a strange land by Robert A. Henlein and the books I got for christmas. These include Broken Crowns by Lauren Destefano, Captive Prince by C.S. Pascat and Fantastic Beasts: The Original Screenplay by JK Rowling. If I don’t read anything else, but these books (apart from academic reading), I will do well.

I still have to finish Harry Potter and the cursed child by J.K. Rowling. Before I got this book, I would’ve said, that this would be my favourite book, but the fact that I still have to finish it, is clearly a sign that it is not.

Bookish Videos of the day

Non-bookish End of the Year things

I don’t really know how I feel about the past year. I’ve definitely had some ups, but also a lot of downs. The most important thing I think I learnt in the past year is to take things into my own hands, to take control and not to wait around for great things to happen. I think I have grown quite a bit personality wise. Because 2016 has been a so-so kind of year, with more downs than ups, I really want to change my attitude in 2017 and really do some more memorable things, and live more.

To achieve some of my goals, which is to live more (I know it’s really broad but I know what I mean haha), I am going to take some steps away from social media, and Netflix and Amazon Prime and technology in general.

As always, this NYE I spend in my room. Alone, in my room, with family at home. Nevertheless, NYE has become something that isn’t memorable, or special. I hope to Hera that 2017 will be nothing like today. Dull and boring, not at all special. Hopefully, I will not be lonely, and have more memories to cherish and hold dear this time next year. I guess I can add that to my goals: be more open minded, get out there more, spend less on materialistic things, create more memories. The important stuff, because those are the things that really matter in life. The things that last longer than materialistic things. The things that actually put me in a better place, mentally.

Question of today: Top three favourite Movies you have seen this year?

I cant really pick one specific one, or three specific ones, because I can’t actually remember all of them. The ones I remember most  clearly are the ones I enjoyed most. I have enjoyed a lot of movies this year.

The ones that have done more than just entertain me are:

  1. Room
  2. The Danish Girl
  3. Star Trek: Beyond & Rogue one: A Star Wars Story

The 3 most entertaining movies, among others:

  1. Now you see me
  2. Zootropolis
  3. Kubo and the two strings

The things I have learned most notably this year are somewhat personal. Including the fact that I am, actually, boring. But also likeable. And that things are going to be ok.

Anyway. Off I go to drink my loneliness away. Happy New Year.

Photos of the day

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Ryo Mukae

Videos of the day

Harry Potter Book Collection

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Obviously, this is not a book, but look how cute he looks!
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This is obviously not a book either, but he’s part of Harry Potter. Just look at the details!
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My German Hardcover Harry Potter series.
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One of my English Harry potter collections, given to me by a good friend of mine.
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My complete english paperback edition of Harry Potter.
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Beedle the Bard in English and in German. I really love both editions.

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Neither of these I own in German, both editions I owned twice at some point because I forgot I already had them…

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One Wizards dictionary, a Harry Potter book calendar and a Friendship-book
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One of my uncompleted series editions of Harry Potter, also given to me by a friend.
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This is my favourite cover of them all, but the only one I have of this series. I want them all in hardcover, which aren’t cheap.

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All of the Philosopher stone editions I own, including the illustrated version

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#2 in the series.
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#3, and personal favourite of the series, because of Remus and Sirius.
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#4. When rereading this series, this is as far as I can get, then I keep putting off rereading the others.
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#5. The one that took me forever to finally get through. I literally spent a whole summer reading this one.
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#6. Not gonna lie, pretty sure I cried.
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#7. I cried. A lot. I have reread this book the least. In fact, I have only ever read it once. Time to reread it again.

So these are all my Harry Potter books at the moment. I am 100% sure I am going to add books to this collection this year.

~Ciaran~

Favourite Movies: Zootropolis

Zootropolis is my favourite movie at the moment. I’ve watched it four times already, and I bought the book. I can’t put it into words why I love it.

 

The book is so adorable and I love the characters and what the movie is about. I would very much recommend watching this movie.

These are the UK trailers:

Some facts on Zootropolis are here:

Ah, I want to go and see it again. Oh dear.

It’s not in my local cinema any more, and I cannot wait for it to be released on DVD so I can buy it and watch it every day.

~ Ciaran ~

List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way

So I was tagged by the-girl-with-the-books on tumblr to do this tag.
In no particular order, these are the books that have stayed with me in some way:

1. Harry Potter and the philosophers stone by J.K. Rowling
2. Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
3. Howl, Kaddish, and other Poems by Allen Ginsberg
4. Katie Cat by Thomas Brezina
5. Das Unendliche Licht by Thomas Finn
6. Eragon by Christopher Paolini
7. Nothing but Envy by Barbara Demick
8. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
9. Fliegender Stern by Ursula Wölfel
10. The Giver by Lois Lowry

A short and sweet post for today!

See you soon,

Ciarán

Wrap Up!

I had high hopes of reading books in April, but alas, I have not finished one.

Not a wrap up, but I enjoy his videos. They’re so energetic.

The first wrap up that popped up from people I’m subscribed to.

Some hauls I enjoyed watching

Now, to my books!

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I keep jumping from book to book to book without finishing any one of them.

I read the books by Justin Somper when I was around 14 and I read them in German. I remember absolutely loving them. I loved the German cover, the story, the characters and the fast pace of the story, I’m not too sure about this cover though.
Its easy to follow, but also kept me really hooked. I still love the story, but I really do not like the cover. The cover of the Narnia collections is my favourite out of the four, even though I love the blue of the Companion book.

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I found this book on the way home. It would be the book I’d be reading right now, if I wouldn’t have to focus on essays…

This weekend is a long weekend, with Monday being a bank holiday in the UK. Monday also so happens to be my birthday. So yay.

~ Ciaran ~

Book-Monday: Bookmarked Books

I have quite a few books I want to read, and apparently I am reading a few at the same time. Today I am going to talk about the books that I currently have bookmarks in that aren’t University related.

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I’ve been trying to get through the Narnia books and Plague for at least a year now. I always find something else to read. Harry Potter is a re-read and Nothing to Envy is the one I’m most actively reading at the moment.

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It’s the first book I’m reading on North Korea and it is incredibly interesting.

2016-03-2813I haven’t read Plague in so long, I hope I can still remember what is happening without having to reread the whole book. I have all the books in the series, but I am struggling so much to finish it. I struggled to read the book before this one, so its no surprise getting through this one is taking ages.

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I love the headings in this book and the short little sections about the places. I got this when I still lived in Germany and I can’t believe its taken me so long to pick it up and read it.

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I can’t even remember where or how I got my hands on this one. It’s a Harry Potter one, so naturally, I love it.

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I really love these bookmarks from Etsy, and I really want the Remus Lupin one. But my wallet says no, so ~

2016-03-28 123The bookmark here I actually picked up in Germany years ago from the looks of it.

I only took some photos of the prettier bookmarks and the pages I’m on. I hope to finish Nothing to Envy and The Visitors Companion to Tudor England before I have to go back to Uni, so I can focus on some of the other books I have to read.

Throw back Thursday

I finally found a reason how I can share my weekly findings with you guys apart from just being a really random person who likes to share things. I’ll only be “throwing back” to past week’s videos or other internetty things I’ve stumbled across in the past week. This week, there are only youtube videos.

Smile ~

First of all, a favourite video of mine is Sharla’s video. She is my favourite youtuber still and I’m just quite happy for her that she’s getting married. It just made me smile, because she’s so happy and I had some flashbacks to happy memories when my friend got married nearly two weeks ago.

There are two videos by Venus Angelic, which made me smile.

Chocolate Frogs! I love the chocolate Frogs from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and I will definitely try out to recreate mini chocolate frogs.

Something book related. This video amused me a lot more than I expected and it is SO MUCH FUN.

Japan ~

I am so happy I found Kristina’s Youtube channel. Especially this video about her experience in Japan is really important to me. As much as I want to experience Japan for myself, this particular video has shown me more of what I can expect through two first hand experiences.

Back to Sharla, she talks about Spring in Akihabara. So it nicely relates to the spring tag and the spring book tag I did 🙂

 

That is it for this week 🙂

Ciaran ~

The Ultimate Book Tag

I got the questions from here, who got them from here, who ultimately, apparently got them from Megan. Books, books and more books!

1) Do you get sick while reading in the car?
– Yes, I do. I can’t even look at my phone some times, it really annoys me.

2)) Which Author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?
– I would have to answer with J.R.R Tolkien. I find his writing style difficult to get through and not like any other author I have yet read.

3) Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga? Give 3 Points to defend your answer.
– I love the Harry Potter series. It is the series that got me into reading, it lifts me up when I am sad and it was a huge part of my life when I grew up.

4) Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is in it, besides books?
– As in backpacks? (Guys, I grew up in Germany. I’m googling this.) Yes, I carry a backpack to Uni, and have hence all the tools in there I need to survive. Food, stationary, some water, my wallet, that kind of stuff.

5) Do you smell your books?
– Sometimes I do, if they look really old or really shiny and new.

6) Books with or without little illustrations?
– I love little illustrations, so books with them!

7) What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?
– I can’t really think of a book…

8) Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood?
– I’m not sure if it’s funny, but people used to call me Hermione when I was younger, because I always walked around with a book in my hands. The other story related to books didn’t happen when I was a child. I sometimes yell (or whisper) FACEBOOK and tap people with the book I am holding…

9) What is the thinnest book on your shelf?
– The thinnest book on my shelf is Fliegender Stern by Ursula Woelfel I believe, with a cute 115 pages.

10) What is the thickest book on your shelf?
The thickest, I thought would be Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling with 766 pages. But I thought wrong. The thickest Book I have is Eldest by Paolo Nutini with 999 pages.

11) Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?
– I try myself at poetry and I would like to write a book. I would love to be an author in the future.

12) When did you get into reading?
– My mum always tried to get me into reading, but I onnly really started reating when I was about  12 years old. That’s about the time I got into Harry Potter, which was the series which really got me into reading.

13) What is your favourite classic book?
– I haven’t read many classic books, but I have read The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I quite enjoyed it.

14) In school was your best subject Language Arts/ English?
– This seems to be quite a leading question. Growing up in Germany, I was quite good in English. It wasn’t until I moved to England that I really got interested in studying English language. Now, I study English Language and Linguistics.

15) If you were given a book as a present that you have read before and hated, what would you do?
– Depending on the friend, I would either lie or tell the truth and hope they still have the receipt so we can go and swap it or so they can at least get the money back for it.

16) What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or the Hunger Games?
– I don’t know if it is lesser known, but I quite enjoyed it whilst I read it. Unfortunately I have forgotten the name and I can’t find it anywhere.

17) What is a bad habit you always do while blogging?
I’m usually really unstructured, running around trying to get photos, losing my train of thought and then I end up talking a load of rubbish and not posting anything. I usually blame my ADD/ADHD, and the fact that I go to University and have little time to focus on blogging as well…

18) What is your favourite word?
– I have been dreading to answer this question since I started my English Language and Linguistics course. Today, my favourite word is “alas”. “Ridiculous” amuses me so much, I can’t say it or write it without ending up smiling, even in a really serious situation.

19) Are you a nerd, a dork or a dweeb?
– I guess I’m kind of a nerd.

20) Vampires or Fairies? Why?
– Fairies have always fascinated me more than Vampires. I’m not sure why, I’ve always liked Fairies. I blame the movie The magical Legend of Leprechauns, which I remember watching when I was really, really young and it’s kind of engrained in me now.

21) Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?
– Again, shapeshifters would fascinate me more than angels. I can’t pin point my finger on why exactly…

22) Spirits or Werewolves? Why?
– Both seem interesting. I’m more inclined to choose Werewolves.

23) Zombies or Vampires?
– In this case I would choose Vampires. Zombies are weird. At least Vampires only want my blood, not my brains.

24) Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?
– Forbidden Love, if I had to choose. Platonic friendships are thing though, too.

25) Romance books or Action packed books with a few love scenes mixed in?
– Anything BUT romance novels. Action packed books with a hint of love seems  like a good option.

 

I am going to add some suggestions to this post, just because it feels like a nice ending and it’s too short to make a whole post out of it.

I read the first book in the series of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flammel: The Alchemyst, which took surprisingly forever. I am considering finishing it at some point. Also, while I’m here, I want to suggest Vampirates, with Demons of the Ocean being the first in the series. I need to reread it urgently. I loved the Vampirates when I first read it.

~ Ciaran ~

Spring books

Inspired by the video above, I thought I’d look at the I love spring book tag. Instead of doing a video, I’m just gonna answer the questions here 🙂

1) How is spring where you live?
So I live on the south coast of England, about 45 minutes away from Brighton. I live right by the sea, which is a 5 minute walk from my house. It gets quite windy, but spring is usually quite nice here. Not too warm, not too cold with the usual unpredictable English weather. We seem to get quite lucky down here, avoiding most of the bad weather. Spring is one of my favourite seasons, especially with taking photos. I love going to the forest and photographing buds on trees and stuff. I love the smell of spring flowers. I used to love the smell of freshly cut grass, but now I’m allergic to it so it makes me sneeze and tear up, which is super annoying.

2) Most anticipated book release this spring?
Considering I still have SO MANY other books to get through, I really can’t afford buying any other books. One of the books that has come out recently is Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. I’ve finally caved in and bought it already, but I haven’t started reading it yet. I’m really looking forward to The Crown by Kiera Cass, even though I’v still gotta read The Heir. I usually finish her books quite quickly (I’ve probably jinxed it now…), so hopefully I’ll get that done by the time this one is released. Otherwise I’m just going to focus on the books I have to read otherwise.

3) Show us a book cover that makes you think of spring
This book cover reminds me of spring, just because its green, and seems “fresh”.

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4) Where are you going to read this spring?
I’ll most likely be spending time reading in my room, or on the beach, depending on how warm it’ll be. Some of my time might be spent on the train whilst reading or at University. At University I will try and look for a spot in the sun to read, if it’s not all to busy.

5) Find a cover with the sun on it!
I found these two covers which have the sun on it. I was actually surprised to find them 🙂
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6) What are your favourite spring reads?
I read a lot of dystopian books or fantasy books, so I guess I’m kinda going to stick with that. I usually avoid books by Anne Rice, just because I like to read those in autumn and winter. I can see myself finishing the books by Kiera Cass, and possibly rereading one of the Harry Potter books. I might even retry reading Lord of the Rings. Spring, to me, always comes with this new sense of adventure.

7) Find a book with many different colours on it. 

These Harry Potter editions I find quite colourful. (You didn’t really expect me to not talk about Harry Potter?)

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I’m not going to tag anybody. If you haven’t done it yet, but would like to, do go ahead 😉

For a general update, the main book I’m currently reading is Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick. I bought this book second hand from Amazon and still haven’t peeled that piece of left-over sticker off…2016-03-10 14.01.17

That is it for now. Have a lovely start to the week 🙂

~ Ciaran ~