Friday, 23 February 2018

2 Mini Book Reviews!

THE CANDLE FACTORY GIRL - Tania Crosse
Published: March 2018 - by Aria
Pages: N/A
Genres: Historical fiction /
Triggers/Content Advisory: Strong themes of domestic abuse / sexual innuendo / violence
Format: eBook.
Source: Netgalley.

1930's London - A backstreet saga full of hopes, dreams and the fight for survival. Perfect for the fans of Rosie Clarke and Lindsey Hutchinson. Work at Price's Candle Factory in Battersea is tedious for intelligent, seventeen-year-old Hillie Hardwick, but she knows she is lucky to have a job at all. Her home life is no better, as she constantly battles with her exacted and bullying father in order to protect her mother and five younger siblings from his tyranny of abuse. Her only solace is her loving relationship with the chaotic Parker family and her best friend, Gert Parker. When matters violently escalate for Hillie, smitten Jack-the-Lad Jimmy Baxter seems her only salvation. But could this be the biggest mistake of her life, and should she be looking for protection nearer home?



Pros:
- Strong female friendships. Hillie has lots of girl friends and they're all so close and always have each other's backs.
- It's a decent coming of age story. The characters make mistakes, get tangled in false starts, and finally find their way in the end.

Cons:
- Terrible writing. It's amateurish and awkward, and with an overuse of exclamation marks.
- The dialogue is horrific. It's full of info-dumps and is generally just cringy and unrealistic.
- I wanted more of the candle factory and the girls' jobs. Instead, the story focuses on their love lives.
- The characters are so stereotypical and cliche. Hillie is a special snowflake who can do no wrong, who's the prettiest of all the girls, and who's loved by everyone. Jimmy, the hero, is also annoying, and he's the stereotypical bad boy who's smitten with Hillie because she's the only girl to refuse his advances and because she's the smartest and most beautiful of all the other girls.
- The romance between Jimmy and Hillie is extremely inconsistent. One minute Hillie's set on their future and busy kissing Jimmy, and the next she's trying to decide if she loves him. UGH.
- Jimmy and Hillie's marriage is so problematic. She's hesitant about having sex for the first time and is clearly uncomfortable when Jimmy makes a move, but she makes herself to endure it because it's what "a proper wife must do." More than once, she's uncomfortable with sleeping with her husband and with him undressing her, but she stays silent and lets him to what he wants with her. That's not healthy! You need to talk to your partner, you need to talk....Hillie and Jimmy never do that. Marriage is not a one-sided show - and nor is sex - that's ruled by one person's desires and needs. It goes both ways.
- The book's ending is so predictable and convenient.



How many of you have watched the TV series Land Girls? If you're a fan of that, I think you'll love this book. Otherwise it's not worth reading. 



THE QUEENS OF INNIS LEAR - Tessa Gratton
Published: March 2018 - by Tor
Pages: 576.
Genres: Young adult / fantasy / retelling
Triggers/Content Advisory: I haven't read the whole book so I'm not qualified to say.
Format: eBook.
Source: Netgalley.

A kingdom at risk, a crown divided, a family drenched in blood. The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes. The king's three daughters—battle-hungry Gaela, master manipulator Reagan, and restrained, starblessed Elia—know the realm's only chance of resurrection is to crown a new sovereign, proving a strong hand can resurrect magic and defend itself. But their father will not choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align and a poison ritual can be enacted. Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war—but regardless of who wins the crown, the shores of Innis will weep the blood of a house divided.


PLEASE NOTE: I only read a sampler of this book - precisely 193 pages - so my opinions/review is based on that alone.


The characters are riveting, twisty, compelling, damaged, and ruthless. It's a big cast, but everyone is vivid and layered.
The plot is achingly romantic and heartbreaking. It's a bit confusing, but otherwise extraordinary. Unique, as well, and running with the characters' dangerous agendas.
The setting is stunning and seductive. It's a maelstrom of dark imagination.

The only thing I don't like about the book is how overtly flowery and purple the prose is. It's laid on way too thick.


I can't wait to continue the story once I get the chance to read the full book! From the pages I got to read, this book was an absolute treat. Think Three Dark Crowns meets Caraval meets Game of Thrones. 




Hope you liked these reviews! Have you read or heard of these books? What do you think of them? 

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