Friday, September 26, 2014

Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare

Measure for Measure

Mass Market Paperback336 pages
Published July 1st 2005  

Shakespeare's Measure for Measure centers around the fate of Claudio, who is arrested by Lord Angelo, the temporary leader of Vienna. Angelo is left in charge by the Duke, who pretends to leave town but instead dresses as a friar to observe the goings-on in his absence. Angelo is strict, moralistic, and unwavering in his decision-making; he decides that there is too much freedom in Vienna and takes it upon himself to rid the city of brothels and unlawful sexual activity. Laws against these behaviors and institutions already exist, and Angelo simply decides to enforce them more strictly. Claudio is arrested for impregnating Juliet, his lover, before they were married. Although they were engaged and their sexual intercourse was consensual, Claudio is sentenced to death in order to serve as an example to the other Viennese citizens.

(I cut the summary short due to the fact that it spoils the entire play)

I am going to first start off by saying that I have never really been a fan of Shakespeare. People sometimes find that odd, like it is somehow a requirement for one who is studying English Literature to automatically worship the man and his works. Perhaps my indifference stems from my first experience with Shakespeare being in a high school English class. No one ever really likes required reading, but I feel as though it is just as simple as his writing not being in my taste.

That all being said, I have to say I was somewhat surprised by Measure For Measure. It was entertaining, yet completely bizarre. The Duke of Vienna pretends he has gone travelling the world but in truth disguises himself as a monk. He does this so he can see how his cousin Angelo behaves as leader and supreme judge of his subjects. Will Angelo be a just and fair leader? Or controlling and unreasonable? Angelo is thought of to be a virtuous man. He is anxious about the Duke leaving him in charge, feeling as though he is not ready for the task; to have such power. He wants a test to make he is ready. However, the Duke "leaves" and no such test is given. 

Most of the story revolves around Claudio, a man who is condemned to death for getting his betrothed pregnant before they were married. Claudio's sister, who is entering the nunnery, tries to reason with Angelo and begs for mercy for her brother. At first, he outright refuses saying the law is the law. However, he soon falls "in love" with Isabella and makes a not-so-virtuous offer in exchange for her brother's life. 

The story was amusing but I found that my amusement only lasted for so long, and my interest in these characters rapidly diminished. I felt as though there was a lot of unresolved questions, and that the story itself was not something that held my interest. Though I liked this play a lot more than I have liked many of his others. 

Measure For Measure was required reading for my Shakespeare university course. I went into the play, and all others we have read, keeping my bias and past disappointment with Shakespeare out of my mind while I read. However, I find that my opinion still has not changed. Maybe someday soon I will read a Shakespeare play that knocks my socks off and completely changes my view. But as for now, 3 stars for being somewhat entertaining. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3) by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3)

Hardcover339 pages
Published August 14th 2014 

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last? 

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart. 

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, √Čtienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

“There's no story,' I say. 'I saw you one day, and I just knew.”

Stephanie Perkins has a way of capturing the everyday miracles and magic in life on the page. Her writing gives off an amazing energy. Powerful and lovely. In this novel, she nails how it feels to have a crush perfectly. Not just any crush either, but one that builds and simmers and just explodes. It left me breathless. This story felt so magical, but also so real. Strong characters are those that display insecurities, patience, pain and love; things evident in human nature, things that we the readers also feel. Reading Isla and the Happily Ever After, or in fact, any of Perkins books, I feel as though I know the characters and can connect to them. They go through experiences that are relatable for the average human, not just a teen with a crush.

Isla and Josh are complete opposites. Where she is soft spoken, shy and rather predictable he is careless and outspoken. She lives in a black and white world but he brings color into it, inspiring her to take risks. Isla has been in love with Josh basically since she first met him. She doesn't really talk to him all the often, or really, at all. They have one "meaningful" encounter a year, which is actually more or less awkward and embarrassing. But she has it bad for this boy. Cyber-stalking bad. While that may sound a tad creepy, what teenage girl in modern times can honestly say they've never looked up their crush via any social media site at least once? The fact that Josh's father is a senator who is running for re-election in the states makes it all the easier for her to find stuff about him online. A few times I got angry with Isla, because she allowed her insecurities to get the best of her and she had quite the freak out that made me want to strangle her. But then, while I was mad, I could understand her reaction and could honestly kind of relate to how she felt.

As the book progresses, Isla and Josh's story made my heart melt, do flips, and drop. Doesn't sound healthy right? But it's a story that sends your emotions on a roller coaster. It's sweet, heart-warming, heart-breaking, etc. And to be perfectly honest, I normally try to avoid gushy books like this some would deem as "girly"; not because I do not love a good love story, but the stories always seem so perfect and fake, like the authors dream up scenarios that really could not happen in real life. However, Perkins, as I said before, is an exception as her stories are also perfect, but in a different way.

I was hooked on this book. I devoured it in one sitting. Three hours was all I needed to learn Isla and Josh's story. Three seconds to fall in love with it. It was also nice to see characters from the previous novels and how their lives are going. Books get so over-hyped, but I feel as though this is a book that actually deserves the hype. It is not always easy to find a series, or book, that one can connect with. Too many books have characters that honestly, readers do not give a crap about: they are annoying, irritating, WHINY, all traits that could be overlooked if the character grows and changes. Oftentimes though, the character does not change, therefore, neither do the feelings of dislike or indifference towards them. Isla went from a insecure, cyberstalking, no-risk-taker, to someone you can admire and love. Character development. 

This book made me all bubbly and warm, which is embarrassing to admit, but true. It goes by fast; one minute you are 10 pages in, the next, you are ten pages from the end. And when it ends, you want more. I highly recommend this book, in case that was not obvious. ♥

Friday, September 19, 2014

Introducing 'Bookish Findings' + An Update

Hey everyone!

So I decided to come up with a new weekly meme. This meme is called Bookish Findings. Basically, each week, I will use this as an opportunity to share with you anything I found interesting in the world of books. It could be an article, a quote, a picture, a random thought I had, book news, etc. 

I have yet to choose a day for this meme, it is something I am still figuring out, but look for it sometime next week, along with a new Waiting on Wednesday. I apologize for the lack of activity on the blog lately. With college starting back up and personal issues, I just haven't had the time. But I am working on reviving Ramblings of a Book-A-Holic, and a new weekly meme is only one small part of the revival.

I am also preparing several reviews for books that I have read in my absence as I type this. Most are novels I read for school, but there are a few books in there that I read for pleasure (Isla and the Happily Ever After being one of them!). So expect to see some reviews coming up in the next week. 

Thank you all for sticking around and being patient with me. Happy reading! ♥

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3)

Hardcover550 pages
Published February 4th 2014 

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

“You said yourself that the people of Luna need a revolutionary.” She lifted her chin, holding his gaze. “So I’m going to Luna, and I’m going to start a revolution.” 
When I first began The Lunar Chronicles, I was sort of late jumping on the bandwagon. I had heard so many good things about Cinder, and the book was always jumping out in front of me at the library, begging to be read. For a long time, I ignored the book, thinking that all this hype was just that: hype. Looking back now, I remember I keep picking up the book thinking that there was no way it could live up to all the hype it was getting, and I did not want to be let down by another book that was supposed to be amazing.

However, when I finally read it, I fell in love. Scarlet was great as well, but not as amazing. Now I have made it to the third book and have to say, it was pretty amazing. Would not have given it five stars if I thought otherwise now would I?

The novel begins with Cinder, Thorne, Scarlet, Wolf, and Iko on a mission to rescue Cress from her satellite. Naturally, things go horribly wrong, causing them to separate. This was a huge plus to me because it was a way for the reader to get to know each individual character in a more intimate manner. I will not go in to much detail about who gets separated with who and where they all go, you will have to read to find that out. 

Cinder struggles with decisions that she had made on the satellite; decisions that ultimately led to unfortunate outcomes for both Scarlet and Wolf. She begins to doubt herself. Can she really lead people and start a rebellion? Should she just keep hiding from Levana, and give up completely? She tends to second guess herself a lot throughout the novel, weighing the consequences of her options and choices, and how they will affect others.

Cress was a strong third installment to this series. So much craziness was going on! Readers will never face a dull moment with this book. I am left both amazed and impressed with Cress. This series gets better and better with each book. Plus, the whole incorporation of fairy tales is wonderful. Meyer takes a delightful twist on everyone's favorite fairy tales. I suggest this book to everyone who loves a good retelling, or sci-fi. novel 
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