0

Book Review – Newes From The Dead

newesfromthedead

Title: Newes From The Dead

Author: Mary Hooper

Genre: Historical Fiction

Length: 302

Rating: 4 Star (3.5)

BuyFrom_Grey_160x30

Description/Synopsis:

WRONGED. HANGED. ALIVE? (AND TRUE!)

Anne can’t move a muscle, can’t open her eyes, can’t scream. She lies immobile in the darkness, unsure if she’d dead, terrified she’s buried alive, haunted by her final memory—of being hanged. A maidservant falsely accused of infanticide in 1650 England and sent to the scaffold, Anne Green is trapped with her racing thoughts, her burning need to revisit the events—and the man—that led her to the gallows.

Meanwhile, a shy 18-year-old medical student attends his first dissection and notices something strange as the doctors prepare their tools . . . Did her eyelids just flutter? Could this corpse be alive?

Beautifully written, impossible to put down, and meticulously researched, Newes from the Dead is based on the true story of the real Anne Green, a servant who survived a hanging to awaken on the dissection table. Newes from the Dead concludes with scans of the original 1651 document that recounts this chilling medical phenomenon.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

The things that got me into this story was the fact that is was supposedly at least based off of a true story. I mean, what could be more exciting to read about? The idea of a woman ‘waking up’ after being hanged but not being able to move and listening to people discussing who was going to cut what sections of her. That is scary stuff!

I really liked the way the story was written/told. I am pretty sure I have mentioned it before, but I love stories that have a lot of backstory that just adds to whatever is happening in the present. This story is mostly backstory and I loved it. We get little snippets of Anne on the table trying in vain to make someone notice that she is still alive and that they should not be chopping her up. But what made her go to the noose to begin with? This is what the story mostly deals with.

However, I did feel there was a lack of suspense to the story. Not at any point did I really feel like Anne was going to be cut up, but in the past sections I did feel suspenseful because I knew where she was heading, and with every step she made she was drawing closer and closer to that fate. I think one thing that kept the doctor sections from being suspenseful was the fact they just dragged a little. If half of these sections were removed from the book, you would not have even noticed. You could feel the way the author was trying to by time until the big reveal at the end.

I think the author did a very good job and portraying the time period in which the story takes place. Peoples actions, the way they treated each other and just general ways they acted was very true to how things would have gone down back in the day.

I rather enjoyed the characters, but Anne and Robert were the only two that I found to have much depth to them. These two developed throughout the book while others didn’t. I did however find Anne to be deeply stupid, and at the end she seemed to have done a one-eighty on her personality and thought of herself as a queen. Both of these things I can understand though.

Here comes the tricky part for me. I don’t really know if I would recommend this book to anyone. I liked it, but its not really the sort of book I would hand to people to read. I suppose if you have heard about Anne Green and her story interests you, then this might be something you should pick up. It has its issues, but Mary did try really hard to portray the story in the most accurate way.

 

Till Next Time…

Advertisements
0

Book Review – Outlander

Outlander

Title: Outlander or Cross Stitch [Outlander 1]

Author: Diana Gabaldon

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Romance

Length: 662

Rating: 4 Star

Series Review: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9

BuyFrom_Grey_160x30

Description/Synopsis:

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

This was a really enjoyable and entertaining read.

I found the plot of this book to be really interesting and entertaining. The idea of a ‘modern’ woman being transported back in time to a culture that did not like hers and then working out how to survive and how exactly how much she can or cannot to do to help the people she meets there with the things she knows is really interesting. As someone who has interest/beliefs in pagan culture I loved the way that she came to being in the past was through a connection with a stone circle. The book also taught me a bit about the time and the culture and made me fall more in love. It was a place I wanted to visit before, but it has been moved up the list!

The characters I both liked a didn’t like. It took me awhile to really become in invested in what was going on with this. I think this is because while the writing was great at weaving the story and once you got into it, to start off with I found it a bit stiff and it didn’t pull me in. After this time though I found myself freaking out about a number of interactions between characters. Claire I liked but I also found her greatly annoying at times. She didn’t know when to keep her mouth shut or when to wait for something and thusly got herself or others into loads of trouble that would never have happened if she was more sensible.

Though Frank was barely in the book I really desperately wanted her to go back to him for about half the book. What really surprised me was my attitude to Jamie, it was very like, hate, love. With the three stages of his and Claire’s relationship my feelings for him changed. In stage one I liked him and thought he was cute and friendly, but I still wanted her with Frank. The second part I actually really did not like him at all and just wanted her to beat him up. Then in the last part I was so happy that she chose him. I don’t know when the transition of emotions happened between stages 2 and 3, but when Claire was there deciding if she wanted Jamie or Frank I was freaking out that she might still want Frank. Serious panic.

One downfall I felt the book had was I think it was a lot longer than it really had to be. I will say this might be because I was listening to an audio book and I zone out easier this way, but I think there was a lot that didn’t need to be and the book was rather slow paced. There were a few full on moments like the ending, but they were very spread out and you had to get a through a lot before you got to them.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction because overall I did really enjoy this book.

 

Till Next Time…

0

Book Review – The Snow Child

the-snow-child

Title: The Snow Child

Author: Eowyn Ivey

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Fairytale Retelling

Length: 386

Rating: 4.5 Star rounded up to 5

BuyFrom_Grey_160x30

Description/Synopsis:

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Normally I would round a rating up or down if it lands on a .5, however, I can’t do that this time. I loved this book so much I can’t give it a 4, but the ending prevents me from just giving it a 5.

But gosh this story was just so beautiful, I think it was by far the most beautiful one I have read this year.

No warm blood in me doth glow, water in my veins doth flow.

Yet I’ll laugh and sing and play, by frosty night and frosty day.

Little daughter of the snow.

But whenever I do know, that you love me little,

Then I shall melt away again, back into the sky I’ll go.

Little daughter of the snow.

We are presented with an old sad couple that seem to be in a never ending cycle of sadness and despair after giving birth to a still born baby, neither of them knowing how to get nor really trying to get out. In a rare moment of happiness they go outside in the snow in the new home in Alaska and decide to build themselves a little girl out of snow. The next morning their creation is destroyed and there are foot prints only leading away from where the snow child once stood, and a small figure appearing and disappearing at the edge of the trees wearing a blue coat and red scarf. Then the little wild, spirited girl Faina enters their lives.

I still don’t even know where to start with this review. The entire time we are reading we are just thinking and thinking about how Faina came to be. Is she a child born from snow as is told in Mabel’s storybook? Or is she a poor orphan child that has grown up in the wilderness as is suggest by the events we encounter with Jack? And if she isn’t a mystical being, how does that explain that ending?

To believe, perhaps you had to cease looking for explanations and instead hold the little thing in your hands as long as you were able before it slipped like water between your fingers.

One structural thing, that was at least in my ebook copy of the story, that I found really interesting was that when anyone was talking to Faina or ever really just about her, their words don’t have any quotation marks, but when they are having conversations about or to anyone else while Faina wasn’t involved, quotation marks were used.

The introduction of Faina in their lives, not only gives them something to love and be joyous about, but it also teaches them that even when she isn’t around there are still things to love and still people that care. I feel she taught them that you can’t run from your problems at that there is still things to be happy and hopeful about.

We are allowed to do that, are we not Mabel? To invent our own endings and choose joy over sorrow?

Through her they find their love for each other, and their love for this new land that they live in. I have to say that I felt that love too. I just wanted to dive into the pages and play in the snow and run with foxes and be as mysterious and fleeting as snowflakes on the wind. Faina was an entity that was just out of reach and something we never really completely felt part of. She was just too mystical.

I think the friends they make in Alaska are the sweetest people ever. When they help them with the farm despite the protests and basically just move into their house, my heart melted for our old couple. I really like the relationship that was developed between Jack and Mabel and Garret. It took me awhile to see where that section of the story was going but by the time it happened I had accepted and saw there was no other way for it to go. I was freaking out about it the whole time though. With the state of Faina ever being in question many of the events had me panicking.

Then the ending. Oh the ending. I will not go into detail about because I don’t want to wreck a book I want everyone to read, but the ending though was one we thought could of been coming, it didn’t leave me feeling complete. Something was wrong with it and it kind of shattered this beautiful sad and mystical feeling that I had been enjoying throughout the book.

So yes, read this book. I think many people should at least give it ago. If you are looking for something action packed and fast paced, I think you should stay away. Far away. But if you are looking for something more subtle and flowing, much like the flow of a creek or the fall of light snow, then you need to pick this up. Just beware the ending.

 

Till Next Time…

0

Book Review – Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa

Image

Title: Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa

Author: Benjamin Constable

Genre: Mystery

Length: 352

Rating: 3 Star

Description/Synopsis:

What writer Benjamin Constable needs is a real-life adventure wilder than his rampant imagination. And who better to shake up his comfortable Englishman-in-Paris routine than the enigmatic Tomomi “Butterfly” Ishikawa, who has just sent a cryptic suicide note?

She’s planted a slew of clues—in the pages of her journal, on the hard drive of her computer, tucked away in public places, under flowerpots, and behind statues. Heartbroken, confused, and accompanied by an imaginary cat, Ben embarks upon a scavenger hunt leading to charming and unexpected spaces, from the hidden alleys of Paris to the cobblestone streets of New York City.

But Butterfly’s posthumous messages are surprisingly well informed for the words of a dead person, and they’re full of confessions of a past darkened by insanity, betrayal, and murder. The treasures Ben is unearthing are installments of a gruesome memoir. Now he must draw a clear line between the real and surreal if he is to save himself, Butterfly, and what remains of their crazy and amazing friendship.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

In terms of structure there were a lot of issues. I have found this to be the case with a lot of NetGalley books and because I like to believe that authors pay much more attention to what they are doing even in a first draft that these structural stuff ups are intentional. I don’t know if its to spot something if people publish leaks or something or to discourage that kind of thing it is greatly annoying. Its very hard to just focus on the story when different people speaking isn’t broken up into different sections or when just one person speaking starts a new line multiple times after a couple of words. It also went from bold and italics for apparently no reason all the time. Very very distracting. I know that leaks would be an issue, but when there is so much wrong with the structure of the book its really hard just to focus on the story and rate it justly.

Now for the story. This book confused the hell out of me. It started off not confusing at all but the more you read of it the more confused you get and you just question everyone’s sanity and yours because you got sucked into their madness. You start off with a friend telling another in a letter that they are committing suicide and that they have set up a treasure hunt for them to follow and receive things if they work out the clues. This starts off both cute and fun, though a little weird because you know that both these people are a little weird, buts that’s it. A weird fun little treasure hunt. One joke that happened though at was funny got carried out too long. A piece of paper gets referred as a shit of paper at one point and from then on that’s what they are always referred to as. The joke got old very quickly. I don’t know anyone who would have found it funny for as long as it was played out.

The first sign of weirdness that happens is that our main character has a much large than the normal house cat. But he’s imaginary. He can’t talk or anything, even though he’s an imaginary cat and could make him talk if he wished. He talks to the cat all the time though, and it follows him. I personally love this cat and his relationship. The cat is awesome. Its the only relationship I love in this whole book though. Everyone is is bloody nuts with everyone else.

The treasure hunt doesn’t really get weird until it leads him to do a different country. Its there that we seriously start to leave the land of cute and fun. Our dead friend keeps telling him stories about how she has killed a bunch of people and our main character just kinda goes along with it. Then we find out she isn’t dead and when our main character finally hunts her down she takes him captive and constantly threatens to kill him with a gun. Still our guy just goes along with it. In the end she kills herself and lets him go, and he still just goes along with it. In the end he says goodbye and makes a comment about it all being very strange. Well no hell. It was all very strange. Very very strange. What kind of a person would just roll with everything that happened? Like I said, I question everyones including mines sanity.

This book was simply really confusing and a bit mind boggling. It was an experience though, and I would recommend it to people for the experience. It was a bit hard to put a genre on it for this reason.

4

Book Review – Maelyn

Image

Title: Maelyn (Book one of The Nine Princessess Novellas)

Author: Anite Valle

Genre: Teen Mythology Fiction

Length: 140

Rating: 2 Star

Description/Synopsis:

Months later, the king returned home and presented his astonished queen with not one, but nine baby girls. “One from each kingdom I visited,” said the king. “They are orphans.” The queen wept joyously at the row of cradles, each bearing a sleeping infant. After bestowing a kiss on each child’s forehead she said, “Now they are princesses.”

Book 1: Maelyn was not born a princess. The king found her as a child, the lone survivor of a poor village slaughtered by the Red Fever. Suddenly she became a princess of Runa Realm, the first of nine orphans adopted by the king.

By her eighteenth year, Maelyn rules over Runa and a family of nine sisters. But some call the princesses frauds and imposters, a handful of urchins raised into royalty. Even Uncle Jarrod, the High King of Grunwold, seems determined to prove that Maelyn no longer deserves to be a princess. With a family losing faith in her, and a kingdom growing dangerously hostile, even Maelyn begins to wonder if she is truly a real princess. And if her riches will turn to rags once again….

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I was disappointed with this book. Don’t know why but I was expecting it to far better than it was.

The story itself was interesting, but there wasn’t enough of it in this one section of the series to really get into it. The back story that is mentioned is really quite interesting and I wish I had more of it, but I don’t think that its going to happen. It seems to be very focussed on the future. I plan on getting the rest in the series at some point so I can know if the story becomes more full and complete. The things that let it down in this section where that things were sped through (though this might be because of the whole novella thing), and the writing style was very stale and rigid.

The characters were very bland on the scale of things, minor difference between the very few you actually got to meet (there are 9 princesses but you only get a glimpse of about 4 princesses personalities) and I never got to feel any attachment to any of them. Sure at some points I did feel anger/annoyance/ frustration to some of them, but these feelings are easier to get from a reader than feelings of love, which is what we want. I know I don’t read to feel angry.

I know thats not much of a review but there really wasnt much of a book to review. I feel like this ‘series’ would have been better off in a single novel with more depth, and each princess getting their own chapter.

If you wish to take a look at it yourself at some point, it is free on amazon kindle store right now so I suggest you go grab it while its cheapest.

0

Book Review – Harmless

Image

Title: Harmless

Author: Julienne van Loon

Genre: Adult Fiction

Length: 137

Rating: 4 Star

Description/Synopsis:

Full of suspense, Harmless, is the tightly woven story of eight year old Amanda, whose father is in prison, and Rattuwat, a Thai man burying his daughter in a strange land.
Abandoning their broken-down car on the way to the prison’s visiting hour, Amanda and Rattuwat venture into the trackless scrub of Australia’s outer suburbs. As the day heats up, the sense of menace intensifies and each of them enters the no-man’s-land between safety and peril.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

This was a very simple but very appealing read.

I would not by any means call this book ‘full of suspense,’ and found this very line very misleading. Because of that line I was expecting a very action packed story, or one that would have my mind constantly searching for answers. Instead what I got was very mellow and rather easy to follow story that spans the length of one day, shifting between three family members, dipping into back story continuously. So much so that the back stories make up most of the novella. I didn’t mind at all by the end though that my expectations where not met.

The story jumped around a rather big plot point that was made obvious but not clearly stated for the entire story, but you are fading in and out so much you hardly have time to care. I would describe the changes like slow moving waves coming in and out. Rather pleasant.

The characters are well developed and you feel for them and the things that they have gone through, for the things that still have to go through. All of their lives are twisted by some grim form,  but you see them from a comfortable distance.

I pretty much felt like I was floating in the ocean on my back watching the sky, content, no matter where the story ends up I’m going to be content with where it ends, and I was. It didn’t really end, but it ended enough. I wouldn’t mind picking up another novella for an update on their lives.

Really the only ‘negative’ feeling I had was when I found one of the pages to the book was damaged before it came to me. Poor hurt book.

0

Book Review: That Was Then This Is now

 

Image

Title: That Was Then This is Now

Author: S.E. Hinton

Genre: Fiction, Young Adult

Length: 154

Rating: 5 Star

Description/Synopsis:

Does growing up have to mean growing apart?

Since childhood, Bryon and Mark have been as close as brothers. Now things are changing. Bryon’s growing up, spending a lot of time with girls, and thinking seriously about who he wants to be. Mark still just lives for the thrill of the moment. The two are growing apart – until Bryon makes a shocking discovery about Mark. Then Bryon faces a terrible decision – one that will change both of their lives forever.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS 

I thought this would be a good book to start off with because I read it years ago and wished to read it again.

This book is heartbreaking. 

Want to know the reason why it took me years to read it again? Because I cried my eyes out when I finished it the first time, that it has taken me this long to be able to read it again. The heartbreak was still there when I reached the end, but it was a memory of the original heartbreak. I didn’t cry the second time around, but I was close to it.

The characters are are very well developed making you feel everything they do, which I dont always find is possible with such short books, but it achieved completely here. It very raw in its emotions, and uncensored in censored kinda way. The lifestyle is one that is brutally harsh and often unpleasant to think about, but the author doesnt stoop to using lots of swear words though there are plenty of occasions when they are walked around. The author leaves the mentions ‘foul’ speak open to interpretation, like she does with just the right amount of the settings and the rest of book. Hinton gives you enough to help form the image she wants, but not enough to wreck the experience of using some of your own imagination. 

Though by the title name, and the general style that we found from Hinton’s first book The Outsiders (which I will review once I tape my copy back together) we can kind of guess that the story isn’t going to end happily, but what happens is still unexpected and enough to make one cry. 

A small touch I really enjoyed about this book is that made me enjoy it just that little bit more, the setting is the same from The Outsiders and you get to see a glimpse of the old main character Ponyboy Curtis once again, but he doesnt take over the story. Because of this I recommend that you read the first one before this even though they aren’t related, you might just get that something else out of it.

The only bad note I have to say about this book is that there were just a couple of phrases/wording issues that I had to go back and read a couple of times because they didnt flow very. 

So in conclusion READ THIS BOOK!! Its a great short read that will alter your soul.