Book Review · Books

Alfonso by Felix Calvino [BOOK REVIEW]

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Alfonso is a young man that has moved to Australia to find a better life. Through his story, we follow his feelings and search for purpose.

As a person that moved to another country to find a better life, I can understand Alfonso and I can relate to what he feels and thinks. Coming into another country can be extremely difficult, leaving your family and friends behind, knowing those relationships will never be the same again. Coming to terms with the fact that you will always be a foreigner and have trouble with people accepting you. Trying to make friends and get inside inner circles of people that have been together since high-school – yeah, good luck with that… 

Given how I can relate to Alfonso’s situation, and the similarities I have with this character, I thought I would love this book. But I didn’t. Even though I could relate with him, I couldn’t agree with his perceptions and beliefs. Alfonso was always trying to find a girl to spend his life with. Which is normal and expected. However, instead of being his true and authentic self, he desperately tries to be as “less foreign” as possible and adapt to his audience. This is something that seemed to push the potential women away. Not to mention that he was being quite creepy at times (following a girl’s bus schedule and being there before she departs etc.)

Living in a new environment shouldn’t mean that people should stop being who they are and stop believing in what they do, or respecting and practicing the customs from the country they were born and raised from.

All my friends know that in my country we boil and colour actual eggs for Easter, rather than eat chocolate ones. In our home, me and my boyfriend celebrate two Christmases; one on the 25th December, where he does everything by his tradition, and one on 7th January, where I prepare everything in my tradition. And it works. And it’s double the fun and jolly spirit. 

I couldn’t relate with the fact that Alfonso feels that he needs to change and adapt, and leave behind his culture. I also couldn’t comprehend the fact that he needs to have a woman to be happy. He couldn’t seem to find happiness with just himself. And maybe, this is again, part of the tradition. In my country, marriages and forming a family are very important, and this may have influenced Alfonso’s behaviour perhaps.

The most upsetting part about this book was that the book ended, and everything remained the same. No earnings, no character development, no closure. Just a bad vibe of negativity, that was lingering in the air and stayed with me for days, like a bad taste in my mouth that you cannot wash with brushing your teeth. 

I am not sure how to properly rate “Alfonso”. It was relatable, but conflicting. Very understandable, but unsatisfactory. And I will be honest, I read books that will either make me feel good, or teach me something new (or both), but this book didn’t provide either…

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Book Review · Books

Karate-Do: My Way of Life by Gichin Funakoshi [BOOK REVIEW]

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In this autobiography, Karate-Do: My Way of Life, Gichin Funakoshi looks back over his 80+ years of life and tells us the story of where it all began and the important circumstances and decisions that made him become who he has become, alongside with some very thought-provoking stories. 

I have had a connection with Karate since I was a toddler. My father is a karate coach and he has taught me the first kata, he has given me the karate-gi and my white belt, alongside with all the belts that came after it, until I got my black belt. 

Karate is not just Martial Arts – it is a Way of Life, which is why Gichin Funakoshi named this book Karate-Do: My Way of Life. It is not only those hours that you spend in the dojo that define you, but it is every moment of your life, everything you do, everything you say, every decision you make – it is all Karate. 

A way of life, respect, value of the little things, dedication, motivation, being good to one another, persistence, curiosity and mentorship. 

I enjoyed reading Gichin Funakoshi’s stories, and even though I already knew many of them from my father telling me, they still managed to make me think and teach me something new. His writing style is very easy to read and apprehensive. 

I personally loved the story where he managed to defeat his opponent by only having stronger confidence, without a single punch. 

Honestly, I am so glad I read this book and learned more about the life journey of the very man that was the reason why Karate made its way to Europe. I highly recommend you to read this book if you are a Karate artist or love martial arts. I also recommend this book if you love good autobiographies as well.

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Books · Monthly Tags

April TBR – O.W.L.s Magical Readathon 2020

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Hello, my lovelies!

I hope you are all well and safe, and are staying at home! March has been a very unusual and awkward month with the whole Corona virus all over the world.

Even though I stayed at home all the time, I realised I am reading way less than usual and my TBR is not getting any smaller. I needed some time to adapt to this new situation and now I am slowly starting to actually enjoy my time away from the world and get back to reading.

And having said that, I decided to participate in the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon for the very first time. I am a huge fan of Harry Potter and have always wanted to do this, so here we are:

About the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon

The O.W.L.s Magical Readathon is month-long readathon that starts on 1st April and ends on 31st April. It is hosted by the lovely G over at Book Roast. Click here for her YouTube Announcement Video and Click here for your Hogwarts Induction on the exams.

In summary, you choose your career from the many amazing careers available, and based on your career, you need to pass your subjects. Each subject has a unique book prompt and you pass your exam by reading books that match your subject prompts.

My April TBR

As you might already know, I have my own way of choosing my TBR books, and this includes spinning my TBR Wheel for prompts.

Also, if I don’t manage to finish a book in the previous month, I add it to my next month, having a total of 8 books for the month. For my April TBR, I will be adding the books I haven’t read last month, but knowing I will fail to read all the books I list below I will NOT have a punishment for next month. If I don’t manage to read a book, it will go in the TBR pile again, waiting to be picked up.

This time around, to fit my O.W.L.s, I needed to do something very different: find books that fit my 3 books from last month, fit my 5 spins and also fit my career subject prompts. I first got my 5 spins, and then tried to fit them all to my subjects below:

Career chosen: AUROR

Mandatory Subjects:

april tbr list read reading book books OWLS O.W.L.S Magical Readathon blog blogging diary of difference diaryofdifference harry potter

✨ Charms

Read a book with a white cover: Alfonso by Felix Calvino

✨ Defence Against the Dark Arts

Read a book that is set at sea/coast (also fits Travel spin): Daisy’s Vintage Cornish Camper Van by Ali McNamara

✨ Herbology

Book Title starts with an M (also fits Giveaway spin): Multiverse by David Winship

✨ Potions

Read a book under 150 pages: The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

✨ Transfiguration

Book/Series with shape shifting (also fits Fantasy spin): Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) by Charlaine Harris

Optional Subjects:

april tbr list read reading book books OWLS O.W.L.S Magical Readathon blog blogging diary of difference diaryofdifference harry potter

✨ Ancient Runes

Heart on cover/title (book from previous month): Eternal Love by Karimah Colden

✨ Arithmancy

Read a book outside of your favorite genre: The Last One: JFK Returns by Mary F. Carruthers

✨ Astronomy

Read this book when it’s dark outside (book from previous month): I am David by Anne Holm

april tbr list read reading book books OWLS O.W.L.S Magical Readathon blog blogging diary of difference diaryofdifference harry potter

✨ Care of Magical Creatures

Creature with a beak on the cover: Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins

✨ Divination

Assign numbers to your TBR and use a random number generator (also fits my TBR Jar spin): Alienated: Grounded at Groom Lake by Jeff Norton

✨ History of Magic

Book featuring witches/wizards: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) by J.K. Rowling

✨ Muggle Studies

Book from a perspective of a muggle (contemporary) (book from previous month): Wonder by R.J. Palacio

And that’s my April TBR. I am hoping I can at least get my Auror subjects done, and then some of the other subjects too!
Make sure to follow me on Instagram, so you can stay up to date with my current updates during the month.
What are you planning to read this month? Let me know in the comments!

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Book Review · Books

Switched (Trylle #1) by Amanda Hocking [BOOK REVIEW]

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Wendy Everly knew she was different the day her mother tried to kill her…

Her mother told her she has been switched at birth. Unable to fit anywhere, bored and frustrated by her small-town life, she also has to hide her secret – the fact that she can somehow influence people’s decisions, without knowing how or why she does it.

When the dark and handsome Finn shows up at her bedroom window one night, her life changes forever! The secret she has been waiting for has finally been revealed. Finn holds the key to her past and has an answer to her strange ability. He is also about to introduce her to a place she never imagined could exist: Forening, the home of Trylle.

Among the Trylle she is not different, but she is special. But being special also brings danger wherever she goes and with everything around her being new, Finn is the only person she can trust. But will trusting him be enough to stay alive?

My Thoughts: 

I absolutely LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Switched, and I need to buy the second book in the series as soon as possible! 

Wendy is a girl that you immediately want to be friends with. Witty, honest and caring, willing to do everything for the people she loves – she is so precious and I wouldn’t let anyone touch her!

Finn – he is the fiction version of my boyfriend… Dark, handsome, brutally honest and his ego can sometimes get in the way. He is a tracker – and his job is to find other people like Wendy, who have special powers. Finn is a sort of a body-guard. And because Wendy is special and the future Queen, she cannot be with anyone that is not the same or similar rank as her. Which means that being with Finn is impossible.

Not allowed.

Frowned upon and could result in banishment for both. Loss of crown type of bad. 

From the first chapter I was into Wendy’s world and this book was so quick to read. I read it in less than a day and it felt too short! It’s a page-turner in every sense of the world. 

The world building as well as the Trylle people were quite interesting and unique. I also loved the fact that even though Wendy and Finn were amazing characters, we met so many other characters, who were also very well portrayed in their own way and all left a mark: Elora, Rhys, Matt, Tove, Rhiannon, Willa… All of them had their own uniqueness, and I can imagine how hard it can be to give life to so many characters in such a small book.

I rooted for Wendy and Finn’s romance, as you can imagine, and I have to say, I was a bit disappointed with the ending. However, I knew that was the right choice for Wendy at the time, and also, it left a great cliff-hanger for the second book, for me to read. I think that in the second book, a few old things will open up again and maybe, this time, the ending will go as I wanted it to go in the first book. 

I recommend this book with all my heart to all of you that love fantasy and young-adult romance. You will read it fast and you will fall in love with it even faster. Switched is definitely a book I am adding to my favorites. 

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