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adelacacovean

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Octopussy

Octopussy - Cristina Boncea http://vanillamoonbooks.blogspot.ro/2015/03/recenzie-octopussy-de-cristina-boncea.html

Cred că asta e una din cele mai greu de scris recenzii din ultima vreme, asta pentru că a trecut şi foarte mult timp de la ultima pe care am scris-o în limba română. Cristina Boncea este o colegă bloggeriţă şi booktuberiţă, iar curiozitatea şi dorinţa de a o ajuta să îşi promoveze romanul de debut, dar şi de a înţelege care sunt punctele ei slabe pentru a se îmbunătăţi pe viitor, m-au făcut să accept o copie în schimbul unei recenzii. De asemenea, am căzut de comun acord cu cei patru mei prieteni minunaţi - Diana, Irina, Adrian şi Simona să citim împreună cu voi această carte şi să o discutăm în cadrul Cartepidemiei.

Chiar înainte să încep să citesc romanul Octopussy, au apărut pe internet simultan mai multe opinii, majoritatea într-o extremă sau alta - fie ridicând în slăvi genialitatea operei, fie condamnând autoarea pentru scenele pornografice şi limbajul vulgar, recenziile lor dându-mi impresia că se face o confuzie mare între narator şi autor, aducându-se în discuţie vârsta autoarei şi aşa mai departe.



Mie, uneia, romanul mi se pare un început promiţător, mi-aş fi dorit să îl pot cota cu mai multe flori de vanilie, însă experienţa atât în tentativele de a termina un roman, cât şi ca pasionată cititoare, m-a făcut să văd mult prea clar lacunele acestei cărţi.

Povestea, în sine, porneşte de la o premiză extrem de interesantă, marea greşeală fiind lipsa unui indiciu evident că romanul vrea mai mult decât să şocheze. Un atu ar fi faptul că se citeşte extrem de repede, este foarte captivant tot ceea ce se întâmplă în viaţa gemenelor şi cunoscând din alte recenzii că subiectul se va dovedi a fi o boală mintală, am aşteptat cu nerăbdare să văd mai concret despre ce este vorba.

Nu am putut să nu observ o lipsă a consecvenţei în personalitatea personajelor - lucru care mai apoi s-ar putea explica, pe baza a ceea ce ni se revelează în capitolele finale. Cu toate acestea, anumite lucruri mi s-au părut a fi scăpări. La pagina 38, Hyena îl descrie pe unchiul Phil ca ieşit din comun faţă de fratele lui, "scos parcă dintr-un film clasic", ca la pagina 40 să se afirme că pentru ea, el arăta "mai mult sau mai puţin ca un homeless oarecare". De asemenea, nu am reuşit să simt nimic faţă de niciunul dintre personaje, poate şi pentru că sunt o familie atât de disfuncţională încât mi-au dat senzaţia de irealitate.

Romanul are nevoie de o editare mai serioasă, aşa cum s-a menţionat şi în alte recenzii. Există atât greşeli de tastare, cât şi dezacorduri, mai des decât mi se pare normal pentru un roman tipărit la o editură. Aici poate nu e vina autoarei, ci a persoanei care s-a ocupat de corectură. Există porţiuni ale cărţii unde am găsit câte o greşeală la fiecare pagină, sau la 2-3 pagini.

Cristina a recunoscut într-un articol pe blogul ei că a scris iniţial cu gândul să aşterne cele mai şocante scene la care se putea gândi, lucru care mi-a fost evident şi în timp ce citeam. Romanul, totuşi, nu se rezumă la atât, încercând să aducă în discuţie şi anumite aspecte psihologice referitor la boala mintală de care sufera întreaga familie.

Vocea autoarei este plăcută, un stil care pe mine nu mă deranjează, dar despre care ştiu că unora nu le este deloc pe plac, şi anume cel al propoziţiilor scurte, uneori fără predicat, stil întâlnit spre exemplu şi în Mincinoşii de E. Lockhart. De asemenea, se foloseşte romgleza, combinaţia de cuvinte şi expresii româneşti şi englezeşti. Din nou, mi se pare o alegere potrivita, având în vedere faptul că majoritatea adolescenţilor şi tinerilor folosesc acest gen de limbaj, unii mai pronunţat decât alţii.

Ce mi-aş fi dorit cel mai mult ar fi fost ca autoarea să lase mai mult romanul la "dospit". La numai 17 ani, mi se pare extraordinar ceea ce a reuşit, dar cred că ideea ei merita mai multă documentaţie, pentru ca să se poată pune accentul şi pe partea psihologică.

Octopussy a fost o lectură rapidă, uşoară, plăcută în ciuda tuturor problemelor pe care le-am detaliat. Autoarea vine cu ceva nou şi speranţa mea e ca ea să revină asupra acestei cărţi şi să o aducă la versiunea cea mai bună posibilă, pentru că îmi dau seama ce potenţial are povestea dacă ea este exploatată mai bine.

Cartea merită citită, ca de altfel majoritatea romanelor contemporane româneşti. Cred că ar trebui să susţinem tinerele voci ale literaturii noastre şi să încercăm să le îndrumăm spre a deveni cât mai buni reprezentanţi ai genurilor în care şi-au propus să scrie.

Outcast, Vol. 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him

Outcast, Vol. 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him - Elizabeth Breitweiser, Paul Azaceta, Robert Kirkman Having recently read the fist volume of The Walking Dead graphic novel, I was excited to get my hands on a digital advance reader's copy of Outcast Volume 1 by the same creator - Robert Kirkman.



While the illustrations are obviously well done and the color scheme was perfectly chosen to give the reader that eerie feeling, the book was nothing out of the ordinary.

The story certainly seems promising but not much happens in these first six comic book issues. Could it perhaps be too complex and an entire volume was needed to introduce you to what is happening? While the reason of the strange phenomenon occuring in both comic books by Kirkman is not explained in either, I felt it was neccesary for this story.

Kyle Barnes is surrounded by people who get possesed by demons and he seems to have the power to cast some of them out. They call him an "Outcast" and fear his touch, who seems to make them suffer physical pain.



His mother was possesed - she is now in a hospital because of Kyle's touch who cast the demon out - and other similar things happening where he is involved make the townsfolk fear and avoid him. The pastor is apparently his only friend, him also involved in trying to cast the demons out of people.



If the occasion should arise, I will definitely read the following issues, in hopes of getting answers. But it is clearly not a priority in my TBR.

In Search of Lost Dragons

In Search of Lost Dragons - Élian Black'mor, M Carine, Jezequel, Hannah Gorfinkel-Elder, Jason Ullmeyer This book reads as a journal filled with gorgeus illustrations of dragons, places where different breeds have been spotted in and so on.
While visually impressive, I was terribly, terribly bored with it and had to drop reading it. Maybe I would've enjoyed it more in physical format, not as en e-galley.
Recommended to those who are fascinated with dragons and don't necessarilly need a story and a plot to enjoy something like this. I just couldn't find its purpose. The 3 stars are for the design and everything, which really were flawless.

Mind the Gap, Volume 1: Intimate Strangers

Mind the Gap, Volume 1: Intimate Strangers - Rodin Esquejo (Artist),  Jim McCann,  Sonia Oback (Artist)

After reading this graphic novel, I was really surprised to see it was published a few years ago. NetGalley usually offers new books, mostly advance reader copies. While I definitely enjoyed it, I can't help being worried since the latest issue came out a year and a half ago and the story doesn't end there. Will it be continued? I want to find out what happens next, but I am not willing to risk reading the following volumes and end up with a cliffhanger that will never be solved if the comic book series doesn't continue.



Mind the Gap tells the story of a young, wealthy, beautiful woman - Elle - who is in a coma after someone whose identity we don't know tried to kill her. She "lives" in a place as a sort of ghost, being able to see what is happening in the hospital and can also visit other places. Elle can also see other comatose patients and has long conversations with them. She suffers from memory loss and it is not clear if the ghosts she is speaking to are real or they are just manifestations of her consciousness.



The story is very confusing, but the artwork is absolutely beautiful and it is very clear this first volume is meant to just introduce you to the story.



As I have mentioned before, I am very curious about what happened, but the story is progressing slowly and the first 16 issues came out in the years of 2012 and 2013, with only issue 17 released in 2014 - which introduces the second act of the story.

I am more than willing to dive into the story more but I just fear it won't be continued anymore by the author. Hopefully, NetGalley promoting this after 3 years from its original publication date is a sign the publishers want to test if readers are interested and also re-promote the series. *Fingers crossed*

Yes Please

Yes Please - Amy Poehler My rating stands somewhere at 3.5 stars, but as I listened to the audiobook, it was much more entertaining.
I didn't know much about Amy Poehlr when I started it, so I definitely didn't get upset about not finding more about certain aspects of her personal life or career. I was in for a good laugh, and I got it.
The beggining of the book was what I loved most, how Amy simply talks about things like childhood, the inner voice that tells you how imperfect you are, giving birth or several chapters later about her career and careers in general, motherhood, or drugs. I was surprised of how honest she was about her experiences, admitting her faults and mistakes she had made in the past.
The thing that bothered me was how it went on in certain parts with "I did this, and then that and they did this..." like the author couldn't wait to get to the next part.
I know I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much if I had read it myself, but as an audiobook, for the most part I felt as if I was drinking tea (or coffee) with Amy while she was telling me little moments of her life. It was funny and at the same time, inspirational.

Seeker

Seeker - Arwen Elys Dayton Review originally published on my blog: http://vanillamoonbooks.blogspot.ro/2015/01/review-seeker-seeker-1-by-arwen-elys.html

(e-book ARC received from NetGalley - this does not influence my review in any way)

Before I begin, let me just take a deep breath. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book.



Did I enjoy reading it? Definitely! It was different than what I usually pick up when it comes to the Fantasy genre. And I did expect that. The blurb, not revealing too much information, clearly suggested it (or I simply had a good instinct when I thought it would be an intriguing read and requested it from NetGalley.) However, there were some things about it that really frustrated me for all the right reasons.

Quin, John and Shinobu are training to be Seekers. They have been since they were kids, though John started later than he was supposed to because of reasons you'll find out later in the book. So, what are these Seekers you are talking about, you might ask. Well, you'll also discover this later in the book. Much, much later... towards the end. And it still isn't very clear.

The concept of the book is very interesting, however and I was very excited to learn more. The story is told in third person narrative, each chapter focusing on the perspective of a different character - Quin, John, Shinobu, Maud (or the Young Dread)... Which brings me to the most mysterious, intriguing characters - the Dreads. While at first it sounded weirded to me and I didn't get their purpose, it was a lot clearer with each action or explanation from the Maud chapters.

A little warning, there's a love triangle in there. Quin and John are supposedly a couple, but John turns out to be manipulative and abusive. Shinobu is a distant cousin of Quin's, though barely related to her since one of their relatives remarried and he was in love with her since the beggining. I personally didn't mind this particular love triangle because of how the author dealt with it. The only problem I had was with John actions - I hated him more and more with each chapter.

Seekers have their unique weapons - whipswords, which change their form at their will. There are also Disruptors, which are as scary as they sound, and are mostly used for this reason only: to induce fear. A hit from such a thing... destroys people; it doesn't kill - it's worse than that but I don't want to give you any spoilers. Each family also has its own athame (which I just now learned it is a Wiccan ritual tool) with a carving of an animal, and a lightning rod. They use it to get "There" - yes, another thing you will ache to know its meaning.

I like puzzles, I love being kept in the dark and introduced to bits of truths, and as much as I enjoyed being clueless when I started the book (heck, even when I passed half of it,) I wasn't pleased with the vague answers I was finally given. Imagine it like this: your friend tells you everyday how she is learning to make the best cake you could ever imagine from *insert-famous-chef's-name-here*. Okay? She tells you this thing over and over again, until you start drooling whenever you see her. Alright. So then she finally invites you over. She has made the cake. You see it for only a milisecond, and it's the most delicous deliciousness you have ever seen and you can practically taste it. You know it's gonna be good, you know there's a lot more to it. But you are just not allowed to take even the tiniest bite. Yet, I want it so bad. That's how I feel about this book. I am willing to risk it all and read the rest of the series, even if it turns out to be an average "cake". Are you? :)

Love Volume 1: The Tiger

Love Volume 1: The Tiger - Frederic Brremaud, Federico Bertolucci The times when I used to watch documentaries with animals together with my grandfather have long gone. I simply have other priorities, plus I don't get to see him that often. Still, I really missed something like this - because this is exactly how this graphic novel felt like.

The story has no dialogue, no written text whatsoever (except for a little quote at the end that summed up my feelings perfectly), but instead it follows a tiger's hunt through images alone.



In matters of drawing style, this reminded me of the way Eastern fairytale books were enriched by simple paintings - yet they were so stunning! Being used to all that colourful digital graphics, this was a welcome change.



I really enjoyed this, and the fact that it shows how the tiger's actions influence other animales, his prey or not, fits the pace perfectly, allowing you to have a break from the tension his hunt makes you feel. Nature is impredictable and this was geniously portrayed - frames that seem random and out of place, seemingly in no relation to the story, yet somehow connected to it all.

This book was absolutely gorgeous and I definitely recommended to everyone.

Entering for the Nice book package.

The Gondola Maker

The Gondola Maker - Laura Morelli See the review on my blog:
http://vanillamoonbooks.blogspot.ro/2015/01/review-gondola-maker-by-laura-morelli.html

If you are anything like me, then when you hear the word "gondola", this is the image that comes to mind:





But how many of you know about the art of crafting such a fine boat, how it was a family business, passed from father to son? Or the fact that rich people had their own gondolier, and that this boat was their main means of transport in old Venice, having a special passenger compartiment?







Laura Morelli's "The Gondola Maker" paints a well-documented image of 16th century Venice, the story being centered on Luca Vianello, the heiring son of a gondola-making family. When his moher dies, he blames his father and because of an accident at the boatyard resulting in everything being burned down, he feels he no longer belongs and tries to recreate his life.



This is how Luca becomes from a craftsman, a simple gondolier. But it is very clear that he doesn't belong, he is destined for something more. He draws the attention of a successful painter and becomes his private gondolier. In the meantime, he is working on restoring an awfully damaged gondola of this painter, that was probably crafted by Luca's grandfather. 



Luca also becomes obsessed with a young woman, daughter of a patrician by first seing her portrait in the artist's room. While he does strange side jobs for this woman, they fall in love with each other. But they clearly belong to two different worlds, him a gondolier and she a rich woman.



The story is told from the perspective of Luca Vianello, 1st person narrative, but there are also a few short chapters in 3rd person narrative, following "The Councillor", and while they somehow interrupt the flow of the book, the information that they provide is vital for a better understanding of what is happening.



I really enjoyed this book, though I felt it was slow in some parts and I was a little bit confused by the overuse of Italian words. I definitely recommend it for readers who are passionate about History and crafts, but also for the ones like myself, who are in search of something that they don't normally

Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter Softcover

Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter Softcover - SunNeko Lee, Luke Mehall;Gaelen Engler;Drew Thayer;Ashley King;Stacy Bare;Chris Barlow;Erica Lineberry;Brendan  Leonard;Teresa Bruffey;D. Scott Borden, Crystal Chan, Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter is the third Manga Classic I read and I must say this is getting rather addictive. I seem to be making a habit of reading this kind of adaptations to sample classics that have been on my to be read pile for quite some time.

For this one, I remember seing the movie when I was little, but just the ending, and I actually own an ebook copy just waiting for me on my Kindle. I must say, this manga adaptation made me want to move it higher on my TBR list.

The story, for those unfamiliar, is about a young woman who gives birth to a perfectly healthy girl. The problem, you are wondering? Well, it's just that she is not married to the man she conceived her with, and because of this, she is forced to wear a red letter "A" on her chest, which stands for Adultery. It is meant as a form of punishment and everyone in the village despises her and shows her to their children as a bad moral example. The identity of the father is kept secret by the poor mother, but it soon becomes very clear to the reader who he is.

The illustrations are beautiful as expected from the Manga Classics series and as far as I've seen in other people's reviews, the story remains true to the original. As always, I recommend this to fans of the original novel, those who are thinking of reading it or anyone who loves manga in general.

It is a fast read, an engaging, emotional story and a great way to relax after a bad day or when trying to get over a reading slump.

If anyone involved in the making of this series of amazing manga adaptions of classic novels is reading this review, please add Jane Eyre to your collection and I will be the most grateful person in the whole wide world. It is my favourite classic of all time. Scratch that. It's my favourite book ever and that's all.

Carry On

Carry On - Rainbow Rowell

CARRY ON WILL BE AN ACTUAL BOOK?
















You know what, Rainbow Rowell?



Let it Snow

Let it Snow - John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle Vezi recenzia frumos aranjata pe blog:
http://vanillamoonbooks.blogspot.ro/2014/12/recenzie-fulgi-de-iubire-de-john-green.html

În ultimii ani am început să nu mai simt magia Crăciunului la fel cum o făceam atunci când eram copil - nu că la 20 de ani nu aş mai fi. Poate că odată cu vârsta, faptul că eşti martor şi participant activ la modul în care se pregăteşte această sărbătoare îi răpeşte din farmec. Şi cu toate acestea, miracolul Crăciunului există, iar acesta este şi scopul acestei cărţi, să te facă să simţi acea bucurie pe care uneori crezi că ai pierdut-o.



Cele trei poveşti din această carte se întrepătrund foarte frumos, personajele le reîntâlneşti sub vocea altui autor şi, precum nişte tablouri fermecate între care acestea oscilează, se pictează în final o poveste întregită cu dragoste, regăsire, fericire şi... Crăciun.

Prima poveste, semnată de Maureen Johnson a fost şi preferata mea - o poveste cu multe, multe griji şi frământări, bunătate faţă de străinul care are nevoie de ajutor, umor şi treziri la realitate. Aceasta o are în centru pe tânăra Jubilee, care, din cauza arestului nedrept al părinţilor ei, e trimisă cu forţa la bunicii ei din Florida. Din cauza viscolului, Jubilee este nevoită să aleagă trenul, însă se împotmoleşte datorită zăpezii într-un orăşel unde, aţi ghicit, are loc acţiunea întregii cărţi.

Intervenţia lui John Green a fost surprinzătoare - probabil cea mai slăbuţă poveste scrisă de el de până acum, din punctul meu de vedere (asta nu înseamnă că nu mi-a făcut plăcere să o citesc). Deşi păstrează umorul lui caracteristic şi personajele ieşite din comun cu care ne-a obişnuit, cred că... mă aşteptam mai mult. Această poveste este despre un grup de prieteni dintre care face parte o singură fată, considerată "una de-a lor" în sensul că nimeni nu o priveşte ca pe un posibil interes romantic - sau aşa să fie?

În final, Lauren Myracle, de care, la fel ca în cazul lui Maureen Johnson, nu am mai citit nimic are cuvântul final în această carte magică. Povestea ei e despre dezamăgirea unei despărţiri, amarnică aşteptare, egocentrism, dar mai ales prietenie şi iertare (a, şi îngeri păzitori, era să uit).



M-am regăsit oarecum în toate aceste poveşti, fie şi numai parţial, iar personajele au fost foarte bine conturate. Avem şi ceva character development, vizibil mai ales în cazul lui Jubilee, Stuart şi Addie.

Dacă a fost dificil pentru cei trei autori să colaboreze, atunci acest lucru nu este absolut deloc vizibil, cele trei părţi îmbinându-se perfect, ca piesele unui puzzle.

Cu siguranţă voi citi şi alte cărţi de aceşti autori - dacă de John Green ştiam deja şi am citit tot ce a scris, atunci referitor la cele două femei, mai ales Maureen Johnson, am numai cuvinte de laudă.

În final, vă recomand cu căldură să scrieţi Moşului, să vă pună cartea asta sub brad. Iar dacă nu, daţi fuguţa la librărie şi luaţi-o - neapărat a se citi în pat, sub pătură, cu o cană de ceva fierbinte lângă voi. Opţional, colinde în surdină. Apropo, titlul original "Let it snow" mi s-a părut foarte potrivit, având în vedere că nu se mai oprea din nins, iar viscolul a fost cel care a influenţat lucrurile să se întâmple aşa cum s-au întâmplat.

VOX GN

VOX GN - Matteo De Longis This was a very interesting art book, actually the first one I've ever read. I'm not an expert and I don't even claim to be one, but the artwork in this one was absolutely gorgeous.
The artist combined music, musical instruments, cars and guns with sensual women, and beautifully managed to capture their naked beauty without it becoming vulgar or sexist.
Very good choice of colours and I particularly enjoyed the images where the women ar portrayed as laying in between buldings, covering entire streets. No words can ever be said to do art favour - when it's good at least. So just give it a try and see if I'm right.

The Wicked + the Divine Volume 1

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol 1: The Faust Act - Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie How can you sum up your thoughts when they consist only of admiration for the stunning graphics and engaging story? I always find it hard to write a review when there are no negative aspects about a book - well, a graphic novel in this case.

This was so beautiful
- it made me want to cover up my boring walls with its pages
- it made me cry like a child who wants more chocolate
- I never want these issues to stop coming out
- I want to wrap myself in it and cry
- it makes me want to drop anything and learn how to draw like this
- I have no words for it

The story

You know about gods, right? The gods as in those gods different people used to believe in a long long time ago. Gods like Amaterasu, Morrigan and the like. Yeah, well they resurrect as teenagers every 90 years, make people either love or hate them and die two years later. This time they're (pop, rock) stars. Laura is a mega fangirl and follows them around only to be wrapped up in their scandalous lives - someone kills a human judge and one of the Goddesses is framed ( or is she the murderer?). Laura is convinced of her innocence and tries to sort things out.

I'm not even sure what made me love this so much. Probably the artwork though. A new series I will be sure to follow, with well-thought storyline and intriguing characters. What can I say? I am hooked!

Recommended to any adult who loves graphic novels.

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Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops - Jen Campbell Well this was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. There are some pretty weird... and dumb people out there and it is only natural they find their way into bookshops one way or another. Some for the silliest reasons.

“CUSTOMER: If I were to, say... meet the love of my life in this bookshop, what section do you think they would be standing in?”


So I take it's a pretty interesting life being a bookseller. Maybe it's annoying when they all come in and put stupid questions, but at the end of the day, it's pretty hilarious for those you tell about it... and later for you too.

I'm really happy some effort was put into creating this collection of bookshopping weirdness. :)

“CUSTOMER: Oh, look, these books are all signed. (Pause) I wonder who signed them ?”

Littlest Pet Shop

Littlest Pet Shop - Georgia Ball, Nico Pena, Antonio Campo I've never watched this TV series, nor do I collect the oh-so-adorable toys (though I've seen them around stores in Romania and was often tempted to pick one up and make my book shelves look cuter). However, I've always been curious as to what this is all about, so when I saw this graphic novel pop up in NetGalley's available titles to read now, I just had to click that button.



Blythe Baxter is a teenage girl working at the Littlest Pet Shop and guess what? She can talk to animals. While this is nowhere near a new concept (Dr. Dolittle anyone?), I found the book to be cute and enjoyable.



It contains a lot of short stories which are quite fun to read, even for those who are unfamiliar to the show (as I am) and it's probably even better for the fans. I think this would be a great way to have your child interested in reading, since comics can give them an appetite for this kind of activities.



In terms of graphics, a little research after reading it shows it is almost identical to the one in the show (a few stories though seem to have been illustrated by another person and have a somewhat different style of drawing).



Now that I got to know what the Littlest Pet Shop is all about, I'm sure to check out the animated series too, since I already am a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Both are developed by Hasbro in case you were not aware.