Monthly Archives: June 2012

Review: Deathless

Posted 26 June, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

By: Catherynne M. Valente

Koschei the Deathless is to Russian folklore what devils or wicked witches are to European culture: a menacing, evil figure; the villain of countless stories which have been passed on through story and text for generations. But Koschei has never before been seen through the eyes of Catherynne Valente, whose modernized and transformed take on the legend brings the action to modern times, spanning many of the great developments of Russian history in the twentieth century.

Deathless, however, is no dry, historical tome: it lights up like fire as the young Marya Morevna transforms from a clever child of the revolution, to Koschei’s beautiful bride, to his eventual undoing. Along the way there are Stalinist house elves, magical quests, secrecy and bureaucracy, and games of lust and power. All told, Deathless is a collision of magical history and actual history, of revolution and mythology, of love and death, which will bring Russian myth back to life in a stunning new incarnation.

Those of you who’ve known me for a while would know that the premise of this novel is definitely up my alley: Soviet setting (at the cusp of World War Two nonetheless–definitely in my arena of study), Russian folk lore (no Russianish is ever complete without an immersion to folk culture) and fantasy. After reading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (review) which I highly enjoyed, I was looking forward to read how she handled the Russian folk tales. Contains some spoilers ahead!

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Website: Updates (But Really Football, Writing and Floating Ideas)

Posted 22 June, 2012 by Lianne in Website / 0 Comments

(Not my gif; one of the best moments of the Euro 2012 tournament so far lol. Look how Jogi Loew just casually walks over and gets the ball out of the ball boy’s hands xP)

01. Right, so I’ve been updating this blog fairly regularly lately, mostly with the books that I’ve been reading but also with the 100 Things meme that I’m slowly trying to get through for my LJ, lol. You could just refer to my Books category to see all of the books I’ve read recently. A number of movies were reviewed however since my last update: Good Cop, Bon Cop, Iron Man, Underworld: Awakening, The Decoy Bride, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

02. I am currently participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. I meant to post an entry about it updating on what’s been happening about that but yeah, I’m having trouble enough staying on top of the word count (was feeling uninspired last weekend and that set me back by a few days) and keeping the story straight (I guess that’s what happens when you’re not working with a proper outline–I decided to free flow a bit for this novel, which I guess isn’t so much working in my favour). Suffice to say I should be done by June 30 but it’s definitely going to need a heck of an edit.

03. Website-wise, I’m hoping to make a few minor changes here within the next week or so. You’ll hardly notice the changes, I just need to group two sections together under one heading (the “Content” section) and set up a proper review policy section. I’ve never posted one up because all of the reviews that I’ve posted here were for fun and from books that I’ve read on my spare time but I realised that I need to make a disclaimer somewhere clarifying this matter. I added a Review Policy for anyone considering me to review his or her novel. It can be found on the top menu.

04. I’ve sort of neglected to update my other website,, for some time now. I had all these plans of setting up a way so that my photos can be ordered as prints and stuff like that (through 500px or RedBubble, haven’t tried either yet) but I never got around to it. I’m planning on revamping that site a little bit anyways and make it more of an online portfolio/CV and possibly use it maybe as a spring board for consultation or job prospects *big dreams* We’ll see. But after Camp NaNoWriMo I definitely plan on focusing on it and setting up a proper front page for that domain.

05. Speaking of professional matters, I had a phone interview the other day for a writing internship which I got–yay! I’ll be writing biweekly articles for the shiny new publication Discourse Magazine as the magazine’s European Politics columnist. It’s exciting because it’s more or less up my alley in terms of what I’ve studied at university so I’m looking forward to it and to working with the staff! =)

06. And on an unrelated note, this entire month has been everything Euros 2012 and nothing hurts =P Rooting for my boys the Germans to claim the silverware this year (they should’ve gotten it in 2010 IMO for the World Cup but I’m not bitter, I have good memories from their matches then and they’re really building up in this tournament) but I still hold a spot in my heart for the English (who are looking fresher than they were in 2010; I look forward to how the team will further evolve for the 2014 World Cup). I apologise to everyone who’s following my Twitter and are seeing only football-related tweets. My attention span pretty much zeroes in on it and almost nothing else when these major tournaments come around xD

Anyways, that’s about it in terms of general updates around the site and with me. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Review: The Sugar Queen

Posted 22 June, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Sugar Queen
By: Sarah Addison Allen

Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night…. Until she finds her closet harboring Della Lee Baker, a local waitress who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother. With Della Lee’s tough love, Josey’s narrow existence quickly expands. She even bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who is hounded by books that inexplicably appear when she needs them—and who has a close connection to Josey’s longtime crush. Soon Josey is living in a world where the color red has startling powers, and passion can make eggs fry in their cartons. And that’s just for starters.

This is the last of Sarah Addison Allen’s books that I had not read yet and once again she has put together such a story that left me awake until the wee hours of morning reading to see how everything will turn out =P Contains some spoilers ahead!

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Review: Dante’s War

Posted 21 June, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Dante’s War
By: Sandra Sabatini

In this moving, dramatic novel, Sandra Sabatini explores the effects of war on the ordinary people who fought on very different fronts: in the vast wasteland of North AFrica and in the green hills of Nazi-occupied Italy. Dante and Angelina, both fiercely independent for all their youth, meet and fall in love on the eve of Dante’s deployment to North Africa in 1940. While Dante becomes an accomplished mechanic, working on German fighter planes, Angelina contends with the presence of German soldiers in her small town and the evil that they introduce into her world. Apart from one another, the two must fight their own battles and summon the strength to endure in ordr to find each other again.

Rich with fascinating historical detail, Dante’s War is both a tender love story and a powerful meditation on loyalty–loyalty to one’s country, to one’s community, and, ultimately, to oneself.

This book has been on my want-to-read list for ages. I finally got my hands on a copy recently which was very exciting. Apparently it’s very difficult to get a hold of the book, I think the publisher went under recently (or something to that effect; I need to double check). One thing I have to get off my chest before I continue: the tagline reads that this is the first book that explores the Second World War “from the point of view of ordinary people on the Axis side, two young Italian lovers.” I’m not entirely sure about this (although okay, I just double-checked and Lucinda Grindle’s The Villa Triste (review) looks to have been first published in 2010)) but it is certainly the first book I’ve read focusing on the Italian experience on the North African front. But this nitpicking aside, I was looking forward to this novel and falls under my I Love Italy reading challenge. Contains some spoilers ahead!

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Meme: Booking Through Thursday

Posted 21 June, 2012 by Lianne in Meme / 7 Comments

Do you have a favorite quote from a book?

Booking Through Thursday

Oh man, I have a ton of favourite quotes from books! But I’ll just list a few =P

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Actually there’s a bajillion quotes that I love from The Lord of the Rings (one of them is posted up at the sidebar of my blog and a lot of my other favourite quotes were said by Gandalf xD) but this is one of my ultimate favourites <3

“I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this?”
Persuasion by Jane Austen

Also known as the best love letter I’ve ever read in any fiction novel. I love Persuasion but this letter really nails it home xD

“People tend to complicate their own lives, as if living weren’t already complicated enough.”
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

There’s actually a lot of good quotes that came out of The Shadow of the Wind but this one particularly stuck to me because it’s so true =P

“Morire di nostalgia per qualcosa che no vivrai mai.” (To die for something you will never live)
Silk by Alessandro Baricco

He actually has a couple of interesting quotes in his novels but I thought this one was particularly haunting which is why I like it so much =P

And one more otherwise I’ll go on and on forever xP

“So many vows … they make you swear and swear. Defend the king. Obey the king. Keep his secrets. Do his bidding. Your life for his. But obey your father. Love your sister. Protect the innocent. Defend the weak. Respect the gods. Obey the laws. It’s too much. No matter what you do, you’re forsaking one vow or another.”
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

There’s a lot of great quotes and house mottos in A Song of Ice and Fire (“Winter is coming”, “What is dead may never die”, etc, etc.) but this one is my particular favourite. It was said by Jaime Lannister during his confrontation with Catelyn Stark and I love it because it’s so true if you think about it. Vows will one way or another conflict with each other at some point and in his case it did in a major way.

And that’s my BTT for this week, hope you enjoyed those quotes =) What’s your favourite quotes from a book?