Book Review: The Crown by Kiera Cass

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Previously read by the same author: The Selection Series (The Selection, The Elite, The One) & The Heir

Read between: 16th-20th July
Format: ebook
Published: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Synopsis: When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.

Rating: 003d1-threestar

Review: I read ‘The Heir’ last year, and when I started The Crown it took me a while to get my head around what happened previously, but then I started to remember and the story began to flow and it all came back in no time- The Crown continues exactly where The Heir left off. So it wasn’t hard to get back into the story.

The Crown is the second half of Princess Eadlyn’s story, and follows the second half of her Selection. Something that isn’t at the front of her mind at the moment, however, considering her mother is bed-ridden after her heart attack.

Her father is by her mothers bedside, and she has to make decisions about a possible husband on her own. She feels on her own, despite having her ladies, maids, and the six remaining boys by her side to help her on this journey.

Eadlyn makes a lot of decisions for herself- to help herself, and I think that’s why I found her character to be slightly problematic, in a similar way that America was in the first three books. I mean, America didn’t really have a choice, but Eadlyn does- so that’s why I was so surprised by the way she ended her Selection.

I was surprised by her choice more so. The whole novel seemed to be leading up to her union with Kile Woodwork, she even voiced this out loud to her ladies and advisors, she had a plan set in motion….and then she completely goes against that plan and changes her mind, and then goes against that choice to be with someone who wasn’t actually part of the Selection at all!

I mean, I understand she was in love, and you can tell by the way it was written, but honestly, she needed to make up her mind and stick to it- even if she did become Queen halfway through. However, despite my animosity over Eadlyn’s character, I did enjoy this book.

I had forgotten the world and it was nice to return to the Kingdom of Illea. Although, not all the subjects seem to be as nice as before, especially Marid Illea, who turned out to be a horrible person! Eadlyn learnt that the hard way- she trusted him, she was nice to him, and it backfires!

Still, it was a good story and it was nice to finalise the Selection series through Maxon and America’s daughter.

A good read!

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review and Movie Comparison: London Boulevard by Ken Bruen

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Read between: 8th-11th July
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 288
Published: (this edition) November 25th, 2010 (originally published, 2002)
Publisher: Transworld Ireland
Synopsis: When Mitchell is released from prison after serving three years for a vicious attack he doesn’t remember, he reluctantly finds himself caught up with Robert Gant, a ruthless lowlife with violent plans.

Attempting to stay out of Gant’s way, Mitchell finds work as a handyman at the mansion of a faded movie actress. When she eagerly plies him with cash, cars and sex, Mitch starts to wonder if even this job comes with a catch.

But it isn’t long before Mitchell’s violent past catches up with him. When people close to him start getting hurt, Mitchell is forced to act, and take brutal on revenge on those who’ve stolen his life..

Rating: 003d1-threestar

Review: Mitchell is fresh out of prison- an ex con, who wants to put his past behind him. Of course, it’s not that simple or that easy, when his old friends wrangle their way back into his life- especially Billy Norton, a man who beats innocent people for rent money.

It’s Norton’s fault that Mitchell finds himself caught up with the violent Robert Gant (Tommy Logan in the original publication) which really doesn’t help his new life plan. Add his sister Briony into the mix, a woman with her own problems, and he has a lot of pressure on his shoulders to stay on the right path.

His only way out is to hide behind his work as a handy man for faded actress, Lillian Palmer…which is more than he bargained for! Is everything with Lillian as it seems? Can Mitchell hide from his past forever?

This book has an awful lot in it, despite being only 288 pages!

There was never a dull moment- I mean, the only gory bit that really got me was the gory death of Briony’s poor dog. I hate it when animals die in fiction. Always makes me have to stop.

However, the writing, although written in first person, was simple and repetitive in places, for example:
“Aisling was wearing a killer black dress. I said ‘Killer dress’ ”

It’s weird how he thinks something, and then we have to be told that he is voicing those thoughts, rather than just dialogue, but it wasn’t always a bad thing because at least it gave us an insight into Mitchell’s mind.

I was definitely hooked on the story, and it’s a good book. However, it is pretty violent in both content and language so it’s not for the younger or the faint hearted of readers. If you want something light-hearted, this isn’t it!

3/5 stars!
It kept me on my toes!


London Boulevard ( 2010) – Starring Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley and Ray Winstone

Director: William Monahan

Trailer:

Comparison:

William Monahan changed a LOT of the book when turning it into a movie, a few of the gory scenes are removed, and differences have been made. The main difference is that of the actress. In the Ken Bruen novel, she is in her sixties. In the movie, Monahan has changed her name to Charlotte, and cast 25 year old Keira Knightley in the role. (Not that I’m complaining- I love Keira)

However, the storyline is pretty much the same, apart from the ending.

I do believe the writer and directors tried to stay true to the book, but a lot of the content was probably far too sickening to pull in the money the movie needed to do well. Despite that, I can definitely see the inspiration!

Watch the trailer above and see what you think! Having read the book now, I would say the movie isn’t the most accurate adaptation but for a gangster/crime/thriller movie it’s pretty good- and I usually tend to avoid that genre.


Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: A Meditation on Murder by Robert Thorogood

Previously read by the same author: The Killing of Polly Carter

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Read between: 22-26th June
Number of pages: 358
Published: January 2nd, 2015
Publisher: Mira
Synopsis: Aslan Kennedy has an idyllic life: Leader of a Spiritual Retreat for wealthy holidaymakers on one of the Caribbean’s most unspoilt islands, Saint Marie. Until he’s murdered, that is. The case seems open and shut: when Aslan was killed he was inside a locked room with only five other people, one of whom has already confessed to the murder.

Detective Inspector Richard Poole is hot, bothered, and fed up with talking to witnesses who’d rather discuss his ‘aura’ than their whereabouts at the time of the murder. But he also knows that the facts of the case don’t quite stack up. In fact, he’s convinced that the person who’s just confessed to the murder is the one person who couldn’t have done it. Determined to track down the real killer, DI Poole is soon on the trail, and no stone will be left unturned.

Rating:

Image result for five stars

Review: A health and lifestyle guru is murdered in broad daylight in a building made of paper- in front of witnesses. But something doesn’t add up- is Julia Higgins really the murderer?

D.I. Richard Poole doesn’t seem to think so- so he decided to take the case of Aslan Kennedy’s murder (along with trying to get rid of his lizard) whilst working out, out of the five people who were in the room- who actually committed the crime?

It was great to be back in the Caribbean- Death in Paradise is always entertaining- as are the novels! So many secrets are revealed and I was so intruiged! All the suspects have a motive. I made a guess as I was reading but I turned out to be completely wrong.

I’m never very good at solving the crime.

I preferred this to the other Death in Paradise novel I read- mainly because there was so much more background to the characters- including the victim!

Not everyone is who they seem.

It was a great read- when DI Poole solved the case, it was so clever how it was done that I felt a little silly for not working it out. I was also very impressed at the killer!

I really enjoyed this book and it’s very easy to follow. There’s funny moments amongst the crime- this made it more enjoyable and less of a drag. I’d definitely recommend it!

5/5 stars! A decent crime novel with added fun!

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: Blood of the Rose by Kevin Murray

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Read between: 9th- 22nd June
Published: 9th June 2014
Publisher: Urbane Publications
Number of pages: 380
Format: Paperback
Synopsis: London, 1986. A newspaper editor is horrifically murdered, his death quickly followed by a series of more brutal, and often bizarre, slayings. The police are baffled, the only clear link between the murders being a single blood red rose left at the scene of every killing. Why? What does the rose mean? What connects the killer to each bloody corpse? Scotland Yard detective Alan Winters leads a hunt for the elusive prey. As the body count rises, Jennifer Chapman, renowned investigative journalist and daughter of the murdered newspaper editor, sets out on a personal quest for revenge. Drawn together in their pursuit of a deadly quarry, Winters and Jennifer unwittingly face a fatal surprise, for the killer is closer than they think. As they close in on the truth of the blood red rose, their unseen foe plots a shattering end to his reign of terror, and death awaits them all..

Rating: 3-5-stars

Review: I admit I would have given this book a higher rating if I had been able to get into it straight away- but for me, it started off slow – I think that was because it took me awhile to work out that the focus wasn’t on one character- but many!

Once I got over that I began to follow it better and the story started to flow.

It’s set in 1986- a year I’m not over familiar with being born in the 90s- and Detective Alan Winters is the main protagonist (although another detective is introduced first but that was just something the author did) and he is on the hunt for a serial killer known only as ‘The Rose’ who kills with a crossbow!

Then Alan meets Jennifer, the daughter of the first victim, a journalist who wants to avenge her father. Alan finds his loyalty slipping away from the police investigation and towards Jennifer and their could-be relationship…

A wrong decision.

The Rose is a very well written antagonist. He’s a psychopath- but I did work out who he was, although not until nearer the end. His diary entries are integrated throughout the novel, giving us an insight into his mind, and his life- past and present. This then allowed me to work out who it was.

It still came as a shock though!

There is plenty going on, which keeps the reader hooked. From the range of police officers, to the murders, to the victims, their families, and the aftermath. Everyone is important.

There is a slightly happy ending, in the sense that the killer is locked up and Jennifer and Alan end up happy together. They deserve it after all they’ve been through. However, who is the mystery woman with the gun in her handbag at the end? Jennifer’s mother? Who knows? But ending the book on a question leaves it open- and leaves the suspense.

A good read!

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: The Gift of Charms

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Read between: 9th- 17th May
Published: September 4th, 2014
Publisher: Dino Books
Format: ebook
Popsugar reading challenge: A book involving a mythical creature; A book from a non-human perspective
Genre: Fantasy
Synopsis: In a secret land, far away from the habitation of man, dwell the world’s remaining dragons — hoping the dragsaur beasts have vanished forever. Here they try to live their daily lives, but all is not well and their talents are fading.

Things change, however, when, from a strange egg, Yoshiko is born – a dragon with a unique destiny.

Great adventure lies ahead as many challenges must be overcome, leading to a dangerous mission to the human world in attempt to return to the clans their missing magic!

Can Yoshiko make it in time?

Rating: Image result for 2.5 stars

Review: The Gift of Charms is a children’s fantasy novel that follows Yoshiko, a young dragon who doesn’t fit in.

The writing was a little competitive in places, but I can let that slide considering it was written simply to make it easier to read. The target audience are young children, considering it’s a middle grade novel, which could explain why. However, I liked the premise and the story is great, it took a while for the reader, and Yoshiko, to discover what his fate was.

He was very sensitive though, for example, when he was bullied at school, rather than stand up to himself and show the reader that you shouldn’t let the bullies hurt you….he flew away and cried. I liked that the author included school bullies, in order to raise awareness to young readers but I felt it was taken in the wrong direction.

Another point about the simplicity is there wasn’t much world building, there was the description of the mountain ranges here and there but I don’t feel like I know Dragor enough to describe it. I thought I would fly through this book but I didn’t, I had a mini slump in the middle of it! It just didn’t pull me in like most fantasy novels do.

I liked the personification of the dragons, although sometimes they felt a bit too human…it wasn’t an unnatural perspective. If you replaced the characters with people, there wouldn’t have had much of a difference in their characters.

I finished it though, and I’m glad I did because it was nice to see them all celebrating, although a lot of the dragons were just like ‘oh okay that’s over, let’s get back to our lives.’ when a massive change had just happened!

I liked it- but I can definitely see children enjoying it more than I did. They can probably relate to Yoshiko. That being said, it’s a great premise and painted dragons in a better light than most fantasy novels- making them good and not monsters.

2.5 stars.

Don’t take my review to heart, if you feel like you’d like this book, then give it a go!

Thanks for reading
~Katie

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Book Review: Inferno by Catherine Doyle (Blood for Blood #2)

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Read between: 22nd-27th April
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 416
Published: January 7th, 2016
Publisher: Chicken House
Synopsis: Sophie’s life has been turned upside-down, and she’s determined to set things right. But Nic, the Falcone brother who represents everything she’s trying to forget, won’t give up on their love – and it’s Luca’s knife she clutches for comfort. Soon another mafia clan spoils the fragile peace – and with her heart drawn in one direction and her blood in another, Sophie’s in deeper than ever.

Rating: Image result for five stars

Review:

This trilogy gets better with each book. I gave the last one four stars (review here) but this one was so much better! There’s drama, twists, and find out where Sophie’s loyalties really lie after her traumatic experience at the hands of Calvino Falcone.

I don’t blame her for still being traumatised. I would be! I think it made her stronger, even if she is still in the middle of a feud, and it’s about to get worse! She’s about to discover a secret that turns the life she knows upside down.

A secret that could turn Nic against her.

However, it is Luca Falcone who stands by her. Luca who actually cares about her more than the war between their families. It is Luca who doesn’t lie to her.

Sophie and Luca are such a better couple than Sophie and Nice were! I wanted them to kiss so badly whenever they were together because there was clearly a hell of a lot of chemistry. (spoiler; THEY DO! :D)

Unfortunately, tragedy strikes that rips Sophie’s world apart. It is Luca she clings to. She can’t go to her uncle, he’s caused her too much pain already.

The drama has definitely progressed, it’s so intense! When Doyle threw in the plot twist I was totally shocked! I had no idea and I totally didn’t see it coming! That’s good writing, when the author can surprise you.

I cannot wait to find out in the third book, so I ordered it from amazon immediately and I’m reading it as soon as I can!

5/5 stars. Totally recommend.

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: Vendetta (Blood for Blood #1) by Catherine Doyle

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Read between: 17th- 22nd April
Number of pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Chicken House
Published: February 24th, 2015
Synopsis: When it comes to revenge, love is a dangerous complication.With a fierce rivalry raging between two warring families, falling in love is the deadliest thing Sophie could do. An epic debut set outside modern-day Chicago.

When five brothers move into the abandoned mansion in her neighbourhood, Sophie Gracewell’s life changes forever. Irresistibly drawn to bad boy Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling into a criminal underworld governed by powerful families. As the boys’ dark secrets begin to come to light, Sophie is confronted with stinging truths about her own family, too. She must choose between two warring dynasties – the one she was born into, and the one she is falling in love with. When she does, blood will spill and hearts will break.

Rating: 5521e-4stars

Review: It all starts with a jar of honey.

Then in Falcone brothers move into an abandoned mansion in Cedar Hill and Sophie’s life changes, by falling for Nic, she becomes involved in mystery, drama, and family secrets.

I really like Sophie- apart from her background, she was a really relatable character. Normal job, normal best friend- she’s the average teenage girl. If we forget the fact her father is in prison for murder and she’s basically running her uncle’s diner whilst he’s out of town!

Okay, so, there is a bit of insta-love, sort of- the moment she sees Nic properly she develops a crush on him that turns into a romance pretty quickly. However, it isn’t done badly and I was really involved with their secret meetings and steamy kisses. It just worked.

As it turns out, Sophie’s family, the Gracewell’s, have a connection to the Falcone’s which ends up leading to all kinds of trouble. Is there romance really that dangerous? Can they forget the feud and stay together?

Nic is keeping secrets. Unfortunately, he isn’t exactly what he seems- and he’s not the only one.

I’ve heard this book described as Romeo and Juliet meets the Godfather and to be honest, it’s an apt description. Imagine the Capulets and the Montague’s are in the mafia and you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

I really enjoyed this book, it started off slow but once I got into the story I was sucked in and I couldn’t put it down! I can’t wait to see what happens when I continue with the series and will be picking up the second book immediately.

Will Sophie and Nic ever be together? Can she forgive him?

It was a brilliant book and I’d highly recommend it because it had something for everyone. It also includes a character in a wheelchair, so it was nice to see the representation of disability in there too.

4/5 stars.
Loved it!

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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