Friday, 27 June 2014

Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

It has been a long time since I've done a book review on my blog! That's mostly because during the school year I mostly read textbooks and a few novels/short stories/poems that I am required to read and don't necessarily feel encouraged to write about since they are mostly classics that everyone has read and heard of and are quite bored with, with a few exceptions (sorry all you nineteenth century writers).

Anyway! I recently went to Chapters and came home with a few books for the first time in ages (I love being able to finally read whatever I want). One of these books was Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. I picked this up on a whim because it sounded like an interesting read. It takes place in the time of royalty, kingdoms, knights, etc and that's usually what I enjoy the most. This book was also supposed to be pretty humorous and I thought I could read something funny since the most recent thing I've been reading is George R. R. Martin's Song of Fire and Ice series.

Murdock's writing style is very different from what I have read in the past. The introduction is part of a memoir of one of the characters as well as a page from a minor character's diary. The first part of the book opens with a play, so I thought that this was going to be a play, but here I was wrong. Murdock uses plays, letters, diaries, notes, and memoirs to pull together the whole novel. It's amazing because you get to see the characters from different points of view It's interesting to see how characters perceive other characters, their inside thoughts, and their motives compared to how they appear to others.

It can be quite odd because sometimes one thing happens to certain characters and a minor character will narrate the events form what that character has heard from other characters or through rumours, so you never really know if you should trust the character that is narrating at that point in time.

The plot itself is quite simple. A young princess becomes engaged to a duke based solely on the promise of adventure; she, as well as several other characters, get tied up in a massive plan that is based on one character wanting to gain the throne to the princess' kingdom; they must all work together or else all will fall; etc, etc, etc. It's the way that Murdock presents the story that makes it so interesting.

The novel was described as "hilarious" but I would describe it as simply entertaining. I didn't laugh out loud or smile or chuckle the way you would at a hilarious book. It simply entertained me and got me through the morning. There were parents that were amusing, but I'm not sure I would go so far as to use the word "hilarious".

The characters themselves seem to be very well rounded and realistic, with realistic troubles and hopes and dreams. I really liked all the characters, except for Wisdom. She seemed to be a rather selfish character to me and I don't think she deserved the guy she ended up with. My favourite character was Trudy, or Fortitude as she is eventually named. She's witty, smart, and very likeable. I love that when her love broke her heart and tried to explain, she tells him that she wanted more and goes off to become someone happy doing her own thing and seeking out her own happiness rather than relying on this boy to bring it to her.

The end was happy for everyone except for the villain, but I wasn't very satisfied. There was this big climax that happened at almost the very end of the novel and then the events that followed it are summarized by a character that wasn't even there.

This novel was a very entertaining read involving romance, magic, adventure, and intrigue, but I think it's something to read if you have a spare moment and just want to have something to do. It's not a serious read and is definitely for teens who are still in high school and just want something to read that isn't Shakespeare or Joseph Conrad.

All in all, I think I would read it again for shits and giggles, but it certainly won't make it into my top five favourites.

Quote of the day: My friend turns up his nose - this cat knows more of cookery than most men. - Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Friday, 6 June 2014

DIY Makeup Brush Holder

Sorry I've been so silent recently! I've been quite busy recently and I recently had some computer troubles. But now I'm back with a DIY post! Old candles can be easily recycled into something useful and, if you're like me, you need something useful like this to put things that can accumulate. Even if you don't use it as a makeup brush holder, you can easily use the empty jars to keep other things in.

First place the candles in a freezer for several hours up to overnight. Mine were in for four hours, but if I were to do it again I would suggest leaving them in a bit longer so the wax isn't too sticky. Once you have removed them from the freezer, take a knife to loosen the wax around the edges. You can then use it to make cracks in the wax and pop out the large pieces. 

Once all the wax is out all you need to do is remove the wicks. This can be a bit difficult to maneuver but they'll come out in the end. To get them out I recommend filling the jars with hot water and swirling it around a bit. The hotter the better. This will help to loosen the glue and make it easier to remove.

You need to be careful though. When I was prying out some wicks my jar cracked. That was most definitely a DIY fail!

Once the wicks are out wash out the wax inside the candle. The labels should come off fairly easily. The one on the side will peel off with a little bit of elbow grease and the one on the bottom should be scraped off fairly easily with a knife once it's been wet. You can then wash the candle jar once more making sure that all the glue is gone and any wax you missed previously. 

Once it's been washed you can add any type of filler. I couldn't find any that I liked at the time, but you can find filler beads at the dollar store, coffee beans at a craft store, or you can use anything you like. You could also leave it empty and keep things in there and use the lid to close it as well. 

Quote of the day: So many things are possible just as long as you don't know they're impossible. - Norton Juster