Book Review: The Cartographer by Tamsen Parker

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If you’re looking for heat this summer don’t bother going outside, Tamsen Parker’s The Cartographer brings all the heat and so much more!

This book infuriates me. Why, you might ask? Because it’s the last (Yes! The last!!) book in the compass series. It’s such a wonderful arching storyline over these six books and it’s all done! The fantastic part that doesn’t infuriate me, is how beautiful this story was tied together.

I really appreciated this book being in Reyes’s point of view. Watching our other characters grow with Reyes in the background was wonderful, but having him tie this story together and finished it made it so much better. I wouldn’t have wanted any different!!

This book is a sexy ride – M/M, hard R if you catch my drift – with Allie being our protagonists love interest. He is an interesting character – definitely not Cris or India. I really enjoyed his character, but I would have seen him being more stubborn than he actually was. It was a nice change not having him stubborn, but if there’s anything “wrong” with this story, that would be my only negative point.

In this book you will find lots of kink and sexy times, but you will also finds lots of heart wrenching back story. What’s nice about these novels is it’s not just an erotic read without any thought behind it. Tamsen has been getting better and better with her writing abilities with each book she writes. Not only has she increased the sexiness of these books, the characters, back stories and plots have grown with her. It’s so wonderful watching her grow with each book and seeing the characters grow along with her.

You could definitely read this book as a standalone, but I would definitely suggest reading the rest of the books. This book won’t cause any confusion to those who don’t know India/Cris – you might not understand a few references here and there. But, it doesn’t take away from the story in any way. Also, readers who haven’t gone through the first five books might find they don’t connect to Reyes as much as they should. He’s a very lovable character, so reading the other books will make you appreciate him so much more than what’s just introduced in this story.

Tamsen’s writing style is very easy to read – she doesn’t use difficult language, but doesn’t make it so simple either. Her sentences and words flow smoothly and don’t seem choppy like some BDSM novels I have read in the past.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I think this is a great addition to any kinky readers library and is a must read!! If you want some sexiness in your life, pick up some Tamsen Parker books. She’s becoming such a fantastic author and is growing so much, it’s almost foolish to not pick up her books if you want some super sexy romance in your life!!

Five out of five stars.

Lost Wolf by Stacy Claflin – Book Review

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Book Review
Book Title: Lost Wolf
Author: Stacy Claflin

Introduction: This book was a requested book review. Everything I say is honest – I have no obligation to make this a fluffy/nice review. I was given this book in return for an honest review.

Review:

Lost Wolf is the first novel in the Curse of the Moon series. It’s a fantasy, paranormal, romance-esque book.

Victoria is off at college – which I can definitely relate to. As someone who went to both University and College, I can relate to the major change. Of course, Victoria has a very different change in mind than your typical college student… She can’t remember anything – no memories, no family, nothing, na da! And for some reason, Jaguars are everywhere – in name, in physical form, and it’s just plain strange!

But what happens when someone recognizes her? Was there a kidnapping? Missing people? A death? So many questions, so many mysteries.

Starting off with this book, chapter 1 has me interested. It seems like a Young Adult-esque, kind of goofy, fun feel. I really enjoy the banter and female lead. Coming from someone who needs a fast, great start – this book has it at the beginning. After only reading the first chapter, this is definitely off to a great start.

This novel slowly reveals information to you. While I find it personally a not fitting part of the book, some readers may appreciate this. In my YA/Romance/Fantasy-esque books, I like the information up front if it’s not a mystery novel. But this novel does have a splash of mystery, so it can fit. It’s not a mark against this book, but some readers may not appreciate this aspect.

It moves at a slow pace – which for readers like me can be a major issue. I really like a fast moving story. Slow stories can be interesting, but personally it didn’t hit all the tempo notes for me. I love fast moving stories!

The voice and tone of this novel is not your typical writing voice. I liked this different writing style as someone who likes to write in this very tone. After reading other reviews, I find that this voice is what makes this book stand out. With all the fantasy/paranormal/romance books out there, having this tone made the book a little step up compared to all the other typical/mediocre novels out there.

That being said – this story has so much potential for a series. The plot itself is incredible, there are so many places this story can go! On top of that, as a reader I felt drawn towards these characters. I’m invested and I want to know more. Mixing all of that in with the lore, the backstory and fantastic voice this book has – I’m invested.

Overall, yes this story was slow. For me, that would have been a deal breaker if this story wasn’t so intriguing. Were there general issues with the plot or side comments? Yes, but there always are in all books these days. If you can look past the small, silly issues and you don’t typically get hung up on small plot holes/issues then this book will be great for you!

Four out of five stars.

Murderous May: The Girl on the Train – BOOK REVIEW EXTRAVAGANZA!

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Book Review
Book Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins

Introduction: I have had this book on my shelf for AGES. I had been dying to read it but I never had the time. And then, with a hint of luck, I had to go sit during a long appointment and I had all the time in the world to read this book! And I read about 85% of the book in one sitting and finished it one day later. I not only wanted to read it because of all the fantastic reviews I had read about it, but because I want to watch the film adaption as well. I always love reading the book before seeing the movie – hence why I haven’t watched many movies lately! So many are based on good books!

Review:

This book has been compared to Gone Girl since it hopped on the suspense/mystery novel scene – and while you can definitely say they are similar (because of, you know, murders and mystery) they are both fantastic in their own ways. They are two separate entities that shouldn’t be compared! Unless you are using them in a list of the best suspense books in the last decade, then list them together!

This book follows Rachel, a drunk, angry, depressed, bitter woman who has been divorced by Tom. Slowly throughout this book we are introduced to her back story – a glorious tale woven so beautifully by Paula Hawkins. Tom is now married to Anna, the other woman in his and Rachel’s relationship, and it all goes downhill from there. When a girl that Rachel has seen is missing, Rachel decides that she has to help this mystery.

Reading this book from Rachel’s, Anna and Meghan’s point of view is truly incredible. Rachel isn’t totally reliable because of her being an alcoholic, Anna sounds like the not-so-perfect housewife Tom probably desired at some point, and Meghan gives an inside view to the outside view Rachel has been watching. These three tales woven together are just so beautifully written that it’s hard not to want to tell everyone to read this book just to show them how three separate characters who barely interact can have  their lives so entwined with one enough.

So is all this hype worth it? I would say yes. Don’t put this book in some high and mighty place in your mind and then be disappointed. I decided I would read this to see the movie – all the comparisons to Gone Girl made me quite suspicious so I didn’t leave my standards high. But, surprisingly, this book was excellent. If I would have given it silly expectations, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much.

If I could describe this book in a few words, I would give it – insanity, murder, and suspicion. Every time I thought I had an idea of where this book was going, Paula had to go and shake it up like a magic eight ball. Typically I can see the ending from a mile away, and this book was different. I did NOT expect the ending. Will the reader guess it? Potentially, but it’s not a dead giveaway – which is why I like this book! Paula didn’t make it obvious and made the reader work for it if they wanted to guess.

Overall – this fast-paced, mind-blowing novel is definitely what I needed in my life! It lived up to the hype, and I’m excited to watch the film now! The psychological, murderous novel full of absolute insanity is spectacular! I can’t wait to read more by Paula Hawkins! Her and Gillian Flynn need to write a book together…because the insanity between the two of them in one book? That’d be killer!

Five out of five stars.

Positives:
1. Fast-Paced
2. Unpredictable Twists and Turns
3. Unreliable Narrators
4. Well Developed Characters
5. Complex Plot with a Layered Storyline
6. Unique Concepts

Negatives:
1. Comparisons to Gone Girl
2. Over-Hyped? Maybe.

Positive & Negative All Wrapped Up In One:
1. Dual (3 to be exact) POVs
2. Stereotypical Relationships
3. Black-Out Drunk Moments

Film Review: Zulu (1964) starring Stanley Baker, Michael Caine

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Film: Zulu (1964)
Director: Cy Endfield

Producer: Stanley Baker, Cy Endfield

Starring: Stanley Baker, Michael Caine

Introduction: A dear friend of mine recommends past films to me that I should watch. He tends to pick older films that I might not have heard of or wouldn’t see hanging around the local big brand shops that sell movies. He lent me Zulu so I could see Michael Caine in his first big role, and I couldn’t say no! I remember my Father used to love this movie, so I felt a little sentimental watching it for the first time.

Quick Plot: The film follows the British Army’s 24th Regiment of Foot in 1879. During this time, there was a battle against the Zulus – where the British army gets defeated. This movie chronicles some of the events that happened.

Review: I wasn’t sure if or how I would like this film. I never enjoyed war films and it had always been hard getting into them. While watching this film, I did tend to lose a little focus, but that was because it wasn’t a genre I typically enjoy watching. I wanted to watch this movie to see Michael Caine in the beginning of his acting career, since I find him one of my favourite actors.

This film moves slowly, but it is filled with extravagant details and imagery. The Zulus walking through the fields of the dead bodies of the British soldiers and the  waves of Zulus and soldiers attacking each other,

Overall, I found this film to be beautiful but slow. This film was definitely not a film made for me – I prefer fast moving, action packed and sometimes mysterious movies. This film was more a fictional documentary of the battle of the Zulus. But, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fantastic. It is definitely a movie I suggest to film goers. Seeing Michael Caine in his prime, the beautiful imagery, and the way the story was captured within this film is a real treat!

I give this film 85% out of 100%.

Batman: The Killing Joke – Book Review

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Batman: The Killing Joke is an excellent graphic novel following two of comics leading stars: Batman and the Joker.

Introduction: I have always loved superheroes – Adam West’s Batman was a key staple of my childhood. Slowly as I got older and Marvel and DC were the beckoning lights at the movie theaters, I became totally obsessed with everything superheroes, super villains and comic books. I began collecting them, reading them, and trying to get my hands on every adaption possible. So, I decided to watch The Killing Joke animated movie. I was so enchanted and enthralled with the film that I had to see the famous comic/graphic novel it was based on. It was a short search – a local store had it in stock the first time I went to look for it, and the rest is history.

Review:

This comic is so simple in theory, but so complex in art. A joker origin (of sorts), a splash of James and Barbara Gordon, some tragic ultimatums, Batman, and beautiful art.

The introduction to the Joker’s “back story” is so interesting. The Joker has always been this mysterious character, and the reader is welcomed into one theory of how the joker came to be. But the joker says it himself – he prefers his past as multiple choice. So is anything he tells us actually true? That’s up to you to decide.

The Joker is cunning and intelligent, as well as insane and wild. The reader gets to see his thought pattern and how truly manipulative he is when he takes control of the plot and causes his destruction. But then, he makes it worse by not only physically torturing his victim, but try to mentally destroy him as well. How can someone be to cruel yet so smart? It’s an incredible reading experience for fans of the Joker.

The ending leaves viewers with many questions – one that we may never know the true answer to. This cliff hanger wasn’t as troubling as other cliffhangers have been for me in the past. It leaves it off at the perfect ending – the reader questioning the events that happened. This leaves the reader to interpret the ending in their own way. What truly happened and what are we to believe?

Brutal is one word to describe this novel – there are graphic scenes, ones that changed DC comics dramatically – and it’s not for the lighthearted.

Overall, I really enjoyed this graphic novel. It changed my views on the Joker and Batman, and I really appreciated the little splash of Barbara Gordon (one of my personal favourite characters DC has ever created).

For those who are fans of the film / want to watch The Killing Joke animated film: The plot is very similar, but there are a few changes. These changes don’t impact the end of the story, but it may change some of your personal feelings/understandings of the characters.

Five out of five stars.

Quick Book Review: Coronation Street the Novel by Katherine Hardy

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Book Title: Coronation Street the Novel
Book Author: Katherine Hardy

Introduction: A lovely friend of mine lent me his copy of Coronation Street the Novel – ironically I had the same book on my shelf (his cover was purple and my cover was red). He asked me to read it first and give him a small recap, and I hardly think I’ll need to! Why? Read the rest of my review! 😉

Review:

This book is a great starter for anyone wanting to get some back story on Coronation Street (especially if you don’t want to go through a million pages of Coronation Street wiki…Those websites are insane!). It starts off at the early years of CS and continues up to about the 2010s. For those who want a back story (if they are new) or want a recap (those who’ve watched the series for years) this is a great start!

There are parts of this novel that are not perfectly aligned with the show – characters missing, characters doing something another character did or entire plot lines gone – but how can you fit over 50 years of television into a 1000 page book? it’s quite difficult, and Katherine Hardy has done an excellent job.

As an avid Corrie fan (I’ve been watching for about 10 years), I can say this was a great book to give me some back story on the famous families and characters I already knew. To me, it was a lot nicer to read from the beginning and understand the movements of the plot then just hop onto the Wiki page and try to figure it out as I click different characters and read their entire life story.

The book starts out with Elsie and Ena, moves into Ken Barlow (who’s still on the show! He’s incredible), and continues forward with Valerie, Deidre, the twins Peter and Susan, and Tracy Barlow as well! It showcases Gail and Brian, as well as Nick, Sarah and David with a splash of Audrey as well! Sally and Kevin make an appearance, Molly, Jack, Fiz, Steve! So many great characters from across the ages make an appearance and tie this series together.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It rolls along like the television show. For a different manner of showing off Coronation Street, I think this is great for readers. It shows how crazy and dramatic Coronation Street came be as a soap opera but in book form.

Four out of five stars!

HIS CUSTODY by Tamsen Parker Book Review

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Book Title: His Custody
Book Author: Tamsen Parker

Introduction: I’d be lying if I said Tamsen Parker wasn’t my favourite author. There’s many reasons why I love her (in a nerdy, fangirl type way) and many reasons why I respect her (as another female working their butt of in this funny world of business) but listing them all here wouldn’t do it justice. So, for a small introduction all I have to say is this: I LOVE supporting Tamsen and reading all of her books and posting my silly, little reviews for everyone to see. You can tell Tamsen is passionate about her books and she does an incredible job (she constantly raises the bars! She doesn’t stick to one topic and pump out fifty books of the same, old story. She changes it up!). I’ll continue reading every book she throws out until I can’t read anymore, and then I’ll find an audiobook and continue to devour every single novel she throws at me.

So thank you Tamsen for being such a wonderful author! From your little tweets that make my day, to the Valentine I got in the mail, to the very first time you offered to send me the rest of the Compass series to binge on. You are fantastic and I adore you and I appreciate everything you do (I don’t think people say that enough to anybody…so here’s my little appreciate two paragraphs to remind you ;D )! Keep up the great work!

Now it’s review time.

Review:

His Custody changes up the pace from Tamsen’s other books. We’ve seen the BDSM-type of novel, the voyeur novel, the F/F novel, and now this book is just a teeny bit different. And by teeny bit, I mean it’s a full 180. His Custody is what it sounds like – immediately you are thrown into this strange custody battle-esque scene where Jasper is trying to get custody of Keyne until she turns 18. I did NOT expect that, not at all. The title should have given it away, but hey, I’m not always looking for the most obviously reason behind the titles. I thought it might have been some sexy metaphor- but nope! Tamsen gives away the first scene in the title. She loves throwing me a loop, I swear sometimes she does this on purpose just to drive me insane! (Insane in a good way 😉 She’s keeping me on my toes…).

Bonus Marks: Jasper leaving Keyne a note. A hand written note! Oh, Tamsen loves playing with my heart strings.

Jasper is the knight in shining armor who is totally not the knight in shining armor. Drugs, kinks, all of that jazz that makes someone NOT the perfect knight in shining armor is Jasper. Yet he’s sexy as hell and works his butt off for Keyne. He’s not your typicaly goody-two shoes love interest, but that’s what makes him interesting! He’s not perfect, he has flaws. Slowly we’re seeing Tamsen develop her characters into bigger and better, and I love that!! Was he my favourite out of all her characters? No, but he’s still incredibly developed and written beautifully! (I still love the Compass series. Nothing has passed that yet…Cris from the Compass series fits my aesthetic).

Bonus Marks: “Mumbo jumbo” is used in this book. Finally someone else who uses my terminology!

This book is definitely another home run for Tamsen. She grows in her field, which is wonderful. I haven’t found many authors who continue to grow and share the knowledge their gaining without doing the same, old boring storyline over and over. She tries new things and experiments, which makes me respect her even more as an author. She goes above and beyond (and without spoiling), she goes to greater lengths to show pain, love, trust and other feelings in these characters where she hasn’t gone before.  This book is pretty deeper in it’s storyline and consequences. It’s a nice change to see a story with a little more pain than the past books, and it’s interesting to see how Tamsen deals with that in her stories.

Bonus Marks: “Hey, that guy has a penis”. The strangest yet funniest quote I’ve ever seen in a book.

There’s, of course, lots of sexy time in this novel. How would it be a Tamsen novel without the sexy time? It’s a splash of different compared to the other books. This book is harsh and intense, and the scenes between Jasper and Keyne fit that bill. It all ties in well with the dramatic scenes of this novel.

Frustrations: My frustrations are always silly with books like this. For example, my BIGGEST PROBLEM in this whole book is the name Andersson. Why is it two S’s? Why am I so annoyed by this? Why is this the BIGGEST issue in the whole book for me?! Who knows. It’s a great book! If I can say the spelling of a name is the biggest frustration of a book, you’ve done a good job!

My second frustration isn’t a book frustration – I know a female dog named Jasper, and for whatever reason I was not convinced that Jasper was the male leads name for the first twenty pages of this book. Silly frustration? Obviously. But again, if silly frustrations like this are my biggest frustrations, the book has to be good. Or at least on my level, it’s great.