Friday, April 27, 2012

Happy Firday

I hope everyone has a great weekend. I'm leaving you with the story behind this stunning photograph by Tom Ryaboi and I am off to my graduation party (yup, I officially graduated yesterday!)
See even more photos in this article and have a great Friday night! xo

(Photo: Tom Ryaboi)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Book Review: "The White Queen" & "Jane Eyre"

I've been reading a lot lately. I just finished two books last week and I wanted to share my thoughts with you. I also have a couple more books that I picked up.

But before I start I want to share an awesome youtuber I found just a few days ago. It's a 25 years old graphic designer who loves reading. She comes up with a theme for each month and she picks up a few books that go with it and at the end of the month she reviews them. The theme for this month is Humor and she chooses one classic, one young adult book, an adult one and a book to movie adaptation one. I think that's a pretty neat concept and I really love her videos so if you are looking for book recommendations or just want to hear someone talk about books (yeah, I do sometimes) check her out.

So let's start with the reviews! The first book is called "The White Queen" by Philippa Gregory. She is a bestselling author, wrote The Other Boleyn Girl (I saw the movie and I really enjoyed the story and hello - Natalie Portman!) I had never read anything by her but I had heard a lot of great things about this book. And when I went to the bookstore and found the hardcover edition half price I just had to get it. The story is about The Wars of the Roses in England and this book in particular shows the story through the White Queen's point of view (there is in fact a second book called The Red Queen and follows the same story but through the other queen's perspective). There is also a possible explanation of the story of the lost Princes in the Tower, a rather curious part of English history.

"I expected more from this book. It is the first Philippa Gregory's book that I've read and I have heard so many great things about her work, perhaps my expectations were too high.
The book unfolded a bit slow for me. I enjoyed reading about the politics and war strategies quite a lot but at times it took the characters some time to fully understand what was going on and that was a bit irritating. I would have liked it if there was more about that and less Melusina stories though. It felt a bit too superstitious at times and I couldn't help but think this was more of a marketing trick to get more people interested in The Lady of the Rivers (another book from the series), rather than anything else. Having said that, I really liked the character of Jacquetta (the White Queen's mother) and reading more about her might not be such a bad idea.
The main character, I have to be honest - I did not like a whole lot. I couldn't relate or sympathize with her much. She was very irrational at times, way too proud and definitely favored some of her children more than the others. Kings or not they are all her children for God's sake! I have no idea how I am supposed to read the story from the red queen's perspective since this is supposed to be the more likeable queen of both.
The ending I found a bit rushed and unfinished. I know, there are more books from this series but still I expected a little more, after all this is still a book by itself and should present a good, finished story."

Alright, so the next book is "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte. This one took me a long time to read. I read it in English and even though I had no problem understanding it it just took a long time to go through the pages. And the fact that I got the cheap Wordsworth edition with the tiniest print didn't really help much.

I must say I love classics. I feel like they have proven to be high quality reads and I always feel like I'm playing it safe if I choose a classic novel.

"Before you read any further I must warn you there are spoilers!!!
I enjoyed this classic a lot. I was afraid it might get really slow, just like Wuthering Heights did (yes, I know those two books are compared too often) but it really didn't. I found the main character very well written, I liked that she had her human moments and wasn't presented as a perfect angelic human being. I also loved the character of Mr. Rochester, his love was so intense and beautiful, it was just great to read his dialogs with Jane.
I also liked the ending. It wasn't too perfect but it was still a happy ending and I loved that the tragedy made the characters grow. I did feel like something big needed to change in order for Jane to go back to Mr. Rochester and I'm glad I wasn't disappointed.
A really nice read in my opinion."

Both of my reviews are on Goodreads. If you have an account you can add me here.

And now finally to the books I picked up to read next. The first one is "Murder on the Orient Express" by Agatha Christie. I have talked before about the gorgeous covers by David Wardle. I haven't read any of Agatha Christie's books but I expect them to be good, entertaining and easy to read. We'll see.

And last but not least, I got the first book from the series "A Game of Thrones" by George R. R. Martin. I got this one in Bulgarian even though the cover is just horrible! I went to the bookstore to see if they had it in English - they just came up with beautiful new hardcover editions but unfortunately they only had the last book. Yes, I admit - I am a sucker for beautifully designed book covers, but it's not like you didn't already knew that, right :)
I actually already started reading this one and I am on page 160. I really, really like it. The story is told by 8 different characters and I think this is just genius! I like how the different characters perceive things differently and everything is just so well written, so many twists you wouldn't believe! I love it that there are quite a few books in this series which means I won't run out of books soon. I get very easily attached to characters and I hate it when I have finished a nice book.

And in case you've been living under a rock and haven't heard, HBO has a TV show based on the series. To be honest I saw the first episode when it came out and I didn't like it at all. But then just a few weeks ago I gave it another shot (after everyone was so crazy about it!) and I am so glad I did. I think it's a really good show, I watched the entire first season in just a couple of days. It's very close to the book which is great and it's very well made. I must warn you though if there are younger readers that the show is quite violent and has a lot of nudity (it's HBO after all - they do this in all of their shows), so keep that in mind. I can't wait to finish this book and start the second one, I can't wait to see what happens next!

Well, that's all! I think this is the longest post I have ever written on here! I hope I didn't bore you. Let me know if you like reading reviews and also share what you are reading at the moment or which book you have recently enjoyed. I am always on the lookout for more books to read!

(Photo: Iva Yaneva)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Peace of mind

This past weekend I spent in the mountains on a yoga weekend. I started going to yoga classes a few months ago and I really loved it. It did not only increase my flexibility but it also gave me a peace of mind. It's really hard to stay focused on your goals and be positive in a world where everything around you is so negative and depressing - just turn on your TV and you'll see what I mean. I don't think we were meant to live like that and I think we've lost the ability to truly accept ourselves for who we are and the same goes for the people we love, our jobs and lifestyles.

Before we left they gave us a handmade "spiritual diary". It only has a few questions you need to answer each day but those are truly important questions to ask yourself. Like for example "Did I tell the people I love that I love them today?"; "Did I work on any of my goals?"; "Did I laugh today?" Did you know that children laugh around 400 times a day, while adults only 15? Depressing, isn't it?

I highly recommend if not making a "spiritual diary" then at least asking yourself those questions from time to time. We owe it to ourselves to make our lives the best that we possibly can. Well, no one's gonna do it for us anyway.

(Photo: sunsinger)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Etsy Shop Now OPEN!

Wow, I can't believe I am writing this post. I've been meaning to open an Etsy shop for years now, literally. I know it may not be a big deal to many of you but to me it is. I've been so terrified to put my work out there it's hard for me to explain.

So here it is. I hope you like it :)

p.s. I am offering free shipping at the moment. Make sure you check it out and let me know what you think and which photographs you like most. Thank you SO much for the support you've always given me!

(Photo: Iva Yaneva)
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