Tag Archives: review

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.

aslan

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

butterfliesbutterflies paint

Next book –  The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe

Like a Virgin – Review

like a virgin

Like a Virgin is Play by Gordon Steel – The story is about two teens Angela and Maxine and their eternal struggle to become pop stars. With the bumble gum fluff of their daily life comes a dash of hard hitting reality in the shape of Angela’s depressed mother Viv who has never recovered from her husband leaving her.

Viv hasn’t been much of a mother to Angela since Ken left but is forced to face her responsibilities when Angela is diagnosed with Leukemia.

This play is so much fun, Angela and Maxine are such a great representation of what best friends can be and Maxine provides so much self absorbed, teenage,very female humor.

Like a Virgin is a funny, sad, tragic tale about what it means to be a young girl, let down and what it really means lose everything.

Paint and Butterflies rating butterflies  butterflies  butterflies butterflies out of 5 Butterflies paint

The Likeness by Tana French – Review

the likeness

Author – Tana French

Publisher-  Hodder and Stoughton (2008)

Genre – Crime  

Number in series – 2# (Dublin Murder Squad)

The Likeness is the second book in Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series the first book In The Woods I have previously reviewed in this blog click here to check it out – Click Here

The book follows Detective Cassie Maddox still traumatized from the events in book one and trying to enjoy an easier life away from the Murder Squad; she is dragged back into the life she left behind when a young woman is murdered. The victim is not just another murder victim for Cassie though, the girl is Cassie’s exact doppelganger.

This is about as much as I can tell you with out get  all ‘spoiler-y’ so –

I am really starting to enjoy Tana French’s writing style she is a really suck you in and keep you kind of writer which I love, as far as I can tell the Murder Squad series focus’ on a new detective each book  which I am really starting to enjoy. Characters like our main girl Cassie who were secondary in book one but totally lovable get a whole book of their own in book two which is great. Book three is staring Frank Cassie’s boss who is witty and a right git so I am really excited to pick up book three.

Over all The Likeness was a good read but it wasn’t quite as good as book one and I’m only human so comparisons are inevitable. The Likeness is full of humor and relationships and a really tangled web which was really interesting to watch Cassie untangle.

For me though it was a little but longer than it needed to be and I guessed the killer and let me tell you I am no Sherlock Holmes! ;-p

Over all it was a good solid read and part of a series that I have every interest of continuing with.

Paint and Butterflies rating – butterflies  butterflies  butterflies  out of 5 Butterflies paint

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.

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.

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.

ittw

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!

Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick – Ladies of Lantern Street (Book 1) Review

So, in my attempt at shaking up my reading list a little bit I purchased Crystal Gardens – A Ladies of Lantern Street Novel by Amanda Quick the first in the trilogy.

Crystal Gardens By Amanda Quick

Crystal Gardens By Amanda Quick

I had never read any Jayne- Ann Krentz novels before and was intrigued to learn she regularly writes under the pseudonyms Amanda Quick and Jane Castle depending on the genre of her writing, Crystal Gardens is paranormal fiction and my first real taste of the genre. I am a regular reader of fantasy novels and thought this would be an easy transition.

Crystal Gardens is set in Victorian England; the main character of the novel is Evangeline Ames a paid companion, with ‘special talents’. Evangeline is a young woman past the age of marriage for her time with no other way to support herself finical she joins the companion agency who, it turns out only take on woman with special physic ‘gifts’ with these gifts the agency goes about solving cases for its clients, mostly regarding extra marital affairs. Evangeline is paid well, a lot higher than the usual companion rate as are all the girls because the risks they take, It is during one of these cases that a threat is made on Evangeline’s life and is she and her friends decide it is a good idea for her to get away for a while to the small town of Little Dixby. While there another attempt is made on Evangeline’s life and, in an attempt to escape Evangeline runs to the nearest and largest and coincidentally the most supernatural house in the area Crystal Gardens.

She is saved by the mysterious Lucas Sebastian who immediately takes an interest in her, and her abilities, of course Lucas and Crystal Gardens have their own secrets which Evangeline is just dying to discover.

All in all Crystal Gardens is all right, it was a very easy ready but personally I didn’t think the paranormal side to the book was done particularly well. The romance between Lucas Sebastian and Evangeline Ames was the only thing that I really liked about the book; I guess I found it all a bit predictable.

This was the first  Jayne- Ann Krentz novel I have ever read and, I have read reviews from  long-time fans saying her other books are much better than Crystal Gardens so I haven’t been put off I’m all for second chances but I won’t be buying the rest of the trilogy any time soon!