Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 End of Year Book (and Movie) Survey



This is an annual survey created by The Perpetual Page Turner that allows you to sum up your year in books. And, in my case, movies too. Thus I've edited the original questions slightly to allow movies as well :) AND deleted some questions that are non-applicable to me.  
The graphic above is from the original survey. I credit Jamie :)

Since I only started blogging halfway through the year, most of the books and movies I mention below have not been reviewed on my blog. 



1:  Number of Books & Movies You Watched & Read: 
Books: 127 (including school reads)
Movies: 44.

2:  Number of Re-Reads/Re-Watches: 
Books: Not sure! I don't think any...
Movies: 2 

3:  Genre You Read/Watched the Most From:
Book: Hmm......either fantasy or contemporary. 
Movie:  Thriller/action


1: Best Book/s & Movie/s of 2016:
Books:
- Winterkill  - by Kate A. Boorman
- Sisters Red  - by Jackson Pearce.
- The Girl on the Train  - by Paula Hawkins.
- Don't Look Now  - by Michelle Gagnon.  
- Splintered -  by A. G. Howard
- How To Fall in Love -  by Cecelia Ahern
- Room -  by Emma Donoghue.
Movies:   
- Room.
- Emma.
- Safe Haven. 
- The Help.

2:  Book/Movie you were excited to read/watch and thought you'd love but didn't:
Book: Wicked Lovely. 
Movie: The Huntsman: Winter's War.

3:  Most surprising book/movie you read/watched: 
Book: Don't Look Now, by Michelle Gagnon. That end death was a total surprise and ripped my heart apart.  
Movie: Not sure. I guess I'll go with Captain America: Civil War; even though I knew what the shocking ending revelation was, it still hurt and it was still very powerful. 

4:  Best series you started in 2016/best sequel of 2016/best series ender of 2016: 
Book: Don't Look Now was a brilliant sequel to Don't Turn Around
Movie: I started the Bourne series, and The Bourne Ultimatum was my favourite of the series. (Excluding the "spin-off" The Bourne Legacy)

5:  New favourite author you discovered in 2016: 
Emma Donoghue

6:  Best book/movie out of a genre you don't usually read/watch:
Book: The Sealed Letter. I don't usually read historical fiction. 
Movie: Emma. I don't usually enjoy romantic "chick-flicks". 

7 :  Most action-packed, thrilling, gripping book/movie of the year:
Book: Sisters Red and the Throne of the Glass series in terms of action; and the Throne of Glass series, Gone Girl, Twilight, and The Girl on the Train in terms of unputdownable.
Movie: The Bourne Ultimatum in terms of action, and A Perfect Murder in terms of suspense. 

8:  Book and Movie you are most likely to re-read/re-watch next year:
Book: Black Ice. I feel like I need to revamp my review for that one. 
Oh! and Winterkill, too, probably.  
Movie: Emma.

9:  Favourite cover of 2016:
Book: Splintered, and Winterkill.
Movie: The Help and Water for Elephants.


10:  Most memorable character of 2016:
Book: Scarlett from Sisters Red, and Rachel from The Girl on the Train
Movie:  Iron Man in Captain America: Civil War. I loved the development of his character arc. 

11:  Most beautifully written/filmed book/movie of the year: 
Book: It's a toss-up between Splintered and Room.
Movie: The Constant Gardener.

12:  Most thought-provoking, life-changing book/movie of the year: 
Book: Room.
Movie: The Help.

13:  Book/Movie you can't believe you waited until 2016 to read/watch:
Book: Twilight, and Throne of Glass.
Movie: The Help.

14:  Favourite passage/quote from a book/movie this year:
Books: 






15:  Longest & shortest book/movie of the year:
Book: Longest was Breaking Dawn. The shortest was one of my school books.
Movie:  Longest: I watched a lot of 2 hour movies this year, so to name a few: Shakespeare in Love, Twilight: New Moon.....and the shortest.....I'm not sure.

16:  Book/Movie that shocked you the most: 
Book: Gone Girl. Amy was one crazy psycho! 
Movie: The Secret Life of Words. It was so heartbreaking and real. And The Dressmaker; Teddy's death was such a shock :( 

17:  OTP of the year:
Book: Noa and Zeke from the Don't Turn Around series.
Movie: Peter and Gwen from The Amazing Spiderman and The Amazing Spiderman 2. 

18:  Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year: 
Book: Ma and Jack's relationship in Room. 
Movie: Everyone's dynamic in The Help. There was such amazing chemistry between the cast. 

19:  Favourite book from an author you've read previously: 
How To Fall in Love - by Cecelia Ahern. 

20:  Newest fictional crush: 
Book: Dorian, from Throne of Glass.
Movie: Andrew Garfield's Spiderman ;) 

21:  Best world building/vivid book setting: 
The Throne of Glass series, and Splintered

22:  Book/Movie that was the most fun to read/watch:
Book: The Queen's Lady, and The Poisoned Apples. And Sense and Sensibility; during which I found myself soaking up the words obsessively and loving it a lot more than I thought I would. 
Movie: Emma.

23:  Book/Movie that made you cry:
I cry a lot. 
Book: Don't Look Now, Heir of Fire, 
Movie: Room, The Secret Life of Words, Safe Haven, The Help, Captain America: Civil War, The Amazing Spiderman 2.

24:  Hidden gem of the year:
Book: Sisters Red.
Movie:  Fracture.

25:  Book/Movie that crushed your soul:
Book: Room. Don't Look Now.
Movie: Room, Safe Haven, and The Amazing Spiderman 2 (GWEN's DEATH! My darling ship...)

26:  Most unique book/movie you read/watched this year: 
Book: The Poisoned Apples, by Lily Archer.   
Movie: The Dressmaker. 

27:  Book/Movie that made you mad: 
Book: The sexism in Splintered made my blood BOIL. And the sexism in Twilight was horrific too. 
I was also angry with I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You; it was supposed to be a spy book, but it was all tell and no show. 
Movie: There were quite a lot! But The Secret Life of Words made me furious because of the horrific treatment the heroine suffered at the hands of men. 



1:  New favourite blog you discovered in 2016:
Since this is my first year of blogging, every blog I've discovered is amazing. But I especially enjoy visiting Book Reviews By Di and Books Bags Burgers

2:  Favourite review you wrote in 2016:
Hmm, hard to choose. But I'll probabaly go with: 
Book review: Splintered, and The Sealed Letter.
Movie review: A Perfect Murder, and Emma.

3:  Best non-review post you wrote: 
Things Writers Can Relate To - I had such fun writing this. 

4:  Best bloggish/bookish moment: 
When Jackson Pearce - author of Sisters Red and one of my favourite authors ever - replied to my tweet when I tweeted my review of her book. She said "Thank you! This makes me happy :)". 
I DIED YOU KNOW COS IT WAS LIKE SHE BOTHERED TO ACKNOWLEDGE MY EXISTENCE. 

5:  Most challenging thing about your blogging/reading life:  
HTML and designing my blog. Enough said.

6:  Most popular post on my blog:

7:  Did you complete any goals or challenges you'd set for yourself during the year:  
I completed my Goodreads goal, which was awesome :) I read 127 books instead of the 100 I'd set for myself.



1:  One book/movie you didn't get to this year but will in 2017: 
Book: A Court of Thorns and Roses.
Movie: Me Before You

2:  Books/Movies you are most anticipating for 2017:
Books: Roseblood by A. G Howard, Caraval by Stephanie Garber, and many, many more!
Movies: La La Land

3:  One thing you are hoping to accomplish in your blogging/reading life in 2017: 
I want to be more disciplined about commenting back on other bloggers' blogs when they've commented on mine. 
More on resolutions tomorrow :) 

Happy slightly early New Year everyone! Hope you have a wonderful 2017! 
Xx



P.S: Next year I think I'll do separate surveys for my books and movies. This was hard........
Lol

Friday, 30 December 2016

Monthly Wrap-Up: December


What I read, what I watched, what I did, and everything else :)
How was your December?


I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! 
I ate too much cheesecake because, well, it's cheesecake and it was available. And I got some lovely presents from my family which included MONEY TO BUY BOOKS AND I'M SO EXCITED AND I'M ALREADY CHOOSING WHICH ONES TO GET <3
 I also got an Amazon Kindle Fire from my cousins, which shocked me like heck because I was not expecting it. It's so awesome and I love it (although I won't be using it to read books because I really don't like e-books ;)

In other news, I finally bought my 2017 diary and it's so pretty and pink! I was going to get a turquoise one, but I then I saw the pink and I just couldn't resist.



Buying this beauty also means that I can toss my 2016 diary into storage along with all my review notes from my 2016 reads.
Ta ta purple diary and all my messy scribbles!




Posts of the month (excluding reviews & weekly round-ups):
Follow Friday #1
What I've Learnt From NaNoWriMo
Teaser Tuesday #1
Waiting on Wednesday #10
Follow Friday #2
Bookish Gifts You Treasure
Teaser Tuesday #2
Waiting on Wednesday #11
Follow Friday #3
Holiday Movies to Watch this Christmas
Top Ten Tuesday #1
Teaser Tuesday #3
Waiting on Wednesday #12
Character Christmas!
Merry Christmas!
Top Ten Tuesday #2
Waiting on Wednesday #13


My Reviews:

See Me - Nicholas Sparks

Sisters Red - Jackson Pearce

The Hollow Boy - Jonathan Stroud

Under the Never Sky - Veronica Rossi

Minus Me - Ingelin Rossland

The Sealed Letter - Emma Donoghue


I'm so glad I got to read a lot of books this month :) My favourites were Sisters Red and The Sealed Letter, and my worst was Minus Me




My Reviews: 







My favourite movie of the month was Civil War, and my worst was Money Monster.




I went to the library and fell in love and FOUND A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES FINALLY AND I CANNOT WAIT TO START IT!
I am so excited about most all of these books :) 

Admire the variety, folks ;) 

And once again - in case you didn't hear me screaming the first time - I AM SO EXCITED TO READ A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES AND I CANNOT WAIT ANOTHER SECOND BUT I HAVE TO AND I HOPE I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT 


How was your Christmas and December? What did you read and watch? 
Leave your Monthly Wrap-Up link below so I can visit!


Thursday, 29 December 2016

THE SEALED LETTER - by Emma Donoghue

The Sealed Letter - by Emma Donoghue

Year Published: 2008 - by HarperCollins Canada.
Genres: Historical fiction/LGBT
Pages: 397.
Source: Library.

Miss Emily "Fido" Faithfull is a "woman of business" and a spinster pioneer in the British women's movement, independent of mind but naively trusting of heart. Distracted from her cause by the sudden return of her once-dear friend, the unhappily wed Helen Codrington, Fido is swept up in the intimate details of Helen's failing marriage and obsessive affair with a young army officer. What begins as a loyal effort to help a friend explodes into a courtroom drama that rivals the Clinton affair --complete with stained clothing, accusations of adultery, counterclaims of rape, and a mysterious letter that could destroy more than one life. Based on a scandalous divorce case that gripped England in 1864, "The Sealed Letter" is a riveting, provocative drama of friends, lovers, and divorce, Victorian style.

Having read Donoghue's Room, I was both overjoyed and hesitant to read another of her works. Overjoyed because I loved Room so much, and hesitant because historical fiction isn't really my kind of book.
But I fell in love. And I will never doubt Donoghue again.


Brilliantly witty dialogue, sparkling humour, perfect pacing, constant plot twists, and incredibly real and dynamic characters make up the excellence that is The Sealed Letter.  
I did not like any of the characters, but that didn't bother me in the slightest. They were all fully rounded, deeply flawed and unpredictable humans that amazed me with their realness and personality. They were perfectly developed.

The writing was crisp, fresh, rich and powerful. It was written in second person; in alternating points of view between the three main characters: Helen, the unfaithful, naive, and manipulative wife; Fido, Helen's faithful friend who is trying to deal with her own romantic feelings in a world that will not yet accept them for what they are; and Helen's husband Harry, a man who sways between guilt and fury and fear at the news that shakes his world.    
I admit that the second point of view did worry me a bit at first; since it's not a point of view I usually enjoy.
But wow. Donoghue did it perfectly.

The humour was an absolute delight. It was sprinkled delicately throughout the novel; every time coming across natural and eccentric, and it just flowed so perfectly from the characters' themselves.
It was never forced.  

I also loved the theme. The book captured the feminist beginnings and struggles of the era superbly. 




One thing I have to mention because it was just AMAZING, is the beautiful showcase of back story that Donoghue so carefully and naturally revealed throughout the story. It was with true skill that she made the characters' pasts and backstorys float to the surface in the appropriate moments, and every time she managed to avoid info dumps. Brilliant.

That ending. What can I say?! Just read it.  It was, like the rest of the story, a gorgeous plot twist that I never saw coming but one that I kicked myself over because I should have ;)  It was the perfect ending; one that literally gave me goosebumps. I actually walked round the house all jittery and with my heart racing because I just couldn't believe the excellence Donoghue had ravished on my soul.

Yes, it is a hard book to read. You have to concentrate, and it's definitely not a light, relaxing tale. 
And while it's incredibly gripping and unputdownable, I only found myself hooked after the first chapter. Which is perfectly fine, except that it goes to show that it might take some time getting into.
But it's worth it. I cannot say that enough.



The Sealed Letter is a work of art by a genius who continues to explore and reveal the original, the magical, and the otherwise mediocre. Donoghue is an amazing writer, and I plan to read many more of her books in the future :)   


I give The Sealed Letter:





Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #13: DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING - by Tricia Levenseller

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we're excited to read. And on A Magical World of Words, I include movies as well. 



Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Release Date: 28th February 2017. 
A 17-year-old pirate captain intentionally allows herself to get captured by enemy pirates in this thrilling YA adventure. If you want something done right . . . When the ruthless pirate king learns of a legendary treasure map hidden on an enemy ship, his daughter, Alosa, knows there's only one pirate for the job—herself. Leaving behind her beloved ship and crew, Alosa deliberately facilitates her own kidnapping to ensure her passage on the ship, confident in her ability to overcome any obstacle. After all, who's going to suspect a seventeen-year-old girl locked in a cell? Then she meets the (surprisingly perceptive and unfairly attractive) first mate, Riden, who is charged with finding out all her secrets. Now it's down to a battle of wits and will . . . . Can Alosa find the map and escape before Riden figures out her plan? Debut author Tricia Levenseller blends action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic into a thrilling YA pirate tale.

I love pirates. I love pirates so much. And this action-packed, romantic novel with a kickass heroine and hero that sounds dashing?!!! YES YES PLEASE!  It looks AMAZING, and I can't wait to get my hands on it! <3




Anyone else excited for Daughter of the Pirate King?! 

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #2: Ten Best Books of 2016



Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Follow the link to learn more :)


Today's Prompt: 

"Ten Best Books of 2016" 
(regardless of publication date)


Well, I guess this prompt can be rephrased as: "Your favourite books of 2016."
That's how I look at it :) 

Oh, and I couldn't think of 10, so I stopped at 7.


1: Winterkill - by Kate A. Boorman

The cover is GORGEOUS and the story is amazing! 





















2: Sisters Red - by Jackson Pearce 
An action-packed, swoony retelling of Red Riding Hood :) <3 








3: The Girl on the Train - by Paula Hawkins
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. (And MUCH better than Gone Girl) 























4: Don't Look Now - by Michelle Gagnon
The sequel that improved incredibly upon the first book. And with an ending that shattered my soul and sunk my ship :( <3 




















5: Splintered - by A. G. Howard 
I loved this book for its non-stop excitement, entertainment, and gorgeously vivid writing, even though the sexism was horrendous.   





















6: How To Fall in Love - by Cecelia Ahern
I shipped the two main characters SO hard it completely absorbed my heart. They made the book.  





















7: Room - by Emma Donoghue. 
Brilliantly written but so heart breaking. 























 Leave your TTT links below so I can visit!



Monday, 26 December 2016

MONEY MONSTER (film) was laughable

Money Monster - 2016.
Cast: George Clooney; Julia Roberts.
Director: Jodie Foster.
Content Rating: R for language throughout, some sexuality, and brief violence.
Source: Rented.


Financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor takes over their studio.






I love thrillers. More action the better, but still: a thriller is awesome if it's clever and well acted.
This wasn't.
When I saw that Clooney and Roberts were in this I was even more excited to see it. They're big names, so the film was bound to be brilliant as well.
It wasn't.


The cinematography was edgy, Clooney's screen charisma was as dazzling as ever, and he and Roberts had natural chemistry. Unfortunately, that's all the film had going for it. 
It was a stupid story. It felt fake, weak, and it felt like everyone was taking themselves too seriously. They were trying to do something clever, but it didn't work; it felt cheap,  laughable, and like they were making a big deal out of a silly situation. The whole hostage situation just felt stupid. I honestly wanted to laugh-out-loud a few times at the ridiculousness of it. Not to mention that as soon as there's real, intense emotion involved, Clooney comes across as if he's laughing at it. 
He honestly did not act as if he had a bomb strapped to his chest; his facial expressions -  supposedly stressed and terrified - were laughable and halfhearted. For a guy with his life on the line, he didn't look that worried. Even Julia Roberts, who really can act, looked like she was taking it too seriously because of the stupidity of the story.
The characters were one-dimensional, cardboard cut-outs. 


The film also started without giving enough context and backstory with regards to the financial duties of the TV program and what Gates and his cronies actually stood for, etc. Even when the film explored that a little bit way too late in the film, it was confusing, loose, and very vague. 
In addition, the film became tedious when ending was splayed out in a loose mess that never seemed to end. It lost momentum. And the plot turned from "thriller" to "filler".


The story didn't work, the acting wasn't great, and the film went way overtime with its climax. 
I don't recommend it. 


I give Money Monster:





Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas!!


MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL YOU LOVELY PEOPLE OUT THERE!!!

I hope you all have a blessed, beautiful, relaxing, family-filled, friends-filled, food-filled, magical, fulfilling Christmas :) 
And if you're Christian, have a wonderful time celebrating Jesus' birth and the ultimate gift God gave us. 

Lots of Love,
Xx <3 



Saturday, 24 December 2016

Weekly Round-Up: Reading and Life


IT'S CHRISTMAS TOMORROW AND SO ALL MY CAROL SINGING AROUND THE HOUSE HAS PAID OFF. I mean seriously, is it something in the air that makes me addicted to singing Christmas carols this time of year? I just can't seem to get them out of my head.

You've probably noticed that I revamped my blog. Again. Thanks to Di for helping with the html, and Uma for telling me how to turn my social media links into icons :)


Posts of the week: 
Review: Under the Never Sky
Top Ten Tuesday
Teaser Tuesday
Waiting on Wednesday
Review: Minus Me
Character Christmas!


I read an AMAZING book this week: The Sealed Letter. At first I thought it was going to be a slow and boring read, but once I passed the first chapter, I became spellbound by its magnificence. 
My review will be up later next week. 




I was also very naughty and went to the library. Now I have a pile of books waiting for me, but I'm only going to be able to start them in January cause of life and time, etc etc.
*sigh*
I'm not good at waiting :(




How was your week? What have you read or watched? 
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas tomorrow! 

Friday, 23 December 2016

Character Christmas!


So I decided to try a very different sort of post for today. I wanted something Christmasy, and I wanted something to do with YA characters.
So hence this idea was born. And I'd love feedback, so share what you think of it!

Rules/Context: 
I picked 15 very well known YA characters. Then I divided them into three groups of five; the groups have to be picked randomly (although I did try to even out the guys and girls and separate the couples).
Then I picked five Christmas "jobs". And so imagine, if each group came together for Christmas dinner, who would do what and how would they do it?!

The "jobs": 
- The person who would host the party/dinner (decorator; etc).
- The person who would bring the food.
- The person who would bring presents for everyone.
- And the two people most likely to be found kissing under the mistletoe.  

Here are the groups (picked randomly): 


Group 1: Tris, Ron, Bella, Peeta, and Chaol.  













Group 2: Katniss, Morpheus, Four, Harry, and Aelin. 













Group 3: Feyre, Alyssa, Hermione, Edward, and Dorian.




Group 1: Tris (Divergent), Ron (Harry Potter), Bella (Twilight), Peeta (The Hunger Games), and Chaol (Throne of Glass). 


This is a hard one! But I think......Peeta would probably be the host; after all, he likes painting, which is kinda like decorating, and he's kind and nice enough to make everyone feel at home.
The food is easy. Ron loves food, so it makes sense that he'll bring it. Although, knowing him, it'll probably be all sweets and candy canes and chocolate ;)  
As for the presents.... hmm. I'll have to go with Bella. She'd probably be so anxious about coming and fitting in that she'd probably bring something for everyone just to be safe. 
And that leaves Chaol and Tris. I have to admit, out of this group, those two are the most likely to be found kissing under the mistletoe. And I can kind of see them as a couple, too. In fact, they would go quite well together, I think.     
End result: It would be quite a nice dinner. They are "calm", easy tempered people, and it would be a rather relaxing Christmas dinner :)



Group 2: Katniss (The Hunger Games), Morpheus (Splintered), Four/Tobias (Divergent), Harry (Harry Potter), and Aelin (Throne of Glass). 









This is an interesting group. I can imagine the tension between Katniss and Aelin - Katniss would probably hate her!
I think Morpheus would be a good host. He likes extravagance, and he's definitely got an artistic eye. He might not be the most friendly host, but he'd certainly take care with the decorations, etc.
As for the food, Aelin would bring that. Although she'd probably eat it all herself, refuse to share, and bring huge platters full of meats, pastries, and a number of things that no one in their right mind would be able to devour. Except her. But admittedly, she'd probably choose the best, most delicious desserts :)
I imagine Harry would bring the presents. If he remembered, that is. But he'd certainly want to thank Morpheus for hosting, and feel bad if he didn't offer anything, so bringing the presents suits him.
Out of this group, it's hard to choose two people most likely to be found kissing under the mistletoe. But I'll go with Four and Katniss.  Four would make the first move, and I imagine Katniss would react the same way she did when Gale kissed her: confused, shocked, and slightly pleased.  
End result: It would be quite a heated dinner, with a few arguments, plenty of tension, and perhaps even some food throwing ;)  


Group 3:  Feyre (A Court of Thorns and Roses), Alyssa (Splintered), Hermione (Harry Potter), Edward (Twilight), and Dorian (Throne of Glass). 









Ooooh, Hermione vs Feyre! Admittedly, I haven't read A Court of Thorns and Roses yet, but I've read enough about Feyre's character elsewhere, so I've got a good idea of what she's like. And I don't think Hermione would be able to stand her!
I think Dorian would make a lovely host. He'd make everyone feel at home, and he'd excel at decorations and planning and he'd enjoy it.
As for the food, I imagine Feyre would bring that.
Hermione would bring presents for everyone. She'd be super organised, and have chosen the perfect gift for every individual person.
I think Edward and Alyssa would make a great couple, so they'd most likely be found kissing under the mistletoe. 
End result: It would be a great dinner just for the sake of watching Feyre and Hermione face off :)  






What group would you like to be a part of?!




What do you think of my choices, etc?! Do you agree? Which group would you like to join? 
Did you like this post?