Category Archives: books

April Wrap Up & May TBR!

Hi everyone, hope you’re all doing well sorry I’ve been away so long part of the reason is I’ve been without internet for six weeks, barely even a bit of patchy 4G where I live it’s been an emotional roller coaster. 

My line was finally fixed yesterday and it feels so good not have to stand at the top of the stairs wave my phone around *head in hands* crying I know this is where the 4G is.

I don’t know about you guys but I have been trying to read a little bit more than usual and be proactive with my reading during these crazy times. I plan to get around to reading a few books that have been on my TBR for longer than I would care to admit, so my reading list is looking a bit hefty at the moment.

This month I have read some (mostly) great books:

I started April reading The Dark Artifices series by Cassandra Clare her third series within her Shadowhunter world. I have been putting off this series for sometime now. Not for any negative reasons, I really enjoy reading Shadowhunter books and Cassandra Clare is one of my favourite YA authors so I think having a whole series waiting for me for when I was ready instead of having to wait years for the next book in an on going series to come out made a sort of sense. Lady Midnight is definitely my favourite opener of all Cassandra Clare’s books and the Dark Artifices definitely has the most solid world as the other books have provided such a solid foundation for the series to continue. (And there’s fairies, that’s always a big selling point for me.)

Lady Midnight ☆☆☆

Lord of Shadows ☆☆☆☆

Queen of Air and Darkness ☆☆☆☆

Later on in the month I read The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow firstly take a look at the cover it’s stunning, Orbit having been coming out with some beautiful cover art recently. This is what originally drew me to the book in the first place, I’m such a magpie when it comes to beautiful cover art but this one really blew me away. I’m going to do a full review on this so won’t go into it to deeply. Set in the 1900s it follows January the young ward of a wealthy gentleman, her life changes for ever when she finds a very unique book. It’s very well executed debut with a strong, well fleshed out woman of colour as the main protagonist. This book is an interesting read would definitely recommend if you’re a fan of portal fantasy.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January ☆☆☆

The final books I read this month were Pax by Sara PennyPacker and Transcendence by Shay Savage. Pax is a middle grade book about a boy and his fox, the boy is made by is Father to leave his fox on the side of the road, this is the journey of the boys heartbreak and regret as he journeys  back to Pax as Pax waits for his boy. The concept of this book was interesting but my main issue was who was this story really for? The narrative structure was that of a middle grade book but the content was really quite mature. In the end it was bit of slog which was a shame as this book isn’t even 300 pages.

Pax ☆☆

Transcendence seems from other reviews I’ve read online a pretty popular self published novel about a caveman who falls in love with a woman from the 21st century when she accidentally time travels to his time. i was looking for a light, fun, romance novel and this definitely is that but this one just wasn’t for me-  DNF.

I have some fun reading plans for the month of May I won’t reveal my whole TBR as I like to keep things pretty open. But I am going to be involved in the blog tour for the Jane Austen society in June so that’s top of my TBR and it has also encouraged me to add Emma by Jane Austen to by reading list, also I plan to read Crescent City by Sarah J Maas and Daisy Jones and the Six, Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare and Fleabag by Pheobe Waller Bridge.

Currently Reading: Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore I’m only about 70 pages in but so far this is a really fun regency romp with a Darcy and Elizabeth vibe to it.

That it now, happy reading and i’ll see you next time.

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See you next time guys!

International Women’s Day- Favourite Ladies in Literature 2018

Hello everyone and happy International Women’s day! All the way back in 2016 I wrote a post for International Women’s day on my Favourite Fictional Females, in 2017 I decided not to do the same list because I didn’t think it could have grown or changed that much from 2016.

This year I am giving the list another go, with fresh eyes and newly acquired reading habits and although I have gone over my list from 2016 and I still stand by all the ladies on that list I just want to add a few more. I always like to hear what you guys think and any ladies you think should have made my lists and haven’t.

Robin Ellecott – The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

 

From going over my 2016 list I realised how heavily my lists are influenced by what I’m reading at the time and Robin is a perfect example of that as I’m currently reading The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (not that that means she doesn’t deserve to make this years list!) cause she does, she’s awesome.

Robin is a strong and Independent woman  who has had some bumpy roads in life, her career has taken and nose dive and although she doesn’t know it she’s in a relationship with the wrong man. Robin is all about fighting for what she wants and she wants a career, she wants to be a PI and although she took some wrong turns and dark corners that have lead her the wrong way she is fighting for the life she wants and deserves. She’s brilliant, a power house and above all a great detective.

Lou Clarke- Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

 

I am such a long time Me Before You fan and Lou fan, Lou is full of heart right down to her core. She loves her family wants to do the best she can for them, she’s a little lost though which makes her totally relatable. Lou’s self discovery and love and eventual  loss of Will makes her one of my favourite characters.

Me Before You- Book Review

Demelza Poldark- Poldark Series by Winston Graham

 

Ahh Demelza, anyone hate Ross as much as I do? I mean seriously what was that guy playing at? Demelza is brilliant she is strong and fiery, she was a poor girl who came from nothing, a father who beat her and left her half starved but this eventually lead her to Ross her future husband… I don’t want to spoil the series for anyone who hasn’t read it or watched it but the woman can handle herself and she needs to cause she’s going to go through some seriously tough times- all hail Demelza Poldark.

Catherine Earnshaw – Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte 

Wuthering heights cathy 2009

Oh how we all love to hate Kathy Earnshaw, one of the most self indulgent and selfish characters ever written. But Kathy was strong, wild passionate and a free thinking individual. What ever you think of her life choices and some of her questionable decisions and motives no one can question Kathy’s strength of heart.

Dolly – Cheerful Weather For the Wedding by Julia Strachey 

 

When we meet Dolly it’s her wedding day and she is decided whether or not to marry her fiance while her former lover waits to talk to her desperate to talk to her but he is trapped downstairs while she locks herself in her bedroom drinking in her wedding dress. Dolly is a great example of the tragedies that can befall us in adult hood especially if we don’t know which choice to make.  Dolly is also a woman who I think we have seen many times before if real life, the lines between reality and fantasy are just a little blurred and she doesn’t realise till it’s to late how damaging that can be.

My full review of Cheerful Weather for the Wedding 

So I hope you enjoyed my choices for International Women’s day, hope you’ve all had a good day and I’ll see you next time!

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January Reading and TBR

It’s January which means it’s a new year and we are all getting that new start feeling, by now of course some resolutions are starting to fall by the wayside and some of us are slipping back in to our old ways.

But not me, this year I have lots of plans and that includes reading, my reading slowed a little bit last year and as I was having a good (and overdue) sort out of my bookshelves I noticed how many books I’d started but not actually finished. While assessing my 2017 reading year I realised there had been so many times when books just hadn’t grabbed me. One of my favourite things about reading is being taken in to that world, captivated and not being let go to the very last page like some sort of literary prisoner.

Some how, maybe it was me or perhaps I made some bad reading choices but that didn’t happening for me very often in 2017 so I am trying to start this year off on a high.

January TBR

I’m currently reading the Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Cambell, Jen is a YouTuber and Vlogger who I have watched for awhile. She has lots say on the subject of fairy tales a subject which I actually wrote my dissertation on so I am always keen to hear her perspective and was equally keen to read her short story collection which from what I have read so for is dealing with the darker side of fairy tales and going back to their more gruesome roots.

I am also planning on reading Ali Smith’s Autumn, The White Queen by Philippa Gregory, Howards End by E.M Forster and Little Women, all of which have adaptions apart from Autumn so I am keen to get my teeth into those as well.

In 2018 I also I have plans to pick up on previous reading challenges that I have started and never completed three in particular created for this blog. One was The Shakespeare Challenge, two The Austen Challenge and thirdly and mostly importantly I started re-reading The Chronicles of Narnia for The Problem with Susan, always a Queen of Narnia? to find out more click the link above.

I think it is important to finish the things I’ve started and plan on getting back on track with with this blog. So just wanted to say hi again, happy new year and let the games begin.

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New Releases and Books I’m Excited to Read in 2017

There are some great books coming out this year and I for one am really excited about some of this years up and comers! Here are some of the books that will be hitting the top of my TBR as soon as they hit the shelves.

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Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

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Cassandra Clare is one of my favourite authors and I love it when a new Shadow Hunter novel is released. Last year I blasted through Lady Midnight and although I will definitely have to re-read it before the release of Lord of Shadows in May, I just love this well-developed world and look forward to every new book.

Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

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I had heard so much about the first book in this series A Court of Thornes and Roses and just wasn’t that interested in another Beauty and the Beast re-telling. Sometimes I love a re-telling (anything Alice in Wonderland related I am always all over!) But Beauty and the Beast seemed so familiar to me, the story so set in stone I wasn’t willing to give ACOTAR a go UNTIL I got a copy for Christmas and boy was I wrong. I blasted through ACOTAR and its sequel A Court of Mist and fury back to back. I haven’t reviewed them yet so I will leave it there, but needless to day I loved them and I can’t wait till the third book comes out in May and wish I had it in my hands right now!

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

strange-the-dreamer

I read the first book in Laini Taylor’s  A Daughter of Smoke and Bone series about three years ago. Her writing style was so beautiful her imagination is something deep and unusual that creates deep intriguing stories. I’m not sure what happened because it was three years ago but I failed to pick up book 2 and 3 in the series although I always planned to…

Now she had a new book coming out this time about a war between Gods and Humans and I can’t wait to see what she has in store! Hopefully, I can finish her first series before Strange the Dreamer hits the shelves March 28th!

Other books I’m excited to read this year!

I always have a rough idea of some of the books I would like to get to in a year, I don’t like my TBR for a year to be too big because things always change with new books coming out and ARCs I may get sent or just books that I just have to buy. But I do have a few books that I plan to get to in the immediate future- (other than the above) and that I’m particularly excited about reading.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas – Currently reading

throne-of-glass-ul-cover

Okay, look. This series like the A Court of Thorne and Roses series was never really on my radar, but after reading  ACOTAR and ACMAF I found that I loved Sarah J Maas’ writing style so much that would be doing myself a disservice as a reader if I didn’t give her first series a shot and so far I’m loving it.

The Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry 

the-essex-serpant

Anyone who follows me on Goodreads knows that I have been looking for a Gothic novel (preferably with a romance for quite some time, the romance doesn’t have to be the main plot,  it can be a sub- plot)  but it has to be written in the modern day and not a classic like Dracula or Northanger Abbey, although they are both great stories. I am hoping the Essex Sepernt is going to fill that void. In my hunt for a gothic romance written in the modern day I have found some great pieces of fiction my favouite being  Bodies of Water by L.H Leslie. Any recommendations on this subjection very welcome!

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

the-chemist

I know people have their opinons about Stephenie Meyer but when I was a teenger I enjoyed the Twilight books, I’m not a teenger anymore I’m a twenty something and have grown beyond Edward, Jacob and Bella and can see their flaws. I also have read her first adult novel The Host which I love and keeping The Host in mind I am embarking on The Chemist with great optomism, her first thriller I belive.

 Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern 

Lyrebird book.jpg

I’m a long standing fan of Cecelia Ahern, I have been reading her since I was a teenger and since her first novel P.S I love You. The Lyrebird sounds quite mysterious to me, it is about a woman I belive who has earned herself the nickname the Lyrebird beacuase of her great talent for mimickary.

I have decided to go into the book almost blind because I feel that I will get most out of it that way.

I hope you have enjoyed this post, I’ll see you next time!

Mel and jared

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My Top Reads of 2016!

Hi Guys!

Can you believe it it’s already 2017! 2016 has been a pretty hit and miss reading year for me but all in all I have read some great books.

I didn’t really plan my reading last year or have any goals I just read what I felt like reading at the time which was okay but the problem is I’m always looking for a book or feeling or vibe in a story (and it never comes along when I want it to.)

Perfect example- I  have been looking for a modern written romantic, gothic tale forever but everything I found seemed to be a classic (eg Northanger Abby, Dracula etc.) Then, just when I’d stopped looking The Essex Serpent was published! (It’s on my January TBR- TBR post coming soon…)

I wouldn’t say my lack of planning made my reading year unsuccessful but I do have plans for more productivity this year but my plans are coming to you in another blog post all togther.

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My Favourites of 2016!

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare 

lady midnight

I had a Cassandra Clare filled year in 2016! I re-read the second half of The Mortal Instruments series and read The Shadow Hunter Academy short stories for the first time both were brilliant. But I have to say, it was so much fun reading Lady Midnight, Cassandra Clare is one of my favourite authors, I get so drawn into her characters and the Shadow World and I can’t wait for the second book in this series to be released later this year!

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Bodies of Water by V.H Leslie 

bodies of water

In my hunt for something gothic I discovered Bodies of Water, a short book barely 300 page. It’s ghostly, gothic and filled with betrayal and romance! I Loved it! (All both this books main characters are LGBTQ+)

My Review

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green 

the-fault-in-our-stars

I had heard the hype okay? If you haven’t where have you been living? I never had any plans to read this novel until one day a friend

I never had any plans to read this novel until one day a friend and I were feeling particularly maudlin and watched the movie. The script and the words use in the movie intrigued me, let me tell you this, if you haven’t read the book and are putting off for what ever reason, John Green has it, he has a real command of the English language, every word, every sentence is worth reading in this book it’s all so beautifully constructed.

My Review

The Girls by Emma Cline 

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Loosely based on the Charles Manson killings The Girls is about a fourteen-year-old girl who gets wrapped up in a cult and it’s eventual tragic end. This book was fascinating to read because I didn’t know a lot about the original murders so while reading I researched the original killings which, from a reading perfective allowed me to enjoy the book to its full potential.

Uprooted by Noami Novik

uprooted

I really enjoyed Uprooted, normally when I read fantasy I need the book to be huge or a series to I get everything I can out of the world and the characters but Uprooted was the perfected example of a standalone fantasy done well.

I hope you enjoyed my top reads of 2016 see you next time!

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Reading Slumps, October, Writing and my TBR!

Reading or lack of…

This past couple of months has been a hard one from a reading perspective I have been a very big reading slump. I hate reading slumps, they’re so frustrating but they do happen to me now and again. I have always found that the right book normally gets me through and I have hunted high and low for THAT book to get me through my slump but it took me longer than normal to find it, so I have been suffering a bit of a drought. So September and the beginning of October was a bit dry on the reading front.

emily

But I have recently started reading The Lesser Bohemians a novel about a drama student with an older lover- I loved the concept of the book when I first heard about it and now I have started reading it, it has the most interesting narrative structure.

Written in the form of prose, The Lesser Bohemians is more like a 300-page poem than a novel but it is beautifully written and the story is really interesting and I can’t wait to read more!

lesser

Now I am back in the reading swing of things I have some really interesting books on my TBR pile but I am particularly excited about The Muse and The Essex Serpent which I cannot wait to get too!

Writing…

Another reason for my lack of reading is my writing.

the girl

For those of you who don’t know, I am currently writing the first draft of my first book The Girl Who Fell Out of the Ocean which is available of Wattpad (I’m @paintandbutterflies). I am close to the end now with the last few chapters to go, and while writing my first novel has been a real learning curve I am looking forward to having my whole story (well the first draft) done so I can concentrate on a serious edit.

How has your Autumn reading been going? Got any new and interesting books on your TBR?

See you next time guys,

Happy reading and writing everyone xx

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Wattpad from the POV of someone who has recently joined the site

As a trained journalist, budding blogger and constant writer of fiction (that’s home is my laptop) I thought it was about time I did something with my writing.

I have had a few poems and short stories published but novels are a completely different animal. Initially  there was something quite worrying  or sad about publishing your work online especially as someone who has aspirations of publishing something conventionally at some point in the future it almost felt like letting go of something that I couldn’t get back.

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I had heard of Wattpad and have a few friends who use it as readers not as writers and for a while had thought about giving it a go. But as writer  I had the initial feeling of finding it hard to let go of my work, didn’t I have plans (eventually) of trying for the route of traditional publishing?

Why do this? Why throw something I had worked so hard on away?

Because this will not be the only thing I will only thing I will ever write (its not I have another novel in progress) and because and I think this is my most valid reason, my eyes on are not enough (I’m starting to realise I’m not such a great editor).

Yes family and friends are one thing, but the ultimate honesty of Wattpad users, other actual writers has been invaluable to me. From comments and feed back I can see where I’m going wrong and where I am going right something which is impossible to do when editing your own work, so thanks Wattpad!!

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The downside to Wattpad for me is that it really is heavy on the Fan fiction, Young Adult/Teen Fiction and Romance genres which is great if you are writing in that genre although the pool of work you are competing against is huge.

My novel is a Historical fiction novel, at least that is the category it’s posted under on Wattpad. My story is set in both the present day and the years 1913-1918  so when categorising it for Wattpad it was a toss up between General Fiction and Historical Fiction in the end I went for Historical fiction as the category seemed to fit my story better.

Joining clubs and reading other users stories has been a useful tool because I have realised what you put into Wattpad you get back.
Wattpad has basically been my first set of Beta readers, the first eyes  on my story and so far I have really enjoyed being part of this community who have shown me that as a writer you are always learning and you always have more work to do on anything you write.

I am currently working on The Girl That Fell Out of The Ocean (Previously titled – A Story of Will)

Synopsis

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What if you had lived before?

For eighteen year old Lavinia Gregory everyday is like waking up from a dream, the older she gets the more she remembers.

She used to be shorter, with long, dark hair, not now, and it is not just the colour of her hair that has changed it is her entire life. 

Over the years the memories of her past life became less vague, less like shadows and colours and more like the thundering horses that always seem to be hammering across her chest. 

Lavinia had a family, a family she sacrificed everything for and now they are gone and she’s here, in a world of ghostly shadows and unfinished memories.

Lavinia must discover why she came back to this world and how she died in the first place. But most importantly what happened to him, Will, the one she loved above all the rest.

Thanks for reading and I hope your’ll come and check out The Girl Who Fell Out of The Ocean. The Girl Who Fell Out of The Ocean

I’ll be back soon with more bookish chat!

Happy reading (and writing) everyone!

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Our Shared Shelf- Emma Watson’s Book Club

Emma Watson has started a feminist book club on Goodreads this January aptly named Our Shared Shelf. Anyone can become a member and get involved with the discussion, which although ongoing in relative forums will happen at the end of every month. Even the celebs are getting involved with Sophia Bush and Abby Wambach becoming members.

The first book of the year is My Life on the Road: by Glora Steinem.

Gloria Stienem

Emma said “As part of my work with UN Women, I have started reading as many books and essays about equality as I can get my hands on. There is so much amazing stuff out there! Funny, inspiring, sad, thought-provoking, empowering! I’ve been discovering so much that, at times, I’ve felt like my head was about to explode… I decided to start a Feminist book club, as I want to share what I’m learning and hear your thoughts too.”

Emma hopes that authors who are topics for the monthly read and discussion will themselves want to get involved expressing it’s “another prominent voice on the subject”.

As of yesterday I’m a member and will review all the books listed here in the hope of sharing and provoking future discussion.

Come everyone get involved- join Our Shared Shelf lets talk, read and discuss feminism!

The Real Neat Blog Award!

Hi guys I’m a little late posting this but better late than never and all that! I have been nominated by Tanaz over at Bookish Freaks thanks so much for the nomination and everyone should go check out her blog because it’s great!

Thanks again for the nomination, now lets get started!

Britney

So, now for the rules…

  1. Put the award logo on your blog
  2. Answer 7 questions set by the person who nominated you and create 7 of your own
  3. Thank the people who nominated you and link to their blog
  4. Nominate as many people as you like and link to their blogs
  5. Let them know you nominated them

Tanaz’s Questions

  1. Do you have a bookish playlist?

No not really for me books and music are pretty separate things.

2. Favourite book to film or book to t.v adaptation?

O1  Outlander Jamie and Claire

At the moment I am loving the t.v adaptation of Outlander it’s full of such drama and has been really faithful to the book. This doesn’t exactly count but I am really excited about the film adaptation of Brooklyn which is coming out this November, can’t wait to see how it plays out page to screen!

brooklyn cover    Brooklyn 2

3.Top ten book covers?

There are so many beautiful book covers out there but the ones that immediately come to mind are all three Shatter me book covers, all the infernal devices covers particularly Clockwork Princess although all Cassandra Clare book covers are beautiful and I love how matchy matchy they all are! The Station Eleven book cover is stunning and I also really like the Stonemouth by Iain Banks hardback cover.

Station Eleven  Stonemouth 7  CP2_cover

4.How long have you been blogging and what has it been like?

I have been blogging for about five years but this blog has only existed for two years. I started off fashion blogging with two other fashion bloggers but to be honest I lost interest as that wasn’t really something I was that passionate about and that blog no longer exists. I moved on to a more general blog where I wrote about all sorts of things and a lot of time that included books and reviewing book and then lead to me forming Paint and Butterflies Books. Since forming this blog I have such a great experience the ‘community’ has been so welcoming and I have read some books that I never would have read if it wasn’t for blogging, bloggers and other blogs.

5 .Do you have any blogger goals?

I just want my blog to develop and grow and hopefully maintain and grow my readership. I also want to learn and make whatever it is I am doing here the best it can be.

6. Favourite blog meme?

Not particularly I don’t really have a fave no.

7. If you had to create a blog meme/tag/feature what would it be?

I think it would have something to do with book villains so maybe a book villains feature I don’t think they get enough mentions 🙂

Villian       villian 2     villian 3

Nominations

BibliophileSoprano

YABookMonster

DrizzleAndHurricaneBooks

ShouldBeReading

OverTheBookShelf

ChocolatePages

My Questions

  1. Favourite Book Hero?
  2. Favourite YA series?
  3. Favourite Book Villain?
  4. Favourite animal character in a book?
  5. Best Book you have read this year?
  6. Who is your ultimate OTP? Name series/Book name and characters
  7. What book series will you never finish?

The Magicians Nephew Review – Chronicles of Narnia Book 1

 

 This is part of The Problem of Susan Challenge and will contain spoilers for the Chronicles of Narnia.

I decided to read the Chronicles of Narnia chronologically instead od publication order if you want to know why or you want to know more about my The Problem of Susan Challenge click here.

The Magicians Nephew takes place before The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe and follows best friends and next door neighbours Diggory and Polly. Diggory and Polly are playing together when they find their way into Diggory’s uncle’s ‘office’ and unwittingly discover he is a magician. Diggory’s mad uncle sends the children to another world using two magical rings desperate to know where the rings will lead them and far to cowardly to go himself.  At first the children don’t go to Narnia but they do meet a young and just as wicket White Witch.

What did I think?

I read the Lion Witch and the Wardrobe when I was a child and have since heard endless people say how there are many Christian connotations within the stories. As a child it was not something I picked up on perhaps children just read a book for what it is and don’t read to much into what it says. There is a passage in this book where Aslan literally sings Narnia into existence which was a really interesting example and it was really interesting to see for the first time what I had been told many times before.

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This book was okay it lacked a lot of the magic of some of the other books The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe in particular. The main character Diggory was a horrible spiteful little boy who pulled and pinched his friend Polly who was a sweet girl but a poorly developed female character.  How  Narnia and the talking animals came to be was interesting but I don’t think it warranted a whole book.

Interesting Fact: Anyone who wants to find out how the lamp post got into Narnia should read this book, just saying…

Paint and Butterflies rating 2/5 Butterflies

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Next book –  The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe