Wednesday, May 27, 2015 21:33

Fairytale News 49. Leaving your characters behind.

'Mel on reading' is a little feature I created as part of my Fairytale news. It's my way to show my thoughts on topics that go from pet peeves in reading to my favorite things in books.

I often re-read a book and last them I got struck by the idea; those characters never grow older, but I do. I return to books with characters that used to be my age, but suddenly years later they are still the same and I’ve grown-up. It makes me feel like I’m leaving those characters behind me. It’s not that I can’t connect with them anymore, but it’s like they are a memory of a childhood friend you don’t see anymore. You only remember them how they were when you were young, but you never get to see them when they are older.

I might not have the appropriate age that is intended for Young Adult books, but I never struggle with connecting with most younger characters. I guess it’s because I don’t feel old. I have the age in number, but not the spirit. It’s like Nose Graze said: I feel like a fake adult. I also think it’s ridiculous to restrict YA books to the target group, because we should stop judging what everybody reads. But, sometimes those characters I identified with do things that make me shake my head now; and when I was younger I could totally understand it. This is especially the case when the character has a fight with their parents. I used to feel frustrated for that character, but now I often have to agree with their parents. It's the same when I try to return to books I read when I was < 12, it doesn’t work for me anymore. I feel (gosh, that sounds terrible) too old for those stories. I can see why I loved them, but I guess I have outgrown them. It's also the reason I am afraid to read some classic children books I missed while growing up, like the recently translated The letter for the King.

I can always group together with my Harry Potter characters. Growing older alongside the characters was a magical journey and I think that’s why I love the epilogue so much; I could see a glimpse of them being older. It makes me feel like I haven't left them behind, because they have grown older too. It feels more complete to me, because their story didn’t just stop at them being a teenager. It makes J.K Rowling even more epic too, because she keeps spoiling us with extra information about our beloved characters.

Do you ever feel like you’ve outgrown characters you used to love when you were the same age? Do you think that makes you a bit too harsh sometimes, when you judge them?
Sunday, May 24, 2015 21:57

Review 228. Lori M. Lee – Gates of thread and stone.

17904985Title: Gates of thread and stone.
Author: Lori M. Lee.
Pages: 335.
Published: August 5th 2014 by Skyscape.
Sort: Part 1. Gates of thread and stone.
Source: Netgalley and publisher, thanks!
In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.
In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her. Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.

I liked it. I didn’t fall in love with it the way I thought I would, but it’s a very solid story that promise something good for the sequels.

Kai’s brother Reev disappears and she is willing to do anything to get him back: even if that means she has to look for the Black Rider, a feared and mysterious man. Together with her youth friend Avan, a guy she secretly fancies, she hunts him down and he has to face some shocking truths about herself.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 20:20

Review 227. Naomi Novik – Uprooted.

22544764Title: Uprooted.25068467
Author: Naomi Novik.
Pages: 448.
Published: May 21st 2015 by Macmillan
Sort: Stand-alone.
Source: From the publisher on Netgalley, thanks!
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood. The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her. But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

This story is a perfect blend of several folktales and Beauty and the beast. I was highly entertained by Agnieszka and the creepy Wood that is starting to get more powerful by the day. Despite some minor issues, I fell in love with the writing-style, plot and characters.
Sunday, May 17, 2015 11:44

Tag: reader problems.

I was tagged by Reviews of a bookworm. This tag was created by Tiffany on her About To Read YouTube channel. This was a long time ago, so it's about time I catch up with these tags. I tag whoever wants to do this tag.

1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?
That is a combination of: my mood and how many review copies I have left. I always read several books at the same time, so I try to pick at least one book I feel like reading and one book I have to read to stay on top of my review books. 20,000 is a lot though.. I guess I would separate all those books in genre piles and then I would randomly pick a book that will suit my mood.

2. You're halfway through a book and you're just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?That depends on the type of book, source and how many pages there are.  If it’s a book in a series I might continue, but a stand-alone will be DNF-ed without second thoughts. If I got the book as a present or for review I give it more time and chance. It also depends how far I'm in. Let's say I'm already over half of the book I will skim through the pages, because I already invested time in the story and I want to know how it ends. Most of the times I DNF a book earlier than halfway though, because I can easily spot if a book works for me or not.

3. The end of the year is coming and you're so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?
How ‘so close yet so far’ am I? If it’s 5 books I will try to read short and easy books. If you are looking at 10 books I will just try my hardest, but I’m going to push myself. I love the Goodreads challenge and it’s fun to push myself to read as many books as I can, but if I don’t make it to my set goal I also don’t mind. Reading is a hobby and something I do for fun; I don’t want to stress over it.

Thursday, May 14, 2015 21:34

Review 226. Heather Dixon – Illusionarium.

22840398Title: Illusionarium.
Author: Heather Dixon.
Pages: 368.
Published: May 19th 2015 by Greenwillow
Sort: Stand-alone.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
A brilliantly conceived adventure through an alternate London. 
Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then—as every good adventure begins—the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he's a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations—or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path.

I wanted to love this. I really did. Heather Dixon is the author from Entwined and that turned out to be one of my favorite retellings from that particular fairytale (The twelve dancing princesses). I was so stoked when I saw the announcement of her new book, but it wasn't what I expected. At all. The whole concept of illusions, aerial cities and parallel words sounded amazing, but it was confusing to me. I still don't get how the illusions work and there is something about it that doesn't feel right.

Sunday, May 10, 2015 09:02

MIM #6. Three forgotten Disney movies.

Welcome to my new feature, where I will be coming books and movies! I bet you can guess how I came up in the name, but in case you aren’t; Alice in Wonderland. You can find my inspirations in this post Fairytale news: other content.

It was about time I came back with another edition of Mel in Movieland. I have been so busy that I've been focusing on reviews and discussion posts, but I forgot how much I enjoyed to write these as well. I'm definitely going to pick up this posts again. Disney gives me endless happiness.

Today I want to feature three Disney movies that I love, but I feel they hardly get any attention - or sometimes people don't even know they exist in the first place! Disney is mostly known for it’s Disney princess movies, but what about the others? I highly recommend to check out these three movies if you have never seen them before.
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