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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

It’s been awhile since I’ve read a good chick lit novel so I really enjoyed this one. The last few I’ve picked up have either bored me silly or have been deeper than I was looking for. When I pick up a chick lit book, I expect very little from them just that they make me smile and give me a warm fuzzy feeling at the end. This one did just that.

Kinsella is a good author. She knows how to write likeable characters that aren’t too cliché or run-of-the-mill romantic stereotypes. Her main character of Emma in this novel is your average working twenty-something with a nice enough boyfriend and an okay job that she doesn’t love but doesn’t hate either. The best thing about Emma is her personality. Her inner monologue is hilarious most of the time and I think the way she reacts to certain situations is priceless. She’s a character that any woman would be able to relate to in some way or other.

Jack is a nice character too. I found him a little hard to like at times but I think that was the whole idea. He retained his mystery till nearly the end of the book which keeps the reader guessing as to whether he’s truly a good guy or not.

This is definitely worth a read if you’re looking for something that is quick and fun and doesn’t require huge amounts of brain power. I do not intend to make out that I think the chick lit genre is stupid or for people who aren’t intellectually minded by the way. I really enjoy the chick lit genre and I think that a good chick lit book is worth one hundred Twilights but I do view them as easier reads solely because you don’t have to invest too much thought or time into them. They’re not dealing in life or death situations (hopefully!) so you should be able to put them down feeling a little bit happier and content. This one does just that so enjoy!

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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Book Review

 

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A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The film version of this book was one of my favourite films growing up, it just has such a lovely story and you can’t help but fall in love with Sara, the main character. I thought I had read the book version a good few years back but as this was free on my Ereader I thought I’d give it another go since I haven’t seen the film in years and thought it would be a nice easy read for myself. Turns out I actually don’t think I ever read this book. It ends slightly differently to the film and I don’t ever remember reading the real version of events from the author.

Basically it’s set way back in olden days England (I have no clue of the precise year, I won’t even hazard a guess) where young girls were regularly sent away to boarding schools to become ‘proper’ ladies. Sara was born in India where her father is stationed in the military. He seems to be an extremely well off man who is obviously quite high up in the military and also has a multitude of other lucrative businesses. He sends Sara away to boarding school only as he sees it as something that is essential to all little girls who want or need to become more educated. Sara accepts this readily enough and because she is treated as basically the princess of the school, mainly because of the large checks her father writes to the proprietor, she finds her niche easily enough.

As you read this book you expect to dislike this child as really with her being as spoiled as she is and treated in such an elevated manner compared to all the other children you would expect her to be an obnoxious, arrogant little brat. On the contrary she is quite the opposite. Sara defies all the odds to retain a sense of humbleness and kindness at all times. It doesn’t matter whether she is talking to the principal or the scullery maid, she treats everyone equally.

When the bad news arrives of her father’s death and Miss Minchin, the proprietor, propels her from the ‘princess of the school’ to little more than a slave at everyone’s bidding, you expect Sara to fall apart. Somehow she does the opposite and continues to flourish and enrapture her former fellow students and her new friend Becky, the scullery maid, with stories and tales. Eventually a happy ending arrives in the form of a mysterious Indian business man who moves in next door to the school. He turns out to be a former business partner of Sara’s father who has been searching for Sara to inform her that she is once again an heiress to a gigantic fortune.

It’s like a real life fairytale even though it’s a book. I really felt like I was reading something that genuinely could have happened years ago, the author just brings both the characters and the setting to life in such a way that makes the whole book so realistic to me. It’s a beautiful story excellently told and just like the film version stuck with me as a child I know the written version will stick with me even longer as an adult.

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in Book Review

 

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An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris (Harper Connelly #3)

Okay so I wasn’t overly gripped by previous books in the Harper Connelly series but this one was definitely much more exciting anyway. There are still flaws and it sure isn’t perfect but the plotline itself was much better written and more exciting and fast-paced than its predecessors.

Harper and Tolliver are once again called in to investigate the disappearance of a number of teenage boys in a small town in southern America. The grandmother of one of the boys has called them much to the seeming annoyance and disbelief of much of the rest of the town. However Harper, as always, proves everyone wrong and uncovers the bodies of not just one boy but eight murdered teenagers.

I feel like it’s a good bit different to other books in this series, mainly because the plot is more thriller-like than any before have been. You really want to find out more about the killers and make sure they get the comeuppance they deserve. Put plainly it’s just damn exciting.

Of course we are also dealing with Tolliver and Harper’s increasingly awkward love life situation. In the first book they were brother and sister, we do find out that their not actually related but they call each other bro and sis so what’s the difference right? Wrong. In the second book we saw Harper realise how strong her feelings for Tolliver had gotten and realised that (Euww, by the way) she maybe wanted more than just a brother-sister relationship. In this book it evolves further into an actual romantic relationship, complete with sex scenes…

I will admit freely that I am a lover (excuse the pun) of a good sex scene but this just made me uncomfortable. Yes it was a nicely written love scene, as all of Harris love scenes usually are, but it was still wrong. I just don’t understand why she had this whole brother-sister thing going on from the beginning. Couldn’t she have just made them friends or something? It just doesn’t make for very nice reading. In the back of your mind your constantly thinking, but… no….euwww.

Anyway they end the book in a pretty happy place where their relationship is concerned and head off out of town into the sunset with no regrets so I can only presume this romance will continue in the next book. I only have the fourth and final book to read now in this series and maybe if I somehow make myself forget the incest side of their romance I may enjoy the last instalment as the plotlines are slowly improving and I definitely enjoyed this book more than its predecessors. We’ll see.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Burnt Offerings by Laurell K Hamilton (Anita Blake #7)

So first of all this was my first reading experience on my new Kobo Ereader and man was I impressed. Yes, I have a Kindle already and no, I didn’t sell or exchange it, I still have that aswell. There is no logical reason for owning both, I know, but I will say that I always wanted the Kobo before I ever got the Kindle but they were unavailable in Ireland. Until now that is. So this Anita Blake book was my first reading experience on aforementioned Kobo and it was just such a pleasant reading experience. There a tiny details that differ from Ereader to Ereader but its the small things in life that always matter to me and the Kobo has these small things. Anyway I am not a Kobo saleswoman so let’s get down to the actual review.

This Anita Blake book was a riot. I mean it just did not let up from chapter one all the way through to the end. I find that Hamilton is making her books more and more fast-paced as the series progresses and I, for one, think this only makes them all the more enjoyable.

The whole storyline in this instalment was based around the arrival of some of the members of the Vampire Council, which is basically like the Vampire Government but a whole lot creepier and just as corrupt as any government body in real life are. I love when Hamilton introduces creepy new characters, as she sure does know how to write a very good evil guy, if that makes sense. You are just instantly terrified of these new vampires with all their evil new powers that they willingly share with Anita and her friends. Even though Fernando was the disgusting, vile rapist and the Traveler was the mind controlling freak, it was Yvette that really creeped me out. Her unique ability to rot on demand was so scary I flinched every time she appeared.

Of course we get to see more of Anita and Jean-Claude but don’t hold your breath for any intimate sex scenes between the two of them as there not common in this instalment which I was slightly disappointed about because we finally got to see one in the last book and I presumed they’d only be more frequent in the next book. However you feel like literally there wasn’t actually any time for them to get down and dirty as the book was so fast-paced. It may have actually been silly to throw in a sex scene, just because, I suppose.

But, and it’s a big but, don’t let the lack of Jean-Claude sex put you off as it has been replaced with other types. There is actually a few moments of weird sexiness between Anita and other characters we have met before and new ones we are meeting for the first time. Now, don’t get worried Anita hasn’t turned into a total whorebag yet but she is channeling her old nemesis Raina in certain parts of this book and so she unwillingly finds herself aroused and attracted to people she would have no interest in normally.

Just as an aside, there are particular parts of this book that may be difficult for some people to digest. There is quite a bit of rape happening to different characters. We only actually witness one scene but we meet various survivors who have been raped in the very recent past that Anita is attempting to rescue. These are strong scenes and are quite hard to read at times just because of their content obviously. However as much as rape is obviously a terrible and vile act it does make the evil characters that bit more believable as being totally and horribly evil. It really does help to make you completely hate and despise them.

I think the Anita Blake books are changing slowly from what they were in the beginning to something a little darker and more sinister. Anita is no longer half as innocent or accepting as she was in earlier books. She had become more battle worn, much more trigger-happy and has had somewhat of a sexual awakening as well. I feel that the books are getting better with each instalment I’m reading but I can also see where she may have lost fans along the way. These are not the easy, fun vampire reads they were when the series began but hey, you got to roll with the punches people.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Blood Promise by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy #4)

Thankfully this was pretty enjoyable. I’ve found the Vampire Academy series a little hit and miss so far but this was a definite hit. I fell back in love with all the characters both old and new.

In this instalment we follow Rose to Russia where she is trying to track down Dimitri who we saw being turned into a Strigoi at the end of the last book. Of course when we do eventually find Dimitri, Rose doesn’t find it all that easy to do the deed and end his undead life. We get to see Rose in a slightly different light during her time in captivity with Dimitri. Even though he tries to turn Rose into pretty much a dependent addict who lives her life in a haze of endorphins brought on by him drinking her blood, she struggles desperately to fight through and stick to her original plan. Her strength is pretty admirable especially since we have been rooting for her and Dimitri to get together since book one and now she has that chance. However nobody ever thought it would be in quite this manner.

I’m also glad that we get to see Rose return to St Vladimirs and get her chance to graduate and become a proper guardian whether it will be with Lissa or not. I’m intrigued at what will happen with the whole Dashkov storyline and whether Rose will ever get a happy ending and who exactly will that happy ending be with. We got to see Adrian in a slightly better light in this book so I’m looking forward to seeing where that goes in future instalments.

Overall I’m pretty pleased that this series is starting to improve again as it did start out so promising. Hopefully it will continue in this fashion and over the next two books Rose will remain as a strong female character and not go back to her selfish, immature ways.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box by Mira Grant (Newsflesh Novella)

Ok so when they said short story, they literally meant teeny, tiny, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it story. This is so ridiculously short I don’t see why Mira Grant bothered to release this for SALE (as in you have to pay for it). This is what irritates me about kindle books, you can’t see what you’re paying for. If I had known that this book was literally ten pages long there isn’t a hope in hell I would have paid for it. Yes it was only about two euro but still. It should have been free.

The actual story is ok. I mean you literally have two paragraphs to get to know the characters in so it can only ever be just, ok. It also has nothing to do with the Newsflesh series unless what we’ve been told about the two virus strains combining to make the Kellis-Amberlee zombie virus is all a lie, in which case, I’ve just ruined the next two Newsflesh books for myself.

This story is basically about a group of people playing what they call the Apocalypse Game, where they all come up with ideas on how the Apocalypse could actually happen and then spend the night discussing the probabilities and scenarios that come with that specific Apocalypse. Slightly strange but also weirdly appealing to me! One of the group is absent but has sent a recording of her scenario which they play and eventually realise that what she is saying is actually the truth and is happening right now and the missing group member is the evil instigator.

I just wished there was more to this story. The tiny bit that we got to read was exciting and I would have enjoyed more but oh well….

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush Series #2)

This isn’t the worse young adult book I’ve ever read (I’m looking at you Alyson Noel) but it sure ain’t the best. I mildly enjoyed Hush, Hush so it took me ages to get aroung to reading the follow up in the series as I just wasn’t that excited about it. I was right not to get my hopes up the series doesn’t drastically improve it just stays pretty much humdrum in the excitement stakes. I think I may have liked this slightly more than its predecessor though. But just slightly.

So in this instalment, Patch begins to become even more of an asshole and Nora just doesn’t know what to do about their tumultous relationship. I found many parts of the book quite confusing actually, the whole storyline with the Nephilium and the Archangels wasn’t written great and I was a bit confused as to who in actual fact were the bad guys. I mean Patch was a fallen angel but then he was allowed to become a Guardian Angel once again but yet he’s still hanging around with Rixon, who is a fallen angel but the archangels don’t mind this but yet they do mind if he does something nice like fall in love with the human he’s guarding? Oh and the Nephilim are sometimes bad (Scott) and sometimes good (Scott). I don’t get it.

Other than her confusing writing style in that regard, the plot was quite exciting. There was a lot of action going on and I didn’t feel too bored at any stage which is always a good sign. The character of Vee was also greatly improved on as I found her a terribly self-centered, horrible friend to Nora in the first book whereas in Crescendo I feel like the author did an about-face and made Nora a terrible friend to her. Vee was constantly chaueffering Nora around with little or no thanks and getting her out of scrapes and bouts of depression like any good friend while Nora whinged and whined her way through most of the book.

I also have to spare a moment to discuss the absolute tragedy that is most of the characters names. Vee? Nora? Patch? Who the hell would pick Nora as their lead characters name? Patch sounds like a dogs name and Vee is a letter not a name.

This book wasn’t the worse thing I’ve ever read I suppose but it doesn’t leave me gasping for more. I probably will read Silence eventually but I wouldn’t look out for a review any time soon people.

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2012 in Book Review

 

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