Saturday, 20 February 2016

January Wrap-Up

Since I'm perpetually late at posting things, how about an extremely late January wrap-up in the middle of February?

The month of January was a pretty average month of reading for me. I read a total of 5 books, two of them being for school. Here's what I read:

1. Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Rating★★★☆☆ 3 stars
“Words are finite organs of the infinite mind.”
Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson is a short essay, which I had to read for English class during our focus on transcendentalism. Emerson talks about our society's connection to nature and further discusses how nature can mimic human emotion. All in all I thought this essay was beneficial to those who truly admire nature and all of it's uncertainties.

2. Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3 stars
“There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.”
Another essay I read from Emerson was Self-Reliance. In this Emerson divulges into a key transcendentalist property which is non-conformity. He urges each man to break from the bonds of society and choose their own path before them.. I fairly enjoyed this essay, though maybe a little less than I did for Nature.

3. The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Rating: ★★☆☆ 2 stars
“If there's a single lesson that life teaches us, it's that wishing doesn't make it so.”
This is probably the most disappointing book I'll read all year, which is saying a lot since the year just started. I went into The Magicians quite excited, for I had my eye on this book for quite some time now and with the TV showing coming out made me all the more to pick it up. It tells the story of Quentin who soon finds himself attending a magical college in upstate New York. I know many people dubbed this as the 'adult' Harry Potter, but since I haven't read that I can't make a comparison. I did like this book in the beginning, but as you read on it just gets even more weird and outlandish up to the point where I just decided to skim the last 90 pages or so because I was so done with this book. If you want to know more of why I really didn't like this book I have a mini review on my Instagram here.

The only redeeming thing is this gorgeous cover.

4. Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ 4.5 stars
"He watched her, listened to her, and knew she was truly asleep. He kissed her forehead and found the act pleasing for its own sake."

“Whether it was true or not, it eased his heart to think there was something beyond the physical plane, something that felt benevolent toward humans, because the gods knew there wasn’t much on the physical plane that felt benevolent toward them.”
The only book I read this month that I absolutely loved!! Written in Red is about Meg Corbyn, a blood prophet, meaning that when she cuts her skin she can see prophecies, is on the run from her compound and ends up living among the terre indigene, an otherworldly species, Others, which consists of shapeshifters, vampires, elemental deities and plenty more. There's always been animosity between the Others and humans, but overtime you begin to them take a liking to Meg and maybe even change their stereotype on all humans. This my first dive into adult urban fantasy, and I am so glad to have finally picked up this book. There isn't much, or any romance at all in this first novel and the plot is pretty slow building, but what makes this book one of my favorites are the well developed characters. I have a full review here for more of my thoughts.

I read this in e-book form!! :)

5. Manhattan Mayhem edited by Mary Higgins Clark

Rating: ★★★☆ ½ 3.5 stars
"Well, Detective, have you ever heard of money? It's thin and green and you need it to pay for things." 
Manhattan Mayhem is anthology of various crime/mystery stories that center around various locations in Manhattan, over different time periods and characters. Could you imagine my elation when I heard about this book? For I love books that take place in Manhattan and I always love a good mystery story. This book is filled throughout with beautiful NYC black and white photography which gives it even more of an allure. But whenever I read an anthology there's always stories that I love and some I just find to be alright. Since there is so many authors in this anthology, many of the stories are short and at times it felt like they just cut off, but there are also some that really hook you in a matter of pages and neatly resolves itself by the end. Full review here.

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