Friday, 24 March 2017

Book Review - The Butterfly Garden - Dot Hutchinson

I saw this book on Goodreads as one of the best thrillers of 2016 - I looked into the blurb of the book and just knew I had to read it. And read it I did, all in one night.

If you don't like rape, kidnapping, child molestation, abuse and more (like is probably the wrong word but you know what I mean) then this book definitely isn't for you. Its dark, gritty and utterly captivating.

The chapters are split into police interviews, where we get to meet FBI agents  Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison  and first person recountings of the Butterfly Garden, told by victim Maya. I liked the layout of this retelling, we got to see right into the story of the butterfly garden, but also get to ask ourselves how trustworthy this first person recounting is - Maya was getting interviewed by the FBI after-all, can we believe everything she has to say?

I did find it difficult to actually imagine the Butterfly Garden though. I couldn't really grasp the sheer size of it, and how the girls within could have gone unnoticed for so long, however, after a while I just went with it and got completely absorbed with the story.

There have been complaints that the writing of the women is sexist, and they all just go along with what their captor tells them. And in some ways I understand this, Maya especially seems to just keep quiet and do as she is told, however, as explained in the book, if you push too far you die and get put on display for all the other girls to see. I don't think we can really judge as we have never been in that situation! Though I would like to think I would fight, then how would I get out of the garden? Would I actually be brave enough to fight when so many before me haven't been able to get free?

I just really enjoyed this book, it was something different from what I usually read, it had all the darkness and brutality that I wanted, that I expect of a book that claims to be potentially offensive. It was just really great 5/5


Friday, 17 March 2017

Book Review - The Roanoke Girls - Amy Engel

'Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.'

I was sent this ebook for free through blogging for books - however this will not influence my review in any way!

I had never heard about Roanoke until the latest season of American Horror Story. Finding out about this creepy place where a whole colony just disappeared with the added hauntings through the tv show got me hooked. Though this book doesn't look into the history of Roanoake, you get the same creepy, disturbing story that if you enjoy AHS you will love here.

I have read a few reviews about this book where people feel bad or wrong for enjoying it - because of the themes (such as incest) it touches on. I really enjoyed this book, so I don't know if I should also feel guilty? But I don't, its just a story, and sure its creepy and wrong but I'm not hurting anyone by reading it!

The story follows Lane Roanoke, both in the past and the present. Her mother kills herself while Lane is young, and she is sent off to live with her Grandparents and cousin, where she discovers that having a loving family is not all it is cracked up to be. In the present, Lane goes back to Roanoke to look into the disappearance of her cousin. As all of the Roanoke girls have upped and left at one point or another, Lane is sure something is amiss in regards to her cousin's disappearance, and is defiant in finding out what that is. 

The revelation of incest comes out slowly in this book, even though I think it is obvious what is happening throughout? And I would have liked Lane to stick around longer just to see how far her Grandfather would push her - in ways I think she got off easy. I want to see the darkest, twisted parts of the story, not just have mentions of them. Though if a lot of people found this offending, I don't think they would have been able to cope with anything darker.

I read this book cover to cover in one night, I was hooked on the story and wanted to know where it went. I loved that it had the mystery woven into the story and really recommend. 4/5

Monday, 13 March 2017

Book Review - King's Cage - Victoria Aveyard

“I've been broken too many times to break again.”

This is the third book in the Red Queen series - you can find my review of the second book here

There are so many things I dislike about this series, yet I find myself needing to read the next one to see what happens. So in a way I hoped this would be the last in the series, partly because I like trilogies and partly because I don't want to have to keep buying into the story. Sadly it isn't, so it won't be too long until I am here reviewing the next one because I am a sucker for a cliffhanger.

Overall I think this book is better than the last, and part of that is because I liked that we got more points of view this time other than Mare and her eternal torment. If I could just cut out all the parts of her and Maven and they're bullshit love story I would be happy.

The book starts with Mare having been taken hostage by Maven, her powers are taken from her by Arvens and she is locked in a small room with nothing to do. Outside of the city walls the Scarlet Guard are continuing their fight for the Reds and Newbloods, and through the book we meet new characters and new alliances. 

We finally get a proper fight scene in this book. I was really ready for it at the end of the last book, but it was taken from me at the last moment. I'm not completely dismissing the fight in the prison in the second book, but I've been so ready for a proper Silver vs Red/Newblood war.

I think my biggest problem with the series is the love story arc that carries on throughout. I cannot for the life of me understand why so many people 'ship' Mare and Maven, I even have issue with Mare and Cal... I just don't think the romances work, but because they're so loved by so many people it is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the story. I care about the war, about the reds and their struggle, about the new bloods and their confusion and powers. I do not care about Mare's conflicted feelings for Maven who is quite clearly a bastard who doesn't deserve any love. Just because he was 'made' by his mother doesn't stop him from still being a cunt now. Any pity for him is quickly lost and her tortured feelings about him every time he flutters his eyes is just... its the worst. 

Of course the book ended on another cliffhanger, because Aveyard is just a pro at book endings, and therefore I will have to read the next one. 

I think Cameron is a great addition to the book, she is similar to Mare in a lot of ways, but I really enjoy reading her and even Evangeline's chapters. I think they add so much more to the series. 

Overall I would give this book a 3/5. I just hate the love story. I'm sorry, but other than that I didn't get as annoyed reading this as I did before! 

Have you read any of the Red Queen series, what do you think? Are you a Maven/Mare shipper? Let me know why in the comments below. 

Thursday, 9 March 2017

International Women's day

I am the worst woman/blogger as International Women's day was in fact yesterday 8th March... I'll be completely honest and say I didn't have a clue it was coming up, but still wanted to put my two cents in. 

Women are great, and thanks to the efforts of many women before me, I am lucky to have many/all of the same rights as men. This isn't to say that we haven't got a way to go (just a friendly reminder of how the Suffragettes used racism to further their cause), but we have achieved a lot. 

I have been a firm feminist for as long as I can remember. Even when I was younger I would get a deep sense of anger against anyone who said I couldn't do something because I am a girl - and I think this is thanks to my parents, especially my mum.  Because of them, feminism isn't a thing it is just common sense, and it still astounds me today that it is even an issue for debate. 

My mum is a woman who takes no shit. She firmly pushed the belief into us that we should stand up for ourselves, to not bow down to bullies. Though this point shows through me in silent stubbornness rather than vocalization, it is something I have kept with me for a long time. I went through a tough period of being put down, and made to feel a failure by my own school. Though I didn't really do anything proactive against this, because of my mum I have kept that stubborn fire burning in myself to pursue my dreams in my own way and on my own terms. Thanks to my mum I have goals, and I believe I can achieve them as long as I work for it.

My dad showed me that not all men treat women like delicate flowers, and that I can be just as tough and strong as them. My favourite show growing up was Buffy the vampire slayer. There is no other way of describing my feelings for the show as anything other than obsession - I probably still am today. I remember one day him coming out of his garage with a present for me, a little wooden stake that he had carved - so I could be just like Buffy. Its a small thing, that he probably doesn't even remember, but it meant a lot to me. It wasn't a doll's house, it wasn't something fluffy, it was a stake so I could run around the garden pretending to stab things. It showed me that he understood who I was as a woman and didn't want to change that. 

Both of my parents encouraged me in my sporting days, from netball and football to kick boxing. Nothing was off limits to me just because of my gender.

I'm also lucky enough to be surrounded by like minded people. I think this is probably because I pick my friends partly for their beliefs and not just blind luck. I have friends that are determined to make me feel invincible - this cartoon by Sarah Andersen is probably my favourite way of describing it:

I appreciate all the great people around me who make me happy with the fact that I am a woman.

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