Tag Archives: book reviews

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – Review

I am a huge fairy tale junkie, from all things Disney to the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson I love fairy tales and an extension of that is reading fairytale re-tellings. I read Cinder back in January and loved it, I know I am quite behind compared to other bloggers out there when it comes to this series but when I intentionally heard about it I was a little put off, I mean Cinderella as a Cyborg… really?

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I read Cinder back in January and loved it, I know I am quite behind compared to other bloggers out there when it comes to this series but when I initially heard about it I was a little put off, I mean Cinderella as a Cyborg… really?

cinder Luna

Yes, really, for those of you out there still unsure it works trust me. When I received Cinder as a present from a friend last Christmas I thought I would finally give this series a go and have never looked back.

Scarlet book two in The Lunar Chronicles is a re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood, not my favourite fairy tale (not my worst either) but I think that’s why I left it on my TBR for so long. Scarlet is told from the perspective of both Cinder and Scarlet, Cinder who, thanks to the first book I already ‘knew’ and loved I felt ready and willing to jump back into her story.

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She is now on the run from the evil Queen Levana and the world knows she is Luna, but not the missing Princess Selene, Cinder teams up with a cocky criminal and ship Captain named Thorne and he joins her on the run. I found it so easy to pick back up where I left off with Cinder, her character is always funny relatable and diverse and she shares such a great dynamic with Thorne and of course the android Iko who always ready to tug on the heart strings. Even more so now she is in such imminent danger from the world and the deadly Luna Queen Levana.

I did find it harder getting into Scarlet’s chapters, I knew from the synopsis that her chapters would eventually link up with Cinders which I was looking forward too, but, Scarlet’s story was a bit of a slow starter. It did pick up though with the introduction of the mysterious Wolf (get it?) Although he was a bit more wear wolf than I was expecting (sigh) Scarlet and Cinder’s eventually story convergence was great and made me think the third book in the series Cress (who I think is Rapunzel) will have some great things to come.

Overall Scarlet was good.

It was great to be back in a world of Cyborg princesses and mysterious strangers named with names like Wolf and Ran. Now this book was a bit light on the Prince Kai for me, and our new man Wolf did have a tad of the insta-lovey feel about him but overall this was a good book, with two great fairytales at it’s heart and I can’t wait to catch up on book three, definitely going to be continuing on with this series.

It has a 3/5 Paint and Butterflies Stars from me!

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Let’s talk about… My Rating System and How I Review My Reads

I have been wanting to write a discussion post for a while about my rating system and how I personal rate and review my books. From looking at other bloggers and Vloggers out there is seems that most people work from the 5 Stars Goodreads/Netgalley/Amazon basis. Which when you are all reviewing as part of the same ‘community’ keeps things pretty clear cut, or so you would think.

as if

I problem with the 5 Star rating system that I have heard mentioned a few times- how can I rate Pride and Prejudice (or classics like it) the same way I would rate The Host by Stephenie Myer these are two great novels both which I have given a 5 Star rating but is there any way we can compare them? Surely isn’t one better or more valued than the other, so how can they be equally worth 5 Star?

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Stop. Or you will drive yourself rating system crazy!

This is true. When most sites only give you the option of a 5 Star rating and I like to keep my blog in line with how I have rated a book else where (be it Goodreads, Netgalley) where ever, so where in lies the limitation. I see decimal points used a lot and I’m not against that but it’s not really how I like to rate I stick to the 1-5 barrier and if I think a book is a ‘low’ 4 star for example I will say so in my review the same way I would if it was a high 4 star but didn’t quite reach the pinnacle of a 5 star rating.

I have 3.26 Goodreads

Some might say this is pretty low but I would say I am a harsh but fair reviewer and I don’t give 1-star ratings, my opinion is if a person bothered to sit down and write a book, they at least deserve one star. If I give a book 1 star the likely hood is I hated it or DNF, it happens to the best of us and is nothing personal.

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2-star ratings are normally books that I haven’t particularly enjoyed, perhaps struggled to get through for whatever reason. I like a story to really pull me in and keep me there and if a book doesn’t do that a book is alway going to get a lower rating from me. A 2-star rating can be from anything from writing style or pacing to dislike of a character. That’s the great thing about books they are totally subjective, something that I don’t like some else is going to love!

I always think of a 3-star rating as a pretty solid read that I have had a great time reading that book. If I read a book and give it 3 stars that is a good rating I enjoyed it, I just reserve my 4/5star ratings for books which really, truly grab and stay with me.

When rating a book four stars I think of it as really rating 5 stars because I so rarely give out a 5-star ratingS. (I’ve done it a handful of times since I’ve bee blogging) Some of my favourite books are books I have rated 4- stars, I know I am a tough reviewer and I don’t give out praise easily but that’s because when I give a 5-star ratings I want them mean something.

I guess I think of 5 star rated books as perfect (to me) I have rated The History Boys by Alan Bennett 5 Stars along with The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Clockwork Prince as well as a handful of others and I look forward to finding more!

The most important thing is rating, reviewing it’s fun right? Let’s remember the subjectiveness of reading what’s for me might not be for you but we read, hear about new books and that’s what it’s all about!

Happy reading everyone!

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Uprooted by Naomi Novik – Review

Author:Naomi Novik 

Genre:Fantasy /Young Adult

Standalone or Series: Standalone 

Publisher: Del Ray

Uprooted is the story of Agnieszka – she is a young woman who lives in a small village with her family and her best friend the beautiful and enigmatic Kasia but there is a dark side to Agnieszka’s world. Her village is on the edge of a dark, magical wood, a wood that destroys and kills everything it touches. Agnieszka and her people are protected from the wood by the Dragon. A fearsome wizard employed by the King to live in a tower on the edge of the wood and protect the people with magic but the Dragons protection comes with a price. Every ten years he will come to the village and take a girl to go and live with him in the tower. Ten years he will keep her and after that the girls are let go, often they try to go back to live with their families but they can’t. The girls are much changed and each girl has left the village never to return.

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“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka knows that Kasia will be taken by the Dragon, he always picks the most beautiful, most talented girl Kasia is all those things. When the day of the choosing arrives and all the girls a rowed up for the Dragon’s choosing the Dragon takes a look at Kasia but instead he chooses Agnieszka-scruffy, plain Agnieszka. Agnieszka will soon learn that everything in the Dragon’s tower is not as it seems and it is not just Agnieszka who will learn- the Dragon will also find himself. (And if you like a Wizard with an attitude problem you will love the Dragon!)

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What did I think?

I really enjoyed Uprooted it is a slow paced, fairy tale which felt to me to have Russian influences. Agnieszka and the Dragon have a really interesting love/hate (mostly love…confusion,sometimes disgust <3) relationship and something I really enjoyed about this book was their slow burning romance . It wasn’t to intense, or to in your face it was just there, sadly though I felt the relationship (for me at least) was never quite fore-filled and was disappointed by their lack of conclusion.

The story and character development in Uprooted is very well done and I really enjoyed Noami’s writing style. Her style is quite slow but as I read on I could really feel the story building around her words and as I turned each page was desperate for a conclusion.

Over all I would give this a Paint and Butterflies rating of 4/5 stars I would highly recommend for anyone who enjoys a fairy-tale with Russian influences, Wizards and Witches and a Dragon with a serious attitude problem!

Happy reading everyone!

Dragons

 

 

My Top 15 Books in 2015!

2015 has been a really great year for reading I completed my Goodreads reading challenge for the first time EVER  and have been making an attempt to expand my reading choices- In no particular order here is my top 15 books of 2015!

  1. Like a Virgin by Gorgon Steel

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Like a Virgin is a play centered around two teenage girls and the bubble gum drama that surrounds their everyday lives, for those looking to start reading plays I highly recommend. Check out my review click here.

2. Saga Vol 1 & 2 by Brian K. Vaughan 

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Saga was my big introduction to the world of graphic novels and boy was I happy to have been introduced. I really enjoyed the love story between the main characters and their trials and tribulations due to their inter-species romance and baby together not to mention the war going on around them. I have now read volume 2 and plan to read volume 3 soon!

3. Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blackman

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Prisoner of Night and Fog is a young adult novel set in the lead up to the Second World War. Gretchen had been brought up in Hitlers inner circle and he is known to her as the loving and kinds ‘Uncle Dolf’ it is only when she meets a young Jewish journalist that she realizes that her world as she knows it might not be as she seems. This was one of the first books I read in 2015 and one of my favourite books of the year I absolutely recommend.

4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky

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I don’t normally like high school books but Perks is such a beautifully written story. Perks of being a wallflower is the story of Charlie a quiet high school boy who is just finding himself, his friends and coming to terms with some deep rooted issues. Perks is a heartbreaking novel but at the same time so, so beautiful.

5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban  by J.K Rowling

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2015 was the year of Harry Potter (well for me at least) I have been a long time fan of the films but have never actually read the books which as ‘reader’ is shocking. Prisoner of Azkaban was my favourite of the seven mainly because there is so much Lupin he is my favorite character in the books and the films and it was so great to read the more well developed book version of him and to read the Harry Potter series in its entirety.

6. The History Boys by Alan Bennett

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Unlike Like a Virgin ,which, when I bought it I was naive to the plot and author when I bought The History Boys I had heard of the play, the stage play and the film. The cast is filled with well known actors and it was the plays reputation that lead me to reading it. The History Boys follows a group of Ox-bridge hopefuls and their and their teachers journey together and their attempt in getting the young hopefuls into the prestigious universities. The dialogue in this play is insane so worth reading, I only wish I could have seem it live!

7. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H Lawrence

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Class crossing classic love story a really interesting read.

8. The Host by Stephenie Meyer

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Alien/Human love story – four people three bodies- perfect. My Review

9. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

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Beautiful Irish immigration story with a love triangle to boot, all I need now is to see the film. My Review

10. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

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Shatter Me was my first read of 2015 I was drawn in to the Dystopian world that the prisoner Juliet embodies. She is the girl who can’t be touched, who can’t touch anyone or they will die. But some how I was enthralled in a love triangle to end all love triangles. I still need to read book 2 and three in this young adult series but as things stand  I am currently rooting for Adam.

11. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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This was my last read of 2015, this book is a creepy YA read the story is told along side authentic antique photographs of children much like the little girl on the cover. The story follows Jacob whose Grandfather dies mysteriously in his arms. Jacob discovers his Grandfather has a deep, dark secret and encouraged by his Grandfathers dying words Jacob becomes determined to find out the truth.

12. Divergent by Veronica Roth

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I’m sure this book needs no introduction but as of 2015 I was a newbie to the Divergent fandom. I have only read Divergent but am relatively update with the other books because I have seen all the films. Really enjoyed the Dystopian world created by Veronica Roth and Four… Four!

13.Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

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What if you could live forever? My Review

14. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

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Literature, love and Shadowhunters this is Cassandra Clare at her brilliant best. In celebration of Shadowhunters t.v show starting on Freeform in January next year I will be doing a Mortal Instruments reading challenge to refresh my memory for the up- coming series.

Clockwork Angel Review

Shadowhunters T.V Show Vs Movie

15. The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwall

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Historical fiction novel following the Danish/Vicking invasion of Britain this book follows Uhtrud a young Elderman  captured by the Danes and raised to be like them and too love them. When is re-captured by the Saxon thanks to his Elderman status Uhtrud must choose is he a Saxon or is he a Dane and who is he really fighting for. In the life and times of Alfred the Great this book is set in a period when England was created, it is violent and dangerous world but so compelling and full of characters that I just wanted to know more and more.

And because I some how forgot to make it part of this list I would like to add an honorable mention. 

Me Before You by Jo Jo Moyes Me Before You is probably the book I have talked about on my blog the most this year and am really excited for the up and coming movie. Click here for an update on the movie and Click here to read my review.

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I hope you enjoyed my top 15 of 2015- Happy reading X

 

After You by JoJo Moyes – Book Review

Ebook provided by Netgalley in return of an honest review.

Spoilers for Me Before You Ahead!

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After You is the sequel to Jo Jo Moyes international bestseller Me Before You. The first novel followed Lou Clarke a young woman stuck in a rut and suddenly finds herself desperate for a job and working for Will. Will is a former international playboy, business man and now Quadriplegic.

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Will and Lou (or Finnick and Khaleesi!)

Will wants to die, he intends to end is life and for his friends and family the clock is ticking to change his mind and keep him living. Lou finds that in Will’s sad life she might have something to learn from a man who used to live big and Will finds that from Lou he might just have something to Learn…

Me Before You was one of my favourite reads of the year it is heartbreaking and beautiful and left me feeling like I really knew all the characters but in particular Lou and Will.

So when I heard there was going to be a sequel to a book that a genuinely LOVE I was nervous but really excited.

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What did I think?

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After You picks up about a year after Will’s death and we take a look at the repercussions for Lou and the other characters. Lou is suffering greatly without Will and her grief leads her to getting drunk and falling off a roof(classic Lou). Her fall leads to Lou meeting the lovely Sam a paramedic and perfect for our grieving heroin.

Me Before You

After You is a book about grief, Lou’s grief, the grief of Will’s parents and the grief of characters who are new to the story. It’s  a book that is a process, Lou wanting to fore-fill her promise to Will. I really enjoyed re-visiting Lou again but as I was reading the problems I had with the original novel were still present- I don’t really like Lou’s family, I find them selfish and grasping and to be honest just really unlikable and I have similar issues with Will’s family.

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Emilia Clarke as Lou in the up and coming film (2016)

What made Me Before You great was having Lou and Will together in their different  family dynamics and I missed the dialogue between the two of them with Nathan always in the back ground making a happy three.

I enjoyed reading After You but the best part for me was the end-

SPOILERS

When reading Me Before You and now After You all I wanted for Lou was a happy ending and After You gave me that and I’m so grateful.

Would recommend. 4/5 Stars keep your eyes peeled for the film that comes out in 2016!

 

 

 

 

 

Station Eleven- Review (& Bout of Books Rap up)

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel is in it’s most very basic form a group of Shakespeare actors who are performing King Lear and then… The End of The World happens! Truly though while the Shakespearean actors are one set of characters in this novel the book is about a group of characters including the actors -all linked by a character who dies in the beginning of the novel (don’t freak guys this is sooo not a spoiler).

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No doubt this is a great book BUT I personally have my issues with it. It’s brilliant and original no question but the narrative structure is such that it is really hard to fall in love with, root for, or hate/dislike a particular character. This being so I did sort of lose interest about 3/4 of the way though, but this is just my personal preference – I enjoy having a character to root for.

I would still recommend this book to a friend but the right friend. From afar I could appreciate this book for what it was (a superb piece of writing), up close I was just looking forward to my next read.

Over all I gave it a Goodreads rating of 3/5 stars.

While reading Station Eleven I was participating in bout of books 13.0 I think my reading list was a bit ambitious as I have had a busy week but I managed to get though Station Eleven and Saga Volume one which was brilliant! It was my first ever graphic novel and I was, before reading a bit unsure about the whole medium but I was so wrong. The art was fantastic, the story was so great, I was torn between flipping through the pages as fast as I could to find out what happened next and gazing at the amazing art work for as long as possible.                                                                                                                      515jeiadAzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

I gave it a Goodreads rating of 5/5 stars! (Would definitely recommend to graphic novel newbies! But be aware of adult content.)

Overall I didn’t get though as much as I wanted too in bout of books 13.0 but there’s always the next read-a-thon 🙂

Taking part in Blog Tour – The Destroyer by Warren Murphy

Hi guys just a quick note to say I am taking part in a blog tour for Created, The Destroyer  thanks to Clara Diaz at The Little Brown Book Group.

Created, The destroyer by Warren Murphy is book one in a long running thriller series which has sold over 60 million copies worldwide.

The series is the story of a former police officer, Remo Williams, who gets sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit BUT hours before he sits in the electric chair a mysterious monk visits him and gives him a black pill to bite just before he dies. He bites the pill and after “dying” he wakes up in an ambulance! He has now been rescued/recruited by a secret government organization as an assassin. He is now The Destroyer.

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My part in the blog tour will take place on the 21st September and this is when I will be publishing my book review.

Would love to hear from anyone who has read the series (Spoiler free of course) all opinions discussions welcome!

Remember to look out for my review- September 21st 2014