Thursday, 31 May 2018

The Unity Game by Leonora Meriel

Hello readers,

I was given a copy of this ebook for free in exchange for a honest review

There might be some spoilers in this one I’m sorry

The Unity Game had my interest from the get go just from reading the synopsis, its slightly different from my usual type of book but excitement took over. This book is a cross between science fiction, paranormal, and mystery. Three stories develop, intertwine and reflect each other through observant and brilliantly penned narratives that left me in awe of the writing style. I found that this is the kind of book that reaches out into the reader mind wandering and keeps the cogs turning even after I finished the book. 

I can honestly say I haven’t read such a complicated, that I found as interesting.

The book focuses on three very different main characters: a human called David, an alien creature named Noce-bouk, and a ghost called Alisdair.  Every character is beautifully and masterfully connected in this book in such meaningful ways that in the end, I find myself wanting to read it over and over again.

The book is gritty in places and a quick warning: the book is rather graphic at times if you are reading the book with a chance of someone glancing over your shoulder, consider this a warning.

The three stories are unique but intertwining examination of the aspects of love; sexual, spiritual, or family. The stories focus on: A New York banker’s quest for money and success, an Alien named Noœ-bouk nearing the end of his cellular existence, and a recently deceased British lawyer discovering the richness of his afterlife.

I am honestly in awe at how each of these story lines can offer the reader different plots and styles. For example, the bankers’ tale reads like a thriller, Noœ-bouk’s journey is classic sci-fi, and the late lawyers’ story is a moralistic tale of great hope.

In all, I would highly recommend The Unity Game to anyone wanting some sci-fi with a bit more of a deeper meaning.

L x

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

YALC books part two

Hello Readers,

Continuing on the previous Wednesdays theme I’m going to show you three more of the books I’m taking to YALC this year in hope of getting to meet the author and hopefully the chance to get them signed. The three books today are three I picked up because of YALC last year The exact opposite of okay by Laura Steven, Clean by Juno Dawson and Things a bright girl can do by Sally Nicholls. Another repeat from last week most of the book are on my to read or reread pile so I can review them on here, so instead of a stupidly long post I’m going to upload a picture and little synopsis.

The exact opposite of okay by Laura Steven
One of the books that caught my eye last year, I was unlucky with this one and didn’t manage to get a copy but the wonderful Bibliojordan manged to get an ARC (and kept reminding me I had to read it), I did get a chance to speak to Laura though so it wasn’t too bad.

Izzy never expected to be eighteen and internationally reviled. But when explicit photos involving her, a politician's son and a garden bench are published online, the trolls set out to take her apart.
Armed with best friend Ajita and a metric ton of nachos, she tries to laugh it off - but as the daily slut-shaming intensifies, she soon learns the way the world treats teenage girls is not okay. It's the Exact Opposite of Okay. Bitingly funny and shockingly relevant, The Exact Opposite of Okay is a bold, brave and necessary read.

Clean by Juno Dawson
I managed get an extract from Juno at YALC and I was hooked. The beautiful matte white with shiny white writing looked amazing and made got me excited to see how the final book would come out. I was also stupidly lucky to get what I think is an advanced copy from BKMRK (thanks again) which keeps the main matte white and white theme from the sample but the detailing is in rose gold. Now I’m having the eternal debate of owning all three different covers.

When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she's hit rock bottom. She's wrong. Rock bottom is when she's forced into an exclusive rehab facility.
From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady. As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all.
It's a dirty business getting clean.
Addiction and redemption, love and despair. Clean will have you hooked from the first page and with a stunning rose gold foil cover, Clean will also look amazing on your bookshelf.

Things a bright girl can do by Sally Nicholls
There is so much I loved about this book just from seeing the book publicised at YALC, before I even had the chance to read the synopsis. There is honestly so much excellent content put into this story Suffragettes, the social history of Edwardian society and the impact of WWI

Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.
Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women's freedom.
May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who's grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit.
Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place. But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe.

Part One
  • The Hazelwood by Melissa Albert 
  • The Fandom by Anna Day 
  • The Surface Breaks by Louise O'Neill 

  • The Sin Eaters Daughter by Melinda Salisbury 
  • Unboxed by Non Pratt 
  • Truth or Dare by Non Pratt 
  • Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

Monday, 28 May 2018

Sons of Darkness by Todd Hanley

Hello Readers, 

This one isn't as spoiler free as I would like I'm afraid

Thank you, LibraryThing for the chance to read this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review.

From the start I found this book to be brilliantly addictive. They story is fast paced from the beginning to end and an all-round brilliant story. It’s got guns, motorcycles and demons trying to claw their way out of hell. What more can you want?  

The Catholic Church has found an ancient doorway known as The Bore that once opened, will allow The Devil to break free from his prison and takeover our world. The Bore has been re-discovered in the depths of the Mexican Jungle, revealing the legendary weak point in the barrier that divides Hell and Earth.
The Catholic Church wants to seal the Bore forever to stop the darkness of hell seeping through to our world. The Devil’s human worshippers have their own merciless plan and will do anything to free The Devil from his prison.  
A shadowy organisation known simply as the Order (see scary name) is willing and ready to help the Devil break free and serve him. Standing in his way is another ancient faction, the Templar's and an ex-soldier. Tom the Ex-solider turned mercenary bodyguard already down on his luck is part of a firm unknowingly hired by the Church to protect the site but are unaware of the reality of the situation and the danger they are in.  

The Devil allows four ancient creatures, who call themselves the Sons of darkness, to break out of Hell and punish the man who stopped his escape from jail. For standing in his way the Devil decrees that Tom needs to be punished, Tom suddenly finds himself plunged into a deadly race against Hell’s undead assassins. He must come to terms with the fact that the fate of the world hangs in the balance.  

If you’re looking for a good story, Sons of Darkness will do the trick. The characters are well written and the author has done a brilliant job bringing this story to life. I can't wait too see if there will be any follow up books. I would recommend this book if you’re looking to try a different genre to what you would normally read. 

L x 

Friday, 25 May 2018

Refuge (The Minder's War Book 1) by Gerhard Gehrke

Hello Readers,

Spoiler free till the bottom section

Thank you LibraryThing and Gerhard Gehrke for this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review.

This book was so harder to put down. The beginning was good, but once the plot gets rolling the book hooks you in! A brilliantly created sci-fi dystopia with dashes of horror, three genres which works in perfect synchronisation. I loved the strong, yet flawed characters, as they made hard decisions that left you wondering if you could have made a better choice (I love the suspension of disbelief in this book).

The story is well written, with good characterisation and description. The horror element begins to merge with the normal so the tensions build as the book progresses giving you an uneasy feeling of dread. Gerhard Gehrke's pace, dialogue, and descriptive elements are strong elements of this book. The alien creatures are there just enough to touch  points with the readers so they can learn the aliens wants and needs.

The book is told from two different perspectives: One of the Hive minded defects and second  a teenager approaching the end of her juvenile hall lockup.

Refuge is thoroughly engaging, exciting, and readable.  This book can be read as a standalone, but I am looking forward to reading book two, The Glass Heretic.

Spoiler Alert

There are a lot of books, movies, and TV shows that talk about hive minds and how they attack and populate a planet. Gehrke redefines the typical over done clichéd routes, instead he explores the possibility of what would happens if the hive mind breaks down on its way to its goal?

Enough of the hive minded creatures are still functioning well together that the destruction of Earth has begun. The book is told from two different perspectives: One of the Hive minded defects as he slowly regaining his freedom and free will and the second a teenager approaching the end of her juvenile hall lockup. She's not only dealing with the end of the world and but the clashing of the different personalities of  her fellow detainees that makes them fight amongst themselves. I especially loved how the two separate stories came together to merge into one. It just felt right and was done wonderfully.

L x 

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

YALC books part one

Hello Readers,

I thought for the next couple of Wednesdays I could show you the books I’m taking to YALC this year in hope of getting  them signed. The only book I’m currently missing is Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher but that’s not out till the end of the week. I should also mention nargles have kidnapped my dust jacket for The surface breaks by Louise O’Neill.  Two of the books are proofs I got last year at YALC (The Hazelwood by Melissa Albert and The Fandom by Anna Day).

Most of the book are on my to read or reread pile so I can review them on here, so instead of a stupidly long post I’m just going to upload a picture and little synopsis.

The three books I have chosen today are The Hazelwood, The Fandom and The Surface Breaks.

The Hazelwood by Melissa Albert   
This was one of the proof I saw and instantly fell in love with, just from seeing it on the penguin stall. Obviously, I missed the first give away but I managed to grab one (if my memory is correct I think it was the second to last giveaway). This book is amazing and I still have so much love for it.

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice's life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice's grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away--by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: "Stay away from the Hazel Wood."

The Fandom by Anna Day
There was a lot of talk about The fandom at YALC last year so I couldn't wait to read it.  I'm also pretty sure I read this in one go on the journey back from YALC last year (3-hour car rides are fun)

Violet's in her element - cosplay at the ready, she can't wait tofeel part of her favourite fandom: The Gallow's Dance, a mega-story and movie franchise. But at Comic Con, a freak accident transports Violet and her friends into the The Gallows Dance for real - and in the first five minutes, they've caused the death of the heroine. It's up to Violet to take her place and play out the plot the way it was written. But stories have a life of their own ...

The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill
I honestly love the idea behind this book, a feminist retelling of the little mermaid what’s not to love. I found both the cover a dust jacket beautiful (Sorry nargles).

Deep beneath the sea, off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy. She longs to join his carefree world, but how much will she have to sacrifice? What will it take for the little mermaid to find her voice? The Little Mermaid is re-imagined through a searing feminist lens, featuring the stunning, scalpel-sharp writing and world building that has won Louise her legions of devoted fans.

      Part Two
·         The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
·         Clean by Juno Dawson
·         Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls

Part Three
·         The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
·         Unboxed by Non Pratt
·         Truth or Dare by Non Pratt
·         Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

L x                  

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Bookish Post

Hello Readers,
Today you get a bonus post because I’m too excited to wait till tomorrow

I entered an Instagram competition for a book and I won wooooo!  The book I won is called The Dark Decent of Elizabeth Frankenstein and I have honestly been excited to read it after it popped up on my one of my fellow bloggers NetGalley request list and she told me all about it so thanks to bibliojordan for telling me about this book she can be found at A Heart Full of Stories

Synopsis from Penguin Random House
The Frankenstein legend as you’ve never seen it before, as told by New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White! You will not be able to put down this stunning and dark reimagining of the Mary Shelley classic told from the point of view of Elizabeth, Victor Frankenstein’s adopted sister, timed for the 200th anniversary.

Publish date: Around 25th September 2018

I would like to say thank you to Stephanie Perkins my cute little package, for the ARC of The Dark Decent of Elizabeth Frankenstein and Kiersten White for signing it.


Monday, 21 May 2018

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

Hello Readers, 

I'm sorry there are spoilers in the review but in my defence the book has been out since 2009 and the film came out in 2016 

Pride and Prejudice has all ways been high up on my favourite books (not quiet at the Austenland level but you know what  mean), I've also read and enjoyed most of Jane Austen's work but I do like this retelling.

I thought the book was very well written. It takes the words of Jane Austen but instead of having the military aspect from the original and the battles with the French, it adds in something much more fun. A zombie invasion threat. Austen's writing style is evolved by adding humour along with zombies, ninjas and kick-ass moves in this one-off story of survival, death and it still finds time to fit the romance in. Instead of all the girls being the female icons of the time period who can sing, dance, paint and not much else, suddenly they have been trained in martial arts to fight off the zombie invasion.

The characters don’t differ much for the original text: Elizabeth is proud, Darcy mysterious, Jane very guarded and Mr. Bingley of course ignorant of everything going on.  Obviously, Mr. Wickham is there too but I actually hate him more in this version and I didn’t think that was possible. With the same relationships between the characters being pursued, but with a strange and wonderful twist and the add bonus of fight zombies and protecting others.  In my opinion I prefer Elizabeth and Darcy in this version as they are established to be such a formidable pair in the face of zombie adversity.

The thought of seeing the characters you know and have grown to love fighting zombies is brilliant if you ask me, and after the wonderfully descriptive work done by Seth Grahame-Smith along with the illustrations it takes very little to imagine the books world.

Stop spoilers

In the world of the book London has been separated from the rest of England by a giant moat and wall. Outside of the was wall remains the larger guarded areas in which individual, estates are sufficiently protected to repel the undead invaders.
There’s a new and interesting twist to the zombies. Upon first turning, they stay pretty much the same people they were in life, but each time the zombies eat brains it makes them degrade further and further into feral monsters. Unless, you can get them to eat animal brains instead, creating a zombie that is semi-functional.
I have also seen the film adaptation which is slightly different from the book, however the film itself is a delight and prompted me to reread the book series again so worth a watch. I would recommend both the film and the book to anyone. It is also my second favourite adaption of Pride and Prejudice (My first is the Bollywood retelling Bride and Prejudice directed by Gurinder Chadha)

L x

Saturday, 19 May 2018

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Hello Readers,
Possible Spoilers 

I read this book for the first time two years ago after meeting Dawn at YALC, side note Dawn is amazing and really nice.
The Dead House takes its readers on a journey through one girls’ descent into madness. Filled with unexpected plot twists and turns, this chilling thriller mixes mental illness and the supernatural in such a wonderful way that leave readers guessing until the end.  Speaking about mental illness in such an inventive way that allows the reader to get a sense of what Dissociative Identity Disorder might be like.

This book allows for narratives to be explored, in the scariest way possible and it makes this book so addictive and clever. I found the book emotional and incredibly moving as the book is a skilfully woven web. Explored in retrospect through diary entries, video transcripts, police interview transcripts, e-mails and instant messages, newspaper clippings and other documents relating to one horrible event known as the Johnson Incident. Through each of the different mediums of storytelling, the tale of the incident begins to emerge one brutal step at a time without giving too much away. This book gets seriously spooky at times but remains thrilling, fast-paced, dark and surprisingly morbid.  Dawn this book made me get spooked by mirrors for a couple of days after which let’s be honest is a brilliant compliment to Dawns ability to weave such a beautifully believable creepy story.

We learn that our main character Kaitlyn is imprisoned in the same body as her ‘sister’ Carly. During the day Carly is awake and in control, while at night Kaitlyn takes control. What starts out as an intriguing and gripping insight into the lives of these two girls quickly becomes something much more sinister. I was instantly drawn in by Kaitlyn’s early diary entries, it showed their daily struggle to cope with their situation, battling doctors who are insistent that Kaitlyn doesn’t exist and she was just an alter-ego of Carly. Kaitlyn is entirely a child of the night, she is visceral and intriguing, violently alive, independent and it is clear she really cares for her sister, Carly. While Carly is seen entirely through the eyes of others, love and care really seeped through the pages and it was such a nice change from some of the bickering sister relationships you read.

As you delve deeper into the book you can see that there was no way out for them; as the psychosis set in deeper and deeper, the book itself changed into something darker. A world that makes you look around and be glad to be sitting where you are.

This might be a little off topic but I love the way the book is designed. I adore the cover and the pages look worn and the fonts and style change throughout the book which all beautifully comes together to create a wonderful self-enclosed world. I honestly can’t recommend this book enough its worth a read at least once.

L x

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Torn Between Two Worlds: Science and Religion by Shawn Murphy

Hello readers,

I would like to thank Booktasters NonFiction and Shawn Murphy for giving me a copy of this ebook for free in exchange for a honest review.

This short book caught my interest because if I’m honest it’s an age-old argument in my family, also getting a fresh insight into a different point of view on science and religion is worth a look. I grew up around religion although I wasn't battered over the head with it and was allowed to make my own choices as i got older.

I found it a relatively easy book to read and found it pretty well researched and referenced. There wasn’t really anything that I personally found offensive or too different from what I believe or had an understanding of.  Murphy mentions he was hesitant to write this book I understand as to why as there is a very fine balance that needs to be found when writing about either religion or science, but I would urge you to read this, it is a window into something more than what we are taught, also what harm can be done looking into a different insight to your own you can either learn something or discover how much you believe in your own beliefs. 

Murphy states that you must study the physical sciences to understand the natural laws and explains through the book the fundamental differences between the scientist & the philosopher, while in his opinion a philosopher needs to be a scientist first.

This is the first book in the Torn Between Two Worlds trilogy, Murphy argues that science and religion must come together to answer three important questions that we still don’t solidly have an answer too….
    Where did we come from?
    Why are we here?
    Where are we going?

Murphy believes that these questions are unanswerable by the religions of the world alone and that science can help answer these questions. Murphy's research allows him to take from the works of Socrates, Plato and others, to come to the conclusion that these two seemingly irreconcilable fields don't make sense unless they are understood together. He also outlines the historical influences that have led to the separation of these once collaborative forces.

I honestly think the book is worth a read and people should not be discouraged from reading this book and the other two books in the trilogy. The information presented is interesting and brings up topics that we don’t tend to think about as critically as we should. I am going to repeat myself because it is worth mentioning again what harm can be done looking into a different insight to your own you can either learn something or discover how much you believe in your own beliefs. 

L x

Monday, 14 May 2018

The Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcross

Hello Readers,

Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read this ebook (published 03 May 2018) for free in exchange for an honest review.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: There are some troubling themes. Suicide is attempted and talked about more than once. Abuse is also mentioned.

Leife Shallcross has created a beautifully enchanting world that is easy to imagine and jumps off the page. I adore the backstory and the story itself is wonderfully detailed and complex and I was unable to put my copy down I read this book in two sessions (only split because I prepared tea). Soft spoilers there were a couple of scenes I almost sprung a leak a little welled up but no leak.

I’m relatively familiar with most of the popular telling’s and re-tellings of Beauty and the Beast. The story itself is uplifting there are plenty of smiles, laughs and jokes amongst the gloom which in my opinion is well balanced throughout the book. I found the language used is lovely but could be a little slow in some ways. Not in a bad dragging way, just not rushed by taking the time to tell the story. 

Set in 17th century France, The Beast’s Heart takes its main inspiration from the original 1756 story La Belle et la Bête. Sorry there is a little history lesson coming La Belle et la Bête is a traditional fairy tale  written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in an anthology of stories in 1740.

There is no mention of dancing or talking furniture or narcissistic noblemen demanding the damsels hand in marriage here (looking at you Mr Disney), just a lonely heartbroken creature trying to preserve his humanity in a decaying castle that’s half prison, half his former home. Before we get all judgy judgy and shame the beast let’s take a minute to imagine spending all those years roaming the forest losing your humanity whilst never knowing how the curse could be broken. I'm sure you would become downhearted and ill-tempered too.

 The story starts with us seeing how the beast has been alone with nothing but his own company for far too long. It is made very clear the Beast has forgotten his former, human self. After living in the forest that surrounds his long-abandoned home and intimidates the other creatures that live there. His recurring vivid dreams torment him, often confusing his perception of what is real and what he has dreamt. 

When we see Isabeau’s (Beauty) father stumble upon his home, we see that all he really wants is companionship after centuries of isolation. Obviously, the usual trick occurs where the Beast gets Isabeau to come to the castle, it is refreshing too have this told from the beast’s perspective and that he would never have acted on any of the threats he made.  There is even genuine remorse in the way he acts at times, furthermore ensuring that we truly see that the beast has retained some of his humanity despite his doubts.

Its good read for someone looking for another insight into ‘The tale as old as time’ I enjoyed the book but I like most retellings as I usually have a soft spot for the originals (yes that does include really bad Dracula remakes). As mentioned above I read the book in a day and enjoyed it, in my opinion worth the read.

L x

Friday, 11 May 2018

Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire by M. R. C. Kasasian

Hello Readers,

Thank you NetGalley and Heads of Zeus for the chance to read this ebook (due to be published 12 July 2018) for free in exchange for an honest review.

Spoiler Free review as always, I will add more when the book is released

This is the first book by Martin Kasasian that I have read and I loved every second of it and I am looking into his other books. My inner feminist (maybe not so inner) was screaming for joy at how Betty tackles the gender prejudices of the time in this book. I loved the plot as its well-conceived and imaginative there are some comedic gems in amongst it all.

Betty Church, is very much a woman in a man's world in the early 1900’s and she’s a female police officer. She is more than capable to look after herself, despite those who surround her. The author manages to add humour to the gender and social norms of the time. Betty Church is a wonderful creation and I'd like to read more about her.

Betty is reluctant to leave the police after losing part of her arm, leaving her with the only option which is to transfer from the Met to The Suffolk town of Sackwater where she grew up and thought she had left behind for good.  After a visit to her Godmother (the famous investigator March Middleton), she is promoted to Inspector.

Everything is different for Betty in Sackwater, she’s the first woman police officer in the area, the times passes slower as the crimes are slightly lighter shade (reminds me a little of Hot Fuzz). Once Betty gets a case at the train station to investigate a missing bench. When Betty gets to the station there is no bench, instead there is a body (It’s in the synopsis not a spoiler). A smartly dressed man, stone-cold dead, with two distinctive puncture wounds in his throat. Sending the locals into a gossip frenzy about the Suffolk Vampire.

L x

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

On Wednesday we wear black

Hello Readers,

Today I thought we would give book reviewing a break and I would talk some more about my cosplay evolution of Wednesday Addams so to speak 

So, my Wednesday cosplay has evolved over the years.
The first year it was just a basic black peter pan dress with a white collar, a headless doll and no makeup or wig.

The second year I saw Addams Family the musical and took some inspiration from Carrie Hope Fletcher's costume. This year I used the dress from the year before but added a slightly poofy skirt on top and hid the connection behind a waist belt. This year I went all out so to speak with both makeup and a wig.

As you can see this year I had some fun with some Disney Princesses remember guys “Why be a Disney princess when its much more fun to be Wednesday Addams”

So this year I am going the same direction costume wise but I got possessed by Wednesday and ordered a coffin bag and this year I will wear flat shoes.

L x

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Ravenscry by Ed McDonald

Hello Readers,

Spoiler Free Review but I do reference the first book in the series Blackwing
I think this is one of the hardest spoiler free reviews I have done so it will be a very limited review till late June early July to give others a chance before I reveal all the details.

Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review.

Ed McDonald kept everything I loved from the first book in the series Blackwing, the setting, the slightly morally corrupt but highly likeable characters (Tnota, Nenn and Dantry), the way he manages to keep the reader guessing with wonderfully constructed and unpredictable events is a definite testament to his writing style.  I love that both books kept me guessing till the very end.

The book is set in a brilliantly creepy world that is unique and not a place I want to live as I seem to be stupidly unlucky and most things seem to want to kill you. That, along with the unpredictability of the story make for an exciting read. The Misery is a very apt name and it certainly lives up to it, with creatures wanting to kill you, the enemy wanting to kill you and the Misery itself wanting to kill you. In other words, everything is against you. Without going into details there are some moments that were genuinely heart breaking. The story reads well and at a good pace. Although for me, I found Ravencry a little more personal in places compared to Blacking but that might be due to already being invested in the characters.

Revencry picks up about fourish years after the events at the end of Blackwing. Ryhalt Galharrow's still doing what he does best (partying hard and giving into his vices). The story opens with Ryhalt meeting with an old acquaintance who wishes to trade some information and things go south. Whilst all of this is happening, mysterious sightings of a mystical apparition are increasing and to make matters worse, a new cult has emerged around these encounters (clearly no conection).

That is all I am saying I don't trust myself to say anymore without spoilers all I can say is read both books! I loved them and they are worth a read.

L x

Thursday, 3 May 2018

The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood

Hello Readers,

I’ve tried to do a spoiler free review but there may be some spoilers that have snuck through but there are definitely spoilers in the bottom part of the post comparing the tv series to the book.

This review is a back date of The Handmaids Tale as I read the book last year after watching the tv show (I know it’s the wrong way around). In the world of this book The United States of America’s political and social structure has crumbled, the president was murdered and an all-powerful, Christian fundamentalist army has imposed a terrifying new order on its citizens and the Republic of Gilead was formed and the country’s borders have been shut ever since.

The story is not only a terrifying vision of male-controlled oppression, but it is also a story of rebellion and the reliance of the human spirit. The women of this books worlds are the main target of the regime’s brutality. Their rights and personal freedoms have been abolished and they are no longer allowed to work, to own assets or to be in relationships not sanctioned by the state.

 To add insult to injury woman are now categorised according to marital status and reproductive ability. The categorises are Wives, married to Commanders, the founders and shapers of the new regime; Econowives, the spouses of lower ranking men; Marthas, too old to have children and now domestic slaves; Aunts, the regime’s propagandists and enforcers; or Handmaids, the fertile and are forced to bear children for officials.

The book tells the story of Offred (“Of-Fred”), she is a Handmaid, the property of the Commander who she is given too. Offred is careful not to give much away and we know very little else about her. Offred is on her second placement as a Handmaid, she knows that if this assignment fails she has one more go before she is declared invalid and shipped off to the Colonies to clean up toxic waste along with the other women that Gilead considers useless or dangerous.

Offred’s days are spent running errands in stripped back to the basic shops where the goods are labelled with pictures (because women should not read), or sitting quietly in a bedroom with shatterproof windows.

 On “ceremony” nights, she mechanically copulates with the Commander while lying in the lap of his infertile wife, Serena Joy. The ritual, is borrowed from the biblical story that emphasises that Offred is nothing more than a womb.

As the novel concludes, with Offred being taken away by the secret police, the Eyes of God, known informally as "the Eyes". Before she is put in the large black van Offred is unsure if leaving will result in her escape or her capture. She enters the van with her future uncertain and That’s it.

The TV series 
Now if you don’t wish to have any spoilers 

The plot of the story has been slightly adjusted and padded out a little, but i think they have captured the essence of the book in its brutal reality. Certainly worth a watch and season two has started airing in america (I'll have to wait a little longer) and is a perfect excuse to binge watch season one.

The show has updated itself to reflect the current times. One of the main big changes is that Offred reveals her name to be June and is no longer shown as being a passive bystander. When the government starts to take away the rights of women June and her friends take to the streets to participate in women’s marches.

Offred’s backstory is also more extensive than it is in the book. There are flashback scenes that give the audience insight into how Gilead came to be: The slut-shaming of June and Moira on their run hints at the growth of sexism across the country and has no in-book equivalent.

They also change round a crucial scene in more horrific manner in my opinion in the book June’s baby is briefly abducted in a grocery store at 11 months old. While in the tv series A woman steals June’s baby not long after she been born from the maternity ward demonstrates the real consequences of the current fertility crisis.

I’ll add this bit here under the spoiler warning.  I found the ending stupidly annoying it doesn’t provide a definitive answer about its Offred’s fate (I like endings what can I say).  Which set my mind racing like was is she okay or is this it for her. So, I am actually really excited to see season two to see where Offred’s story will go. 

L x