So many books, such little time.

So many books, such little time.

Hey there, my name is Chelsea and I love books. I review books in my spare time, as well as talk to other fellow book lovers and even the occasionally author. I have come to BookLikes in hope of joining this community and making some friends, as unfortunately my partner has no interest in books and it would be great to be able to talk to more people... That sounded incredibly sad... 

Review
4 Stars
The Birth Of Venus – Sarah Dunant
The Birth of Venus - Sarah Dunant

‘When he finally speaks he has stopped shaking, but the effort has cost him. ‘I paint in God’s service,’ he says, with the air of a novitiate delivering a litany he has been taught but not fully understood. ‘And it is forbidden for me to talk with women.’

 

Alessandra Cecci is not quite fifteen when her father, a prosperous cloth merchant, brings a young painter back from northern Europe to decorate the walls of the family chapel in their Florentine palazzo. Alessandra is intoxicated by the painter’s abilities. As Medici Florence is threatened by the hellfire of the monk Savonarola, the painter and his dazzling art exert an ever more powerful and erotic pull.

 

The reason I have read this book is because I was looking to join a book club, so I went to my local Waterstones, as I didn’t realise that they themselves have a book club and I had just over a week before the next meeting and the book of discussion was The Birth Of Venus. So I quickly grabbed it - obviously paid for it – and emailed the lady who was in charge of the book club to advise that I will be coming along and I would have read the book ready for the meeting.... I never received an email back from her so I didn’t go in the end... plus I didn’t read it by the date of the meeting but that it is besides the point. So I am hurt, vulnerable and... bookclubless... but I still read it anyway. So that is why this book has gotten into my possession, as this isn’t normally a book that I would immediately pick up to read when looking for something new to read.

 

To be honest, I thought this would be really boring and factual... but I was wrong – I don’t like saying that at all. This book was a little bit difficult to get into to begin with, but once a couple of chapters had been read that was it; it had me hooked. I have even been reading it in between phone calls at work, that’s how obsessed I have been.

 

Alessandra is a very relatable character; anyone will be able to find some sort of aspect of her personality that they could see in themselves. This makes her adventures and troubles more than real. Maybe even a little bit too real, especially towards the end.

 

Durant has created this novel to enfold right before your very eyes; tagging us along to Alessandra’s adventures in the world of Renaissance Florence.

Review
2 Stars
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
American Gods - Neil Gaiman

‘The building stank of piss and sour beer. Shadow climbed into a taxi and told the driver to take him to the airport. He told him that there was an extra five dollars if he could do it in silence. They made it in twenty minutes and the driver never said a word.’

 

Is nothing sacred?

 

Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash (not that mysterious at all). Numbly, he makes his way back home. In the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war (a VERY distant war), a former god and the king of America.

 

Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.

 

Scary (nah), gripping (meh) and deeply unsettling, American Gods takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You’ll be surprised by what – and who – it finds there...

 

Not really entirely sure what just happened... but I’ve just finished this book... and it feels... good?

 

I sort of just stumbled through this book. The events in the book seem to be on random and out of the blue which made it difficult to follow and believe.

 

This book had so much promise and I heard so many good things but unfortunately I don’t see the appeal. I’ll probably give the new TV series a go and see whether that helps at all.

Review
5 Stars
Feel Me Fall – James Morris
Feel Me Fall - Christopher Fowler;Gary McMahon;Adam L.G. Nevill;Pat Cadigan;Paul Meloy;Ramsay Campbell;John L. Probert;Nicholas Royle;Simon Bestwick;Al Ewing;Conrad Williams;Mark Morris;Stephen Volk;Michael Marshall Smith;James Lovegrove;Natasha Rhodes;Joel Lane

‘I pictured her sticking her finger down her throat and bringing it back up later.

Derek asked, “Anything to drink with that?”

“Just water.”

No, I didn’t spit in her food. That’s gross. But I did wipe her bun on the bottom of my shoe.’

 

Secrets and survival in the Amazon 

Emily Duran is the sole survivor of a plane crash that left her and her teenage friends stranded and alone in the jungles of the Amazon. Lost and losing hope, they struggle against the elements, and each other. With their familiar pecking order no longer in place, a new order emerges, filled with power struggles, betrayals, secrets and lies. Emily must explain why she's the last left alive.

But can she carry the burden of the past?

Discover the gripping new adventure novel that explores who we are when no one is watching, and how far we'll go in order to survive.

 

I was contacted by James Morris himself to read Feel Me Fall in exchange for an honest review so here we go.

 

Feel Me Fall is a fantastic novel. From the very first page I was hooked and whenever I had a free moment, i.e. waiting for the bus, walking home, I had my Kindle out reading it (whilst I was walking, which I’m really chuffed with achieving). Emily is a relatable character, give or take a few obstacles that she goes through *cough* messing around with her teacher *cough*. So what she goes through and does you can’t help but feel sorry for her and understand the actions she takes.

 

*SPOILER ALERT*

 

Just a little bit after halfway, Derek (the possible bad guy, depending on your train of thought) begins to kill off all the males in the group by making it look like accidents and then even when a native stumbles across them and starts to lead them to civilisation Derek then kills him as well and destroys the only slither of hope the girls had for survival. This is very similar to what happens in the wild when a male feels threatened by another potential mate and attacks them to reinstate is position as the leader.

 

Overall, everyone needs to read this book. Like right now.

Review
2 Stars
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre - Stevie Davies, Charlotte Brontë

‘The next day commenced as before, getting up and dressing by rushlight; but this morning we were obliged to dispense with the ceremony of washing: the water in the pitchers was frozen. A change had taken place in the weather the preceding evening, and a keen north-east wind, whistling through the crevices of our bedroom windows all night long, had made us shiver in our beds, and turned the contents of the ewers to ice.’

 

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. How she takes up the post of governess at Thornfield Hall, meets and loves Mr Rochester and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage are elements in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than that traditionally accorded to her sex in Victorian society.

 

There were three times in Jane Eyre where I was literally nodding off.

  1. Somewhere near the beginning, I can’t rightly remember what happened as it was so boring I went into autopilot and nothing made it to my brain.
  2. When Mr Rochester confesses his love for Jane Eyre and asks her to marry him.
  3. Finally, when her cousin, St John asked her to marry him.

Everyone wants to marry Jane Eyre!

 

The conversations lasted many pages, far too many pages in fact, that I forgot what they were talking about. Especially towards the end, I was within forty pages of finishing and I was literally so close to giving up and closing the book, but I pursued on.

 

One part that really stood out for me was the scene between Jane and Bertha a couple of nights before Jane’s wedding. The scene was haunting and is scarred into my brain. If you’ve read this or will read this, you will understand what I’m going on about.

 

Overall, I’m glad I’ve read Jane Eyre, that’s another classic crossed off my list, but as I’ve said previously I was falling asleep and wished it to be over.

Review
1 Stars
Wuthering Heights - Emilly Brontë
Wuthering Heights - Lucasta Miller, Pauline Nestor, Emily Brontë

‘Seven days glided away, every one marking its course by the henceforth rapid alteration of Edgar Linton’s state. The havoc that months had previously wrought, was now emulated by the inroads of hours.

Catherine, we would fain have deluded, yet, but her own quick spirit refused to delude her. It divined, in secret, and brooded on the dreadful probability, gradually ripening into certainty.’

 

In a house haunted by memories, the past is everywhere … As darkness falls, a man caught in a snowstorm is forced to shelter at the strange, grim house Wuthering Heights. It is a place he will never forget. There he will come to learn the story of Cathy: how she was forced to choose between her well-meaning husband and the dangerous man she had loved since she was young. How her choice led to betrayal and terrible revenge - and continues to torment those in the present. How love can transgress authority, convention, even death. And how desire can kill.  

 

From the above description, it makes the story seem so much more interesting, gripping and dramatic but unfortunately I did not find this to be true. For the majority of the time, my mind would start to wonder and then before I knew it I had read a chapter without actually being consciously aware that I had been reading, therefore no information had made it past my skull and into my brain. So not much of the story has stayed in my mind, even just thinking about it now, I’m struggling to remember what the heck had happened. It wasn’t the language or the way it was written that I struggled with, it was their content just wasn’t interesting to me and the characters were also difficult to relate to. Young Catherine was annoying, disobedient and only thought about Linton like there was nothing else in the world and then Linton was one minute nice then a complete bastard the next.

 

There was one point that I really liked about Wuthering Height and that was finishing the book.

 

After reading the introductions and notes at the beginning of the book, I have come to respect Emily Brontë, even the whole Brontë family, with all the terrible things that happened to them. So I have nothing against the family and will continue to read their books. Who knows? Maybe in a few years I might read Wuthering Heights again and fully appreciate it.

Review
5 Stars
The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

‘On prehistoric Earth he had lived in a cave, not a nice cave, a lousy cave, but... there was no but. It had been a totally lousy cave and he had hated it. But he had lived in it for five years which made it home of some kind, and a person likes to keep track of homes. Arthur Dent was such a person and so he went to Exeter to buy a computer.’

 

The thirty-fifth anniversary omnibus edition of 'the greatest sci-fi novel of all time.' First a legendary radio series, then a bestselling book, and most recently a blockbuster movie, the immensely successful Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy needs no introduction. Reissued in time for the first novel's thirty-fifth anniversary, this hardback omnibus edition include all five parts of the trilogy, incorporating for the first time, Mostly Harmless, along with a guide to the guide and essential notes on how to leave the planet, and a range of exclusive extra material. This single hardcover edition is indispensable for any would-be galactic traveller and for old and new fans of Douglas Adams, Doctor Who and bestselling science fiction books.

 

For quite a few years now, I have been putting this book on hold due to its size, volume and not having enough spare time, but I am so glad that I put everything on hold in my life to experience the story of Arthur Dent and his great adventures (even if they were unwanted and unplanned).  Even the introductions at the beginning of the book were really interesting. So I would recommend giving them a read as well.

 

Not much to say really, or shall I say that there is too much to say expect:

 

I LOVED HITCH HIKER’S GUIDE!!

 

It was a hilarious read. Every page had some sort of funny moment which had me giggling away and it normally takes quite a lot to make me laugh especially through the pages of a book.

 

The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is definitely one of these novels that you HAVE to read before you die. So do everyone out there... You need to read this book!

Review
2 Stars
Animal Lover - Raymond Friel
Animal Lover - Raymond Friel

Tonight. Tonight is all that matters. Every thing else, all this, neon lights and the smell of disinfectant and dead chickens, don't let it get to you, Danny. Baked beans, not a problem. On the shelf they go. Super Danny. By day, a quiet supermarket shelf stacker, but by night... well. It didn't quite work out the way I'd planned . My first attempt at animal liberation was a disaster. It was all going so well until... well, I guess you'll find out. But after that night, everything started to spiral out of control. Everyone at work was out to get me for something or other. The woman I loved was becoming more extreme by the day. My ratio of animals saved versus animals killed was changing rapidly. And not in the direction I want it to. Super Danny? Not quite. Not even close. It treble or nothing time, and next week, the circus is coming to town.

 

Well this was an interesting read. Danny is a twenty-two year old activists who wants to stop animal cruelty. At the beginning, we jump straight into the action where him and a few of his friends break into a lab to release the test subject puppies. Long story short it doesn't go to plan and they end up being chased onto the roof with no way down without being caught. So they decide to chuck all the dogs off the roof... I'll just let that sink in... Afterwards they are scarred for life.

 

Shona, one of Danny's friends, goes a bit crazy and shaves her hair off and constantly wears a balaclava in public. She befriends a guy who is really passionate about stopping animal cruelty so him and group of other people try to stop a hunt but the fox still ends up getting killed and Danny basically becomes friends with a skull. Then for the grand finale they head to circus.

Animal Lover is a rather easy and short book to read, you could say short and sweet but I wouldn't say it was sweet at all.

Review
1 Stars
Fallen Guardin - Jesse Roman
Fallen Guardin - Jesse Roman

'Olivia's wings, which were spread out in their full beauty, wrapped around Reese's back and kept him close to her so that he wouldn't drift away.'

 

She saved the only man she ever loved.

 

Now she has to pay.

 

Reese Featherway is a troubled young man who recently lost his loving girlfriend Olivia six months prior. Deep in his depression and guilt over her death, he one might decides to end it all. He jumps off his balcony to kill himself so he can be with her again in death. But as he is falling, he is rescued by his guardian angel, Olivia, who is now in severe danger for saving his life and risks eternal damnation.

 

In an enchanting and heartbreaking story, two passionate souls ripped apart by death are now brought back together to possibly make the ultimate sacrifice. It's a sacrifice for their love against the evil that wishes to tear them apart.

 

I got given this book through the Goodreads Giveaway back in the summer which is also signed by Jesse. I cannot remember whether this was an advanced copy and it doesn't mention it at the front of the book but there were many grammar mistakes. The there they're and their was used incorrectly as well as here and hear. There was also a problem with the continuity, on page 73 Reese, the protagonist is referred to as Ryan?!? Another continuity error, we are told that you can only see your own guardian angel and in a scene when Archer shows up, Reese can't see or hear so Olivia has to say what Archer is saying but then a few pages later when Olivia is kidnapped, he's having a full on conversation with Archer when there's no one else there to translate for him.

 

The narrative had the potential to be fantastic but the way it was conveyed was pretty terrible.

Review
1 Stars
Me Before You (Me Before You #1) - Jojo Moyes
Me Before You - Jojo Moyes

'I stared at my calendar, the pen stilled in my hand. This little patch of laminated paper suddenly bore a whole heap of responsibility. I had a hundred and seventeen days in which to convince Will Traynor that he had a reason to live.'

 

Lou Clark knows a lot of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in the Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now, and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

 

I don't normally read Chick Lit or Romance novels and Me Before You reminded me at every turn of the page why I don't read them. Me Before You was very easy to figure out what was going to happen and it was very predictable which ruined any emotional response that could of happened. The characters were rather boring so I didn't sympathise with them at all even in the events of the last few chapters (which I guessed would happen right from the beginning) I felt nothing.

 

I expected a lot more from Me Before You and I heard that Moyes is an excellent author, but in this case I didn't see it.

Review
4 Stars
Library Of Souls (Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, #3) - Ransom Riggs
Library of Souls - Ransom Riggs

'Tongue, don't fail me now.
I raised a hand to hide my mouth and said, in guttural Hollow:
Stop.
The hollow stopped.
Sit, I said.
It sat.'

 

The adventure that begun with Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and continued with Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls. As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he's diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.

 

They'll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil's Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It's a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all. Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience.

 

This trilogy is probably the first trilogy books that I have in a long time where I thoroughly enjoyed it all the way through. The only negative point I have to make is, in the first book you're told that peculiars cannot leave their loops for long periods of time, so more than a day in present time, age will catch up to them. But in this book, the peculiar children spend a lot more than a day in present time. Even though they do say that their hair starts to go grey.

Review
5 Stars
Hollow City (Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, #2) - Ransom Riggs
Hollow City - Ransom Riggs

'How long could I stand Florida, now that I'd had a taste of this peculiar life? I was not nearly as ordinary as I used to be - or if it was true that I'd never been ordinary, now I knew it. I had changed. And that, at least, gave me some hope: that even under ordinary circumstances, I still might find a way to live an extraordinary life.'

 

We left Jacob and the rest of the peculiar children when they fled their little island Cairnholm by boat after fighting off an army of monsters. Miss Peregrine, their head mistress can turn into a bird but she has been badly hurt and cannot change back to her human form; only another ymbryne can save her. The children head to the capital, London in hope of finding another ymbryne to bring Miss Peregrine back.

 

It is still on the same level of excellence as the first novel, it keeps you guessing and intrigued which is amazing. Heads up... Major plot twist that I did not see coming at all.

Review
5 Stars
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

'Millard was kneeling in the water, dazed, blood running down his torso. For the first time I could see the true shape of his body, painted red.

 

Emma took him by the arm. "Millard! Are you all right? Say something!"

 

"I must apologise," he said. "It seems I've gone and gotten myself shot."

 

Jacob Portman grew up listening to his Grandpa Abe's stories about rather extraordinary children with extraordinary gifts, so much so that he believed them... Up until probably his early teenage years where his parents convinced Jacob that his Grandpa was losing his marbles. Now Jacob is in his late teenage years and working in a Smart-Aid which his family owns. An anxious phone call from Grandpa sees Jacob going round to check on him a bit later to find that the house has been torn apart, all his belongings scattered all over the floor, but the house empty. Stepping into his back garden, Jacob notices Grandpa's fence knocked down and just a bit further into the woods there lies Grandpa... Near death. Muttering his final words 'Find the bird. In the loop. On the other side of the old man's grave. September third, 1940.' Jacob is off to find these Peculiar Children and they might possibly be able to save Grandpa Abe.

 

This is the first book of a trilogy and I'm not going to lie, I watched the film before I read the book... And I am not ashamed of it. The film actually stuck really closely to the book which makes me like it even more. All the characters are likeable and relatable to even though the pictures creep me out. I normally stay away from time travel novels but I've got hope for MPHFPC. Please don't mess this up.

 

Right, I've got to rush off, I need to read the second book. Toodles.

Review
4 Stars
The Girl On The Train - Paula Hawkins
The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

'I feel uneasy. I walk around the house; I can't settle, I feel as though someone else has been here while I was sleeping. There's nothing out of place, but the house feels different, as though things have been touched, subtly shifted out of place, and as I walk around I feel as though there's someone else here, always just out of my line of sight.'

 

Rachel Watson is an alcoholic who lost her job, even though she pretends that she still does to her friend and roommate Cathy by catching the same 8:04 train to Euston in the morning and the 17:56 train in the evening everyday. Rachel used to live with her husband, Tom Watson, until her drinking got out of control and he was seeing Anna behind her back. Tom and Anna have a daughter Evie and live in Rachel's old house that she shared with Tom. A few doors down from that house, lives the perfect couple Scott and Megan. Megan disappears and only Rachel can get to the bottom of the mystery, if only she didn't get blind drunk that night to the point where she doesn't remember I thing.

 

The Girl On The Train is an excellent read. It catches you from the very first page all the way to the last and keeps you guessing. At a few points in the story, I found Rachel rather annoying and intolerable. The only reason she had anything to do with the disappearance was because she was being nosy and at one point it felt like she went round Scott's house to tell him her favourite colour and it felt way too desperate.

Review
2 Stars
The Once And Future King - T.H. White
The Once and Future King - T.H. White

[/spoiler]

[spoiler]

'Wart jumped for the sill and automatically gave himself an extra kick with his wings, just as a high jumper swings his arms. He landed on the sill with a thump, as owls are apt to do, did not stop himself in time, and toppled straight out of the window.'

 

The Once And Future King consists of five books all together in one hefty read, following the adventures of King Arthur. The first book is The Sword In The Stone... Everyone knows this story even if it's only because of the 1963 Disney classic of the same title. The second book is The Witch In The Wood, this story introduces the Orkney family which plays a vital part in the future rein of King Arthur. The third, The Ill-Made Knight is all about Lancelot and his love affair with Guenever (King Arthur's wife/the Queen). The Candle In The Wind follows Arthur as an old man in the fall of his rein. In the final book, The Book Of Merlyn, Arthur meets up with the committee of animals and he lives among the ants and the geese to understand their laws of existence just like he did when he was younger.

 

This was a rather difficult read for me. I didn't connect with any of the characters and I couldn't help but feel like I was reading a history textbook, I didn't like history at school so why would I like it now. This took me many many weeks to read this and I'm glad I have finally finished (fist pump)

Review
1 Stars
The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis
The Screwtape Letters: Letters from a Senior to a Junior Devil - C.S. Lewis

'When the humans disbelieve in our existence we lose all the pleasing results of direct terrorism and we make no magicians. On the other hand, when they believe in us, we cannot make them materialists and sceptics. At least, not yet.'

 

Three chapters in and I had no idea what was going on. It got to the point where I had to Google it.

 

Screwtape is some sort of senior devil who works below The Devil who he refers to as his 'Father'. The book is in the form of letters written from Screwtape to his nephew, Wormwood, a Junior Tempter, who follows this guy called 'the patient', the point of his job is to make 'the patient' sin.

 

I found this a rather difficult read as it felt too formal, like I was reading a school textbook. So my mind was wandering and switching off, like it did when I was back at school. Next thing I know, I've finished the book and gained nothing from reading it.

 

I also felt really uncomfortable reading this at some points, because I'm a Christian and I was seeing through the devil's point of view. So it felt like a sin reading it.

Review
2 Stars
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - J.K. Rowling, John Kerr Tiffany, Jack Thorne

SCORPIUS
Who? The Ministry kept it before, do you really trust them not to keep it again? Only you and I have experienced how dangerous this is, that means you and I have to destroy it. No one can do what we did Albus. No one. No, (slightly grandly) it's time that time-turning became a thing of the past.

 

ALBUS
You're quite proud of that phrase, aren't you?

 

SCORPIUS
Been working on it all day.

 

Twenty-two years after the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry and his wife Ginny wave goodbye to their second eldest son, Albus, as it's his first year at Hogwarts. Forever feeling like he's living in his father's shadow, their relationship becomes rocky and after over-hearing Harry talking to Amos about using a Time-Turner to bring back someone he loved, Albus takes things into his own hands.

 

I did rather well to avoid spoilers and I went in with an open mind; this was nothing like I was expecting.

 

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

 

I found many problems with this book.

 

1. Scenes from the original book series are included which I would count as cheating.
2. Every time Albus and Scorpius go back to the Triwizard Tournament in 1994, Ludo Bagman repeats the same thing every time; and they go back three times.
3. How can Voldemort have a child?!? He's missing a nose, what other body parts is he missing.
4. Finally, a plot hole. When Albus and Scorpius go back to 1994 the second time to the second task of the Triwizard Tournament, they humiliate Cedric by expanding his head so he then floats to the surface of the lake. This is where it might get complicated. Cedric is then angered, turns to the dark side and works with Voldemort. He kills Neville therefore Nagini is never killed with the sword of Gryffindor. Voldemort lives and Harry dies. But then if there's no Harry, there's no Albus. Therefore Albus won't have the motivation to save Cedric in the first place thus never going back in time... and we're stuck in a paradox.

 

As a play in a theatre, it would look awesome. But as a book on its own... Not great. Harry Potter should have been left in the past.