Monday, November 13, 2017

Book Review #697 - The Shining (The Shining #1) by Stephen King

Jack Torrance's new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he'll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote...and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

My Rating: 4/5

This is my third Stephen King novel and it's definitely my favourite so far (with the other two being Carrie and Salem's Lot).

This book was completely different than what I was expecting. I did not expect the protagonist to be a five year old boy, even though I did love him in that role.

I found the setting of the story to be the main element in the whole thrilling nature of the book. Not only is the Torrence family alone in a very old, isolated and haunted hotel but a huge snow storm causes them to become even more isolated.

Family is an important theme in this book especially between father and son. Danny idolizes his father Jack but Jack hasn't always treated Danny well in the past, especially when he gets drunk.

Flashbacks show that Jack had a similar relationship with his own father.

I really liked the supernatural element in this story. Danny has the ability to hear people's thoughts and at times see the future. This ability is called "the shining". 

This ability and Danny's young age make him very vulnerable and innocent which makes me think he probably needed a life time of therapy following the way the book ended.

When the family move to the isolated hotel where Jack finds employment, Danny's ability becomes stronger as the hotel makes all three of them suffer bouts of insanity. 

I'm not sure how I feel about Jack. He wasn't a very nice person to begin with and the hotel made him worse. The flashbacks to where he was drunk and the way he treated Wendy and Danny make him unlikable. 

The book wasn't as thrilling as I thought it was going to be but it did have a number of hair raising moments. I can definitely see why Joey Tribbiani felt the need to put this book in the freezer.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Book Review #696 - Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

The classic story of a young boy who seeks his fortune on the streets of London.

After Oliver Twist asks nasty Mr Bumble for more food, he has to flee the workhouse for the streets of London. Here he meets the Artful Dodger, who leads him to Fagin and his gang of pickpockets. When a thieving mission goes wrong, Oliver narrowly avoids prison and finds himself in the care of kind Mr Brownlow. But Fagin and the brutal Bill Sikes go in search of the young orphan, determined to drag him back . . .

My Rating: 5/5

I have been trying to read a book a month from the 1001 books list for sometime now but have avoided the real 'classics' simply because they intimidate me and I don't have a good record of finishing them.

Oliver Twist was my first Charles Dickens novel I ended up reading it in less than a day which is by far the fastest I have read any book so far from the 1001 books list.

I wasn't the biggest fan of Dickens' writing style. I found he had a rather indirect way of describing things which caused me to have to reread sentences here and there.

Considering that this story was published in increments over the course of 2 years shows how much planning would have gone into creating the story as multiple stories seamlessly weave together in the second half of the book.

Dickens has a way with characters names that make them wholly unique. A favourite of mine was Charley Bates who was referred to throughout as 'master bates'.

Oliver, the character the book surrounds was an interesting and likable character. I couldn't help but feel sorry for him as he suffered throughout.

The book has 3 antagonists worth mentioning. The first is the one most people remember which is Fagin, who controversially is referred to as 'the jew' throughout. Fagin was basically just a typical, evil villain who wants to drag Oliver down with him.

The second antagonist was Bill Sykes. This guy kind of sneaks under the radar as at first he just seems like one of Fagin's minions but his actions at the end were purely shocking and unexpected.

The third antagonist was Monks who is introduced about half way through the story. He makes it clear he has a motive for interfering with Oliver's life and happiness and this motive becomes the main plot twist.

Also worth mentioning to a lesser degree is Mr Bumble, the local beedle which from what I gathered is the Victorian era equivalent of a policeman. This guy completely takes advantage of the power he has in his position and takes high amounts of pleasure in doing so. When Mr Bumble was mentioned in the epilogue I couldn't help but fist pump.

Victorian London in this book is such a terrifying place. The poverty and squalor was described in such vivid detail.

The character of Nancy was probably my favourite. She was so complex and enigmatic. She was caught between her loyalty to Fagin who she has worked for pretty much her entire life and her need to protect Oliver from going down the same miserable path she did.

After reading and absolutely loving this book I am excited to read more Dickens. I think my next read will be A Tale of Two Cities as the only other Dickens novels that I currently own seem very similar to Oliver Twist (Great Expectations and David Copperfield).

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Book Review #695 - How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

“Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

A riveting and astonishing story.

My Rating: 3/5

The book starts with Daisy going to live with her aunt and cousins Edmund, Isaac, Osbert and Piper. It is also alluded to numerous times that Daisy has an eating disorder so this book does tackle much deeper topics.

At first I found this book really hard to read. It is told almost entirely through inner monologue and really long sentences. The lack of speech marks is what bothered me the most.

The protagonist Daisy was not easy to like or get along with. She was a typical moody teenager.

The book is just under 200 pages long but it is so incredibly slow paced that it felt much longer.

For that reason I definitely liked the second half of the book more than the first half. The second half focuses on Daisy and her 9 year old cousin Piper's quest for survival after they are separated from the male cousins (Piper's brothers) after the outbreak of war.

At first Daisy and her cousins are very naïve about the war. When the British Army take them away, separating them is when the book significantly picks up the pace.

The romance was another aspect I didn't particularly enjoy because Daisy happens to fall in love with her cousin. They never even really acknowledged what they were doing was wrong. This whole interaction made me cringe.

The ending was rather abrupt and I did not like it at all but then I am not sure how else to end a book with this type of topic.

For a book about war, I thought that Daisy was left rather sheltered. There was only 2 or 3 moments throughout the book that she saw the real traumatic nature of war. My view was further solidified when we are briefly told Edmund's way of life during the war. I can't help but think this book could have been a lot better had it not been a young adult novel.

I also watched the movie adaptation after reading this book. I was unable to watch the movie in one sitting because it was just as slowly paced as the book. I did really love Piper in the movie though, she really encapsulated the youthful innocence with a war going on around her.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Book Review #694 - Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

My Rating: 3.5/5

I had heard nothing but good things about this book and so I decided to finally read it before I watch the movie adaptation.

It had been a while since I read a YA contemporary especially one with as much hype as this one. 

The book tells the story of a teenage girl called Maddy who has a condition which makes her allergic to the outside world. 

The book commences with Maddy's 17th birthday and we are shown what a limited, lonely existence she lives. Other than her house nurse, her mother is the only person Maddy has regular daily contact with. I loved their mother/daughter relationship and how close they were. 

I found the book really fast paced especially the romance between Maddy and her new neighbour Olly. 

I loved the writing style. It was very unique and creative and I loved the added element of the illustrations throughout. 

The only negative thing I can say about this book is that I predicted the plot twist very early on in the book which I completely hate myself for. Also my mum on only reading the synopsis guessed the ending as well. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Book Review #693 - Obernewtyn (The Obernewtyn Chronicles #1) by Isobelle Carmody

In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. And for Elspeth Gordie, it is also dangerous. That's because Elspeth has a secret: she is a Misfit, born with mysterious mental abilities that she must keep hidden under threat of death. And her worries only multiply when she is exiled to the mountain compound known as Obernewtyn, where—for all her talents—Elspeth may finally and truly be out of her depth. Then she learns she’s not the only one concealing secrets at Obernewtyn.

My Rating: 3/5

This is the first book in 7 book long high fantasy series that I have heard so many good things about. 

The first book in a series is usually where the author introduces the characters, setting, plot etc. This book was no different except that I felt like I was being told rather than shown all this which left me disengaged at times. 

Elspeth, the narrator was an unique character. She was rather unpredictable in her behaviour and she contradicted herself through her behaviour numerous times throughout the book.

I loved the setting of the mountains and the bush land even though I think it could have been described better. 

As I mentioned before, the story is mainly told rather than shown which made the book feel incredibly slow. The author did write this book when she was still in high school so I am definitely going to continue on with the series to see if the story gets better as the author matures and develops. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Book Review #692 - The Crown (The Selection #5) by Kiera Cass


In The Heir, a new era dawned in the world of The Selection. Twenty years have passed since America Singer and Prince Maxon fell in love, and their daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own.

Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult—and more important—than she ever expected.

My Rating: 3/5

The cliffhanger from The Heir is quickly dealt with in the first few pages, enabling the story to continue it is usual fast manner. 

I loved that America and Maxon had a larger role in this book especially being able to see how their relationship has evolved. 

Due to circumstances, Eadlyn doesn't interact very much with any of the Selection boys in this book. There are other events in her life that make the Selection less important.

This causes her to have another mass elimination of the Selection. It was during this moment that I realised that I didn't really prefer any of them over the others. 

The guy Eadlyn ends up choosing at the end was no real surprise to me as I felt like he was the only one she even had remotely any chemistry with even though that chemistry was skimmed over or downplayed. 

The ending felt rather rushed and I was disappointed with the amount of unanswered questions I was left with, particularly to do with Eadlyn's decision about the monarchy. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Book Review #691 - Rebellion (The 100 #4) by Kass Morgan

Centuries after nuclear war destroyed our planet, humanity struggles to rebuild. It’s been a month since the dropships landed and the Colonists joined the Hundred on the ground. The teens, once branded juvenile delinquents, are now leaders among their people.

The Colonists and the Earthborns are celebrating their first holiday together when, to everyone’s horror, they’re attacked by a group of strangers whose unusual battle cries fill the air. The newcomers kill scores of people, seize prisoners, and pillage crucial supplies. When hotheaded Bellamy and his analytical girlfriend Clarke discover that Wells, Octavia and Glass have been captured, they vow to get them back at all costs. But as they go after their new enemies, Bellamy and Clarke find themselves increasingly at odds, unable to agree on a plan to save their friends. 

Meanwhile, Wells, Octavia, and Glass are being slowly brainwashed by their captors, religious fanatics with one goal: to grow their ranks and “heal” the war-ravaged planet… by eliminating everyone else on it.

But centuries of radiation exposure have taken their toll, forcing the cult to take drastic steps to survive. And unless the rescue party arrives soon, the teen captives will face a fate more terrifying than anything they could imagine. In this thrilling fourth installment, the hundred fight to protect the people they love on the dangerous planet they always dreamed of calling home.

My Rating: 3.5/5

This book was released about 2 years after the initial trilogy and doesn't add anything to the overall story. 

The plot in this book is nothing we haven't seen before. A new threat kidnaps some of Clarke's friends, and Clarke and the remaining friends go on a quest to rescue the kidnapped friends. 

Whilst the plot was really basic, I just loved being back in this world and surrounded by these familiar characters. 

I would absolutely love if the author decided to continue on with the series but overall I am satisfied with how it ended. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Book Review #690 - Tales of the Peculiar (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children #0.5)


Before Miss Peregrine gave them a home, the story of peculiars was written in the Tales. 

Wealthy cannibals who dine on the discarded limbs of peculiars. A fork-tongued princess. The origins of the first ymbryne. These are but a few of the truly brilliant stories in Tales of the Peculiar—known to hide information about the peculiar world—first introduced by Ransom Riggs in his Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.

Riggs now invites you to share his secrets of peculiar history, with a collection of original stories, as collected and annotated by Millard Nullings, ward of Miss Peregrine and scholar of all things peculiar.

                                      My Rating: 3/5

This book contains 10 enchanting fable-like stories rich in peculiardom folklore. Whilst it didn't add anything, I loved being immersed back in this wonderful world.

The book very much reminded me of The Beedle and the Bard and I'm sure it's where the inspiration for its existence came from.

Each story was entirely unique and I loved all of them for a variety of different reasons. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Book Review #689 - Homecoming (The 100 #3) by Kass Morgan

Weeks after landing on Earth, the Hundred have managed to create a sense of order amidst their wild, chaotic surroundings. But their delicate balance comes crashing down with the arrival of new dropships from space.

These new arrivals are the lucky ones—back on the Colony, the oxygen is almost gone—but after making it safely to Earth, GLASS’s luck seems to be running out. CLARKE leads a rescue party to the crash site, ready to treat the wounded, but she can’t stop thinking about her parents, who may still be alive. Meanwhile, WELLS struggles to maintain his authority despite the presence of the Vice Chancellor and his armed guards, and BELLAMY must decide whether to face or flee the crimes he thought he’d left behind.

It’s time for the Hundred to come together and fight for the freedom they’ve found on Earth, or risk losing everything—and everyone—they love.

My Rating: 5/5

I think this is my favourite book of the series so far. Where book 2 hinted at possible things happening, this book delivered them. 

There was less of Clarke in this book which I disliked as she is by far my favourite character. Wells and Glass (my 2 least favourite characters) narrated a large portion of the book. 

Whilst the TV show may be a long way past where the book currently is, in general terms (the plots are ENTIRELY different), I love the amount of depth the book has compared to the show. 

Like with the show, these books always end on a cliffhanger and so I will be most definitely be picking up book 4 very soon. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Book Review #688 - Little Women (Little Women #1) by Louisa May Alcott

Following the lives of four sisters on a journey out of adolescence, Louisa May Alcott's Little Women explores the difficulties associated with gender roles in a Post-Civil War America.

My Rating: 4/5

I read this book as part of my 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die challenge. 

This is a much loved, timeless classic and it's not hard for me to see why after finishing it. 

Set during the US Civil War, this heart warming story follows four sisters namely Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy through their struggles of having to grow up fast with their family thrown into hard times. 

Jo was by far my favourite character as I think she was most like myself. After reading a biography on the author I got with the book I can see that Jo was based on her and is somewhat autobiographical. Jo also seems more of a modern woman rather than a 19th century one. 

I loved how realistic the characters were and this was shown through their flaws. Meg was easily jealous of other people's wealth, Jo had a bad temper, Beth was extremely shy and Amy was selfish. I loved how over the year that this book is set, all four girls manage to overcome their flaws. 

The language used is that one would hear in the 19th century and I found this quality really draining at first. It also made this book feel a lot longer than what it was. 

The setting in this book was also very realistic. I felt like I was time travelling to the 19th century every time I opened the book. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and really want to read the sequel/companion books in fact I have already ordered them. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Book Review #687 - The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. So when she hears that his ship has been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts (no survivors) her heart is broken. But her charms draw the attention of the relentless Prince Humperdinck who wants a wife and will go to any lengths to have Buttercup. So starts a fairy tale like no other, of fencing, poison, true love, hate, revenge, giants, bad men, good men, snakes, spiders, chases, escapes, lies, truths, passion and miracles, and ... a damn fine story.

My Rating: 4.5/5

This book contained just about everything you could possibly want in a book - action, romance, good v evil, and even a fairytale like plot. 

The book has a very timeless feel to it in that it feels like it was written centuries ago not in the 1970's. 

The characters were my favourite aspect of this book simply because they were all unique and memorable. My favourite character was Inigo and I loved his whole quest for revenge. 

Like the characters, the writing style was unique. It reads as a book within a book with the author acting as though he is annotating an original of the same story. There were one or two occasions where I felt like this was ruining the flow of the story but mostly I loved it. 

The comedic moments in this book (which is a lot) stems from the fact that no point does this book ever take itself seriously. 

I have now read more than a few books on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die List and this book is better than almost all of them so I am not sure how this book did not make the list. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Book Review #686 - Stormbreaker (Alex Rider #1) by Anthony Horowitz


They told him his uncle died in a car accident. Fourteen-year-old Alex knows that's a lie, and the bullet holes in his uncle's windshield confirm his suspicions. But nothing prepares him for the news that the uncle he always thought he knew was really a spy for MI6 Britain's top secret intelligence agency. Recruited to find his uncle's killers and complete his final mission, Alex suddenly finds himself caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

My Rating: 2.5/5

This book was fast paced and full of action and adventure from the very first page. 

Alex Rider is a reluctant hero, but entertaining protagonist. His introduction into the life of a spy was a little rushed and I wished there was more build up to the training aspect of it, especially if we are to believe later on that Alex is a professional. 

I've never really been a fan of the espionage genre so the fact that this book takes a rather simplistic approach to the topic was a huge positive for me. 

The plot was rather unbelievable and the amount of action really tried to cover up this fact which might work for the children the book is targeted for, but for me it was annoying. 

This is a really long series, in fact it takes up almost an entire shelf on my TBR and so I'm interested to see how the characters and more significantly, the plot develop. 

Also, funnily enough soon after finishing this book my nephew randomly picked this movie out on Netflix to watch and like almost every single book to movie adaptation, the book was 100% better. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Book Review #685 - A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard


On 10 June 1991, eleven-year-old Jaycee Dugard was abducted from a school bus stop within sight of her home in Tahoe, California. It was the last her family and friends saw of her for over eighteen years. On 26 August 2009, Dugard, her daughters, and Phillip Craig Garrido appeared in the office of her kidnapper's parole officer in California. Their unusual behaviour sparked an investigation that led to the positive identification of Jaycee Lee Dugard, living in a tent behind Garrido's home. During her time in captivity, at the age of fourteen and seventeen, she gave birth to two daughters, both fathered by Garrido. 

Dugard's memoir is written by the 30-year-old herself and covers the period from the time of her abduction in 1991 up until the present. In her stark, utterly honest and unflinching narrative, Jaycee opens up about what she experienced, including how she feels now, a year after being found. Garrido and his wife Nancy have since pleaded guilty to their crimes.

My Rating: 4/5

The main thing I thought before reading this book is I wonder how graphic or how much detail will it divulge and the answer I got was a lot. She doesn't sugarcoat anything and goes into a lot of detail about a lot of traumatic events. 

The amount of abuse Jaycee endured over 18 years in captivity is just horrifying and was impossible to read at times. 

I found that the line between reality and fiction blurred a lot throughout the book as it is unimaginable that this kind of thing can happen to a young, innocent child. 

While Jaycee is the first to admit that her writing style and ability is not the best, I admired her bravery in sharing her story. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Book Review #684 - Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.

My Rating: N/A

I am really picky about what non-fiction books I read, especially celebrity memoirs. Gilmore Girls is however one of my favourite TV shows of all time so I was really excited to read this book. 

The writing style was very witty, humorous and free flowing which made it a very fun and quick book to read. 

This book covers a lot of Lauren's life without going into too much detail or depth. 

I read this book cover to cover and ended up finishing it around 3:00am as I just wanted to get to the last chapter where Lauren talks about the Gilmore Girls revival which ended up being well worth it as the last sentence of the book was really promising. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Book Review #677 - Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (Part Four: Chapters 32-45)

This is Part Four of my review. Part Three can be found here

My Rating: N/A

These chapters deal with the struggles Scarlett faces now that the war has ended. Scarlett had expected her life and her finances to improve and instead they have worsened. 

When the Yankees, who are trying to get the Southerners off the land raise the taxes on Tara to an amount Scarlett cannot pay, she seeks Ashley's advice. He is unable to help her. 

During this time I felt that Ashley was the female character, and Scarlett the male. It is Scarlett who is financially supporting Ashley and his young family. Scarlett also states that she couldn't bear to see Ashley having to do manual labour, the work she undertakes herself. 

Some good does come of her conversation though as she realises that Tara is the most important part of her life. 

Looking for financial aid, Scarlett goes to see Rhett. When she discovers he is in prison, she thinks it will be easier to get the money from him. She ends up offering herself up to be his mistress, a role that she turned down in the past. This shows just how desperate she is to save Tara and how in her desperation to save Tara, she is willing to lose all the morals her upbringing afforded to her. 

After Rhett rejects her, Scarlett returns to her endlessly selfish ways buy lying to her sister's wealthy betrothed in order to con him into marrying her in exchange for him paying the exuberant taxes over Tara. 

It wasn't so much her actions that bothered me over this, it is the fact that she had absolutely no guilt over it.  

While Scarlett seems to adapt well to the new way of post-war life, entirely motivated by money, the rest of Atlanta are clinging to the old way of life, including Scarlett's new husband. 

This is none more evident that when Scarlett sees that wood is a much needed product in the post-war life of rebuilding that she decides to open a mill while the rest of the town is horrified that a woman is working especially when she continues to work throughout her pregnancy. 

Racial tensions are high with the introduction of the Ku Klux Klan. The story is told from the South's perspective and so the KKK is portrayed as more as protectors rather than the racist extremists we know them as today. 

As much as Scarlett hates the Yankees, she works with them which further angers the town. This further shows just how much more Scarlett values money over morals. 

Scarlett returns to Tara after her father's death where she has to deal with the consequences of betraying her sister. 

Scarlett again confronts Ashley, this time getting his wife Melanie to unknowingly aid her in emotionally blackmailing him to work for her at her mill. Ashley had plans to go North to work in a bank but Scarlett wanted him close to her. This selfish decision seems to break what was left of Ashley's spirit. 

Not long after giving birth to her daughter Ella, Scarlett is attacked by a free slave as she is travelling around alone as her actions have isolated her from everyone. 

Ashley and Frank unbeknownst to Scarlett are members of the KKK and after she is attacked, they seek revenge. 

When they return Scarlett is too worried about Ashley's gunshot wound that she fails to notice that Frank did not return. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Book Review #683 - Torn by Cat Clarke


Four girls. One dead body. A whole lot of guilt.

Alice King isn’t expecting the holiday of a lifetime when she sets off with her classmates on a trip to the Scottish wilderness, but she’s not exactly prepared for an experience beyond her darkest nightmares… 

Alice and her best friend Cass are stuck in a cabin with Polly, the social outcast, and Rae, the moody emo-girl. Then there’s Tara – queen of mean. Powerful, beautiful and cruel, she likes nothing better than putting people down. 

Cass decides it’s time to teach Tara a lesson she’ll never forget. And so begins a series of events that will change the lives of these girls forever...

A compelling story of guilty secrets, troubled friendship and burgeoning love.

My Rating: 3/5

This book took me a considerably longer time to read than a book of this size would take on average and this was simply due to the fact that I read it over the Christmas period. 

The plot is what initially drew me into reading this book however I thought it was going to be more of a mystery novel than what was presented. 

The main theme of the book is guilt and it explores how differently people deal with it. 

The protagonist Alice was rather annoying. She let everyone just walk all over her and never stood up for herself. The relationship she commenced with her dead ex-friend's brother was all kinds of wrong. 

The other characters were all pretty stereotyped and I did not like any of them at all. 

The only thing that kept me reading this book once I started it was that I wanted to know if Alice would eventually do the right thing and tell someone the truth about what happened. 

Overall, I was rather disappointed by this book. I felt like so much was promised from the synopsis but the annoying characters and lack of plot development really let the book down. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Book Review #682 - Grey (Fifty Shades of Grey #4) by E.L. James


Christian Grey exercises control in all things; his world is neat, disciplined, and utterly empty—until the day that Anastasia Steele falls into his office, in a tangle of shapely limbs and tumbling brown hair. He tries to forget her, but instead is swept up in a storm of emotion he cannot comprehend and cannot resist. Unlike any woman he has known before, shy, unworldly Ana seems to see right through him—past the business prodigy and the penthouse lifestyle to Christian’s cold, wounded heart.  

Will being with Ana dispel the horrors of his childhood that haunt Christian every night? Or will his dark sexual desires, his compulsion to control, and the self-loathing that fills his soul drive this girl away and destroy the fragile hope she offers him?

My Rating: 3.5/5

I read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy in early 2016 and even though they were completely outside my comfort zone reads, I found that I surprisingly rather enjoyed them and so it was a no brainer that I would now delve into the story told from the perspective of the enigmatic Christian Grey. 

I loved the glimpses given into Christian's traumatic childhood as this really solidified some things that were hinted at throughout the previous books. 

I loved being inside Christian's mind but ultimately I preferred Ana as the narrator. I find Ana less irritating when she is the one narrating and also I think I prefer there being a filter between Christian and the reader as he comes across as more uptight and serious on his own. 

I don't think this book could really sustain itself on its own - it definitely is more of a companion to Fifty Shades of Grey in that it was written more to answer questions like 'I wonder what Christian was thinking at that moment?' and the insight into his childhood because other than that it is just basically Fifty Shades of Grey.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Book Review #681 - Day 21 (The 100 #2) by Kass Morgan


No one has set foot on Earth in centuries -- until now.

It's been 21 days since the hundred landed on Earth. They're the only humans to set foot on the planet in centuries...or so they thought. Facing an unknown enemy, Wells attempts to keep the group together. Clarke strikes out for Mount Weather, in search of other Colonists, while Bellamy is determined to rescue his sister, no matter the cost. And back on the ship, Glass faces an unthinkable choice between the love of her life and life itself.

My Rating: 4/5

Like with the first book, the number of narrators bothered me, however this time I struggled to get over that annoyance as I felt like it continually disrupted the rhythm of the story. 

There are definitely stronger narrators than others which disrupted the flow even more. Clarke is definitely my favourite character and either Wells or Glass are my least favourite. 

Plotwise, not much really happened that developed the plot to any great extent. There were quite a few shocking revelations revealed that will make me read book 3 but at this stage I think I definitely prefer the TV show adaptation. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Book Review #677 - Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (Part Three - Chapters 21-31)

This is part three of my review. Click here for part two. 

My Rating: N/A

This portion of the book sees Scarlett return to Tara and the reality of her new life and her new role as head of the family takes its toll on her. 

Whilst my indifference towards Scarlett only increased slightly during these chapters, my respect for her grew significantly. The way she really stood up when she was needed was really unexpected especially considering how sheltered and pampered her upbringing was. 

There was a scene where a Yankee broke into Tara and was stealing some of Scarlett's mother Ellen's possessions and Scarlett very calmly killed him. I think this really showed how much Scarlett has had to grow up because of the war. 

Melly or Melanie is a character that I am not sure how I feel about. I find her really weak and her need to please everybody gets annoying but she may just seem that way in contrast to Scarlett who is the most selfish person ever. 

The end of this portion of the book deals with the war ending and the amazing return of Ashley whom no one had expected to survive. 

Scarlett undoes all her newfound maturity by confronting Ashley again. Scarlett's obsession with him is the most annoying thing about her as she is so unable to see the truth. 

Another thing that bothers me a lot about Scarlett is the way she treats and interacts with her son Wade. There are long periods in this book where I forget she even has a son - and probably Scarlett forgets this fact too. 

Scarlett's sisters are also very annoying. They remind me of how Scarlett was at the beginning of the book. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Book Review #680 - Chasing Alliecat by Rebecca Fjelland Davis


Dumped with relatives in a small Minnesota town for the summer, Sadie Lester is relying on her mountain bike to save her from total boredom. Then she meets Allie, a spiky-haired off-road mountain biker who's training for a major race. Allie leads Sadie and Joe, a cute fellow cyclist, up and down Mount Kato, and the three become close friends. But the exhilarating rush comes to a halt when they find a priest in the woods, badly beaten and near death. After calling for help, Allie disappears from their lives.

As they search for Allie and try to find out why she left so suddenly, Sadie and Joe discover more about Allie's past, including her connection to the priest. Only on the day of the big race does Sadie finally learn the complete, startling truth about Allie--and the terrible secret that forced her into hiding.

My Rating: 3/5

I decided to pick up this book because I felt like reading a contemporary novel, and the synopsis of this one intrigued me. 

The synopsis to me eluded to an entirely different plot, but I found I still enjoyed the one that was actually presented. 

I loved the setting in this novel. The woods that Sadie, Joe and Allie explore on an almost daily basis throughout almost seemed like a character itself at times, it was that well described. 

The only issue I had with this book is that to me Sadie and Joe seemed much younger than what they were supposed to be and I think this was largely due to their dialogue. It was for this reason that I didn't see the plot twist coming at all because of how dark it was. 

Mountain biking plays a huge role in this book and whilst I am usually a fan of sporting novels, mountain biking is not really a sport that interests me. I did enjoy the amount I learnt about it though. 

Overall, this was a really enthralling read. I was rather disappointed there was no real mystery element that the synopsis eluded to but the story was interesting enough anyway.