Tag: Book Review

How Not To Be a Boy Review

How Not To Be a BoyTitle: How Not To  Be a Boy

Author: Robert Webb

Genre: Memoir

Series: n/a

Goodreads Rating: 4.26/5

Goodreads Link

Synopsis: Rules for being a man:
Don’t Cry; Love Sport; Play Rough; Drink Beer; Don’t Talk About Feelings

But Robert Webb has been wondering for some time now: are those rules actually any use? To anyone?

Looking back over his life, from schoolboy crushes (on girls and boys) to discovering the power of making people laugh (in the Cambridge Footlights with David Mitchell), and from losing his beloved mother to becoming a husband and father, Robert Webb considers the absurd expectations boys and men have thrust upon them at every stage of life.

Hilarious and heartbreaking, How Not To Be a Boy explores the relationships that made Robert who he is as a man, the lessons we learn as sons and daughters, and the understanding that sometimes you aren’t the Luke Skywalker of your life – you’re actually Darth Vader.

How Not To Be a Boy by Robert Webb Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

What I thought about the book:  I loved this! I have never wanted to reread a memoir but I will definitely be rereading this.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Robert Webb himself (best way to experience a memoir). His narration is wonderful and the audiobook features a very entertaining and interesting interview at the end about some topics raised in the book.

It leaves you with so much to think about concerning gender and stereotyping while still being very entertaining.

“The great thing about refusing to feel feelings is that, once you’ve denied them, you don’t have to take responsibility for them. Your feelings will be someone else’s problem – your mother’s problem, your girlfriend’s problem, your wife’s problem. If it has to come out at all, let it come out as anger. You’re allowed to be angry. It’s boyish and man-like to be angry.”
― Robert Webb, How Not To Be a Boy

My Rating: 5 star review

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Google | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Easons | Waterstones | Dubray

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Synopsis from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

I am Heathcliff – Kate Mosse Review

I Am HeathcliffTitle: I am Heathcliff

Editor: Kate Mosse

Genre: Short Stories

Series: n/a

Goodreads Rating: 3.7/5

Goodreads Link

Synopsis: 16 modern fiction superstars shine a startling light on the romance and pain of the infamous literary pair Heathcliff and Cathy.
Short stories to stir the heart and awaken vital conversation about love.

Sixteen stories inspired by Wuthering Heights.

In ‘Terminus’ a young woman hides in an empty Brighton hotel; in ‘Thicker Than Blood’ a man sits in a hot tub stalking his newly-married love on social media; and in ‘A bird half-eaten’ an amateur boxer prepares for a match.

A woman recalls the ‘Heathcliffs I Have Known’ and the physical danger she has borne at their hands; in ‘Anima’ a child and a fox are unified in one startling moment of violence; and in ‘One Letter Different’ two teenagers walk the moors and face up to their respective buried secrets.

Curated by Kate Mosse and commissioned for Emily Brontë’s bicentenary year in 2018, these fresh, modern stories pulse with the raw beauty and pain of love and are as timely as they are illuminating.

The full list of contributors is:
Leila Aboulela, Hanan Al-Shaykh, Joanna Cannon, Alison Case, Juno Dawson, Louise Doughty, Sophie Hannah, Anna James, Erin Kelly, Dorothy Koomson, Grace McCleen, Lisa McInerney, Laurie Penny, Nikesh Shukla, Michael Stewart and Louisa Young.

I Am Heathcliff edited by Kate Mosse Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

What I thought about the book:  

Fantastic collection of short stories inspired by Wuthering Heights. I enjoyed each one of the sixteen stories included which is rare for a short story collection. Some were inspired by themes in the novel and some were more like retellings but each one made a strong impression.

Some left me feeling uneasy, others made me angry and others left me feeling a bit disturbed. I highly recommend reading this whether you’re a fan of Wuthering Heights or not.

I listened to the audio version but I will be buying the print edition to reread and make notes.

My Rating: 5 star review

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Google | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Easons | Waterstones | Dubray

“Nelly, I am Heathcliff…”

Synopsis from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

The Princess Bride by William Goldman Review

The Princess BrideTitle: The Princess Bride

Author: William Goldman

Genre: Humor, Adventure

Goodreads Rating: 4.26/5

Goodreads Link

Synopsis: Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. When she hears that his ship has been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts – who never leaves survivors – her heart is broken. But her charms draw the attention of the relentless Prince Humberdinck who wants a wife and will go to any lengths to have Buttercup. So starts a fairy tale like no other, of fencing, fighting, torture, poison, true love, hate, revenge, giants, hunters, bad men, good men, beautifulest ladies, snakes, spiders, beasts, chases, escapes, lies, truths, passions and miracles.

The Princess Bride by Willian Goldman Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

What I thought about the book:  I was a bit disappointed with this. Goldman tells the story of Buttercup and Westley through the story of a fictional version of himself searching for this book The Princess Bride that his father read to him as a child. His father read only the good bits of the book to him and he says that is what he has presented us with. It’s an interesting way to tell a story (inception style) but I didn’t like Goldman’s character or his constant interruptions. I like how it’s done in the movie with the young boy reacting to the story his grandfather is reading him but Goldman’s comments annoy me. Other than that the story is very enjoyable and a lot of fun to read.

The movie is better though.

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My Rating: 3 star review

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Google | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Synopsis from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

The Matchmaker’s Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken Review

The Matchmaker's Playbook (Wingmen Inc. 1) [Kindle in Motion]Title: The Matchmaker’s Playbook

Author: Rachel Van Dyken

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Wingman Inc. #1

Goodreads Rating: 3.99/5

Goodreads Link

Synopsis:  Wingman rule number one: don’t fall for a client.

After a career-ending accident, former NFL recruit Ian Hunter is back on campus—and he’s ready to get his new game on. As one of the masterminds behind Wingmen, Inc., a successful and secretive word-of-mouth dating service, he’s putting his extensive skills with women to work for the lovelorn. But when Blake Olson requests the services of Wingmen, Inc., Ian may have landed his most hopeless client yet.

From her frumpy athletic gear to her unfortunate choice of footwear, Blake is going to need a miracle if she wants to land her crush. At least with a professional matchmaker by her side she has a fighting chance. Ian knows that his advice and a makeover can turn Blake into another successful match. But as Blake begins the transformation from hot mess to smokin’ hot, Ian realizes he’s in danger of breaking his cardinal rule.…

The Matchmaker's Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
Instagram @elainehowlin_

What I thought about the book:

This was ok. Not an amazing story and I wasn’t too keen on the main male character. He was a bit too much of a fan of himself and the book as a whole was very tropey.

I did really enjoy the banter between the characters. It was a fun relationship to watch grow and the supporting characters have a strong presence.

Ticks all the boxes for contemporary romance formula fiction so if you’re into that you will probably enjoy this.

Though it’s certainly not the best romance book I’ve read I did enjoy it enough to read the whole thing and I will most likely read the next book in the series.

My Rating: 3 star review

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

The Matchmaker’s Playbook has been adapted into a movie by Passionflix

Books Read in September

The Matchmaker's Playbook (Wingmen Inc., #1)The Princess BrideDragon's Claw (Dorina Basarab #4.5)

This is probably the shortest wrap-up I’ve ever written! I spent the first 2 weeks of September getting ready to spend the last 2 weeks of the month visiting Glenmore and Venice. Venice was definitely the more glamorous of the two 😉 So very little reading time but a great month.

The Matchmaker's Playbook (Wingmen Inc., #1)The Matchmaker’s Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken ★★★☆☆

A contemporary romance about a college guy who has started a matchmaking service for women with his friend. Business is very good until he breaks Wingman Inc.’s number one rule and falls for a client.

This was ok. Not an amazing story and I wasn’t too keen on the main male character. He was a bit too much of a fan of himself and the book as a whole was very tropey.

Ticks all the boxes for contemporary romance formula fiction so if you’re into that you will probably enjoy this.

Though it’s certainly not the best romance book I’ve read I did enjoy it enough to read the whole thing and I will most likely read the next book in the series.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

The Princess Bride by Willian Goldman Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
Instagram @elainehowlin_

The Princess BrideThe Princess Bride by William Goldman ★★★☆☆

The story of a man revising a book his father read to him as a child and that actual story. I have to admit I prefer the movie. The version of Goldman depicted in the book isn’t really a nice guy and his popping up during the story of Buttercup and Westley got annoying. I like how it’s done in the movie with the sick boy and his grandfather reading to him. That features in the book but it’s minor.

Actually, it would be better with none of that stuff and just be the adventure story of Buttercup and Westley. That story is great and a lot of fun to read.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Google | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Dragon's Claw (Dorina Basarab #4.5)Dragon’s Claw by Karen Chance ★★★★★

Another excellent addition to the Dorina Basarab series. Chance just keeps hitting them out of the park! Dragon’s Claw is a novella set after the fourth book in the series Shadow’s Bane with an awesome appearance by Pritkin from the Cassie books!!! I seriously got so excited when he showed up cause we got to see what he’s like after the events of Ride the Storm. We also get to see how Dory is doing with her vampire nature being a lot more dominant and more humorous scenes with Marlowe.

Loved it!!

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

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DNF

Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield

I stopped reading this after 107 pages (of 320). I’d expect a book to be getting into the meat of the story by then but nothing seemed to be really happening here so I dropped it out of boredom.

Bellman & BlackSynopsis: Bellman & Black is a heart-thumpingly perfect ghost story, beautifully and irresistibly written, its ratcheting tension exquisitely calibrated line by line. Its hero is William Bellman, who, as a boy of 10, killed a shiny black rook with a catapult, and who grew up to be someone, his neighbours think, who “could go to the good or the bad.” And indeed, although William Bellman’s life at first seems blessed—he has a happy marriage to a beautiful woman, becomes father to a brood of bright, strong children, and thrives in business—one by one, people around him die. And at each funeral, he is startled to see a strange man in black, smiling at him. At first, the dead are distant relatives, but eventually his own children die, and then his wife, leaving behind only one child, his favourite, Dora. Unhinged by grief, William gets drunk and stumbles to his wife’s fresh grave—and who should be there waiting, but the smiling stranger in black. The stranger has a proposition for William—a mysterious business called “Bellman & Black” . . .


Synopsis from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

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