Katina – Roald Dahl (1/27)

This is the first short story in Volume One of Roald Dahlia Complete Short Stories. This book has twenty-seven short stories and I want to post a review for each individual one, that way I can give each one their due credit.

Katina is the first story in this collection, that have been put together in one place for fans of the amazing Roald Dahl. Katina was first published in Ladies’ Home Journal in March 1944, and it’s nice to see these little facts included.

Katina is the name of the little girl that is found alive among the rumble and dead bodies of 1944 war time (I’m guessing by the date this was written). She seems so out of place and she doesn’t speak English or the language of the soldiers. The little girl in the story resembles, for me, a little bit of light, or a distraction to the story and for the soldiers, among all the darkness, cruelty, death and bitterness that comes with war. She’s found amount such brutality and seems so out of place. So innocent.

I am not somebody who likes reading war stories, but knowing that Roald Dahl spent time in the war, you can really feel the truth in his words from his own vivid experiences in the words you’re reading. The descriptions and the writing is so vivid and expressive, you can imagine it all and feel it all. Then when the ending comes, you feel every word of it. It hits you and it’s so real, with no punches held back, just like war. You don’t get to decide the perfect ending, who lives or dies, you have to accept what happens, no matter how it makes you feel.

For a brief short story, it was unexpected, especially coming from Roald Dahl, when you’re used to reading about Everlasting Gobstoppers and made up fun children stories.

I am excited to read the rest of his short stories in this collection. . .

Murder In Little Shendon – A. H. Richardson

I received a free signed first edition copy of this book from the author and publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of this edition.

A murder takes place in the small little village of Shendon. There is something that you should know about his murder that will make solving this crime just that little bit harder for the police trying to solve this murder; nobody liked the victim. This leave practically everyone in “Little Shendon” has a suspect, including the two tourists who are only visiting the town.

It was this concept that I loved when I was approached about reading and reviewing this book. I love murder mysteries. The joy of trying to solve and uncover the killer before they’re revealed. The adrenaline. I love it, and the fact that this book had so many possible killers with so many possible motives, giving more back stories as we were going along, just added to it all. The way that the plot was brought together, all lined up perfectly and I didn’t see it coming. I love it when a book takes me completely by surprise and I haven’t been able to guess the ending, the killer and so on. Then, when looking back on hindsight, you kick yourself not seeing how you didn’t see it coming.

My copy was only 248 pages long and for a book that wasn’t that long, there were a little too many characters introduced into this book. They weren’t all able to stay with me and I wasn’t able to remember each of them specifically, which was disappointing because I felt like I wasn’t giving them each their due respect. I know that this is meant to represent a small village, but some of the characters, including the main ones, just got lost for me possibly because of the vast amount of other characters. But, if you were to take out and reduce some of the characters, or spend some extra time building up and introducing the main characters, possibly making this book about 50 pages longer minimum, there would have been time for there to have been some great character development.

There were some editing mistakes in the copy that I received, that were present in the entirety of the book. Simple things like missing speak bubbles, simple spelling mistakes and other things, that over time did start to annoy me. There is one in particular spelling mistake that does stick out for me as it was then emphasised further by being put into italics. But when an author is so close with their work, things like these are often missed and it is understandable.

Each chapter has their own title name, which gives you a little hint at to what each chapter is going to be about. This could be a little temptation if you were going to end on that chapter, or, if you want to have a little flip through and see what Chapter the killer is going to be revealed in. Not that you would read that Chapter before it’s time, of course, but it’s still nice knowing how long you have left until all is revealed. I will admit though that this story did drag a little bit for me and I was tempted to skip to that chapter entitled “And the killer is…” Maybe it was because I was nowhere near guessing who the killer was and wanted to know who it the murder was.

So, I did enjoy the story, but it could have done with being longer to have developed more of the characters. I defiantly like the idea and the concept behind it and would have loved a whole Murder on the Orient Express ending, that’s here my head was going when I was reading the book. I loved that idea. How it was all brought together in the end was so good and clever and I’m gutted I that I missed it. I wish I could’ve rated it higher, but I’m defiantly giving it a strong 3 stars out of 5!

3 Stars

The Little Voice – Joss Sheldon

This was a different kind of read to what I am regularly used to reading. This is the story of Yew and it is told from his characters perspective, which made this story so much more real and drag me into the story so much easier and kept me hooked. The simplicity of how this all worked so well together and how brilliantly it was written, made this an addictive read. For such a short read of under 200 pages, this book did so much to incorporate so much into such a short amount of pages. To develop the main character, his story, and to highlight what was going on in the book and going on in his mind.

While reading this book, I felt like it was a metaphor for society today and how conformity plays a part in that. How society is trying to force people, especially children from a young age in school, to conform and be raised to societal norms and what’s expected from them. How people are expected to behave a certain way, and if they don’t, then they are punished until they learn how to behave and act correctly. It could possibly have been a look how Mental Illness goes undiagnosed and mishandled. This then mixed in with the above societal conformity concept expected of people.

This book did mke me rethink about so much, which is great when a book makes you think about yourself and makes you look around you. It makes you look past the words and look deeper into the book.

It’s definitely a book that’s worth a read and the best partis, it’s part of Kindle Unlimited if you have it, you it could be a free read.

The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

I recently watched The Rebel in the Rye and after watching that film, it made me really want to reread The Catcher In The Rye, written by the one and only J.D. Salinger. Watching this film opened my eyes to the author and his life and how he came about and wrote this book. It made me want to reread and see if I could notice certain things, knowing what I didn’t know the first time I read the book.

Rereading this book for the second time around was a lot better for me, than the first time. I got to understand Holden better this time around and I got to take in a lot more as well. I got to pick out things that I missed, or I got to understand certain things a lot better than I did the first time I read this book, as I was a lot younger a d wasn’t as mature. I hadn’t had my own experiences in life, good or bad, and emotionally, which is a key factor with this book to possibly understanding the main character, which is why I think I got something completely different out of this book this time around. You get to see glimpses into what he’s thinking, and how he was feeling. I don’t think I misunderstood him rereading it or thought of him as miserable. He came across as lost with some teenage angst thrown in. Not understanding where you fit in in this world and where your future is going. Not understanding himself maybe.

The story is about this boy named Holden, who gets kicked out of yet another school. This is his story, told in his words; from why he starts the story where he does and includes what he includes. I don’t want to give too much away about what happens, because then you can be surprised and enjoyed the story for yourselves, without any spoilers.

This is a book that I do highly recommend to everybody, as it is a must read. It can be and get a little repetitive at times, but it’s still a very good read.

The Problem With Forever – Jennifer L. Armentrout

the problem

Growing up, Mallory Dodge learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime. Now, after years of homeschooling, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at a public high school. But she never imagined she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet soon it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory must make a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants and the truths that need to be heard. – Goodreads Description

I hadn’t heard anything about this book before I bought it and deciding to read it, but I had heard several things about the author, both good and bad. So when I eventually went into this book, I think I was in a good place. I wasn’t going into this book with great expectations that may be let down, but I still wanted to read this book. And if I’m being honest, my copy was nice and floppy and had an amazing cover that was crying out to be read. The description was also intriguing and I wanted to read more.

This was an easy book to read and one of those books where you can put it down, if you put it down, and pick it up and still remember what was happening in the story from where you left off. That amazed me considering how much I had on at the time. That is impressive and I don’t know whether it’s the writing or the story, but that deserves major props because my memory sucks and I’ve seen myself re-reading chapters to play catch up.

There are characters in this book that are easy to imagine with little character development and others I think needed a little bit more time spent on them. It got a little bit repetitive on times and it was either down to poor character development or just poor story line development. On saying this, there was one moment that just took me by complete surprise and I don’t know why it did. It shouldn’t have. The way it was done just added to the plot and made it what it was to me. I’m not giving any spoilers away.

This book also did something that I love when books, films, TV, people do, even if it was unintentional. It recommended another book because it kept constantly mentioning this one book throughout and it got me wanting to read this other book as well, to see it’s importance and then understand the characters and connections in this book even better. Plus I take book recommendations from anywhere, so thank you Jennifer 😀

Who else has read this book? What were you thoughts? Do you know what part I was talking about?

I gave this book 4 stars as I did get emotional at one point and it was an easy book to read.

4 Stars

Goals For 2018

Hello Readers 😀 2018 Goals

It’s so nice to be writing again, as you can tell if you visit and read my site, I haven’t posted anything in a while. I have had a few things going on and sadly I haven’t been able to post anything on this site, or on my Instagram either. If you are wondering what’s been keeping me busy, I have been moving and have started a new job, so my life has been a little crazy lately. But things are starting to get back to normal, or should I say calmer and not living out of boxes anymore *relief*.  All in time for me to set some goals for 2018.

My first goal for 2018 is going to be the amount of books that I plan on reading this year. Each year I set myself  Goodreads Reading Challenge and this year is no different, so this year I have set my goal at 50 books. Hopefully by announcing my goal, it will encourage me to keep up with it, no matter how busy I am at work and so on.

Another goal I have for 2018 is to Post More! I know I post mainly book reviews but I want to post more in general. Even if I don’t have that much time and can only do short reviews, at least then I’ve managed to post a review on what I’ve thought of what I’ve read, and close to when I’ve finished the book. I am able to do this with Goodreads and put off doing it on here because I want to do an in depth review but then because I’ve left it too long, I don’t do because I forget what I was going to say about the book. This leads me into another goal.

I want to take some notes when I’m reading. Just have a notepad near by, that way if something happens, something surprises me, this can be included in my reviews, making it more personal because I don’t always remember everything. No matter how quick I write my reviews to finishing the book.

These are just some of the goals I can think of at the moment that I want to ensure I keep up with for the ENTIRITY of 2018. Wish me luck. What are some of you goals for 2018?

Interview With The Authors

anne and ken hicksI was lucky enough to get the opportunity to get to ask the authors of my most recent read, Mind Me, Milady – Ken Hicks and Anne Rothman-Hicks some questions I had during the course of reading the book. This was something that I’ve never done before, so it was great to be given this opportunity. Here are the questions I asked and their answers to those questions:

1) Could you tell us a bit about Mind Me, Milady and why it is a must-read?
“Mind Me, Milady is a blend of genres: the mystery of Susan’s dreams and premonitions, the thriller of the Gentleman Rapist stalking women, including the main character, and romance between Jane and Jack, who she fears might be the Gentleman Rapist because he is definitely hiding something. All in all, there is a lot going on that together makes it very rewarding for many readers.”

2) What was it like co-writing a book as a married couple?
“We have been writing together for a long time. The first joint project was a course we shared when Ken was a student at Haverford College and Anne was at Bryn Mawr. There are many benefits, especially the constant feedback. Of course, to write together successfully, we both have to put our egos aside. That is not always easy.”

3) Was there a lot of arguments, compromising or did you both agree on majority of the story and plot?
“This was a difficult book and it took us a long time to put the elements together. We had a lot of angst-filled conversations about whether particular scenes or parts of the book were moving the plot forward. In the end, we always agreed.”

4) How long did it take for you both to write this book?
“That is a difficult question since we put the book down several times and came back to it.”

5) Did you have to do much research for this book?
“There was some research, including the nature of a serial criminal, the mechanics of hypnotism, the concept of reincarnation, the history of colonial New York, and the Battle of Manhattan during the Revolutionary War.”

6) Where did you come up with the idea for this book, particularly the idea and concept of the “Gentleman Rapist”?
“We were drawn to the idea of someone who believes they lived a prior life and also wanted the story to be set in Central Park in a place that would have looked substantially similar now to the way it looked in Revolutionary times. We thought the idea of a rapist who spoke like an English Aristocrat as he wielded power, was a very creepy combination.”

7) Did you know who the Gentleman Rapist was going to be from outset, or did you change your mind while writing?
“We have a very fluid writing process. It would be hard to say when exactly we decided who would be the Gentleman Rapist. We did not start out knowing.”

8) Who was your favourite/worse character to write in Mind Me, Milady and why?
“We are both very attached to Jane, who appears in two of our other novels, Weave A Murderous Web and Praise Her, Praise Diana. Susan was the most difficult character to write because she is both assertive in her way and very in need of protection. The Gentleman Rapist was interesting, since we had never written anyone like him before.”

9) What character in Mind Me, Milady are you least likely to get along with?
Jonathan Ramsey.”

10) Are you working on anything at the moment?
We are working on our fourth book in the Jane Larson series.”

11) Which book are you most proud of writing and why?
“We are most proud of Praise Her, Praise Diana. The book deals with a very difficult topic, rape and violence toward women in its many forms. It also has many characters of whom we are very fond, including Jane, Maggie and Detective Smalley. Finally, the book contains certain despicable characters and others who are neither all bad nor all good.”

12) What made you both want to become writers?
“We were both early avid readers and started writing and dreaming at a young age.”

13) Do you both have day jobs in addition to be writers? If so, what do you do?
“Ken was a lawyer (and is now semi-retired). Anne was an editor before she became a full time writer and raised our three children.”

14) How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Here are our links:
Ken and Anne’s blog: http://www.randh71productions.com/blog
Ken and Anne’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Kenneth-Hicks-and-Anne-Rothman-Hicks-622272714477979

Buy links
Praise Her, Praise Diana:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Praise-Her-Diana-Anne-Rothman-Hicks-ebook/dp/B00NVDGCIM/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1485443323&sr=1-4
Barnes and Nobel: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/praise-her-praise-diana-anne-rothman-hicks/1120805267?ean=9781612359441
Melange: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/hicks/diana.html
Weave A Murderous Web:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Weave-Murderous-Web-Larson-Novel-ebook/dp/B01CDMB72W/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Barnes and Nobel” https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/weave-a-murderous-web-anne-rothman-hicks/1123847239?ean=2940152901085
Melange Books LLC: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/hicks/web.html
Mind Me, Milady:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mind-Me-Milady-Anne-Rothman-Hicks-ebook/dp/B06XWHY859/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1496868407&sr=8-1&keywords=mind+me%2C+milady
Barnes and Nobel: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mind-me-milady-anne-rothman-hicks/1126178316?ean=9781680464382
Melange: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/hicks/milady.html

Mind Me, Milady – Anne Rothman-Hicks & Ken Hicks

​I was approached and sent a free copy of this book by the authors and publicist, in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion of this book. 
I didn’t know what to expect from this book and I was surprised by how quickly I was able to immerse myself in this book and the world within it. The characters of Jane and Susan were strongly developed to the point that you start caring about them, which is what you want with this type of book. The same can be said with the male characters and the suspicion that surrounds them and the possibility that they could be the guilty character, the Gentleman Rapist. Not knowing who to trust. 
This book is surrounded in so much mystery, which is fantastic has it keeps you guessing right up to the last few pages. This mystery and these questions are answered in the last few chapters, which is where everything is so brilliantly brought together.
There were some editing issues in my copy where wrong names were used when talking about certain characters and so on, as though there were some last minute switches. These were just silly mistakes that could’ve been sorted with a once over, but it’s something I had to mention as it happened several times and it did begin to annoy me. But on saying that, it didn’t interfere with the story. 
I just discovered that this book is the second book in the Jane Larson series and I’m interested to read the first book.

Goodnight Mister Tom – Michelle Magorian

What can I truly say about this book?

Throughout this entire book, it was such an emotional and beautiful masterpiece that, in my opinion, really should be read by everyone. It’s one of those books that just speaks to you and that you can learn from, especially when you’re a child and then if you read it again as an adult. This book teaches you about so much and when I finished reading this book, I was left thinking about countless of things. It teaches you about right and wrong, loss and heartbreak and so much more. The innocence only a child has, mixed with the anger and rage of the war. There was so much truth, which made this book just heated with emotion. As an adult reading this book you can see everything and understand it all, whereas a child may not and does not it this book, and that breaks your heart to see. To see such audacity occur to a child. It makes you ask questions and look at yourself a little deeper. 

The two main characters, William and Tom, are so different at the start of this book, but by the time you get to the end of this book, they have become so similar. You can see how these two characters have developed and grown throughout the entirity of the book, as their development is and plays a part of the story. I can’t point to anything negative to say about this book, because of how much great the writing, the plot, the characters, the story is. This book just emotes so much. What you are left with and what you take away is important. 
I saw the movie adaptation when I was younger and had such a strong bond with that movie, that I was hesitant to read this book because I didn’t want those memories tainted. This book just added to those and is one of the closest and truest book to movie adaptations I have seen. I give this book a massive 5 stars with a recommendation to everyone, no matter what age or what genre you like to read.