The Mistletoe Bride – Kate Mosse
Winter is well and truly nipping at our toes and urging us all to stay inside wrapped in about 10 billion blankets. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to finally read The Mistletoe Bride and other Haunting Tales by Kate Mosse. I am ashamed to say that as an Orion employee I have never read a Kate Mosse book before – shocking I know!
I have never got on well with collections of short stories. I have found that the title or main story is often the only good tale and then the rest of the book is usually a disappointment in comparison. Not so with The Mistletoe Bride.
In her collection of short stories, some have previously been published, one was a play and others are adaptions or brand new stories.
Here are some of my favourites in the collection:
The Mistletoe Bride
Set in Hampshire in 1935, a bride marries a well to do man. There is an elaborate feast put on and everyone is jovial. Teasingly on her wedding night the young bride suggests a game of hide and seek with her new husband. She finds a dusty old room with a large chest in the middle of the room and climbs inside and waits for her husband. She is never found until years later.
On Harting Hill
It’s the 1960s and a man is making the long drive to see his friend. It’s a bitter and foggy winter night. In the middle of the lonely and long road a girl appears, the man slams on his brakes and immediately asks after her reckless behavior. He soon softens and offers to take her back to her parents house, she obliges and gets into his car. Once the man pulls up outside the house and her parents open the door he is shocked to discover the girl died years ago and haunts the road each year on the day of her death.
The Princess Alice
A young woman and her partner move into a house but all is not happy. Every night, the woman hears the bloodcurdling screams of a young girl. Terrified and sleep deprived the woman fights this noise every night. One day she buys a second hand book which she discovers is a journal by a young called Alice from the late 18th century. She reads the entries and discovers the young girl’s mother and sisters were killed on board a ship which sunk. When officials come to deliver the news to Alice, her father is too traumatized to identify the bodies. The woman pieces together the information and works out she is now living where Alice once did and the screams she can hear are those of the girl who discovered her family had died.
I must mention the cover – I absolutely love this hardback edition. The colours and the shimmery effect are amazing, I couldn’t stop staring at it – the photos here do not do it justice!
This is the perfect read for those cold winter nights.
A Girl Walks into a Blind Date – Helena S Paige
I reviewed A Girl Walks into a Wedding back in the summer and loved the concept of it, so when Little, Brown asked me to read A Girl Walks into a Blind Date I jumped at the chance.
In this series of books the reader gets to effectively be the author and decide the plot and the outcome of the characters. At the end of chapter the you are given the option of what the main character should do. Personally I think this is the way forward in print publishing – it’s interactive without using an ebook. Genius!
This latest book centres on the world of online dating. You have three potential dates and guess what – they are all in exotic and cultural locations around the world. Will you choose the handsome firefighter in New York who cannot spell to save his life or the bohemian artist in Amsterdam or perhaps the dashing Count in Venice?
The locations are the kind of first dates that very girl dreams of, so what could go wrong? There’s plenty of adventure, laughs and shenanigans along the way!
I did follow the narrative threads however I did find myself flicking through the unread stories just to see what could have happened.
This is the perfect stocking filler and the ideal read for a cold winter evening.
Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins
As it’s the release of Mockingjay: Part I tomorrow I thought it was apt to write my review of the book.
I was so keen to read the third installment of The Hunger Games series after the cliffhanger at the end of Catching Fire. However after about 40 pages in I had had enough.
Once I had found out what had happened to District 12, I really wasn’t all that interested in much else and how they were going to bring down President Snow.
To sum up…the Districts are in uproar and partake in the revolution to bring down President Snow and his merry crew. Forced to submit to life in the totalitarian District 13, Katniss is forced to act as the Mockingjay – the poster child of the rebellion. Along with Gale and Finnick, she plans a strategy to overthrow President Snow. But trouble is brewing as Peeta is sent along on the mission, even though he has become a monster, often trying to kill Katniss as he has been brainwashed by Snow’s team. The battle between good and evil comes to a head when one of the main characters is killed (I won’t reveal who if you haven’t read the book).
This book does clear everything up – good inevitably wins over evil and we finally find out who Katniss ends up with. Whilst this is all pretty predictable from the off there is a huge twist in the plot and one of the main characters are not who they seem.
I am off to see the film tomorrow night with the boyf who has watched all the films but has not read the books and it is such a struggle not to reveal the ending!
I do have to say this was my least favourite book of the three. I found it a bit pointless and felt that it could have been condensed down and added to Catching Fire. And the actual ending left me feeling slightly depressed. To put it in perspective I read the first book in four days and this one in a little over two weeks.
I’m really not sure how they are going to make this book into two films – either they are going to have to add stuff to it or the films are going to be very drawn out! Either way this just seemed like one battle too many.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
After a busy old time of going back to the motherland and then returning to a mountain of work I haven’t had time to blog of late.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is one of those books that even if you haven’t read it you don’t admit to it.
Every Christmas I always give my parents a humungous book list and many Christmases ago this was on there. My mother was in fact so eager for me to have a copy that she bought me two (I returned the one with the least favourable cover).
As One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is deemed one of the 20th century’s classics I was expecting my mind to be blown and to wake up a different person after finishing the final page. You’ll be startled to know this did not happen.
I won’t bore you with the plot as I am probably the last person on earth who hasn’t read it.
I read it in a daze, I couldn’t connect to the plot or the characters and believed me I tried but I just couldn’t get into it. Never (or rarely) one to be defeated by a book I soldiered on and at least I can say I read it but I really thought I would enjoy it more.
Reviews such as the ones below was why I was expecting big things:
‘With his first book, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey helped father the 60s counterculture…A half-century after its publication, the novel still packs a punch’ – Vanity Fair
‘Every page and paragraph and sentence of this novel feels equally vivid, just as charged with creative energy and power’ – Paste
‘A glittering parable of good and evil. —The New York Times Book Review
I felt it was one of those books that if someone asked you to describe it you could easily sum it up in a sentence. If it was part of my reading list at uni I probably would have wanted to chuck it through the window. I understand the importance of the message but just thought the plot would be a bit more likeable. I hope that in a few years time I might give it another go and hope my feelings towards it would be different.