Month: February 2016

Five Things About: Emma by Jane Austen

Good evening everyone and welcome back to Tea and Paperbacks! My reading progress this year has been quite slow so far… I’m 2 books behind my schedule on my Goodreads goal! Which is kinda understandable for me because I set myself a really high goal for myself this year (55 books), and also because school has been super tiring. But anyways, today I would like to post about a book I recently read, a probably familiar read to you guys: Emma by Jane Austen. Here in my Five Things Series I will list five things or aspects in the book I want to talk about, and whether I liked it or not.

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#1. The Adorable Friends-Turn-Lovers

Everybody knows about the cute relationship between the main character, Emma, and Mr Knightley. They had known each other for years, and have been really good friends, as close as family. They would bicker with each other and advice each other, and they are so comfortable with each other because they basically see each other almost every day. Yet along the book you see their friendship bloom into something different, and this kind of trope is probably one of my favourite ones in the fictional world. That kind of slow burn love between Emma and Knightley are adorable, and the main reason why I love this book.

quote2I cannot make speeches, Emma… If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.

#2. The Humor

I love how the story of this book basically focus a lot on the miscommunication and misunderstanding between characters. It’s hilarious and so fun to read. How Emma would think that Elton was in love with Harriet when in fact he loves Emma herself. And other things involving love and feelings that are never explicitly stated that would turn up to be the opposite of what we thought. It’s so fun and I think that if I would live in that era where a person’s love life is so subtle yet also so fast, I don’t think I will survive.

#3. The Writing Style

The writing style itself was typical for Jane Austen. It wasn’t too heavy, but there were parts that felt too slow and redundant, that makes the reader quite bored of reading it. The chapter where the letter from Churchill was inserted was for me waaay too long and made me feel bored when I was reading it. But other than that it flows really well and even though at first I was a little confused with all the characters, I still can really enjoy the book.

quote2Were I to fall in love, indeed, it would be a different thing; but I have never been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall.

#4. The Friendships

I think this book doesn’t only focus on the romance of the women, but also the friendships between them. From the first chapters it has been established that Emma was really good friends with Mr Knightley. But I really like Emma’s friendships with other people, like Harriet and her relationship with her father. It was a lovely dynamic to explore, and I just love Emma herself in particular. She reminds me of myself in the way that we are both very sensible when it comes to love, that we follow mostly our head instead of our heart. But nonetheless Emma still feels very deeply and in the end it is her compassion and love that makes her a better person and a better character for me.

#5. The Movie Adaptations

After reading the book I watched two different movie adaptations, the first one being the 1996 Emma starring Gwyneth Paltrow. It was a really fun and entertaining movie. Lots of parts and quotes from the book was put inside the movie, and although I wasn’t really into the decision of picking Paltrow as Emma, it was still a very enjoyable movie.

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The other movie adaptation I watched is of course the very famous 1995 movie Clueless, which isn’t a true book to movie adaptation but just a movie that is inspired by the novel. It’s a really fun twist of the real story, and I first thought it would be kinda cheesy and all that but I actually really enjoyed it! It was light and fun, and the romance was really cute. I love how it has really different character in the movie but still embody the essence of the novel through the plot points.

3.5 stars

Have you guys read Emma? What did you like and dislike about the book? Did you also like their movie adaptations? Let me know your thoughts on the book in the comments.

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This or That Book Tag (Original Tag!)

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Tea and Paperbacks! Today I have something super duper special for you, and it is an original book tag I made myself! I got the idea of this tag just randomly – I know a similar tag has been made, but this is more weird, I guess? But also hopefully more fun! Hope you enjoy!

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The Rules:

  • Mention the creator of the tag (Ayunda @ Tea and Paperbacks).
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you!
  • Choose one of the options, you don’t have to tell the reasons why you chose that but you can also do them if you want to.
  • Tag 10 other people to do this tag to spread the love!

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The Questions:

One: Reading on the couch or on the bed?

I usually read at night before I go to sleep so basically I mostly read on the bed. But on mornings and noons, when I don’t have any classes it’s way better to read on the couch with the sunlight streaming in from behind my back and a blanket covering my legs with a cup of tea nearby. So couch comes close, but I still prefer my bed.

Two: Male main character or female main character?

My head says female because I’m a female, but my heart says male. I think from looking at my favourite books, most of them have male main characters.

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Three: Sweet snacks or salty snacks when reading?

Uhhh this is hard (and I made these questions myself!). I’d probably go with sweet because I loooove eating cookies or chocolate while reading, but I usually eat chips while reading as well 😀

Four: Trilogies or quartets?

Can I choose neither? Hahaha, I’m cheating on my own questions. But because I really have to choose, I’d choose quartets. Trilogies are too overused and usually the first book is amazing, the second book is meh and unmemorable, and the last book is either amazing but not as amazing as the first book, or worse than the previous two books. For quartets I usually enjoy all of them.

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Five: First person point of view or third person point of view?

I don’t really like first person POVs because on a reader’s point of view, you can’t really read anything else other than the what that main character sees/does/feels. Especially where there are a lot of scenes where the character passes out or something. Yet when it’s done well I’d really love it, like Percy Jackson, because Percy himself is hilarious. But sometimes third person is a little too confusing as well, especially when it’s multiple point of views. Ugh I could make a whole post about point of views. But to choose, I prefer the kind of third person POV with a focus on one character, if you know what I mean. Like Harry Potter, where it’s written in third person but you mostly read about that one main character only.

Six: Reading at night or in the morning?

Everyday I read in the morning while eating breakfast and at night before I got to sleep. Although the downside is that there is no natural light at night and you’re kinda sleepy while reading (except if it’s a really good book), and in the mornings you only get to read like one chapter or something before you are forced to do other morning routines, such as showering or realizing that you are late for class. Not that it happens to me a lot (ehehe).

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Seven: Libraries or bookstores?

Libraries! You can study there, read a book, just walk around and explore, and borrow lots of book with no price. Another reason why I love libraries is because there are so many old books, like books that have history and have been read by so many different people that you feel like you have a special connection with people who have borrowed and read the book you’re holding before.

Eight: Books that make you laugh or make you cry?

Books easily make me cry but they rarely ever make me laugh. Maybe smile or chuckle, but not laugh out loud. But I love books that can make someone cry. It’s not that I love to be tortured from the pain of a bunch of words printed on paper, but because it’s just amazing how someone can make a reader feel so many things from what they wrote. So I’m gonna choose the latter.

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Nine: Black book covers or white book covers?

I really don’t care, but I do like the color black, so I’ll choose black. As long as they are well made and fits with the book itself, I wouldn’t mind either way.

Ten: Character driven or plot driven stories?

Ugh this is hard. I know a lot of people who know what they prefer, but from what I’ve read, I see that I rely a lot of both of them. But if I really had to choose, I’d choose character driven. Because some of my favourite books, although they don’t have that amazing plot, but you just get so attached to the characters that you love it so much. And I think that it’s harder to write a well-written character than a mindblowing plot.

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Here are the people I tag:

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There you are, that is the end of my first ever self-made tag! If you weren’t tag, I tag you as well to do this! And tell me what you think about the choices I picked, whether you agree or disagree with them. Hope you have a great day, and a happy reading day 🙂

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Red Hoodies, Grandmothers and Droids: Scarlet & Cress Book Review

Hi everyone, and welcome back to another book review! For today I am presenting to you a sort of a book review mash-up, a combination of two books bundled into one review. These two books are Scarlet and Cress by Marissa Meyer, the second and third book of the Lunar Chronicles. I read Cinder last year and marathoned the rest of the series from January to February, and here are my thoughts on them. Another review of Winter will (hopefully) be coming up in the future as well. Warning for spoilers if you haven’t read the first three books of the series!

cover1Let’s start off with Scarlet. The story continues where Cinder left off, but now we have a new addition to the team, Scarlet Benoit, a girl who is trying to find her grandmother. Her location is in France, which is kind of less interesting than New Beijing, but Scarlet is such a badass, and she would do anything to be able to track down whoever kidnapped her grandmother.

I love Scarlet. I like her more than Cinder in a way that I can’t really put my finger to. She’s quite interesting and I just really like her love for her grandmother and how passionate she is in finding her. The story starts off really great, we have Scarlet’s introduction, not to mention Wolf another new character, and we also have Cinder’s plotline, where she meets Thorne and tries to figure out what to do.

Cinder and Thorne’s storyline for me was a little meh. I really preferred Scarlet’s chapters compared to Cinder’s. Although I still really like Cinder, by the middle of the book I was super engrossed in Scarlet’s journey and meh towards Cinder’s. I wasn’t attracted to Thorne at all. I felt like he was a terribly done character, he had so many popular character tropes – the handsome and charming playboy, always trying to pick up a girl, acting like he’s better than he really is. There is no real depth in him in this book.

Title: Scarlet
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Date Published: 2013
Num of Pages: 332
Date Read: 10th January, 2015
Goodreads Link

In the meantime, Scarlet’s story was quite interesting. I really liked her story, and her relationship with Wolf was fun to read, up till the kiss scene. Now don’t get me wrong, I think the two of them are adorable. They are the only two people I ship in the series. But this is just yet another case of young adult instalove. They’ve only met each other for what, a day? Two maybe? And they’re already kissing and being in love and shit like that? Unbelievable. I still think they are cute, but if they hadn’t kissed, if they had just you know, looked at each other lovingly with a lot of sexual tension, if the kiss had happened later in the book or maybe even later in the series, I would’ve been so in love with them. It felt too forced.

But as a character himself, I thought Wolf was yet another one of those trope-y characters. The quiet, brooding type who is strong and intimidating but has a deep dark past and once you get to peel his outer layers, you’ll fall in love with him and blah blah blah. He’s a charming guy, believe me, but he’s not that good of a character.

quote2Amusement touched the corner of his lips. “Animals love me.”
“Oh, I’m sure they do,” Scarlet said, beaming with fake encouragement. She shut the door before muttering, “What farm animals don’t love a wolf?”

Other than those two main plotlines, I really liked the chapters that had Kai’s point of view as well. I thought he showed a great part of the story from another part of the world, and he was a very rational and human character. I liked his struggles to rule the empire, and his thoughts about his feelings for Cinder but also prioritizing his kingdom. It was really fun to read. All in all, I found Scarlet a really solid novel with great plots and twists, and some great characters. But it wasn’t amazing at all. If I hadn’t liked Scarlet or Kai that much, I would probably rate it a 3.5

4 stars

Moving on to Cress, the third book of the series. I found Cress as a character to be less interesting compared to Scarlet. She’s the newest addition to the gang, and she’s probably not the youngest but acts like a child in my eyes. She’s so naive, which kind of makes sense because she has been trapped in this room for most of her life, but her attitude is just icky to me. The way she imagines weird scenarios and how she idolizes and stalks Thorne is just plain weird for me. She reminds me a lot of rapunzel in Disney’s Tangled, but that rapunzel was way more fun and a more dimensional character than Cress. Which is part of why I didn’t like this third book as much as the second one.

cover2The plot was alright for me. It has a lot of twists and turns and again, like the previous two novels, there is never a moment where it is peaceful or relaxed. There is always something going on, always something bad happening, which is fine because this is a young adult novel, and I know a lot of people who like this kind of books, but for me they just felt a little too orchestrated. Like when they were separated and Cress and Thorne was in that desert and then magically, coincidentally, they met people who took them to the same place where Cinder and the others landed. Like, it felt too easy and too planned, it made the whole gang being separated became totally unnecessary. But I do like the whole suspense and action-packed story. I like the little twists with Dr Erland and Cress, and the little plot twist at the end when we thought the gang would be able to escape the kidnapping.

Cress was an okay book for me. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. Not as good as Scarlet, which was mostly because I didn’t like Cress and also because there wasn’t enough Scarlet in it. Plus Wolf was just a dormant and weird piece of chess in this story, there wasn’t any character development from him – in fact I think he has downgraded into a useless, unpredictable character just because he lost his “alpha” (was it his alpha? Or was it beta? I don’t know, I don’t speak wolf). But there were parts that I really enjoyed. I liked Cinder’s relationship with Thorne. Thorne sort of developed ever since he was blinded. I quite liked him more here. And I really liked Cinder and her role as sort of the leader for the whole gang in this book, how she had grown more mature and I think she was the one with the most character development in the series.

Title: Cress
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Date Published: 2014
Num of Pages: 412
Date Read: 24th January, 2015
Goodreads Link

The last parts of the book was intense and I think that was my favourite part of the book. I like the whole sabotaging kidnapping strategy with the little conflicts, and how Cinder met Kai. It could’ve been executed better in my opinion – I sort of hoped it would be as epic as the scene in the third book of Artemis Fowl where he broke into a house and all that. But like I mentioned before, this is a young adult story, it has a mediocre writing style for me (I thought it could be a better written story if it was written by someone else). The characters of the whole gang was flat and one dimensional for me, if the characters had been more dynamic like the gang from Avatar (The Last Airbender), or The Raven Boys, I’d probably love them more.

Another thing that bothered me was the romance. I hated the fact that each of the main characters (the girls) were “paired off” to a “cute” guy to make them more “complete”. I agree what Kristina said in her review of Cress, about how it was really unnecessary. None of the romances I ship too deeply and they were all so predictable.

But all in all, I rated Cress 3.5 stars. It was all right, fast-paced, fun to read. And I do want to read Winter, just to see how it all solves out. I want to know why so many people are raving about it, saying how mindblowing and exciting the series is, especially how the series ended so well with the last book. So far I don’t see why so many people would rate the first three books with five stars. I think the series so far is great, but not good enough for me to actually recommend to people. We’ll see.

3.5 stars

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