Book Review #136: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

“I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.”

.

Goodreads Synopsis

Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.

.

My Personal Thoughts

Sense and Sensibility is a classic story which focused on a woman’s struggles and feelings within a patriarchal society during the earlier times (late 1700’s). Heartbreak, falling in love for the first time, and moving on are the best parts of this book that Jane Austen shared to us. Initially, I was bored and could not manage to get into it which was the same as how I felt for Pride and Prejudice. But the latter proved me wrong and it happened to be an instant favourite. It was a different feeling and perception for me with this book as I was also all for enemies to lover which how Darcy and Lizzie went in P&P. For me, this was more of a sisterly love and how family is everything you will have in the end (except for Marianne and Elinor’s elder brother of course!). I was also impressed with a man’s willingness to love someone from afar and wait patiently for her to love him back.

Liked:

.

❥ Colonel Brandon’s attitude and pure feelings

❥ Marianne being independent and strong

❥ Writing Style

.

Disliked:

❥ I felt bored initially

❥ Asshole move of Mr. Willoughby

❥ Not much butterflies in the stomach moments

.

Setting: 3⭐️

Character Building: 4⭐️

Writing Style: 4⭐️

Message: 3⭐️

Overall: 4⭐️

.

Overall, it was an interesting read with lots of messages to empower women given that it was set somewhere between 1792 and 1797 over at southwest England, London, and Sussex. Now I’m off to the next one, Emma.

.

~JaNnA~

Book Review #135: Clementine and Rudy by Siobhan Curham

Goodreads Synopsis

Rudy is a street artist; Clementine is a poet. The day after Rudy sneaks out late one night and posts her first piece of artwork, Clem discovers it, awestruck. She takes a photo, writes a poem in response and posts them together on Instagram. Soon the two fifteen-year-olds meet and begin their unique friendship, one that nurtures creativity and results in a special creative collaboration. The girls may be from very different backgrounds, and experiencing difficulties at home, but each strives to be true to herself and follow her dreams.

My Personal Thoughts

Clementine and Rudy mainly talked about passion, friendship, and resilience. Although it was not my cup of tea, I sort of enjoyed reading it and finished it really quick. The pacing is fast and the characters are interesting. I like reading about the younger generation’s POV as it was like walking down the memory lane for me. I received a review copy from Walker Books Australia last year but only managed to have the time to jump into it recently. It is wholesome and highly recommended to younger readers.

Liked:
❥Fast paced
❥Setting
❥Street Art

Disliked:
❥Assh*le Stepfather of Clementine
❥Clementine’s mom who could not stand up for herself
❥Cliff hanger with the love interest in the end

Setting: 5⭐️
Character Building: 3⭐️
Writing Style: 3⭐️
Message: 3⭐️
Overall: 3⭐️

~JaNnA~

Book Review #134: Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover

“I think when you’re the worst of people, finding the worst in others becomes a survival tactic of sorts. You focus heavily on the darkness in people in hopes of masking the true shade of your own darkness.”

.

Synopsis

Life and a dismal last name are the only two things Beyah Grim’s parents ever gave her. After carving her path all on her own, Beyah is well on her way to bigger and better things, thanks to no one but herself.

With only two short months separating her from the future she’s built and the past she desperately wants to leave behind, an unexpected death leaves Beyah with no place to go during the interim. Forced to reach out to her last resort, Beyah has to spend the remainder of her summer on a peninsula in Texas with a father she barely knows. Beyah’s plan is to keep her head down and let the summer slip by seamlessly, but her new neighbor Samson throws a wrench in that plan.

Samson and Beyah have nothing in common on the surface.

She comes from a life of poverty and neglect; he comes from a family of wealth and privilege. But one thing they do have in common is that they’re both drawn to sad things. Which means they’re drawn to each other. With an almost immediate connection too intense for them to continue denying, Beyah and Samson agree to stay in the shallow end of a summer fling. What Beyah doesn’t realize is that a rip current is coming, and it’s about to drag her heart out to sea.

.

My Personal Thoughts

Heart Bones is a story that talked about resilience and how someone bounce back after undergoing something painful and traumatic in life. The main character, Beyah, symbolises hope and forgiveness amidst all the heartbreaks she experienced at an early stage in life. Despite the fact that her childhood up until adulthood consist of not so good moments brought about by her mother and resentment over her father, she was still able to be back on her feet. I enjoyed reading about the fun times she had with Samson and the authenticity of her stepsister, Sara, with her feelings towards her. This book will teach us how important family is and how we will survive if we surround ourselves with the right kind of people. As always, Colleen Hoover never ceases to amaze me with her writing style.

.

Liked:

❥Fast paced

❥Setting is beach side

❥Step mother and step sister are both not the cliche’ type we read from Cinderella

.

Disliked:

❥Beyah’s feelings towards Samson after finding out the truth (too good to be true)

❥Too short – I was hoping for more

❥I felt more butterflies in the stomach towards the secondary characters’s story (Sara and Marcos)

.

Setting: 5⭐️

Character Building: 3⭐️

Writing Style: 4⭐️

Message: 3⭐️

Overall: 3⭐️

.

Overall, I recommend this if you are after a story that will have you crying or sobbing at some point. The love story between the main characters is also to look forward to despite it being unconventional. You can never go wrong with a Colleen Hoover creation as it will always be something different from her previous books. Now moving on to her latest novel, Layla.

~JaNnA~

Book Review #133: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”

.

Goodreads Synopsis

.

Pride and Prejudice has remained one of the most popular novels in the English language. Jane Austen called this brilliant work “her own darling child” and its vivacious heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, “as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print.” The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and her proud beau, Mr. Darcy, is a splendid performance of civilized sparring. And Jane Austen’s radiant wit sparkles as her characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, making this book the most superb comedy of manners of Regency England.

.

My Personal Thoughts

.


I finally finished this masterpiece today and it was, indeed, beautifully written. It took me a couple of weeks to finish it mainly due to the slow paced first few chapters and Mr. Darcy’s arrogance. I eventually got into it and I fell in love with both of Darcy and Lizzy. I like the setting and the idea of first love and how pure, innocent, and heartwarming it is. The main points that really interested me are Elizabeth Bennet’s sort of defiance with the norm and with Mr. Darcy being misunderstood and him not trying to prove himself to anyone.

.


World Building: 4⭐️
Character Building: 5⭐️
Writing Style: 5⭐️
Message: 3⭐️
Overall: 5⭐️

.


Liked:
❥Writing Style
❥Swoon Worthy Book Boyfriend
❥Glimpse of Woman Empowerment and Standing up for One’s self


.


Disliked:
❥Slow Paced First Few Chapters
❥Mr. Bingley being easily influenced
❥Mrs. Bennet’s view of having all girls married soon

.


Some points were just too hard for me to understand but mainly because this was written ages ago and our society definitely evolved a lot in so many aspects. Examples: How women were viewed, how the rich takes charge, and how parents decide when it comes to marriage. Overall, I really had a great time whilst delving into this classic story and I’ll surely be reading the rest of the Jane Austen collection.

.

~JaNnA~

Book Review #132: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.”
.
Goodreads Synopsis
.
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.
.
By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.
.
But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.
.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
.
My Personal Thoughts
.
This book is bloody brilliant! I have never read something this beautiful for a long time. I wonder what took me so long to finally pick it up. I have been seeing fellow readers giving positive feedback about it but I was always so fond of fantasy books, hence, I set this one aside for the time being. I listened with the audiobook version via Borrow Box through my local library membership and the way the narrator executed this is just so amazing and incomparable. The background music, vibe, and tone used were just astonishing. They added colour to my listening journey. This was set during World War 2, Nazi Germany times to be specific. The main character is a young girl named Liesel who is an orphan adopted by Hans and Rosa Hubermann. Hans worked hard in order for her to be literate and this helped develop her love for books. The main character has been through a lot and was a witness during the political conflict and oppression within that period. I admire her resilience and strength. Initially, she witnessed the death of her brother and then of her foster parents and best friend but she was still able to stand up and move on. This book talked about the beauty of first love, friendship, and the power of kindness and sympathy amidst all the conflict in the society. Max Vandenburg who is a jew that the Hubermanns kept in their basement also played a vital role in Liesel’s character development. To say that this book moved me in so many ways is an understatement. This story is narrated in DEATH’s point of view which makes it unique and interesting. Kuddos to the author for creating such epic story which will leave a mark to all its readers.
.
Liked:
Writing style
Historical fiction specifically during Nazi Germany times
Message of resilience
.
Disliked:
I was after to know more of Max
I did not read this sooner
I have yet to have a copy in hardback
.
World Building: 5⭐️
Character Building: 5
⭐️
Writing Style: 5
⭐️
Message: 5
⭐️
Overall: 5
⭐️
.
Overall, this is highly recommended and it is truly heartbreakingly beautiful in so many aspects. A historical fiction themed story that is time worthy. Perfection!
.
~JaNnA🍂~

Book Review #131: Still Alice by Lisa Genova

My yesterdays are disappearing, and my tomorrows are uncertain, so what do I live for? I live for each day. I live in the moment. Some tomorrow soon, I’ll forget that I stood before you and gave this speech. But just because I’ll forget it some tomorrow doesn’t mean that I didn’t live every second of it today. I will forget today, but that doesn’t mean that today didn’t matter.”

.


Goodreads Synopsis
Still Alice is a compelling debut novel about a 50-year-old woman’s sudden descent into early onset Alzheimer’s disease, written by first-time author Lisa Genova, who holds a Ph. D in neuroscience from Harvard University.

.

Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what’s it’s like to literally lose your mind…

.

My Personal Thoughts

Still Alice is a story of a woman at the peak of her career who is diagnosed with an early onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.

I love that this story showed people an overview of how a person with dementia slowly starts to deteriorate and lose everything except the love and support of their families and support group.

Alice is a famous Harvard professor who is smart and successful. She is living a comfortable life with her equally smart husband and children. She has a beautiful family and she could not ask for more until her condition is diagnosed.

The writing style is exceptional. It is full of so many emotions and I felt connected to the main character. I understood her battles, feelings, and frustrations. I have been working in the aged care industry for almost 4 years now. It is not a walk in the park to look after people with Alzheimer’s disease. I underwent trainings and seminars in order to care for them and help them have the quality of life that they deserve. It is sad to see them totally lose it at times and at the same time happy when they remember things. It is absolutely hard for the families to see their loved ones at this stage.

I like Alice’s strong personality and how she dealt and fought this disease until the last chapters. She is very inspiring and so many lessons will be taken from this masterpiece. I am planning to watch the movie starting Julianne Moore which I know will sensational.

I borrowed the Audiobook from BorrowBox using my local library membership. It is a must try because there are so many audiobooks and ebooks to choose from and it is so easy to use and navigate.
.
Liked:
Inspiring
Woman empowerment
Provides in depth knowledge about Dementia
.
Disliked:
None
.
World Building: 4⭐️
Character Building: 5⭐️
Writing Style: 4⭐️
Message: 5⭐️
Overall: 4⭐️
.
Overall, it is highly recommended for people who are looking for inspiring contemporary stories about career, family life, and love.
.
Xoxo,
JaNnA🍂

Book Review #130: So This is Love (Twisted Tale) by Elizabeth Lim (Review Copy from Scholastic Australia)

“Even the small joys are worth cherishing, and they will lead you to greater ones.”
.
Goodreads Synopsis
.
What if Cinderella never tried on the glass slipper? Unable to prove that she’s the missing princess, and unable to bear life under Lady Tremaine any longer, Cinderella attempts a fresh start, looking for work at the palace as a seamstress. But when the Grand Duke appoints her to serve under the king’s visiting sister, Cinderella becomes witness to a grand conspiracy to take the king-and the prince-out of power, as well as a longstanding prejudice against fairies, including Cinderella’s own Fairy Godmother. Faced with questions of love and loyalty to the kingdom, Cinderella must find a way to stop the villains of past and present . . . before it’s too late.
.
My Personal Thoughts
.
So This is Love is the Twisted Tale edition of the Classic Fairy Tale, Cinderella. It is also one of the childhood stories that I grew up with. I will never ever get tired of reading and watching this story even if with twisted and refined versions. I enjoyed this book a lot! This is great because I have recently rated the last Twisted Tales that I have read with either 2 or 3 stars. This is definitely raining 5 precious stars.
.
The book discussed about the beauty and power of first love, women empowerment, and standing up for one’s self. I used to hate the idea of Cinderella being mistreated by her stepmother and two stepsisters and she was so helpless. It was just not right in every angle. And with the classic story, she just let them do those horrendous things because she got nowhere else to go. This time the author did a magnificent job of Cinderella breaking all the rules and norms and running away from those toxic people for good. I am so proud of her. She should not be that helpless in the first place.
.
Again, not needing a prince charming to save the day is very much appreciated.
.
Liked:
Engaging
Fierce female character
Grounded plot
.
Disliked:
So many dance balls
Too good to be true KING
.
World Building: 4⭐️
Character Building: 5⭐️
Message: 5⭐️
Plot: 5⭐️
Overall: 5⭐️
.
Overall, it is highly recommended because it embodied women empowerment and self love. A good message to spread especially to little girls.
.
Xoxo,
Janna🍂

Book Review #129: A Whole New World (Disney Twisted Tale Collection) by Liz Braswell (Review Copy from Scholastic Australia)

“She was the royal princess. She had to start acting like one. She had to stop talking about being trapped, about being handed over from one man to another. She had to start acting. She had to start being the hero.”

.


Goodreads Synopsis


What if Jafar was the first one to summon the Genie?

When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed Princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war.

What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

.

My Personal Thoughts


Aladdin and Jasmin are both parts of my childhood. I remember watching the movie with my mom in the cinemas back when I was a kid. Growing up, I enjoyed this story so much because it is full of magic given the carpet, lamp, and genie’s three wishes. It is one of the first books that introduced me to the concept of magic and the most exhausted trope of all time: people who fell in love even though they are from different worlds. Ok… I don’t despise this cliche’ but I’m not really a fan of it.

This story will teach children so many life lessons. One of them is that it is not always important if someone is rich and powerful when you do not have any affection for that person. Next thing will be about second chances in life; just because Aladdin is thief doesn’t mean he can’t change and be a better person.

I enjoyed reading this book but not enough to really be so into it. I gave it a three star rating because some parts are boring and did not really excite me. The villain’s (Jafar) defeat is somewhat vanilla and I am kind of disappointed. The secondary characters played equally important roles which is great and interesting. I am still 50/50 with Liz Braswell’s writing style because not all her twisted tale stories really impressed me but then there are also those that I did adore to bits and pieces (As Old as Time).

.


Liked:
Fast paced
Fast read
Somewhat Entertaining

.


Disliked:
Vanilla ending for the villain
Not too engaging

.


World Building: 2⭐️
Character Building: 3⭐️
Writing Style: 2⭐️
Message: 4⭐️
Overall: 3⭐️

.


Overall, it is recommended to readers of all ages but I don’t reckon young kids will like it much as there is already love interest involved with the main characters (Jasmin and Aladdin). FYI, my daughter and son will always be rolling their eyes with romantic scenes. Haha!

.


Xoxo,
Janna🍂

Book Review #128: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (Review Copy from Scholastic Australia)

“And try not to look down on people who had to choose between death and disgrace.”

.

Goodreads Synopsis

.

AMBITION WILL FUEL HIM.
COMPETITION WILL DRIVE HIM.
BUT POWER HAS ITS PRICE.
It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capital, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined — every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

.

My Personal Thoughts
.

The Hunger Games is my favourite young adult dystopian story because it started my love and interest for this genre. I still remember reading this trilogy 5 years ago and watching the movies multiple times since then. When I requested for a copy to read and review on my blog, I did not really expect anything aside from the fact that I need to delve into it because I am a certified THG fan. I have heard negative opinions even before it was released mainly because it is a prequel that will focus solely on President Snow’s story back from the 10th Hunger Games. And we all know that he is everyone’s most hated character.

It was surprisingly good and I enjoyed it so much. I finished it in two days because it is a real page turner. Everything made sense and fell into the right place. The history was discussed and answers are provided as to how the gift giving to victors started, what the jabber jays are, the Avox, Tigris, and even the song of rebellion. It is a well-written story but unfortunately it is not enough for me to rate it 5 stars. It is far behind the Hunger Games.

This book gave me the clarity that I was looking for and one of them is the reason behind Snow’s lack of remorse and being a goal oriented person. The ending was perfectly concluded although I was left with one question in the end. Anyway, I think that is the beauty of leaving one aspect hanging, for the reader to assume and make an ending of their own.

Writing style is amazing and the book is unputdownable. The world building is greatly done as well and all of Panem including some districts, and the Capitol were all groomed solidly. The character building is commendable because whilst Snow will be a tyrant in the future, he was not built that way from the first page up to the last couple of chapters in this story. One message that will linger is sometimes the people whom we love and care for will be the ones who will manipulate us and use us in the end. I absolutely adore this masterpiece!

.


World Building: 3⭐️
Character Building: 5⭐️
Message: 3⭐️
Plot: 3⭐️
Overall: 3⭐️


.


Liked:
I was able to dig deeper into Snow’s character
Fast-paced
Fast-read


.

Disliked:
A cliff hanging part
The lyrics of the songs part were boring for me
Not too action packed as I was expecting


.


Overall, it is a fun read and I feel accomplished knowing how it all started. Thank you, Scholastic Australia, for my review copy.


.


Xoxo,
Janna 🍂

Book Review #127: Straight on Till Morning by Liz Braswell (Review Copy from Scholastic Australia)

“When you’re young, you think the world will make room for who you are and what you want…. And then you find the world of adults is even more limiting than the world of children. With no room for adventure, much less your own thoughts.”

.

Goodreads Synopsis

What if Wendy first traveled to Neverland… with Captain Hook?

Sixteen-year-old Wendy Darling’s life is not what she imagined it would be. The doldrums of an empty house after her brothers have gone to school, the dull parties where everyone thinks she talks too much, and the fact that her parents have decided to send her away to Ireland as a governess-it all makes her wish things could be different.

Wendy’s only real escape is in writing down tales of Never Land. After nearly meeting her hero, Peter Pan, four years earlier, she still holds on to the childhood hope that his magical home truly exists. She also holds on to his shadow.

So when an opportunity to travel to Never Land via pirate ship presents itself, Wendy makes a deal with the devil. But Never Land isn’t quite the place she imagined it would be. Unexpected dangers and strange foes pop up at every turn, and a little pixie named Tinker Bell seems less than willing to help.

But when Captain Hook reveals some rather permanent and evil plans for Never Land, it’s up to the two of them to save Peter Pan-and his world.

.

My Personal Thoughts

Neverland is every child’s escape from reality. Growing up, I was not really a fan of Peter Pan or Wendy or even Tinkerbell. I watched the cartoons but I never had the chance to read the book. I was always the Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Alice in Wonderland kid and I never cared for any other stories but those of the famous Disney princesses.

It took me a while or rather should I say ages before I finally get what this book wanted me to understand. I have read the other Liz Braswell twisted tales collection before and only “As Old as Time” caught my attention and impressed me. Unfortunately, this story was not for me. I did not enjoy it (not even a bit) and I loathed Wendy so badly. She acted so gullible all throughout the story which irritated me. Please do not get me wrong. There are certain points discussed in this story that I really appreciated such as women empowerment, friendship, and standing up for one’s self.

I was happy with how Wendy answered back to Captain Hook when all the pirates thought of her as “MOTHER” who is supposed to do the laundry and such whilst she was with the company of the pirates. Wait what?! FYI, moms are not here just to clean up the mess and serve dinner or do the chores. Mothers are the everything. I am not saying this because I am a mom myself but because I am all for moms who are genuinely and unconditionally loving their children. Secondly, I am delighted with how the author explained that there are different types of children in the world: some are lucky to be loved, some are being abused, some are starving, and some are miserable. Each child is unique and should be appreciated so parenting is indeed a big deal and responsibility. Lastly, the ending is so amazing! Wendy fought for the rights of women and she was supported by her two brothers. That was gold! Although I was not a fan of the journey towards looking for Peter Pan.. like the story revolved solely around Wendy and Tink’s quest to find him. Just please give me a story with fierce female character who is not chasing some boy.

.

Liked:
Messages conveyed to readers

.

Disliked:
Gullible character
Sequence of events that are out of hand
Slow paced

.

World Building: 2⭐️
Character Building: 2⭐️
Message: 5⭐️
Plot: 2⭐️
Overall: 2⭐️

.

Overall, it was a rollercoaster ride full of fun events and it is recommended to readers who are avid fans of Peter Pan and the Neverland.

.

Xoxo,

JaNnA 🍂