Friday, 29 April 2016

That Disney Competition

So, on the 1st April, I uploaded a lovely Disney questionnaire that I had completed, showing my love of all things Disney.  Along with it, I detailed the competition of uploading your favourite character to an online media platform for a chance of winning some Disney based prizes.  
Well, I have to start by saying that I am a little disappointed in how few entries there have been, but love that Danny and Stacey took the time to enter their posts.  


Danny filled out the entire questionnaire on his Tumblr page where he told us that his favourite characters are Hercules and Baloo the bear.  Check out his post for the rest of his answers!

Stacey's entry was on her Instagram page and explained how Hercules has inspired her to follow her heart and try for her dreams.  Check out her post for her won explanation and to see which picture she chose as her representation of the famous Greek myth that we all loved as a child.

~*~ Competition Winners ~*~

Well, technically there were three prizes on offer - with only two entries there is obviously an easy end to that - and with the effort that Danny put in for his post; first prize has to be his!  Therefore second prize goes to Stacey :)  Thank you both for your entries!! 

~*~ Giveaway Winner ~*~

There were no entries for the give away so therefore no winner to choose!


I have to admit that I will be reconsidering my choices for future posts due to the lack of interest in competitions and giveaways.


Remember to take a moment to read, nothing in life is a greater escape from reality than the magic that happens between the pages of a book!

Saturday, 23 April 2016

One with You

One with You (A Crossfire Novel)
Author: Sylvia Day
Publisher: Penguin
Release date: 5th April 2016

Blurb (Taken from inside the front cover of the book):  Gideon Cross.  Falling in love with him was the easiest thing I've ever done.  It happened instantly.  Completely.  Irrevocably.
Marrying him was a dream come true.  Staying married to him is the fight of my life.  Love transforms.  Ours is both refuge from the storm and the most violent of tempests.  Two damaged souls entwined as one.
We have bared our deepest, ugliest secrets to one another.  Gideon is the mirror that reflects all my flaws... and all the beauty I couldn't see.  He has given me everything.  Now, I must prove I can be the rock, the shelter for him that he is for me.  Together, we could stand against those who work so viciously to come between us.
But our greatest battle may lie within the very vows that give us strength.  Committing to love was only the beginning.  Fighting fr it will either set us free... or break us apart.
Heartbreakingly and seductively poignant, One with You is the breathlessly awaited finale to the Crossfire saga, the searing love story that ha captivated millions of readers worldwide.

Let's talk about the cover: Wow!  So simple, yet so meaningful to the readers.  First of all, I love that the cover is white.  The first three books in this series had black covers, all similar in style with their seductive images and elegantly coloured titles.  The fourth book surprised us all when it came out with a grey cover.  Sticking with the same theme, the cover had an image on it that reflected some of the key symbols from the story, in this case, the chain.  The new book is white.  And how symbolic?!  Gideon loved to see Eva wearing white, he called her his Angel and saw the purity in her that she didn't believe existed.  It says so much about what was important that this cover reflected that side of their relationship when there was so much ugliness involved too.  
And the image... their rings.  We were introduced to Gideon's ring in book three, Entwined with You, when Eva went out to buy Gideon a ring to symbolise their marriage vows.  She picked the platinum wedding band with the red rubies in to symbolise some of their more memorable moments together and Gideon recognised this; 'Red is our colour... Red dresses in limos.  Red fuck-me heels at garden parties.  A red rose in your hair when you married me.' Eva also linked red to being owned by Gideon; 'Red.  Like the cuffs he'd bought for me.  I felt similarly captured and bound now.'  
Eva's ring we only learn about on the last few pages of this book when Gideon finally gives it to her.  Eva already wore a diamond ring that Gideon gave her on their wedding day; his mother's engagement ring that she had worn when she was with Gideon's father.  After everything they go through, Gideon reveals Eva's wedding band, a 'large round diamonds in a channel setting circled the entire band, shooting multi-hued sparks.'
In summary I don't think that that book cover could have been anything else.  It sums up the entire series with such a simple image, and gives us readers hope for our own happily ever after.

Review:  Well this book definitely delivered for me.  It has been well awaited and I have been back and and reread the other books before reading the new one so that all the details were fresh in my mind ready for the last instalment of the saga.  I started this book wondering how much there really was left of the story to tell, but it continued with the same passion and excitement that the others did.  I couldn't put it down.  
Gideon and Eva finally learn to trust in each other's love and believe that their love is enough for them to survive everything that life can throw at them.  It has taken several books for them to learn how to take advantage of each other's strengths and to believe that they can actually be there for each other.  Gideon had grown up not trusting anyone else, and had learned from a young age to be independent and not need others in his life.  Eva, despite her rough history, had chosen to surround herself with people that she trusted and create a support system that she relied on to get her through each day.  So when they came along for each other, they constantly pushed at each other's boundaries.
I have to admit, I feel that there were a few tangents that distracted from the main storyline, and I have to wonder if Sylvia Day had run out of material to keep the story going.  There were a couple of incidents that played out that to me, didn't really add anything to the story other than to confuse the reader and distract them from Gideon and Eva's drama.  Don't get me wrong, the story played out and everything works out in the end, with the happily ever after that we all expected, but I feel that some of the details were unnecessary.  
Not the best book of the series, I feel that it didn't need as many books to fulfil the reader's high expectations, but then again, it is still a series that I can read over and over again and takes one of the main spots on my book shelf.

Rating: 4 Stars
~~~ * ~~~

All opinions are my own and not encouraged by the authors, editors, publishers or any other company involved in the production of the book mentioned in the above post.

Click on the image of the book cover to go to Amazon where you can purchase your own copy of the book and follow the link set on the author's name to head over to their website.

Other books mentioned in this post are the other stories in the Crossfire Series by the same author.  Follow this link to check out the rest of the series.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

The Grimm Tales

The Complete Fairy Tales
Author: The Brother's Grimm
Publisher: Several!
Release date: Days gone by...

Blurb (I'm not sure this book even has a blurb, so let's stick with a run down): Everyone knows who the Brother's Grimm were - Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm are legendary for their tales, and we all know them in some way shape or form!  So, as seen as my blog is everything Disney at the moment for the competition and give away, I thought we'd go back to the roots for the book review!  

Let's talk about the cover: There are so many covers for this book that I wouldn't be able to cover them all in a short write up.  SO, I picked the purple cover purely because it is the most popular one when it is searched for on Amazon.  My own version of this book is the red copy to the right.  This was a gift from my baby sister one Christmas, and I loved it the moment I saw it.  I didn't choose a cover when I mentioned wanting it, but she came up trumps as always.  I love this cover, it is beautifully decorated in gold on the red background and has an image from one of the fairy tales on the front.  The book is hardback and solid, just like the tales that have been the groundwork of all of our childhoods!  Elegance in it's purest form.

Review: Now I would be a liar if I said that I had actually read this book cover to cover, but over the years I have read a good percentage of it.  We all have our favourites, and mine will always be Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood, though it is full of the original classics like Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Rapunzel and many others that we all know and love.  Many of the fairy tales we know are Disney based, but anyone who knows their facts knows that most of the tales belonged originally to the Grimm Brothers.  Their tales are much darker and more twisted than the Disney classics that we all grew up with, however they had some of the same messages if you looked between the lines.  Personally I love these fairy tales, and this book is still one of my go to pick ups when I am feeling down.  Between the pages of a fairy tale are the places that a girl can still find comfort, even at the age of twenty six.  

Rating: 5 Stars
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All opinions are my own and not encouraged by the authors, editors, publishers or any other company involved in the production of the book mentioned in the above post.

Click on the image of the book cover to go to Amazon where you can purchase your own copy of the book and follow the link set on the author's name to head over to their website.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Mid Month Madness!

Middle of the month (ish) - I'm feeling a new post trend coming on!  I'm thinking a quick update on competitions and prizes, some random tit bits from the world of a reader/writer, plus a give away!!  

So here goes - We are now firmly into April and all is plodding along nicely.  I have taken to re-reading Sylvia Day's Crossfire Series this month as the new book, One with You came out on the 5th.  Anyone who is following my Instagram, or even just the Currently Reading spot down the side of the blog will know how quickly I am getting through them too!!  I am one of those annoying people who has to go back and read the whole series every time a new book is released - it sure is a time consumer - but I wouldn't have it any other way!  I will be reviewing the new book once I have read it, (which at this rate will be by the end of the week) so keep your eyes open for that post on Saturday morning!  

You can keep track of what I am reading down the side of the blog page with my Currently Reading spot or check out my Instagram, which is also linked down the side, to the right!!


In other news, you may or may not know that the writer in me is taking part in Camp Nanowrimo this month!  I can happily say that I have kept to word count every day, and by average am a few hundred words above count!!  It's a fun way to make sure I am actually getting something productive done, and I have really enjoyed the interaction with some other writers around the world :)

To check out what Nanowrimo is all about, check out the website www.nanowrimo.org and get involved!  It's a great way to keep on track and make sure that you actually get the writing done!  It's proven to me just how easy it is to get just over a thousand words a day written!  No more excuses - I want my new book published by the end of Summer this year!!


~*~ COMPETITION UPDATE ~*~



Don't forget to check out the Disney Competition that is still running - entering is easy!  All information is available in the post and all previous competition posts and winners, as well as all competition rules are always displayed on the Competition Page.  
I'm not going to lie - I'm a little disappointed with the lack of entries :(  Some more entries and feedback would be great!  I'd love to hear the thoughts of some long term bloggers as to ways of advertising my blog and posts.  

~*~ GIVE AWAY ~*~

Disney-Beauty-and-The-Beast-Vintage-Quote-Tale-As-Old-As-Time-for-iPhone-5-6Keeping the theme of Disney for this month I'm going to keep all things Disney related!  To keep it simple, the prize is related to my favourite film!  I have a lovely Beauty and the Beast phone case (Fits iPhone 5 & 6) and a postcard with a stunning movie poster from the original film!  (I even have a copy of the post card for me to keep!  Shame they don't make the case to fit my phone!)
To win it all you have to do is comment on this post with your favourite Disney movie - any type of Disney (old, new, Pixar, animated or live action) and make sure you're following the A Moment to Read blog by hitting the follow button underneath my profile picture!  
That's it!  
Winner will be selected by a random number generator that will link to the comment you post on the 29th and announced in the Winner's post for the competition.


And as always, 
Remember to take a moment to read x

~~~ * ~~~

All opinions are my own and not encouraged by Disney or any other company involved with the making and production of the books and movies mentioned in the above post.

Prizes are put together by myself and again, are not endorsed or funded by any company mentioned in the above post.  Prizes will be shipped to winners after communication between myself and them to sort out delivery details.

My photos are tagged with 'A Moment to Read, all other images used in this post are stock images taken from Google searches - They are not my photos and there is no copyright intended.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Fall into you

Fall into you (A Loving on the Edge book)
Author: Roni Loren
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Release date: January 2013

Blurb (Taken from back of book):  The three beautiful words a man longs to hear from a woman.  Teach me tonight.
When tomboy sports reporter Charli Beaumonde loses a dream TV job because she's not girly enough for prime time, she's determined to land a big scoop and prove her boss made a mistake.  But when she gets too close to a football scandal and finds her life threatened, Charli accepts an offer from family friend Grant Waters to hide out at his place - even if Grant predicts nothing but trouble from his buddy's heardheaded, irrepressible younger sister.  There's one more problem...
Grant's "place" is The Ranch, a BDSM resort in Texas, and he'es used to being in charge - even if that means trying to keep Charli in line.  But much to Grant's surprise, she's intrigued - even envious - of his trainees.  They're the epitome of what she's never been; sexy, beguiling and totally irresistible to a man.  Still, grant doesn't believe for a minute that the sharp-tongued Charli has it in her to be anyone's submissive.  But Charli is already on her knees, vying for the chance to prove even the master can be wrong sometimes.

Let's talk about the cover: This series, like most these days, seems to have two covers.  The cover at the top of this post is the one shown on Roni Loren's website as a part of the Loving on the Edge Series, and the one on the right here, is the more commonly found cover in the UK.  The copy I have is the black cover with the water droplets on, though the other two I have are the ribbon covers; which is as annoying as Hell!  But back to the point, The original covers are all stunning for this series, and I love the way that they reflect their titles.  Check out the other covers at Roni Loren's website to see what I'm talking about.  The black cover for this one gives quite a sophisticated look in my opinion, and appears to be the rain running down a glass pane.  For me, the connotations are of sadness and loneliness which both link to the idea of rainfall.  A beautiful representation of the words in the title!

Review: This book is book three in the Loving on the Edge Series although all the books in the series are stand alone novels.  Each book explores the relationship of one of the main characters of the series, and although they have links to both the other characters, and their story lines, each book does not need the others to make sense.  Fall into you was a beautiful story of a girl with very low self esteem due to having grown up as a tomboy.  Charli has a huge personality and gets on great with the guys she works with, but has some issues at work due to 'not being girly enough'.  After finding herself in one of Grant's cabins after he rescues her from an accident, Charli slowly begins to open up.  The ensuing love story was captivating from the moment they met, and is written from both side of the story.  When the reader gets to see what both characters are thinking and feeling, the story seems so much more real, and they end up with a vested emotional interest in the story.  
I literally read this book in less that twenty-four hours I couldn't put it down.  Grant's character is both mysterious and inviting, drawing in the reader, making them want to get to know him, and it is clear from the beginning that Charli is a woman with low confidence levels due to a mistaken opinion of her own body.  
Charli's exploration into the world of BDSM is an eye opener for both her and Grant, and there are several surprises for the reader along the way.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves erotica fiction, and would advise reading the other books in the series too as they are just as stunning.  Although, like I have mentioned previously, the other stories are not necessary to the storyline of the novel.

Rating: 5 Stars
~~~ * ~~~

All opinions are my own and not encouraged by the authors, editors, publishers or any other company involved in the production of the book mentioned in the above post.

Click on the image of the book cover to go to Amazon where you can purchase your own copy of the book and follow the link set on the author's name to head over to their website.

Other books mentioned in this post are the other stories in the Loving on the Edge Series by the same author.  Follow this link to check out the rest of the series.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Unbreakable

Unbreakable (Forehead Kisses #1)
Author: Abby Reynolds
Publisher: Amazon Media
Release Date: 2014

Blurb (Taken from Amazon):
Can there be too many pieces to piece back together?
This s a question Keira faces every day.  It's impossible for her to go anywhere unaccompanied by her cousin, the only person who knows what happened on that horrific night a year ago.  The guilt and pain weigh her down every day.  Unwilling to open up to anyone and give someone a chance, she lives in solitude.
For her, that's the only way to live.
Liam struggles with his own demons.  After losing someone who means the world to him, he combats his anger and pain on a daily basis.  He dives into violence and sex, losing himself more and more.  But as soon as he meets Keira, he recognises the same pain he suffers every day.  And he pursues her, wanting to connect to someone who understands.
Keira can't put herself back together, and neither can Liam.  But can they do it together?

Let's talk about the cover: Well, what red-blooded woman wouldn't be attracted to that cover?  I first saw this book as an advertisement on Facebook, and investigated from there.  Yes the attraction was to the cover, and once I read the blurb I knew I had to check it out.  Love the photography for this whole series of books!  I think that the black and white makes them stand out and catch your attention, and the yellow text; although I would never have thought it as I'm not a huge 'yellow' fan, really compliments the grey scale photographs.

Review: I'll start with the good stuff; I loved the storyline.  The story is told in first person from both Keira's and Liam's point of view and therefore gives an in depth insight into both of their characters.  I was gripped right from page one and followed the story with immense emotion, and a fair few tears in places.  Abby Reynolds really captured the heart of the relationship and made both of her characters relatable despite the fact that their personal situations were so far from my own.  I genuinely felt for them both at times throughout the story and was routing from them all the way.

Now, I'm not going to lie, this wasn't the best written or edited book in my opinion.  The whole book was littered with spelling and grammar mistakes and could have done with some serious editing. I found it very repetitive in places; the same information being given and the same phrases being over used.  However for me, although being annoying, it didn't distract from the storyline, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes this type of book.

My one annoyance is that it clearly stated in the write up for this book that it was 'a stand alone novel' and 'not a cliffhanger' though followed up with the fact that it was 'the first novel in the Forehead Kisses Series.'  I assumed that it was a non chronoligical series with plenty of different characters that all linked together - a lot like several other series' I have read.  Now granted, there wasn't really a cliffhanger, but it clearly wasn't the end of Liam and Keria's story either, and low and behold their story continued into two more books, making it a trilogy, not a stand alone novel.  There's just a little bit of false advertising there...  The series did continue with Liam and Keira before veering off to other characters in the series.  

Rating: 4 Stars
~~~ * ~~~

All opinions are my own and not encouraged by the authors, editors, publishers or any other company involved in the production of the book mentioned in the above post.

Click on the image of the book cover to go to Amazon where you can purchase your own copy of the book and follow the link set on the author's name to head over to their website.

Other books mentioned in this post are the other stories in the Forehead Series by the same author.  Follow this link to check out the rest of the series.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Disney lovers at the ready!!

Happy April Fool's Day Readers!!

April is now upon us and I figured what better time to introduce a new post type.  It is COMPETITION TIME here at A Moment to Read!  The first of each month will bring a new competition with new prizes, each competition will run for three weeks out of the month and the winners will be announced on the 29th before the new competition goes live on the 1st of the following month.  I have some exciting plans, but to start off the new trend, I began with Disney!!

I saw this and couldn't resist.  Whilst browsing Jenny in Neverland's blog, I came across this Disney Tag Questionnaire which you can go read by clicking here.  She is an avid Disney fan too and has several other posts that are a good read if you have the time for browsing!  

My questionnaire is below, have a nosey, let me know your thoughts!  We are all fans, but we all have very different opinions - I'd love to hear yours!  As for the competition; it's simple!  In your own post (blog, Facebook, Instagram are all accepted - I'll struggle with Twitter as I don't have an account so won't be able to see submissions...) I want to know who your favourite Disney character is, why they are your favourite and what you learned from them as a child!  (Were they a good role model?  Was it their personality or humour you like?  Or were they just the cool character that you wish you could have had as a friend in school?) A picture needs to be included showing your favourite character at their 'moment' (the one when you knew who they were and what they stood for) - Images can be screen shots from the movie, stock photos taken from the Internet, or images drawn by hand etc - Effort will be taken into account when it comes to deciding a winner!  

So, get thinking - Put up your posts on whichever social media platform you choose and then copy the link to the post into the comments on this post.  To be eligible to win you must also be following 'A Moment to Read'.

1st Prize is a Disney bundle which will include bits and bobs from some of the Disney films mentioned in my post below!
And two runner up prizes are Disney books and a Tsum Tsum teddy to match the story!

Closing Date for entries is the SUNDAY 24th APRIL (Winners will be announced on the Friday 29th April.)
-
1. Favourite Character
Easy starter... Belle from Beauty and the Beast, every time.  I love her and how she knows who she is and can stand up for herself.  She showed us that love is not about the handsome prince as she fell in love with the Beast before she knew who she was, and she loved books!!  I really wish I could have been her friend!
2. Favourite Princess
Aumrora (Sleeping Beauty).  I  mean come on, she spends the majority of the film asleep and it is still all about her!  That's skill.
3. Favourite Heroine
Merida!  Hands down!  She showed Disney fans that we don't need a guy to save us.  (And yes I know, she wasn't the first...  Alice, Belle, Mulan, they all did too) Merida had to fight for who she was and prove her worth as a woman, not some prize that a guy could win with his skills or bravery!
4. Favourite Prince
Prince Adam... For those of you who don't know, that is the Beast!  He loved Belle enough to let her leave him... that's true love!
5. Favourite Hero
I'm going to be honest, I really struggled with this one... I tend to favour the strong female characters than the male ones as I think they tend to end up quite stereotypical.  After some serious thought though, I guess Kristoff from Frozen.
6. Favourite Animal
Simba!
7. Favourite Sidekick
Tinkerbell - I know that she could be a bit of a bitch, but she was pretty awesome!
8. Favourite Villain
Maleficent!  I loved her even when she was just plain evil.  I  love her even more since the film came out detailing her background.  It made her more realistic and showed us that the villains were just heroes scorned!
9. Favourite Original Character
Has to be Pluto!
10. Favourite Love Song
A Whole New World - Aladdin
11. Favourite Song
For years I would have said that 'I just can't wait to be King' was my favourite, yet I am a little bit of a traitor because I do absolutely love 'Let it go'
12. Favourite Villain Song
Possibly ''Be Prepared' from The Lion King - I'm not a hge fan of the villain's songs, they tend to be the bit I get bored through.
13. Least Favourite Song
I hate Gaston's song in Beauty and the Beaast!  With a passion that I have never understood...
14. Favourite Kiss
Belle and Prince Adam just after the transformation; so romantic!


15. The First Movie You Saw
I don't know what the first film I ever daw was, but I know that the first one I saw in the cinema waas The Lion King - and it has been one of my favourites ever since!!
16. Favourite Classic
The Lion King, Beauty and the Beaast and Alice in Wonderland... I genuinely can't pick between the three!
17. Song That Always Gets Stuck in Your Head
Provincial Life from Beauty and the Beast - love the lyrics!!
18. Favourite Pixar Film
Brave!
19. Least Favourite Pixar Film
The Incredibles - I could just never take to it
20. Favourite Sequel
The Lion King - I loved Kiara and Kovu almost as muh as I loved Simba and Nala
21. Overrated Movie
For me it was Princess and the Frog.  I saw the film but didn't understand the hype I've never watched it since.
22. Underrated Movie
Pocahontas - she doesn't get enough credit as a character or as a Disney Princess!  She saved her entire tribe by falling in love and standing up for herself - credit where credit is due people!!
23. Movie That Makes You Laugh
Aladdin - there is just no character that can beat the Genie!
24. Movie That Makes You Cry
I think all Disney movies make me cry, even now when I know what is coming!
25. The Saddest Scene from Your Favourite Movie
The moment where the Beast nearly gives up and lets Gaston kill him because he thinks that Belle has left him!
26. Saddest Death
Mufusa!  I still cry my eyes out every time... I even start crying before because I know what is coming!
27. Favourite Quote
28. Favourite Theme Park
As bigger Disney fan as I am, I haven't actually been to the parks - need to be able to afford to leave the country to do that!!
29. Favourite Theme Attraction
It's not a favourite as I obviously haven't been; but I want to go to Magic Kingdom.
30. Favourite Theme Park Show
Not got a clue...


~~~ * ~~~

All opinions are my own and not encouraged by Disney or any other company involved with the making and production of the books and movies mentioned in the above post.

Prizes are put together by myself and again, are not endorsed or funded by any company mentioned in the above post.  Prizes will be shipped to winners after communication between myself and them to sort out delivery details.

All images used in this post are stock images taken from Google searches - They are not my photos and there is no copyright intended.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Fairest of All

Fairest of All: A tale of the Wicked Queen
Author: Serena Valentino
Publisher: Parragon Books
Release Date: 18th January 2016

Blurb (Taken from back of book):
How did the Wicked Queen become so evil?
When the King asks for her hand in marriage, the beautiful daughter of a cruel mirror-maker accepts, hoping her fortunes will change for the better... but will they?
This is the untold tale of love, loss and dark magic behind the classic story of Snow White.






Let's talk about the cover: I won't lie, I originally bought this book on impulse.  If you asked me, I would say that you should never judge a book by it's cover, but unfortunately we are all guilty of it.  The first thing you see about a new book in a book shop is the cover, and I was drawn to this one.  I recognised the Queen on the front of it as the Evil Queen from Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.  After reading the back it quickly became mine as I love reading fairy tale adaptions.  The great thing about this cover is that when you turn it over the back opens up as the Wicked Witch; her alter ego.  Therefore the open books gives you both sides of her face put together.  I also know that the original hard back version had the Evil Queen's face on the sleeve, and if removed, showed the Wicked Witch's face.  Very Clever!

Review: We all know the supposed story of the Evil Queen that plagued Snow White's life and planned her death to ensure that her own beauty was superior to others in her kingdom.  This story gives her side of the tale, giving the reader another point of view, and making them doubt the sincerity of her hateful actions towards Snow White.  Fairest of All gives the reader a new look at the Queen and shows us that she wasn't always evil.  Everyone villain has a story, as we are learning from Disney with their new line of movies showing us the background to some of our favourite characters.  In this book we see how the Queen started out as a loving mother to a young Snow White when her husband, Snow's Father is killed in battle.  It is a series of dark events that happen after that, that turn her into the self absorbed and power hungry Queen that we know in Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.  
The book also provides a new and refreshing look at the Magic Mirror, giving the reader some food for thought with a fascinating relationship between the Queen and the Mirror.  This new idea gives the warped sense of necessity that the Queen seemed to have for needing to be the 'Fairest of them all' a darker and slightly Freudian outlook.  Her need to feel pretty stemmed back to her childhood with her Father, and could therefore only be satisfied by trying to fix the rift in that relationship.
Something that I did notice, was that even though the entire book is about her and her story, almost acting as a prequel to Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, we never learn her name.  Going right back the the Grimm tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Snow White's evil stepmother never had a name.  The Queen in Walt Disney's version did have a name; Queen Grimhilde, though she was rarely referred to as anything other than the Evil Queen, or the Wicked Queen.  So I find it rather bizarre that the book meant to give us an insight into the woman's life, and to help us to understand her better, didn't find it necessary to name her.

Lastly, I found it interesting that the book is copyrighted to Disney, which is the reason the book uses the Disney character on the cover, but also means that the author used direct characters in her book with permission from the originals.  This would suggest that Disney accept Serena Valentino's ideas and approve her storyline.  

Where as I enjoyed the idea of this story, and loved getting to know the Queen in a new way, I found this book quite hard going and was a little disappointed once I found myself at the end.  I think I had expected more from the story and wanted to get to know the Queen more.  It started out reasonably good, but seemed to lose it's way somewhere in the middle.

Rating: 3 Stars
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All opinions are my own and not encouraged by the authors, editors, publishers or any other company involved in the production of the book mentioned in the above post.

Click on the image of the book cover to go to Amazon where you can purchase your own copy of the book and follow the link set on the author's name to head over to their website.

Other books mentioned in this post are The Grimm Tales (The copy I have included is a reasonably expensive, leather bound edition as I believe this book should be something special.  Cheaper copies, and paper back editions are available too)
Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (Again this is just one copy - I picked the Ladybird edition purely because it is the version I own; other copies are available)


Saturday, 19 March 2016

The Confessions: An Original Sinners Collection


The Confessions: An Original Sinners Collection
Author: Tiffany Reisz
Publisher: 8th Circle press
Release Date: 15th March 2016

Blurb (Taken from Amazon):

Three Sinners. Three confessions. And all the dirty little secrets you could possibly desire…Father Stuart Ballard has been Marcus Stearns’ confessor since the young Jesuit was only eighteen years old. He thought he’d heard every sin the boy had to confess until Marcus uttered those three fateful words: “I met Eleanor.” So begins “The Confession of Marcus Stearns,” a moving coda to the award-winning Original Sinners series. This collection also includes “The Confession of Eleanor Schreiber,” a companion story written exclusively for this book. And, finally, all secrets are revealed in “The Confession of Tiffany Reisz,” an exclusive, in-depth interview. “I worship at the altar of Tiffany Reisz! Whip smart, sexy as hell — The Original Sinners series knocked me to my knees.” — New York Times bestselling author Lorelei James.

Let's talk about the cover: The novels that make up The Original Sinners all have beautiful covers, as do all the short stories that accompany the series.  However, none of them feature a person, which made this cover a surprise to me.  There is no hint as to who the man on the front of the book is, which leaves it open to reader assumption.  When I first saw it I assumed the man was intended to be Soren; the beautiful blonde male we have all come to love throughout the series.  Yet, when I learned that the two stories in the book were both from the narrative view point of Father Ballad, I changed my opinion and guessed that it was meant to be him instead.  Personally, I hope it is meant to be Father Ballad, as I didn't have a picture of him in my head.  Where as for me, the man on the cover is not Soren.  

Bearing in mind that all of the other covers in the series have been symbolic and created an air of mystery that linked to each of their titles, I am personally a little disappointed that this book cover gave such an intentional image to the readers rather than letting them come to their own conclusions about the man behind the confessions.  

Review:  As with all things Original Sinners, I absolutely loved this book!  The Confessions offers an insight into a character that has seemed so minor when mentioned in the main novels, yet proves to be integral to the way the story has unfolded.  Father Stuart Ballard is mentioned in the Original Sinners by Soren, and is spoken very highly of.  We know that Soren confides in Father Ballad on many occasions, and we learn in Poinsettia (One of the short stories available on Tiffany Reisz's blog) that Soren trusted him with the truth about himself right from the beginning.  

In father Ballad's own words in one of the stories... 
"This is the strangest confession I've ever heard in my life,'
The Confession of Marcus Stearns shows us just how much Soren actually listened to his confessor, and just how much Father Ballad truly had an influence on not only Soren's, but on Nora's life too.  What we didn't know as readers is that Nora also visited Father Ballad to give her confession to a Priest that wasn't her Soren.  We learn in The Confession of Eleanor Schreiber that Nora made a promise to her dying mother that she would confess her sins to a Priest that wasn't Father Stearns.  In going to see Father Ballad, we learn a few little secrets about Nora that we didn't to see in the novels.  
The third part of The Confessions was The Confession of Tiffany Reisz and I won't lie when I say that I loved reading that part!  I love getting an insight into a writer's mind, and that is exactly what Tiffany Reisz offers her readers with her 'Confession.'  The in depth, exclusive interview answers a hoard of questions that readers have wanted the answers to when reading The Original Sinners.  Tiffany gives her readers some details on her characters and why they are the way they are; she explains some of their traits and clears up some terminology that we all become familiar with when reading our way through the Underground!

Overall, The Confessions was a gripping read for me and I genuinely read it cover to cover without putting it down.  (I have also managed that with one or two of the novels and the short stories, for which those of you who know me won't find at all surprising)  Tiffany hints at the possibility of more stories to come from The Original Sinners and I will wait for that day as the world of the Underground is one I find myself reading over and over again.

Rating: 5 Stars
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All opinions are my own and not encouraged by the authors, editors, publishers or any other company involved in the production of the book mentioned in the above post.

Click on the image of the book cover to go to Amazon where you can purchase your own copy of the book and follow the link set on the author's name to head over to their website.