Scarlet's Web

 

 

"You may have tangible wealth untold; Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be - I had a mother who read to me."

100% done with Exorcist Falls by Jonathan Janz

Exorcist Falls: Includes the novella Exorcist Road - Jonathan Janz

 

Man, the cringe was real with this one. You know that point in a horror movie when you just have to cover your eyes but you are still aware of what's going on? I found myself doing that during one particular scene while reading, only to remember I was reading and how ridiculous it was to cover my eyes cause now I couldn't see the words. I just couldn't help myself lol.

 

Review coming soon!

Review: Beyond The Pale: Folklore, Family, and the Mystery of Our Hidden Genes by Emily Urquhart

Beyond The Pale: Folklore, Family, and the Mystery of Our Hidden Genes - Emily Urquhart


I would like to thank Jacaranda Books for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

 

I'm not a big reader of non-fiction, but this one caught my attention and I had to pick it up. I found the authors voice engaging, she held my attention and interest and kept me reading. The love for her daughter really shines through, and her struggle to come to terms with her daughter's albinism and the resulting work that she now does is both inspiring, and important.

 

It's shocking to read how people with albinism are treated throughout the world. I was certainly unaware that these things were going on before reading this book, but since finishing the book I have seen a BBC documentary and only just tonight read about related events in the news. It's good to see that it's being talked about and awareness is spreading. It's important that people are educated and made aware of what's happening and for the victims' stories be told in order to prevent it from happening in future.

 

 

 

 

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Review: Conceiving by Thomas S Flowers

Conceiving (Subdue Book 3) - Thomas S Flowers


Conceiving is the latest book, and the best so far, in the Subdue series by Thomas S Flowers. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't perfect, it needs editing to fix a few repetition issues, spelling errors and wrong words, but I enjoyed it much more than the previous two books.

 

A lot of my enjoyment was due to Luna's character, she felt real and relatable. I was actually interested in her and her story. I got to experience and enjoy her storyline without being sidetracked by too many characters. The whole reading experience flowed better, it wasn't as busy so there was less distraction, fewer side characters jumping in between me and the main storyline.

 

The pacing was better, the characters were better, and the storytelling was smoother. I got to know the characters better this time round. I experienced their stories rather than them being told to me like in the previous books.

 

There was a lot of my favourite horror elements in Conceiving. It had a touch of Rosemary's Baby and Frankenstein and as an added bonus there was a werewolf and some voodoo going on. I love me some voodoo in horror!

 

 

 

 

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Review: Emerging by Thomas S Flowers

Emerging (Subdue) (Volume 2) - Thomas S Flowers

 

Many of the things I pointed out in my review for book one also apply to book two. Like book one, due to my own personal taste, I kind of zoned out a little during the military flashbacks etc. The music and movie references are still prevalent and the characters still at times overshadow the story progression, but there are more horror elements to this one and the story progresses quite a bit more. The ending resolves better than the previous book while still leaving enough there for the story to continue, and there's no huge cliffhanger like before thank goodness!

 

Emerging does, however, read more like an extension of book one rather than a book in its own right. I still believe book one and two would benefit from being tidied up and merged into one.

 

 

 

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Review: Dwelling by Thomas S. Flowers

Dwelling (Subdue Book 1) - Thomas S Flowers


Choosing what to rate this one created a bit of a dilemma for me. On its own, I can't say I loved it, or particularly enjoyed it, but I did finish it. I'm honestly not sure if I would have gone ahead and read the next in the series, but because I already had book two and three on my kindle I figured why not? Thankfully, the series did get better as the story progressed.

 

It took me quite a while to get into Dwelling. Partly because there was a lot of military flashbacks and scenes which I'm personally not a fan of, but also because it felt like there was too much character building and backstory within the book and not enough actual story progression. The progression of the story was buried underneath all the characters, world building, and backstory, which incidentally was being told to the reader rather than being shown or experienced alongside the characters. There wasn't enough story progression there for me and when the story and pace did finally begin to pick up, it was all over. The book stopped mid-story, finishing rather abruptly with no conclusion, and on a cliffhanger to boot.

 

There was also a lot of music and movie references throughout that I feel were being overused as a tool to take the reader back to a certain period in time. I found myself starting to get irritated at how often they were used. I found the same problem with different descriptive aspects within the story. It was rather repetitive at times.

 

As mentioned above, the repetition, character building, and backstory overshadow the main storyline and I feel book one and two would benefit from being tidied up and merged together. It would, in my opinion, have created a much better and more complete reading experience.

 

 

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BBC Radio 4 books to listen to

 

 

BBC Radio 4 has many good books etc going at the moment. There is a Neil Gaiman one coming soon! Here's just a few of the many that are on the go atm.

 

Book at Bedtime - The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman

 

Chilling revenge for a terrible crime is at the heart of Neil Gaiman's multi-award-winning novelette, inspired by a Hebridean myth and originally commissioned by the Sydney Opera House for the Graphic Festival with celebrated illustrator Eddie Campbell.

1/5. A dwarf seeks a guide to a certain cave on the Misty Isle.

 

 

The Mistletoe Bride and other Haunting Tales by Kate Mosse

 

"The Mistletoe Bride and other Haunting Tales" is a collection of haunting short stories written, abridged and introduced by Kate Mosse. They are all inspired by legends and folktales from the French and Sussex Countryside and each story explores the relationship between landscape and emotion. Grief and Guilt. Loss and happiness. They are timeless in their telling, ranging from the mythical past to the present day. Kate Mosse has chosen 5 out of the collection that exemplify the redemption experienced by the various grief stricken men and women as they come to terms with their destiny.

 

 

Book of the Week - Once Upon a Time in the East by Xiaolu Guo

 

Xiaolu Guo's autobiography tells her remarkable story from adoption at birth through to her career as a writer and film-maker based in the UK. This abridgement deals with her formative years, living in China in times of transition.

 

 

Episodic 15 minute Drama - Isaac Asimov's I, Robot

 

The rise of robotics in the 21st century, told through the poignant and mysterious story of enigmatic lawyer, Stevie Byerley. Starring Hermione Norris.

 

 

Book at Bedtime - The Transition by Luke Kennard

 

An intriguing and wry debut novel about capitalism, the housing crisis and a generation in debt. Set a few years from now, in an unnamed city, award-winning poet Luke Kennard imagines what life might be like for young people from the squeezed middle-class if our society continues along its current economic path.

 

 

 Daphne Du Maurier - The Birds

 

Nat Hocken and his family are disturbed during the night by the sounds of birds. Read by Tristan Sturrock.

 

 

 

Review: The Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse

The Taxidermist's Daughter - Kate Mosse
 
 
 
 
As part of the TBR Canine Jar Challenge, The Taxidermist's Daughter was chosen by Mae. I have to say, she didn't choose very well this time.

 


I was disappointed with The Taxidermist's Daughter. I found it to be dull, slow, and easily forgettable.

 

The characters were flat, under established and faceless. They merged into one another rather than standing out as individuals. The plot was dull and uneventful and plodded along extremely slowly. There was no tension or anticipation. No thrill of a mystery being unravelled and revealed. Nothing to draw me in. I honestly didn't care who did what to whom and the conclusion was as much of a let down as everything that came before.

 

There were, however, small parts where the portrayal of the surroundings stood out. The descriptions of the environment really shined at certain points. It was dark and stormy and created a wonderful gothic atmosphere, but sadly this was a rare occurrence. Like the characters, the different settings were all very similar and merged into each another.

 

Overall, I found The Taxidermist's Daughter to be dull and tedious and not one I would recommend.

 

 

 

 

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Review: Homegoing: A novel by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing: A novel - Yaa Gyasi


I would like to thank Penguin Books (UK) for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

 

Unpopular opinion time. I've had several friends recommend this book to me saying that it blew them away, but I have to admit I struggled with the format.

 

Homegoing tells an important story but I wasn't able to completely immerse myself into the story because of the format in which it is told. Each chapter is in itself a brief short story, a small snapshot from each generation, but it was too disjointed for me as a whole.

 

I got rather lost and frustrated. I had a problem keeping track of the characters and I had to keep referring to my notes. Each chapter is devoted to one character per generation, following two generations. The chapters are only around twenty'ish pages long so I didn't get to spend much time with the characters and as a result, I didn't get to know them in the way I would have liked to, or needed to. There wasn't time to get to know them on an emotional level or to be able to fully relate to their struggles and experiences. The story was in a constant state of change. This started to really annoy me, I was forever having to remind myself which family line I was on and which generation of that family line the character descended from. I found myself consistently being pulled out of the story with every new chapter.

 

I'm a character reader, I need to connect and feel for the characters and in this instance, because of the format, they weren't detailed or in depth enough for me to be able to do that.

 

 

 

 

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New Books!
New Books!

 

My hubby surprised me with some books from my wishlist!

 

I'm itching to start them right away but I'm going to resist and add them to my TBR jar.

Review: The Blood Gospel by James Rollins

The Blood Gospel - Rebecca Cantrell, James Rollins

 

 

 

 As part of the TBR Canine Jar Challenge, The Blood Gospel was chosen by Mae. I have to say, she did pretty well with this choice. Much better than her previous choice which I have yet to post a review for.

 

 

 For the most part, I enjoyed The Blood Gospel and flew through in no time. Sure it wasn't completely original, but it was different enough that I read it in two sittings. It's pretty fast paced, the whole story takes place over a few days and a lot happens in those few days.

 

The one thing that ruined it for me was the romance. It didn't need the romance and it certainly didn't need a love triangle. I do wonder sometimes why romance is thrown into books like this. I purposely look for books without romance. Why ruin a perfectly decent thriller? Is it to appeal to female readers? You do realise not every female likes to read romance right? This female found it completely unappealing, unbelievable, and out of place. Perhaps I'm in the minority, but in a situation like the characters found themselves in, the last thing that would be on my mind and the last thing I want to read about is constant inner thoughts about how a man's lips look, how their hair glints in the sunlight, how blue their eyes are, how the heat radiates off their skin, the list could go on and on... They were fighting their attraction at every step while evading the enemy, surrounded by chaos, wounded, in pain, and exhausted. It's ridiculous. It was extremely cringy and unbelievable and it certainly lowers my rating quite a bit.

 

That being said, I do plan on reading the next in the series because, aside from the romance, the main plot was enjoyable and I want to know what's to come. I just hope the romance is a lot less eye roll and gag worthy in the next instalment.

 

 

 

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The Trump era's top-selling dystopian novels

 

Donald Trump has sparked a sales bonanza for publishers of dystopian fiction - as well as his own books on business success. Here are the titles currently enjoying a boost on the back of his arrival in the White House...

 

 

See full article here

Happy Burns Night!

 

Time to tuck into dinner. Rabbie Burns, we salute you!

 

 

 

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, 
Great Chieftain o’ the Puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
       Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
       As lang 's my arm. 

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
       In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
       Like amber bead. 

His knife see Rustic-labour dight,
An’ cut ye up wi’ ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
       Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
       Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
       Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
       Bethankit hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
       Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
       On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
       His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bluidy flood or field to dash,
       O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
       He'll make it whissle;
An’ legs, an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
       Like taps o' thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
       That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
       Gie her a Haggis!

 

100% done with The Blood Gospel by James Rollins

The Blood Gospel - Rebecca Cantrell, James Rollins

 

Why ruin a good thriller with an unneeded and unbelievable romance. Not just one romance interest either, but a cringeworthy love triangle!

255/479 pages done with The Blood Gospel

The Blood Gospel - Rebecca Cantrell, James Rollins

 

My next read for the 2017 canine TBR jar challenge. Mae pulled this one out last night. So far I'm enjoying, it's much better than her previous pick. It's a lovely big floppy paperback too! I'm torn between going to bed or reading more.

 

Review: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides

 

 

 As part of the TBR Canine Jar Challenge, Middlesex was chosen by Enya. So far she's chosen The Exorcist which was a 5-star read and now Middlesex which I have to say I struggled with.

 

 

 

 

There is a lot of reading to this one. It's not that it's over-written per se, more that it's over told. It was hard work and I struggled to get through it. For every 100 pages read, it felt like 1000. The author kept going off on tangents, throwing in facts or history which weren't necessary. It was extremely annoying to have to wade through all this extra information while still keeping track of the narrative. It pulled me away from the characters and their stories every time. So much so, that I had to force myself not to skim these sections. It would have been a much faster and a more enjoyable read without the tangents and history lessons.

 

That being said, I did enjoy the storyline. When the author stuck to the characters and their stories it was an enjoyable read, but way too often it was interrupted by everything else. I wanted to read on to learn what happened to the family. I enjoyed getting to know each generation and seeing how their experiences were influenced by the generation before. Had the book concentrated on this and had all the other stuff removed, I would probably recommend it. As it is, It's not one I would recommend.

 

 

 

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100% done with The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

The Neverending Story (A Puffin Book) - Michael Ende

 

I really want to watch the movies now, but I 'm scared to watch them in case they ruin the nostalgia and memories from watching them as a kid.

 

Time to get one of the dogs to pick my next read for the Canine TBR Jar Challenge

Currently reading

Exorcist Falls: Includes the novella Exorcist Road by Jonathan Janz
Progress: 100%
The Good People by Hannah Kent
Progress: 100%
The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer
The Neverending Story (A Puffin Book) by Michael Ende
Progress: 528/528pages
Skitter: A Novel (The Hatching Series Book 2) by Ezekiel Boone
Progress: 100%

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