The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (Review)

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

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About the author

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Henry James, born 15th April 1843, was an American-British author. He is best known for his novels dealing with social and marital interplay, in his later years his novels became more experimental. He passed away in February 1916.

Blurb

A very young woman’s first job: governess for two weirdly beautiful, strangely distant, oddly silent children, Miles and Flora, at a forlorn estate…An estate haunted by a beckoning evil.

Half-seen figures who glare from dark towers and dusty windows- silent, foul phantoms who, day by day, night by night, come closer, ever closer. With growing horror, the helpless governess realizes the fiendish creatures want the children, seeking to corrupt their bodies, possess their minds, own their souls…

But worse-much worse- the governess discovers that Miles and Flora have no terror of the lurking evil.

For they want the walking dead as badly as the dead want them.

Review

This was the last book I completed on holiday and to be honest it was a massive disappointment. I just could not get on with James’ writing style and found the whole story to be extremely boring.

The story centres around a young woman who is hired to be the governess of two young orphans. The uncle of these children does not want to know anything of their upbringing or of any problems, he wants to live his life to the full unhindered by these children. The governess goes off to a large country estate to look after these children and she immediately starts to hear and see strange things.

Now my first reaction was that this governess is very young for such responsibility and inexperienced. Her imagination could easily be running wild, and turning the sounds of an old house into something more. The housekeeper does not help instead of giving the girl a good shake she just blindly accepts what the governess is saying.

Then the two ghosts start to appear that only the governess has seen but she is convinced the children have seen them too but the children are not afraid of the ghosts.

At times I did wonder and still do whether all of this was in the governess’ head because it just was not a very convincing gothic horror story. It just felt forced and sloppily written, and there were certain things that got on my nerves, for instance why did she just ignore that the boy was expelled from boarding school, why did she not found out why he was expelled or find him another school? The only good point was the description and setting the scene of the gothic style manor house.

The final straw was the ending which just annoyed me no end and just confirmed to me that the book had been a massive waste of my time, I was just thankful it was rather short. I gave this book 1 out 5 Dragons.

Purchase Links

Waterstones

Book Depository

Amazon

Kindle

Audible

Details of book I read

Page count: 124

Format: Kindle

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Mini update

Hello my fellow book dragons.

I just thought I would do a little update on what I have read so far whilst on my holibobs.

Some are on the summer reading challenge list some are not.

Awaken the Darkness by Dianne Duvall

I read this on the plane and really enjoyed it.

Jaws by Peter Benchley

Loved this so much!

Fireside Gothic by Andrew Taylor

This one I borrowed off Lord Book Dragon and it was a nice discovery. I definitely plan on reading more by Andrew Taylor

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Hmm still not sure on this one. Just could not get on with Henry James’ writing style.

I’m about to start reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

Reviews will follow next week when I’m home and back to my laptop.

Happy Reading.

Maui

Hello my fellow book dragons!

It might be a little quiet at the moment because Lord and Lady Book Dragon are currently on holiday in Maui.

The good news is that Lady Book Dragon is doing a lot of reading by the pool and on the beach. There will be a lot of book reviews going up once we are safely back home. Lady Book Dragon has even had to borrow one of Lord Book Dragon’s books to read as she was struggling to find reading material!

But for now enjoy a few snaps of our hols.

Happy reading.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (Review)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

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About the author

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Capote was born in New Orleans in 1924 and was raised in various parts of the South. He left school at the age of fifteen and worked at the New Yorker which provided his first and last regular job. Capote wrote many novels in his lifetime and died in August in 1984.

Blurb

It’s New York in the 1940’s where the martinis flow from cocktail hour till breakfast at Tiffany’s. And nice girls don’t, except of course, Holly Golightly. Pursued by Mafia gangsters and playboy millionaires, Holly is a fragile eyeful of tawny hair and turned-up nose, a heart-breaker, a perplexed, a traveller, a tease. She is irrepressibly ‘top banana in the shock department’, and one of the shining flowers of American fiction.

Review

This is a book that I have been meaning to read for a very long time but have never got around to it. I only wanted a thin book to read and when I went mooching through my many book piles I found it. I did not realise that this book also has three extra short stories, so that was an added bonus.

I enjoyed the book but I also found it rather annoying at times and frustrating. Holly is making the best of things and trying to improve her life till she gets her dream life and she really does not care who she steps on to get there, that also includes her friends.

Holly has many men falling over themselves to be with her and she uses them to her own ends. Her neighbour, who is also the narrator, she names Fred although that is not his real name but we never find out his real name. Fred is rather strange in my opinion and at times a little creepy. He is obsessed with Holly, to the extent he goes through her rubbish to see what type of person she is, that in my opinion is stalker behaviour.

I found Holly to be really selfish and uncaring and I really did not like how she treated people, she didn’t even bother to learn Fred’s real name and tended to treat him like dirt. However, at times she did suddenly show a caring and considerate side that showed you she wasn’t all bad.

I have not seen the film but really want to, especially after reading the book, I imagine the movie to be very glamorous possibly more than the book. Audrey Hepburn makes anything look glamorous and the character Holly does nothing but smoke and drink which will be interesting to see on screen.

I enjoyed the story but it did annoy me at times and for that reason I only gave it 3 out of 5 Dragons. I recommend it to everyone as a must read as Capote is an excellent author.

The three extra short stories were lovely little stories, especially the last one which brought a tear to my eye.

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Purchase from:-

Amazon

Kindle

The Book Depository

Waterstones

 

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Summer Reading Challenge: Not From Around Here

Another instalment of the Summer Reading Challenge. I am slowly getting a list assembled and I am really looking forward to reading all these new books over the summer.

The List so far:-

Good as Gold:- The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

The Book is Better:- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Short and Sweet:- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

On the Bandwagon:- The handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood

Actually Want to Read:- Jaws by Peter Benchley

 

The next prompt is Not from around here:- Read a book set in a different culture from your own. This one I must admit I am rather struggling with but I have tried to come up with a few ideas.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

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Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move a person to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with a startling heroism.

 

 

 

 

 

A strong contender as I do enjoy the work of Khaled Hosseini.

 

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

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A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha.

In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction – at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful – and completely unforgettable.

 

 

A returner to the line up as this has already been on the list of possibles. Maybe it is a sign to definitely read the book.

 

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

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The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it — from garden seeds to Scripture — is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

 

 

 

This has been highly recommended to me by several family members so I do believe I should give it a read.

 

I’m sticking with just the three options. If anybody has any recommendations please drop me a message.

Happy reading.

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ABC Book Challenge

Good evening!

After finally finishing a very busy day working wise I have finally managed to sit down and have a relax.

This evening I am continuing with the ABC Book Challenge and this week I am looking at the letter D.

To see my other posts please click the following links:-

A | B | C |

 

Books I have loved beginning with D

 

A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin

Darkness Rises by Dianne Duvall

Dead Men by Richard Pierce

Desperate Hours by David Mack

The Diamond Throne by David Eddings

A Discourse on the Method by Rene Descartes

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan

Dragons at Crumbling Castle by Terry Pratchett

Books on my TBR list beginning with D.

 

Daniel Deronda by George Eliot

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens

Dune by Frank Herbert

Some really good books explored today but surprisingly not many on my TBR list.

I hope everyone has a good week.

Happy reading.

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Summer Reading Challenge: Actually Want to Read

Well everyone, will this rain ever stop?

All I want to do this gloomy Saturday is curl up with a mug of tea and a good book, however the house work has been calling. But I have taken a break to work out another book to read for the Summer Reading Challenge.

This prompt is: Actually want to read: read a book that has been on your Want To Read Shelf for more than a year. 

My Want to Read shelf on Goodreads started in 2012 so there are rather a lot of books to choose from.

I have decided to pick one from each year and choose from there.

2012: The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas

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In the dark recesses of the Bastille, a young prisoner known only as Phillipe has spent eight years of his short life. When Aramis, posing as his confessor, bribes his way into the prison, the truth about the man’s identity is brought to light. It is a secret which, if revealed, could bring down the King of France, Louis XIV, whose corrupt rule is destroying the well-being of his country.

The ensuing jailbreak and the consequent struggle for power brings the musketeers into swashbuckling action, taking us back to the days of chivalry and making The Man in the Iron Mask one of the most enthralling historical romances in literature.

I love Dumas so would be very happy to read this book over the summer, but it is very weighty and maybe be a bit on the long side for a summer read.

2013: The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory

15849910The final novel in the Cousins’ War series, the basis for the critically acclaimed Starz miniseries, The White Queen, by #1 New York Times bestselling author and “the queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY) Philippa Gregory tells the fascinating story of Margaret Pole, cousin to the “White Princess,” Elizabeth of York, and lady-in-waiting to Katherine of Aragon.

Regarded as yet another threat to the volatile King Henry VII’s claim to the throne, Margaret Pole, cousin to Elizabeth of York (known as the White Princess) and daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, is married off to a steady and kind Lancaster supporter—Sir Richard Pole. For his loyalty, Sir Richard is entrusted with the governorship of Wales, but Margaret’s contented daily life is changed forever with the arrival of Arthur, the young Prince of Wales, and his beautiful bride, Katherine of Aragon. Margaret soon becomes a trusted advisor and friend to the honeymooning couple, hiding her own royal connections in service to the Tudors.

After the sudden death of Prince Arthur, Katherine leaves for London a widow, and fulfills her deathbed promise to her husband by marrying his brother, Henry VIII. Margaret’s world is turned upside down by the surprising summons to court, where she becomes the chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine. But this charmed life of the wealthiest and “holiest” woman in England lasts only until the rise of Anne Boleyn, and the dramatic deterioration of the Tudor court. Margaret has to choose whether her allegiance is to the increasingly tyrannical king, or to her beloved queen; to the religion she loves or the theology which serves the new masters. Caught between the old world and the new, Margaret Pole has to find her own way as she carries the knowledge of an old curse on all the Tudors.

One of the rare Gregory novels I have not read, a definite contender.

2014: Jaws by Peter Benchley

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Smashing together, they crush bones and flesh and organs into jelly.

The jaws of a giant killer shark that terrorizes a small holiday resort on Long Island.

Private feuds, lusts and jealousies take second place to a relentless duel, almost unbearable in its suspense and danger…

 

 

 

 

What a good book to read on the beach? I must admit I do want to go snorkeling whilst away, but this might make me change my mind.

2015: The King’s Sister by Anne O’Brien

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1382. Daughter of John of Gaunt, sister to the future King Henry IV, Elizabeth of Lancaster has learned the shrewd tricks of the court from England’s most powerful men. In a time of political turmoil, allegiance to family is everything. A Plantagenet princess should never defy her father’s wishes. Yet headstrong Elizabeth refuses to bow to the fate of a strategic marriage. Rejecting her duty, Elizabeth weds the charming and ruthlessly ambitious Sir John Holland: Duke of Exeter, half-brother to King Richard II and the one man she has always wanted. But defiance can come at a price. 1399. Elizabeth’s brother Henry has seized the throne. Her husband, confident to the usurped Richard, masterminds a secret plot against the new King. Trapped in a dangerous web, Elizabeth must make a choice. Defy the King and betray her family. Or condemn her husband and send him to his death. Sister. Wife. Traitor. She holds the fate of England in her hands.

I have owned this book for a very long time. I met the author and had it signed when I bought it. Anne O’Brien was taking part in a book day at Berrington Hall a National Trust property and she was a lovely lady who I had a very long chat with.

2016: While you were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

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Yesterday your life was perfect. Today you’ll find out that was all a lie.

Tara Logan adores her perfect little family: husband, Noah, and two children, teenager Rosie and eleven-year-old Spencer.

But her happiness is shattered when she wakes up one morning in her neighbour’s bed, with no memory of how she got there or what happened between them. And worse – he has been stabbed to death.

Convinced she didn’t kill Lee and scared of losing everything she cares about, Tara flees home and stays silent, holding her breath as the investigation grips the neighbourhood.

But as her daughter spirals out of control, and her husband becomes increasingly distant, Tara starts to wonder if someone in her life knows what really happened that night. When the police turn their questions towards her, Tara realises she has to find out.

But what will it take to uncover the real story, and can she survive the truth?

This has been sat on my Kindle for far too long and needs to be read.

2017: Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

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Yvonne Carmichael has worked hard to achieve the life she always wanted: a high-flying career in genetics, a beautiful home, a good relationship with her husband and their two grown-up children.

Then one day she meets a stranger at the Houses of Parliament and, on impulse, begins a passionate affair with him – a decision that will put everything she values at risk.

At first she believes she can keep the relationship separate from the rest of her life, but she can’t control what happens next. All of her careful plans spiral into greater deceit and, eventually, a life-changing act of violence.

Apple Tree Yard is a psychological thriller about one woman’s adultery and an insightful examination of the values we live by and the choices we make, from an acclaimed writer at the height of her powers.

This book has been sat on my bookshelf for way too long and another strong contender.

2018: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

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At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

I won this book on a Goodreads giveaway at the beginning of 2018 and it has been sat on my TBR shelf ever since. Really like the sound of the storyline and was very pleased to win the book.

 

So that is my list to choose from, I will have a good think and see what I come up with. If anybody has any advice about the books it would be gratefully received.

The List so Far:-

Good as Gold:- The Casual Vacancy by J.K Rowling

The Book is Better: – The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Short and Sweet:- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

On the Bandwagon:- The Handmaid’s Tale

 

Happy reading!

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