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Book Review: Rosemary’s Baby

Title: Rosemary’s Baby

Author: Ira Levin

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“Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor – husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and only elderly residents. Neighbours Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome them and, despite Rosemary’s reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises she keeps hearing, her husband starts spending time with them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare.

As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavet’s circle is not what it seems.”

Source: Goodreads


Despite the fact that both, the book and the movie, are considered classics, I had no idea what this book (or movie) is about. According to the title and genre of the book, I concluded that it would be about baby, a devil (?) and that would be tense or creepy.

The book is quite short, so I read it quite quickly. It was fantastic from the first page and if I would have more time, I would probably read it in one sitting.

The tension is rising through the story. It starts innocently when Rosemary and Guy are searching for an apartment, and they find a perfect one but later hear a lot of unpleasant things about it. Nevertheless, they move in and Rosemary is beyond excited. She focuses all her energy on the decoration and the idea of having a baby. At first unusual neighbors, soon become part of their new life.

I didn’t found book neither scary or horrifying. I was just excited about what was going to happen. Since I didn’t know anything about the story, with each page I expected a shocking twist. As the thrill grows, the story becomes more mysterious until it reaches its peak. And during reading, we get to know Rosemary, who is a central figure in the book.

Rosemary is a girl/woman who would I consider as a person with no character. This is also a reason why she finds herself in this peculiar situation. It’s quite easy to manipulate with her because of her character. She is completely subordinate to her husband – although she would probably have claimed otherwise. But she is completely dependent on the husband, both financially and emotionally. She doesn’t know how to stand for herself, so she becomes a victim.

The story is actually rather simple, but it’s written so fantastically that I understand why it’s considered a classic. It does not contain turnarounds or unexpected situations. Ira Levin simply wrote the story so fantastically that it doesn’t even need them. Everything is in place. At first, I was a little bit disturbed by the ending, which seemed to me to be very average for such a book. But after thinking about it, I came to the realization that the ending is excellent. It’s simple, just like the story itself. But it still shocks the reader.

 

Rating: 5/5 stars

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The Famous Five Series: Mini reviews of books 1-5

As I mentioned before, this year is the 75th anniversary of The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. That’s why I decided that I will re-read all 21 books from the series. I’m slowly finishing with reading – I still have one book to read. But here are my mini-reviews of first five books in the series. Synopsis and pictures are from the official site.

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Five on a Treasure Island

Julian, Dick and Anne are spending the holidays with their tomboy cousin George and her dog, Timothy. One day, George takes them to explore nearby Kirrin Island, with its rocky little coast and old ruined castle on the top. Over on the island, they make a thrilling discovery, which leads them deep into the dungeons of Kirrin Castle on a dangerous adventure. Who – and what – will they find there?

This is the first book and as expectedly this book is more of an introduction of all the characters. We get to know their personalities and setting, their adventure remains behind. Still, it was a nice read.

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Five Go Adventuring Again

In their second adventure, the Famous Five find a thief at Kirrin Cottage. They think they know who it is, but need to prove it. Will the discovery of a very old map help uncover the true culprit?

I thought this adventure was quite boring, especially for the second adventure in a row. Maybe it was because of the winter time and the fact, that friends were limited with outdoor space. Still, it was fun to read about secret passages and mysterious map.

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Five Run Away Together

The Famous Five discover that someone has been on George’s island. And what is locked in the mysterious trunk hidden on Kirrin Island? The Famous Five think they’re on the trail of smugglers – until they hear a child scream…

This book was really interesting. The bad guys were interesting characters and I enjoyed reading about our friends spending time on George’s island. They are so independent and what a lovely housewife Anne is! This adventure was intriguing and it kept me hooked until the end.

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Five Go To Smuggler’s Top

The Famous Five stay at the large old house at Smuggler’s Top. They discover secret hiding places, underground tunnels, and one night they catch people signalling out to sea! Are there still smugglers at Smuggler’s Top?

This book was dark! And because of that, it was amazing! Such a dark settling, with wonderful descriptions of marshes and creepy old house. The adventure was entertaining and full of twists. Not to mention spooky Block and new friends of our five friends. I was really entertained while reading.

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Five Go Off in a Caravan

The Famous Five go on a caravan holiday. When they stumble across a circus troupe, the gang are thrilled. But some of the circus people have more sinister plans than just clowning around…

The new location, a new adventure. As far as I love mysteries in Kirrin or Kirrin Island, I also love it, when Five go around, traveling and meeting new people. At first, I didn’t like this book, because I thought that kids were a little bit pushy. But after a while, reading became fun again. And there are smugglers in adventure again!

 

Did you read any of Famous Five books as a child? What did you think about them then and what do you think about it now? Do you remember any of this five books mentioned here? Please, share your thought with me!

 

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The Famous Five 75th Anniversary

This year is the 75th anniversary of The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. I adored reading about Famous Five adventures as a child and I read all the books numerous times.

There are 21 books in the series and I wanted to reread them for a long time. When I find out about the anniversary, I decided it’s finally time.

I will make a mini review for every single book, probably for five books in a time.

If you’re interested, you can also check Enid Blyton’s official site, which is gorgeous and amazing. You can also find coloring pages there and a checklist for all Famous Five books (and many other things).

Of course, you can also read about Blyton’s life and her other books. You can find a link to the page here. Please, check amazing new covers made for the 75th anniversary. Seriously, I can’t believe how gorgeous they are (I will read translated versions of books from my local library)!

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Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird

Title: To Kill a Mockingbird

Author: Harper Lee2657

The story takes place in the 1930′ in South America when racism and oppression of black people were still highly prevalent in society. The story is told through the eyes of the youngest member of Finch family, Scout. She lives with her father Atticus, older brother Jem and their nanny Calpurnia. During the school holidays, their friend Dill joins them. All together, they’re discovering the hidden corners of the Maycomb and its residents.

Scout’s childhood seems really idyllic. But things change when her father who is a lawyer gets a new case. He’s defending Tom Robinson, a black man, who is convicted of raping a white girl. Atticus knows that Tom is innocent but he’s also aware that he can never win in court.


I had this book on my tbr for so long and I really don’t know why I haven’t read it before. This book is just amazing and I know certainly, that I will read it again.

I would say, that To Kill a Mockingbird is a children’s book, but it’s so versatile and beautifully written that it’s obvious why so many adults love it. The story is told from a perspective of a six-years-old Scout, which is a perfect choice. Scout is curious, eager for knowledge and adventurous but at the same time, she’s unconcerned about the rules which are set in a world of adults. And this perspective makes this book so special – when you read about racism, oppression and injustice through the eyes of a child, who doesn’t understand anything about those things and can only wonder how the world can be so depraved, you realize how twisted adults can be and how absurd rules we are following sometimes. And this creates something extra in a book: it shows a word through eyes of children and the world through the eyes of adults.

The counterweight to young characters (Scout, Jem, and Dill) is Atticus Finch. A single parent, lawyer and besides Scout, my favorite character in this book. His calmness, fairness, and commitment to justice were impressive. I really liked his approach to upbringing and how calm he was in any situation. Other adult characters were a reflection of that time and image of situations and contrasts between people. All the characters were interesting, even the ones I didn’t like for obvious reasons. I would have to say, that characters were presented one-sided and a reader can sense from the beginning, who are the good and who are the bad guys. But again, if I assume correctly, that this is a book, written for children, it becomes understandable.

If at first, I had a great time while reading about children descriptions of town residents, later I was losing my mind while reading about Atticus case with a clear disantanglement before it even comes to a court. Tom Robinson, who is convicted of raping and beating a white girl, was guilty in the eyes of almost everyone. A handful of people who thought opposite were too passive to stand for him. Atticus, however, took the case and accepted a challenge, although he knew how it will end. Probably I knew it too, but I still hoped (like Scout and Jem), that maybe I was wrong and people would see what a farce this trial was. I was so angry while reading about it, about blindness and denial of people and their passivity. I felt furious and helpless and if a book makes me feel this way, I know, it’s a great book.

This book and its message are timeless. To Kill a Mockingbird presents issues that we should already leave behind but unfortunately is not like that. Book is beautifully written, understandable and simple, but nevertheless with a strong message. Of course for those, who want to see it.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Is To Kill a Mockingbird mandatory reading in your school system? If so, did you read it just because you had to, or it was your decision? What are your thoughts about this book?

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Book Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Author: Douglas Adams11

Arthur Dent is having a bad day. After he wakes up, he has to face workers who have come to demolished his house. Sadly, Dent’s house is standing exactly at the spot, where the freeway is going to be build. But soon he realizes that this is his smallest problem. Unfortunately, this is also a day, when a Vogons, one of the least pleasant species in Galaxy, arrives at the Earth to demolished it. The Earth is exactly in the spot, where a galactic freeway is going to be build.
But Arthur Dent is saved by his friend, Ford Prefect, who is actually an undercover alien. Thus, their adventure through Galaxy begins and soon they end up on a spaceship, stolen by Zaphod Beeblebrox. They also meet Trillian and depressed robot Marvin.


Finally, I read this book! And now I have a problem, what to write about this cult classic. It’s always hard to write about classics because I have a feeling like everything was already written. Uh!

I think this book is great. I read in a day, which is not surprising considering this book has only around 160 pages.

While reading, I only had one problem… So much was going on! There was too much of everything, all was happening so fast and at times, it was difficult to follow, what was going on. The plot is really simple – the Earth is destroyed and the traveling through the Galaxy begins. But in between, Adams is passing so many informations, which are otherwise really funny, but because of them, I was lost between text many times.

Because of that, the characters were not so well developed. It’s true, that they were likable and some of them very British, but there is no actual emphasis on them since everything is focused on describing the unusual facts and wonders that can be found in Galaxy. Which was a little sad, because depressed robot Marvin was really funny and in its own way cute character, and I would love to read about him a bit more.

However, the humor was amazing. It’s very British, which is a humor that I like. Those short stories/facts added between main plot are totally random but extremely entertaining. And perhaps because of this, a book appears as a quick read, not worthy of later consideration of certain matters. Nevertheless this first impression, I was surprised later, that behind the humor, there is so much more. There’s a lot of philosophy in book and questions about fundamental issues. But it’s true that everything is slyly included between text.

I can easily say, that I will definitely reread this book someday. But first I want to read sequels. And I hope that there would be more Marvin in them.

Rating: 4/5

Did you read this book? What are your thoughts about it? Are other as funny as this one or even better?

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Book Review: The Monk

Title: The Monk

Author: Matthew Lewis

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Spain, 18th Century. The charismatic monk, Abbot of the Capuchins, Ambrosio, is well known and valued among Madrid’s worshippers. The monk in his thirties is achieving undreamed success and everyone wants to listen to his sermons and meet him. But he lives a strictly ascetic life within the monastery walls. Until he succumbs to a temptation of Matilda, a beautiful girl disguise as a novice. Ambrosio can’t resist and Matilda seduces him, but soon, she’s not enough for him. Ambrosio lays eyes on beautiful, young and innocent Antonia. But her heart is already promised to handsome Lorenzo.

However, Lorenzo overlooks, what plans has a monk with his beloved one because he’s too busy with helping a friend, Raymond, who must rescue his fiance (Lorenzo’s sister) from an evil plan, created against her by nuns from the monastery where she lives.

During this, Ambrosio has time, to plot his evil plan how to win Antonia and because she resists his seduction, he resorts to black magic, where Matilda helps him.


The book shows a situation in Spain in the 18th century. People clung to the Christian values and church representatives have had a tremendous impact on society. But despite this devout piety, there was also a lot of hypocrisy – they all defended the values and Christian principles while they also violated them. And Lewis excellent demonstrate all this hypocrisies and lies.

The hypocrisy is most apparent at monk Ambrosio. In society, monk enjoys a great reputation, his status almost verges on divinity. However, he’s aware of his sinful side and once he crosses the border, he cannot stop. The first time he succumbs to temptation, he becomes the biggest sinner among all. No crime is an obstacle for him, to achieving his goals and desires. And I felt bad for him because whenever he got what he wanted, the thing was no longer interesting to him and he needed something new to long for.

Antonia, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. She’s the image of innocence and naivety and because of her beauty, she becomes the object of admiration. And Ambrosio’s admiration later grows into obsession. In general are women in the book presented as naive, not to mention a romantic side of the book. Of course, I have always tried to keep in mind the time period in which the book was written, but I still think that relations were too idealized and sappy.

At times, this book was funny, because of situations in which characters found themselves. Some situations were almost comical. On the other hand, it was also sad. Certain things didn’t develop according to my expectations and some characters had suffered a tragic fate, which I surely didn’t expect. And many situations where shocking – no worries, there were no explicit descriptions but still Lewis knew how to write about sex (rape, incest) and violence (murder) to shock a reader.

Also, for my taste, there was too strictly separation between good and evil. The characters who were considered good were shown almost like saints. Others were shown as opposite extreme. Ambrosio was the worst pervert and criminal, who is hiding behind his good name and status. Just like nuns from the monastery who imprisoned Raymond’s fiance. And it’s pretty obvious to me, why this book was called “poison of youth” and was banned – Lewis writing style is truly scandalous and provocative. And by criticizing and attacking the church representatives so openly, I can just imagine how many enemies he had.

Conscious that among those who chanted the praises of their God so sweetly, there were some who cloaked with devotion the foulest sins, their hymns inspired him with detestation at their hypocrisy.

I was also glad, that I read this book in Slovenian language, despite the fact that I own an English copy. However, I would probably never read more than one page if I would read this book in English. The language is very specific and writing style dated. Already in Slovenian language, it was strange to read some things. Otherwise, the text is beautifully written and really poetic, yet it is necessary to  consider a time in which The Monk was written. Certain terms are old and conversations of characters very lyrical.

I can say that this book is a wonderful read, especially for those who loves gothic novels with black magic, intrigues, and horror.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Did you read The Monk? What are your thoughts about this book? Do you maybe have any other suggestions for a good gothic novels?

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Book Review: The Collector

Title: The Collector

Author: John Fowles

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This book is written from two different perspectives. The first is a perspective of a lonely young man Frederick Clegg or Fred. He lost his parents when he was really young and after that his aunt took care of him. He grew up in a lonely young man, interested in butterflies.

But once he noticed Miranda, who is a lively art student. For a while he’s just secretly observing her but after a while he decides that he has to have her.

The second perspective is written from Miranda’s point of view. Her part in the book is written like a diary entries which she writes while being Fred’s captive. Some day Fred decided that he will put her into his “collection”, kidnapped her and locked her into his basement. He thinks that while spending time together, she’ll get to know him and started to love him. Miranda is locked in a basement without a possibility to escape.


This excellent psychological thriller offers an insight into minds and thoughts of a psychopath while also offering another view – thoughts and feelings of captive. And this is what makes this book so interesting because a reader can read about both sides.

Both characters are very well presented, especially Fred. While reading, I sometimes felt really bad for him, although of course I already knew from the beginning that his actions are inadmissible.

On the other hand, I thought that Miranda is a fickle girl and I didn’t like her that much as a character. I actually never felt sorry for what happened to her (which is really bad). I felt that most of the time she was really conceited and fussy which felt strange because, after all, she was a captive. And her only goal was to show Fred that she’s smarter than him (she wanted to prove this to him constantly). Miranda is a classic beauty, who was born into a wealthy family and was able to achieve most of her dreams  and she was also very popular. She’s like the exact opposite of Fred.

In her captivity, Miranda constantly thinks about her friend G.P., which for some time she thinks she loves him and other time she changes her mind. And it’s actually funny because in her diary entries about him, there were moments when I thought that in some way she’s obsessed with him like Fred is with her. But her obsession never crossed a line because she’s a normal person. While Fred being a psychopath, he doesn’t know what normal relationships are and he just doesn’t know how to act.

Fred is trying really hard to make Miranda love him and he’s convinced that she will eventually start loving him if she’ll spend enough time with him. So he’s offering her everything that she needs and wish for because he has money that he won on a lottery. It was really interesting to read how Fred just doesn’t get human relations. He can’t understand that Miranda needs freedom and not his money and that he can’t force her to love him.

This book was special because it presents both perspectives (the captives and kidnappers) and it was really interesting reading. The only thing that bothered me was how strongly was exposed the gap between rich and poor. The wealthier are educated, open to novelties and free spirit, while those who are poor (Fred) were uneducated and conservative. This may be understandable depending on a time when a book was written, but it really bothered me while reading about it.

Rating: 3/5