Important News

Just popping in for a little update!

Very Very Important News:

DODIE CLARK IS WRITING A BOOK!! HELP!!

If you don’t know who this human is, Dodie Clark is a singer/songwriter who also does youtube. She is a very nice darling human and she’s writing a book and ahhhh I’m very excited!!

Facts about this book:

  • It is called Secrets for the Mad!
  • It comes out November 2nd!
  • Find it on goodreads here!
  • Preorder it here!

As you can probably tell, I am VERY VERY EXCITED and can I wait for November 2nd I THINK NOT. BUY THIS BOOK.

img_0581From a very excited human bean,

emmeline 🙂

(also this is my fiftieth post which is also very very ridiculous.)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

ChamberofsecretsHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by JK Rowling. Reread 5th June 2017.   5 // 5 stars.

This story was my first introduction to Harry Potter, waaaayyyy back when I was eight. Let me explain.

I was sleeping over at a friend’s house, and we watched the movie of this book! To be honest, all I remember from it now was that scene where the cat gets petrified and also that scene in the chamber, because I swear it terrified me out of my skin. Also, having not read any of the books, I had absolutely no idea what was going on, so that didn’t help. All in all, the movie greatly put me off the whole franchise.

Looking back I laugh at myself, because eight year old me was so terrified and confused by this movie. However, I do understand, because this book is slightly creepy.

the story

This book follows on from the previous one; Harry is now in his second year at Hogwarts. A mysterious chamber in the school gets opened, and Harry is blamed for it. Honestly when you’re reading it all you want to do is give this child a big hug because he’s given so so much stress for nothing!! In the end, of course, there’s a large confrontation between Harry and Voldemort’s previous self, and Harry comes out triumphant.

why i like it

  • We start to see Harry grow up a little – and it’s very well done. In fact, one of the things I most like about this entire series is how you can see the character development and growth from book to book. Even though there’s only one year’s difference between this one and the last one, you can still see Harry’s growth!!
  • The clever mix between mundane schoolwork and exciting confrontations with evil forces. Not that the schoolwork is mundane – Rowling manages to make even reading about classes exciting – but there’s a great balance between action and not-really-action.
  • Everything’s important!! I love books like that, where every little conversation matters – I need more please.
  • Enter Ginny, who is honestly a wondddeeerrrrffffuuuullllllll character whom I loooovvvve. She’s just so cool! And I love how she pops up every now and then throughout the book – and especially at the end! no spoilers here
  • The writing is improving. The author is discovering her style and there are many more well constructed sentences than the previous book.
  • The plot fits together like a clever jigsaw puzzle and I looove it. It’s not predictable, and it’s exciting, and ahhhh I love it
  • Basically I really like this book okay. It’s just really well done.

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This book is certainly a lot darker than the previous one. Where in Philosopher’s Stone, some of the darker details are sometimes skimmed over, in this book all of the evil is placed out in plain site. Kids, cats, and ghosts are petrified. Roosters are murdered. A certain level of maturity is required to read this book, because it is just plain creepy in places.

This is something that is both good and bad, I think – I’m someone who particularly enjoys hints of creepiness in books, but I don’t think that it should be there for the sake of it, nor should it be portrayed as good. This book doesn’t do that – it’s there for a reason, and the source of the creepiness is portrayed as bad.

It is possibly a bad thing because I would argue that this book requires a certain level of maturity to read. Firstly, to discern reality from fiction, and secondly, to be able to handle the creepy content. Would I give this book to an eight year old? Probably not. Any older, and it depends on the maturity of the child.

So, as to things I don’t like so much about this book:

  • There are parts where I would question what age group this book is intended for. I wouldn’t expect the series to push that boundary until a little later on, but its already pushing it, man.
  • The writing – it’s improving, but it’s not quite there yet.
  • Incidentally, this is my least favourite of all the books (probably something to do with the experience of being scarred from the movie as an eight year old). That said, I still give it five stars, sooooooo…..
  • ONCE AGAIN IT’S TOO SHORT – I NEED MORE HOGWARTS PLEASE AND THANK YOU

Basically, this isn’t my favourite of the series, but I still really love it. There are parts I only picked up on this reread that just make the characters and plot so much better . . . Seriously, if you haven’t read this series, I would highly HIGHLY RECOMMEND.


img_0581I feel like I didn’t express myself properly in this review – this is one of the only series’ (apart from LOTR, of course) where I can truly lose myself in the world, truly become engaged in the storyline. If I’m reading this book, it’s very hard for me to get distracted.

Have you read this book? Any thoughts?

Love, Emmeline 🙂

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

CaptureHarry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by JK Rowling. Read 2 June 2017. 5 // 5 stars.

I’ve been recently doing a major reread of this fabulous series, and decided that I might as well review them all up on here! Of course this series has been reviewed many many many times on the internet, but hey, why not add another flailing review to the pile.

But let’s start at the beginning! (A VERY GOOD PLACE TO START!!!!)

the beginning

I first opened this book two years ago, sometime in September 2015, after borrowing it from a friend. Since then I have read it 6 times, raved about it quite a bit, and become thoroughly in love with the world of Hogwarts.

When I opened this book for the first time, I was doing it at the end of the biggest reading slump eVeR. I hadn’t properly read and enjoyed a book for at least two years, which was ridiculous for me. I was starting to stop considering myself a reader.

Then I read this book, and didn’t look back.

the story

IF you don’t know the story already, it’s basically about a smol™ boy who is told he’s a wizard. From there he is enrolled in a magical school (Hogwarts!!) where he learns how to use his magical skills. Soon, however, he has to fight Voldermort and save the wizarding world from dire disaster and utter peril.

why I like it

  • The characters are all small beans who are gorgeous and need taking care of, but are instead walking around at night and getting in trouble with teachers and defeating dark lords. Hermione is honestly the best thing.
  • Can we just talk about Mcgonagall for a minute?!? She is honestly the best thing to ever happen to a book series. She’s strict and kind and will not take no for an answer. She’s just really cool okay okay
  • I’m a sucker for good world building, and this is really really good world building. Having wizards live among us sounds a little ridiculous but the way it’s done makes it wonderfully wonderful!! It’s raw and gritty and it feels real, though when you think about it it is a bit ridiculous.
  • It has just the right amount of action to relaxation, as I like to call it. The plotting and pacing is very well done, I think. Though there is a lot of information dropping it’s handled very well.
  • I am such a big fan of Hagrid it’s ridiculous. He’s so sweet and kind and ahhhhhhhhhh
  • It’s pretty well written. I’m not someone who will jump up and down advocating for this writing style, but it’s cretainly better than lots of other YA books I’ve read! ALSO IT’S THIRD PERSON SO YES PLEASE
  • It has a way of keeping you reading. Once you open this book, it becomes near impossible to put it down. And because it’s such a lovely, bite-sized book, why not finish it in one sitting?
  • Basically I have a lot of love for this book. Even though it’s only a children’s book, it manages to have moments and mentions which you only really pick up on when you’re older. They’re not inappropriate, but it may be a smile from a teacher, a side note from an adult, and suddenly you realise that this world is flawed, just like ours.

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On the surface it’s an innocent book, just like Harry’s age – he’s only eleven okay – but underneath, there are so many references that you’ll only get when you’ve read the whole series. There are so many little snide comments that you’ll only get when you’re older. It’s just so well done.

A lot of people have said to me that this book is kind of set apart in the series. It’s the first book, and it’s so innocent compared to the rest of the books that I can’t help but agree. However it certainly does a good job of keeping you reading!

There are, however, a couple of qualms that I have with this book. (JUST A FEW THOUGH)

  • Snape actually bugs me so much. I have read the later books of course and know his purpose but I just think that his presence should be justified a little more?? He’s honestly the most annoying human when you read the books.
  • The writing does bug me occasionally – I have to say that I’m not a huge fan of the writing style. It does get better in the next books, but in this book it feels like Rowling is still working out her style, still working out what she’s doing. There are just a lot of dashes and fullstops and it can be a little difficult to read occasionally.
  • IT’S TOO SHORT OKAY I NEED MORE HOGWARTS

I understand if you are not a fan of this book. Whether it be about the presence of magic, the writing, or it’s just not for you. For me, however, this book represents the start of my reading journey and the end of a pretty big slump.

My Goodreads review below sums it aaaaaallllllll up for me 🙂

It just occurred to me that this is the sixth time in 2 years that I’ve read this book. And oh, what a book! YES, I could be reading something else. Expanding my list of classics I’ve read, writing book reviews, reading the latest hit, catching up on my TBR.

But somehow, somehow this book always calls me back to it. And when I’m halfway through a boring book, or in the middle of organising my bookshelf, this book stares at me. And I can’t help but start to read it. Because hey, read what you want to read, right?

Anyway, so much has been said about this book already that I won’t really try to write a concise overview. The point here is that I really like this book, it always holds something new for me, and I’m so glad I opened it for the first time 2 years ago, scared and apprehensive and excited.

Because I have to say that I’ve never looked back.

img_0581SO basically this review was just an excuse for me to rant about Hogwarts. Also, have you seen A Very Potter Musical?? The songs have been stuck in my head for about a week and I’m not complaining XD

What is your opinion on Harry Potter? Let’s chat!

With love, Emmeline 🙂

June TBR

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June is going to be insanely busy for me, so once again I’m not holding my breath about how many books I’ll manage to read. But without further ado, here’s the shortlist of books that I’d like to read this month!

  • A library book
  • Crown of Midnight (Sarah J Maas)
  • An Agatha Christie mystery
  • Heidi

img_0581What are you planning to read in this marvellous month of June?

Love, Emmeline 🙂

may 2017 wrapup

*peeks out nervously* Anyone home?

I know I’ve been away for a month before, but I’ll be honest, this was a crazy month. Stuff happened and things went down and I was busy not reading books as hard as I could.

the stuff that happened.

A family friend passed away. To be honest, I wasn’t completely sure how to handle it – it was expected and I’d known about it for months, but somehow, that didn’t help. Being the unemotional bean that I am I still haven’t fully processed it. Now it’s really about keeping going – about loving the people who are left behind.

Because of the above mentioned stuff that happened, I didn’t read a lot. On top of it all, I had about a million assignments due (and still do) and was trying to get through them as much as possible (and still am).

I’m not just saying all of this to excuse myself, by the way. I’m happy with what I’ve read!! I love the books I’ve read this month (mostly ehe) and they are handpicked and were all worth reading. I just want to record what did happen, so in years to come I can look back and go “oh, May 2017. That month. Urgh.”

Without further ado: I read 4 books this month.

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Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë) – 4 // 5

reread: Mao’s Last Dancer (Li Cunxin) – 4 // 5 (review here!)

Salt to the Sea (Rupa Sepetys) – 5 // 5

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (Douglas Adams) – 3 // 5

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about the books…

On the whole, reading less books than usual meant that I was able to think about them more. I wish I had liked Wuthering Heights more … but I didn’t. I reread a book that I loved the first time round, and also enjoyed the second time round. I discovered two new books, one of which goes onto my favourite books of 2017.

I’m not sad that I didn’t get to read as much as usual. I am happy that I got to read what I did.

(also Salt to the Sea IS SOOOOOO GOOOOOOOD, highly highly highly recommend!!!!)


Instagram

A little quiet from me. I kind of lowkey disappeared towards the end of the month (just like on here ehe whoopsies), and haven’t geared myself up for returning yet. I’d like to. I want to.

Just not yet.

But I took some pretty nice pictures that I’m pretty happy with, so there’s that!


May Highlights

At first I was kind of looking frantically for some highlights, because this month has been a bit of a dodgy one. But it turns out that even in the darkest of times, light can still be found.

  • Getting to see two musicals in one day! (it was a pretty good day 🙂 )
  • Getting sent a delicious hot chocolate by my university, and enjoying it with three marshmallows in my favourite mug. Mmmmhmmmm.
  • Watching The Sound of Music at midnight with a wonderful Best Friend xx
  • Games nights with friends!!
  • Also just downright wonderful support from friends and feeling generally blessed in that way.

img_0581Here’s me kind of hoping that June will be a better month than May was, and crossing my fingers that I passed all my assignments!! Also that my brain will hurry up and catch up with all the situations that are currently happening, because it’s all still very very blurry.

Anyway, how was your May?? What did you read??

Keep smiling,

Emmeline 🙂

May 2017 TBR

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Here is a short list of books that I’m planning on reading this month!

Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte.

Heidi, by Johanna Spyri.

Crown of Midnight, by Sarah J Maas.

One of my Agatha Christie books.



img_0581What are you planning on reading this month?

Keep smiling,

Emmeline 🙂

mini April Haul

Okay, have something to explain.

Do you remember how, ages ago, I wrote this post?

I basically promised I wouldn’t buy any books/borrow from the library till either my birthday, or until I’d read all the books in my shelf.

(this post could be renamed ‘me making excuses for myself’, whoop whoop)


So in both my March and April wrapups I admitted that I had borrowed from the library. Honestly I think not borrowing from the library was a silly goal to set myself, because (a) we go there all the time and (b) the library is basically my second home. Me not borrowing from the library is really an unrealistic goal, I’m afraid.

Here’s an overview of my shelves, and how much I’ve read in them:

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This is the main shelf, which holds most of my books. The red dots symbolise any books I haven’t read. As you can see, I’m getting through quite a few, which I’m happy with!

At the moment, there are 17 books on this shelf which I have not yet cracked open. Exciting times!

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This is the shelf which my sister and I have coined the “favourites shelf”. It holds all the favourite/aesthetically pleasing books, and as you can see there are 19 which I have still to read.


So as you can see, while I still have a bit to go, I’m slowly getting through it all. It helps that lots of the books in the shelves are actually my sister’s which I have absolutely no intention of reading.

So now the books I bought …

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Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, by Sarah J Maas.

These were 9 dollars each, and I couldn’t resist picking them up! They were the only books that I bought this month, and (hopefully) the only books I’m planning on buying until after my birthday.

My book buying ban is back in existence. My book borrowing ban is cancelled.


img_0581So essentially I *failed* the book buying ban, and am going to try again. So (hopefully) no more haul posts till my birthday!

What books did you buy this month?

Love, Emmeline 🙂

April 2017 WRAPUP

I’m back with my wrapup, on time for once! This was an interesting month of reading for me – I read nothing for two weeks and then binge read for the last couple of days.

I read 11 books this month.

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The Summer we Saved the Bees (Robin Stevenson) – 3 // 5 review here!

Half a Lifetime (Judith Wright) – no rating review here!

The Water Babies (Charles Kingsley) – 4 // 5 review here!

Mary Barton (Elizabeth Gaskell) – 4 // 5 review here!

reread The Endless Steppe (Esther Hautzig) – 4 // 5

reread The Story of my Life (Helen Keller) – no rating

Roseblood (A.G. Howard) – no rating (DNF’ed at 60%, but it was a long book so I’m still counting it.)

Life in Outer Space (Melissa Keil) – 3 // 5

reread Throne of Glass (Sarah J Maas) – 3 // 5

The Pause (John Larkin) – 4 // 5

The Anatomy of a Misfit (Andrea Portes) – 3 // 5

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about the books…

Only three rereads this month, which is a lot less than usual! I tried to branch out and read five books borrowed from the library. Most of them were a success, except for Roseblood, which I took too long to read and in the end decided that I couldn’t get through.

My favourite book of the month may have to be Mary Barton, by Elizabeth Gaskell. Stunningly written, it portrays life as it was in Victorian England. *slams recommend button*


in other news…

School has well and truly started back, so we’ll see how much I can appear on this blog. Uni is coming into the assignment season, so that’ll be a contributing factor too.

The holidays were wonderful, and far too short! Only eight weeks to go till the next ones *waits impatiently*

That’s really all I have to say. Not a huge amount has been happening. I live a fairly quiet existence.


April highlights

  • sleepovers with dear friends xx
  • HOLIDAYS!!!
  • starting piano teaching again
  • my binge reading session of last weekend 🙂
  • seeing movies with friends and feeling generally blessed!

img_0581What did you do in April?

Keep smiling, and here’s to May!

Emmeline 🙂

The Water Babies – REVIEW TIME

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The Water Babies, by Charles Kingsley. First read 15th April to 17th April 2017.   4 // 5 stars.

I may have missed a couple of days in this little challenge I set myself … (whoops) so it’s now day four and I’m here to review the Water Babies!

When I found the Water Babies for 50 cents at a book sale, I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t read it already! So of course I simply had to pick it up. I finally got around to reading it the other day and was enchanted.

The Water Babies is the story of a young chimney sweep who runs away from his cruel master, and is subsequently turned into a ‘water baby’. While it is never fully explained what a water baby actually is, I worked out from the title that it’s a baby who lives in the water?? So I suppose it’s fairly self explanatory.

The writing style in this book was honestly the highlight for me! It was so delightfully old fashioned, which made the entire thing an absolute joy to read.

What I likeeed:

  • The writing style!! So much perfection and a pleasure to read.
  • Some really adorable characters in there.
  • Honestly it was just really fun to read. The prose read like music and I loved it.
  • There were some philosophical parts in there too. I did brush over them a little, not quite being in the mood for philosophy, but hey, they were there.
  • It was soo funny! I can’t remember the last time I found a book this humorous 🙂

What I didn’t like so much:

  • Just like Mary Barton, this book focused a little bit on goodness as a means for salvation. *sighs*
  • There was a little too much ‘moralising’ in places for my liking.
  • It dragged a tad in places.
  • Ummm… that’s it??

Actually, this book reminded me a little of the story of Pinocchio. There’s a good fairy, training Tom (the naughty protagonist) up. Tom has many adventures, and struggles to find other people like him. And at the end, of course, there’s a delightfully happy ending!

My little Goodreads review sums up all of my thoughts on the book:

An endearing book filled with excellent prose! How I wish books were written like this nowadays *sighs*

img_0581Just a short review for today, but I absolutely adored this book as a little break from heavier things. I can’t believe I haven’t read it before!

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Keep smiling,

Emmeline 🙂

Mary Barton – REVIEW TIME

 

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Mary Barton, by Elizabeth Gaskell. Read 19th April to 23rd April 2017.   4 // 5 stars.

This story is about a young woman and her father, two young men, and the poverty and depression that struck Manchester at the time. There’s also a murder, a chilling plot twist, and a lot of deaths. It’s really quite tragic how many characters are dead by the end, most by easily preventable causes.

One of the things I loved about this book was the fact that there weren’t tonnes of characters to keep track of. Often in classics there are many characters and it can be difficult to keep track of them all; this one, however, had just the perfect amount. There really were very few compared to other classics, and the secondary characters were very much kept to a minimum. Except for one instance where there were two Marys in one room, I was never confused!

This book opened my eyes to the extreme poverty that England – and perhaps the world – was facing. While books like Pride and Prejudice are social commentaries on higher classes of the time, this book really gets down to the nitty gritty. An excellent commentary on the lower class of Manchester in the late 1840s.

I couldn’t help comparing this book to Dickens. I mean, both authors portrayed the lower class in England, and both wrote about the struggle between the classes, and the consequences that followed. However, the true difference between the two was that Gaskell’s characters are all very personal. The book felt like Dickens in its representation of the poor, but the characters were much more personal – all the secondary characters had emotions that Dickens never quite captures, at least in my opinion (but that’s a discussion for another day :)). A personal version of Dickens, then.

The main reason that this wasn’t a 5 star book for me was its focus on goodness as a means for salvation. If a character was at the point of death, they would have absolutely no assurance – they would look back on their life and cringe at the sin it had contained. As a Christian, I have assurance in Christ. Unfortunately throughout many of these old novels, characters – rich or poor – simply do not have assurance of their what their existence after death will look like, because they are under the impression that being good gets you to Heaven.

However, this was but a personal thing, and did not stop me enjoying the narrative in the slightest. It was only really afterwards that I stopped to consider the worldview of the novel, and it was then when I picked up this issue.

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A quick list of likes:

  • Stunningly written!
  • Personal, endearing, believable characters!
  • Its focus on the poor with very few wealthy characters – refreshing I felt!
  • Its treatment of death and human suffering, not dehumanising the poor and making grief something that all classes of life feel!
  • Character development that happens slowly so you don’t notice it!
  • The clever combination of social commentary and gripping plot!
  • The absolutely delicious plot twist at the end which I didn’t see coming despite myself!

And some dislikes:

  • The aforementioned misguided beliefs concerning salvation.
  • The first half of the book was rather sloooooow.
  • Sometimes the social commentary arc overshadowed the actual plot. (although by the latter half the plot was in full swing!)

Overall, then, a thought provoking, well written book that I would recommend to nearly everybody! If you can’t do Dickens, for whatever reason, but still want a view of life as it was in the 1840s, then this one is for you.


img_0581Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865 – goodness, she died so tragically young!) also wrote North and South, which I’ve heard many things about but never tried. Given how much I enjoyed this one, I’m definitely adding her to my list!

Have you read this book, or any others by this author? I’d love to know!

Love, Emmeline 🙂