Christmas Inspiration

Latest Book Reviews

  • Dragons! Rebellion! SO Predictable

    I received an ARC from Hachette India in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

    I have been OBSESSED with dragons for as long as I can remember, or, more specifically, from the first time I saw Saphira in Eragon, the movie and then HAD to read the rest of the books despite the fact that I was only eleven, and barely understood anything from them.

    At the beginning of this year, I had two young adult books featuring dragons on my radar, and I knew I NEEDED to read BOTH of them. The first was Before She Ignites by the LOVELY Jodi Meadows which I FELL IN LOVE WITH and I honestly cannot wait for more in her trilogy.

    The second was this book, The Last Namsara, Kristen Ciccarelli’s debut novel which sounded SO GOOD that I was SO EXCITED to read it, and then I did.

    One of my biggest problems with this book was HOW MUCH I STRUGGLED TO CONNECT WITH ANY OF THE CHARACTERS IN THIS 400 PAGE BOOK. And I mean ANY.

    Let’s break this down:

    1. I absolutely love that this book had dragons. DRAGONS, I TELL YOU. Like I said above, I love dragons so much and I love how the book portrayed them.

    2. I love that STORIES themselves had so much power in this book. I live on stories, just like most of my closest friends, and a story that talked about the power of stories and was actually filled to the brim with its own stories and fables from the world and it was really good.

    3. This is where most of the things I liked about The Last Namsara ends. The rest of the book was dry, PREDICTABLE and I honestly didn’t enjoy much of it. The forbidden romance, BORING. The evil ruler, MEH, and so on.

    4. I also struggled to connect with the characters. I just didn’t feel anything for them emotionally, which made it so hard to care about their world, their struggles or their relationships. They all felt like monotonous characters, with only a one track mind.

    5. More than anything, THE PLOT OF THIS BOOK DIDN’T MAKE SENSE. Or maybe, by that time, I had stopped caring enough but there were just SO MANY imprisonments and kidnappings and claims of a new world coming, with JUST THE SAME IDEALS? HOW IS IT A NEW WORLD IF THE SAME DISCRIMINATION AND RULES TAKE PLACE? WHAT? I honestly don’t know what was happening, especially with the whole Regicide rule.

    If you want a rebellion, and a NEW King on the throne, you need to kill the OLD king, RIGHT?


    6. I also felt like this book had a LOT of filler and the important scenes, where Asha, our main character actually realised things that changed her perspective on everything happened so quickly, that even I couldn’t process them.

    All in all, I WISH THIS BOOK HAD BEEN MORE. It was predictable and dry, BUT it had dragons and some excellent world building and I’m on the fence about this series.


    UNPUTDOWNABLE!!! I can't praise "See You In September" by Charity Norman highly enough. I was utterly entranced by it from the very first page and even found myself wanting to continue reading it during the night and I've never done that before. So at three o'clock in the morning, the light was on, tea was made and I was catching up on the final few pages of this superb and suspenseful story.

    'Cassy blew a collective kiss at them. "See you in September"' she said......And then she'd gone.' Only intending it to be a short trip before her best friends wedding, Cassy is enjoying her visit to New Zealand with boyfriend Hamish. However, when she and Hamish decide to call time on their relationship, she decides to accept a lift from a very happy, smiley and welcoming group of strangers. Accepting their invitation to stay on their rural self sufficient farm, Cassy becomes entranced by the peace and beauty of the serene valley and the charismatic charms of the community leader Justin. Cutting all ties from the outside world Cassy commits to the community and becomes one of the 'family'. But is all as it seems and will her family accept her decision?

    I truly felt every emotion Cassy's parents were feeling while they were trying to encourage her to come home, as a parent myself I would be distraught at the thought of one of my sons being recruited into a religious cult and feeling utterly helpless at not being able to reach them. I liked Cassy as a character and I could sympathise as to why she felt the need to seek solace with the group of such welcoming and warm hearted people. From reading the description myself of the beautiful scenery and the idea of being self sufficient with no negativity, just love, it sounds very appealing and I imagine I would have had my head turned too. I particularly liked Cassy's sister Tara, she played the wounded sister perfectly and the author conveyed the many emotions and feelings of all the family members involved perfectly.

    There's obviously been a lot of research carried out regarding religious cults, their recruitment processes and New Zealand in general and I could easily see this book being made into a movie, it would definitely make compelling viewing. The ending was just brilliant and really did have me on the edge of my seat.

    Suspenseful, emotional, intriguing and totally gripping, I'd give this ten stars if I could, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would go so far as to say, it's one of my top ten favourite reads for 2017.

    5 fabulous stars (and then some)

  • Misleading

    'The only pie cookbook you will ever need' providing you don't want a savoury pie. Waste of money, first thing I need to do is buy another pie cookbook !

  • Portrait of a town at flashpoint

    This novel has such a gripping and atmospheric start, I thought I was in for a real treat. As the story began to unfold, I enjoyed the feeling of tension in a small town community on the brink of disaster, a feeling only heightened by return for his old friend, Luke Hadler's funeral of a former inhabitant, who had left under a cloud as a teenager.

    Unlike some reviewers, I also liked the flashbacks which gradually reveal details relating not only to the Hadler family's deaths but also to the death of a young girl in the past. However, I was surprised to find that for at least half of the book, the characters were not drawing me in deeply enough to be overly concerned who had killed the family. Two things kept me reading: the excellent reviews that implied my original expectations might be met - and the portrait of a town in crisis, riddled with tension as everyone's livelihood and even the town's very existence were at stake as a result of the drought.

    In the end, I was rewarded for my patience with an adrenaline-pumping, utterly unputdownable finish - and a much more positive feeling about the book as a whole, since I had been allowed to experience the prejudices, fears and feelings of mutual distrust of a community with plenty to hide.

  • Social history in a beautiful story

    Initially I was a bit concerned that the romantic theme of this novel wouldn't appeal to me particularly, but I had been so enchanted by' The Ballroom Cafe' that I decided to try it.

    While I think I still prefer, Ann O' Loughlin's first book, I really enjoyed the fact that she was looking at another aspect of Ireland's recent past, this time the treatment of the mother's of illegitimate children. I didn't feel this novel gave scope for getting to know any of the characters as well as those in 'The Ballroom Cafe', but I did like the way I could feel the emptiness of Grace's marriage through the richness of her wardrobe; this was a clever device from the author.

    For anyone who has complicated family relationships!

  • Funny, moral boosting and generally badass.

    I loved this book as a child. In a world of helpless Disney Princesses and Barbies with dreams of getting a good outfit and not a Masters degree, as things were in the 90s, this gives little girls the idea they can be the dragon defeating protagonist. And they can look however they like doing it!

  • A poignant and important book!

    I do not think anyone could argue that this book does not have an important story to tell and that it does so in a gripping manner. I appreciated that Woods talked about all sides of the debate surrounding Richard Glossip's conviction and impending execution as I feel that creates stronger evidence for his concluding opinion.

    Personally I have a lot of interest in the abolition of the death penalty in America so I am fairly up to date with any developments in the area therefore some parts of this book were unnecessary for me. However I appreciate them being included as I acknowledge that many people, especially in the UK, will be unaware of these developments and what they truly mean for the American judicial system.

    Before reading this book I had briefly encountered Glossip's story but I gained so much more knowledge about it throughout the book. I think Woods did a great job of weaving Glossip's story with the wider debate about the death penalty which really helped to highlight the glaring flaws in the American judicial system. I also appreciated that Wood's did not let Barry van Treese, the murder victim, be forgotten about throughout the book which commonly happens in death penalty debates.

    Overall I highly recommend to anyone with any level of interest in learning about both sides of the argument surrounding the death penalty. I especially think anyone with an interest in true crime will enjoy this book.

  • Mini knitted charms

    Excellent book very useful for using up odds and ends of wool , ideal for craft stalls. Mini

  • Life Changing!! 100% recommend to buy!!

    Just picked it up, read it in one night, shed tears of joy. Recommend to anyone and everyone!