Monday, 30 April 2012

Review: The Cranes Dance by Meg Howrey

(image from goodreads)

For some reason, I was a bit reluctant to continue the story after the first few pages, but I am really glad I did. I have always loved ballet, and am rather sad that I never had the chance to pursue it. 

The Cranes Dance is a tale of two sisters who are both professional ballerinas. The story is told from the perspective of the older sister, Kate, and covers an in-depth and sometimes humorous look at the fiercely competitive world of professional ballet. I had an idea that it was tough, but this story tells you just how difficult it can be, from the hours and hours of training, to the fact that being in a big-name ballet company for years does not necessarily make you a star, or even a principal. Through the words of Kate you find out that her younger sister Gwen (the more talented, and seemingly more destined for stardom sister) has suffered from some sort of mental breakdown, and little by little, the actions that led to that breakdown are revealed. 

It is a slow buildup, and the events in Kate's life don't divert the reader from what is clearly the number one activity in her life - dance. Another thing I really loved was the explanation of some of the ballet masterpieces like Swan Lake, A Midsummer's Night Dream and Giselle. I suddenly feel this desire to watch one of those pieces performed, though I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to do so without wondering what happens behind the scenes.

I am so happy I stuck with the book, and am probably going to purchase the 'real' copy when it is out.

Great job Meg Howrey, and please write more ballet books, even though you probably don't like the current onslaught of ballet movies (based on something Kate mentioned in the book).

Thanks NetGalley!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Books I'm waiting for...#3

More books that I can't wait to read!

How do you defend yourself when the only thing that will set you free 
is not yours to reveal?

Loss, a road trip, a long-lost friend... reminiscent of one of my favourite books, Amy&Roger's Epic Detour, this is an absolute must-read for me!

Another book that deals with loss, but this time with a parallel world where the person being mourned is alive. What's not to like?

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Review: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

(image from goodreads)

This book has been getting a lot of hype, and in order to give my opinion on Amy Chua's parenting styles, I felt like I needed to read her book first. Now that I'm done, I find that I have even less to say than before I read it!

While I do agree that some aspects of her parenting mirror that of the way I was brought up, I had to wonder from time to time whether she was exaggerating. I completely agree with her when it comes to discipline and respect, but a lot of her parenting screams out that her children are being raised in wealth. As an adult, I now wish I had taken up music lessons, but as a child, it was not an option as music lessons were expensive. I did have the opportunity to learn dancing, something which I have continued till today. While my mother didn't enforce rigorous practices, I discovered that I really enjoyed dancing at about age 11, and what I think made me enjoy it most, was the fact that I discovered this joy myself. I don't know much about music, or whether the concept behind it works the same way as in dance but this is how I see it - yes, technique is crucial, but what thousands of hours of practice never gives you is heart.

I also wondered why her husband didn't seem to play a more active role in his children's upbringing. Maybe she didn't have space in the book to put in his input, but I would love to know what he had to say, and if he intervened at any point.

Out of everything, this is the part that bothered me the most. The author mentions that her mother in law always begged for one day just to spend with her grandchildren, but she mentions that she never had a day to spare. Really? Not one? Those girls could have learned valuable life lessons during that one day, but I guess we'll never know will we?

At the end of the day, her style of parenting seems to have worked for her, and her children. If I ever become a parent, I am more than happy to go along with some aspects of her parenting, in particular the ones that are similar to that of my mother's. But I do hope someone conks me on the head with a frying pan if I start booking pianos in hotel rooms and force feeding caviar to my children.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Review: Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

(image from goodreads)

I love fairy tale retellings, and this one was especially good. It covered several well-known tales, and the book didn't shy away from the original tales, which as most of us know, are quite a bit darker than the Disney versions. The only downside was that because I was reading it sporadically, I kept having to refer back as I couldn't recall who the characters were supposed to be. I'm glad that it ended on a proper note, though there is room for a sequel if the author wishes to write one (I'm not sure if there is a plan for one). I really hope she does, because if it is anything like this book, it's going to be on my dying-to-read list well before it even has a cover!

Lines to live by...
"You didn't hide. You didn't wait for the perfect moment to settle on you like a butterfly, like magic. You went out and made magic. Made your own wishes come true."

Thanks NetGalley!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Review: A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley

(image from goodreads)

I can't believe it took me so long to get my hands on this lovely book! A Little Wanting Song reaffirmed my belief that there is truly something magical about Australian YA authors, and Miss Crowley is a great example of one of them. To me, the entire book read like a song, the words lifting off the page like a tune carried on the wind. The author perfectly captured all the emotions felt by our two leads - sadness, anger, despair, fear and hope. It was also refreshing to read a book that centred on a friendship, with a great romance on the side. 

This is one book I will definitely be re-reading. 


1) The multiple POVs.
2) Charlie's songs.
3) Dave
4) The non-instantaneous romance.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012