Gretel and The Dark-Review

Gretel and The Dark- Eliza Granville.

 

 

The pied piper

The shadow

Kukulka

Kuckuck

The shadow crumples

The shadow dies

Once upon a time….

 

 

All a bit confusing right? It remains confusing for 358 pages and I’m not really sure why I continued reading.

Usually anything laced with a fairy tale retelling thrills me, but honestly this book made limited sense. One chapter is told in Vienna 1899 and the next is told In Germany ‘1940s’-not even a specific year.

In Vienna we are with Dr Josef Breuer, and we are rather cryptically told throughout that ‘he had relations’ with patients. But we never actually meet this ‘Bertha’. His creepy obsession with the new patient Lilie (who he named after a painting about lust…) just made me uncomfortable. He sends his poor assistant (who is actually the only character in this I liked) into situations where he knows he will come to harm and he treats his maid, who is constantly reminding him how loyal she is, like dirt. The first unlikable character. The second being Lilie herself. It’s not even that she is that unlikable, not in the horrible way that Josef is, but she seems to think she is a robot (which isn’t explained until much further in the book) and it establishes some kind of sci-fi element. It is not a sci-fi novel! She is inhuman and she acts it. Also butterflies seem to follow her around and I can honestly say if the reason for this was ever explained, I missed it.

Perhaps the reason we are in the ‘1940s’ and not an actual year in Germany, is because every other section we are jumping in time. We are now with Krysta, a little girl whose father works as doctor at a concentration camp. But one minute we are with her and her father in what I can only assume is the present, and the next minute we are with her and their old maid, who tells her fairy tales. Which is lovely, but the constant time changing gets annoying fast. And here is the other thing, Josef is horrible, but Krysta is an absolute spoiled brat. I’d say around 80% of her dialogue is her saying ‘won’t’ when asked to do something. She is extremely unlikable, and she isn’t even interesting. I felt absolutely no sympathy towards her at any point, even though terrible things happened in her sections of the book.

The thing is that, I have recently read Jessie Burton’s, ‘The Muse’ and I felt she done the time swaps beautifully. We spent enough time with both sides, she left us in suspense, and when it came to discovering the connection between the two, I was genuinely hooked on figuring it out, it was like a who done it and I was racing to solve it first. With this book however, I couldn’t have cared less what the connection was –Spoiler alert, it is absolute nonsense. It was really just the childish imaginings of a spoiled, privileged girl.

My biggest issue with this book, was the languages. I understand that the characters would speak their own language to each other, so when things are repeated to explain it to the reader, it sounds silly.  Things like Frau and Herr Doktor add authenticity to it, these words I like to see throughout and would actually expect. But when the maid asks ‘Perhaps a rakott palascinta to follow? I know how fond you are of sweet pancakes’ –this sounds ridiculous, he knows what she is saying so why would she explain it? Things like this happen throughout and most of the conversations end up sounding silly and how no one would actually speak to one another.

This is one of the more difficult books I have ever read, and my love for fairy tales made me continue with it, but I just didn’t enjoy it and even the fairy tale parts were unfortunately not enough for me.

Charlotte.

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The Heartless City-Review

I stumbled across Andrea Berthot on twitter one day and seen she had a link to her book in her bio. Decided to have a look and then quickly decided I needed to have a read. And I must say, I made a fabulous discovery.

It’s 1903 and London has been in quarantine for 13 years. Dr Jekyll has accidentally created a race of heart eating monsters. The monarchy has fled leaving the Lord Mayor in charge. Elliot Morrissey, the son of the most prominent doctor (who is searching for a cure) has suffered his own brush with a science experiment gone wrong, and finds himself an empath, someone who can feel the emotions of everyone around them.

He forms an unlikely ally in Iris Faye, but soon finds she is not what she seems, like everyone else around him. Together they and their friends discover the truth of who is pulling the strings in Jekyll’s wake, and why citizens are waking up in the street infected, with no memory of ever having taken the Hyde drug…

 The book begins with a prologue, and I must admit it was slightly confusing as at this point we are with Iris and her mother and its years before. Oh and we don’t know its Iris until later on when we meet her again. But the very distinct description of her hair and eyes are a signifier later, and we need this scene to get a little background on the story. However it does start as if it is a prequel to the story we are going to enter (which I wouldn’t be against, I’d love to see Virginia’s full story).

There is good evidence that Andrea done her homework on Victorian London throughout, but in some ways it doesn’t even matter as this is a London where time has stopped. They have no influence from the outside world, other than what Cam, the Lord Mayors son has snuck in through food shipments. It is interesting to see a London so uncultured. Cam says, ‘Beyond this city there are new songs, new ideas, new everything.’ In reality London is such a vibrant moving city, but we have joined it in a time when everyone wants to get out, to move on from the past they are stuck in. Elliot, Cam and their friend Andrew, all do the exact same job as their fathers. There are no opportunities, no other careers. The women are stuck to being maids, waitresses, barmaids. Even Virginia the scientist must hideaway her intelligence.

My one issue when it comes to the female characters is Philomena. She has the quick wit and independence to make her a fast favourite, but she isn’t introduced until she is needed. This bothered me slightly as she is such an interesting character, and the second book of the series ‘The Hypnotic City’ is even dedicated to her adventures after the quarantine. But she is only introduced to the story when we discover that Cams father wants to marry him off. I don’t like to think of Philomena as a plot device, as she is probably one of the most well rounded characters in the series.

I do feel like the characters and the relationships are what mattered in this book. The hydes and the quarantine are exciting and consistent and add a good twist to the end of the story, but I feel these characters would bring life to any story. This could have been set in regular London and I still would have loved every single character, (even the bad guys were well developed).

However the relationship between Elliot and Iris did move exceptionally quickly. One minute he meets her in the bar she works in and a few hours later he is gushing about how brave she is and how much he admires her. Yes he is an empath and can see her emotions, but I would have liked an extension to this declaration. If anything, I wanted the story to be longer to allow for this.

My 2 absolute favourite things about this book were:

  • The painting scene. When Elliot takes Iris into the room he used to paint in with his mother, my heart melted.
  • Cam and Andrew’s relationship. Just because something is set in a time when it was not okay to be openly gay, does not mean that no one was gay. We can see the bond between these 2 from the beginning, and the struggle of not being free to be open about it only makes it that much stronger. It’s not something that should be hidden.

I would really recommend this book. If you are into historical fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, there is honestly a bit of something for everyone. Also pick up the second in the series ‘The Hypnotic City’, as I am currently reading and enjoying it. So happy to see Philomena in her own story, and we are now in New York, so that’s fun!

 

Charlotte.

The Princess saves herself in this one- Review

The Princess saves herself in this one- Amanda Lovelace

-the story of a princess turned damsel turned queen

 

I wanted to review this poetry book but kept thinking, ‘How can I review poetry?’ Although I have studied it and wrote it and critiqued it, it’s hard to tell where credibility matters when judging something so raw.

All I can really focus on is how this poetry book made me feel. How I opened one page and didn’t stop reading until I got to the end. How I keep thinking about it and then going back to reread certain pages. How I even made one poem the screensaver on my phone, because I want to look at the words every time I open it.

It’s strange to me how relatable I found this book when some of the themes have nothing to do with my own life. I have a good relationship with both of my parents and sister (who are all alive) and although I’ve had far from great experiences with relationships, I’m yet to encounter any ‘dragons’.

Yet when Amanda Lovelace began ‘The Princess’ with ‘I was born a little bookmad’ I was hooked. I thought, here is someone speaking my language. Although I perhaps started out thinking the whole book would be poetic metaphors about reading Fairy tales, and soon found out I was wrong, I still loved the story she told. This isn’t an Anne Sexton book of poems about fairy tales, it’s about living one. Battling your demons and your dragons and coming out the other side realising you don’t need a hero to save you. You are the hero of your story. This is something everyone needs to learn about themselves and I found it truly beautiful and inspiring.

‘The Princess

jumped from

the tower

& she

learned

that she

could fly

all along.

-she never needed those wings.’

 

 

Charlotte.

Bucket List Two- Paris

So as I stated in my ‘Bucket List one’ post, I wanted to keep track of how I’m doing on my ‘Before I’m 30’ bucket list (deadline feeling closely looming now I’ve turned 22…). Going to Paris was also on my list, and of course to have done my number one task of Disneyland, I had to go to Paris. I’m just terrible at keeping up to date with this blog. Therefore the post that should have went alongside the Disneyland one is coming months later… But I still consider myself on track at achieving everything on my list! (If you want a refresher of what’s on it, check out my post, ‘The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart -Bucket List’) I do feel as we spent our first two days in Disneyland and the last day In the city, that Disneyland did come first in terms of ticking off my list.

Arriving in Paris was an interesting experience, we opted for flying rather than Euro star as my sister and cousin were traveling from Ireland. You’d think coming from Northern Ireland and living in London I’d be used to security, but Charles de Gauelle airport is next level. Unfortunately we arrived just as someone decided to leave a bag unattended at the train station… You can imagine how that went for three girls who couldn’t understand a word of what the guards were saying (my French skills weren’t exactly as on point as I had planned). So eventually we decided just to get a taxi. Warning: Never do that, it’s expensive as hell and will have you arriving at your hotel very grumpy.

The hotel we chose was more for closeness to Disney than to Paris, so we had a fair journey into the city, but I oddly quite enjoyed the trains. Oh and the only place to eat beside the hotel was a fast food place where we kept being pressured into buying 2 whole chickens for 20 euros. Very strange.

My favourite part about the day we arrived, between the security scare and ridiculous taxi prices, came in the form of the most fabulous homeless woman I have ever seen. She looked like someone had combined Miranda Priestly with Cruella De Vil and if that’s not sassy older lady goals I don’t know what is. At first she seemed just like any traveler pulling a suitcase behind her. But then she began pulling wrappers and newspapers out of the bin and laying them on the floor. I first thought she was just super nice and was cleaning up, but when she started pulling pillows and blankets out of her case it all became clear. I believe only Paris could have produced such a woman.

This post is unfortunately a lot more lacking in pictures than my Disney one, as I seem to have only taken pictures of the Eiffel tower, the Seine, my books in front of each of these and random little bookshops I passed (and became more and more upset I can’t read French). But here’s a few of myself, my sister and cousin.

Oh and here’s a little BTS of my bookstagram:

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(I really love those girls).

 

I must admit that I did not fall in love with Paris. It’s strange as I felt when I went I would never want to leave, and had even joked about moving to Paris before I went. But the city just didn’t call to me the way London or Dublin do. I felt so little atmosphere from it. However I imagine this is because we spent most of our day on a boat around the Seine, in gift shops and at tourist attractions. Not really at the heart of anything. I would love to go back and feel a little more magic of Paris, the stuff you don’t see as a tourist.

However I did have a wonderful trip overall. I discovered that I love macaroons and baguettes and wearing black and white stripes, even though they both stole my idea to do that! I still intend to continue to learn French, and have challenged myself to be able to read the first Harry Potter book in French. And I have ticked another thing off my bucket list, so I’m feeling pretty achieved to have done 2 off my list within the first year of having it.

 

Charlotte.

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September/October/November Wrap-up

Okay so, I’ve fallen behind on my monthly wrap-ups, partly because I have been super busy and partly because I have read embarrassingly little recently (due to the being super busy). But I would like to catch up/ read more… Which I should be able to achieve, bring on that Christmas break, yay!

September Books:

1) Soulless By Gail Carriger 

I first read this book quite a few years ago now, and then I bought the second in the series, Changeless, but never got around to reading it. But after I finished Gail’s Finishing School series I wanted to give this series another go. So I re-read Soulless, and I loved it as much the second time.

Vampires, werewolves, Victorian London, robots and afternoon tea, what more could you want in a book really? I love Alexia Tarabotti, she’s got the right amount of sass and sexiness for a pretty kickass protagonist, but still keeps her womanly charms. I love any character who likes tea as much as I do. Also her and Lord Maccon melt me! Can’t get enough of those two.

5 stars!

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2) Changeless By Gail Carriger

Second in the Parasol protectorate series. I won’t say too much as it may spoil the first one… But I will say I didn’t love it as much as the first! Was a little disaapointed. The storyline was really good and gave a deeper insight into the world (which is useful for the next book) But it just lacked action for me, not a whole lot really happened in it.

3 stars

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3)The Year of Saying Yes By Hannah Doyle

I really really loved this book. We looked into the romance genre in my genre class at uni, and we had to read a Mills and Boon novel, which would literally almost turn you off the genre forever. But it’s books like this that make me keep reading them. Ones that aren’t just about some girl obsessed with some guy. Okay to be fair the protagonist is obsessed with some guy, but she has way more going on in her life and that is addressed. She has a torn relationship with her sister, she has a bestie who is struggling with alcoholism and she is working her way up at her amazing magazine job, which btw, totally makes me want to become a feature writer…

‘The year of saying yes’ article is so inspiring, why should we stop ourselves from doing things instead of taking on new challenges. I’ll definitely be thinking of this book when I make my new years resolutions this coming new years.

5 stars!

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4) The Songs in our Hearts By Chantal Gadoury 

Chantal reached out to me asking to review this book. Unfortunately I couldn’t bring myself to write a lone review post for this book, as honestly I have nothing positive to say about it.

The story was very dull, nothing really happened. The characters were uninteresting, especially the protagonist, and I really didn’t care about her relationships with any of the other characters.

I think the only good thing I could say is that it has a pretty cover?

1 star

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October Books:

1) Shut Eye By Adam Baron

Okay so Adam is one of my creative writing tutors at uni. He asked us to read his book for our crime genre lesson. I guess I never really read much crime, but I did end up enjoying this book. The whole ‘who done it’ thing is quite exciting, and honestly if you told me you knew in this book, I would not believe you. Totally blindsided.

It has even inspired me to write crime for Adams class this year! I will be doing mine about Jack the Ripper… So watch out, I may share some day.

4 stars

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2) Blameless By Gail Carriger

The third book in the series did make up for the second. I still loved the first best, and neither have compared to it really. But I will say this one had more than enough drama to make up for the slight lack of action in the previous one.

4 stars

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November Books:

1) Tell No One By Harlan Coben 

Another book I had to read for my genre class, this one was for thriller week. This book was so good. And honestly I don’t think Coben is the most poetic author, but he knows how to play with a reader! Too many twists. I love how he gave us a tiny teaser of something happening and then left it hanging. He asks us questions on the first page we don’t learn the answer to until the last, he almost made me become one of those people who read the last page at the start…

4 stars

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2) Uprooted By Naomi Novik 

So I usually love anything fantasy/fairy tale related so when my friend told me about this it was immediately added to my amazon basket. I loved the opening, the foresty atmosphere was right up my street and I was so excited to explore this world more. But my one issue with it is that everything happens a bit too fast. We go straight into action and there isn’t much chance to reflect on the world that we’ve entered, which is a bit of a shame because it seems incredibly interesting. I want to learn more about Jaga and the history of the world, but we didn’t really get to.

My biggest criticism is that I want more please. Thank you.

4 stars

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Okay I am caught up on my wrap-ups! I will try to do my next ones every month and hopefully I will manage more than 2 books a month from now on.

 

Charlotte.

 

Bucket List One- Disneyland

So earlier this year I read ‘The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart’ and it inspired me to write my own Bucket list- or more a ‘Before I turn 30’ list. One of the things on this list was to go to Disneyland, and I’ve now achieved that! Woo 1 down, 9 to go.

I was going to make this post a highs and lows of my trip but honestly, apart from waiting in line for 2 hours for big thunder mountain and having to escape out the fire exit because I was desperate for a pee, there weren’t really any lows. So I’ll just go through some of my highlights.

Firstly I’d like to mention the hotel we stayed in, it was far from 5*, but literally a 20 minute bus ride to Disney. We paid €2 both days for the bus and it was pretty frequent. Had a bakery beside it for a bite in the morning and a fast food place if you don’t manage to grab dinner at Disney (which we didn’t the first night, that light show!) It was called Residence Du Parc, Val d’Europe and was reasonably priced for all the amount of time we actually spent in it.

I think I was in awe the first day we went. Even the entrance is magical. Next time I go (which yes there will definitely be a next time) I plan on having the money to splash on a Disney hotel, because how beautiful do they look!

I think we all had to stop every like 20 seconds to take pics because everything was beyond cute. Between the two days we were there I’d say we probably spent approximately 2 hours taking pics of/with the Castle. But honestly, no regrets, it deserves that much attention:

Here’s a list of the rides we went on in Disneyland:

*Teacups- Because they were named after the Mad Hatter and we love tea

*Buzzlightyear laser blast- This was so much fun and I 100% could make it as a Space Ranger

*Hyper Space Mountain- I hate Roller-coasters, but this almost changed my mind…

*Pirates of the Caribbean- Not so much of a thrill ride, but it looks so so realistic inside. Honestly think I made eye contact with at least 5 pirates

*Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril- We spent the entire queue asking each other if it went upside down… It went upside down – remove your Minnie ears

*Phantom Manor- Not as spooky as I would have liked and they only said the instructions in French so if I was meant to be solving a mystery I have no idea what it was…

 

The second day we went to Disney Studios, then back to Disneyland in the evening and then to Disney Village for dinner. I think we weren’t expecting much from the Studio side, but honestly it was adorable. That Walt and Mickey statue was too much for me 😦

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Here’s a list of the rides we done on that side:

*Tower of Terror- Took me a while to realise, but I loved it. Terrifying but also super cool. I had my bag on the floor and it literally came up to my waist as we went up and down!

*Rock’n’roller coaster- Loopy roller-coaster? Nope from me. Still convinced I wasn’t strapped in tight enough

*Studio tram tour- Sort of cool, sort of quick. Think they could add more around the actual tram part, not that much to look at

Along with the rides, we also met quite a few characters, yes 3 grown women waited in line to meet Mickey Mouse, and they played cartoons while we waited and we loved it!

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As fabulous as Mickey was, he does not compete with this woman,

How majestic does she look!? And I actually met her and she actually spoke to me. Well she asked me why she wasn’t on my ears and told me she thinks Merida is okay for a Princess, so I think that makes us friends right?

She also told the mother of the child in front of me that it was child abuse to let her wear an Aurora dress and that she will not meet her as she is probably asleep.

Second highlight meeting- JACK

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I will be his Sally any day, he was amazing! Literally walked just like him as well. I don’t want to spoil the Magic, BUT I 100% know they changed the actor playing him as we were waiting in line, and I am so glad because this one WAS Jack, the other one was an actor dressed as him.

We also met Daisy and Goofy, and I can now say I was attacked by a dog at Disneyland.

As well as going on rides, meeting characters and spending all our money in the gift shops, we also watched the Parade and the light show.

The Parade was cool, but you either need to be at the front or on your dads shoulders to be honest. Hard to see the characters and dancers on the ground. But you can still see the larger floats which look pretty great. I hate that Merida was not represented and I love that Rapunzel and Belle got carriages and the other Princesses had to walk.

The Disney Illuminations show was honestly something else. We ran from Buzzlightyear to catch the start and I’m so glad we didn’t miss anything. It was so so magical and emotional. I do wish I had grabbed a popcorn (which btw is amazing, do not go to Disneyland and not buy popcorn, you’d be missing out so bad) but it was still entertaining minus the snacks. And I do like how they played one song in French and one in English. It’s nice to hear both languages.

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Overall it was an extremely amazing trip and I would love love love to go back. Was very upsetting passing by Disneyland on our way to the train on the last day 😦

I would like to thank my sister and my cousin for coming with me on this trip! And for actually making it happen. We had a few ups and downs but can’t think of anyone else I would have wanted to go with! Love yous xxx(see if you actually read my blog…)

 

Charlotte.

Penmarks

As the beginning of my third year of uni approaches, I thought I’d share a little something I wrote in second year. Quite sad I have no poetry modules for this year, but the previous two years did bring back a passion of mine that I thought I had lost, so I am grateful for that.

This poem is called, ‘Penmarks’ and it is basically about the life of a writer. I have taken/twisted a few classic quotes from other famous writers and authors, see if you can spot them!

Penmarks

 

She released her untold story.

She had pen marks on her hands

from bleeding on a page, reciting

‘You can make anything by writing.’

She had pen marks on her arms.

Every face she saw became a line,

as ‘You can make anything by writing.’

She was an amateur who could not quit for

every hand she touched became a line and

many things could ignite her imagination.

She was an amateur who did not quit

and she became a writer just like herself.

Many things could ignite her imagination,

it will get you everywhere.

She became a writer just like herself

and being a writer she was no longer sane.

‘Imagination will get you everywhere’ she recited,

but you aren’t a writer unless you are writing.

Even being no longer sane

to tell your tale you must write it.

You aren’t a writer unless you are writing

or bleeding on a page.

To tell your tale you must write it.

Release your untold story.

 

Charlotte Dodd.

Allerleirauh- Review

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‘Once Upon a Time…

In the kingdom of Tranen, a king makes a promise to his dying wife that he’ll only remarry a woman who possesses her golden hair. In time, the king’s eyes are turned by his daughter. Realizing her father’s intentions, Princess Aurelia tries to trick him by requesting impossible gifts: dresses created by the sun, moon and stars, and a coat made of a thousand furs. But when he is successful, Aurelia sacrifices her privileged life and flees her kingdom, disguised by the cloak and a new name, Allerleirauh.

She enters the safe haven of Saarland der Licht, where the handsome and gentle Prince Klaus takes her under his care. Hoping not to be discovered by her father’s courtiers, Allerleirauh tries to remain hidden under her new identity when she finds unexpected love with Prince Klaus, even though his arranged marriage to the princess of a neighboring kingdom approaches. Risking everything, Allerleirauh must face her troubled past and her fears of the future along her journey to self-acceptance in this triumphant retelling of the classic Grimm Fairy Tale.’

 

 

The first time I came across this Fairy Tale, was in Kate Forsyth’s novel The Wild Girl. Dortchen Wild, the wife of Wilhelm Grimm tells it to him, as A Thousand Furs. I thought it was a tragic and beautiful story and I used reference to it in my poem The Wild Deer.

When I seen Chantal Gadoury post about her novel I was so excited to check it out, I pre-ordered it straight away, although it’s a shame I didn’t get a hard copy as it has the most stunning cover!

It was nice to get a deeper insight into the Fairy Tale characters. As much as I love Fairy Tales, it’s much harder to connect to the characters with the distant voice generally used. Not that Aurelia story is easy to connect with, but it is easy to sympathize with. She isn’t always completely likable, as at times she can be slightly passive, but she is brave enough to bring her request for the dresses and the cloak to her father, and it was her own idea to attempt to burn them.

I generally thought that this was a well thought out retelling. I love the original story, but it’s great to go your own way with a story, there’s no point keeping it the exact same. Something I’d like to accomplish with my own retellings as well.

Unfortunately I did spot a few spelling and grammar issues in it, which was a bit disappointing because it did take me out of the magic of the world. I’ll forgive these mistakes, as we all make some mistakes. I definitely do in my writing.

Overall I would give this book 4 silver Starry dresses!

 

Charlotte.

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August Wrap-up

Ah how appropriate this image was for this month as I finished such an amazing series. Of course that’s how I felt when I started Cinder, now there’s less happiness as it’s over. Would love to get to read them fresh again, but oh well, I’ve read them and now I will recommend them, and I can always reread them 🙂

I read the Following 5 books this month:

1) What Happened to Goodbye By Sarah Dessen

I had been seeing so many people posting about Sarah Dessen books, so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and try one. No idea if this was the best choice or not as I really wasn’t sure where to start with her, she has a lot of books!

I wasn’t disappointed, but I’m also not rushing to read another Sarah Dessen book. That’s not to say I wouldn’t, but I can’t see her making the top of my TBR pile. I think I went through a phase over summer of reading romance books, but I guess once I went out of that and read Stalking Jack the Ripper, I ended the cycle. I imagine there will be more of these phases again, and maybe I’ll even try another Sarah Dessen then.

This book was an easy read, a lot of family drama to keep it interesting. The idea of reinventing yourself every time you move is also interesting. Although I did think it was slightly underplayed, the characters seemed to act like it was a big deal, but I just don’t feel like we seen enough of it. I mean the title ‘What Happened to Goodbye’ was a message a boy from McClean’s past left her, yet we learn nothing about him and see nothing of that life? I think if you are going to introduce this kind of story line you need to commit to it a bit more.

Overall I’d give this book about 3.5 stars.

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2) Fairest By Marissa Meyer

I would probably have finished The Lunar Chronicles a few months ago, but I unfortunately left this book in my uni house, so had to wait until I got back. I didn’t think it was super clear what order to read them in, as I had assumed I should jump straight from Cress to Winter, but then I read on Meyers website that she wrote Fairest first and she would recommend reading it first, so I listened to her, she is all knowing of Lunar Chronicles.

Anyway, I thought it was great. Most sci-fi/fantasy books have a villain, but we don’t always get a deeper insight into them. Of course, I don’t think this book was to make us sympathetic towards Levanna, but there’s always a reason behind the villainy. In spite of the hardships we learn that she faced, I don’t believe anything would have been different. Had she not had unloving parents and an evil sister, she still would have been evil herself. Her decisions have little to do with her disfigurements, this is seen through the scenes of her speaking out at Royal meetings, whereas the actual Queen stays quiet. Levanna truly thinks what she is doing is to help her people, but it only benefits a very small number of her population. She doesn’t care about anything but power and having it. Although it is clear she did really love her husband, she mistreated him (plus had him killed…) and there is therefore no way to sympathise with her.

5 STARS.

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3) Winter By Marissa Meyer 

Winter is very strange. It’s weird because, I think she is my least favourite of the Lunar Chronicles girls, but Snow White is one of my favourite fairy tales, and I’ve even used it for my own retellings. So I’m conflicted. It’s not that I dislike Winter, I just like the other girls better. I suppose the others are just more relatable? Winter is a difficult one, Princess of the Moon, adored by all, going crazy from her lack of use of powers… None of these things relate to me. I say this as if Cinder isn’t a half lunar, half cyborg and Cress didn’t live in a satellite in space. But in spite of those things, both those girls just seem more human than Winter.

Of course my feelings towards Winter, do not reflect my feelings for the book itself. I absolutely adore how she jumps between everyone’s story. It adds so much suspense, because you think something might happen, and then have to wait 3 or 4 chapters for her to return to those characters! 

Another 5 stars!

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4) Stars Above By Marissa Meyer

Such a cute collection of stories! Of course all much more upbeat than the actual books, which was slightly disappointing, but I suppose she couldn’t put too much drama into short stories, since we’ve already seen the end of Levanna.

I also love how she added ‘The Little Android’. As much as I enjoyed getting more insights into the book characters lives, it was nice to have a story of someone else living in this strange world that Meyer created. 

Of course this is another 5 stars! Loved this series so much, 100% recommend.

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5) Allerleirauh By Chantal Gadoury

I first came across the fairy tale ‘Allerleirauh’ when I read ‘The Wild Girl’ by Kate Forsyth. I then went on to read the Grimm’s version, and I even reference it in my own poem ‘The Wild Deer’ (posted under poems here). So when I seen that Gadoury had wrote a version of it I had to check it out!

However she has asked if I could write a review of it, so I will post my thoughts in a full review on here, to follow!

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Charlotte.

July Wrap-up

July wasn’t a massive reading month for me, but I did manage to get through 4 books and start a fifth. Those books are as follows:

1) Melody’s Key By Dallas Coryell

I won’t say too much about this one as my previous post is a full review of it as I was asked by the author to provide a review. This was an interesting read with a beautiful musical theme throughout. Although there were also some problems that I struggled to overlook, but you’ll have to read my full review to find out what they were…

Overall I would give this book 3 stars

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2) Our Chemical Hearts By Krystal Sutherland 

I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t have that high of expectations as it was just something I bought for my kindle to avoid having to carry books around while traveling. I was very pleasantly surprised and would give this book about 4.5 stars (because it wasn’t 100% perfect but pretty close).

I actually found the main character Henry Page very relatable, which isn’t something I usually experience with male protagonists, but his struggles as a writer are similar to my own. I also find his need for Graces attention and his understanding that his feelings are wrong refreshing, as these are not always things presented from male characters.

I would definitely recommend giving this book a read if you are a fan of the not so happy ending romance… Also it might be a slight tear jerker at times if that’s your kind of thing? To me it was like a mix of Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park and Jesse Andrews Me and Earl and the dying Girl. 

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3) Penelope By Rebecca Harrington

So I won’t lie, I did pick up this book because I thought it was the book of the Christina Ricci film. When I read the blurb and realised it was not, I still bought it anyway because it didn’t sound awful and it had cute animated animals on the cover.

After typing it into Goodreads and reading some of the reviews, I was slightly skeptical, because they were mostly extremely poor, like 1 star max. However it was a sunny day in Ireland, I was out catching some rays and in a mood to give it a chance. So I did, and I don’t think I discovered a book that was a 1 star read. It certainly wasn’t a 5 star either, but I’d like to give it more than 1, so I’m going to settle with 2.5 stars.

The general synopsis of the book is that Penelope is going off to college and struggles fitting in a bit. Some of the criticism this book seemed to get is that Penelope was passive and boring, and yes I will confirm that is true. I usually can’t stand a passive protagonist, but I usually read books where more things happen. This book however is very slow paced, nothing major really happens, it really is just about a shy girl who goes to college and struggles to fit in. So in that way I don’t have a problem with Penelope being passive and boring, because this book is about her finding her way and towards the end it really does seem like she is going to. I was almost sad this book ended after just one year of her college experience because I really began to have faith in Penelope, and I sort of think that was the point of this book?

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4) Stalking Jack the Ripper By Kerri Maniscalo

So I really loved this book, and I also watched loads of serial documentaries with my sister over summer so I don’t know if I should be concerned about my new interest or if I should consider becoming a crime writer? We will see what happens…

Audrey Rose is a fierce fierce lady, and I love the thought that women like her existed in Victorian times. She was way ahead of her time and made my inner feminist cheer a little (a lot).

At points I found the book slightly predictable, but I think that is a risk of any crime book, of course we are going to suspect every single character. My main issue was that we found out who the killer was, because I was annoyed  that didn’t happen in real life. However after I thought about it more, I actually think Maniscalo is a genius, because of course in real life the ripper very well could have been found and covered up exactly as she has wrote! My inner ripperologist was also going crazy reading this. So if you are interested in unsolved crime, or crime, or historical fiction at all, read this!

5 stars!

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*I also started reading What Happened to Goodbye By Sarah Dessen, but as I read most of it in August I will include it in my August wrap-up instead.

Charlotte.