Posted in Carti in limba Engleza, English speakers, thriller


Ok, so… after a recent crappy experience with a crappy male, I decided to get this book and read it as a sort of an outlet for my episode of anger and disgust towards the whole male population. ‘Cause, you know, reading books isn’t illegal.

Scarlett Clark is an exceptional English professor. But she’s even better at getting away with murder.

Every year, she searches for the worst man at Gorman University and plots his well-deserved demise. Thanks to her meticulous planning, she’s avoided drawing attention to herself—but as she’s preparing for her biggest kill yet, the school starts probing into the growing body count on campus. Determined to keep her enemies close, Scarlett insinuates herself into the investigation and charms the woman in charge, Dr. Mina Pierce. Everything’s going according to her master plan…until she loses control with her latest victim, putting her secret life at risk of exposure.

Meanwhile, Gorman student Carly Schiller is just trying to survive her freshman year. Finally free of her emotionally abusive father, all Carly wants is to focus on her studies and fade into the background. Her new roommate has other ideas. Allison Hadley is cool and confident—everything Carly wishes she could be—and the two girls quickly form an intense friendship. So when Allison is sexually assaulted at a party, Carly becomes obsessed with making the attacker pay…and turning her fantasies about revenge into a reality.

I have my senses all together enough to not actually be a simply-minded hater who generalizes everyone based on some unfortunate experiences or stereotypes. I lived through many enough to realize that people’s minds are not all black & white. They’re full of all type of shades in between and continuously changing.

That’s why my rating for this book cannot be other than a balanced 3 stars. I did enjoy reading it, it is fast-faced and the writing is smart, the author is clearly talented. What I couldn’t put up with was the underlined tacit moral of this book: getting away with murder is okay as long as in your mind you believe it was for a good reason. I don’t believe Scarlet’s crimes are all for a good reason. I suspect the ending was supposed to leave me satisfied with the resolution of a well-made justice done by some fierce women. At best, it left me deflated and with a bitter aftertaste. I at most wished that Scarlet would go out killing some really serious criminals who go unpunished by the law instead of the common male a-holes who punch their spineless wives.

While some really bad crimes (such as a gang rape) are mentioned briefly, the males’ sins that are the main focus of the story are, in my opinion, something that shouldn’t have been punished in such an extreme. I mean, ok, I know that many men are freaks who peek on women whenever they can or who are misogynistic a-holes who’d do anything to get into your pants or steal that job opportunity that you so long wished for… but, hey, that’s exactly what women do too! Should we start killing each other because we’re far from being righteous angels..? There’s a difference between what’s immoral and what is illegal, and although this may cause a lot of trouble in cases like emotional abuse, you cannot possible expect to kill someone based solely on what you believe is good or bad. That makes everything so easily to manipulate and implicitly deeply wrong. That’s why it made me angry when the author used 2 of the smartest women characters in the story to back-up the (clearly disturbed) female serial killer: it’s as if “that’s the right thing to do” and any smart person would think the same.

There is no straight man character who’s actually portrayed as a good person, and that makes the story look very biased and way off-balance. I can’t trust a story that’s so highly biased. Feminism had been described many ways, but this type of feminism is in fact the counterpart of the male misogyny, – that sort of toxic generalization dubbed by a thirst for power, violence, control and manipulation.

Most of the characters are such overused stereotypes: the good ugly girl turned bad, the pretty girl is stupid and trivial, the gay guy is the best friend ever, popular straight guys are all a-holes.

Now let’s break down on Scarlet’s cases for a bit, to expand my point.

First, I never really get what actually happened to Allison that night. It was described as “sexual assault”, so she was never actually raped. The guy drugged her and shoved his hand into her pants. But hey, let’s rewind to what happened earlier: “I’m shaking my ass in his face every night but he doesn’t seem to notice me” plus other more references of Allison’s desperate tries to get Bash’ attention on her. Like… she wanted to get his attention on her boobs and ass so they could later on study together..? If not, then what the big-holy-F are you expecting out of a horny teenage guy to think in his little hormone-troubled brain of his..?

With her behavior and with her own expectations of people, Carly seems more righteous than the Pope or than that pastor parent of Allison! This is right and this is wrong and needs punishment. No, freak, no one needs your punishment, nor your protection. They’re all effin’ grownups and you’re no better than them. ‘Cause btw, you wanna fudge Allison too.

There is clearly a huge misunderstanding gap between males & females, but it won’t get resolved by killing one part or the other. It needs a mothereffin education, which, unfortunately, is rarely done.  I often hear males saying: “I don’t understand, I thought this is what you were after!” or “girls like you know exactly what they’re doing” etc. That’s because they’re ignorant about how a female’s mind & emotions work, but hey, women are actually feeding this cycle too. We are feeding & hunting on each other’s mistakes, which is a never-ending loop. Women objectify men too, but men don’t mind because that’s not a triggering button to them, and that’s because throughout the human history males didn’t have to put up with objectification. However, females did and that’s why they’re “sensitive”. Well, it’s not about “being sensitive” but it’s rather the trigger button of danger that had been ingrained into our genes ever since the invention of those patriarchal religious doctrines. Thousands of years of abuse had left its trace, but education (and self-defense!) is the only way out.

Now, what REALLY would make Scarlet’s effort feel appreciated (by me, at least) was if she went to one of those primitive communities where girls are sold as wives at the age of 7 and raped by their uncles to prove their virginity and killed if they do not comply with it, and so on and so forth. Now, THAT would make my admiration for Scarlet boost like a rocket to the skies. Because those sort of horrible crimes never face justice, and they are indeed horrible. It’s not only “oh, the mother-effer said that I have beautiful legs” or “he touched me on my hip”, “he tried to kiss me” or “he hits me every day but I choose to stay with him because.. just because”. If you purposely shove your ass into a man’s face and then wonder why he tries to lure you into bed, then you’re plainly stupid. There’s a fine line between various aspects of life. And it’s not all black & white.

There’s a difference between real abuse and poor choices. There are cases of gang rape or hardcore abuse where the aggressors never get punished or the victims found themselves caught up in abuse that was beyond their power of choice. Now, those crimes, where the law, for whatever reason, doesn’t work, deserve retribution, though I wouldn’t go for killing unless there was a kill involved. That’s because in such cases, death would be a too easy punishment. So I’d go for something like “eye for an eye” type of justice.

However, it was never the case with the crimes that Scarlet/Carly did. Even Wes… dunno, it feels so forced! I mean, the guy grows up with Allison and for so many years of supporting her, he never pushes himself onto her, but then Carly shows up and all of a sudden he turns into an a-hole..? I mean, he wasn’t even a “monster”, he was just a typical teenager. In his mind everything made sense. The dude didn’t rape anyone, he tried to kiss her by force though, which is not ok obviously, but the girl didn’t break into pieces either. Jasper…  same. Kinnear… that a-hole didn’t deserve such a death either.

You cannot possible bulletproof the whole world so that everyone can live a life without disappointments. The most we can do is to try to punish the wrongdoers enough so we can try to live in a world as free of crimes and debilitating abuse as we possibly can. Avoiding disappointment and emotional self-defense is about our own education, not about illegal punishment of any sort. We can’t go killing our parents because they’re narcissistic… Narcissism is a personality disorder, it has complex trauma at its core, and no matter how unfair may seem, people need trials in life in order to grow and expand, we can’t grow if someone fixes everything for us. So, unless we’re getting physically in danger, the rest is up to us to resolve by our own choice and strength. I don’t think you could ever free a codependent woman from domestic abuse, because she has to free herself, otherwise she’ll only end up with another abusing partner. That’s how it works, it’s not about what’s good or evil, but it’s rather plain human psychology.

I really wished Scarlet would have done all this for the right reasons. But she’s not. She’s a highly manipulative bitch and a psychopath who’s totally unaware of other people’s emotions and of her own emotions. She really reminds me of the character Joe Goldberg of the “You” series. She thinks she can go around controlling people’s lives and making choices for them, according to her own definitions of “good” and “bad”. That makes her dogmatic and toxic. She treats Wes like a puppy and when he finally has an anger outburst (because, hey, what a surprise, he’s not a 60 years old Buddhist monk), she simply kills him. She stalks on Allison and drags her to wherever she thinks it’s good for her, she doesn’t care whether Allison might perhaps have some other plan of coping with her own emotional shit and blunder. Scarlet criticizes the guys but all she wants is to get into Allison’s pants, just like any other male. She gets involved with Jasper like a hypocrite she is because whatever she does is excusable but others deserve death for pretty much the same BS. She’s using Jasper however it’s convenient to her as if she’s a demanding slave-owner, and whenever something about a man bothers her, she enters the killing-mode.  Kinnear was the first to support her when young, and despite being a chronic womanizer and a typical a-hole, the guy didn’t actually do physical harm to anyone. Based on what he did, Scarlet should start on killing many women too, if she’d be consistent with her own sick judgment.

And among all those young students… there are some who get in bed with some creepy professor, while others do not. Naivety comes with a big price in life, and many of us know this by own experience. This world is not utopia where invisible angels always got our back. Either your parents educate you about the dangers of this world and about how this world works, or you educate yourself. There isn’t in fact a third option other than getting hurt. For that reason, My dark Vanessa brought me to tears because it explained the struggle and confusion of the psychological & sexual abuse so much better.

This review was written from a perspective of a female who had known abuse from both males and females, sexual and non-sexual, both physical and emotional, on all stages of life so far. So I’m familiar with the rage burning deep within the soul, the thirst for justice, the silent scream of an undeserved and lingering pain. I only came to learn that hurting people hurt and whoever manages to break the cycle gets free. Free enough to start healing and redefining own life, and when you’re being busy with your own life, then you won’t notice reasons to place & waste your energy into someone else’s life.

Gender doesn’t make anyone good or bad, character does.

Bottom line is… the book was fun to read and the author is clearly good at writing. But I felt deeply disappointed with the “morals” of the book and all the biased feminist BS, injustice, stereotypes and hatred spread all throughout. It could have been so much better. Because, to say or imply that ALL men are one way or another, or that ALL women are one way or another, then that’s…

…and it’s about time we stopped this loosing game.

Posted in Articole, Carti in limba Engleza, Carti pentru copii, Noi achizitii

Cărți cu stele

Nu prea mi se întâmplă mie lucruri frumoase, însă trebuie să recunosc că astăzi cineva m-a făcut să zâmbesc.

Dar să începem cu începutul. Adică, să ne întoarcem mai exact la momentul în care hotărâsem ca pentru o bună bucată de vreme să nu mai cumpăr nicio cărticică. Fiindcă urmează să mă mut, casa mea e arhiplină de cutii și cutiuțe îngrămădite în toate colțurile casei. Încă puțin și va trebui să dorm în șifonier. Pardon, am vrut de fapt să zic în cada de baie, întrucât șifonierul este deja ocupat de cărți.

Dar nu s-ar mai numi adicție dacă ar fi atât de ușor să-ți pui frână doar dându-ți peste degete, nu?.. Păi așa ziceam și eu! Dar e ceva ce-mi aduce bucurie. Încerc să-mi fac timp să citesc mai mult, dar în același timp visez să construiesc un fel de mini bibliotecă stradală, cu diferența că aș plasa-o mai degrabă undeva pe casa scării astfel încât să fie accesibilă unui număr de familii alături de care trăim. Acum, ce-i drept, planul ca planul, vom vedea ulterior cât de deschiși sunt respectivii oameni la așa ceva. Este foarte greu să găsești vecini alături de care să formezi o comunitate bazată pe respect reciproc.

Desigur, acum mai există și teama de viruși iar oamenii tind să nu mai împrumute lucruri unii de la alții. Însă în cazul achiziționării de astfel de produse, nu există riscuri de infectare, mai ales dacă le băgați în carantină (adică le lăsați în cutie) pentru o perioadă, orice virus va muri în cele din urmă de singurătate.

Mi se pare foarte important pentru oameni să citească. Atât copii cât și adulți. E ceva în procesarea informației scrise care antrenează creierul într-un mod în care simpla procesare vizuală nu reușește să o facă.

Eu când eram copil, din cauza lipsei banilor nu am prea avut cărți, și citeam la nesfârșit aceeași carte, și o prețuiam nespus de mult.

Așadar, am descoperit întâmplător un site minunat cu cărți în limba Engleză, la prețuri atât de accesibile încât atunci când am văzut am căzut de pe scaun mi s-au lipit ochii de ecran.

Site-ul se numește Cărți cu stele și aici găsiți cărți second-hand în limba Engleză, majoritar pentru copii și adolescenți, absolut minunate. Toate cărțile pe care le-am primit sunt într-o stare minunată, unele dintre titluri nici nu speram să le mai găsesc pe undeva. Stocul se actualizează periodic iar aceste informații le găsiți pe blogul site-ului.

Aceasta a fost prima mea comandă…

Iar aceasta a fost cea de-a doua comandă, la care am primit aceste două minunate cărticele CADOU. Să deschizi coletul și să găseși așa bucurie.. ce drăguț!

Mulțumim frumos


street-library photo source:

Posted in Carti in limba Engleza, science-fiction, Stiinta

RECURSION – Blake Crouch

Recursion is a sci-fi novel in which the action revolves around an astounding technology which is bound to change the course of humanity forever. Helena Smith is a neuroscientist who dedicated her entire life to creating a technology that will allow Alzheimer patients preserve their most precious memories. Meanwhile, a sort of a False Memory Syndrome pandemic spreads all around the country in a mysteriously way, driving its victims mad with memories of lives they never lived. Detective Barry Sutton starts to investigate the devastating phenomenon and while he searches for the truth, he comes face to face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease. Then his and Helena’s paths come together and they both set off on a terrifying journey in a desperate try to keep the world from falling apart.

Note: since I’m not a native English speaker, please excuse my mixed up grammar tenses. After all, we’re reviewing a book which states that the past, present and future are sort of the same thing, so… there you go!

So… I’ve just finished reading Blake Crouch’s Recursion.  Well, I told you I would! Right after Dark matter. I couldn’t have waited for it to be translated into Romanian. So I got it, I read it, and now I’m exhausted. How can this guy write so fast-paced novels..? I mean, once you open the book you’re like signing up for a marathon.

Before i get to my review, i could say that reading Recursion felt a bit like this (what an accurate visual description):

It’s not related to Dark matter so they can be read separately. I feel Recursion has a rather more complicated plot and a unique approach to space-time travel. It’s somehow backed up by some scientific theories all throughout the book, and I really appreciated the effort of the author to do research and try to give us an understanding of the world he built. That’s no little thing.

I admit it lost me few times and after I finished reading the book I still needed a more specific explanation of the timelines structure, which I found HERE, and it’s an awesome explanation, but you may check on it only AFTER you’ve finished reading the book. I also admit I wasn’t paying attention to the dates which accompanied each chapter, so maybe that’s how I got dizzy at the middle of the book. So you might want to keep that in mind: don’t skip reading the dates.

Towards the middle of the book I felt like the author could’ve ended it right there, and staring at the other half of the book I was wondering what else he came up with.  

I feel the book is a lot about identity, but also about grief and loss, and it kind of triggered me. But it also helped me somehow to cope with it, because after witnessing the struggle of these characters, the resolution at the end feels fairly earned and genuine. There’s a time when we need to fight and not give up, and there’s a time when we need to accept stuff we cannot change. Like it or not, we’re a part of this unfolding drama of our earthy existence. Only after letting go of the need to control everything, are we finally free to just be. I personally still have a hard time accepting loss and sufferance so I couldn’t say I got to this resolution, but I suppose it takes a hell of a journey to finally get to it and surrender your stubbornness.

“For so many lifetimes, he lived in a state of perpetual regret, returning obsessively and destructively to better times, to moments he wished he could change. Most of those lives he lived staring into the rearview mirror.

The thought comes almost like a prayer – I don’t want to look back anymore. I’m ready to accept that my existence will sometimes contain pain. No more trying to escape, either to nostalgia or a memory chair. They’re both the same fucking thing. Life with a cheat code isn’t life. Our existence isn’t something to be engineered or optimized for the avoidance of pain. That’s what it is to be human – the beauty and the pain, each meaningless without the other”.

What really scared the bejesus out of me was the nuclear thingie… the description felt overwhelming. The idea alone gives me nightmares! And it gives me nightmares because I realized how vulnerable this planet is to the stupidity of humans. I almost wished I kept living in my ignorant bliss, because after reading this book I added one more reason to my sleepless nights. But really now, I think that such a book was needed, I think humanity really needed this book and I can see its importance beyond its literary value. Now I can only hope that humans shall find a way to secure life on this planet, away from the corruption of some stupid bums. Dunno how we’re gonna do it, I only know we’ve got to do it before it’s too late.

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. (Søren Kierkegaard)

Now, regarding the theories used in this book… they’re all food for thought. I have a hard time digesting certain theories, even the String Theory itself seems a bit stretched to me, but that doesn’t mean I decide what is true and what isn’t. I can’t help not to also mention Donald Hoffman’s evolutionary argument against reality, which I find fascinating as well. I‘ve been fascinated with time & space travel ever since I know myself, but as I grew up I kind of realized that our human nature (as we know it) will always prevent us from exploring the beyond. I thought that maybe AI could do that in the future, but also there’s this key of Consciousness that may (or may not) allow us to break our limits.  Scientists taking Consciousness seriously enough to study it so meticulously, never happened before, so that’s a good start. Now, as I often say, we might need new additions to our vocabulary in order to describe new notions, because at this point we still struggle to understand each other and define our own ideas. For example, the notion of Consciousness is still differently understood by people. Some see it as awareness, while others see it more like a state of being. However, generally science doesn’t ascribe Consciousness to a non-living being. And if it is so, then most of our hopes and dreams and plans for “the beyond” are really short-lived.

These are all trials for the future human minds, someone might figure it all out someday, who knows.

As for the false memories… I think many people have them, don’t they..? I myself struggled with a bunch of them wondering how is it possible to be present in two places at the same time, but that’s also because I have vivid dreams at night, and those realistic images definitely work their impression upon the mind. The conscious and the subconscious influence each other constantly. But the thing is… the mind is coding, all the time. It’s coding what it is, and it’s coding what it isn’t, also. In a dream, the mind codes emotions, like a fear into a monster, or turns a lack into some-thing. I often wonder how can the simplest mind create original figures of people who never existed, or of places which never existed… it creates whole worlds from scratch, with apparently no effort whatsoever. The heartache for people & places that don’t exist, the disconnection from your own body, the fear and pain of a “virtual” death… they’re all feeling real in the moment (i.e. psychological time) because the subconscious cannot tell the difference between real and imaginary. (just like you imagine a lemon and feel like drooling although there’s no lemon anywhere around). The puzzling Psychological Time vs Clock Time.

Random thoughts:

*** I liked the characters, although to me Barry felt slightly more real than Helena. Maybe because he was a bit more messed-up emotional than Helena, while she was rather more rational and collected..? Not sure, but perhaps.

*** I know cute is such an over-used word, but the relationship between the two was really cute and heartwarming. I can only imagine how it would feel like to meet someone who feels so familiar and safe. Wait, no, I’m lying. I can’t even imagine.

*** I’m glad the main characters are finally middle-aged (common) people and not 16 y.o. teenagers with perfect looks and super-powers.

*** I hated the fact that the author used the most trivial word ever to tell that two characters were having sex. I mean… there you are, trusting that narrator voice inside your head, when it suddenly slaps you in the face with “they fucked”. What the.. fuck? Dunno how the editor decided to leave those in, because it trivializes the narration. It’s like… you trust a narrator who’s talking in your mind about science and struggle and stuff, and then suddenly he turns into the drunken neighbor who’s just letting you know that X and Y fucked. Probably followed by a loud burp and a scratch of the butt.

*** The novel doesn’t have any useless sex scenes, which was highly appreciated.

*** At one point, it almost made me wonder how dying multiple times may feel.. almost like a “here-we-go-again” kind of thing. I guess no fear of death after that, huh..? Still darn painful.

*** The way it ended was the cutest cliffhanger I ever read.

*** The quotes used as dividers for the plot were cleverly used.

*** I still don’t understand what could’ve happened if two different people were using the chair at the same time. What reality would the world’s consciousness had been drawn with..?

*** I can’t help not to notice a common theme of family and loyalty in both Recursion and Dark Matter. I love how Blake Crouch uses this theme, it’s always motivating to read about it in a context full of trials. However, to me it comes hard to believe that such loyal & unconditional love really exist outside novels, or (not to be a total skunk) I’m gonna say it exists but it’s perhaps just as probable as a 90% Gucci discount.

I surely recommend this book, it’s a smart, well-thought book. I have a bit of a hard time understanding the readers who are highly critical to every single detail, as if they almost expect the theories used in the novel to actually work. It’s a fiction, there is no chair, there is no reality shifting, this is not a science paper. The purpose of a fictional novel is to entertain and to give you food for thought, and Recursion does it successfully. Writing a book of this level is no easy process and I’m sure the author did his best. I don’t believe that a collective consciousness could ever be drawn into a specific timeline by just one consciousness stream, but yet the whole book makes me think a lot about future perspectives, and most important (to me at least) it makes me think a lot about the vulnerability of life and of our duty to preserve the only habitable planet we know in this Universe.

“It isn’t just the disappointment of all the unrealized scientific and humanitarian uses to which it might be put under ideal conditions. It’s the realization that, as a deeply flawed species, we will never be ready to wield such power”.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Posted in Aventura, Carti in limba Engleza, Carti pentru copii, English speakers, Fantezie, Povesti

The Land of Stories – Book 2 (The Enchantress Returns)

….previous (Book 1 – The Wishing Spell)

Book 2 – The Enchantress Returns

The evil Enchantress, who cursed Sleeping Beauty, is back with a vengeance. Can Alex and Conner Bailey save the fairy-tale world from the greatest threat it’s ever faced?


Whee!!, I’ve just completed my second adventure in the Land of Stories, and I’m speechless! (that’s why I prefer writing right now.. 😀 ). Seriously now, I myself came to the conclusion that Chris Colfer didn’t get his praise for nothing. It was earned. And I can’t find enough words to describe how wonderful his story is!

IMG_2696The first part was so entertaining and so much fun, but I didn’t suspect it can get even better in the second part. I love his brilliant ideas, the fresh and cheerful mood of the story-line, spiced up so amazingly with deep insights on more serious life matters which all of us can easily relate to. And it feels so heartwarming to find yourself in there, in between the pages of the book, as if it directly talks to you, as if someone really knows the depths of your soul, yet it’s not there to judge you but rather to show you how much of an adventure life can be. There’s so much kindness in this book; he doesn’t avoid heavy topics nor negative events, but the way he dilutes violence reminds me of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s adventures in Wonderland. He simply doesn’t need heavy drama to make his story highly entertaining. No, sir. Chris is no drama llama writer. I just love it. His story is such a delight, it all falls together so smoothly and so perfect. He breaks the traditional, conservatory patterns of fairy-telling in such a mindful, considerate manner.

Chris is such an alchemist; he’s not set up to judge and condemn all evil, but rather to transform it into something good. He seems to know that evil can’t really be fought against, but rather integrated. He goes to the root of evilness, trying to unveil whatever has happened in the past of each villain, trying to figure out whether is there a way to save the day without hurting anyone in the process. I can relate so much to this.

IMG_2694I remember as a kid, I was scared of the fairy-tales villains; however, I wasn’t very much at ease reading about how they were defeated… I felt it was a bit disturbing to read about the wolf who was split open to death, or about the dragon who had its head cut off, or about an evil step-mother who was tortured in public.. In my heart, I wished that everyone who had done evil to simply repent and move on. That was my version of a happy-ending. I think that this is how kids really would like fairy-tales to end, because a pure, genuine child is not vengeful. But rarely do adults understand what’s going on in a child’s mind. However, some of them luckily do.

Now, I’m not saying that the whole story revolves around morally “educating” the villains and turning them into nice persons. Not at all. There’s a lot of fight going on and lots of adventure. Some might choose to change, while some others might choose not to. Just as in our world. We can make amazing things happen… but it’s always about our choice.

IMG_2687Now, there’s a side of me who is not all gumdrops and rainbows. This side kind of made me… well, cheer for the evil Enchantress at some point. That makes me wonder: would I turn into a villain if I were to find myself in a fairy-tale? Probably yes. (and then Chris would have to find a way to conciliate me).

Compared to Evly (Snow White’s stepmother), I felt that the Enchantress had more reasons to become revengeful. I mean… Snow White’s stepmother was simply jealous and that’s not enough to wish to kill a girl not once, but 3 times! I myself as a woman, felt the jealousy and bullying of some other women, and it’s not a pleasant feeling at all. I can’t be very sympathetic with female evilness. But at least Evly has her stone-heart issue. Understandable.

But I was able to relate to the Enchantress quite much, actually.. Maybe a bit too much. I was almost cheering for her at some point: “You go, girl!”. Especially when Charlotte behaved like such a brat when saying “No one ever had trouble loving me”, “Careful”, Ezmia warned her, “there’s a thin line between bravery and stupidity. Darn right, it is! The woman was just sharing her story of all those unfortunate relationships with people (which led her to misbehaving the way she did, but.. never mind that), and this chick over there was acting like a special snowflake “oh, too bad for you, ‘cause everybody loves me”.

Problem is.. you can give your heart out to people, and people may still trample all over you. And it’s not about you, it’s all about the people around you. Now, of course, it IS a defeat the moment you choose to take it further on innocent people. And it IS a defeat to let others mold you. But at the same time, it’s not an easy job to simply stay positive when you hurt inside. (and hurting alone!). You do feel the need to take your pride back, and that’s what the Enchantress had been trying to do, although she went way to extremes with it. She sort of lost her marbles.

I really loved this part, it’s so fully packed with sooo much adventure, it’s simply fascinating! I liked how the twins found the portal when they thought there was no portal left for them to get to the LOS. The quest for the Wand of Wonderment is incredible, so I’m not even going to reveal anything of what happens because it’s so much fun to be the one who unfolds the story.

IMG_2690If (in the previous part) my first impression of Red was “who on Earth in the Land of Stories is this cheeky troublemaker?”, now in the second part of the series I just fell in love with her character. The whole story wouldn’t be the same without her. I surely like her more than Goldilocks. And adopting Clawdius was super-hilarious.

I didn’t expect to like Bob, because.. I was able to relate so much to the kids and I know how such events feel like… Usually when a stranger pops up in your life because of some other member of your family, s/he is usually interested in that specific member of your family and doesn’t care about you at all. A little spoiler (written with the same color as the background, so if you want to see it, just select the white paragraph): But Bob was so cool. Although I expected him to suddenly turn into something horrible, to prove himself a traitor of some sort and then “bam!” to see him pulling the rug from under everyone’s feet, he instead turned into a very cute and reliable character (his credit card was particularly reliable). He didn’t pretend to like the rest of Charlotte’s family for Charlotte’s sake, but his kindness and gracefulness were all authentic, and he truly cared for the whole family.

My heart felt a bit heavy when thinking about the Harp. She was always sooo lonely that my heart ached. It was as if everyone was living in a complete different world and there was no one to share hers. I’m not going to reveal what happens with her, so you better find out yourself. 🙂

IMG_2685I’ll also let you find out all by yourself what happens with Cinderella’s wicked stepmother, Lady Iris, and her daughters- Petunia and Rosemary. Well… bad (or better said, toxic..?) people exist and not all of them have a valid explanation behind their actions. But I think the author did well with… customizing the after-story of the wicked stepmother & her daughters. However, I do remember about his customization of Hansel & Gretel story, and that one didn’t thrilled me that much because I found it rather sad, especially because Hansel & Gretel used to be one of my favorite stories as a child, and I longed for that bond that the brothers had despite all the hardship… He did, however, pulled out something good out of it. But still, man…

I want a Mirror of Truth! At least a tiny piece of it! I wonder how I’d look in it! Would it make me justice?.. 😀

The author’s sense of humor is delightful and entertaining, and I enjoy the way he weaves the fairy-tale thread into our world. This second part of the series is a lot about bullying and terror, but also about bravery and choices.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention: you’re gonna meet the Snow Queen in her ice-land Palace and the Sea Witch underwater, you’re gonna explore the Giant’s castle among the clouds, fly with a balloon and oh-so-many more adventures! So… considering on how much stuff you’ve got to do, buddy, I advise you start your journey right away, ‘cause you ain’t got time to lose. The Enchantress’ curse is swallowing the Fairytale World with its deadly vines and the only way to stop her is to put together the magic Wand of Wonderment.

To be continued…

“But anyone can write, right?”, Conner asked. “I mean, that’s why authors get judged so harshly, isn’t it? Because technically everyone could do it if they wanted to”.

“Just because anyone can do something doesn’t mean everyone should”, Ms. Peters said. “Besides, anyone with an internet connection feels they have the credentials to critique or belittle anything these days.”

“Having something worth telling and a passion to tell is what make you a good writer”.

“Success can scar you as much as failure”.

“So many girls, especially in my world, are so insecure and jealous. We rely so much on one another, but we’re so mean to each other at the same time. We could use more women like you to look up to”.

“Jealousy is just a reminder of the frustrations you have with yourself. Who has time to only concentrate on that?”

“Find out what your sword is – find your own advantage – and wear it proudly. Beat those girls at their own game by seeming perfectly content in your own life”.

“You went through all of that for mom?”

“Of course. I would walk to the ends of the world if I had to – any world. But not just your mom, for you as well”.

“I hate you so much right now”, Conner said between heavy pants.

“That’s funny, because I’ve never loved you more”, Alex said with a big smile and rolled over to give her brother a big hug.

Posted in Aventura, Carti in limba Engleza, Carti pentru copii, English speakers, Fantezie, Povesti

The Land of Stories – Intro & Book 1

Note: Unfortunately (and for some reason I do not know), Nemira Publishing House had discontinued the publishing of the Land of Stories series in Romanian. They only published the first book and that was it. I hate that when it happens. So, now I got the whole series in English. From now on, I won’t buy translated series unless they’re complete.

a little bit of…: Introduction

So… I’ve just completed my first journey to The Land of Stories. I’m now in a hurry to jump into my second adventure on this realm, but first I’m gonna tell you a little bit of how I got there in the first place.

First things first.  When I got these books, I had no idea who the writer was. I only read a short synopsis of the series and I thought it was worth buying it since I’m so much into fantasy literature, especially children literature. I also enjoyed The 10th Kingdom and I thought they might be somehow similar. Well, the only thing The Land of Stories has in common with The 10th Kingdom is that they both connect reality with the fairy-tale world and that they both take stories further aback & further ahead of what we already know about our favorite fairy-tale characters. Compared to The 10th Kingdom, I’d say that The Land of Stories is more suitable for children, because the whole action develops around two 13 years old kids. Both series are wonderful though, in their unique way.

I’m always curious to read a few reviews before buying a book. I know that people are all so different and they see things through various perspectives, so it’s difficult to trust any of it without solid arguments or examples. I’ve read some reviews of people whining that the writing is so simple and what-not. I even read the review of a lady complaining about the morals of the story, apparently concerned that the scene where Alex cheats on her teacher in order to help her brother pass the test might negatively impact her kids (..and turn them into some future delinquents?..). Well, dude, if any of you happen to have kids who never cheat in school, then you should indeed be a little bit concerned. And whoever claims s/he never cheated in school (or at least wished & planned to), shall be smacked in the head with an 800 pages’ worth dictionary. There were also complains about the language..? The language is perfectly fine, so chill out. I mean, if you have a kid who stumbles upon the word “shucks” and then suddenly gets traumatized and goes around cursing and hurting people, then again, you have one hell of a child. I simply start to think that some parents go a bit to extremes with their parenthood ideals.

So… is this story a simple writing? Yes, it is. (update after just finished the 3rd part: no, it is not). Does this book read a bit like a screenplay? Probably. (update after finishing the 3rd part: no, it does not. Only the 1st part sounds a bit too simple, but the rest of them get more & more complex as they advance further into the story). Was this story fun and enjoyable? Heck, YEA! It was even more than fun, it was delightful, it was beautiful and it was MAGIC.

You know, I recently reviewed Cornelia Funke’s Mirrorworld and she’s without a doubt one of my favorite writers, I’ve always praised her rich & descriptive writing. Cornelia’s writing style is more like a.. rich, tasty pizza, with a delicious crispy crust loaded with juicy, fresh vegetables of the most appetizing kind, perfectly seasoned and spicy here and there where you least expect it, covered all over with the freshest mozzarella topping that makes you mouthwatering as you see it stretching when you grab your hot slice. Well… Chris’ writing style is rather like a downright delicious fruity cocktail which looks absolutely cute and bright colored and makes your soul sigh with a cozy heavenly feeling as you feel it quenching your thirst for something simple, fresh and delightful. Or maybe like a molten lava cake, filled with intense flavored hot chocolate and seasoned with creamy vanilla ice-cream topped off with strawberries and raspberries all over it. You get the idea. Quite simple, but it makes you smile from ear to ear! I do love pizza quite a lot, but… I just need some fruits and cakes to make the day perfect. 🙂

I was never able to understand how some people could be so aggressive and rude when reviewing a book. I mean, you may not like it, or you may even find it appalling in some way, but… does it really need to hate on it that much? I admit that there have been some books which I could just not swallow, but it takes quite a lot for a book to get me angry enough to completely reject it. Even then, I wouldn’t find it easy to criticize it. I’m sure that The Land of Stories may not be the cup of tea for everybody and it’s quite normal to be so. But I had a hard time to understand the heavy criticism of certain (and rather very few!) people. After reading the book, going through the mean comments seemed quite hilarious because they made no sense whatsoever. It seemed to me that the random heavy criticism was rather a personal attack against its author rather than reviews. That made me want to do a research about the author, whom I knew nothing about.

Well… what I found is that Chris Colfer is quite a strong and inspiring young man, but for some reason his lifestyle may not comply with the policy of the Abrahamic religions that some people are very fond of, and hence such people perceive Chris as a threat to their righteous families. They somehow feel as if they have the “duty” to keep children away from any possible “threats”, and that is, the “threat” of being who you are. As for me, I admit that I find Chris to be inspiring; he inspires me to believe in myself that I am strong enough to go through all the pain I feel sometimes. He proved that we can turn pain and escapism into something beautiful and magic. He’s an alchemist, as I like to call such people… who have the wit and will to turn something bad into something beautiful.

IMG_2786aIn my opinion, it is a bit hard to find a good storyteller. I find one once in a blue moon. And it happened that we did have blue moon recently. So that’s how I found Chris Colfer. It’s amazing that someone can write such a masterpiece at such a young age, it’s just incredible.

Thanks, Chris, for giving us such a wonderful gift. My soul felt almost literally hungry for such an adventure. To be honest, it really helps me on my daily basis… to have a place where I can escape to, a place where I can make anything possible. I was saturated with the grey colors in which (my) reality was painted. But reality is often what we make it, and I guess that my palette desperately needed a refill of bright colors.

The Land of Stories oficial website a place where you can find lots of info about LOS (it looks awesome!).


Book 1 – The Wishing Spell

When the twins’ grandmother gives them a treasured fairy-tale book, they have no idea they’re about to enter a land beyond all imagining: The Land of Stories, where fairy tales are real. The twins know they must get back home somehow. But with the legendary Evil Queen hot on their trail, will they ever find the way?


I like the way Chris empowers the characters that people usually expect the least of. You can be a very strong person despite the fact that a fragile and childish look is all that people can see in you. A straightforward person is not always mean, just as a forever-smiling person is not always benevolent. Also, being young or a child doesn’t mean you’re also immature.  There are so many preconceptions that are still lingering in the world, and Chris gracefully weaves new refreshing perspectives into his wonderful stories.

IMG_2784bI know how it’s like to the see struggle of a single parent who’s medical assistant and who has to work night-shifts. It was easy to relate to the kids, but Alex & Connor have very different personalities, therefore it’s easy for any reader to relate to one of them, if not to both of them. They are both so delightful, I just can’t get enough of them. Alex’s enthusiastic nature is balanced so well with her brother’s healthy sarcasm.

I like how Chris emphasized on each fairy-tale character’s strong point instead of simply chopping their reputation as others had done in their attempt to re-invent old stories. I did feel a bit of annoyance about the Red Riding Hood adulthood at first, but then I had to admit to myself that it was actually fun, and whatever bothered me at first about her, I actually started to love later on. Too much convention could only make a story boring. I also loved the way he pulled through with the little mermaid’s story; I felt as if he did justice to her. The author manages to maintain such a healthy balance between good and bad in the fairy-tale world. We can’t have good without the bad, we can’t have happy endings without quite an adventure to go through… and yet the story-line makes you so often wonder “oh, but what if… what if..?”. It does keep you on your toes.

The Wishing Spell is packed with great adventures, and it’s only the first book out of 6 wonderful books that shall grant you access to a magical World. What i like the most about this series is that it does FEEL magic. Even after you put the book aside, the feeling stays with you, as if it’s enchanted

Before he died, my friend told me “Life itself is magic, and although you might not believe it, try to at least live it as if it’s magic”. He said that it was an Einstein quote (aren’t they all..?). Ever since then his words stayed with me because his words opened a door through which I can step up and look for him. It makes me feel that he’s closer than I think, and that there is so much more than meets the eye. He was right.

I definitely recommend the series and although i don’t use to re-read books, I’m sure I’m gonna read this series again. And again.

“Does it ever get frightening living here and knowing that at any moment a fairy could fly by and grant you a wish, or an ogre could run up and eat you?

Smithers looked at her curiously: does such a place exist where people can’t unexpectedly be helped or hurt?”


…and now on to the Book 2 (The Enchantress Returns) review… —>