Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne – REVIEW

9781909531192I read this book on my Kindle.

Publisher: David Fickling Books

Publication date: January 5th, 2006

Pages: 224 (hardcover)

Audiobook length: 4 hrs and 56 min

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Synopsis by the publisher:

Berlin, 1942: When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different from his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

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John Boyne

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The Review

“A profound and heartbreaking view on the Second World War from innocent and naive eyes.”

***

The Writing

This story is written from the perspective of a nine year old boy and Boyne did that really well. The voice was very innocent and convincing. The way he explained the surroundings and happenings throughout the book was very well written and made it easy to mentally paint a picture of it all.

The Characters

I really enjoyed Bruno as a character and the innocence of his voice. The way he sees what’s going on around him without understanding that there’s actually a war going on.

I also really enjoyed seeing the other family members through Bruno’s eyes, and especially his frustration with the older sister.

There are some other characters that really show the faces of both side of the war, but I wont say anything more about them, so that I don’t spoil the plot.

The Plot

I flew through this book, not because the pace was so fast but because the story was very captivating and interesting.

Even thought there were no very surprising plot twists it did had a nice build up, was very emotional and had a satisfiable ending.

Additional Thoughts

I’m a sucker for historical fiction (and non-fiction), and especially the ones that revolve around World War II. I remember reading The Diary of Anne Frank as a little girl and it was one of those stories that grabbed such a strong hold on me that I’m still under its grip. It sparked my interest for reading and for knowing more about the war.

I think this book could definitely inspire other young readers to do the same.

A profound and heartbreaking view on the Second World War from innocent and naive eyes.

five-stars

Want your own copy? Click on the Amazon or BookDepository logo below.

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My New Favorite Movie

I don’t often talk about movies on this blog, when I’ve happened to watch the same movie about 10-15 times in about a month then I think it’s worth being mentioned.

I very randomly discovered this movie on Viaplay a couple of months ago. The first time I watched it I didn’t really expect to be hit with all the feels, but laughter and tears came and a new favorite was born.

This is a movie that is so quirky, heartwarming and different. I just fell utterly in love with it and we haven’t broken up yet.

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Let’s jump into the trailer for What If (The F Word):

I guess one of the things that made me randomly choose this movie to watch (never having heard of it beforehand) was Daniel Radcliffe. I hadn’t seen him in any other movies than Harry Potter and I was very curious to see what kind of actor he was when the lightning scar was out of the picture. And I thought he did it brilliantly in this! The cast is amazing, the story spot on and dialogue between the characters are just brilliant!!

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It really does have an honest touch on the subject of the possibilities of platonic relationships in a very funny and unique way.

It’s just such an amazing story that grabbed a hold of me from the start and it’s hard to really explain what it is that makes me fangirl all over it, but I have no regrets.

Let me know if you have any thoughts around this movie, I’d love to hear and discuss it!

So now I’m leaving you guys to (yet again) press play on tape and I’ll talk to you later!

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Snippets of August 2015 – Document Your Life

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You are not the most important person in the world!

I strongly believe that everyone is unique in their own way and can never be replaced. You are important to the ones that loves you!

Now that I’ve gotten that out the way I’m going to have a late night rant about rude people.

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I was waiting in line at a café today when a customer came up to the desk where a lovely girl with a big smile welcomed him as a returning costumer. He asked about a certain beverage and she apologised and told him that they still hadn’t gotten it in. It was a juice box of some sorts. This man then flew into a rage about how this should have been fixed a long time ago, that this was the worst customer service he’d ever gotten and that he was getting really angry (thank you, captain obvious!). The girl behind the desk apologised yet again (in the most professional way) and this man didn’t even take the time to hear her words. He stormed (or rather stomped) off in rage. This brought me back to when I worked as a barista some years ago (and to any other job I’ve had. They all revolve around customer service) and I remember specific episodes where I was yelled at, called stupid and where I felt scared. All of these customers were the kind that got angry because something didn’t turn out exactly like they pictured it.

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If you’ve ever had a similar job, you know the type. Let’s just call them “The Impossible Customer”. The ones that are never happy. They never get what they want, when they want it. They find any kind of stupid little detail (of no importance at all) that they can complain about. And they lash out at you if there’s something they don’t understand themselves.

The Impossible Customer will say the most ridiculous thing to break you down so that they seem superior and smarter. I’ve heard them tell me thing’s that were just plain wrong, tell out right lies and even called me the most awful names.

As someone who values good customer service, it is important for me to provide it as well. But there’s something that needs to be said. You shouldn’t have to take undeserving crap from The Impossible Customer.

They can be unhappy as much as they like, but that doesn’t justify bullying. Yes, bullying. Because there aren’t just teens and kids that are bullies, some grownups are just as bad and even worse. And it is unacceptable!!

If you see someone being bullied by a customer, speak up! If you aren’t able to do so, give the bullied person some supportive words when it’s your turn to speak to him or her.

The Impossible Customer might be rich and all that, but they are also the ones who will spread venom around them. They will intoxicate the environment they’re in unless they change their attitude.

There will always be Impossible Customers out there. Their problems are within themselves so don’t be discouraged by their hateful words and negative criticism. Do your job as good as you can and constantly aspire to be even better. And if that isn’t good enough for The Impossible Customer, then you’ve done all that you could have.

Have pride in your work and don’t let The Impossible Customer get you down! Take a deep breath, close your eyes and remember those happy and grateful customers. The ones that always comes back to you because they want to! Those are The Important Customers. Those are the ones that counts!

The Impossible Customer might believe that they’re the most important person in the world, but we all know that it’s not even close to the truth. And maybe that’s why they’re so angry, because they know it too.

 

 

 

 

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He Talked About the War

‘Could you please call the police for me?’

That’s how the conversation between an old man named Rolf and me started this morning as I was at the end of my morning walk with Mork (the dog). I asked him why he wanted me to call the police, but his answer was vague. He kept on walking slowly with his crutches two the nearest door at the apartment complex we were standing next to. A few meters behind him was his wife, or ex-wife, what the correct term is I still do not know as they both had two different stories. She also asked me politely if I could call the police.

‘He is my husband and suffers from dementia. He thinks that everyone is trying to hurt him so he just started walking and doesn’t want to talk to me or to come home.’

I could see the pain and confusion in her eyes and they matched his in a way that made me want to cry.

I called the police while this woman tried to make Rolf stop pushing random doorbells, and Rolf was irritated because he just wanted to get in contact with some politicians wife. After a short conversation with the police I handed the phone over to her and she filled in all the gaps. At the end of the conversation they asked her how they could get in contact with her and she hesitated. She had a home number, but not her cellphone with her.

‘Tell them to contact this number. I will wait with him.’

The words came out of me as the most natural ones there were and I was instantly a little nervous. I’ve never dealt with dementia like this and not someone who is somewhat aggressive as well, but someone had to help them both and even though it was a bit scary, I really wanted to.

She thanked me and told me she was going to go home and wait for more information or for Rolf to come home. They lived just about a hundred meters from where I met them, but with those bad legs of his it must have taken some real determination to get as far as he had. Determination and fear.

The woman left and I was suddenly alone with a very lost man.

‘Do you want me to help you down the stairs? We can sit down on that bench and wait for help if you’d like?’

His expression was blank and I had to ask him the same question three times before he agreed and came with me. We sat down on the nearest bench and I was grateful for the warm weather and clear skies.

I asked him how he was feeling and the answer I got was one I never would have guessed.

‘They’re trying to kill me. She tried to poison my drink yesterday and today someone came to her home to give me an injection but I prevented it. I broke the syringe!’

I’d heard about dementia and paranoia going hand in hand for many but to see it for myself like that was very disturbing and my heart ached for Rolf.

‘I have diabetes you know, but what they tried to give me wasn’t insulin. It was poison! I have a lot of money you see, and they’re trying to get their hands on it.’

We talked about the events but I could sense that he was getting steadily more scared and frustrated so I decided to change the subject.  That’s when he told me about the war.

‘I used to cut men’s hair for a living. And I remember when the nazi’s came. Oslo wasn’t too bad in the beginning, but it got scary after a while. They occupied the schools so their soldiers had somewhere to most of the kids had to be homeschooled.’

His face changed when he talked about the past and especially the war. A clarity in all the memories even if they weren’t all good memories.

We waited together and talked about his life. From time to time his paranoia came back to him and he needed to convince me that he wasn’t crazy, “because that’s what everyone thinks.”

The police sent an ambulance and they arrived after about twenty minutes or so. Twenty minutes where I got to know a young man that cut hair in an Oslo occupied by Germans. An old man who believes with all his heart that all the people he used to trust are now trying to murder him. I got to know Rolf.

Three men came in the ambulance and talked calmly with him before he climbed into the car and was taken away to an emergency home to get the care he needed.

On my way home I met his wife/ex-wife again and I told her everything that had happened as I walked her home.

‘I can’t live like this.’ she told me with tears in her eyes.

‘No. It’s not doing any of you any good. He needs help and you need to feel safe, even if it’s hard to let go.’

She smiled at me and thanked me again for all of my help. I told her to contact me if she ever needed anything and then we went our separate ways.

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The hours of my day came and went for me as it did for everyone else, and my thoughts went to Rolf quite often. I went for a walk to the store and stopped by this bench, the one where I got to know him just a little and I stood there filled with thoughts.

I thought about how unfair it is that our own minds can trick us like that. I thought about lost love and forgotten friendships. About the people that lose loved ones not to death, but two diseases that takes away memories and common thoughts.

I stood there and felt grateful for everything and everyone I have in my life. I was grateful for getting to know and help Rolf and his wife. For his stories and for his trust in me as a complete stranger.

I sent him my wishes for wellbeing with the wind and promised to appreciate all of my memories, the good and the bad.

It was an unusual morning, spent with a man and he talked about the war. I hope I’ll never forget it.

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BookBuddyAthon TBR

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August 2015 Book Haul + Meet Our Puppy

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A Whole New World by Liz Braswell – REVIEW

9781484707296This book was sent to me by Disney Press via NetGalley to read and review. Thank you Disney Press and NetGalley!

I read this one on my Kindle.

Publisher: Disney Press

Publication date: September 1st, 2015

Pages: 384 (hardback)

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Synopsis by the publisher: 

Welcome to a new YA series that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways. Each book asks the question: What if one key moment from a familiar Disney film was changed?

This dark and daring version of Aladdin twists the original story with the question: 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.

Liz Braswell

Liz Braswell

The Review

“Childhood memories combined with unexpected twists. A whole new look on a story we all know so well.”

***

The Writing

Braswell did a good job when writing about this familiar story and brought me back to my childhood when I used to watch Aladdin over and over again. The way she writes about Agrabah makes it easy for the reader to imagine the city.

The events in the book that are similar to the Disney Classic were written well and stayed true to the story and even added some more depth to it.

The Characters

My favorite character in this novel was definitely Jasmine. She was such a strong female character, and even more so than what I remembered her as in the movie. She had the most amazing character development throughout this story.

I really enjoyed getting to know Aladdin on a deeper level and seeing more of his past that we didn’t get a chance to in the movie. There was so much more to him worth knowing.

Jafar, oh Jafar! I remember when my sister took me to see Aladdin at the Cinema when it first came out and I cried because Jafar was so scary. Well I’m glad that he wasn’t as brutal in the movie as he is in this novel. Then I probably would have had a whole lot of nightmares. Braswell did a good job with making him into a gruesome villain that was interesting to read about.

We were also introduced to whole bunch of new characters that I really enjoyed reading about.

The one character that I missed throughout this was Iago. He was such an important character in the movie, but not in the book. I would have loved it if he appeared more throughout the story.

The Plot

When I read through a lot of the reviews of this novel I saw that many complained about the first 70 or so pages because they were pretty much identical to the movie. I on the other hand really liked that. It was a nice way to refresh my memory and to build up to where it all takes a turn to a whole new story.

When the twist of Jafar getting the lamp instead of Aladdin came the pace really picked up and become a very intense and interesting story.

I really enjoyed the story and how it progressed, and the ending was very satisfactory.

Additional Thoughts

I went into this a bit sceptical as one often does when it is a retelling of a story that you already love, but this one was does so well that I was more than pleasantly surprised.

Childhood memories combined with unexpected twists. A whole new look on a story we all know so well.

And the cover is stunning!

4star

Click on the Amazon or BookDepository logo to go the product page of A Whole New World!

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Another Day by David Levithan – REVIEW

9780385756204Another Day was sent to me by Random House via NetGalley to read and give an honest review. Thank you guys!

I read this on my Kindle.

Another Day is the companion novel to Every Day. CLICK HERE to read my review of the first book.

Published: August 25th, 2015 (July 30th, 2015 in the UK)

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books For Young Readers

Pages: 336 (hardback)

Audiobook length: 9 hrs and 27 min

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Synopsis by the publisher:

In this enthralling companion to his New York Times bestseller Every Day, David Levithan (co-author  of Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green) tells Rhiannon’s side of the story as she seeks to discover the truth about love and how it can change you.

Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all.

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David Levithan

The Review

“It was nice to get to know Rhiannon as a character more, but this novel didn’t add as much to the story as I was hoping for.”

***

The Writing 

I did enjoy Levithan’s writing very much in Another Day, but not as much as Every Day. That might be that I liked A’s voice more than Rhiannon.

He has ways of explaining feelings and situations that makes it so easy to connect with them and feel like you’re actually a part of it all.

I also really enjoyed the dialogues.

The Characters

It was interesting to get to know Rhiannon more in-depth than in the last book and we also got to see A and all of his faces from a different perspective which I enjoyed.

We were also introduced to some of Rhiannon’s friends as well and her family.

Justin as a character irritated me with his mood swings and very often lack of sympathy. But there was also another side to Justin that showed a more emotional depth to his character that we didn’t see in Every Day, and that was something I really appreciated.

The Plot

The thing about reading a companion novel that tells the same story as the first novel, but from a different perspective is that it doesn’t have the same grab effect on me. I didn’t feel as invested in the story and lost my concentration at times mostly because I knew where the story was going.

There were few surprises when it came to the plot line but I really did enjoy following Rhiannon through the same timeline as I followed A a little while back.

Additional Thoughts

Can you read Another Day as a stand alone? Yes, I think you could without a problem, but I also think that you wouldn’t fall for A and Rhiannon’s relationship as hard as I did when I read it from A’s perspective.

It was nice to get to know Rhiannon as a character more, but this novel didn’t add as much to the story as I was hoping for.

That being said I really do hope that Levithan writes another novel about A and Rhiannon where we find out what happens after the ending of these two. There’s a story there that I’m hoping will be told soon.

3-stars-out-of-5

Do you want your own copy of Another Day? Click on the Amazon or BookDepository logo below:

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Fairest of All by Serena Valentino – REVIEW

9781423106296I read a hardback of this book that I bought in Disneyland California.

Published: August 18th, 2009

Publisher: Disney Press

Pages: 250 (hardback)

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Synopsis by the publisher:

For anyone who’s seen Walt Disney’s Snow White, you’ll know that the Wicked Queen is one evil woman! After all, it’s not everyone who wants to cut out their teenage step-daughter’s heart and have it delivered back in a locked keepsake box. (And even if this sort of thing is a common urge, we don’t know many people who have acted upon it.)

Now, for the first time, we’ll examine the life of the Wicked Queen and find out just what it is that makes her so nasty. Here’s a hint: the creepy-looking man in the magic mirror is not just some random spooky visage-and he just “might” have something to do with the Queen’s wicked ways!

Serena Valentino

Serena Valentino

***

The Writing

Fairest of All had the real feel of a classic fairy tale. It was written beautifully in a way that resembles what I remember enjoying very much as a child and it brought me back to that.

The story flowed so beautiful and was a joy to read.

The Characters

I love backstories to well known tales, and especially the ones that focuses around villains. They usually have very interesting stories to tell. They are rarely born evil and in this case there was so much to The Queen and I loved her as a character even when she turned to her wicked ways.

To see Snow White from a different perspective as well was very interesting and enjoyable. I loved her as much as a character in this story as I did watching the movies as a little girl.

The Plot

Fairest of All had a very interesting plot line that I loved from beginning till end. Her story and her life was such an amazing story deserving of its own story to be told.

I flew through this book as it was very eventful and exciting even though I kind of knew how the story goes.

Additional Thoughts

If you love classic fairy tales than this is definitely a story I think you will enjoy.

The perfect fairytale feel and a very interesting story that shows how easily the good can turn to evil.

And the cover is gorgeous!

five-stars

Do you want your own copy of Fairest of All? Click on the Amazon or BookDepository logo below:

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