And I Darken by Kiersten White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book has left me speechless. I have so many questions and so many feelings I don’t even know how to put them into words.
Lada is a vicious girl who is abandoned in the Ottoman courts by her father along with her brother, Radu. Lada and Radu soon make friends with Mehmad, the son of the Sultan who holds them captive. However the Ottoman courts are a brutal place and their happy friendship is soon threatened by outside forces.
I really loved Lada’s character. She is strong but almost blood-thirsty at times which makes her both terrifying and amusing. I especially enjoyed her unwavering dedication to her brother. Radu was an annoying character and I hated his childhood (he was pitifully weak). However Radu’s character development was amazing. I fell in love with him just as the characters in book did. My favourite part about these characters was that as they grew up and changed, so did my feelings for them. I pitied them, I hurt for him, I rejoiced with him. This is an incredibly long novel and by the end of it, it’s impossible not to feel as if you’re parting with a long-time friend.
At first I found it difficult to keep track of all of the cities and places that Lada and her family visited (It was only afterward that I discovered a glossary at the end of the book). However as time passed I became familiar with the places and their scenery which delighted me. I really feel like I was a part of this book. The story is just that well-written and immersive. I grew really attached to this book and it’s characters and can’t wait to read the next one.
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It seems like everyone and their mother has an opinion on what I should do once I graduate. So far, none of those opinions have included or required any of my input. And all this unsolicited advice seems to go along the same route- basically everyone wants me to go do postgraduate studies.
Which would be great if a) it was something I wanted to do or even if b) People would suggest postgraduate studies instead of simply telling me “you should go do Honours”.
I’ve always known that I wanted to be a journalist which is why I chose to major in Journalism. People just seem to ignore that and it is seriously pissing me off. Which brings me to my next issue with postgraduate studies. If I was to study further, I would prefer to do my Honours in English Studies. I would also prefer to study all the way until PhD so that I can lecture in a university-level English classroom. However that is more of a back-up plan than a goal. Like I’ve said so many times since I was twelve, journalism is the career I want. And like people have done so many times since I was twelve, my decision is being ignored.
My question is this, when did society decide what we can and cannot do? I am sick and tired of being considered odd simply because I don’t follow the stereotypes of what society expects us to do. I’ve seen friends complain about how people expect them to marry and have kids. Like postgraduate studies, starting a family is a great idea if it’s what you want. I remember being totally shocked when an old friend got married at the age of twenty. However my shock quickly melted away when I remembered that she always had been the mother of our friend group. Marriage would certainly suit her. However when other people found out (okay I couldn’t resist bragging that I had grown up with someone who was now getting married), I remember someone asking me if she was pregnant.
Last I checked, everyone had a life of their own. Why don’t we all focus on living our own lives instead of dictating how people live theirs? Some people want to get married, some people want to study, some people want to go start their own business. Unless their plans somehow seriously harm you, I really don’t see what the big deal is.
If we all followed the same life path, we would essentially be copies of each other and what would be the fun in that? People need to step back and allow others to do what makes them happy instead of what they think society would have wanted them to do.
It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’ve yet to read a Colleen Hoover novel that doesn’t leave an impact and this one is no different. In fact I was having a pretty great time with this book and was sucked in until I realised “Wait! This is a Colleen Hoover book. Something has to go wrong and it’s going to hurt when it does.”So I read. And I read. And then the bad thing happened and I cried. I cried because it was nothing that I had expected. Nothing on the internet, the book’s synopsis or even Colleen Hoover’s social media alerted at precisely what the conflict in this book would be. Believe me, the conflict is MAJOR! I understand the importance of not revealing spoilers so I’ll try my best not to (it’s so damn hard not to!). I will however say that this is a book that every woman needs to read. The significance of the words “It Ends With Us” is beautiful.Lily and Ryle have an instant connection when they meet. Despite Ryle’s aversion to relationships the two of them are blissfully happy. Then they’re not. Lily’s first love returns to town and her relationship with Ryle is threatened. Except Lily’s ex isn’t the only risk to both her relationship and happiness.I couldn’t put this book down (except for when Colleen Hoover’s words moved me and then I needed to share them on social media). I cried throughout the last few chapters but I enjoyed them nonetheless. Lastly (and this might be considered a SPOILER SO PROCEED WITH CAUTION), I especially loved that I was able to fall for the villain in this novel. He was flawed but he was an amazing person. I loved that I was able to hate him and love him at the same time. I pitied him but I desperately wanted him gone. I’ve never felt such complex emotions for a fictional character before. I’ve always enjoyed Colleen Hoover’s work but this is a work of art.
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My Name is Simon: A Rainfall Short Story by Melissa Delport
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was so eager to read this book that I bought it as soon as I saw it without even bothering to look at the price.
I am a huge fan of Melissa Delport’s writing but “Rainfall” had me sobbing like a baby so I never reviewed it.
Reading “My Name is Simon” however is such a comfort after “Rainfall”.
This isn’t a full novel but Simon’s character and his motivations are shown so well. As much as I hated him it was impossible not to feel for this guy who has had most of his life ripped from him.
I desperately wanted to hate this book (to match my initial hatred of Simon) but I couldn’t.
“My Name is Simon” is incredibly well-written and the book finishes beautifully.
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There’s always been much for me to worry about as a second-semester senior even without actually being a second-semester senior.
I’m supposed to update my resume, start the job search, make a final decision on whether or not I’m pursuing postgraduate studies (and if so, in which of my two majors would I continue studying?). However the day before my 21st birthday, the driver of my liftclub altered my second-semester to-do list. He announced to us that he would be getting a new job and we needed to find new transport.
Most liftclubs take new members at the beginning of the year so I knew that finding a new liftclub would be difficult. Another thing that worried me was that in my first liftclub, the people delighted in making me miserable. I would even go as far as to say that they were bullies. The end result of their horrid ways was that I left the liftclub as well as my “friends” from high school (Life Lesson: It’s important to know the difference between “friends” and Friends. Sometimes it may take an unpleasant experience to learn the difference but you’ll be better off in the end).
After much searching I did find a liftclub. And boy was it majorly different from both my first liftclub and the second. The people were so friendly I couldn’t help but be suspicious. (So much so that I eventually broke down one day in tears because I had no idea how to respond to them and worried that they would think I was being rude). This liftclub was also huge- with about thirty people. I also no longer needed to wake up at 5AM and was home immediately after my class.
However everything has a downside and for my liftclub the downside is the van. On the first day of campus I opened the van door, only for it to close on me.
On day two, there was a different van with a faulty door that didn’t open unless you put in alot of strength.
I don’t have alot of strength.
As far as downsides go, these aren’t so bad. It sucks that I’m still so terrified of the people in my new liftclub turning out to be as horrible as the ones in my old liftclub. Especially since these people have been nothing but pleasant to me. However try as I might, I really can’t let go of the past.