Dividing Dark is one of those novels that manages to maintain its originality despite falling firmly within the pReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
Dividing Dark is one of those novels that manages to maintain its originality despite falling firmly within the paranormal romance genre. Indeed, even if it surrounds itself with shape shifting, human versus non-humans conflict, it is original in its setting and a few aspects of its plot. While I feel that Dividing Dark is not extraordinary, it has its own merits.
For instance, it has a darn good prologue. The tension, action combined with the deliberate missing information is what makes an interesting prologue, and Dividing Dark has that. I immediately jumped into reading the wholeheartedly, and was anxious to know how everything fits. The backdrop of caves, cliffs, raging rivers and underground tunnels is well described, enough for claustrophobics and altophobics readers to be weary of. It was such a thrill reading about the whole lot.
The characters Fee and Faron are not complex, but are also not exactly easy to read. They are not personified neatly and there are still loose threads that I thought could be tied up better. There is a lack of development in other characters, although I found them easy, sometimes even fun to read and get along with. They also create several loose subplots and are generally good foils to the main characters. These characters are not only interesting but also has realistic relationships which I felt was explored well. In particular, despite their romance being fast and instantaneaous, Fee and Faron have great chemistry together. Their connection is more emotional that physical and that is a breath of fresh air from the many young adult novels I have read.
There are several flaws which undermined the premise of Diving Dark. There were several subplots started that were not thoroughly explored, which can potentially be good for a sequel, but I am not sure if there will be one. It made the book feel incomplete somehow and confusing at times too. The descriptions in this novel is adequate, but I would have liked more elaboration on history and events that mattered in the plot, of characters and visuals. The narrative is at times confusing as there is no smooth transition between scenes and at some points I felt I was completely lost as how the scope of the plot ended up so far away from where it was three pages before.
Regardless, I read this in one sitting and would gladly welcome a sequel....more
I have always been a public speaker and a writing enthusiast, but even I will admit I am an amateur when it comesReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
I have always been a public speaker and a writing enthusiast, but even I will admit I am an amateur when it comes to speaking and writing with excellence. I have never sought help from a book like this though - but there is always a first for everything right?
Clearly, by not doing so, I am missing out. It turns out, there is a lot of information and help out there available to those who wish to write more concisely and speak persuasively. This is one of those - and not only does this book provides a mountain of useful tricks to be able to clinch that essay or speech, it also explains how and why that particular technique is effective. Where applicable, it gives the reader pros and cons and a wide range of examples to explain and elaborate. It refers to and analyses speeches and extracts, including of course, Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address. Apart from that, it gives you tips about everything down to those nitty-gritty little details, including grammar and word usage.
While I expected self-help books to be rather boring, this one is far from it. Consider for instance, its outline. It is not solely presented in paragraph form, but in bullet points and broad headings. Important phrases are highlighted and jump out to catch the reader's attention. The information is well illustrated and discussed in just enough detail to be informative but not boring. Abbreviations are used where most helpful and best of all, exercises and revisions are plentiful for practice and general self test!
While I cannot yet attest as to whether my speaking and writing skills has dramatically improved after reading this book, I can honestly say I have learnt a lot by reading The Gettysburg Approach to Writing and Speaking Like a Professional, not to mention have discovered some neat techniques and most definitely have increased my confidence.
This book will teach you, test you, help you in every step of the way. Brilliant!...more
The truth is, in my eyes, economics is and will always be the best field of study ever. Complex, world-changing aReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
The truth is, in my eyes, economics is and will always be the best field of study ever. Complex, world-changing and integral to our daily lives, it has never been and will never be obsolete or far removed from our everyday actions and decisions. It may not have occurred to everyone how important economics is and how deeply it affects each individual until the onslaught of the recent recession, but regardless of how long your interest has been, The Undercover Economist is a must-read for just about anyone who has the slightest bit of curiosity in what economics is really all about.
Tim Harford is a genius. This I found out when I attended one of his talks at the LSE a few months back. His book is no less brilliant and does not let up in its charms. The Undercover Economist is a good introduction to the study of economics - it covers the basic and immediately dives into what it really is. It erases the misconception that it only affects economists, and explains in various understandable ways. The author explains the subject in clear, easy to understand language, tailored especially for non-economics folks. That is not to say that this book is only for those who doesn't study economics. Fellow economists will also be charmed by The Undercover Economist, especially those in their early years of study and are looking towards how economics operates in our daily life.
The text in the book is conversational and is founded through examples in real life situations. Everyone will be able to relate to this because it refers to many things we do regularly - for instance, choosing free trade instead of non-free trade coffee, shopping in supermarkets and getting on the property ladder. The insights this book will give you makes you feel like an insider knowing how things operate - it is rather brilliant! It answers so many questions in a way that will pique your interest in the beauty that is economics.
And if you think this book is a boring academic text - you're wrong! It's as fun as an economics book can be - with its light hearted banters and amusing situations, not only is the author's brilliance embedded in this book, but also his fantastic sense of humour!
Clearly, I love this book, and I'm sure other readers do too. If you're vaguely interested in economics or are simply bored, why not pick up a copy of The Undercover Economist and perhaps discover an appreciation for everything economics......more
Even before I read Trash, I knew it will be one of those book that has a strong, immediate connection to me. As aReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
Even before I read Trash, I knew it will be one of those book that has a strong, immediate connection to me. As a child, I often spent my summer holidays in Manila, where the plot was loosely based. While reading, I came to find out just how much the characters, language and particularly the setting reminded me of the Philippines. But it is not its mere familiarity that made me love this book, it's the way the plot is reminiscent of some of the ugly reality in many, many places, and the brutal honesty in which this fact is presented.
The three characters, Raphael, Gardo and Rat, predominantly tell the story, although in certain key chapters other characters add their own input. The criss-crossing of narratives present different viewpoints which only adds to the magnetism of the whole book. These various point of views gives a broader viewpoint, I think, and allows the narrative to encompass a larger picture to drive home the plot.
I love these three boys - there is something about a child's voice that really captures my heart, but hearing their story is something beyond that. They have suffered so much from the cruel reality and their innocence is so tainted by the harsh world they were born in that each of their words seem too precious to not take to heart. Their excitement and despair is full of that powerful voice that I wanted to sweep them three into one warm hug and hope that that somehow brings enough comfort. I think that holds true in many readers and indeed makes one wonder that if these characters can hold one's heart, then what more the real children living in and with trash at the other side of the world?
Interestingly, many view Trash as a dystopian novel - but I beg to disagree. How can it be a futuristic novel when there are children living, eating, breathing trash? When there is widespread corruption by officials high and low and inhumane abuses in the hands of those who are supposed to protect? When children like Raphael, Gardo and Rat barely survive the next dawn and are in constant danger of dying a cruel, cruel death - of famine, war and diseases? No, Trash is not a dystopian novel. It's a moving, poignant novel about the here and the now. It's a story of the ugly reality.
There was the minor glitch of me not feeling wholly satisfied by the ending. It does not seem to fit well with the plot, although it still makes sense. I will not go into further details for fear of spoilers, but after reading, I wished the ending was a little less smooth and a little more thrilling.
Regardless, Trash is a book everyone should read. I mean it - everyone! No one can read this and say he (or she) did not take anything away from it. Andy Mulligan's Trash is one of those books that shows a picture of exactly how life is in places we don't know, but we should care about....more
I had to wrestle with my sister to have the privilege of reading this book first. It didn't matter if she was cloReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
I had to wrestle with my sister to have the privilege of reading this book first. It didn't matter if she was closer in age to the reading audience, or, like Fliss, she is more likely to act in a play - I has a feeling I'd love this book just as much and I was not wrong! We shared oohs and aahs and agitation over Star Crossed and we both enjoyed this treat.
Fliss is such a lovely character, because in every one of us there's an inner Fliss. Shy and demure, she finds acting her passion and escape. Her mother disapproves of the one thing she feel she's good at. She hates confrontations and would more likely follow than lead. But once she's on stage, her confidence strengthens and her inner strength is revealed. I related well with her thoughts and concerns, despite my age being past the teens years. Which is why I think her character relates to many across age groups, mostly teens, or at the very least reminds you of what it was like to be in pursuit of one's passion. Fliss grows and learns to overcome her insecurities in Star Crossed. It should be very helpful to younger teens as it's not only narrated conversationally, but also in a way that's easy to digest. By that I don't mean it being fickle, but more towards it being easy to follow, hence easily relatable to teenage dilemmas.
Star Crossed also features a great villain, and a handsome prince charming. Samantha plays the perfect villain, who reminds me of fairy tale villains with roots in reality. Tom, the object of Fliss' affection, is also similarly rooted in the middle ground. I think therefore, Star Crossed is a great book for teens who still loves fairy tales but are slowly moving towards more teenage titles. Samantha, villainous as she is, has more to her than just the physical. Her insecurities play a huge role in what she does and why. Of course, despite my dislike of her, when I discovered that (of course) she's not so evil after all, I wanted to read more about her. Hopefully the next book!
How classic is it that your crush plays Romeo when you play Juliet? I'd have loved to change the ending if it were me! So of course my inner fan girl squealed and rejoiced in the romance in Star Crossed - very cute! Reminds me of all the ups and downs, the speculations and stolen stares, the sighs and tears you undergo when nursing that lovely first love.
Star Crossed is an entertaining read and a lovely book all around!...more