Book Review: After The Fire by Will Hill

A dark and enthralling story, After the Fire tells the dramatic story of seventeen-year-old Moonbeam’s terrifying life in a cult, her climactic escape, and her rehabilitation into the outside world. This novel is different and really makes its impression; it is like a dystopian fiction set within a normal world and every page is interesting from start to end. I would describe this book as suspenseful, riveting, and inspiring.
The following is a spoiler-free review.

after the fire by will hill book review showing a teenage girl book cover

Book Summary: Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming. Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out. What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?

I absolutely loved the strong character of Moonbeam. She struggled through many hardships during her time within The Fence, but she has a ferocious nature and is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. She is a true feminist icon and her desire to help the other children is amazing. Also, how cool is her name? Furthermore, I also liked Agent Carlyle, his dark humour, and fatherly protectiveness towards Moonbeam. It was lovely to see their relationship play out.

In contrast, the cult leader Father John is a despicable, initimidating and power-hungry character who strikes fear into those around him. Locking children in metal crates in the Texan heat, manipulating people into labouring for him, and only allowing two pieces of bread per day as nourishment? Yep, Father John is a repellent character. The author did a fantastic job at creating characters of such opposite force.

If you are looking for a dystopian-like fiction novel with a strong lead character and lots of twists and turns on the way, then I would definitely recommend this book. It is exciting and original.

R/T: Thorn (please see About section for information) 

Rating: 4.5/5

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Top 10 Romantic Book Quotes That Will Make You Smile

Love is an amazing power. It brings joy, hope, and magic! I’ve decided to do something a little different from the usual book reviews. Let me know what you think! The following are my favourite romantic book quotes in no particular order.

1. ‘If God didn’t believe in me, then I’d have to believe you were just a coincidence. And you being a coincidence in my life is a lot harder for me to fathom than the mere existence of a higher power’ 


All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover
Roses in vases on tree

2. ‘You and I, it’s as though we have been taught to kiss in heaven and sent down to earth together, to see if we know what we were taught’


Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
A couple kissing passionately

3. ‘No matter what has happened. No matter what you’ve done. No matter what you will do. I will always love you. I swear it’

Defiance by C.J. Redwine

4. ‘Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same’


Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
A couple kisses in the countryside under a rainbow

5. ‘Do I love you? My god, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches’


The Princess Bride by William Goldman
A beach with the words love spelt

6. ‘If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you’


Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A Milne

7. ‘As I got to know you, I began to realise that beauty was the least of your qualities. I became fascinated by your goodness. I was drawn in by it. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. And it was only when I began to feel actual, physical pain every time you left the room that it finally dawned on me: I was in love, for the first time in my life


Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos

8. ‘I know from experience that the poets are right: love is eternal’


A Room With a View by E.M Forster
Couple on a rail road romantic


9. ‘And in her smile I see something more beautiful than the stars’

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

10. ‘In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you’


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Which of these is your favourite quote? Do you have a different love quote that you absolutely love? If so, comment below!

Book Review: Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

Perhaps this is an unpopular opinion, but I believe this book fails to reach its full potential. Far From the Tree has a promising plot which focuses on the intertwined lives of three adopted teenagers who find out they are siblings. They are all experiencing problems in one way or another and the author explores these throughout the story. Although the novel has some positives, I took issue with several aspects of the book and generally did not find it engaging until the last couple of chapters. The reasons for this will be explored below. The following is a spoiler-free review.

far from the tree by robin benway cover book review

Book Summary: Being the middle child has its ups and downs. But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including–Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs. And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.

There is no doubt that the issues raised by the novel are of value, such as self-identity and teenage pregnany. The problem lies in how this novel was put together and the awkward characterisation. I found the book to be very slow-paced without much flow to it; the ideas were disjointed and made it hard to empathise with the characters. For instance, at the start of the book Joaquin says he is happy that he has no siblings and would be devastated if he had some. Soon after, when he finds out he has two siblings, there is no exploration of how this affects him. He is suddenly completely fine with it, and it was disappointing that small things like this were not picked up on. There were also editing mistakes within the novel where one charatcer is talking and then a different character’s name is used to continue the sentence. I know it seems like nit-picking, but these little things can be annoying!

As to to characterisation, I did not like Maya at all. She is an extremely irritating character who I would describe as self-absorbed, ungrateful, and a complete bitch to others. I can see why this novel has appeal from an objective standpoint, however I felt no connection to the characters and that is a problem because it means this novel did not make me feel anything. Those who have read my previous reviews will know that I am not a heartless robot and that I feel emotional after reading many other books! On a positive note, I did find the last few chapters interesting and I liked how the novel felt nicely wrapped up. However, overall this novel is just missing something and it is hard to pinpoint what it is exactly because it appears to be several small things. The ending, however, made up for it and was pleasant and inspiring to read.

R/T: Rose and Thorn          (please see About section for information) 

Rating: 2.5/5

Book Review: Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll

I have always been of the mindset that an adult shouldn’t dismiss a book as childish or uninteresting just because it was marketed as a children’s novel. Intrigue and mystery are the very essence of this debut novel. Set in Victorian England, Frost Hollow Hall is an intricate ghost story that is both captivating and surprisingly deep. This is one of the reasons why I consider this novel to be one of my all-time favourites.
The following is a spoiler-free review which was requested by Violetrosy0.

frost hollow hall book cover by Emma Carroll for review

Summary: The gates to Frost Hollow Hall loomed before us. They were great tall things, the ironwork all twisted leaves and queer-looking flowers. And they were very definitely shut. Winter, 1881. In the middle of a frozen lake, a girl is skating. She’s not supposed to be here. No one is. Not since Kit Barrington drowned at Frost Hollow Hall ten years ago. But the dead don’t scare Tilly Higgins. The ice is thin. It cracks. Suddenly she’s under the water, drowning. Near death, a strange spirit appears to her, a boy so beautiful Tilly’s sure he’s an angel. But he’s a ghost. And a very troubled ghost. And he desperately needs her help…

This novel is beautiful in every sense of the word. It’s not what I expected when I first looked at the cover. But it’s how I felt after I finished reading the book. The principle mystery of the story is, why is the main character being overwhelmed with ghostly visions? What does the spirit of the young boy want from her? And what are the inhabitants of Frost Hollow Hall hiding behind their heavily closed doors? The story is delivered in an enticing way that leaves the reader hungry for more, to the point where you can easily read the book in a single day. There are small clues scattered throughout the book to answer these questions and the big reveal at the end is absolutely worth it. For those who aren’t fans of ghost stories, this one isn’t as scary, as much as it is life-affirming.

Just to give some idea about the characterisation, the main character, Tilly, is a vivacious and strong-willed girl who is easy to relate to. She often feels at-odds with her family and has an amusing love-hate relationship with her schoolboy crush, Will Porter. The other characters are also interesting, particularly the hosekeeper, Mrs Jessop, who is a paradox of forboding and maternal personalities, appearing to be hiding secrets of her own. In other words, if you are looking for a book with good characterisation and an engaging storyline, this might just be the book for you. I would absolutely recommend it.

R/T: Rose and Thorn          (please see About section for information) 

Rating: 4.5/5

Book review: All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

Heart-breaking and absolutely inspiring. This book played at my heartstrings and then healed them completely. I was hooked from the get-go and by the time I reached the end, it seemed like I had completely flooded the house with my tears of catharsis. This is a must-read for couples in a serious relationship or those considering one in the future. The following is a spoiler-free review.

All your perfects book cover by Colleen Hoover for review

Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

Then: The last thing Quinn expected was to meet the love of her life just outside her fiance’s front door. A year after leaving behind their cheating partners, Quinn and Graham are in a perfect relationship that seems designed by fate.

Now: Seven years later, Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair. All Your Perfects is powerfully moving story about a broken couple whose future hinges on promises made in the past, reminding us that the enduring power of love is the ultimate saviour.

Quinn and Graham are a couple with some major relationship issues. They’re not perfect people. In fact there were several moments where I felt quite peeved and wanted to shake them into seeing sense. I found the alternating ‘Now’ and ‘Then’ chapters to be particularly effective in gradually introducing the reader to the two characters and building a contrast which is immensely emotive. We are given a view into how they first met (where they humourously stole their cheating spouses’ Chinese takeaway and proceeded to eat it in front of them) and how their relationship blossomed into something extraordinary. This is in stark contrast to seven years later, where the couple has to deal with some heart-wrenching personal problems which appear set to ruin them forever.

However, the couple made a promise the day before they were married that should they ever want a divorce, they would open a wooden brown box with some secret contents. Whatever is inside could be their saving grace. Naturally, we don’t find out what’s inside the wooden box until near the end of the book.

Upon finishing this book I felt amazed at how poignant it was. Hoover has worked her magic once again by showing us the importance of communication, support, and most importantly never losing sight of why you made a promise to love someone in the first place. A stunning read.

My favourite quotes from the book:

When you meet someone who is good for you, they won’t fill you with insecurities by focussing on your flaws. They’ll fill you with inspiration, because they’ll focus on all the best parts of you’

If God didn’t believe in me, then I’d have to believe you were just a coincidence. And you being a coincidence in my life is a lot harder for me to fathom than the mere existence of a higher power’.

And of course… ‘If you only shine light on your flaws, all your perfects will dim’

R/T: Rose and Thorn          (please see About section for information) 

Rating: 4.5/5  

Happy New Year!

To joyful readings and plenty of blogging!

Sparklers

My New year’s eve was spent with great music, dancing, and AMAZING food! Some fun games, and a fantastic view of fireworks.

I’ve only just started out with book blogging but I enjoy it loads and it’s lovely sharing it with all you wonderful people 🙂

Book Review: One Day in December by Josie Silver

A heartfelt story of love at first sight, second chances, and the obstacles that two people face in making their deepest desires come true. This book made me feel frustrated, emotional, and best of all, it made me cry like a baby from sheer happiness. This story takes place over several years as the characters wade their way through new challenges, new romances, and attempts to subdue their feelings for each other. It is so obvious that Laurie and Jack belong together, and they both know it subconsciously.
But this is no simple love story. This is a spoiler-free review!

One day in december book cover for review by Josie Silver

Book description: Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist. After all, life isn’t a scene from the movies, is it? But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away. Laurie thinks she’ll never see the boy from the bus again. But at their Christmas party a year later, her best friend Sarah introduces her to the new love of her life. Who is, of course, the boy from the bus. Determined to let him go, Laurie gets on with her life. But what if fate has other plans?

The novel starts with Laurie making eye contact with Jack whilst she is on a bus and he’s sitting at a bus stop. She thinks it’s love at first sight and they share a romantic moment, but the bus speeds away before he gets a chance to board it (I know right, how annoying). I must admit, at this point the critic in me thought, how realistic is this really? I found the moment touching but a bit hard to take seriously that she fell in love without having even once talked to the guy. I guess this is my main criticism, along with that fact that Jack at times acts like a volatile teenage headcase with a sex addiction. I don’t really see what Laurie sees in him, but hey, to each their own. Maybe they were made for each other.

Other than that, I loved the intricate design of this romantic story. The way in which this story took place over several years really worked in this book and we feel like we really get to know the characters and how they develop. The female friendship between Laurie and Sarah is heart-warming and inspiring. I wouldn’t really class this as a traditional love triangle, so don’t worry about this if you weren’t a fan of Twilight! Both Laurie and Jack have big decisions to make with regards to each other which could potentially ruin their closest friendships. One thing I should point out about this novel is how human the characters felt; none of them is perfect, they each have their flaws and upsides. Some readers may like this whilst others may prefer more idealistic characters. This book is one of a kind and I agree with previous comments that it has all the feels of a romance movie. I absolutely loved loved loved the ending of the book! It was a fairy-tale ending that put a huge smile on my face. Uplifting and powerful.

R/T: Rose and Thorn          (please see About section for information)                  Rating: 4/5