Book Review: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike, #3)

Read between: 19th-21st February
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 574
Published: April 21st, 2016
Publisher: Sphere
Synopsis: When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…


Rating: ef735-star5

Review: J.K Rowling, under Robert Galbraith, has once again created a gripping novel full of drama, grisly murders, and Strike’s past comes back to haunt him. It all starts when Robin is sent a parcel…which turns out to be a woman’s severed leg!

I knew from then this book was going to be dark. The last book, The Silkworm, was dark, but this one was much darker. I think this is probably down to the fact that someone is killing and mutilating women. Why? To get to Cormoran Strike.

There were four different suspects, which made the story interesting, especially the chapters that followed the killer’s actions. Each murder was very well described- so much that I was so worried for Robin when he nearly had her!

Thank god she had a rape alarm on her! I hate to think what would have happened if she hadn’t…although there is going to be a fourth book so I doubt she would have been killed off…

Besides that, she’s also experiencing relationship problems. Will she marry Matthew or is it over for good?

I don’t want to give too much away so I don’t spoil it, but I didn’t work out the killer! I had narrowed it down to two out of the four, but I was still wrong! I had a 50-50 chance though, so I was pretty pleased that I managed to get close enough. It was quite hard, and I was shocked when they revealed which man did it.

I’m glad I managed to finish this book before the TV adaptation airs on Sunday (25th February).

I’d definitely recommend this book- if you’re a fan of quite heavy crime or Rowling’s writing, pick this up! It was nice to be back in Cormoran and Robin’s world, and follow them on their latest case.

5/5 stars!
Thanks for reading!

~Katie
cropped-dm-bookbanner.jpg

Advertisements

Book Review: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Image result for anna karenina novel

Read between: 5th-18th February
Format: ebook
Originally published: 1878
Published: 16th October, 2012
Publisher: Vintage
Synopsis: Acclaimed by many as the world’s greatest novel, Anna Karenin provides a vast panorama of contemporary life in Russia and of humanity in general. In it Tolstoy uses his intense imaginative insight to create some of the most memorable characters in literature. Anna is a sophisticated woman who abandons her empty existence as the wife of Karenin and turns to Count Vronsky to fulfil her passionate nature – with tragic consequences. Levin is a reflection of Tolstoy himself, often expressing the author’s own views and convictions.

Throughout, Tolstoy points no moral, merely inviting us not to judge but to watch. As Rosemary Edmonds comments, ‘He leaves the shifting patterns of the kaleidoscope to bring home the meaning of the brooding words following the title, ‘Vengeance is mine, and I will repay.

Rating: 5521e-4stars

Review: This book is rather hefty, but I was hooked into the story immediately thanks to Tolstoy’s writing style and the short chapters! Due to the book being split up into eight parts, it did take me a long time to read it it. I’m glad I did though! I only knew of the story through the 2012 film starring Keira Knightley and Jude Law- but there is so much more to the story!

It opens by telling us that Stiva (Stephen Arkadyevich) has been unfaithful to his wife, which sets apart an opinion of his character, as well as the theme of the entire novel; love, infidelity, and jealousy. We also meet all of the main characters (bar Karenin). Dolly, Stiva’s wife, her sister Kitty, Kitty’s suitor, Count Vronsky, Levin- who loves Kitty, and of course, Anna, who originally appears in the novel to try and fix her brother, Stiva’s, marriage.

However, Anna’s arrival just causes drama and it’s from there that the story really begins.

It leads to Kitty being heartbroken, ill, and she becomes quite childish. Thankfully, it doesn’t last long and I actually really liked her character development. Anna also isn’t the most subtle of women, especially with her closeness to Vronsky, as it is noticed by everyone how close they have become. Including her husband, Karenin.

One thing I liked from the book, especially in the second chapter, is the detail Tolstoy puts into certain scenes. I loved the detail of the horse race, from the sound of the hooves to the view of the spectators- the reader could really imagine being there. I also really liked the main focus on Levin and his life on his farm- including the part where he helps the peasants working on the farm to mow the fields with scythes.

His life is the main focus of Part Three, as well as the main theme of the book, jealousy, rearing it’s ugly head. Karenin cannot divorce Anna, due to his reputation, so Anna has to choose between her husband and her son, or her lover. She cannot have both- despite her love for her song being so strong.

I completely blame her for her dilemma- and the sad thing is, she doesn’t learn!

However, I really appreciated the fact that Karenin forgives Anna and Vronksy when he thinks she is dying, it shows him to be a much better person than the both of them, a fact, I think is proved by the fact that Vronsky tries to kill himself! Guilty?

Can Anna and Vronksy actually be happy without the shadow of guilt always following them around?

On the other hand, Kitty and Levin are very happy when they eventually get married- even though, surprise surprise, there is some jealousy between them (but there’s is always reconciled.) Whereas Anna doesn’t care about her son, as she can’t see him, and she now has another child to care for.

Although it is clear she doesn’t love her the same as she loves her son….she has a very changeable personality, making her very fickle!

I think the hardest thing about this book is that every now and then, the characters spoke in French or German, and I had to stop reading in order to translate it as I’m not fluent in either language. It made the reading experience more of a chore, and a little bit less enjoyable.

There’s always a mix of forgiveness and jealousy in each chapter/part e.g Kitty meets Vronsky years after he rejected her for Anna and she manages not to get upset that her broke her heart. However, after Levin meets Anna for the first time, Kitty gets angry thinking he loves her (!)

Their moods change a lot. It’s very confusing.

I’ve seen the film, so I know what happens to Anna at the end, and to be honest, it felt like a relief. She wasn’t the most agreeable of characters.

It was a good story, the mix of characters meant there was always something to read about and I was able to see the characters develop as the story progressed, especially Kitty and Levin’s relationship!

I can see why this book is a classic- even if the title character could be incredibly irritating! I can’t fault it though, and I’d definitely recommend it!

4/5 stars!

Well worth a read!

Thanks for reading!
~Katie
cropped-dm-bookbanner.jpg

NON BOOK POST: The Trials of a Trainee Teacher

Okay, so I’m not a trainee teacher yet, but I hope to be by September! Chrissi’s posts on Chrissi Reads whilst she was training really opened my eyes, so I just wanted to write a quick post about why a load of pressure has been lifted from my shoulders.

If you didn’t already know, before starting an Initial Teacher Training course, here in the UK, candidates are recommended to take a Literacy and a Numeracy skills test. Unfortunately for me, the first time around back in 2015- I failed three times on the Numeracy Test and was automatically locked out for two years- setting my career goal back.

This meant I couldn’t start my teacher training, even though I’d passed the Literacy Test with flying colours!

My unlock period is now over.

img_0964.jpg

I felt really anxious this year, when I failed my first attempt. I was six marks away from a pass. However, this month, the specifications have changed and I could not be happier! I’ll explain why:

  • Firstly, the two year lock out has now been scrapped, meaning that after three failed attempts, you are not locked out for two years- instead, you can try again!
  • They have introduced unlimited tests, meaning that there is no longer a limit to just three tests!

This has given me so much more of a chance to finally achieve my dream of becoming a primary school teacher!

I’m not sure why they made the changes, but not only are my three attempts also now free of charge (rather than £19) but I’m definitely pleased that these changes were put into place.

I’m hoping I don’t need more than three tests, but if I do, I don’t have to worry about losing my place on my dream course at my dream university- which, fingers crossed, I shall start in September!

Sorry this post isn’t bookish, but I really wanted to write something about this and I thought my blog would be the perfect place to do it!

Thanks for reading 🙂
~Katie x

 

Book Review: The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

41sHRBN+j5L

Read between: 25th January- 4th February
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 391
Published: May 30th, 2006
Publisher: Anchor Books
Synopsis: A delightfully dishy novel about the all-time most impossible boss in the history of impossible bosses.
Andrea Sachs, a small-town girl fresh out of college, lands the job “a million girls would die for.” Hired as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the high-profile, fabulously successful editor of “Runway “magazine, Andrea finds herself in an office that shouts “Prada! Armani! Versace!” at every turn, a world populated by impossibly thin, heart-wrenchingly stylish women and beautiful men clad in fine-ribbed turtlenecks and tight leather pants that show off their lifelong dedication to the gym. With breathtaking ease, Miranda can turn each and every one of these hip sophisticates into a scared, whimpering child.
THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA gives a rich and hilarious new meaning to complaints about “The Boss from Hell.” Narrated in Andrea’s smart, refreshingly disarming voice, it traces a deep, dark, devilish view of life at the top only hinted at in gossip columns and over Cosmopolitans at the trendiest cocktail parties. From sending the latest, not-yet-in-stores Harry Potter to Miranda’s children in Paris by private jet, to locating an unnamed antique store where Miranda had at some point admired a vintage dresser, to serving lattes to Miranda at precisely the piping hot temperature she prefers, Andrea is sorely tested each and every day—and often late into the night with orders barked over the phone. She puts up with it all by keeping her eyes on the prize: a recommendation from Miranda that will get Andrea a top job at any magazine of her choosing. As things escalate from the merely unacceptable to the downright outrageous, however, Andrea begins to realize that the job a million girls would die for may just kill her. And even if she survives, she has to decide whether or not the job is worth the price of her soul.

Rating:
Image result for 2.5 stars

Review:

Image result for the devil wears prada gifs

I went into this book hoping to love it, despite the fact that it had really bad reviews, because I love the film! However…that was not the case. I’ll explain why.

Andrea Sachs wants tot write for magazines, always has. So when she gets a job working for Runway magazine in New York, it looks like she’s on her way to achieving her dreams. However, she didn’t imagine that she’d end up doing no writing at all! Instead, she is junior assistant to Miranda Priestly. A woman who strives to have everything just as she wants.

Image result for the devil wears prada gifs

The boss from hell? Andrea thinks so-but despite how much she hates her job (a job that people tell her makes her the luckiest girl in the world!) , a fact she often repeats, she sticks at it. She wants her dream job, and apparently this is the only way to do it.

The fashion industry is tough. Miranda is tough, so why does Andrea not expect that?

Many moments in the book had my agree with her, but most of the time I found her incredibly ungrateful. She gets to meet famous designers, wear designer clothes that would otherwise have been thrown away, and get paid decent money! Just because her boss is a bitch, she decides that’s a good enough reason to hate everything the job entails.

The plot is good- I don’t know if a fashion magazine in the US is run exactly the way it was in the book, but it was interesting to see the inner workings and meet other members of staff. Especially Emily.

I actually really like Emily, especially when she let Andrea know she’d made a mistake. Someone had to tell her!
Image result for the devil wears prada gifs

I also wasn’t surprised that Andrea’s boyfriend dumped her. I knew how busy her job was, but there was no need to blank him completely because Miranda needed her, or might need her out of the office.

Miranda was definitely written as bitchy and needy in order to make the reader feel fro Andrea. In a way it did, in a way it didn’t.

I liked this book, don’t get me wrong. I liked the fashion elements, but there were some character traits I wasn’t keen on. However, I actually think I prefer the film adaptation to the book in this case! That might just be because of Meryl Streep and her fabulous characterisation of Miranda.

It’s a good story. I really wanted to love this book but I guess that’s just a matter of opinion.

Image result for the devil wears prada gifs

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

cropped-dm-bookbanner.jpg

 

January 2018: Wrap Up!

So the first month of 2018 is already coming to an end!

January was a very productive month for me! I managed to read six books! Those six books were:

  • The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson. I gave this 5/5 stars.
  • The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr. I gave it 3/5 stars.
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I rated this 5/5 stars.
  • After You by Jojo Moyes. I rated this 4/5 stars.
  • The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett, this was the lowest rated book at 2.5/5 stars.
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I gave this 5/5 stars.

I also completed three challenges for my reading challenges.

The first challenge was for the Penguin Read the Year challenge. The January topic was to read a book about new beginnings. After You fit this challenge. ✅

The other two challenges were part of the Popsugar Reading Challenge

The first challenge I completed was the challenge ‘A Book about death or grief’- Both Me Before You and After You fit this category ✅

The second challenge I completed was ‘A Book from a Celebrity Book club’- The Versions of Us featured in the Richard and Judy Book Club so that ticked off that category! ✅

I’m super pleased with my reading this month!

How did you guys do?

Thanks for reading!

~ Katie

Book Review: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1)

Related image

Read between: 21st-24th
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 387
Published: January 5th, 2012
Publisher: Puffin
Synopsis: A forbidden romance.
A deadly plague.
Earth’s fate hinges on one girl . . .

CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation.

Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future.

This is not the fairytale you remember. But it’s one you won’t forget.

Rating: 5521e-4stars

Review: I can understand why this book has so much hype! I knew this book was a re-telling of Cinderella but it was so much more than that! Definitely more than I expected! It’s more than a re-telling, there’s action, secrets, lies- with a teenage girl in the middle.

Cinder is a cyborg, a mechanic, working and living in New Beijing, some point in the future. Her story is similar to that as the fairy tale character, although slightly different….

Found as an orphan, she was adopted by Lihn Garan and his wife Adri, and gained two stepsisters, Pearl and Peony. Garan then dies and Adri treats Cinder, not as daughter, although she is  her ward, but as someone who fixes everything when it goes wrong. That’s mainly where the similarities lie.

Except for Peony. I loved the fact that Peony was actually nice to Cinder. They had a really lovely relationship and Peony definitely didn’t deserve what happened to her. Cinder lost the first of someone who actually cared about her, and that makes her life worse.

Then there’s Prince Kai, handsome, charming and oblivious to Cinder’s true form. If he knew… it would probably change things. So, when she has to visit the palace for medical exams, she has to try and avoid him.

And Levana, the ruler of the Lunar’s. Beautiful and evil- her entrance as a character turned the re-telling on it’s head and made it so much more interesting! Who is she? Why does she want to become Empress so bad? Why does she want Cinder dead?

I loved this book! I became immersed into Cinder’s story with every page I read. Her and her android, Iko’s relationship was so lovely, and I’m glad that Cinder had a friend she could both talk and relate to (it probably made her feel better about having robotic parts.)

The ending. The ending though. It both hurt and shocked me! I did not see it coming! However, I was really disappointed with Prince Kai’s reaction to the revelation about Cinder. It was not what I wanted.

I wanted acceptance and lovely things but oh well :C

I definitely want to read the rest of the series now! I’m hooked!

4/5 stars.
Really enjoyed it!

Thanks for reading!
~Katie
cropped-dm-bookbanner.jpg

 

Book Review: The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

Image result for the versions of us

Read between: 14th- 21st January, 2018
Format: ebook
Published: June 4th, 2015
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Synopsis: What if you had said yes? The moments that change everything… One Day meets Sliding Doors in this outstanding debut that is causing a buzz across the publishing world
Some moments can change your life for ever. Have you ever wondered, what if…?

A man is walking down a country lane. A woman, cycling towards him, swerves to avoid a dog. On that moment, their future hinges. There are three possible outcomes, three small decisions that could determine the rest of their life.

Eva and Jim are nineteen and students at Cambridge when their paths first cross in 1958. And then there is David, Eva’s then-lover, an ambitious actor who loves Eva deeply. The Versions of Us follows the three different courses their lives could take following this first meeting. Lives filled with love, betrayal, ambition but through it all is a deep connection that endures whatever fate might throw at them.

The Versions of Us explores the idea that there are moments when our lives might have turned out differently, the tiny factors or decisions that could determine our fate, and the precarious nature of the foundations upon which we build our lives. It is also a story about the nature of love and how it grows, changes and evolves as we go through the vagaries of life.

Rating: Image result for 2.5 stars

Review: This story is well written, the characters are well fleshed out. I love Eva and Jim, the two main characters of the story. The novel itself follows their lives from their births in 1938, to their first meeting, all the way up to 2014 when they are well into their elder years.

It is set in three different scenarios, (hence the title). In all three versions, Eva and Jim meet, in all of them they become parents, whether that be as a couple or with other people, but in all of them they face trials of love, loss, and heartbreak. Something happens that changes their lives, be that in a good way, or a bad one.

However, the main problem I had with this book, is having three separate storylines split up throughout the book was incredibly hard to follow. I wish I had read each version separately but as I read this book on my Kindle it would have been really hard to flick backwards and forwards between the the different versions.

I also didn’t like the amount of times Eva was cheated on by her many husbands (apart from Ted, he was lovely <3) over the three storylines. I don’t like reading about cheating, especially when the characters are so well written that you can feel, and understand, the sadness and the pain they are going through.

It’s a really hard book to explain because of the three different versions of Eva and Jim’s story. Despite them all crossing over, they were still very different, for example, their children had entirely different names in each story.  It definitely has an interesting concept, which I think gave the author a chance to delve into her characters more.

I enjoyed the story- I just got very confused and lost track of which version was which! Interesting, but cute, and I did like that Eva and Jim were each others endgame. It didn’t matter which version, they always ended up together 🙂

2.5/5 stars.
I didn’t hate this book, but I just found it incredibly difficult to read. Take it with a  pinch of salt.

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

cropped-dm-bookbanner.jpg