Star Sullivan by Maeve Binchy (Review)

Star Sullivan by Maeve Binchy

9780752879543

About the author

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Maeve Binchy was born on the 28th May 1939 in County Dublin and was an Irish novelist, playwright, short story writer and journalist. After a short spell as a teacher Binchy became a journalist with the Irish Times, for which she wrote feature articles and columns. Her first novel Light a Penny Candle, was published in 1982, and from then she has written more than a dozen novels and short stories. Several of her novels have been adapted for cinema and television. She was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award at the British Book Awards in 1999. She sadly passed away in 2012 at the age of 73.

Blurb

Molly Sullivan said that the new baby was a little star. She was no trouble at all and she was always smiling… so she became known as Star.

Star Sullivan just wanted everyone to be happy- her father to stop gambling, her mother not to work so hard, her brother to stay out of trouble, her sister to stop worrying about every little thing she ate. Then Laddy moved in next door – and everything began to change, until Star was no longer the sweet, thoughtful girl everyone loved and no one worried about…

Review

I’ve never read a book by Maeve Binchy and when I saw this in the book pile at church I thought I would give it a try as it was only a quick read of 106 pages. I must admit I read it in one sitting but shouldn’t have started it so late at night because I ended up going to bed at 1am. Not good when you have work in the morning.

I really enjoyed Binchy’s style of writing and I will definitely read more of her books. I liked how real life the story was and how well it all flowed. I also appreciated how Binchy fit a good story into such a short space without the story suffering.

Star, the main character of the book, in my opinion has been let down massively by her family. She is a beautifully kind soul who worries about everyone, she worries so much that she doesn’t notice or care about her own wellbeing. She is very naive and her parents and older siblings do not try to help, teach or really notice the poor girl. Everyone is wrapped up in their own lives and worries that they do not nice Star worrying about everyone else and not growing up herself.

The other element I do not understand in this book is why they turn on her? When I read the blurb I thought it was going to be a typical tale of good girl goes bad because of bad friends etc. However that is not the case, Star still remains her good natured self just trying to help her family and friends.

I also did not understand Laddy at all especially at the end when he turned on Star’s family. The whole thing was rather a mystery to me as was Kenny’s sudden turn of character.

Overall I enjoyed the book and was pleased with the ending, although I was a little confused in places, may be the confusion is just me though. I think Star was very let down by her family and friends but thankfully rose above all this and turned into a mature, hard working adult, who didn’t worry so much about others. I gave this story 3 out 5 Dragons and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants a quick little read.

To purchase

Waterstones

Amazon

Kindle

Lady Book Dragon

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The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon (Review)

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

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About the author

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Samantha Shannon studied English Language and Literature at St. Anne’s College, Oxford. She is the New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author of The Bone Season series. She currently lives in London.

Blurb

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction–but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

Review

I got very excited about this book and dragged my husband out to Waterstones to buy it for me (he is very good at feeding my book addiction) on the day it came out. I had the last copy in the store. Needless to say I went straight home and started reading it. However due to a heavy work load and falling asleep instead of reading it has taken longer than expected to finish.

I loved this book and at times I could not put it down. I loved the idea of good dragons and bad dragons and that the two dragons are very different from each other. The history and religion in this book are fantastic and very well thought out by Shannon, she gave a thorough background of both, where no holes were visible. I adored the world Shannon created and did not want to leave it.

Ead was such a strong powerful character who you couldn’t help but support and love. I did find Queen Sabran a little bit trying at times and to be honest that is when I had to put the book down for a while and also why the book got 4 dragons instead of 5 but I suppose all monarchs can be trying at times.

The other element I found enchanting was Tané and her relationship with her dragon. I was so worried for both of them and found myself tense with worry and anticipation. It reminded me of the love a human has with their dog or horse, as a dog or horse are fiercely loyal to their owner and will generally do anything to help and protect them. I could not get enough of dear Tané.

I desperately wanted to know more about the history of the trees and magic in this world and I really hope that Shannon does decide to do another book instead of keeping this book as a stand alone. I WANT TO KNOW MORE! Shannon in my opinion has been clever with the ending as she could easily do a sequel. I gave this book 4 out of 5 Dragons because I did love it and have recommended it to friends and family. The reason it didn’t get the full 5 Dragons was because of Queen Sabran and the fact in the middle I found it dragged slightly, but overall an amazing book.

Purchase

Waterstones

Kindle

Amazon

 

Lady Book Dragon.

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Friday Poetry

So I’ve been looking at poems of a more recent era recently and this one really caught my attention so I thought I would share it with you all.

 

Last Words

In the beginning was the Word,

Not just the word of God but sounds

Where Truth was clarified or blurred.

Then Rhyme and Rhythm did the rounds

And justified their jumps and joins

By glueing up our lips and loins.

 

Once words had freshness on their breath.

The Poet who saw first that Death

Has only one true rhyme was made

The Leader of the Boys’ Brigade.

Dead languages can scan and rhyme

Like birthday cards and Lilac Time.

 

And you can carve words on a slab

Or tow them through the air by plane,

Tattoo them with a painful jab

Or hang them in a window pane.

Unlike our bodies which decay,

Words, first and last, have come to stay.

 

Peter Porter

 

Lady Book Dragon.

Waterstones Challenge: Walsall

So on an absolutely miserable day with rain and freezing cold temperatures we decided to get another Waterstones ticked off the challenge list. So off we went to my old university stomping ground, Walsall.

I loved this store! Mainly because I found all three books I wanted to buy straight away and Telford had let me down recently.

I also loved the building it was very spacious and full of books, the only down side was it was a little shabby in places especially the stair carpets but all the books made up for that.

The three books I bought were:-

Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

My husband also found a very novel bookmark that I ended up buying.

 

Very excited to get reading these books and using my new bookmark.

So this is another Waterstones ticked off the list. Hopefully over Easter I will manage to tick off some more stores from the list!

Lady Book Dragon.

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The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy by Tim Burton (Review)

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories by Tim Burton

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About the author

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Tim Burton was born in August 1958 and is an American filmmaker, artist, writer and animator. He is famous for his dark, gothic and eccentric horror and fantasy films. He often works with Johnny Depp and Danny Elfman.

Blurb

Twenty-three illustrated gothic tales from the dark corridors of the imagination of Tim Burton. Burton – the creative genius behind Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow and Nightmare Before Christmas, among others – now gives birth to a cast of gruesomely sympathetic children: misunderstood outcasts who struggle to find love and belonging in their cruel, cruel worlds. His lovingly lurid illustrations evoke both the sweetness and tragedy of these hopeful, yet hapless beings.

Review

When I saw this book in the bookshop a few days ago I grabbed it and immediately had to buy it. I love all the work of Tim Burton but I did not know he had done a book. I was so happy to find this book and very excited to read it. Yesterday I finally had time to sit down with a mug of tea and read it.

This book is a collection of short tales illustrated by Tim Burton himself, what is not to like? All the tales feel like children’s stories with the short little paragraphs and illustrations, however this is far too gothic and gruesome in places for children so Young Adults and upwards is a must.

The book is depressing, gruesome, gothic but most of all hilarious but naughty hilarious because you feel like you should not be laughing at these tales. I found The Melancholy Death of the Oyster Boy to be very depressing, I felt very sad about the fate of the Oyster Boy and I was rather shocked about how he died.

Another element that surprised me was how many tales contained parents who hate their children. It made me wonder what Burton feels about his own children to be honest. I am not complaining though as it made for good reading.

Nearly all the tales are my favourites but a few are my absolute favourites. Stain Boy is one because this reminds me of some of my nephews who no matter what get dirt everywhere and clean clothes do not stay clean for long. Sue was another favourite, the idea of someone walking around with a tissue attached to their face made me giggle.

I loved everything about this book, the illustrations, the stories everything is just brilliant. The book took less than half an hour to read, I found I wanted it to last longer. I definitely plan on re-reading this on halloween. This book has a massive 5 out 5 Dragons.

Purchase this book from Waterstones

Amazon Paperback

Lady Book Dragon.

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Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot (Review)

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot, illustrated by Edward Gorey

9780571321261

About the author

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Edward Stearns Eliot born 1888 in St Louis, Missouri, USA. He settled in England in 1915 and published his book of poems in 1917. Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats began life as a collection of poems dedicated to his godchildren, it was published in 1939. Eliot received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948 and sadly died in 1965.

About the Illustrator

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Edward Gorey (1925-2000) was an American writer and artist well known for his macabre and humorous illustrations. His first book, The Unstrung Harp; or, My Earbrass Writes a Novel (1953) was followed by many more. He illustrated work by T. S. Eliot, Edward Lear and Saki, among others.

Blurb

Cats! Some are sane and some are mad. And some are good and some are bad.

Review

I read this book as soon as I brought it home, but I read it in a very special way. I put on the musical movie starring Elaine Paige and John Mills and read the poems along with the musical, I might have also sang along as well. In short I had way too much fun and my poor husband had to endure a great deal.

I absolutely loved this book, I love the poems and I love the illustrations. It is all wonderful and I’m not sure I can choose a favourite poem because how can anyone choose a favourite cat?

The main thing I love is how all the different cats have attributes you can see in real life cats. I can certainly see many familiarities with the cats in the book with my own cats. T. S. Eliot clearly owned and had a lot of love for cats in his lifetime.

My favourite poem and cat was The Rum Tum Tugger he is just the epitome of cats. When you offer a cat some yummy food they would rather have something else, when you offer them fresh water they would rather drink from a puddle and so on.

I had amazing fun with this book and to be honest I keep going back to it now and reading my favourites. I also loved how the illustrations perfectly complimented the poems. I can not recommend this book enough to people especially if they are cat lovers, a quick read and would make a perfect gift to the cat lover in your life. I gave this book a massive 5 out of 5 Dragons.

Lady Book Dragon.

Purchase from Waterstones

Kindle

Amazon

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On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts by Thomas De Quincey (Review)

On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts by Thomas De Quincey

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About the author

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Thomas De Quincey was born on the 15th August 1785 and died on the 8th December 1859. He was an English essayist best known for Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.

Blurb

The provocative early-nineteenth-century essayist casts a blackly comic eye over the aesthetics of murder through the ages.

Review

So on to the fourth Penguin Little Black Classics book and this one really took me out of my comfort zone. I picked this book up thinking normally I would never dream of reading a book about murder being a fine art and to be honest after this I do not think I will read another book about murder being an art form.

I did struggle a great deal with this book and I really did not see the comic side in it that is mentioned in the blurb. I found it very hard to get into and very disturbing that people seem to enjoy studying murder. I also did not like the fact that murder was referred to as an art form. However it wasn’t all bad, I did find certain little stories inside it interesting, for instance the story about Descartes was very interesting.

I think it was a disturbing essay and it made me wonder what type of mind Quincey has to come up with this essay. However the essay was an eye opener about things that were happening in that point of history. However I didn’t really enjoy the book and wouldn’t read it again. This is why sadly I have only given the book 1 Dragon out of 5.

To purchase this book from Waterstones please click here.

Lady Book Dragon.

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