Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry_Potter_and_the_Goblet_of_FireHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by JK Rowling. 3rd reread 5-8 June 2017.

Continuing on my ‘In which I review Harry Potter – aka basically an excuse for me to rave about how much I love it‘ review series, I’m up to the fourth book, the one where everything starts to get serious! I love this book – it’s so long, and there are so many unexpected twists and turns! It’s also the one where you really start to see the dark side of the wizarding world.

the story

Harry gets excited about a secret event that’s happening at Hogwarts. He can’t stop thinking about Quidditch, and a certain girl in his class. But lots of dark stuff is happening too, behind the scenes – and poor Harry needs a hug. Hermione and Ron are very supportive friends as Harry deals with growing up.

what I like

  • The whole book. Seriously.
  • It’s at a point in the series where Harry starts having crushes, and as such is really angsty. I love how we see this whole separate side of him, and how realistic it is written. He really is just a teenager caught up in a whole big war.
  • Hermione is amazing – ahhh dear me I love this human. She persuades Harry to see what an idiot he’s being, and she’s also just incredibly supportive and imperfect and just a great character.
  • It’s funny! The whole series is pretty funny, but I feel like Harry starts to become really sassy in this one – sometimes it’s just too much to handle, seriously.
  • The way JK Rowling writes irritating characters is honestly amazing. Rita Skeeter, the very successful journalist, is the sort of person that you throw the book at the wall for. Very very well written.
  • The plot! It all fits together beautifully, and the twists and turns at the end are unpredictable and very exciting.

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Honestly the only nag I have with this book is that the ending is a little anticlimactic. I KNOW I KNOW BUT all this stuff happens, and then more stuff happens?? I just prefer a little less info-dumping and cleaner, tighter endings. But it’s not a huge issue of mine, more just a minor nag.

In this book, the theme of power really begins to emerge, setting itself up for the rest of the series. The play of power inbetween the hands of the major characters – with Harry sitting in the middle – is something that I found very interesting this reread. How much control does Harry really have? In truth, very very little.

All in all, this is definitely a book that I love with a deep passion. I’ve only read it three times (compared to 5+ with the other books) and perhaps because of that, there was so much that I didn’t remember this read through. So many little tidbits – like how awful Rita is, how awesome Hermione is, and what a good friend Ron is.


img_0581This is just a really really good book. It’s long, and a bit of a marathon to get through, but it is completely worth it! I lost myself in this book in a way that I rarely do in other worlds. Ahhhh I just love it very greatly.

Have you read this book??

Love, Emm 🙂

Illuminae

23395680Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. 1st read 5-6 July 2017.    5 // 5 stars.

*flails aimlessly* THISBOOKTHISBOOKTHISBOOK!! It’s very very good!!

This is a book that I didn’t know I needed before I found it, read it, and loved it! I just can’t stop thinking about it, the characters, and the wonderful world in which its set. Will I ever stop flailing about this book? Probably not mate.

the story

This book is all about humans set in space, seven/six hundred years in the future. And no surprises, they haven’t changed – they’re still blowing each other up and causing hurt and pain. Two humans in particular are caught in the middle of a crazy war, and try not to die as they escape their burning planet on refugee transport ships. There’s lots of fighting, computers, sassy one-liners, and wonderful pacing!

The book itself is formatted unlike a normal book; it’s set out in data logs, messages, wikipedia-like pages, reports, almost Shaun Tan style artwork, and so on. It’s an interesting layout, but it really works!


Things I liked:

  • The format! It’s so so so cool the way it’s laid out, almost like a comic but not, almost like a normal book but not. Art abounds the pages and my artist’s heart was happy!!
  • The characters! Ahhh they are so well developed and all are different and so so so relatable. They are really just normal people caught up in a great big space war, and perhaps because they are so relatable it is very easy to see yourself in that same situation.
  • It’s so funny! The characters don’t know how to handle situations, so they hide their feelings with humour, sarcasm, and bad jokes. This book is basically the definition of my sense of humour.
  • The world! It’s so well developed and I saw it clearly as I frantically turned the pages, trying to find out what happens next.
  • Did I mention it’s a page turner? Because it is. It’s just such an exciting plot and you just want to see what happens next! While this doesn’t necessarily always count as a good thing in books – some of my least favourite books are page-turners, for sure – in this one, it serves well to entice the reader to continue being enthralled by the book.

There was one main problem with this book, which I feel like I should probably mention…

What I didn’t like so much:

  • ummmmm
  • There was quite a lot of swearing/profanity. All the swearing was blacked out, but unfortunately my imagination was quite capable of supplying the censored words. I guess it just shows that no book can possibly be perfect if us humans are the ones who wrote it! However, I zoomed through the book and so it didn’t really bug me that much at the time.
  • That’s about it??? I just really loved this book!!

I can’t remember the last time that I’ve connected to characters to this extent! I just couldn’t stop reading, and when I stopped, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. Ahhh it’s just a very very good book and I love it!

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was its lack of aliens. A lot of space adventures are filled with aliens and halfbreeds and resulting prejudices, and I thought it was quite interesting that this book avoided that popular trope!

All in all, this is a wonderful book set in space that’s, at a basic level, all about humans. Themes about human pain, human suffering, and the human condition are all included in this one! As I said, I’m not normally a fan of sci-fi or books set in space at all, but my love for this book is right up there with my love for Star Wars. And that’s pretty high.


img_0581I also added this to my favourites shelf, sooooooo yeah it’s a new favourite 🙂 Highly recommend to any discerning reader who can handle a bit of violence (not too much though)!!

Have you read this book? Any thoughts?

Keep smiling!

Emmeline 🙂

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry_Potter_and_the_Prisoner_of_Azkaban.jpgHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by JK Rowling. 3rd Reread 5th June 2017.    5 // 5 stars.

I feel like there’s already a ridiculous amount of opinions on this book already floating around on the internet, but I’m going to throw mine into it too with this little mini review.

This is perhaps my favourite book in the series! It’s exciting, entertaining, and the plot twists are so surprising!!

If you don’t know the story, here’s a quick overview (no spoilers!):

the story

Harry’s in his third year at Hogwarts, and is starting a lot of new subjects, though not as many as Hermione. The notorious Sirius Black is on the run, escaped from Azkaban (wizard jail), and a large black dog is stalking Harry. All in all, it’s the making of another stressful, exciting, and wonderful year at Hogwarts!

what I like

  • this book is so chill. Seriously.
  • My favourite part in the whole book (A TINY SPOILER, SORRY! LOOK AWAY IF YOU WANT!) is when Hermione slaps Draco. I shake with joy every single time I read that scene because it’s just so amazing and Hermione is the best!!!!!!
  • This book is kind of inbetween when Harry is a smol child™, and when things start to get more serious with Voldemort. It’s a break between angst and innocence and I really enjoy that part of it!
  • The character development though!! Hermione really gets to step up in this book, and become her own. Ron gets lots of development in the way he deals with situations. And Harry gets to show his strength in a way that I don’t think he gets to in the earlier books.
  • The action is well written. I think that JK Rowling has a particular knack for her action sequences. They’re written in a way which beg you to keep reading, and yet so you still know what’s going on.

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This is honestly one of those books which I read with a big, silly smile on my face. It’s exciting, but it’s a bit of a break. Information for the rest of the series is introduced, but the story still has its own plot. Yes, the ending is a little unrealistic, but I actually like that. I’ve always liked Time Travelling stories, after all!

Once again, the one overarching problem I have with the first books in the series is the writing style. That said, by this book I barely notice it. At this point, JK has picked herself up – it’s starting to become the sort of book where you can say, “This is well written” and pair it with an intelligent nod.


img_0581One of my favourite part of this book are all the delicious plot twists at the end – no spoilers!! I also loooove Harry. I will say that friendship drama goes down and it isn’t pretty, but it’s very entertaining.

Have you read this book?? Rant with me in the comments!

–Emmeline 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

Half a Lifetime – REVIEW TIME

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Half a Lifetime, by Judith Wright. First read 15th April to 17th April 2017.  No rating.

I’m aiming to (a) review a book every day this week (this being day two) and (b) review every book I read this month! Today’s issue – Half a Lifetime, by Judith Wright.

I had to read this book in preparation for my speech exam, and found it particularly interesting. It opened my eyes to some elements of Judith’s life that I didn’t know/hadn’t thought about before.

It’s always difficult writing reviews on autobiographies, I find. This is because I can’t critique the plot without critiquing a life. This story in particular was exceptionally personal, making my job even more difficult. Perhaps autobiographies aren’t meant to be critiqued, but rather to be pondered on!

Half a Lifetime is the story of one of Australia’s best known poets, Judith Wright. It shows her childhood, her life as a young adult before, after, and during the War, and explores her relationship with the philosopher Jack McKinney.

One of the things I particularly enjoyed about this book was its friendly mixture of storytelling and philosophy. Judith showed the way that her philosophy and worldview was created, and even in the beginning stages of her life she showed how that time influenced her beliefs later in life. I suppose it goes to show that even the earliest events in our life affect our mind and consequently our worldview. For Judith Wright, these events were the mistreatment of the Aboriginal people who worked for her family. It was the illness of her mother which meant she was largely left to herself, free to roam the bush and be told off for being ‘unladylike’ by her family. All of these experiences led Judith Wright to be a campaigner for Aboriginal land rights in later years, spurred on by her personal witness of prejudice.

It’s interesting to me that Judith travelled Europe several years before the outbreak of WWII, and saw what was coming. However, when trying to warn those back home in Australia of the clear future, she was ignored or laughed at. Wrapped in our comfortable bubbles of the things we know (or think we know), we don’t like to peek outside and have a look outside at the things we may not know about, at the future which we fervently ignore. Given the current unrest in the world today, it’s interesting to ponder the fact that even today we refuse to see two steps in front of us.

Yet another thing that fascinated me was how Judith knew very early on that she wanted to be a poet. She was sure of this fact. So when it came time for school, she did wonderfully in English, and not-so-good at maths. She wanted to go to Uni, so she studied several different units in literature and history, rather than a whole degree.

This book was very thought provoking and very personal. The writing style is written in Judith Wright’s unique way; there are commas where there shouldn’t be and none where there should, as well as plenty of run-on sentences. It also has large gaps and silences in places, particularly her university years. Sometimes it jumps ahead a few years, or back, but not enough to make it too confusing. However, all this serves to make it feel more like an intimate conversation than a book!

Would I recommend this book? I’m really not sure. I haven’t really touched on Judith’s worldview, which is a whole topic on itself. I suppose I would suggest reading it if you’re interested in her poetry and what influenced it. It’s certainly an interesting look into one remarkable poet’s mind!


img_0581I am a fan of Judith’s poetry, and so reading this book really was an insight into her whole world. I struggle reading her prose because of the sentence structure, but this book was so personal that I barely noticed the grammar.

Have you read any of her poetry? I’d highly recommend it!

Love, Emmeline 🙂

The Summer We Saved the Bees – REVIEW TIME

SummerWeSavedTheBeescovThe Summer We Saved the Bees, by Robin Stevenson. Read April 11th,    3 // 5 stars.

I read this book for the first time just the other day. We had to be at the library for an hour, so I picked up a book that looked doable (not too long, not too short) and read it!

In this book, Wolf has to go with his family (two twin girls, a grumpy stepsister and her boyfriend, a mother, and a stepfather) around the country to promote the idea that the bees are dying – and that the end of the world is coming. His sister is sick, and he doesn’t want to go.

This is yet another case of me picking up a book in the YA section of the library, and it turning out to be Middle Grade. I didn’t mind though – it was a nice little story that shows how to live in a frankly quite confusing world.

There was something that I particularly liked about this book, which was the overall theme of ‘it is what it is’. Given the premise of the book, ‘save the world at all costs’, this was a nice little surprise that is a lot closer to what I personally agree with, though still (of course) not all the way there.

Additionally, the ending was bittersweet – my favourite type of ending. Reconciliation combined with realism makes for a good book, I feel.

While I never really got into the book enough to really feel on the edge of my seat (more my setting’s fault than the books’), there were certainly some “WHYYYYY are some people so annoying!” moments.

The story arc with the younger sister’s anxiety was good, I felt – it had mental illness representation in younger children, which I feel doesn’t happen enough. However, I am not knowledgeable enough to be able to judge whether or not the representation was realistic or not. I feel like it was … maybe … not really sure … Glad it was there at least, though!

There were some gripes that I did have with the book, however:

  • The characters were a little flat. I found myself wishing that the description focused more on the characters than the setting.
  • (okay this is slightly embarrassing but) It took me a quarter of the book to discover that (a) the main character was a boy, and (b) he was just twelve. I thought he was a she and also at least 16. Either I wasn’t paying attention oooorrrrr…..
  • The description felt very forced in places.
  • There were some odd things and inconsistencies??? In places it didn’t quite feel like they were actually a vegan all-organic family. As someone who knows many people who are actually vegan and all-organic, the inconsistencies were highly obvious to me.

But apart from these issues it was a fun little read that really picked me up for that hour at the library!


img_0581Have you read this book? What do you think of it????

Love, Emmeline 🙂

As We Sweep Through the Deep – REVIEW TIME

downloadAs We Sweep Through the Deep, by Gordon Stables.
Read February 15th,      3 // 5 stars.

I’ve been swamped under with school/uni work for the past week, but I thought I’d take a moment out from assignments and study to write a little review on this rollicking book!

This book is the height of swashbucklers. It surrounds two families, one of which has a mortgage on their old mansion, and the other of which has control of the mortgage. There is a see travelling young man, a feisty sister, a loving love interest, and kind friends.

There were many things that I enjoyed about this book! Namely:

  • The sweetness and innocence of the romance
  • Sea battles and (hopefully) accurate historical content
  • Sweet sisters with sweet characters
  • Friends that stick up for you
  • The gorgeous writing style!!!

That said, there were some iffy things with this book. The book had a clear plot from the beginning – BUT WHERE DID IT GO?? I was sooo confused in the middle of the book because the plot had packed up and left. It barely returned for a little wrap at the end.

So what did it do instead of follow the plot? Well, it…..

  • Took us through numerous sea battles
  • PIRATES
  • Death (seriously though, so many soldiers died and I was sooo surprised at the death toll)
  • There was a scene where smugglers were captured
  • Basically ships.
  • And sea fighting.
  • So … it’s essentially England vs France on the water.
  • England wins!!

(and now we return for the finale where everyone and everything ends up happy!)

I hope that wasn’t too spoiler-ly for you, but to be perfectly honest, there isn’t much to spoil. As I said, this book seemed far more interested in taking us through sea battles than following through with the plot that it had promised from the beginning. The reason I ended up rating it so high was because I enjoyed the reading experience so much! The writing was delightful and the characters were delightful and even the sea battles were delightful. Just the lack of a consistent plot irritated me.

img_0581My ancient hardcover edition of this book was found for one dollar at a second hand book sale. You can read a free eBook at Project Gutenberg here!

Keep smiling,

Emmeline 🙂