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Thursday, 23 November 2017

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST by Bayard Taylor

Beauty and the Beast

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm a fan of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. It's one of those stories that has been told over and over again, so I decided to read this version.

When Beauty's father takes a rose to give to his youngest daughter, a Beast comes out of nowhere and demands the merchant send his daughter to him. Of course the merchant doesn't want to because he loves his child. But unlike her sisters, Beauty is willing to do whatever it takes to help her father and goes to the hideous Beast willingly. And because her heart is in the right place, she sees beyond the outer shell and into the very heart of the Beast...

So romantic, right?

I was surprised at how short this story was and expected it to be rushed, but it really wasn't. Although it is short and gets to each point very quickly, it still felt right.

This is just one of those stories that while being told/read seems like it's missing too many details but, when you think about it afterwards, everything totally fits and becomes SO MUCH more in your mind.

Even as I write this and recall how quickly Beauty falls for the Beast and vice versa, it feels real. Love at first sight might be a trope people dislike these days*, but it doesn't mean it can't be a beautiful way to tell a story. And I think it totally works here.

The differences between this one and the Disney version are many--the bookish love, the sisters, the villain, the circumstances, the household servants, the rose--but the essence of the story is there. This will always be a love story about seeing past the way someone looks, and about two strangers finding safety in each other. Not to mention that Beauty is kind-hearted, devoted to her father, and willing to get to know the Beast no matter what he looks like.

Yeah, there's a nice moral to this story.

It might not be the most detailed tale. It might seem rushed in some places. But the heart of what makes Beauty and the Beast a timeless classic we'll continue to retell, and one of my favourites, is still right there.





* Personally, I have no problem with love at first sight and insta-love. 😀

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

PETER PAN by J.M. Barrie

Peter Pan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I decided to read this book because although I've grown up reading/watching stories featuring Peter Pan, I'd never actually read the original.

So I picked up a free copy for my Kindle yesterday and got stuck into it.

We all know the story of Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up. We know about Neverland and Tinker Bell and the Lost Boys and Hook, etc. But, did we know that Peter is a cocky jerk? Did we know that Tinker Bell is an evil shit? What about that Wendy appears like a smart girl but lets this asshole kid boss her around and treat her like crap? Maybe. Maybe not. The thing is that Peter is a disgusting turd. I had zero sympathy for this manipulative egomaniac. He's obnoxious, a user, a poser, a liar, and just such a JERK!

Ugh. He sucks. All he cares about is himself. He talks about himself like he's the best thing ever. Ugh again.

Still, it wasn't all bad. I actually (kinda) enjoyed some very cool things about this story:

· whimsical storytelling.
· the shadow thing.
· mothers sorting through their children's daily thoughts while they sleep.
· a dog nanny.
· the stars and moon watching over everyone.
· some very cool imagery.
· that kids are portrayed as 'innocent and heartless'. (I kid you not!)
· the ticking crocodile.
· Hook.

These things are what kept me reading. They're the reason I got swept away. They were very cool elements and the way the story was told was addictive.

BUT! There were some really weak things that totally pissed me off:

· Peter Pan, the asshole.
· stealing a child under the guise of being interested in her only to turn her into the mother of a bunch of kids. (I mean, seriously, WT actual F?)
· Tinker Bell, the asshole.
· the redskin thing. *shudders*
· the way girls are portrayed.
· the obvious hatred of mothers. O_o
· Mr. Darling is such a crybaby!
· the weak way the action scenes were written.

Yeah.

This is a story that I both loved and hated at the same time. The good things were SO GOOD. The bad things were SO BAD. And the ending was annoying as hell. I think the first half of the book was a lot more magical than the last half, and that was disappointing.

Still, I'm glad I finally read it. :)

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 is done!


Yesterday, I validated my novel...


Yay!!

As I mentioned on Friday, I technically finished the first draft of my latest WIP then. BUT, during the weekend I made a small list of stuff that needed to be added before (really) calling it done.

That's what I did on Monday + Tuesday. And when that was all taken care of, I scrambled my novel and validated it on the NaNo website.

I'm super excited about completing another novel during NaNoWriMo. 😊

Here are some stats:


The story I ended up writing is one that has been inside my head for several months. It all started with a folder full of (lovely) inspirational pics I kept on my phone and a notebook to jot down my ideas. So I was pretty sure about what was going to happen and how the story was going to end. 

Then, a week before NaNo, I decided that the main character I originally planned to tell the story was all wrong. Hubby helped me talk through this prob, and I ended up writing the story in the POV of a different character. The RIGHT character, because I loved telling this tale of scary things, wonderful things, and love.

I'm SO happy with how it turned out and can't wait to revise it. But that's for another time. Right now I need to take the rest of the week off.

Happy NaNoWriMo! 

Sunday, 19 November 2017

MIRROR, MIRROR by Cara Delevingne


Friend. Lover. Victim. Traitor.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

Sixteen-year-old friends Red, Leo, Rose, and Naomi are misfits; still figuring out who they are and who they want to be. Life isn't perfect, but music brings them together, and they are excited about what the future holds for their band, Mirror, Mirror. That is until Naomi vanishes before being pulled unconscious out of the river.

She's left fighting for her life in a coma. The police claim it was a failed suicide attempt, but her friends aren't convinced. Will Naomi ever wake up? What - or perhaps who - led her to that hospital bed? And how did Red, the self-styled protector of the group, fail to spot the warning signs?

While Rose turns to wild partying and Leo is shrouded by black moods, Red sets out to uncover the truth. It's a journey that will cause Red's world to crack, exposing the group's darkest secrets. Nothing will ever be the same again, because once a mirror is shattered, it can't be fixed. convinced. Will Naomi ever wake up? What - or perhaps who - led her to that hospital bed? And how did Red, the self-styled protector of the group, fail to spot the warning signs?


After I DNFd two books this weekend and started another I thought I would love but disappointed me enough to put it aside... I started this book. And couldn't put it down.

Red, Naomi, Rose and Leo are in a school band, but even more than that they're really close friends. During the last year these four kids have gotten past their differences to become a solid group that sticks together while making awesome music and having fun.

When Naomi goes missing, everything starts to unravel around them. And when she's found unconscious in the river and ends up in a coma, the group totally falls apart. The mystery of what really happened to their friend will either draw them closer than ever before, or tear them apart forever...

This is one super awesome book!

The writing style was intimate in a way that wrapped itself around me until it felt like I was part of their world. Red's voice was raw and often confused or lost, yet so strong that I enjoyed every moment she shared with the reader. Her thoughts aren't linear or even clear sometimes, which made her an amazing and realistic narrator.

This is quite a dark book that deals with some pretty heavy teenage and adult issues. It doesn't shy away from showing and revealing some awful truths about what it's really like to grow up in some very intense environments.  But it's dealt with in such an honest way that it's hard not to get wrapped up in everything--whether good or bad--that's going on. Because these characters are awesome!

Red is the drummer. She's into girls and has a really messed up family life. Her mother's an alcoholic, her father's never home, so the emotional neglect is deep. Leo is a troubled kid who's trying to be good, but his criminal brother tries to ruin that for him. Rose is a strong, beautiful rich girl who outwardly has everything, but inwardly suffers deeply. Ash is Naomi's sister, she's a tech-whiz and wants to find out what really happened to her younger sister. Leckraj was an easygoing and really cool addition to the band. And Naomi, well, she's a great musician and a girl who tried so hard to hide herself that somewhere along the way, she gets so lost it nearly kills her.

Together, these kids are amazing. With all the crap they put up with at home, everything they struggle with while trying to discover themselves, the pressures of school, and even the really shitty things they put each other through, they form a very strong foundation to Mirror, Mirror. I'm talking about the band, not the book. :P

Mirror, Mirror is an addictive book that hooked me in from the very first sentence and kept me turning the pages, because I needed to know how and where this tragic tale was going to take me. More than that, Red's engaging voice and the mystery at the heart of the story swept me away until it's shocking revelation.

I seriously LOVED this book, and can't say enough good things about it. I honestly didn't know what to expect, but certainly didn't expect such raw awesomeness.

BTW, the cover's really cool too. It wasn't until I took a closer look that I noticed the hidden details in the squiggles.


Mirror, Mirror, October 2017, ISBN 9781409172758, Trapeze

 
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