Category: Book Review

Top 5 Shows on Amazon Prime Video

Hello people! For today’s blogmas post I decided to chat about my 5 favourite shows on Amazon Prime Video. I’ve been watching a lot of Prime Video lately because they have every season of Buffy (which is not on Netflix in Ireland) and they have some great original content as well.

When you sign up to Prime Video you get a 30-day free trial and it is £7.99 a month after that. Sign up here.

The Man in the High Castle

We started watching this show a few years ago and got bored after about episode 3 and dropped it. We started watching it again last year and fell in love with the show. We picked it up again where we stopped in case we lost interest again so I can’t say if we were just moody the first time around but I wish we had kept going, it is fantastic.

American Gods

This show is kind of crazy but it’s so good and it is stunning. Fantastic effects and a very strange and interesting story.

amazon prime video 30 day free trial

Outlander

LOVE ❤❤❤ I would love this show for the theme song alone but the whole lot is amazing. It does focus more on romance but there is a lot of history and drama in it too.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

It’s a classic! I am really enjoying reliving my youth watching this show. Each season brings back memories of where my life was at the time it was on TV.

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel

I went into this show completely blind. I saw the 1950’s style clothes and wanted to check it out. It’s hilarious, I love it! A woman trying to make it as a comedian in the 50’s isn’t something you think about very often but it makes for very entertaining TV.

amazon prime video 30 day free trial

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day – Seanan McGuire Review

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or DayTitle: Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day

Author: Seanan McGuire

Genre: Paranormal

Series: n/a

Goodreads Rating: 3.83/5

Goodreads Link

Synopsis: When her sister Patty died, Jenna blamed herself. When Jenna died, she blamed herself for that, too. Unfortunately, Jenna died too soon. Living or dead, every soul is promised a certain amount of time, and when Jenna passed she found a heavy debt of time in her record. Unwilling to simply steal that time from the living, Jenna earns every day she leeches with volunteer work at a suicide prevention hotline.

But something has come for the ghosts of New York, something beyond reason, beyond death, beyond hope; something that can bind ghosts to mirrors and make them do its bidding. Only Jenna stands in its way.

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
Instagram @elainehowlin_ & @elaine_reads_romance

What I thought about the book: Loved this!!! Can Seanan McGuire do any wrong?! Her books are so good! I just wish there was more of this world to come. It was so interesting and had a fair amount of world-building despite its length and the fact that it’s standalone.

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My Rating: ★★★★★

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository 

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Synopsis from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik Review

Spinning SilverTitle: Spinning Silver

Author: Naomi Novik

Genre: Fantasy

Series: n/a

Goodreads Rating: 4.31/5

Goodreads Link

Synopsis:  Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
Instagram @elainehowlin_ & @elaine_reads_romance

What I thought about the book: Maybe 3.5 stars. I had really high expectations for this book cause I LOVED Uprooted but it’s a very different book. It had this weird way of boring me and then reeling me again so 50% of the time I really enjoyed it and the other 50% I felt meh.

The changing points of view annoyed me and (with the audiobook anyway) it took me a minute to figure out who was speaking which took me out of the story a bit.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

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Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

December TBR

May and October, the best-smelling months? I’ll make a case for December: evergreen, frost, wood smoke, cinnamon.
― Lisa Kleypas, Love in the Afternoon

I’m so happy that it’s December. I love when the year starts to wind down and I can finish up all of my annual reading challenges and start making plans for next years. I have already completed my Goodreads challenge which I will write a full post on soon. I surpassed my goal of 100 books, woohoo!

But the years not over yet! For December I would like to read some Christmas themed books and with my book group, Castle Dracula, on Goodreads we plan on doing the Victorian tradition of reading a ghost story at Christmas but I don’t know which one yet. It will either be A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens or The Willows by Algernon Blackwood. After that, I have a few books I’d like to get to this month.

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Christmas Reading

A Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift (Mackenzies & McBrides, #4.5)A Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift

(Mackenzies & McBrides #4.5) by Jennifer Ashley

Revisit the Mackenzies in this heartwarming Christmas tale of the New York Times bestselling Mackenzies series.

The Mackenzies gather for a clan Christmas and Hogmanay in Scotland. In the chaos of preparations for the celebration–the first of Hart and Eleanor’s married life–one of Ian’s Ming bowls gets broken, and the family scrambles to save the day. Daniel busily runs a betting ring for everything from the hour Eleanor’s baby will arrive, to whether Mac’s former-pugilist valet can win a boxing match. Ian begins a new obsession, and Beth fears that the loss of one of his precious bowls has made him withdraw once more into his private world.


A Christmas CarolA Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens. It was first published by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843. Carol tells the story of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation resulting from a supernatural visit by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come. The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim. The book was written and published in early Victorian era Britain, a period when there was strong nostalgia for old Christmas traditions together with the introduction of new customs, such as Christmas trees and greeting cards. Dickens’ sources for the tale appear to be many and varied, but are, principally, the humiliating experiences of his childhood, his sympathy for the poor, and various Christmas stories and fairy tales.


Audiobooks

Vox

by Christina Dalcher, narrated by Laurence Bouvard

Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial—this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.


The Strange Case of the Alchemist's DaughterThe Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter

(The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #1) by Theodora Goss, narrated by Kate Reading

Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture… a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.


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Bridget Jones's Diary (Bridget Jones #1)Bridget Jones’s Diary

(Bridget Jones #1) by Helen Fielding

Meet Bridget Jones—a 30-something Singleton who is certain she would have all the answers if she could:

a. lose 7 pounds
b. stop smoking
c. develop Inner Poise

“123 lbs. (how is it possible to put on 4 pounds in the middle of the night? Could flesh have somehow solidified becoming denser and heavier? Repulsive, horrifying notion), alcohol units 4 (excellent), cigarettes 21 (poor but will give up totally tomorrow), number of correct lottery numbers 2 (better, but nevertheless useless)…”

Bridget Jones’s Diary is the devastatingly self-aware, laugh-out-loud daily chronicle of Bridget’s permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement — a year in which she resolves to: reduce the circumference of each thigh by 1.5 inches, visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and learn to program the VCR.


The Turning (Blood Ties, #1)The Turning

(Blood Ties #1) by Jennifer Armintrout

I’m no coward. I want to make that perfectly clear. But after my life turned into a horror movie, I take fear a lot more seriously now. I finally became Dr. Carrie Ames just eight months ago. Then I was attacked in the hospital morgue by a vampire. Just my luck.

So now I’m a vampire, and it turns out I have a blood tie to the monster who sired me. The tie works like an invisible leash and I’m bound to him no matter what I do. And of course he’s one of the most evil vampires on earth. With my sire hell-bent on turning me into a soulless killer and his sworn enemy set to exterminate me, things couldn’t get much worse–except I’m attracted to them both.

Drinking blood, living as an immortal demon and being a pawn between two warring vampire factions isn’t exactly how I’d imagined my future. But as my father used to say, the only way to conquer fear is to face it. So that’s what I’ll do. Fangs bared.


eBooks

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library, #1)The Invisible Library

(The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman

Irene must be at the top of her game or she’ll be off the case – permanently…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.


Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Throne of Glass

(Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?


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What are you reading this month?

Afterburn & Aftershock Book vs Movie

Welcome to the first post in my Elaine Reads Romance series 🧡 This is a new post series and an Instagram page focusing solely on romance. The Instagram page will be updated regularly and there will be occasional posts here on my blog.

I want to delve deeper into the romance genre and explore all the tropes/topics that I love (and hate) without changing the overall feel of my blog which is why I made the Instagram page. The majority of my reviews will be posted there along with discussions about authors, new releases, tropes and whatever else we feel like talking about.

So, if you’re a romance fan, come join me on Instagram and let’s chat romance 💕

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“I’d face all that and more for a guy who really loved me,” I told him coldly. “But I’m not putting up with this shit from a jerk.”

Afterburn & Aftershock by Sylvia Day covers

Afterburn & Aftershock (Jax & Gia #1-2)

by Sylvia Day

Never mix business with pleasure. Never bring politics into the bedroom. In a way I did both when I took Jackson Rutledge as a lover. I can’t say I wasn’t warned.

Two years later, he was back. Walking into a deal I’d worked hard to close. Under the tutelage of Lei Yeung, one of the sharpest businesswomen in New York, I had picked up a thing or two since Jax walked away. I wasn’t the girl he once knew, but he hadn’t changed. Unlike the last time we’d drifted into each other’s lives, I knew exactly what I was dealing with… and how addictive his touch could be.

The inner circle of glamour, sex, and privilege was Jax’s playground–but this time, I knew the rules of the game. In the cutthroat business world, one adage rules all: keep your enemies close and your ex-lovers closer…

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Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Jax & Gia #1-2

Goodreads Rating: 3.95/5

Goodreads Link   

Review: This is a steamy one. A steamy steamy one.

Gia is one of the best leading ladies in contemporary romance I’ve read. She’s independent and goal orientated working to improve her career in the restaurant world when an old flame, Jax, resurfaces. He’s a directly involved in her latest business dealing meaning they have to spend a lot of time together.

Jax seems surprised by Gia’s attitude towards him but she isn’t afraid of letting him know what she’s feeling.

“Damn it. I didn’t know you were in love with me, Gia.”
My eyes closed against the pain of hearing those words from his lips. “If that’s true, you didn’t know me at all.”

He’s closed off emotionally and we don’t know why until they reach boiling point and something gives.

Their relationship is tumultuous, racy and deeply loving. I really enjoyed reading it 💕

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository 

Audible Black Friday 2018 Offer

Image result for passionflixWatch the movie on Passionflix.

Get the movie on Amazon.

IMDB Rating: 5.3/10

Review: The acting from the main cast is solid (some of the supporting cast are a bit hinky) and the guy playing Jax is suitably yummy. It’s a bit less steamy than the book but that’s bound to happen unless they make porn.

The movie follows the book quite closely. The dialogue is moved around in some places and it doesn’t really fit on one of these occasions.

Overall it’s good but not as good as the book.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

“You’re toying with one of my people,”
she said coldly, watching impassively as he lifted her hand to his mouth.
“You never used to be cruel”
“I used to have a heart,” he drawled “and then someone broke it.”

Afterburn and Aftershock by Slvia Day Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

Instagram @elainehowlin_ & @elaine_reads_romace

Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_