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Book Review: Dawn to Dark

Dawn to Dark – eBook – Published March 30th 2019 by Lauren Dawes–Vixen Publishing

A huge thanks to the author/publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read this book via Hidden Gems.

This book is a compilation of various authors’ works. They are all based on different fairy-tales, most retold in a more modern setting or some other unique way.

The title suggests that these retellings are darker than the original (or more widely known) tales, but actually this wasn’t always the case. Some of the stories were modernised, but were still romantic or sweet. I was a little disappointed by this, honestly. That said, some were more sinister, though, and those were definitely my favourites!

Throughout all the stories I noticed quite a lot of typos and spelling mistakes. I can’t be sure if these are present in the final publication, but I thought I’d point it out just in case.

As the stories are all by different authors, it’s hard to give an overall rating – but I will try! None of the tales were particularly bad, but none overly wowed me either. I think 3.5 stars is an accurate rating, rounded up to 4.

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Book Review: Little Darlings

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding – eBook, 336 pages Published April 30th 2019 by HarperAvenue

I am a huge fan of thriller, detective and suspense novels. I also adore fantasy elements, which this book incorporated fantastically.

Right from the very beginning, this novel creates a sense of unease and suspense. Even when Lauren meets her twin sons, I felt myself waiting for something to happen.

Throughout the novel are excerpts of folk tales, fairy-tales, rhymes and so on relating to changelings. So naturally, you expect something to happen within this area. It made it so much more exciting, like you are always waiting for something bad to happen.

What I especially liked about this novel was that it really blurred the lines between reality and fantasy or even the supernatural. I don’t want to ruin this for anyone who may read it, but the ending is somewhat open. It leaves space for your own interpretation; though certain things are strongly hinted at. All throughout the novel there is an ongoing debate as to whether the ‘case’ of Lauren Tranter is an actual criminal case, or simply a mental health case. I found this super intriguing.

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

Overall, this was a great book. The ending could be seen as somewhat unfulfilling, but I liked how it left some things to the readers’ own imagination. 4 out of 5 stars!

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

I’m a bit late to this party, but I finally read it! It was released a while ago now, and I’ve been trying to get it finished for some time, but life got in the way. Anyway, here is my review at last.

Throughout a decent chunk of the novel, I felt like there actually was no plot. Not in a bad way, but it was almost just a narration of Eleanor’s life. The writing was so interesting and Eleanor so unique as a character that I liked that, though. And then a plot did start to develop, albeit not a particularly active one. As in, it was mostly about the past, not something that actually happened during the story. Like usual, I won’t say too much about it.

Eleanor is a very strange individual, with absolutely no social skills whatsoever. It’s rather comical at first, her attempts at everyday life quite laughable. But it’s later revealed why she has such difficulty, and I found myself feeling incredibly bad for her. Her story is sad, and although I had guessed at what had happened, her personal revelation was huge. After a failed attempt at ‘fixing’ her life, Eleanor finds herself at rock bottom. But miraculously, she has someone to help her, who cares about her well-being. With his help, Eleanor learns some new coping mechanisms, and begins to rebuild her life.

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

I really liked this book, and the writing was great. Eleanor’s personality was conveyed through the writing perfectly. 4.5 stars.

Book Review: Frankenstein

Frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley – eBook, 126 pages – Published May 17th 2012 (first published March 11th 1818)

This book has been reviewed and studied so many times over the years, so I’ll keep this simple.

It is a classic novel, originally published back in 1818. This does mean that the language is harder to read and understand for some people, and the general culture and ideas are all rather different to what you may be used to. That’s always the biggest problem with reading and appreciating older novels – sometimes we just can’t enjoy the fantastic writing or the unique characters like people would’ve back when it was released.

We are first introduced to Robert Walton on an expedition to the North Pole, writing letters back home. The whole story is, in fact, him recounting what he is told by the man he picks up in his boat – Frankenstein. Frankenstein’s story is a familiar one; he created a monster, who subsequently felt lonely amongst this world of humans. This creature wanted a partner, a mate, but Frankenstein was unwilling to create yet another daemon of this kind. So he took revenge, slowly removing all of the Frankenstein’s loved ones until he no longer held the will to live himself.

It is actually a lot sadder than I ever knew. I didn’t know much, just the generic “Frankenstein’s monster” creation story. But this novel is full of heartache and loss, regret and terror. It’s about a scientist crossing the line of creation, only to suffer drastically for his ambitions.

Yet we are also given the “monster’s” account – his terrifying, lonely entry to the world, his plea for company, even his regret for the lives he took. I never really thought much about the creation himself, didn’t consider his side all that much. But this novel makes you think about him, and even causes you to sympathise with him.

I liked this book, but I feel like it’s one of those books you’re supposed to like. I’m not a huge fan of classic novels, but I can see past the difference in language and lifestyle. I just really appreciated the amount of emotion in this, and also it’s not-so-perfect ending. It isn’t a favourite, and it wasn’t a casual, easy read, but I will give it 3.5 stars.

Check out this edition here.

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Book Review: Nain Rouge: The Crimson Three

pro_readerThank you to The Folkteller for allowing me a copy for review via NetGalley.

I would like to just point out that the copy I received may not be exactly the same as the publicised edition; some grammar or spelling mistakes that I mention may not be an issue for anyone who buys the book.

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Nain Rouge: The Crimson Three (Nain Rouge 1-3) by Josef Bastian – eBook, 390 pages – Published October 1st 2016 by The Folkteller

This includes the three Nain Rouge stories by Josef Bastian. They’re narrated by “The Folkteller” (which is also the name of the publication company), who is some unknown person that is only really acknowledged at the beginning of each book.

Two teenagers, Elly and Tom, find themselves witnessing strange happenings after a school trip to a local art museum. After speaking with Dr Beele, the curator of the institute, they discover that they have run into Lutin – the Red Dwarf. The kids do some research of their own, until they realise that they are both related to the original settlers of the city. These settlers were cursed by Lutin, and that curse was being passed down the generations to Elly and Tom.

Together, the three of them have to figure out a way to defeat the evil entity and protect the city from his influence.

The second and third book follow the same three characters, as well as other teens Lynni, AJ and Vic. Together, the motley crew of six must protect the entire world from the influence of evil once and for all, revealing the bitter truth of humanity to all who will listen. They find assistance in an old Garter of Knights, of which Dr Beele is a member. But even with these extra eleven people, will they be able to defeat the very embodiment of negative energy?

The use of The Folkteller in each book provides a break in the fourth wall, but I don’t see this carried through the rest of the books at all.

There are a couple of issues I found, besides the typos. One is that Bastian’s writing reminds me of a preteen who has a great range of vocabulary and tries too hard to show off, yet still has a young, immature feel. I’m not saying it’s awful at all, but I just feel like he’s trying a bit too hard. He seems to describe everything too much, especially things that should, in my opinion, just be hinted at so the audience gains their own impression. The direct definitions of everything just seem to take away from the meaning and effect. Also, the dialogue doesn’t sound fluid and natural to me. It feels too staged and awkward to sound real.

The plot was a little wishy-washy, but the idea of defeating evil with truth and positivity was kind of sweet. There weren’t any romance lines, which was refreshing to me but may put some others off of reading it. And the ending wasn’t too cliche, but still happy.

Maybe more aimed at younger readers, yet ones who have a decent range of vocabulary still. A nice story but kind of boring, personally. 2.5 stars.

Find the first adventure for sale here.

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Book Review: The Heartless City

The Heartless City by Andrea Berthot - eBook, 241 pages - Published by Curiosity Quills Press (first published August 17th 2015)

The Heartless City by Andrea Berthot – eBook, 241 pages – Published by Curiosity Quills Press (first published August 17th 2015)

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in return of my honest opinion.

The Heartless City is based on the infamous story of Jekyll & Hyde, with a wonderful new plot.

London is infested with Hydes thanks to Dr Henry Jekyll. Jekyll is also responsible for Iris; an American girl with a unique talent.

Buckingham palace is home to the Lord Mayor, as well as his son Cam and the doctor and his own son, Elliott Morrissey. Elliott also has a strange gift, but not one he was born with. After taking a serum intended to remove his empathy, Elliott found that it did quite the opposite. Instead, he became an empath – able to feel the emotions of those around him as if they were his own.

The characters in this old-fashioned story are all very different, including the strong, independent female figure of 15-year-old Philomena Blackwell. She refuses to fit in with the typical norms of her time, which I really liked.

Elliott’s new empathy is also used to confront the negative opinions on homosexuality when he feels his friends love for each other and realises that it is no different to the love he himself would feel for a girl. I absolutely loved this little sub-plot.

The book is written to sound like it was written in the 1900s, when it was set. However, I found the story a little slow at times, and then far too fast toward the end. Everything just kind of happened all at once. That being said, the conclusion was very clever and interesting.

It was definitely an interesting read. I tend to just read more modern novels, so this was a refreshing change. But there are definitely a few things that could be changed, so I’m going to give 3.5 stars to The Heartless City.

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