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  • Deadly triplets

    I really enjoyed this book, I found the idea of triplets born in a cruel world, where only one can be queen, so that once they grow up one girl must kill the other two to be able to rule. I love the dynamic between these girls and how each are different according to their gifts.

    – Mirabella, the elemental.

    – Katharine, the poisoner.

    – Arsinoe, the naturalist.

    At times this book was slow, I did get confused between the secondary characters and I would have liked a bit more world building but I liked that there were so many twists and I was really shocked at times, hoping these events will get explained in the next book. There was a romance in the book that I didn’t like at all and I didn’t understand why it was put in unless all was not as it seemed, which I would prefer.

    For the moment my favourite Queen is Arsinoe. I liked her personality, she is very laid back and not afraid to get her hands dirty and she seems to have had the best upbringing of all of the triplets. The training that Mirabella and Katharine especially was horrible and there are some cruel moments shown when the story moves onto them. I also like how political it is from throughout the book, there is a lot of plotting and sly tactics which made me gasp a few times. I cannot wait for the next one.

    Have you read this series? Which of the queens is your favourite?

  • A war between humans and Gods

    This is a story about how humans have condemned all children to live in an orphanage until they are eighteen, they are then tested by the guards of the orphanage to see if their blood is silver, the blood of  a God. I f they are a God, they are taken away and if they are human, they are let out into society to live out their lives. 

    At the start of this book, we follow Hero who is a half-God and Joshua, who is a full God while they are trying to rescue their 'sister' Kestrel, who is human. Kestrel was taken away by the guards as they thought she had the silver blood. I liked Hero's perspective and found this part really tense and the flashbacks interesting and informative in just the right way but then we moved onto two other perspectives throughout the rest of the book and everything seemed to change.

    The next part followed Raven, a ten year old girl who lives with about five or six other Gods and one human in a camp. As she is not in the first part of the story, I found she annoyed me slightly and I found I didn't care for her character. It kept getting on my nerves how she was being overprotected one minute and then was supposed to lead them the next, it confused me.

    The third perspective is one I won;t name for spoiler reasons but I found this character quite different to how I thought they would be. There was a lot of things happening between the Gods, humans and in the small group that contained Hero and Raven and I found it was all too much for me. I found the perspective of this third person to be a little pointless and I felt that as soon as the next person becomes a main character and we read the scene through them, the actual main characters become secondary people; I felt that it didn't work for me at all. 

    I liked that each God had their own power or demesne as it was called in the book but I found that was the only interesting thing about it. The book showed a few people's demesne but I feel like they could have shown more of them of used their powers more. I also felt that the book was very scattered for me, I didn't connect with any of the characters and only liked Hero who we didn't really see much of towards the end and  I also felt that it wrapped up too quickly and as everyone seemed to be making assumptions about the guards and another character, I didn't know what was going on, for example, one character kept telling everyone they would be safe even though there was no way of knowing they would be and then they were attacked and almost killed multiple times. Overall I am not a fan of this book and found it too confusing unfortunately.

    Have you read this book? If so, what did you think ? Come and talk to me about it in the comments

  • Hilarious and warm

    I thoroughly enjoyed 'I'm a Joke and so are You' due to its truthfulness and the pure sincerity it was written with. I felt intrigued by the ideas and thought processes of Robin Ince, and I thought that the imagery and anecdotes used were relatable and accessible to any reader. There was an extreme lack of pomposity, even when the points or ideas written about were scientific or analytical; this is something that writers of this genre often struggle with. There was a beautiful balance between the writer's own experiences, discussions with other comedians and factual knowledge, which led to a truly interesting read. There was a clear message behind the book, which I found important to today's society, and relevant to many of our lives. The references to comedians who have recently passed were stunningly touching.

  • AMAZING!!!

    This book is absolutely AMAZING! The world building is great with such an interesting magic system, the characters super well developed... I love them all and I love the way each one grows up with every step they take, but Iseult and Aeduan are my faves! They are real, and their story it's beatifully created. And about the writting, it's just perfection.

    100% recomended if you love fantasy, I was hooked from the first page!

  • Hmm

    I'm not sure what to think of this book.

    1950: late summer season on Cape Cod. Michael, a ten-year-old boy, is spending the summer with Richie and his glamorous but troubled mother. Left to their own devices, the boys meet a couple living nearby - the artists Jo and Edward Hopper - and an unlikely friendship is forged.

    This makes it seem like its going to be a sweet and relaxing book but in all honesty it felt kinda mushy to me. The cover wasn't overly appealing to me but that's just a personal opinion.

    I wouldn't reread this book but I am glad I got the chance to read it and enjoy what it had to offer and open my mind to a new kind of book, even if I didn't enjoy it, it has opened my mind to alot.

  • Intense and authentic

    Kill [redacted] took my breath away with its intensity and authenticity. It is hard to believe that it is a debut novel; the prose is confident and accomplished and the plot is cleverly drawn, using several storylines that subtly shift between time frames and carefully come together to create a powerful and poignant ending. The main character, Michael, is complex and compelling and his emotionally charged intellectual musings and personal interactions are dark and disturbing. This book is unlike anything I have read before and it has certainly left a lasting impression on me. I am very much looking forward to the author's next book, although I feel Kill [redacted] is going to be a hard act to follow.

    I won a copy of this book in a Readers First giveaway.

  • From The Inside

    On finishing this unflinching memoir, the first thing I thought was that Leah Remini would go back in a heartbeat if they adhered to L Ron Hubbard's philosophy and that if it wasn't for the blatant corruption shown in the hierarchy that she would never have left. Her pain at leaving seeps off the page but I still left the pages with the feeling that although she now espouses psychoanalysis and therapy as being societally helpful that she is, in some way, only paying lipservice to the ideal and that the indoctrination throughout her life still holds deep within her. Of course, it is now some years since this book was written and she may have made progress on truly detaching herself from the church but when it was written she clearly still felt a deep love for it's teachings and is still striving to achieve that next OT level in her own heart.

    There is always a shock, on some level, when you find out that someone is a scientologist and this book shows exactly why those of us on the outside almost fear these people. I've always looked at people like Tom Cruise and John Travolta and thought to myself "well, they are quite clearly fruit bats in the first place so it doesn't surprise me". When you find out that seemingly sane celebrities are involved - Leah was perhaps my biggest shock - you do wonder what hold they have on people. This book seeks to answer that question and it seems to boil down to they find you at your lowest ebb, tell you they can take the pain and failure from your life and who wouldn't want that?

    It interested me that the scientology (can you see how I refuse to capitalise that) definition of Critical thinking is so far removed from that actual meaning of that phrase and that there are very, very few people with college degrees involved in the church (the non-capitalistion here is Leah's); so noticeable was that that it is even referred to in the later chapters after Leah and her family have dissolved their connections. Just because you don't have a degree doesn't make you stupid, far from it, but it does perhaps make you judge your worth and leave you vulnerable to people who proclaim to be able to give you every success you have ever wanted. Even worse, if you are second generation you have no hope of a proper, formalised education if your parents are devout adherents as this is strongly frowned on - you have a massive work ethic and can study like no-one else but those multitudinous certificates you receive only massage your ego and mean nothing.

    The only thing that irked me was Leah's appraisal of herself. I can understand why she lists only the "bad" things about her personality and life choices as it takes away the church's weapons but the self-hate she feels made me want to hug her. This is what scientology did for her - it destroyed her sense of self worth and trust in her own instincts; fortunately she has the people around her to help replenish that.

  • The Troubles

    I think it's safe to say this one wasn't for me at all. Unfortunately this was my first book by this author and I already have another 2 purchased - if this book is representative of her work then I am rather regretting my rash purchase of 3 books by an untried author. I will be honest, the whole Irish thing swayed me - I have said it before, and will doubtless say it many times - there is something about Irish authors writing about their homeland that gets right to the heart of people and situations and drags me straight in. Maybe that meant I went in to this book with my expectations set way too high, maybe I just didn't like it.

    Really this is the story of 4 separate people who are all thrown together by circumstance and set during The Troubles in early 1980s Northern Ireland. Bessie Lawless/Elizabeth Halstone on the run after her alcoholic husbands demise in a car accident, Gusty Grant the hapless mechanic with hidden proclivities, Father Cassidy moved to a small parish from a big city and Lorcan Strong artist and restorer who returns to his home town. Their stories mesh and twine around each other set against the back drop of radio and newspaper reports on the Hunger Strikes and the back drop of small town nosiness and gossip.

    There is what could be a very good story here, unfortunately I just couldn't enjoy it.

    The insistence of the author to put speech in to a faux Irish dialect really began to grate. Dialects are spoken, not written, and the constant manipulation of language to try and ineffectually replicate speech drive me to distraction. We know what an Irish accent sounds like, we understand the vagaries of vowel sounds and consonant combinations so allow the reader to hear the voice instead of foisting it on them. It is nowhere near as bad as Angela's Ashes which I found completely impenetrable due to the linguistics employed but I really found it annoying.

    The characters themselves are pretty much one or two trick ponies. You get the sense there is something more to them than you are shown but it never gets revealed on the page. Our main character Bessie remains the hard-faced brassy woman throughout and never deviates from this role. She has moments of empathy with her son but they are rarely seen and she treats absolutely everyone with wariness or contempt. This is the one character everything hangs on so you can imagine how little exploration of the others we get.

    I will persevere with the other two books but they have slid a long way down my reading list now.

  • Warp and Weft

    First thing first, lets talk about the cover of this book - proudly proclaiming it's literary plaudits right there to entice the reader in. Now, I have a peculiar reverse snobbery about this kind of thing, especially when it takes up the front cover of a book. As a reader do I really care what critics thought about a book (ironic when you consider how many reviews I, personally, write), as a reader am I really that interested in what awards this or that book have won - particularly awards I have never before heard of. As a reader I care about the story and that is the top and bottom of it.

    Initially I was captivated by the combined stories of Reyna and her Aunt Kiki. Particularly Kiki's history - a non-conformist who followed her wandering feet and was not afraid to look outside the tenets of her own religion and upbringing to embrace other cultures, other belief systems. Contrast this with Reyna who appears to have no belief system and feels singularly adrift in the world with only her young son holding her down.

    This is going to be good, I thought. In truth, Part One of the book is indeed very good. Reyna's story becomes more immersive and you worry for her when Boyd is released from Riker's Island and becomes involved with a cigarette smuggling operation. You can feel her emotions seeping off the page and just as you are turning the pages to find out what happens next and how she is going to 2rise above" you hit Part Two and things start to disintegrate.

    They disintegrate because Part Two is a series of vignettes about disparate people who are linked only to Kiki or Reyna by a chance encounter or a bit player in the story knowing them. It rapidly descends in to a series of medium length tales about people that we know for a handful of pages then never hear from again, we never hear how their stories turn out. In fact, we never really hear how Kiki and Reyna's stories turn despite them being revisited in Part Three.

    I was disappointed in this as I felt that somehow I had been misled by the blurb of the book. What does Darisse's tale have to tell us about the people this book purports to be about? How does it help us to know about Teddy? What illumination does Dieter, Bruno and Steffi's story shed on Kiki? The answer, for this reader, is that they don't. The sad fact is that these are all stories that are stand alone and could have been told with no relation to the people the blurb tells us this story is about it.

    Maybe I missed the point, after all it won all these awards. Maybe I just didn't enjoy it. Maybe I just didn't "get it" and should leave something literary for those who do. Maybe it should have been marketed better.

    The writing itself is actually very, very good and the author's narrative voice swoops and glides through language and creates believable characters that are interesting.


  • The ending of this series is beyond perfect.

    The ending of this series is beyond perfect. Beyond anything that I could have conjured in my mind. It is an absolute piece of artwork. This ending feels so bittersweet to me. There are so many concluding thoughts that are difficult to sort out.

    First and foremost, The Darkling. This beautiful, twisted, power hungry, lonely boy that only ever wanted to belong somewhere. His differences cast him as other and he was bitter towards all those that made him suffer in his darkness alone. The Darkling makes for such a compelling and believable villain because most of what he says and believes is actually true. He did want a safe place for Grisha, somewhere for them to belong. So he made the Second Army. This stems from his own struggles throughout his life being hunted and different. Of course, this isn't enough for the Darkling. I hate to say it, but Bhagra pretty much poisoned his mind with ideals of power and strength. Sure, she wanted her son to have strength and to not be victimized as she had as a child. But I think that the message was lost in translation to the Darkling. What is infinite? The universe and the greed of men. Power became the Darkling's ultimate goal. And then Alina popped into his life and he became all but obsessed with the idea of her with him. He had finally found someone with power akin to his own. Someone that he could live the countless years with and not be alone in his power any longer. I think that his feelings for Alina stem from that young boy who only ever wanted someone to belong with. To not be alone. To be with someone that was an equal. But by this point, the Darkling's heart has already been corrupted by greed and power so his love for Alina became twisted and turned to the point of obsession. This is my second time reading this book and I still have convoluted feelings towards the Darkling. I love him, I hate him, I feel sorry for him, and I mourn him. I understand where he was coming from and why he did the things he did while still not forgiving him for all the people that he killed and the horrific things that he did.

    The Darkling: "You might make me a better man."

    Alina: "You might make me a monster."

    Now, the plot. Leigh Bardugo can wield a plot like a weapon and slay you with details shrouded in mystery. The turn of events that takes place in this book is absolutely brilliant.

    I'm not going to lie and say that I am not a little broken inside after finishing this book. But I suppose that the best books do take a little piece of your heart in the end. I am ever so grateful to Leigh Bardugo for sharing this exquisite and irresistible world with us. Bardugo has become a Saint in her own right with her esteemed stories that have definitely become holy to me. I recommend this book series to everyone! I would shout this from the heavens if I could. I will forever be a lifelong fan of Leigh Bardugo's writing and I shall spread its gospel wherever I shall go.