Friday, 25 September 2015

The Beginning of Everything

Status: The Chronicles of Narnia #1
Author: C.S. Lewis
Genre: Children, Young Adult, Fantasy
General Thoughts: Cute, easy, fun.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars.


First Lines:
This is a story about something that happened long ago when your grandfather was a child. It is a very important story because it shows how all the comings and goings between our own world and the land of Narnia first began.
The Magician's Nephew is the story behind the story, how it all began, the beginning of everything. A kid and his new friend go into different universes, thanks to the evil work of his uncle, and find more than a few things along the way.

I am so happy that I decided to pick this book up and read it. Great decision.

This book tells the story of how it all began, the beginning of all the adventures and characters that we saw in Narnia. This book marks the beginning of something great and fantastic.

I was a little hesitant of reading this one because it wasn't really a part of the series as of what characters matters. They were different and I didn't read Narnia anywhere on the synopsis, so I wasn't sure. But then I did, and it all changed.

I had never read any of the Narnia books, but I was a fan of the movies. Which I'm glad I was, because in this book, a lot of the things that are contained in Narnia are explained. And so I felt so excited every time I understood something, and realized where it all belonged to. I think it improved my reading experience so much more.

As for characters, they were all very cute and unique, and I loved them. Well, at least the ones who were good. The two kids were great characters and they weren't portrayed as the typical lost and stupid kids that authors so like to think are true. They were smart and not lost and real, for which, I am very grateful.

I thought the world building to be exceptional, and on few words. I saw everything happening in my mind (helped with the drawings) and it was so much more enjoyable that way.

I really think you should read this book, and the rest of the Narnia series. They're good, fun, cute and enjoyable. And most important, easy to read!

Friday, 18 September 2015

Speed Review: Latinoamerica, mi mundo.

Title: 16 Cuentos Latinoamericanos
Status: Compilation
Author: Various Authors
Genre: Romance, Fiction
General Thoughts: Great and wonderful short stories.
Rating: 4/5 stars.


This is a collection of short stories by various Latin American authors, one for each country, focusing on the theme of youth and young people.

I just read a few stories, three or four, but equally good.

I read A Hunch by Mario Benedetti. I found it very funny and well written.

Then I read Miss Cora by Julio Cortázar, I found it most beautiful and cute until it reaches the end, that left me impressed and gave me a 360 degree turn. This writer is usually like this. The way the story is written I found very funny and interesting, and even imagining the Argentine accent.

Then I read One of These Days by Gabriel García Márquez, who in my opinion was the shortest, but at the same time, more to the point. Comic, tough and sarcastic. Much like Garcia Marquez.

Finally, I read A Gift for Julia by Francisco Massiani, from my native country Venezuela, which is why I read it. It felt great to read all the places here referenced. And the story is frustrating and well known. The final gave me some creeps, but the story in general was good.

And it seemed appropriate to do this review in Spanish, as this are Latin American stories.

Review in Spanish.

Una colección de pequeñas historias por varios autores latinoamericanos, uno por cada país, centradas sobre el tema de la juventud y los jóvenes.

Solo me leí unas cuantas historias, tres o cuatro, pero buenas de igual manera.

Me leí Corazonada de Mario Benedetti que me pareció muy cómica y bien escrita.

Después, leí La Senorita Cora de Julio Cortázar, que me pareció de lo más linda y cuchi hasta que se llega al final, que me dejó algo impresionada y me dio un giro de 360 grados. Este escritor suele ser así. La manera en que está escrita la historia me pareció muy cómica e interesante, y aun más imaginándolo en el acento argentino.

Luego, me leí Un Dia de Éstos de Gabriel García Márquez, que a mi parecer fue el más corto, pero a la vez, el que más fue al punto. Cómico, duro y sarcástico. Muy al estilo de Garcia Marquez.

Por último, me leí Un Regalo para Julia de Francisco Massiani, de mi país natal Venezuela, razón por la cual la leí. Me pareció genial leer todos los lugares de aquí, referenciados. Y la historia es frustrante y muy conocida. El final me dió algo de grima, pero la historia en general fué buena.

Y si, me pareció adecuado hacer este review en español, dado que son cuentos Latinoamericanos.

Author: Gabriel García Márquez
Genre: Adult Fiction, Short Story
General Thoughts: Nice, sad little story
Rating: 4/5 stars.


Little story about the colonel and his wife, who live in utter poverty and in constant threat of being without money, without food or nothing. As a small ray of hope, Colonel goes every Friday to the port, to wait for their corresponding pension for their services rendered to the country. But always get the same news, Colonel no one writes.

This book was short and entertaining. It's always good to read some of Garcia Marquez, as his writing is very special. The story itself was depressing, with misery and grief in which the couple lives and the decisions they have to make. Sad sad begins and ends. And there's nothing you can do for them.

Review in Spanish

Pequeña historia sobre el coronel y su esposa, que viven en total miseria y en constante amenaza de quedar sin dinero, sin comida, sin nada. Como pequeño rayo de esperanza, el Coronel va todos los viernes al puerto, a esperar la llegada de su correspondiente pensión, por sus servicios dados a la patria. Pero siempre recibe la misma noticia, el coronel no tiene quien le escriba.

Este libro fue corto y entretenido. Siempre es bueno leer algo de García Márquez, ya que su manera de escribir es muy especial. El cuento en si fué deprimente, con la miseria y tristeza en la que vive esta pareja, y las decisiones que tienen que tomar. Empieza triste y termina triste. Y no hay nada que se pueda hacer por ellos.

Title: El Túnel
Status: Stand Alone
Author: Ernesto Sábato
Genre: Adult Fiction, Classics
General Thoughts: Blunt, depressing, and a must read.
Rating: 4/5 stars.


My initial reaction of this book, which I later wrote down, was this:

"It was disturbing, very blunt, confusing and uncertain. Still not sure how I feel about it."

Right now, I feel almost exactly the same. Still disturbing, and blunt, and kind of confusing and very uncertain. But now, I know how I feel. You see, I've found the perfect allegory for it. This book is a train. Let me explain.

This book felt like if you were boarding a train, with "Death" for its name, but chose to ignore it, and then sat comfortably in the seat of your choosing. The train will start it's engine, and for so, the trip. It will be a slow start, as it always is, which will easy your mind. But soon, you will see its pacing quicken, and quicken, until a point were its speed wasn't normal anymore. The speed will continue to increase into alarming rates, and you will start to worry. And soon enough, someone will see a wall in the horizon, an obstacle, sure to get in the way of your train. And even thought you know it's coming, you still look, and wait anxiously for it to come. And then, it does. The train smashes and crashes against the wall, shooting all its passengers into different, sporadic directions, including you. And once the accident has calmed down, you wake up from the hit, only to presence the disaster left behind, and only you are there to see it, to witness it, to which you will wonder, why you boarded the train named "Death".

Very poetic actually.

In more seriousness, this book was like a hit in the chest, even thought you knew it all along. And even if it's morbid and sad, it's actually really good. You identify with the MC, even if he's insane. But at times, he makes sense.

I liked this book, really. I recommend that everyone reads it. And if that gorgeous allegory didn't convince you, here are some quotes I've recollected. For spoilers reason, I've chopped down a few.

With this one, you open up the book.

"There was one person who could understand me. But it was precisely the person I killed "
And the rest...

"The phrase 'all past times were better' does not indicate that less bad things happened before, but really -happily- people trust them into oblivion."
"To live is to build future memories."
"The expected does not happen. It's the unexpected that happens. "
"But why this mania of wanting to find an explanation of all acts of life?"
"Vanity is in the most unexpected places: by the side of goodness, of selflessness, of generosity."
"When I'm stopped on the street, in a square or on the train, to ask me what books you have to read, I always say," Read what you are passionate about, it will be the only thing that will help support the existence."

And my personal favorite, shortened down...

"... In any case there was only one tunnel, dark and lonely: mine."

Was going to do this in Spanish, but life too short :P

Friday, 11 September 2015

Dragons, witches and great sequels.

Status: A Song of Ice and Fire #2
Author: George R.R. Martin
Genre: Fantasy, Adult Fiction
General Thoughts: Boring at first, awesome at last.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars.


First Lines:
AryaAt Winterfell they had called her "Arya Horseface" and she'd thought nothing could be worse, but that was before the orphan boy Lommy Greenhands had named her "Lumpyhead."
A Clash of Kings is the second novel of the A Song Of Ice and Fire series, that follows right where we left off in Game of Thrones. In this book, we finally see what those terrible Games that we so heard talking are about, and all of the characters are in a difficult situation, with terrible things happening around, but it all just starts...

Great book, really. So much things happened, so much went down, and so much is coming. This was just mind blowing.

I have to say, this book was so long. At first, when I read those first few chapters, I thought I was for sure never going to finish this in the near-almost-far future. There was just so much information dump in those first 200 pages, and not much things happening really. It took me a while to get used to it, and to actually start to fill the excitement.

But once I went through those, God did it get good. The book gave so much character development to every character. I'm finally redefining who is to trust, who is a b*tch, who is not as bad as one initially thinks. And yet he didn't give us as much as to know everything. I still doubt every single character. Because they change so easily. Everybody lies, everybody keeps secrets, everybody dies and everybody learns to survive by playing the Game of Thrones. It's so intense, but so good.

One of the best improvements was my views of Tyrion Lannister. He is such a cute, smartsy pants, intelligent and kind motherf*cker. Might have a tiny crush for a tiny man. I think that he's probably one of the smartest characters in this book (not the most clever, that could be discussed) and he's also really thinking like a real king. He should be king. But at the same time, he's not really apt to be king of such a violent and war ridden town. So the Hand's King fits him. And I swear, every single conversation he had with Cersei, was the best part of this book. I've wasted every single flicky tap (still don't know it's name) marking all of the whimsical and witty conversations they've had. I love their relationship (even thought it's the worst sister-brother relationship.) I will show you some of the quotes I've marked of them, and some of Tyrion talking around, but maybe they could be a little spoilery, so it'll be under a spoiler mark. View to your own danger.

In a conversation with Joffrey... The dwarf smiled crookedly. "All sorts of people are calling themselves kings these days."

In a conversation with Cersei... "I'm sure I don't know. That fool Eddard Stark accused me of the same thing. He hinted that Lord Arryn suspected or...well believed..."
"That you were fucking our sweet Jaime?"
She slapped him.
"Did you think I was as blind as father?" Tyrion rubbed his cheek. "Who you lie with is no matter to me...although it doesn't seem quite just that you should open your legs for one brother and not the other"
She slapped him.
"Be gentle, Cersei, I'm only jesting with you. If truth be told, I'd sooner have a nice whore. I never understood what Jaime saw in you, apart from his own reflection."
She slapped him.

Another conversation with Cersei... "I will not suffer to be called a whore!"
Why, sister, he never claims Jaime paid you.

And another... "What a disgusting little worm you are. Myrcella is my only daughter. Did you truly imagine that I would allow you to sell her like a bag of oats?"

Myrcella, he thought. Well, that egg has hatched. Let's see what color the chick is. "Hardly a bag of oats. Myrcella is a princess. Some would say this is what she was born for. Or did you plan to marry her to Tommen?"

And adrenaline driven Tyrion... "You won't hear me shout out Joffrey's name," he told them. "You won't hear me yell for Casterly Rock either. This is your city Stannis means to sack, and that's your gate he's bringing down. So come with me and kill the son of a b*tch!"

Oh, Tyrion <3

Moving on, I thought that chapter PoVs like Arya's were very enjoyable. She's doing some really extreme moves, and her life's kind of miserable right now, but I love her.

Also, Sansa no longer annoys me as massively as she used to. I'm still kind of bitter of her, but it's slowly fading. And I feel kind of sorry for her, at times. She's a nice girl, and she's finally growing up.

But then there were chapters like Davos, and Theon, that honestly bored me to death. Davos more than Theon. Like, Davos is to much of a suck up for me, and he never says anything interesting. And Theon is too stupid and blind and egocentric for my taste. When is Joffrey and his head-cutting when you need it?

Then there were Bran and Caitlyn chapters. Those were the ones that could be boring at points, but then really interesting, and then back to boring, and then exciting. Those were ok, I guess.

And my love, my dear love, Daenerys. God she's so lost. I hate that. I want her to stop being so misguided, and for her to step up her game. And even thought that, I loved every single of her chapters. I always do. She's such a great character, and I root for her like crazy. And yes, I believe she's the real queen. Because Dragons. That by the way, DRAGONS. But the things that bothers me most, is that her chapters are so damn apart. #TheStruggle

John Snow chapters were a little bit annoying at times, because of all this wall walking and warnings that we've heard before. But for the rest, they were very interesting. But at the same time I think that a little bit more could have happened, excluding the ending, of course.

Another new character, Melisandre. I'm so f*cking terrified of that b*tch. Like, no, no, NO.

As for what plot concerns, that was intense. In A Game of Thrones nothing had really happened,it was just starting. And in this book, things started happening. But the amazing thing is that I know it's only the beginning. I can feel so many things coming. I do have to say, all the misery and despair found in this book was hard. Man, I love this series.

And lastly, small spoiler section

Man was I scared when Theon was lying about Brann and Rickon's death. And not because I thought it was true, but because I thought that my beliefs of it being fake weren't true. Like what happened when Eddard Stark died in the last book (In case you don't know, since the moment he was killed till the end of the book, a good 100+ pages, I thought he was still alive.) I knew it wasn't true, I mean, not enough proof for me. But there was this small tiny doubt.

Funny moment. When Sansa finds out she got her first period. In that moment, I swear we were all Sansa Stark.

John Snow and the wildlings. The f*cking f*ck.

Melisandre and her dark magic stuff. The f*cking f*ck.

And that whole strange connection with the wolfs and the Stark kids was amazing. But now it just made me feel worse that Lady is no longer alive. And for like the whole length of the book, I was expecting that somewhere along the way Arya was going to have her reunion with Nymeria. But no, never. ;-; And I'm so mad that Arya never killed Tywin. But yeah, I knew that wasn't happening. And her ending was just crazy. I really really want her and Caitlyn to get together.

And also, the battle of Casterly Rock was bad ass. I loved it, so many things happened, and all those characters, and that ending.My dear Tyrion Lannister is not dying, he's going to stand up and rule up all of your asses.

Lastly, that scene where Daenerys enters that weird ass palace. That was even better! All those prophecies they showed her, all the things to come. And how she destroyed those b*tches up with dragons. God I love Daenerys.

This book had such great endings for every character. A bunch of crazy stuff happened, and everything gave a complete 360 degrees turn. I have this saying that I love...

"If things aren't going great, then don't worry, it won't last. And if things are going great, be aware, it won't last."

And damn does George likes to remind us that.

Great sequel, loved it, so excited to keep reading. Gave it a 4.5 because of that horribly long and slow start, but it was so amazing that 0.5 was all that I could take from it.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

NetGalley Reviews: Poetry and Orchestras.

Status: The Invisible World Is In Decline
Author: Bruce Whiteman
Genre: Poetry, Short Story
General Thoughts: Meh, good and bad.
Rating: 2.25/5 stars.


Intimate Letters is a collection of short poems, that vary in theme and length, but can be all related by the same drive of finding poetry in everything.
Short and concise. That's how I like my poetry. And that's what this book is. Small little stories, fast to read.

At times, there were some very beautiful passages through this book, very true and honest. Small little ways of expressing a thought or a moment, that just enchanted me. I even marked some of them, because I really loved them. Here, have some.

"Even in the face of trees that will outlive me, the world seems beautiful."  
"Every small-town psychic knows that the greatest urgency is to live inside the moment." 
"Love is obsessive or love is nothing at all." 
"Press yourself against my chest and sigh." 
"Books pile up like laundry, ready to be recycled." 
"We sleep to much or yearn to. Down the line there's only more of the same." 
"The worst part of being alone is thinking to much."

The whole poem "Elegy" about his mother's death, specially the beginning, was completely beautiful.

But then at times, it felt like this was too personal to understand. There were to many references or small things said that I think I would have liked best if I knew this person, or if I was this person. The whole book feels too personal, really. And poetry is very personal, but not to the point where you don't really understand. At times it felt like juts a bunch of random thoughts put down in a haste, just to get them before they leave, without any string of consciousness that connects them.

And also, you can tell this man lives and breaths poetry. The way he talks about everything in such a simple voice. But at the same time, I think he over did it. He was so worried to form a poetic sentence that at times you don't understand what you're reading.

I liked it, not completely enjoyed, but it was nice and sweet to read.

Title: Zoo Orchestra
Status: Stand Alone
Author: Manuel Diaz
Genre: Children, Music
General Thoughts: Ok, just that.
Rating: 3.25/5 stars.

Zoo Orchestra

Zoo Orchestra, is a children's book that talks about the instruments found in an orchestra, and associates them to animals in a funny way. In here, we get a little information of both the instrument and the animal, while having fun!

I think this book was actually good. It was meant for kids, to teach about the instruments in a fun relatable way, and that's what it did. It served its purpose.

I thought the drawings made for the book were beautiful and original. And the association between animal/instrument was well done.

Also, I love how he gave information of not only the instrument but the animal as well, and how he also added a small tip of what to listen if you're looking for the instrument.

But I think the execution could have been better. A little more information about each instrument wouldn't have hurt, because it really just said the obvious at sight. And the same for the animals. And a little more structure was also missing. Some information given in some places was missing in others, and I think that with a better organization and polishing, it would have been ok.

And not exactly a flaw, because I understand, but I would have liked to see a tiny bit more of instruments. Just saying.

Nice book overall. I can see myself showing this to kids. But small ones. And then searching for something else. But I think you should buy it for your kids, specially because more music should be taught in general.

Thanks to Mill City Press and ECW Press for sending me this copies, respectively! 

I received this copies in exchange of an honest review, for so, none of my feelings were affected or biased by the author or publisher.

Friday, 4 September 2015

That part of your brain that you can't escape from.

Title: Dark Places
Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Mystery, Horror, Adult Fiction
General Thoughts: F*cked up, but good.
Rating: 5/5 stars.


First Lines
I have a meaness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it. It's the Day blood. Something's wrong with it.
Dark Places is the story of a little girl's survival to the brutal murders of her family, by her brother, and whatever happened afterwards with her. Now, an adult, she finally see's back on that day, and starts to question what really happened that day, all those years back...

Man is this shit fucked up. But, it's good as hell.

I absolutely adored and loved this book. It was disgusting, horrifying, scary and absolutely perfect. This books borders on the side of sanity, and you could catch some poison of it, but damn is it worth it.

All of the characters, every single one, are unreliable characters. Each in their own special way. The main character is unbelievable useless and lazy, and with some untreated mental problems, and the rest are a mixture of ignorant people, tired and exhausted people, angry teenagers, and psychopaths. And yet, you root for their well being (most of them) and for their success out of this mess. And for some, you want them to burn in hell. But then, later on, not quite.

My views on this characters changed so much throughout the book that I don't even know anymore. It was like...

Moving on. The mystery in itself was damn well constructed. It was mysterious all over the place, and the various POV where spot on. They actually helped build the book even more. All those things said and misunderstood, all those secrets. They make the book even better. And, of course, extremely well executed.

Of course, I being me, kind of saw where the mystery was going, what tracks it was following. But, even thought that, it still managed to surprise me how and who finally executed the final twist. So yeah, extremely well pieced together.

Lastly, the world building, even thought not necessary to the genre, was well done. I imagined myself being in there, with all the rest of the characters. And even thought I've never been to places remotely like this, I still felt it in me.

And the definition the author gives to what a Dark Place is, loved it, perfect, it's a new quote on my book quote (not that I have one, but you feel me?).

"I can never dwell in these thoughts. I've labeled the memories as if they were a particulary dangerous region: Darkplace"

Of course, you must read the whole thing to understand it.

This book is excellent, grotesque, mysterious, fast paced, poisonous, incredible, sad and a must read. One of the best jobs by the author, maybe even in the same spot as Gone Girl. *gasps in the background*

Although, I do warn you, this is not for the weak, sensible, devoted religious, and tender people. Read at your own risk.