Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy

Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy is a young adult historical fantasy novel that is set in Denmark in the 19th century. In this world secrets can kill and magic is a deadly gift. For Marit Olsen, magic is all about strategy; it flows freely through her blood but every time she uses a bt of her magic a deadly, ice-like build-up replaces it, this build up is the Firn.

For the majority of the book we follow Marit and she tries to uncover the secrets that caused her fathers death. We follow her as she moves from the orphanage where her chosen sister also resides when she is one day chosen to be adopted by Helene Vestergaard. (Eves hero and very famous dancer). Marit manages to get a job as a seamstress at the vestergaard house to stay with Eve. whilst there she uncovers the secrets and lies that surrounds the Vestergaard mines.

I really liked this book, I thought it was just enough fantasy to keep you engaged however at the same time quite realistic. Yes, the use of magic isn’t all that real but I think they way that Murphy has written it in a way that it does seem like it is possible. The book is well written and easy to follow and the structure of the book is good, where it is split into fairly small chapters which follow a specific character (mainly Marit however towards the end we see more viewpoints).

Mystery is evident throughout the book and keeps you reading but alongside this there is many other themes of loss, friendship, love and magic. I think this book is a perfect mix. The mystery all comes to a head in the last few chapters which are so engaging and exciting that it keeps you on the edge of your seat (I won’t share what happens, that’s for you to find out !)

I really liked the character Marit, she is fierce and determined. after being orphaned after her fathers death and losing her elder sister to the Firn she carries on and whilst in the orphanage she meets Eve. Eve is her closest friend and the love she has for her is real. She wants what is best for Eve even if that effects herself and we see that more prominently as we read the book. I really liked this friendship as it did feel real, that they both met in this orphanage that brought them together and Marit following her to the Vesergaard to get a job where she can still be around her best friend. At times in the story you see their friendship falter and is affected by the world outside the orphanage but as we will them to be good again, you see how Marit is affected and want to fix whatever issues have occurred.

It wasn’t only Marit who I loved to meet but we get to meet a whole load of people from the Vestergaard household that gives this book much more depth and realism. We meet more of the servants that work in the house alongside Marit who all are willing to use their magic to keep the job in this house, no matter the risk. We also meet Helene herself, Eve’s new mother and her family. some good, some bad however all integral to the story.

Overall, I would say I really liked this book. I received it in the Book Box Subscription service and I am glad I did. I would definitely recommend to lovers of YA, historical fantasy and mystery lovers!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to comment and like )

FIND ME by André Aciman

Find me by André Aciman is a fictional novel which follows the characters we previoulsy met in Call me by your name.

This book shows us how the characters of Oliver and Elio have evolved since the previous book and what their lives are now. This book also provides us with an insight into Elio’s father Samuel. In fact, it seemed a large portion of the novel was about Samuel and his relationship with a younger woman. I was disappointing as their wasn’t too much about Elio and Oliver and how the events in Call me by your name was effecting their lives in this book. You get a couple of looks at that but I feel the book was overpowered by Samuel’s story line which felt a bit pointless in itself.

I would say that I didn’t find it hugely necessary to carry on the story from Call me by your name and I at times felt that it would have been better leaving it at that. Saying that as I read this book I was enjoying it but not necesarily as a follow up to the previous book. I was so excited to read this book after loving Call Me By Your Name, and I felt a little disapointed as it was less about Oliver and Elio and more about Samuel.

I would say however the cover of this book is really simple yet beautiful, the colours reflect a romantic story and if I hadn’t read Call Me By Your Name I may have picked this up purely due to that!

Overall, I would say I was disapointed when I read this book as I felt the main characters we want to reconcile with were pushed to the background and in the foreground was a look at Samuel (whose story felt out of place) I would say however that I like André Acimans writing and maybe if I had read this without looking at it as the sequel to Call Me by your Name I would have a different outlook on it.

I wouldn’t necesarily recomend this book, expecially if you have read Call me by your name (It felt it should end with that book). I would however recommend Call me by your name to anyone who hasn’t read it yet! (I have a previous blog post all about that one!)

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to comment and like!)

GO ASK ALICE by Anonymous

Go Ask Alice is a fiction book in the style of a diary which follows a young girl and her experiences with drugs.

Upon looking further into this book after reading, although it said to be written by ‘anonymous’ and to be an excerpt from a real diary it is now beleived to have been written by Beatrice Sparks. It is a popular book and as of it remained continuoslly in print, over 4 decades since its release in 1971.

When reading this book, I felt as though this could have been written by a young girl struggling with drug addiction who runs away from home and experiences things she shouldn’t. Some of the things recorded in this book are hard to read and an extreme and although many feel it is unrealistic I am not sure I agree. It is less about the specifics and the book as a whole for me. Its about the journey the young girl is on and how she copes with this journey.

I liked the diary structure of the book as it felt realistic and with each excerpt being fairly short, it made me want to read on (just one more section!) I was graphic at times which can be hard to read but I think that made the message of the book stronger and there are extremes to the world of drug addiction at a young age.

This book has mixed reviews with many claiming it as anti-drug propaganda and unbelievable with others praising the awareness, and messages throughout the book. I felt it was realistic enough and brought attention to the consequences of drugs. Strange things happen everyday so who is so to say that the events in this book would never happen. Even if they didn’t I would say I am not sure that it really matters as the message would be the same, there are dangers and consequences to drug abuse.

I liked this book and would recommend, whether you look at it as fictional or not. It is a very impactful read and with a message that should be heard.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS feel free to comment and like!)

The Short Knife by Elen Caldecott

The Short Knife by Elen Caldecott is an adventure/ historical fiction novel that is set in 454AD, as the Roman Empire has withdrawn from Britain.

This historic novel follows the main female protagonist names Mai and we follow her journey through the dark ages and facing Saxon Warriors. It is full of the mysticism of early Britain and we get to delve into the world of Mai.

We start the book with Mai, Haf (sister) and her Tad at their farm when Saxon warrors arrive and the family must flee. we follow their journey to the british camp on the hills and are given an insight into how Mai is feeluing and how she copes with the change. We see her struggle wwith her new situation and wants to leave. She continues in the British camp until she finds herself in trouble and ends up in a dangerous Saxon Camp. in a world where speaking your mother tongue is deadly she must learn Saxon words in porder to survive. but will this be enough?

I also liked the character of Mai in this book. As the protagonist we follow her journey through her experience with the dark ages and Saxon warriors as she become a strong independent woman. We also get to see her relationships with others including her sister Haf and how this effects her and the outcome of her life which I felt added another dimension to the character. She is only young yet we see her go through so much which adds strength to her character. We see her become strong and resilient in a world that doesn’t appreciate who she is.

This book was also a lot about Identify and language and we see how Mai’s is affected as she is forced to speak a language that isn’t her own. She loses part of herself when she can no longer speak her mother tongue and throughout the book we see how this effects her. How much she misses to be able to speak her own language. At one point she tears up after having heard her mother tongue spoken freely which shows the importance of her language is to her.

Generally, I don’t enjoy books that are set far in the past and I can’t say I would have picked this up if I hadn’t received this in July’s Book Box Club subscription box. Saying that, I enjoyed this book and was fully engaged from the beginning. Throughout the book I noticed saying to my self ‘just one more page’ a lot, which to me is a good sign!

Overall, I would recommend this book (even if you are not usually a fan of historic fiction like myslef). It is full of adventure and with a strong female lead you constantly want to read on. even though it features a complex character it is easy to read and enjoy and is almost poetic in its writing.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to like and comment 🙂 )

SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES by Caitlin Doughty

Smoke gets in your eyes: and other stories from the crematorium by Caitlin Doughty is a non-fiction work which looks at life working at a crematorium.

It is almost like a collection of non-fiction short stories surrounding Doughty work within the crematorium, all of which were interesting and curious. I have never really thought about what happened at a place like that and who would want to work there but this provides a great insight. It makes you think about the events of a funeral/cremation and how they have evolved and changed over time and between cultures.

Although this book has a lot to do with death it doesn’t really fell a heavy book to read and is an interesting read, this is likely due to Doughty humour throughout as well as her engaging writing style. It is full of facts about what happens in a crematorium and what has changed (and what Doughty feels should change) as well as practices in some other cultures surrounding the dead.

It is the mix between the facts and Doughty personal experience as a crematorium worker which was made this a great book, in my opinion. It made it feel more understandable and intriguing. I liked the fact the book was split up into different chapters or stories as it felt easier to read and more engaging.

This book is entertaining, morbid and factual allowing you to learn about something new while you read! I would recommend!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS feel free to comment or like)

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All The Hidden Truths – Mini Review

All the Hidden Truths by Claire Askew is a psychological suspense story that was released in August 2018.

It follows the viewpoint of 3 people in the aftermath of a school shooting. You get to hear from the shooters mother, a victims mother and the detective inspector in charge of the investigation. I really enjoyed the structure of this book as it allowed you to look at three key people and how an event like that effects them.

It is a very intense story that is emotional to read but due to the fact it was a school shooting and events like that happen almost daily in places such as the USA it is necessary. It had to look at the events in a realistic way to help show the true nature of the event and the aftermath.

The book gripped you from the very beginning and it was written in such a clear way that it helped to portray the story excellently.

The media is also looked at and how the media can affect the people involved. All the victims killed can be looked at negatively as well as the shooters family but this shouldn’t be the case. No one deserves to be involved in such an event, we should grieve for the victims not turn them into monsters and I think the book shows this.

I really enjoyed this book and it had a huge impact on me as a reader. The events are something that effects thousands of people who have faced such a tragic time in the past and those who continue to face them. As a debut novel it is remarkable and powerful and a book I would 100% recommend.

I have a Q&A coming out at the end of the month with the author of this book , Claire Askew so look out for that,

Many thanks, Caitlin x

Bookmarks vs Folding

When it comes to marking your page when your in the midst of reading a good book do you use a bookmark or fold the corners of the page?

Personally, I tend to fold the pages of my book as when starting a new book I walkways forget my bookmark or they fall out when I’m carrying it about. I used to always use a bookmark as I was quite picky about keeping my books in pristine condition however I feel it unnecessary these days. It shows that the book has been read.

I don’t mind borrowing a book where the pages have been folded over as I do it myself but I know some people who would hate to see that. If you ever get a book at your local library it is doubtful it’s going to be in the best condition so do be aware of this if you are picky about keeping your books at their best! Often when studying people bookmark multiple pages at time. This is often done with sticky notes or bookmarks however I have seen many with folded corners.

I have a large collection of bookmarks as well so it isn’t that I don’t have any! I understand why people use bookmarks and occasionally I still do. When you want to keep your book in good condition with no damaged pages then bookmarks are the way to go. I very rarely have a book that is in perfect condition!

So if your ever out and start a new book without a bookmark there’s a choice to made: it’s either carry a bookmark at all times in case you ever forget yours or sacrifice your perfect pages!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment which you prefer: bookmark or folded page.)

‘Would You Rather’ Book Tag

1. Rather read only a series or stand-alone books?

I would rather only read series. I find that the characters are often more developed and the stories are more related to those character. I find that characters are one of the most important part of a book. 

 2. Rather read a book whose main character is male or female?

I wouldn’t really mind to be honest but as a female I like strong female leads. 

 3. Rather shop only at Barnes & Noble (or other actual bookstore) or Amazon?

Bookstores. Its much more enjoyable browsing the shelves and flicking through the pages of a book in a bookstore. It has an atmosphere as well as just buying books. 

 4. Rather all books become movies or tv shows?

Also a difficult one, I think that movies often have the budget and ability to explore these books but a TV show is better for a series as it can show a series of events throughout the books in a way that’s not rushed. 

 5. Rather read 5 pages per day or read 5 books per week?

I would rather read 5 pages per day. It would allow me to enjoy the book instead of racing through them. 

 6. Rather be a professional book reviewer or an author?

I would love to be an author however I don’t feel as though they would be very good 🙂 I enjoy reviewing books however. 

 7.  Rather only read the same 20 books over and over or get to read a new book every 6 months?

That’s a difficult one! I would love to reread my favourite books however I think that being able to read a new one is exciting.

 8. Rather be a librarian or own a book store?

I would rather own a bookstore I think. You would have more control over how and what you are selling and choose how to operate your business. 

9. Rather only read your favorite genre or your favorite author?

Favourite genre. I basically do this anyway! It would allow me to be able to read the different styles and structures of various authors.

 10. Rather only read physical books or eBooks?

Physical books. I find it much more enjoyable when I’m able to physically flick through the pages and get that new book scent!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(please comment your ‘Would You Rather’ book tag !)

‘No Time For Goodbye’ Linwood Barclay

‘No Time For Goodbye’ is a crime thriller novel by author Linwood Barclay that was published in 2007. The book centers around a woman named Cynthia and the disappearance of her family. She wakes up one day and her family is gone, no bodies, no crime scene, no evidence. What really happened to her family? It follows her journey trying to find out what happened to her family 25 years ago and the new clues that are appearing.

I really enjoyed this book as it wasn’t entirely based from a police procedural view and looked more and the view of Cynthia and her husbands. How they are coping with the new information and trying to figure out what happened to Cynthia’s family.

I found both Cynthia and her husband likable characters which made me more invested in finding out how it all ended. We see a flashback to the night Cynthia family went missing at the beginning of the novel which helped to show who she is today and how she has been shaped by these traumatic events. The guilt and sadness that came alongside the experience becomes apparent in her life with her husband and daughter now and how she has become more paranoid than ever. Her husband is also likable as we see how the events effect him and their daughter. We see him becoming more annoyed and suspicious which I think adds realism because if he was always positive and supportive would that be truthful to what would actually happen in that scenario.

I found that the book started off at an average pace but soon speeds up as more pieces of the jigsaw fits together and her husband becomes more and more involved in finding out the truth.

I think the ending of the book matches to the build up and is an exciting ending. There are more twists and turns up until the last page so it keeps you on the edge of your seat. You want to know what happened all those years ago and you want it to be a happy ending (as much as possible) for Cynthia and her family.

Overall, I would highly recommend this thriller as it keeps ypou on the edge of your seat throughout with a realistic story. I am excited to read the sequel ! ‘No Safe House’

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to comment your opinion on this book or any others by Linwood Barclay)

Why I Love to Read

There is no friends as loyal as a book

– Ernest Hemingway

If I’m completely honest I’m not sure when I first became interested in reading and began to love reading all different books. I think that I have just always loved it and I am aware that is unlikely the case but I am not sure when I first loved to read.

I enjoy escaping into another world and as I say on my home page, it isn’t to escape my own it’s just that I love to explore others. I like to delve into the world of other characters and people. Reading about other characters is probably one of my favourite parts of a book and can often be the most relatable aspect.

I tend to read a lot of crime novels and I don’t want to delve into the gruesome world of the crimes but rather the investigation and the people. I like seeing how the characters go about investigating these crimes and how they cope with the events happening around them.

Other people have so many reasons for why they read but mines is as simple as I enjoy to do so. It is something that I can relax into and enjoy much like watching the TV or watching a film. I find books much more detailed and hard hitting than anything on screen.

I like the quote above from Ernest Hemingway as I find it so truthful. If your ever feeling alone or are just relaxing you can read and be transported to another world at the drop of a hat. No need to plan or time everything just pick up a book and begin to flick through the pages.

I would like to think that reading is other people favourite oasstime as I love it so much but I understand it isn’t for everyone. I think if you can give it a try then do so but if you don’t like it at least you gave it a go. It doesn’t give people the same feelings and emotions that it does to me and some people prefer to have the imagery already available on a screen.

I hope you enjoyed this post and come back Friday for my next.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment why you love to read books or if there is a reason that you don’t!)