Hiraeth

I’m at an utter loss as to what it is I’m doing or feeling right now, but I knew that I wanted to write. Which then led me to more indecision, what was it that I wanted to write? I was getting nowhere, to say the least, so I picked a pretty word from an online dictionary, and here I am. Read on if you want to hear what I have to say about my chosen pretty word, and if not, at least stay to add a new word to your vocabulary.

Hiraeth: (n) a homesickness for a home you can’t return to, or a home that never was.

I’m not someone who hates change, not at all. I love surprises (for the most part) and I lose interest more quickly than I’d like. So change is vital for me. But that doesn’t stop me from longing for the past. Oh, what I’d give to relive my childhood disgusts me; my desperation disgusts me. Whenever I arrive home after a long day, the house I grew up in, I’m suffocated by the utter wrongness that surrounds me. I guess this is my sense of hiraeth, as my house will never again by the home that I grew up in. Because a home isn’t just a building to me, it’s the people that make it. It’s the memories you live in when they are gone.

I don’t know if the home I created in my memories, in my heart, the home that I visit in my dreams and bouts of nostalgia is the same home that I grew up in, or if I have embellished it, as naive children do as they grow older. Sometimes we filter out the sadness and leave only the good when we are still soft and innocent of the life’s hardships. But either way, I am homesick for it. It makes my heart ache so badly I fear it may stop beating. Because on my dark days, I find it hard to remind myself that life can be happy when I am too busy searching for the rays of light from the past through the clouds that haunt me today.

Believe me, I’m not always this gloomy, for the most part I am okay. These past few days have been heavy, however, and I find refuge in pretty words and poetic lines. So I will read poems and watch the rain outside my window until I am transported to a different world, with a better home, in hope that my longing for the one I have lost is quietened. If only for a moment.

Songs that, to me, capture a sense of hiraeth very well:

Build a Home~ Cinematic Orchestra

Dandelion Wine~ Gregory Alan Isakov

The House That Built Me~ Miranda Lambert

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Book Review: The Infernal Devices

Hi everyone! This review is spoiler free…

IMG_9223.JPGIt was the best of times, it was the worst of times, in the words of Charles Dickens, in the Victorian Setting of the Infernal Devices. Cassandra Clare writes a world set in London during the 1800’s, centred around her world famous shadowhunters. As a prequel to her popular ‘The Mortal Instruments’ series, it poses a much deeper, darker and tragically beautiful alternative for those looking to fully immerse themselves into a new world.

When Tessa Gray arrives at the docks in Southampton after leaving her life in New York behind, she expects to find her brother Nathaniel. However, she soon discovers he’s been captured by an anonymous villain, and finds herself in untold amounts of danger. When she is rescued by a strange boy named Will Herondale, she is invited into a new realm of magic, madness and adventure. With powers of her own, she joins the half angel- half human shadowhunter warriors in the fight to save her brother’s life

The first thing that drew me in was undoubtedly the name of the first book in the
Infernal Devices trilogy: Clockwork Angel. It perfectly represents the Victorian setting of the novel, and some of the mysteries within it, only to be fully explained at the end of the trilogy. Plus, what’s not to love about Clockwork and angels?

In regards to the setting, it’s a fascinating mix of realistic grittiness of the time, and the magical beauty to the popular era. Clare managed to include the tiniest details about the time, clearly having done her research, which enables the reader to fully immerse themselves in the novel.

Without a shadow of a doubt, this book trilogy contains the most beautiful quotes that I’ve ever read in a fiction book. It wouldn’t surprise me if I found these books in the poetry section of a bookstore, because the raw emotion poured into every word written is both heart wrenching and thought provoking. They are so unique and spectacular that I can still remember half the things that each of the characters said: it’s simply unforgettable.

Of course, there has to be one element that really sets the book miles apart from the rest. For the Infernal Devices, there’s nothing more impressive than the characters. To begin with, Tessa Gray is everything a reader could wish for in a female protagonist: she’s smart; brave; funny; and headstrong. Nowadays, especially in YA books, the female protagonist fits a certain stereotype, and readers end up hearing about the same old box-type characters. It’s certain that this is not a problem here. She’s almost shy in the beginning, and grows more confident over the three books, always passionate about her love of books and unapologetically curious. Another interesting element is that she’s a woman in the Victorian Era, so she knows she must act a certain way to fit into her society; despite the fact that her life quickly becomes anything but typical.

Another main character is the infamous Will Herondale. He’s a shadow hunter who originally sets out on a mission to rescue Tessa, and ends up bringing her back to the Institute, where all the other shadowhunters live. Whilst he’s described as insanely attractive, smart and witty, he’s also rude, malicious and careless. Hated by all at first, over the trilogy the reader gets to follow him along his journey. In the second book in the trilogy, Clockwork Prince, we learn more about his upbringing and the reasons behind his character through Tessa; who bonds with him over their shared love of literature. Undoubtedly, Will Herondale was one of the most complex characters that I’ve read about, and also my very favourite too.

Will’s parabatai, a brother bonded to him by a shadow hunter ritual, is named Jem Carstairs. He’s kind and wise and can play the violin, each of these things making him a desirable companion for anyone who knows him. However, Jem is dying. Throughout the trilogy we learn more about him and his illness, and, most importantly, the wonderful friendship between him and the unlovable Will.

With even more complex and intriguing characters, the book is already set up for it’s exciting plot line. And, let me tell you, the plot doesn’t disappoint. Without spoiling too much, they must team up to embark on a dangerous mission against an enemy they know nothing about (what could go wrong?).

All in all, I adored this trilogy. From Cassandra Clare’s writing to the plot to the characters, it was all amazing. I’d rate all three books 5/5 stars each. Words can’t even explain my love for them. (Two of my book boyfriends are from this book). Let me know if you’ve read these books, and what you thought.

Bethany xo

 

 

This or That Book Tag

Hi everyone!

I wasn’t tagged to do this, but oh well, let’s pretend I was.

Rules:

  • Mention creator of the tag… Ayunda @ Tea and Paperbacks
  • Mention who tagged you… No one. But it was inspired by Danielle @The Chronicles of Danielle so I’ll link her blog
  • Choose one of the options, you don’t have to tell the reasons why you chose that but you can also do them if you want to.
  • Tag some people to share the love!

 

1.Reading on the couch or in bed?

Probably bed, but I travel round the house as I read. Most of the time I sit on my window ledge.

2.Male main character or female main character?

Female, I have to say. Most YA books out there have female protagonists, and I feel like for me, as a female, it’s easier to relate to and much more fun to read the romance as you fall in love with the love interest along with them. I’m sad, I know.

3.Sweet snacks or salty snacks when reading?

Salty. Everything always has to be salty.

4.Trilogies or Quartets?

Trilogies. I read so so many trilogies, they’re my favourite kind of books. But sometimes I want more, of course.

5.First person point of view or third person point of view?

This really depends on the book. I’d say that my favourite books have been in third person, but I enjoy reading first person more. That makes no sense, I’m sorry just ignore me.

6.Reading at night or in the morning?

Reading whenever I have a spare minute.

7.Libraries or bookstores?

Bookstores. The library in my town is miniscule. I love to buy my books so that I can love them and look back at them 24/7. Plus, I spend hours on end in bookstores.

8.Books that make you laugh or books that make you cry?

Cry, I guess? But the best books make you do both.

9.Black book covers or white book covers?

White… but I like black too… SO HARD TO CHOSE!

10.Character driven or plot driven?

Well you really need both, but I’ll say character. If I don’t feel connected to the characters I won’t enjoy the book.

Thank you for reading! I tag everyone to do this tag, let me know if you do, I’d love to read what you think.

Bethany xo

 

Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper!

Hi everyone!

I’m so excited to be writing about Kerri Mansicalco’s debut novel Stalking Jack the Ripper. Out in September, I was lucky enough to receive an ARC… which I LOVED. This review will be spoiler-free.

I’m notIMG_9647 joking when I say I was obsessed. The world. The characters. The story. UGH.

The synopsis says:

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

I say:

One of the best books I’ve read in 2016. Here’s why…

The setting:

Those of you who’ve read my other post will know that I’m in love with the Victorian Era. Make London the main city and you’ve got yourself a winner. Even before I read the Infernal Devices, I was obsessed. The dark and dreary location with the contrasting social norms always makes for an intriguing read. Having a strong, determined female protagonist lead in a world where women are expected to sit pretty and talk about knitting, but actually prefer to be total badasses always gets me, too.
The Story:

As the name would suggest, it’s a twist on the infamous unsolved Jack the Ripper murder case. I’ve always been interested in murder cases (not in a creepy way, I promise) (please let me know in the comments if you feel the same way so I don’t look strange)  and so by taking it and making it her own, Kerri Mansicalco already has herself a killer storyline.

The Characters:

Audrey is such a likeable, wonderful protagonist. She has the perfect blend of curiosity, intelligence and confidence, which is made a thousand times better given her defiance of the rules of society. Being a girl in the 1800’s, she has obligations, but she wriggles her way out of them, whilst still being true to who she is and who she needs to be. And she has interests! Real interests, people, and unique ones too!

IMG_9648.JPGThomas, a boy who works with Audrey and her Uncle on solving the murder mystery. He’s witty, charming, and brooding. Basically every girls dream. He has some amazing one-liners that had be laughing and giggling to myself, but was also knew exactly what to say to Audrey in her moments of self doubt. I really enjoyed reading their bickering and flirting. So cute, I can’t wait to see how it develops in book two!

Other characters, there was a really interesting blend of characters throughout the book. Audrey’s brother, Nathaniel, and her are really close throughout the book, in spite of her difficult relationship with her father. You unearth more about her uncle, her deceased mother, her cousin and others throughout the book by learning their backstories and the secrets they tried to keep.  Again, I’m so excited to learn even more about them and their motives in the next instalment.

Plot Twists/the Drama:

In a book about murders, there’s no doubt there’ll be enough drama. There aren’t plot twists as such, a few minor ones to keep things interesting, but you do discover who the murderer is. I feel like Kerri dropped enough hints for me to figure out who they were very early on, whether this was intentional or not, I don’t know. So, when the big reveal came around, I wasn’t surprised. However, I do read a lot of mystery books, s0 it makes sense that I’d pick up on a few tricks of the trade.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! An enthralling, unique novel which gripped me from the very first line to the closing sentence.

I would rate this book 4.5/5 stars, and I am beyond excited for the next one! Be sure to preorder it for it’s release in September. Let me know in the comments if you’ll be picking this up, and what book you’d recommend to me!

Bethany xo

 

 

25 Bookish Facts about Me

Hi Everyone!

I decided there was no better way to start off my blog than to giveIMG_9641 you 25 Bookish Facts about me. Inspired by Paper Fury’
s post, I’m going to be giving you a list of interesting things about me, of course all relating to books.

1. If I see someone reading a book that I’ve read, I have to restrain myself from ambushing them.

No, seriously, it’s a problem. I could be on the public transport, walking down the street, in a library, anywhere and if I spy someone holding a copy of a book I own, I get this overwhelming urge to go and talk to them. Do they like the book? What part are they at? Do they love *insert book boyfriend name* as much as I do? I NEED TO KNOW!

2. My TBR pile is shameful.

It’s a leaning tower of pressure and possibility but every time I finish one book, I’ll end up buying another and my TBR pile stays just as big.

3. I buy books everywhere I go. It’s a problem.

My life is turning into Confessions of a Shopaholic: Book Edition. For me, there is no ‘I’ll just browse this bookshop real quick’, oh no. When I walk into a bookshop, my wallet takes a hit.

4. My favourite Genre is YA.

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that YA just does it better. Sure there are a million tropes, and they can be really cheesy, but there’s something so addictive about the writing and the stories and UGH. I love it. Plus, if you make it a fantasy, sign me up. Why would I want to read a book about real life when I can immerse myself in a whole new world?

5. I dislike Dystopian.

Confession: I haven’t read The Hunger Games. Or Divergent. Or anything of the sort. I can’t explain why, but something about it really doesn’t appeal to me. I think it’s just been so overdone that by the time those books became popular, I was over it.

6. I talk to myself when I read.

Can you honestly tell me you haven’t done the same? When a character says something, I like to imagine how they say it. I don’t do it with the whole thing (I don’t have the time to be completely crazy) but occasionally a line will come along and I reread it a million times until I say it how the character would.

7. I drive my friends insane.

I tend to ramble when it comes to books. A lot. Not many of my friends read, but that doesn’t stop me from giving them full book reviews of my favourite books until they tell me to shut up. That’s part of the reason I’m starting a book blog, hopefully I’ll meet more people who share my love of literature!

8. I could talk to anyone about books.

Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had have been with total strangers, where we’ve excitedly discussed our favourite/ least favourite books and we’ve become great friends.

9. I have a concerning amount of book boyfriends.

It’s sad, really. Boys in real life just don’t do it like Will Herondale.

10. Never have I ever read Harry Potter.

Please don’t hate me! I really want to, but I just didn’t when I was younger, and now that I’ve seen all the films it’s not an urgent thing for me to do right now. But I really want to, let me know in the comments if I’m being crazy and should have read them, like, yesterday.

11. When I’m not reading, I’m writing.

I have an undying love of words. I’m currently writing a YA Fantasy novel, it’s in the beta-reading stage at the moment. I’ll probably do a whole other post about this later down the line.

12. It’s my dream to be a published author.

It would be amazing to see my work in print, of course.

13. I’m obsessed with Goodreads.

This is everything! I have so many books on my ‘Want to Read’ shelf it’s becoming a problem.

14. I’m a sucker for pretty covers.

Of course, it’s content over appearance any day, but a gorgeous cover never hurt anyone.

15. I love Sarah J Maas.

Not just her books, I think she’s an amazing person and she’s a total inspiration for me. Plus, she’s hilarious and I think I’ve watched every single one of her interviews.

16. I need to meet Sarah J Maas and Cassandra Clare.

I just do. My life won’t be complete until I meet them.

17. Booktube is a blessing.

I love book tubers so so much. I watch videos daily, they’re where I get most of my recommendations from.

18. Don’t get me started on fandoms.

Whenever I finish a book, I go onto tumblr and just spent hours, in the dark because I normally finish books at night, scrolling down a hashtag, laughing and crying at fan theories and fan art.

19. The Melting Library is my dream shop.

Living in the UK, I haven’t ordered anything from there yet. Shipping is so expensive it hurts. But they sell the most adorable book-themed candles. Books… Candles… my favourite things combined.

20. The Victorian Era gives me life.

If there’s a book set in the Victorian Era (Infernal Devices) I buy it on impulse. Words cannot express my obsession with that time.

21. The Infernal Devices trilogy is my favourite thing on the planet.

I’m not even kidding. I’m going to have to give you a whole other post on this because once I get started on this topic I don’t stop…

22. I’ve dropped three books in the bath before.

I should probably stop taking them in there, but it’s the perfect setting! I need to get better not dropping books, but you would’t think it could be that hard. I never drop books… except when I’m in the damn bath.

23. Everyone assumes I’ve read every book under the sun.

If one of my friend reads a book they assume I’ve read it too, and expect a review. Do they realise that  being a bookworm doesn’t give me magical reading powers? I wish it did, but…

24. I love bookstagram.

Books have taken over my entire instagram feed. I only have a personal account, but I adore some of the bookish feeds out there. So much.

25. Surprise, Surprise, I read a lot.

So much so that my eyes start to blur, my back hurts, my fingers cramp from holding a book for so long. But it’s all worth it, and I hope I die old and grey with a book in my hand.

That was my first post here on Ashes to Ink, thank you so much for reading! Let me know in the comments what your bookish facts are, or if you share any of mine.

Bethany  xo

 

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