Monthly Archives: February 2014

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Gricha Book 1) Review

Finding a great fantasy novel is like finding light in never ending darkness and that is what this book is a unique, brilliant, light.

Shadow and Bone follows Alina a young girl from the fictional land of Ravka, I have heard some people describe Ravka as a magical Russia but for me personally the novel has a strong Russian influence and feel but I never really confused or intertwined Russia or Ravka it was just a cultural influence through out the novel.

In Ravka there are normal ordinary people and there are Gricha, who are people with powers, now depending on the ability depends on the Gricha’s  social standing within their community.  The main character and narrator Alina is a member of the first army, she is a map maker and she believes herself to be a clumsy ordinary, skinny girl orphan girl who is in love with her best friend since child hood Mal but she is no ordinary girl she is Gricha.

Shadow and bone Gricha 1

Book Cover

Mal is the opposite to Alina, he is popular, he gets things done and he is not socially awkward like her, also he is beautiful and loved my all the girls. Ravka is a divided nation, it is divided by something called the Shadow fold, a great and vast space of darkness the crosses through the centre of Ravka, there is no light and no hope for anyone who attempts to cross the fold, only death.

When it is believed suddenly that Alina is Gricha but not just any Gricha a Sun Summoner-  the only one existence it is revealed that she and she alone has the power to cross the Shadow Fold, she and she alone has the power to save Ravka .

Alina is taken from everything she knows, from Mal, the army on an adventure that will change her life, the Darkling’s and Mal’s for ever.

This book had me hooked from page one, I love the Russian symbolism, the impending love triangle and I love the Gricha especially that naughty Darkling.

Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth – A review

Having recently read Kate Mosse’s novel Labyrinth, I couldn’t wait to get a hold of a copy of the (2012) television adaptation starring Sebastian Stan, Vanessa Kirby and John Hurt.

The novel and Channel 4 adaptation are based upon the lives of two woman, PHD graduate Dr. Alice Tanner and seventeen year old Alaïs Pelletier Du Mas. Alice come to France as a volunteer on a archaeology dig with her friend Sheila after finding out she is to inherit something from her  Aunt who  lived and died France. When Alice walks into a cave on the site of the dig her life is changed forever when, she finds a mysterious ring and begins to have visions of Alaïs who lived 800 years previously.

Dr Alice Tanner and  Alaïs Pelletier

Dr Alice Tanner and Alaïs Pelletier Du Mas

The story is told from both Alice and Alaïs’s perceptive, Alaïs’s was a  young married woman who had an older sister Oriane Congost who was having an affair with her husband, but to Oriane it had nothing to do with love or affection it was all about power and manipulation. Oriane soon found out that their father was not her’s biologically and her attitude soon changed toward her family. Alaïs’s father confesses that he is the keeper of one of three books that can locate the grail, not the Holy grail of Christian mythology but something far more special and secret.

Sisters - Alais Pelletier Du Mas and  Oriane Congost

Sisters – Alais Pelletier Du Mas and Oriane Congost

Mean while in the present day Alice’s visions are becoming more intense and, as her friend Sheila has gone missing she goes looking for her and stumbles across Will Franklyn and his dangerous older lover Marie Cecile. Marie Cecile is a member of a cult like organization desperate to find the ring and the books so, they can find the grail, ultimately prolonging her life something she desperately craves.

Looking for the grail is all that Marie Cecile cares about and is not afraid to kill if it gets her what she wants, to her all men are her play things, the grail is all that matters.

Lovers - Karen and Will

Lovers – Marie Cecile and Will

Alice met Will in the hope of finding Sheila but to no avail and although she is unsuccessful there is a clear  attraction between the two, there relationship develops further when it becomes apparent Marie Cecile is not all that she seems and might know more than she is letting on about Sheila’s disappearance.

When looking round her Aunt’s house Alice finds a letter from a mysterious man who seems too know something about her visions. The mysterious man played by John Hurt takes Alice back to where it all began, the caves. He explains how she and Alaïs  are connected and what her visions of the past really mean.

John Hurt and Vanessa Kirby talk visions

John Hurt and Vanessa Kirby talk visions

Labyrinth is a well thought out well executed drama that did well not to get tangled in it’s own complications, each of the two episodes where  two hours long and were real treat that I would recommend watching. It was really enjoyable watching how the past and present intertwined together as well as learning about past histories of the Cather people and their ultimate down fall as well as what religion meant to people of that time compared with today.

At War - Tom Felton

At War – Tom Felton

The cast was really excellent  which included John Hurt (Merlin), Tom Felton (Harry Potter), Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abby) and Katie McGrath (Merlin) just to name a few. This story has twists and turns and in the end doesn’t go where you think it will, it kept me hooked for a grand total of four hours.

Dr Alice Tanner

Dr Alice Tanner

It’s a great adaptation of a novel I really enjoyed, the woman are kickass and don’t wait for men to rescue them, the go out and save themselves. I have often heard this book compared this book compared to the Di Vinci Code in my opinion they are nothing alike because the story and characters fly off in completely different directions.

Would recommend reading before watching.

Cheerful Weather For The Wedding Review

I feel as though I have been a little slow on the uptake when it comes films recently – or at least good films, I put this down to the fact that I am drowning in books. I have no excuse I know but it’s the only one I’ve got.  Cheerful Weather For The Wedding was adapted for the screen from Julia Strachey 1932 novella by Persephone books the cover painted by Lamorna artist Harold Knight is stunning.

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The summer before…

I finally got round to watching the film Dir Donald Rice and staring Felicity Jones and Luke Treadaway it is also has fabulous and hilarious supporting cast including Elizabeth McGovern, Mackenzie Crook and Ellie Kendrick.

The film and novella  are about a young woman called Dolly and are set on the morning of her winter wedding day.While her rather curious family are down stairs she is upstairs in her room, drinking rum, vomiting, and acting nothing like the traditional movie bride we have all come to know and love/sneer and laugh at. Throughout the film Dolly continues to barricade herself in her bedroom becoming further and further acquainted with rum, avoiding one particular guest who waits to see her desperately before she says I do. The story is told though a series of flash backs between the summer before the wedding and the present from either Dolly’s or the waited guest (Joesph’s) perspective.

Keeping their nerve

Dolly’s family I think  are great representation of every family and it is Dolly’s family who make the film great. The deaf uncle, the child with home made cherry bombs and his two parents begging him to behave and failing miserably. A husband who’s wife loathes his family and the judgmental mother who will always disapprove of her child’s choices and is blind of the real goings on to her own family, and siblings who in spite ourselves we sneer at and find a constant, reliable source of amusement.

Goodbye my love

Cheerful Weather For a Wedding is a realistic love story told through the eyes of the leading man on the morning  the love of his life is set to marry another man. The story is written beautifully and shows the complexities of women, it also portrays how saying what you feel is difficult no matter your sex and how sometimes the end of the story is simply goodbye.

 

Summer in February – Film review

Summer in February  is adapted from the novel of the same name by Jonathan Smith which was based on the real life goings on of the Lamorna artist colony in 1913.

The colony was lead by the rather brash,  bold English artist A.j Munnings with a reputation for his love of women and his passion for art his character in the film is  portrayed by  Mama Mia’s Dominic Cooper.

Gilbert and Florence

Gilbert and Florence

When Florence Carter-Wood (Emily Browning) an aspiring artist joins her brother Joey at the colony one rainy evening it is the beginning of a fatal love triangle that would haunt two men for the rest of their lives. Gilbert Evans (Dan Stevens) takes an immediate shine to Florence and his feelings only grow as the days and nights go on. It is quite obvious to all around how Gilbert feels including Florence and A.J who, although flighty is Gilberts best friend and Gilbert holds him in high regard and his feelings are reciprocated.

A.J (Alfred) Munnings

A.J (Alfred) Munnings

Unexpectedly Florence who had previously appeared to show no interest in A.J  other than mild irritation and willingness to learn from his talent excepts his sudden proposal of marriage.

Florence and A.J

Florence and A.J

From the moment she and A.J are wed, their somewhat shaky romance goes down hill, Florence expresses her wish to Gilbert that she had married him instead, igniting an affair, all set in the heart of Lamorna, Cornwall which only adds  to the beauty and the passion of this film. The three main actors portray their characters beautifully, and Summer in February is a very well done adaptation of real life events and a stunning novel.

Gilbert and Florence

Gilbert and Florence

The Novel Summer in February was written by Dan Stevens’ teacher who told him he would make a terrific Gilbert, the film has been in production for eight years and this haunting tale has been in the works long before the world of Downton Abbey reached out screens.

Gilbert and Florence

Gilbert and Florence

The Famous painting of Florence painted by A.J hung in Gilberts house, above his fire place until he died.

The Morning Ride

The Morning Ride by A.J Munnings

It really is a must see, sad and poignant and well worth the time.

Book to Movie Adaptations – Myths, Legends and Fairy Tales

There is always so much talk about book to movies adaptations, the book is always better than the film is normally the first thing that comes up in conversation.  So in an attempt to break from convention I am going to talk about Myths, Legends and Fairy tales the ultimate text for an adaptation (the Grimm Brothers didn’t right them first you know!) They just…adapted them and so the stories moved on, evolved and this happens again and again and with these kind of tales we can never really know there true origin, there is no real author of Cinderella she just began some where long ago and has just continued to be and hopefully that is the way it will remain- immortal tales that tell us immortal truths.
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As Albert Einstien  said – “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

So in homage, I suppose for my love of all things mythical I am going to talk about my five favorite adaptations and why I love them so much.

1.  I’m going to kick things off with Tristan and Isolde (2006) starring James Franco and Sophia Miles. Now I read somewhere that James Franco regretted doing this movie, I don’t know why probably wasn’t pretentious enough for him but to be honest I don’t care. I enjoy the exploration of the character’s Tristan and Isolde, the difficulties human beings can feel during betrayal and ultimately that love sometimes in not enough.

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Isolde and Tristan
2. Something I am LOVING at the moment is Once Upon A Time, it is probably my favorite television programme of the moment. Season 4 is due to start in March but the general premise is that every story book/fairy tale character that you can ever imagine is trapped somewhere where their happy endings have been stolen from them…our world.

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 Emma Swan
3. Well, I couldn’t possibly do this list with out including a Disney film. The Little Mermaid (1989) is one of my favourite Disney films and certainly my favourite fairy-tale- Thank you Hans Christian Anderson- Although his version is slightly more depressing/bleak and missing the catchy musical numbers.
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Ariel
4. Okay so Cinderella- she’s a Classic and probably the most adapted fairy tale on the big and little screen. The likes of Hilary Duff (2004) and Disney have all had a crack at  portraying the famous orphan. And although Disney’s version is the one which I watched over and over as child I think Drew Barrymore in Ever After (1998)is my favourite Cinders.
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Henry and Danielle
5.  Last but not least I would have to pick the BBC adaptation of the King Arthur Legend. Merlin ran for five years and told the story of Arthur, Guinevere, Morgana and Merlin as young contemporaries in Camelot in the years leading towards his fore seen death and Merlin’s attempts to change his fate…
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King Arthur and Merlin

A Steam Punk Sensation- Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

A Steam Punk Sensation – Clockwork Angel By Cassandra Clare

 As a huge fan of The Mortal Instruments series when Santa left Clockwork Angel in my stocking this year I couldn’t have been more delighted.

Now, I had been hearing all sorts of things about this Will Herondale (Thank you Goodreads) and as Jace is, well lets just say I love him and I wasn’t sure there was room for other Shadow Hunters in my life.

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Will and Jem

If you have not read Clockwork Angel it is a steam punk, fantasy,  YA novel, set in Victorian London – the story follows Tessa Grey who is an American and has just arrived in the country. Upon her arrival she is met by two women who claim to be there as a favor to Tessa’s brother and will take Tessa to her new home as he has been unavoidably detained. This is fact a complicated lie and the truth is slowly reveled throughout the novel. The women known as the dark sisters believe that Tessa is not the ordinary girl she believes herself to be but a Warlock who has a great power and they reveal it is their job to unlock this power as it is currently lying dormant.

I was a little hesitant about this book at first probably because I am such a fan of The Mortal Instruments series. I just couldn’t imagine another story within that world but I was so wrong, Cassandra Clare has written a rich and developed world with engaging characters and I cannot wait to see where this trilogy is going. I have only read Clockwork Angel so far and it seems to me that the love triangle is being set up so that our leading lady Tessa will eventually end up with Will the novels resident bad boy.

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Now, bad boys have never really done it for me  I just want to give that Will a slap and tell him to behave himself and stop being so horrible to our lovely Tessa in her hour of need and, just when I’m having a head meets palm moment in swoops Jem, our silver haired night in shining armor.

The book is the ultimate good boy versus bad boy debate, who will Tessa choose and what does the internal devices trilogy have in store for her? In a world when nothing is ever as it seems.

The Mortal Instruments City of Bones Book Review (Book 1)

I had been meaning to get into this series for a while it seemed to be everywhere- Youtube, Goodreads, like it was waving at me telling me I was missing out on something awesome what I listen, er no.

Somehow I was still not convinced and City of Bones made it onto my, I will read it at some point probably (but probably not) list.

Then came the movie… it was, as most people know hailed to be the new Twilight, Hunger Games, Harry Potter type franchise but like so many Young Adult book to movie adaptations was a big old flop.

Now I saw this movie, and while it was a C- at best I couldn’t help but think Hmm… I bet this is just a really shoddy adaptation of a really good book. It was like I could see the book screaming with in the walls of this movie that had clearly been marketed at the Tweens and the movie makers had given much regard to the content. So thanks to dodgy directing and a Demi Lovato song that still begs the question WHY I bought City of Bones.

First of all I feel I should say for anyone who doesn’t own a copy of this books -the cover art (in hard cover) is just to die for, but I really should get down to the serious business with out spoilering for anyone who is still living a Mortal Instruments free life. (Mundane fools)

First Edition cover for the book, "City of Bones"

Book Cover

City of Bones is about fifteen year old Clary Fray who, when visiting a club with best friend Simon sees, what she thinks is a murder. What she is actually seeing is the half human half angel beings called Shadow Hunters killing a demon. Shadow Hunters can not be seen by regular humans or Mundanes. So when Clary sees the Shadow Hunters are as shocked as Clary and start to wonder who this Mundane girl is. Soon after Clary meets her first Shadow Hunters – including the mysterious Jace Wayland her mother is kidnapped, and a serious of events unfolds that will change her life and her friends and families lives forever.

I loved this book, I am currently reading book two City of Ashes which is just as gripping if not more so.

The characters are so well developed and I constantly find myself laughing out loud which I love. The Shadow Hunter world is a world that I truly get lost in and I know that I am going to devour this series in no time.

Bring on book three – City of Glass!

Tigerlily Review by Jodi Lynn Anderson

I have had this book on my Goodreads to read list for-ever, so I was really excited to finally get around to reading it, Tigerlily is a unique re-telling  of the classic J.M Barrie tale Peter Pan.

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Tigerlily book cover

This story rather than focusing on Peter is the story of Tigerlily the girl with the feather in her hair- told through the eyes of the infamous Tinkerbell.

Tinkerbell is a great narrator for the story, telling Tigerlily and Peter’s story though her own assertive and loyal eyes. Tinkerbell’s telling the story right before Wendy came to NeverLand and, this story is not of Peter’s love for Wendy but of his love for Tigerlily, Wendy comes later…

I went into this book thinking I was going to love it, so I suppose I set myself up for a bit of a fall.

Tink really is a great narrator but it’s the rest of the story that I find problematic. Because, the story is essentially a love affair between Peter and Tigerlily and, the characters were aged up which straight away lost some of the charm of the original tale for me.

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 (Peter, Tinkerbell and Wendy- 2003)

The whole point of Peter Pan is that he is the boy who never grows up but some how in Tigerlily all the magic of Peter and Neverland, the whole boyhood and childishness of the tale has been written away. In Tigerlily’s Neverland it’s a place were you stop ageing after the most significant moment in your life has passed so mothers can in fact look younger than their daughters and aging in referred to as a disease.

A great character, probably my favourite character in this book was the character of TickTock, Tigerlily’s adoptive father.

( Tigerlily – 2003)

Tick Tick is described as a man who can not decide whether he is a man or a woman and has decided he will live as both. I found him an interesting and ultimately diverse character, and may have shed a tear or two for Tick Tock along the way.

Although there were good points I have to stand my by original conclusion Tigerlily is an interesting re-telling but I found that turning Peter Pan into a half starved emaciated teen struggling to survive in the harsh and ruthless Neverland took some magic out of the story.

Neverland became such a cold and callous place I began to wonder what a fairy like Tinkerbell was even doing there and, with Mr.Smee more menacing than Captain Hook I knew there was a problem.

Hook – 2003

All in all an interesting read for any Peter Pan fan but it just wasn’t for me.

In the Woods by Tana French Review

I’m not normally a fan of the crime genre normally I find it a bit samey the detective is normally emotionally scarred in someway and is completely or at least partially incapable of any kind of relationships and sits, alone in his (never hers) dingy flat solving unsolvable murders brilliantly. (YAWN!)

Sherlock Gun animated GIF

In the Woods veered away from some of these stereotypes although the Detective Rob Ryan was emotionally scarred (and was obviously a man) He had good reason for his emotional dilapidation and it was the under current for most of this debut novels plot. I would say more but… SPOILERS!

Spoilers River Song animated GIF

Plot

When Rob Ryan (previously Adam Ryan) was a twelve year old boy his two best friends disappeared in the woods near their homes in Dublin never to be seen again. He was found, his shoes filled with blood and his nails clinging to a tree in the woods with no memory of what had happened to his friends. Now a detective he is called back to the small town  where it all happened where a young child has turned up dead at a archaeological dig. Rob is terrified that the past will come back to haunt him and force him to go and look back to a past that he had done his best to leave behind him.

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In the Woods is a great novel especially considering it’s a debut, it is a deep and carefully considered book about friendship and about those that we must leave behind even when we wish we didn’t have too. What made this novel for me was the friendship between Rob and his police partner Cassie a believable platonic friendship with tragedy in its wake.

This is the first in a series but can be read just as well as a stand alone the next book is called The Likeness.

4/5 Stars!

Down To You by M.Leighton (Bad Boys Series Book 1) Review

Down To You (Bad Boys Series Book 1)

Down to you is about identical twin brothers Cash and Nash and before you laugh hysterically at the god awful names and move on I should say I loved this book!

I binged read Down to you in one day, the first in the Bad boys trilogy, and I have to say it was not a waste of time. Both Cash and Nash Davenport fall for the same girl Olivia Townsend a student who is a struggling financially. Cash meets her at hen do at his bar and before long she is working for him and juggling both brothers, even though Nash is her bitchy cousin’s boyfriend, what a brazen hussy.

It is a  hilarious twin juggling romp and at its very heart the boys are hiding a dark secret which threatens their relationship with Olivia and with each other, all the while Olivia is trying to choose between the identical twins which such opposite personalities.

Down to You (The Bad Boys, #1)

I will just tweak your imagination by saying the twins father is in prison for murder and has left behind him a whole heap of trouble.

It’s written from two different POV’s which makes for interesting reading and I could really hear the different character’s voices and made for a pleasurable reading experience. My only criticism is that it makes for a bit of a sloppy read with a few spelling errors that crop up here and there, but all in all I really enjoyed with book. None of this stopped me downloading book two straight to my kindle and I have to say it was another cracker (I’m currently making my way through book three)

All in all it’s a massive thumbs up for Down to you book one in the bad boys series. It’s fluff but it very readable fluff with characters that have had me lost in their world, a world which I’m not quite ready to leave.