Saturday, 10 November 2018

THE ROAD TO ATLANTIS BOOKS

Travelling is a truly wonderful and something I believe everyone ought to experience at least once in their lives. Whether you are being engulfed by the beauty of your home country or out exploring the many other spectacles this world beholds.

Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to escape the Australian winter and soak up the rays of Turkey and Greece. My first trip overseas...and boy, was it unforgettable! So many beautiful places to explore around every corner and an abundance of special memories I’ll treasure forever.
If you’re a romantic like me, I’m sure you’ve heard of a little island in the middle of the Aegean Sea called Santorini. Ring any bells?

I decided to spend some time on this little loved up island and take a very special trip to the best bookstore in the world – deemed by National Geographic – Atlantis Books.

A Brief History
Craig and Oliver were vacationing in Santorini in the Spring of 2002, they’d finished their books and couldn’t find anything they liked in English at the local bookstores. Whilst on this trip, Santorini had cast an enchanting “spell” upon the men, thus giving them the idea to open a bookstore in Oia, Santorini. Thus, creating Atlantis Books!

The Journey
Arriving in Santorini, I knew the first thing I wanted to do was the infamous trek from Fira to Oia to visit this magical bookstore. And thus, the morning after I arrived, I woke at the crack of dawn to start the long 25 kilometre (15 mile) hike to Oia.

It was, without a doubt, the best decision I’ve ever made. Weaving my way through the streets of Santorini was beautiful, every corner turned introduced another world of wonder and fascination.

Karterados – Just a small town near Fira, plenty to see and do. It’s absolutely delightful, everyone is so kind and helpful.

Fira – Laneways lined with cobblestone paths, the sparkling caldera to the West and rows of authentic Grecian boutiques and restaurants to the East. There’s nothing quite like getting lost in this beautiful town.

Firostefani – a little village between Fira and Imerovigli, the view is truly breathtaking. If you head towards the caldera, you have the most amazing view of Santorini’s resident volcano, Nea Kameni.

Imerovigli – Yet another stunning part of Santorini, you look back whilst in Imerovigli, you can see the infamous white and pastel coloured buildings and the caldera stretching for what seems like forever. Moving towards the caldera, you’ll find the Church of Anastasi and Skaros Rock. Plenty of places to stop off at along the caldera to get a drink, highly recommend it – without a doubt the best iced coffee I’ve ever had was in Greece.

Oia – A picturesque Grecian landscape in a nutshell. Oia is the real tourist place in Greece, streets lined with restaurants, shops and tourists. Blue dome churches, about a million photographers and the Aegean Sea sparkling in the beautiful sun. Like literally, SPARKLING.


Now, if you know me, you know I’m hopeless with directions and here I was about to trek 25km through several towns with no data and not an ounce of knowledge of Greek. But I made it, and it’s all thanks to this fabulous post by Santorini Dave – thank you for not getting me lost!

When reaching Oia, my eyes didn’t know where to look. There was so much hustle and bustle, beautiful stores filled to the brim with handmade Grecian goodies. I was head-over-heels in love.

If you’re looking for Atlantis Books, do what I did and just keep popping into different shops/restaurants and simply ask. I can tell you now that 9 times out of 10, they’ll be more than happy to help you and you’ll eventually find the holy grail of books.

Reaching Atlantis Books
My oh my, what a sight to behold!
Never in my life have I cried out of relief, and this was the day I did. In the whole two-and-a-bit weeks I was overseas, this beautiful bookstore with floor-to-ceiling shelves lined with thousands upon thousands of stories, was all I truly wanted to see. And I am so overjoyed that I did!

When I finally recognised Atlantis Books, I was so so happy that after a solid 33 hours of travelling and an extra 3-4 hours of hiking that I’d made it! The outside of the store is bejewlled with so many things you don’t know where to look; from the touristy magnets and postcards to the beautiful wall art of shelves and the “Rent-A-Cat” sign, it’s a sight worth seeing.

Delving down into the underground cavern of the store, you step foot into every booklover's paradise. Through a small doorway comes a cave of high ceilings with stacks upon stacks of books, from your typical fiction, young adult and travel sections to books full of all types of poetry, Greek mythology and bilingual translations. The ceilings are covered in decorations, quotes from books and everywhere you look, there’s something new to witness. But for me, the best part of this store was the atmosphere. The people who work here, the resident dog – so gentle and so damn cute! – are so lovely, always smiling and so happy to welcome you into their little world of wonders!

I reckon I spent a solid 2-3 hours just exploring every nook and cranny I could. Finally, after much deliberation, I picked up two books...

Love Poems by Pablo Neruda


Now, there’s a very special meaning behind this book for me. Back when I first really fell in love with books, one of the first I read was Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – if you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you know how much I rave about and love this book. In Perkin’s novel, Étienne St. Clair buys this book for Anna at the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris and later quotes it to her. (chapter 21, p.182) My all-time favourite book and a line from one of Neruda’s poems is mentioned in the book;

“I love you as certain dark things are loved, secretly, between the shadow and the soul.” – Pablo Neruda


Selected Poems by C.P. Cavafy

What book do you pick up on your travels? Something you’ve read before? Something rich in history? Something written in the language of the place you’re in?
As someone who loves poetry, I was all about buying a book by a Greek poet, and Cavafy is possibly one of the most well-known Greek poets.

And it doesn’t stop there! Up above ground, there’s even more to look at! There are even more books to choose from, and if you’ve picked up your book, there’s space to kick back and read with a stunning view of the caldera.



Atlantis Books, truly a place of magic.


Think Lovely Thoughts xo 

Friday, 9 November 2018

THE WITCH'S BLOOD BY KATHARINE & ELIZABETH CORR

Rating: 5 stars


Goodreads Description:
Just who can you trust when no one around you is who they seem?

The final spell-binding book in The Witch’s Kisstrilogy by authors and sisters, Katharine and Elizabeth Corr.

Life as a teenage witch just got harder for Merry when her brother, Leo is captured and taken into an alternative reality by evil witch Ronan. Determined to get him back, Merry needs to use blood magic to outwit her arch-rival and get Leo back. Merry is more powerful than ever now, but she is also more dangerous and within the coven, loyalties are split on her use of the magic. In trying to save Leo, Merry will have to confront evil from her past and present and risk the lives of everyone she’s ever loved. Given the chaos she’s created, just what will she sacrifice to make things right?


Review:
Three beautiful, well thought out, adventurous books all wrapping up the final instalment in what truly has been a memorable journey.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Upon closing the final book, the other night, I didn’t really know what to think. A beautiful story, one I’d fallen for, had drawn to a close. I’m really sad that this trilogy has come to an end, that there isn’t another instalment.
On the upside though, I couldn’t be happier with how this story developed from the first book to the last.

The story of Merry, Leo and Jack have truly brought so much magic into my life and I’ve utterly loved every single moment of it! As I said back in my review of the first book, The Witch’s Kiss, Merry as a character has been written so well; her thoughts, observations and internal monologue captivated me from the very beginning and kept me utterly enchanted with her presence.

Leo...oh, sweet precious baby Leo. You are so damn adorable and brave and just a lil cherub! I loved the way his character evolved in this final book, he truly has been on one heck of a development wave. Back in the first book, he was naïve, unsure, hiding behind his sister...but now, he’s striking out as his own person, ready to take on whatever Ronan or the Shadow Realm had to throw at him!

Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, these Corr sisters know how to write a character from another realm who of which you can fall utterly in love with. And Jack is just that. Whilst in the first book, I was rooting for Merry and Jack to be together – despite being from different worlds and points in time – in The Witch’s Blood, I really enjoyed his connection with Meredith and her sisters. It was beautiful to witness his unwavering commitment to both Meredith and Merry.

After reading the other two books, it makes so much more sense as to why the King of Hearts was at play and how Gwydion would come to be a part of the story in the future. In The Witch’s Blood, the Corr sisters took this trilogy on a bit of a darker spin by adding an active involvement in the shadow realm, fleshing out the sinister character of Ronan, and how sacrifices are sometimes the only way to save the ones you love.


I could honestly go on about this trilogy forever, but I thought I’d just highlight some of my favourite moments of this final installation in The Witch’s Kiss trilogy:

Family – All throughout this trilogy, I loved how the Corr sisters chose to really focus in on Merry’s home life, the coven meetings, heart-to-hearts with her wise Gran. Unlike other stories that focus around teenage protagonists and their school/social life, I really enjoyed seeing a character’s home life, as well as snippets of school/social activity.

Darkness is always lurking. Whether it be Gwydion’s sick twisted plot for the King of Hearts or Ronan’s sacrificial ceremony, this series has kept a line throughout this trilogy that always warns the reader that darkness is never out of sight. Though I will admit, I feel like in this last book, the Corr sisters went REAL dark, to the point at times where I felt queasy – but like a good kind of queasy – and I was just all the more intrigued by how they kept a reader captivated, despite all the brutal crime and punishment that was going on.

Lastly, and because I’m a total sucker for romance: Finn Lombard.
Oh Finn, in one book you managed to take me through about five million types of emotions towards you. But in the end, you kept me smiling and cheering – although there were several times where I was ready to reach through the book and give you a piece of my mind. Nonetheless, Finn is such a handsome, charming, witty and yet another book boyfriend to add to my never-ending list.


I truly appreciate the stunning, generous and wonderful Corr sisters for taking me on this journey with them. You are both such pleasures to get to know and I cannot wait for what you bring out next!

Side note: if you take a look through the acknowledgements section...you might notice a familiar name hehe


Start Merry’s adventures today! Buy a copy of The Witch’s Kiss from Amazon or Dymocks and let me know your thoughts!


Think Lovely Thoughts xo

Thursday, 8 November 2018

THE HOLIDAY CALENDAR


Now, I know to some it may seem super early to be getting into the Christmas spirit...but to me, I’m one of those people who prepares for this time of year. As soon as Christmas in July (25th) hits, I am getting ready to cover every new Christmas movie, test out the new hot chocolate flavours and dance around to new & old Christmas music!

So for the next two months, I’ll be watching and reviewing each new Christmas movie that comes our way – letting you know if it’s worth the watch. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the Hallmark channel, I mean how can one not be? Gimme a bit of romance, Christmas magic and Candace Cameron Bure – let’s face it, she’s like the Hallmark Christmas star of every single movie they release...and I’m not mad about it, she oozes the Christmas spirit!

First up on our list for this year, The Holiday Calendar!

Rating: 3.5 stars

Description
Following the story of a struggling but talented photographer who inherits an antique advent calendar. But this is no ordinary calendar, as she soon finds out that its contents seem to be predicting the future.

Review
First cab off the ranks! And I must say, I didn’t mind this one, it wasn’t my favourite but it was a cute little story to get one in the mood for the Christmas season ahead. However, I do feel like this movie followed the rules for Christmas movies a bit too closely. I personally would have liked to see the movie take a few risks, rather than just getting the job done.

Kat Graham – best known for her role as Bonnie in The Vampire Diaries – is utterly charming in her role as leading lady, Abby Sutton. I'll admit that despite this flick not being the best Christmas movie out there, I loved Graham's performance. She introduces the audience to Abby as this gorgeous, charismatic, relatable artist who’s sitting on the fence between dreaming and struggling to find success as a photographer in both her personal and professional lives.

My take on this is that because The Holiday Calendar stuck so close to the traditional rules of Christmas movies, it was clear within the first few minutes of this movie where it would be going between Abby and Josh (Quincy Brown). And whilst they tried to spice things up by throwing Ty (Ethan Peck) into the mix, it doesn’t give much more than presenting the audience with a typical speed bump on Abby and Josh’s journey to realisation.

Now, I know that not all Christmas movies can be perfect, but I really had high hopes for this one. seeing that it was the first movie of the jolly season. In my opinion, The Holiday Calendar tried...unfortunately didn’t go to plan, but good on them for trying to kick off the holiday season in a good light.


But not to worry, we’ve got some highly anticipated holiday movies coming out this season and I look forward to reviewing every one possible!

Think Lovely Thoughts xo 

Popular Posts