Book Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

29283884It took me a bit of self-convincing to read this book as I don’t read young-adult much anymore, but let me say this – I’m glad that I did. It was a little wild, a little unexpected, and a complete breath of fresh air.

What begins as a typical coming-of-age story for our college dropout protagonist, Henry “Monty” Montage, as he tours 1700s Europe, consistently keeps the reader hooked as the story curves and transfigures itself into an action-packed adventure novel. The result is a hybrid of what I always imagined Oscar Wilde’s personality to be, mixed in with the bustle and excitement of an Indiana Jones film. Coupled with meaningful themes and diverse characters, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is the young adult historical fiction novel that provided me a fun and light-hearted read as I entered 2019.

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5 books I’ll (hopefully) read in 2019

Happy new year, my fellow readers and pop-culture lovers! 🎊 2018 has come and gone in the blink of an eye, and it’s now time to make some resolutions for the months ahead.

2018 was an exciting year for me as I finally started this blog and discovered some stories I’d never have glanced at in the past. I never thought I’d enjoy Greek Mythology, but Madeline Miller’s works transformed my expectations and entertainment into something marvellous – same goes for many other books in 2018.

I’m not one of those people who can choose fifty books to read at once, nor do I usually plan out the books I read in advance very often – I tend to take my time absorbing and processing a story completely before moving on to the next (that, and it takes me far too long to choose what to read 💁‍♂️). As well as this, I tend to spontaneously encounter books throughout the year that I suddenly become motivated to read for whatever reason, so I know that even if I make a list, I probably won’t stick to it. Knowing this, I’ve compiled a list of five books that I hope to get onto throughout the next twelve months, and I’ll let my impulsive nature take care of the books in between.

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Book Review: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Norse-Mythology-Neil-Gaiman-UK.jpgNorse Mythology has been my first introduction to Neil Gaiman’s literary work, and being a fan of all things mythical and legendary, this entry on Gaiman’s shelf did not disappoint. The novel is a retelling of the ancient stories of Norse mythology, and Gaiman takes effort to weave his way through each one, finetuning them into one novelistic arc. This allows for a comprehensive read, and with each story being separate but still part of one connected timeline, this makes for the perfect casual read, as each story can be read separately as well as a few at a time. Of course, this didn’t stop me from reading it all in a day or two. 🤷‍♂️

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Book Review: ‘The King Must Die’ by Mary Renault

the-king-must-die-3Continuing my ongoing fascination with Ancient Greece/Greek Mythology, a little bit of research led me to Mary Renault’s Goodreads page, complete with a digital shelf of suggested novels for me to explore. Reading the blurbs of her work, I thought I would instantly be entranced by her novels. Classic literature that offers historical insight to the workings of Ancient Greek society as well as focusing on the story-telling aspects of (in this case) Theseus and the Minotaur? How could I say no?! This biographical narrative of the hero Theseus’ life swerved my expectations with each chapter, and I didn’t know what to expect, despite knowing the general plot of original myth. Despite this, my initial hype wore off fairly quickly as I turned through the pages, noting this novel was not quite what I initially thought it to be.

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Ranking The Tales of Beetle the Bard

Beedle_reducedThere is now less than a month until the next instalment of Fantastic Beasts releases in theatres, and being the Potter fan that I am, I simply couldn’t resist purchasing the recent illustrated edition of J.K. Rowling’s companion novella to her iconic series, ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard’ in anticipation. This series of short stories showcases five folklore fables that the children of Rowling’s Wizarding World are familiar with, similar to what Disney films are to us. While I initially expected the stories to be vanilla and empty, I was pleasantly surprised to notice the subtle detail placed in each story, reflecting aspects of Rowling’s extensive universe and narrowing in on different areas through Albus Dumbledore’s (a main character from the Harry Potter series) notes, a section of thoughts and considerations by the character following each story. Although the novella was originally published in 2008, a breath of fresh air has been placed upon the tales with captivating illustrations from Chris Riddell, well-known for his children’s series The Edge Chronicles. His illustrations and visual style fit the folklore ambience  of the stories perfectly, creating a feeling of both nostalgia and curiosity for me as I poured over them.

I’ve decided to rank each of the five stories from least entertaining to most, increasing with each entry. Despite this, I did enjoy each of the stories and these are simply my opinions on them. I’ve included my thoughts on each tale and have remained as objective as I’d have hoped to.

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Fantastic Beasts Illustrated – A Comparative Review

Fantastic_Beasts_Illustrated_Edition_cover_Hi-resExperiencing something of a Harry Potter relapse (not for the first time in my life), I finally caved in and bought the illustrated edition of J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them companion book (a year late is better than never, I suppose). Despite owning the original copy, I was around eleven years old when I read it, meaning most of the information would be redundant in my mind by now. It was originally released in 2001, following the forth novel in the series as a way of supporting the Comic Relief and Lumos charities, and as the Wizarding World has been developing exponentially since then, I thought it would be especially interesting to review the novel in the form of a comparison to its predecessor. With the film of the same name now becoming a franchise almost as large as Potter himself, there’s bound to be some foreshadowing and easter eggs for the observant reader.

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Book Review: ‘The Dry’ by Jane Harper

51E1NwxqHaLThe Dry is a murder mystery set in the fictional rural Australian town called Kiewarra, somewhat close to the grand city of Melbourne in Victoria. The story follows the journey of Aaron Falk, a former member of Kiewarra’s community with a provoking past. After leaving the town and moving to Melbourne where he establishes a career in federal police work, he returns to Kiewarra after twenty years to attend the funeral of his childhood best friend, Luke Hadler, as well as Luke’s wife and son, Karen and Billy. What Aaron discovers, however, is that the town he left is bursting at the seams with conundrums begging to be deciphered. Being a multi-award-winning novel, my expectations were certainly high heading into this, and to my pleasure, Harper valiantly delivered.

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