Book Review: Moonlight Sins by Jennifer L Armentrout

Moonlight Sins by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Moonlight Sins (De Vincent Series)

Author: Jennifer L Armentrout

Date Published: January 2nd 2018

Summary: Julia Hughes is running from her past. Taking a job in New Orleans, Julia has an encounter with a stranger who turns out to be Lucian De Vincent, Julia’s new employee. Caring for Lucians twin sister, Julia slowly learns that that the enormous mansion is certainly hiding a dark secret, or two.

Review summary:

As an avid reader of Jennifer L Armentrout, this was a very good and easy read, however I found some of the story lines didn’t go in the direction I thought they were headed in. And I still haven’t decided whether I find this disappointing or not.

Review:

Yes. A second review of Ms. Armentrout’s work. What can I say, the beginning of this year was a safe one. I know I like her work!

This book was written like a ghost book, which really engaged me as I love some of the paranormal and fantasy work Jennifer Armentrout has written.

***Spoilers***

However, the paranormal elements don’t carry through. The footsteps, the brushes of cold air, the feeling of being watched, shadows…they all portray the idea that there is something dark happening in the house, but this never really materialised, despite the families history saying it really should be cursed.

***Spoilers***

Moonlight Sins by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I enjoyed this book, the romance was integral to the plot, but I almost preferred the other scenes of mystery as I really did enjoy with the ‘whodunit’ plot line, unlike some novels where its glaringly obvious. There are some quite big spoilers I want to discuss with people, so if you’ve read the first book, please let me know- I want to know your thoughts!!

When I sat to write my notes after finishing, I glanced at the blurb and found myself confused. I had genuinely, by the end of the story, forgotten about how Julia and Lucien first met. So much of the novel was set in New Orleans, I found myself thinking it was a different story, and separating the two. Which I can only blame on the quantity of books I’m currently enjoying…

Even though we didn’t get a huge amount of Gabe, I still really wanted to know more, but it was one of those classic setups of introducing a character who obviously has more than a bit part, just not in this story. I love a good series as much as the next person, but this didn’t have the same arc as some of Jennifer L Armentrout’s other novels. Quite often they had smaller stories among the main plot, but they wouldn’t just be mentioned in passing.

Overall I did really enjoy reading this book, I love ghostly tales, and mysteries, even if I wished it had a different climax.

 

I would give Moonlight Sins 3 out of 5 stars

Previous book read: Moonlight Sins by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Current book read: Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Challenge: The challenge. 60 books. 1 year. 1 blog post per book. 1 review per book. Click here to see my Goodreads profile.

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Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

I took some time off in February from posting any reviews. I realised I hadn’t given myself any time to actually accrue any content before posting- and this was meaning I felt burnt out in my first month. Rather ridiculous! So here we go. Month 3….

Title: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)

Author: Holly Black

Date Published: January 30th 2018

Summary: 

 Jude was just seven years old when her parents were murdered. Stolen away to live at the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Jude grows up among the fey, struggling to win a place at Court, to protect her future.

Review summary:

Enjoyable story around a surprisingly relatable teenage drama. From school bullies, flings and finding your own place in a crazy and violent world, Holly Black has created an interesting new take on the well known fae story.

Review:

I’ve always spelt fae as fae, not fay. So apologies if I flick between when looking at my notes. And having just finished reading Molly’s Game, I’ve already called Holly Black, Molly Black every time I’ve spelt her name. Appalling on my behalf. What an awful review before it’s even started… And I genuinely enjoyed reading every page.

This is the first novel of Holly Black’s I’ve read, and if The Cruel Prince is anything to go by, I believe I will enjoy her other trilogies too!

The Cruel Prince embodies everything I love about YA fantasy- fae, curses, murder, false love, true love, sacrifice and adventure.

I found the first half or so, rather nicely paced. I wouldn’t dare call it slow! But it wasn’t so fast I was forced to write notes on my hand to remind myself of character stories and arcs (see Game of Thrones for a prime example). The second half didn’t increase in pace and information thrown at you, but started to amp up the intrigue and dynamics between characters.

This slow burn meant that I never hated Jude, the main character, when she made clear her obsession with power, instead I felt I understood her story arc and why she had become the character she was. The bullying she goes through will reflect with so many readers, from the small jabs at home to straight out assault at school, it’s not called The Cruel Prince for nothing.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black: A Review
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black a review by A Novel Way. A new take on the traditional tale…

Jude is a flawed character, but I found this to be the kind of flaws I could understand. Jude craves power not to be powerful, but to be safe and to have control of her environment. Something which so many of us could understand. In fact, now I reflect, nearly all of the characters are greatly flawed. And her sister and Cardan are two characters which I have yet to rectify my feelings over.

Overall, I found this novel to be a different take on a well told story. I am a re-reader, and I am looking forward to rereading this book when the second in the series comes out.

I would give The Cruel Prince 4 out of 5 stars.

Challenge: The challenge. 60 books. 1 year. 1 blog post per book. 1 review per book. Click here to see my Goodreads profile.

Previous book read: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

Current book read: Moonlight Sins (De Vincent Series) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Book and Film Review: Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom

Molly's Game by Molly Bloom review

Again, a slightly different review. My first review was of a trilogy and now I’m combing a book and movie of the same name. Confusing?  I hope not, either way I hope you understand why…!

Title:
Molly’s Game

Author:
Molly Bloom

Date Published:
June 24th 2014

Summary

Molly Bloom was the 26 year old woman behind the most exclusive, high stakes underground poker game in America, if not the world.

Review Summary

A well written and engaging true story of Molly Bloom’s rise and fall within the poker scene. If I didn’t know that this was a true story, I’d think it was rather fantastical and if not a cliche, but as true life, its an incredibly compelling story of the 1% of society, where money is nothing but a means to power and who you know can be more influential than how good your poker face is.

Review of Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom

I saw the movie, Molly’s Game with a friend. She had just moved back home from London, and I wanted to prove that we still had exciting things to do, such as going to the cinema… not exactly proof our town is up and coming, but still.

Neither of us knew much about the movie, before we bought our tickets. It was the best time to grab dinner beforehand, and I had already seen The Greatest Showman, the only other suitable movie at 9pm. Within in the first few minutes, we were both gripped. Jessica Chastain, the actress who conveys Molly Bloom on the big screen, began spieling off a monologue about placing 3rd place, giving what seems like an awful lot of information, but told in a very comprehensive and engaging way. The rest of the movie follows suit. What seems like an a ridiculous amount of information, is actually easy to follow and understand, in keeping with the fast paced theme of poker games, whilst remaining comprehendible to non poker players.

While the movie dramatises some moments and creates new scenes for the movie, most of the conversations and plot line stays true to the book, a feat rare to see in move adaptions.

The movie I highly recommend.

The book of the same name, was ordered via Click n’ Collect the moment I got home after leaving the cinema. I devoured the book within a week, primarily due to the ease of reading and following the plot as I had already seen the movie. Whilst the novel tells the same story, I still believe it offers a different view into the life of LA’s Poker Princess. I felt angry when those wronged Molly, sneered at the attitude of some of the players, and felt down right affronted when…

***Spoilers***

…the FBI ‘confiscated’ her money. Although as both the book and film open with this, I’m not sure of how much of a spoiler that is.

***Spoilers***

I don’t often read non-fiction, but I found Molly’s Game to be an easy and engaging read. I learnt some poker terms, but I wouldn’t have any more of a clue what was going on in the game after finishing the book. And that’s the point of this story I think. Molly doesn’t play IN the game, but she does play the game. As well as any man on the scene if not better.

It’s not very often that I would say this, but I believe that both the movie and novel deserve your attention.

My rating for the Molly’s Game the novel, and Molly’s Game the movie is the same. Four stars for both.

The challenge. 60 books. 1 year. 1 blog post per book. 1 review per book. Click here to see my Goodreads profile.

Previous book read: Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom

Current book read: The Cruel Prince by Molly Black

Book Review: A Wicked Trilogy by Jennifer L. Armentrout

A Wicked Trilogy by Jennifer L Armentrout Review

So my first review is a cheat. I read a trilogy, and have written one review instead of 3, but as I consumed these novels quickly, and all of the books are published, I felt one review would do. Cheating? Already? Me?!…

Title:
The Wicked Trilogy

Author:
Jennifer L. Armentrout

Books in series:
Wicked (Wicked trilogy #1) December 8th 2014
Torn (Wicked trilogy #2) July 19th 2016
Brave (Wicked trilogy #3) December 11th 2017

Summary

Ivy isn’t your regular teenager, she works for The Order, a secret group of humans set on ridding dark creatures from feeding on the people of New Orleans. When a new member joins The Order, Ren, Ivys life changes as she learns that there are old secrets soon to come to life.

Review Summary

An enjoyable easy read, taking you into the heat of New Orleans as Ivy and Ren seek to discover the evil that lies at the centre of the order. Romance, comedy and drama filled.

Review of A Wicked Trilogy by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I’m torn by this series, no pun intended. When I first started reading Wicked in early 2015, I really enjoyed the novel, I felt like it was an engaging tale which didn’t throw too many details at you at once. I could keep up easily without having to learn about this newly constructed world. Being set within the world as we know it, but with magical elements, it’s an easy to read YA fantasy (crosses into NA, not that I’m ever sure where the boundaries lie…)

Wicked by Jennifer L Armentrout Review
Wicked the first novel in A Wicked Trilogy by Jennifer L Armentrout

Torn, was interesting, covering more psychological elements, the relationship between Ivy and Ren was more interesting as drama was brought in, however their relationship in Wicked, became rather annoying. This wasn’t so much the way it was written, or even the content of these scenes, but they were sometimes included to demonstrate a break in two events, and I wished we could imply there was a break instead of including it. I hate skipping over pages, but I did skim these scenes sometimes, as they didn’t always add to the story.

Brave by Jennifer L Armentrout
Brave, the second novel in A Wicked Trilogy by Jennifer L Armentrout

As a trilogy, I expected a nice summary, even if it wasn’t a HEA, at least a final point. Instead there seems to be an entire story still to be told, and as someone who picked up the final book wanting answers to questions, I didn’t necessarily get them. There was a lot more to the story that I wish was solved at the end.

 ***Spoilers***

Who were Ivy’s real parents? Do they eventually defeat the Queen? How long had the Prince been under the Queens power? Could only Tink see beyond the glamour? What exactly is a Brownie?

***Spoilers***

Torn A Wicked Trilogy by Jennifer L Armentrout
Torn the third novel in A Wicked Trilogy by Jennifer L Armentrout

As a trilogy, I assumed these questions would be answered by the end, but as I reached the last 10% I realised there must be another novel. The last few scenes, to me, read as though the climax hadn’t been considered properly, and it was a quick and easy win for the novel, which would allow for another novel to be written after.

If I had to rate these books as a trilogy, I would struggle. The first two books would be 4 stars, the last would be a 3.

 

The challenge. 60 books. 1 year. 1 blog post per book. 1 review per book. Click here to see my Goodreads profile.

Previously read: Brave (A Wicked Trilogy no.3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Currently reading: Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom 

 

Film Review: The Greatest Showman

Aerial Hoop and Aerial Lyra by @a_novel_way

So my first review isn’t about a novel, a poem or even an article, it is in fact a review of a movie. And I have good reason for this.

Two years ago I fell in love with aerial hoop (also known as lyra) and aerial silk (also known as tissu) after seeing Cirque du Solei perform Amaluna. Since then I have been practicing for a minimum of three hours a week, sometimes up to 12 hours a week, and that’s not including the additional pilates I do to help my flexability and core strength. Surfice to say I am thoroughly addicted to aerial flying.

Aerial hoop as seen in Cirque du Soleil...I like to think anyway!
@a_novel_way. Practicing aerial hoop in my first year. This move is called a mermaid, although its also known by other names.

So when I saw the trailer to The Greatest Showman, I paused, rewound, and watched the brief glimpses of aerial acrobatics.

The trailer itself is exactly as the film is. A fantastic combination of cinematography, aerial and musicality. The aerial stunts aren’t Cirque du Solei complicated, but there isn’t really time of necessity for them to be. The story goes skims over the life of P.T Barnum, and paints him in an interesting light- you can’t help be question the morality and decisions behind making entertainment from people who are different. But if you leave those elements aside, and enjoy the movie for a fantastical foray into the world of entertainment and the circus.

The Musicality

The music saves this movie, not that it needs saving, but I think without the incredible soundtrack to allow for history to be quickly glanced over, the scenes would be oddly hollow and seem to ignore human experience. The soundtrack is a masterpiece to me, written by the composers from La La Land, Benf Pasek and Justin Paul.

I’d love to know what you thought of the music? Was it the right balance of musical and pop, or do you have differing opinions?

Cinematography

I will be the first to admit I know very little about camera angles, lighting or effects, but as a viewer I know what I like. And I liked it.

I’ll leave it at that.

Aerial

My poor mother. Every other second, when the aerialists were on screen I would poke her and whisper the name of the move, or insist I couldn’t do it.

I found this article, about Zendaya’s experience training for aerial, and I am so pleased to see how much emphasis there is on aerial as a full-body workout. I am constantly pulling my friends towards my aerial classes, and its fabulous to see a variety of different aerial equipment being made to look so beautiful within this movie. Whilst I’m not sure I would have gone to see the movie if I didn’t have a personal connection to the aerial, I can certainly say I would have enjoyed this movie all the same.

I give this movie 3.5/5 for creating a fun and beautifully shot movie.

“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.” The Greatest Showman.

 

The challenge. 60 books. 1 year. 1 blog post per book. 1 review per book. Click here to see my Goodreads profile.

Previously read: Torn (A Wicked Trilogy no.2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Currently reading: Brave (A Wicked Trilogy no.3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout.