Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)

Bronte, Charlotte - Jane Eyre

★★★★☆☆☆

Title: Jane Eyre
Author: Charlotte Brontë
Genre: Fiction / Classics
First published: 1847
Edition: Clothbound hardback, published by Penguin Classics in 2008

It is never an easy thing rating or ‘judging’ a classic. With Jane Eyre, such a well-loved book, I found it even harder than normal. I picked up this book just as I was entering a reading slump, at a time when I was generally tired and distracted. Maybe this was not the book to read at such a time, but I initially liked it too much to put it away, even though I was only reading a few pages each day.1711 Jane Eyre

Certainly the first half of the book I liked a lot. I loved Jane’s character and followed her eagerly from Gateshead to Lowood to Thornfield. I connected with her person and her thoughts and was enjoying her journey through life.

However, I found myself getting a bit annoyed with Jane as she swooned after Mr Rochester. She lost a bit of the sensible character I had liked so much. The way he treats her and the way she treats him frustrated me and I found their relationship a bit irksome. I felt like Jane was turning into a person I no longer connected with.

Her actions following the discovery of Mr Rochester’s actions I did not quite understand and I am sorry to say that I never did regain my connection with her.

I did like the ending of the book, but it did not make up for the loss of sympathy for the main character.

A note on the rating. I based this on how much I enjoyed the book. I will say that this was probably not the best time to read this book, so I hope I can re-read it in the future at a time when it may suit my mood better.

And another note on this Penguin Classics clothbound edition; It is an absolutely beautiful book, but rather unwieldy to read.

4 out of 7 stars

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Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots (Sarah-Beth Watkins)

Watkins, Sarah-Beth - Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots
Author: Sarah-Beth Watkins
Genre: Non-Fiction / History
First published: 8 December 2017 by Chronos Books
Edition: ARC e-book, courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher

I already knew a fair bit about Henry VIII, but I knew next to nothing about his older sister Margaret, who became Queen of Scots. This is a thoroughly researched, well-presented account of her life, which was surprisingly eventful and interesting.

I found the writing style informative, but fairly easy to read, apart from the original correspondence texts. Having said that, those fragments of letters were fascinating in their own way, seeing how people communicated in the past.

I would thoroughly recommend this biography to anyone interested in British history or ‘kings and queens’.

5 out of 7 stars

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: If The Fates Allow (various)

Various - If The Fates Allow

★★★★★☆☆

Title: If The Fates Allow
Author: Pene Henson, Erin Finnegan, Lynn Charles, Killian B Brewer, Lilah Suzanne
Editor: Annie Harper
Genre: Fiction (short stories) / Christmas
First published: 1 December 2017 by Interlude Press
Edition: ARC e-book, courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher

This is a collection of five LGBTQ+ short stories based around the Christmas season. I felt I could do with a bit of diversity in my reading and I actually really enjoyed this collection. They are feel-good stories perfect for this time of year.

I decided against reviewing each individual story, as I feel as a collection they are stronger than alone. All these stories are about new starts and falling in love and all are so romantic! Halfway Home was my favourite of the stories, but all were well written, heartwarming and smile-inducing. The accumulated collection of this hope and love is what makes this such a strong bunch of short stories.

If you like Christmas and love, this is the short story collection for you!

5 out 7 stars

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross (Lisa Tuttle)

Tuttle, Lisa - The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross

★★★★☆☆☆

Title: The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross
Author: Lisa Tuttle
Genre: Fiction / Mystery /Paranormal
First published: August 2017
Edition: ARC e-book, courtesy of NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group

I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery novel, right up until the last few chapters, which fell a bit flat for me.

Lisa Tuttle has a wonderful way of portraying her characters in this novel set in Victorian England. I enjoyed Miss Lane’s voice and the way the characters interacted. I did not feel that I had needed to read the first book in this serious to enjoy this one. In fact, it works very well as a standalone, as mysteries often do.

The resolution of the various mysteries left me feeling a little unsatisfied. One mystery’s resolution especially left me feeling somewhat deflated. You know when you shout indignantly at a book’s plot twist you are clearly not feeling it. I just wanted a bit more from it.

However, I really enjoyed the author’s writing style and I would like to read some more by her.

4 out of 7 stars

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Humble By Nature (Kate Humble)

Humble, Kate - Humble By Nature

★★★★★★☆

Title: Humble By Nature
Author & Narrator: Kate Humble
Genre: Non-Fiction /Autobiography / Farming
First published: 2014 by Headline
Edition: Audio book

I love it when the author narrates their own story on audio books and this was such an enjoyable listen! Kate’s voice is warm and personable as she tells the listener/reader about her and her husband’s adventures creating a smallholding home in Monmouthsire.

If you do not like animals, there is no point reading this book, as it is saturated with Kate’s love for them and that is what makes it such a great story. She tells her tales of heartbreak and success with warmth and emotion and the passion she has for a life surrounded by animals show through in the casual narrative. Listening to this book made me smile a lot and it simply made me happy.

I would not say it is a must-read, but if you do love animals, I cannot recommend this highly enough.

6 out of 7 stars

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill (Mandy Baggot)

Baggot, Mandy - One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill

★★★★★☆☆

Title: One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill
Author: Mandy Baggot
Genre: Fiction / Romance
First published: 16 November 2017 (today!) by Ebury Press
Edition: ARC e-book, courtesy of Netgalley and the publisher

As far as seasonal romance novels go, I enjoyed this one a great deal. I liked Isla’s character a lot and I loved the setting. Of course, it hardly ever snows in London, especially in December. I lived there for ten years and never seen it snow as much as it does in this book. But hey, this is fiction and it COULD happen!

There were other issues with this book. The building plans for example, complete poppycock (a word used in the book), but again, this is fiction and does not need to be that realistic.

The most important thing is that I enjoyed the love story, which was cute and not too over the top. I liked both romantic leads and the fact that family played a big role. I also found myself really rooting for the romance developing between two other characters.

If you enjoy a bit of a Christmas romance, you could do worse than pick up this book.

5 out 7 stars

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Wheel of Time #3 The Dragon Reborn (Robert Jordan)

Jordan, Robert - The Wheel of Time 3 The Dragon Reborn

★★★★★☆☆

Title: The Dragon Reborn (The Wheel of Time #3)
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy
First published: 1991
Edition: Mass Market Paperback, published by Orbit in 2002

The third instalment of The Wheel of Time series is not quite as strong as the second, but I still enjoyed my re-read.

The main points of view in this book are Perrin, Matt, and Egwene, and those three characters that get fleshed out. You get glimpses of Rand, but not enough to get bogged down with his inner turmoil, as at this stage of the series Rand is a troubled young man. I know some readers that got annoyed with him at this stage, but I feel his reactions to events are quite understandable and realistic.

A lot of this book is spent travelling, but that is to be expected in a quest-type-of-series. If you do not like these kind of stories, this series is definitely not for you. I quite enjoy them, though it does get tiresome every now and then. Usually, just as I was getting fed up with them going here, and then there, something happened and the book had my full attention again.

It is also worth mentioning that Robert Jordan must have done meticulate research in to some aspects of  ‘ye olde’ life such as blacksmithing, as it is easy to quickly read over those bits, but it is described beautifully. And ‘scenes’ like that can really bring a character to life (Perrin in this case).

A few characters are introduced in this book. Some I know I never grew to like on first read or even strongly disliked, and when they appeared in the story this time I felt a little put out. That is what happens with re-reads though. First time around I would not have quite felt that way. I am curious to see how I will find them in the coming books this time around.

Although I do not love this book as much as the previous one and for some reason it took me ages to read, I still really enjoyed it, especially the second half, and I look forward to continuing the series in the near future.

5 out of 7 stars