Book Review: Burial Rites

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Hannah Kent
Historical Fiction based on true events
Published: September 10th 2013
5/5

                Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
                Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Toti, a priest Anges has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’ death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.
                Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

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                Burial Rites is based on the true life account of Agnes Magnusdottir the last person executed in Iceland on January 12th, 1830. She, and man named Friorik Sigurosson where charged for the murder of Nathan Ketilsson, and Petur Jonsson that took place on March 14th, 1828. They were executed by beheading.
                This was a fascinating and beautifully told story. Burial Rites is one of the best tales I’ve read in a few years. It is one of those novels that leave a mark on your soul; the story will linger with you long after you’ve finished reading it.
                The writing was beautiful; I found myself becoming immersed in the language and haunting thoughts of Anges as she awaited her fate. I found her relatable; my heart was broken for her most of the story. I wished the book would end differently; despite knowing that it was based on a factual event.
                Anges was a great lead character. I really enjoyed reading about her life from childhood up until she ended up on the farm. By the end of the book I felt like I knew her personally, but not in a way that I found myself overwhelmed by information in regards to the development of the plot.
                I also ended up liking the family at the farm by the end of the book. It was beautiful to see them all come together. The courage and strength the lent Anges in the end was unfathomable in it’s greatness. Despite the coldness and perhaps even hatred they all felt towards her in the beginning, it was so lovely to see some of them turn around and offer her pity, understanding and compassion in the end.
                Overall I thought the book was well written and developed and though we don’t know how the actual events took place it was interesting to read one possible side to the story. I greatly recommend this book to my blog readers, I don’t think you’d regret it!
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Book Review: The Witches Daughter

The Witches DaughterImage
Paula Brackston
Fantasy, Historial
Published: 2010
Publisher: Thomas Dune Books
3.5/4

               In the spring of 1628, the witch finder of Wessex finds himself a true witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree, she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate: the warlock Gideon Masters. Secluded at his cottage, Gideon instructs Bess, awakening formidable powers she didn’t know she had. She couldn’t have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.
                In present-day England, Elizabeth has built a quiet life. She has spent the centuries in solitude, surviving plagues, wars and the heartbreak that comes with immortality. Her loneliness comes to an abrupt end when she is befriended by a teenage girl called Tegan. Against her own better judgement, Elizabeth opens her heart to Tegan. But will she soon be able to stand against Gideon – who will stop at nothing to reclaim her soul – in order to protect the girl who has become the daughter she never had?
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                I really enjoyed reading ‘The Witches Daughter’.  I thought it was extremely well written, though I found it tended to drag at some moments, however over all it was an engaging and lively read.
                Elizabeth’s history was fascinating, and it was so interesting to learn about her life, or lives rather throughout the book. She is strong, and deep inside is good though she is flawed and at times selfish. She’s wanted her whole life to be loved, to have a family and despite the years she’s lived she’s never attained any of these things until she meets Tegan. She adopts Tagen in kind of a surrogate manner, teaching her the craft, helping her develop and become more strong in who she is and independent. In Tegan she finds someone who speaks to her soul and she hasn’t experienced anything like it since her sister passed away.
                Tegan is also an interesting character; she’s bratty, doesn’t listen and clearly is in desperate need for a friendship. It’s not clear why she is so drawn to Elizabeth, or why she keeps coming back when Elizabeth is clearly trying to push her away but she perseveres anyways, looking for someone to build her up when the world seems to be cruelly tearing her apart.
              Gideon is evil, wow is he evil. He literally dances and consorts with the devil. He’s so obsessed with Elizabeth that he literally follows her throughout time. Tracking her and tricking her all in a vain effort to convince and capture Elizabeth’s affections, desires and to claim what he deems is rightfully his and I must daresay perhaps he has in a way. The poor woman has spent the majority of her life trying to escape from him and the darkness that shrouds him.
                 I will be quite honest with you; there is almost zero romance in this novel which is highly disappointing as the synopsis clearly indicates that there is a romantic story line. Unless you count Gideon’s creepy obsession with Elizabeth, which I for obvious reasons don’t. However, I suppose they could be talking about the kind of love that is found between two friends, the kind of love that a family holds for each other or even perhaps the love a mother has for her child. Elizabeth’s mother literally did everything she could have possibly done to save her daughter, even things I’m sure, she’s ashamed to admit.
              Overall, The Witches Daughter is a great read and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more novels by Paula Brackston. She clearly enjoys writing about witches and I clearly love reading about them!

Seattle Book Haul

                For my Husband and I’s first year anniversary we spent the long weekend in September (our anniversary is September 1st) in Seattle. We stayed at a ridiculously nice hotel, ate amazing food and went to the Zoo. Of course, we also did some shopping and of course I did quite a bit of book shopping.

First we went to Half Price books, where I purchased Bitter blue, Beautiful Darkness, and Beautiful Chaos
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We then went to mutli-level Barnes & Nobel and I purchased Feed, Origin, Drowned Cities and an amazing hard cover version of Little Woman.
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I thought I would also share a couple pictures from our trip as well, so enjoy! ❤
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Book Talk: Literary terms Part 1

        I thought I would take the time to write out what my definitions of genre’s and ‘readership’ labels mean to me. There seems to be so many vastly different opinions online about what they actually are and often times I find myself getting frustrated with people labeling novels incorrectly. However, that being said obviously everyone has the right to their own opinion, I just want to share mine with you
            This is part one of my definitions, and as it’ll be fairly long I’m going to break it up into at least two parts, likely three.
              What do you think of my definitions, do you agree or disagree with them? If you disagree I’d love to know why!  

Science Fiction; Deals with imaginative concepts, often in regards to futuristic technology, space travel, other planets and time travel. However science fiction is not limited, it can also involve aliens, vampires, zombies and werewolves. Many factors come into play when classifying creatures into the genre science fiction; i.e. a virus mutates and creates zombies, it’s a manmade mistake created by science.
                Examples of science Fiction
                                Enders Game – Orson Scott Card
                                Across the Universe – Beth Revis
                                Dune – Frank Herbert
                                Feed – Mira Grant

 

Fantasy; Deals with imaginative concepts that are often improbable or impossible. For example, many fantasy novels include animals such as dragons, trolls and elves. Fantasy novels almost always include a realm of magic, in example characters that are able to wield the elements, heal without medicines, or call upon mystical animals for help in battles. If Vampires, Zombies, aliens or werewolves are involved in fantasy they are almost always natural and not created by man, they’ve always existed in these worlds the way the elves or hobbits have. They are also often series, it is not often that you find a standalone fantasy novel; most that I’ve come across personally have been a part of a large series.
                Examples of Fantasy
                                The Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling
                                The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – J.R.R Tolkien
                                The Inheritance Cycle – Christopher Paolini
                                A Song of Ice and Fire – George R.R.Martin

Horror; in its essence horror is intended to scare you, to keep you up all night with the lights on and send shivers straight through to your bones. The Horror genre is usually quite dark, violent and can at times be gory. Horror can either be supernatural or non-supernatural depending on the content of the novel. This includes but is not limited too; serial killers, ghosts, poltergeists, vampires, zombies, kidnapping, psychological horror, etc.
                  Examples of Horror
                                 The Shining – Stephan King
                                 The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
                                 Dracula – Bram Stoker
                                 Interview with a Vampire – Anne Rice


Young Adult; This category is a little more tricky and can at times be vague but the general rule of thumb is that young adult audience intended are between the ages of 12-18 years old. Recent studies however have shown that 55% of young adult fiction purchased is bought by adults over the age of 18.
               Examples of Young Adult Fiction
                                 The Hunger Games Trilogy –Suszanne Collins
                                 The Delirium Trilogy – Lauren Oliver
                                 The Fault in our Stars – John Green
                                 Lock and Key – Sarah Dessen

New Adult; Deals primarily with protagonists between the ages of 18-25. Unlike Young Adult there is often considerably more descriptive sexual content, drug and alcohol use and more ‘real life’ issues. Despite having a genre, there are not many New Adult novels that are not contemporary, at least not that I’ve currently discovered. This is a highly HOT topic currently as it’s not clear if this is actually a clear genre, category or marketing scheme.
                   Examples of New Adult Fiction
                                      Beautiful Disaster – Jamie McGuire
                                       Slammed – Colleen Hoover
                                       Easy – Tamara Webber
                                      Fallen too Far – Abbi Glines

                               

Book Haul: August (Kinda)

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                Hey everyone! I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a book haul but I’m here and I’m back in full action so I thought I’d update you on a few books that I’ve added to my personal library recently.
                Which books have you hauled this month? I’m always interested in hearing about new books and of course interested in what you’re reading!

Flesh and bone: Book 3 – Jonathan Maberry
Soul Screamers: Volume 3 – Rachel Vincent
Between the Lines – Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer
Omens – Kelly Armstrong
Shades of Earth: Book 3 – Beth Revis
The Third Twin – Ken Follett
Fall of Giants: Book 1 – Ken Follett
The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova
Inferno: Book 4 – Dan Brown