Book Review – A Feast for Crows

This must be the book from the A Song of Ice and Fire series that I read the fastest, partly because I was taking a break from exam-prepping. I do not know why, but reading this book felt different than reading the three previous ones. I think that the author’s approach sort of changed with this book, giving it a more modern feel.

The title does indeed say it all: there are not true battles resembling the Blackwater Bay one; instead, this volume focuses on the aftermath of the war, on all the dead bodies of soldiers and commonfolk on which the crows are feasting. The title might also be a reference to a new and savage character, Crow’s Eye, aka Euron Greyjoy.

With this new character introduced, I have to say that I actually, for the first time, enjoyed reading about what happens in the Iron Islands. Euron is a man who has been to the eastern edge of the world and has come back even crazier than when he left in exile. Of course, I have to love the damaged characters. I also loved Asha and Victarion’s characters, especially Asha’s strength and determination. I am excited to find out what happens on Victarion’s voyage east.

Cersei…I was particularly happy to start this book because for the first time we have a Cersei POV, but my high hopes were crushed. She is nothing, in my opinion, like the Cersei we have seen portrayed by Lena Headey in the tv series. I think she lacks strength and wit and foresight, while blaming every injustice done to her on the fact that she is treated differently, being a woman. She hopes to surpass her father, but that will never happen, not because she is female, but because she is absolutely nothing like the great lion Tywin. I think her poor choices, both as a mother and a queen regent, culminated in the twist of fate the new High Septon bestowed upon her. Now, do not get me wrong: I hate this new spiritual guide and his militia, but Cersei got a good bite of karma. I felt genuinely sorry for Margaery, Tommen, and Blue Bard.

My favourite chapters, of course, were the ones involving Jaime! This man is so good and strong and fair. He improves the farther away he is from Cersei and his last act of burning her letter begging help made me so ecstatic. But I have to say, I am happy that the Blackfish escaped his claws; I love that man.

Brienne and Pod’s journey left me kind of disappointed, since they seemed to be going in circles, without really getting anywhere. Lady Stoneheart’s appearance left a bitter taste in my mouth, not liking her idea of justice.

I never thought I’d find myself saying this, but I actually adored Petyr Baelish’s character. I loved the little lessons he gave Sansa (Alayne) regarding the game of thrones and power. And I also liked Sansa’s chapters, which has never happened before.

Now, for my favourite part: DORNE! I cannot tell you how much I loved being introduced to this kingdom and its exotic people and culture. I liked Arianne Martell’s character and her tragic love story with Arys Oakheart, while I respect her father so much for putting in motion a plan which could give great fruits in the future.

Arya now has started a completely new journey in the House of Black and White and I must say, I prefer the way it is depicted in the books rather than the show. I especially appreciate the “kindly man” and his words of wisdom. Also, the way the stories of some of the characters (like Sam and Arya) cross paths did not escape my sight; this is something new we saw with this book.

Samwell is still the sweetheart slayer we all know and adore, who manages to carry so much weight on his shoulders, despite being afraid of everything. His and Gilly’s relationship evolves, while we unfortunately get to witness the spectacular last moments of Maester Aemon, one of my overall most favourite characters. The amount of knowledge and new mysteries her comes out with before dying left me open mouthed and googling theories. He will be so missed. Sam’s arrival to the Citadel is welcomed by a very sinister but, for some aspects, brutally honest maester, Marwyn, who already knew what Sam came to say and do and then left to fulfill Aemon’s role, fighting the Citadel’s wish to destroy magic.

This is indeed one of my favourite volumes, thanks to Jaime, Aemon, Samwell, and Arianne.

Score: 8/10 (only because I miss Tyrion and Jon so much)

Thank you for reading.

xx

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Lauren Ralph Lauren Nora Bag Review

Attention everybody, I got myself a fancy bag. Or at least what I would call fancy. Beware, it’s neither Gucci nor Prada, so if that is what you are looking for, it was nice meeting you.

It’s been a while since I decided that I needed a good, sturdy, elegant bag to take with me during “important” (aka slightly diverse from the ordinary) day activities as well as for going out at night, at dinner and such.

I set a budget and found the one. THE ONE. I saw it on Zalando and fell in love with it that instant. It is a real leather black handbag by Lauren Ralph Lauren (a less expensive branch of the Ralph Lauren empire). It retailed at €260 but me being me, so very pragmatic, I found a discount code (by typing “zalando discount code” on Google, do it) and got it for around €230. Delivery, as per usual, was flawless (courtesy of UPS); it arrived the day after I got the delivery confirmation email.

I have already worn this bag out twice and it is sooooo comfortable and versatile. It feels and looks very luxurious and improves a basic outfit tenfold.

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Detail wise, it has the logo on a moderately sized attachment and also on the bag itself and the zippers. The leather on the outside is not smooth, so it will not scratch as easily. Inside, the material is on the nude/beige side of the spectrum and it has one pocket with a zipper and two zipper-less ones. It came with a very nice and delicate dust bag (that I put it in when I am not using it).

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I must say, I love this bag with every fibre of my body and I am so so glad I invested in such a piece.

Score: 10/10

Thank you for reading.

Book Review – A Storm of Swords

I am BACK with the review for the third book of A Song of Ice and Fire, A Storm of Swords. I must say, this is my favourite up to now. I think that the action finally starts to take place and gear us towards the endgame, even if we are still at the beginning. There are obviously going to be spoilers in this post, my apologies.

The game of thrones becomes more and more cruel, bringing divinities out to play (and I am talking about R’hllor) as well as wights and Others. I did not think I would be glad reading so much of the land beyond the wall, but I was pleasantly surprised. Jon has slowly become my favourite character and I think he is the ultimate hero, the ultimate good man. I am sorry to say that Ygritte is not a character I liked and I was not impressed by her death nor her personality.

The most infuriating event was of course the Red Wedding. There is nothing that justifies it and the law of hospitality did nothing to save King Robb, whom I actually liked. I think that narrating that scene from Catelyn’s perspective was genius, and as you read you can feel her going mad with pain, which left a bitter taste in my mouth, a lthough nothing infuriated me as much as Grey Wind’s death. If there is one thing I cannot stomach that is the death of animals.

Arya’s travel with the Hound is…interesting, I suppose. I do think that she has grown and matured and maybe even lost a bit of humanity while with him, but I do not think that it changed her more than the previous events in her life. Her journey in Braavos will be far more challenging.

As you may guess, my absolute and uttermost favourite moment of this whole grand book was Joffrey’s death. Never have I read about a more despicable and downright mean character in my whole life and I laughed when he found his rightful end. Of course, Tyrion’s trial was not what I would have wanted and certainly Prince Oberyn’s death was unfair and stupid on his part (and even made me sad with his love for his dead sister Elia), but it shows how good and honest does not always win. Besides, Tyrion’s vengeance with his father and his brief encounter with Jaime is what I craved and finally got, despite actually liking Tywin’s character, flawed and all.

Now, my absolute favourite new feature of this book was Jaime’s point of view. I cannot tell you how much I love this character and how I think he is the best developed one in the whole story. His slow realisation that his sister may not be a goddess sent by the Seven is something I have waited for a long time. Him taking charge of the Kingsguard and writing his own page in history, with victories and defeats, makes him a great man, and it shows that he was not just his sword hand.

Sansa. I always dreaded when I had to start reading one of her chapters, but they always turn out to be better than expected, mostly thanks to the other characters. I was pleasantly surprised by the chapter in which Littlefinger gives her advice to fight her way through the world and I must say that some of that advice is applicable today. RIP Lisa Arryn, you crazy and jealous woman whom I never could stand.

Davos is also a favourite character of mine, especially thanks to the way he played Melisandre right before the end. Stannis is, in my opinion, still a good man at heart and could take the right path if only he listened to his Hand more than to the Red Priestess.

And finally, Daenerys. She has conquered and also lost quite a lot in this book, but I still do not like her. Call me hateful, but I think that with the ways she chooses to enforce authority in Meereen, she is becoming mad as her father. This may be just a feeling I have, but I hope Ser Barristan Selmy will somehow keep her on the right track.

I cannot wait to read the next two books. Maybe when I will be done with those our beloved George RR Martin will come out with the sixth one, but maybe that is false hope.

Thank you for reading.

xx

 

 

Book Review – The World of Ice and Fire

Now, you guys have probably understood that I have become a true Game of Thrones fan. And as a fan, I wanted to have all the fictional historical facts I could find. Therefore, as a birthday gift, I got this amazing and quite extensive book which tells the story of Westeros and Essos.

At the beggining, I could not put it down. The facts about how the Seven Kingdoms started were too amazing to read later, but after a while you get confused with all of the various Targaryen kings and start losing track of who did what. That is why I advise you to read it casually and then reach for it (at least for the first, historical, part of the book) once you encounter the names in the actual books.

After that part, you get into the actual Seven Kingdoms and their respective history and description, one by one. My favourite is Dorne, as it reflects the social and political values I would like to find in the world of today. Equality between sons and daughters, true born children and bastards, wives or paramours, that is why Dorne is so ahead of its sister kingdoms. A sentimental favourite I would find in the North, where true values seem to never have shifted through the centuries. As much as I love the Lannisters, I did not fall in love with the Westerlands.

Now, the third and last part of this book is dedicated to Essos, and since it is the lesser known territory, it was destined to be my favourite.
I am fascinated with all of the tiny islands that we still do not know enough about and with the three guardian cities (Kayakayanaya, Samyriana, and Bayasabhad) that divide the Vaes Dothrak from the Bones.

Above all, I thirst to know more about Asshai by the Shadow, which only has 2 pages in this book. It is so mysterious and unexplored that I was really dissapointed it did not have more space here. Maybe we will find out later, if George RR Martin feels like delighting us.

All in all, this felt like reading a very entertaining history book, extremely realistic (besides the dragons) and believable.
Score: 9/10

Thank you for reading
Xx

Book Review – A Clash of Kings

Here I am, back with the review of the second book of A Song of Ice and Fire. I must say that I probably enjoyed this book more, simply because the tv show, despite following most of the events, did not feel as a carbon copy of the book, therefore making the reading of the book more enjoyable.

Trying not to divulge too much of the plot for those who have not read it yet is impossible and I am sorry. So if you have not reached this part yet, I recommend you click out since I will now make a list of my favourite events:

  • Renly’s death: this was probably the moment where we, as readers, realised that magic is indeed real in this book, under the form of Renly’s killer and that Melisandre might not be as crazy as we all thought;
  • Brienne’s introduction: Brienne is one of my favourite characters and I could not wait for her to be revealed. Her loyalty is probably her most interesting feature and I cannot wait to see how it develops in the later books;
  • Jaqen H’ghar: I just love everything that has to do with Essos and he is no exception. His demeanour and mystery make me love him even more, especially seeing his relationship with Arya evolve;
  • Battle of Blackwater Bay: probably one of the few times I actually appreciated Sansa’s point of view (POV). I loved the back and forth between her POV and Tyrion’s and how the battle was lived inside and outside of the Red Keep. Of course, I cannot forget to mention Tyrion’s brilliance;
  • Jon Snow killing Qhorin Halfhand: again, in this moment I understood how great and meant for greatness Jon really is. He is one of my favourite characters and him being loyal to the Watch through and through left me speechless;
  • House of the Undying: all the prophecies there are so amazing and I cannot wait for all of them to happen. Anything regarding Rhaegar I love, so him saying that his son is the prince who was promised and that his is the song of ice and fire just makes me hope.

Regarding my favourite POVs, Tyrion takes the gold, while Davos is in second place. They are also my favourite characters throughout; I do also enjoy Jon’s, although I am not a fan of the whole behind the wall narrative. The POVs I do not really enjoy are Theon’s and Bran’s (besides when he has visions of the past).

All in all, I loved this book and I see how it sets the foundation and stepping stones for the rest. I am reading A Storm of Swords as of right now and I will keep you updated.

Score: 9/10

Thank you for reading.

xx

Riot by Monti – Swimsuit Review

I purchased a swimsuit from this brand, Riot by Monti, some months ago especially for my trip to Australia (part 1 here). I had my eyes on this particular style, which they do not carry anymore on their site, for months and finally decided to splurge.

I say splurge because their prices are not H&M low, but still, they are not too expensive. You can check their styles out here and they also have an Instagram account here. They also have another Instagram account called Riot Babes which, if you tag it and hashtag your post with #riotbabes, could feature you (they did feature me here).

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The swimsuit itself is amazing. It is made with great quality material and it is not see-through at all. The fit and shape of this particular swimsuit is amazing, exactly what you would want from a one-piece.

Getting it on was slightly more difficult, since the material is not particularly stretchy, but that is absolutely fine.

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This is my favourite swimsuit ever and I would totally recommend you guys purchase swimsuits from this brand. Keep in mind that it is an independent brand and that is the reason why the prices are higher as well as shipping and customs. In my opinion, it is worth it.

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#RelaxItsJustAss

Score : 9/10

Thank you for reading.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer – Review

I am pretty sure that all of you already know about this concealer, but I just had to review it myself. This Age Rewind concealer by Maybelline has been the star of the show for the past year, I would say. It appears in almost every Instagram and Youtube video, therefore I felt compelled to buy it.

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It was like looking for a treasure, since no store that I went to had it, but I got lucky and went to a supermarket (Esselunga, if you live in Italy), where I finally found it. Unfortunately, at least here in Italy, they only carry 2 shades, very similar, made for light to medium skin tones. I got very lucky, since I am pretty fair, but anyone with a slightly darker skin tone than mine would end up with nothing.

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The price is pretty fair, at €9. It has the same quantity of product as the Fit Me Concealer, although it is slightly thicker.

Putting it to the test, I was pleasantly surprised on how smooth it was. It fills up every line and pore, for a seamless coverage. The shade I have, Light, is slightly ashy, so I have to set it with a warm toned powder. It definitely has way more lasting power than its competitor, the Fit Me Concealer.

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I am very happy with this product and I probably will purchase it again.

Score : 8,5/10

Thank you for reading.

xx