Poisoned Apple by Katherine McIntyre

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Hellllllo readers, another day another review and one I’m really excited to be sharing with you. I often get authors who request a review and then later I get another request for a review of another book and it’s really special to be asked a second time. It also helps the reader/blogger to get more of an insight into the writing style and complex of the author. Today’s is another short tale perfect for a couple of lunchbreaks or a longer journey on le train and I enjoyed this more than the first book Katherine sent me (Stolen Petals – which you can read my review of HERE.) For now, onto this review which I hope all you lovelies enjoy.

Snow White’s a goth and Prince Charming’s a jerk.

On Neve’s eighteenth birthday, her stepmother kicks her out. A group of diner rats offer her refuge—including Brendan, who offers his couch for her to crash on. But the more time she spends with him, the more he confuses her. One second, he’s kissing her. The next he’s pushing her away.

Believing her life has reached rock bottom, Neve struggles to ditch her “damaged girl” label. But when she uncovers the truth about her life, she’s rocked to her very foundation. Will Neve be able to hold on to the good things coming her way, or will her bad luck poison everything?
Neve lives at home with her stepmother after her father left them for another man. On Neve’s eighteenth birthday, her stepmother throws her out. Neve has no where to go. She’s a loner. She blames herself for the lose of her parents.

I didn’t realise that this was a Snow White inspired story because I didn’t read the blurb (slaps wrist) but I’m kind of glad I didn’t know because now I can see all the links and I want to read it again where I can pick alllll of them out. As the blurb says the book follows Neve on her eighteenth birthday who is kicked (almost literally) out of the place she has always called home by her evil stepmother – (see Link) Wandering the lonely streets she finds at 24/hr diner where she befriends a group of guys (see Link) and they decide to keep her company. Brendan who is dealing with all sorts of other problems of his own offers her a bed for the night and we kind of go from there, learning more about her family and the ins and outs of her “relationship” with Brendan.

In terms of the length this is rather a short novella and that’s why it would be perfect for a train journey because you can just whizz through its lovely little pages. I thought the character profiles were brilliant; Neve is my go-to character. She is smart, intelligent and she wants to stand on her own two feet and she’s not afraid to say that. She’s gutsy, honest and sarcastic and I thought she was brilliant. Brendan is struggling with the break-up of his relationship and I thought his need to stay away from Neve and yet not quite able to was well written. The additional character were well built up including Veronica the evil stepmother and the guys at the diner.

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I found the characters easy to empathise with and feel for; although at times frustrating it is nice to read a book from an author who puts her characters really on the line. The pace moves along well and although short does manage to get quite a few tiny sub-plots in. Due to the length I couldn’t have really expected more but I think the length works so no problems there. I thought the humour woven in was clever and witty between all of the character helping you to get involved in the story as a whole.

In terms of wobbles I think there could have been better character development in terms of both the main characters but the book isn’t really long enough for that. I also thought some of Neve’s decisions were just odd especially the ending; it works with the Snow White theme but it felt a bit off? It didn’t fit with the character profiling we have been given throughout.

Overall this is a short snappy book with a really interesting plotline. The characters feel fresh and the fairy-tale aspect really adds to the story although it works without it too. It’s a brilliant little book and for just under £2 it really is worth a read. Thumbs up.

Liiiiiinkkks

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TaleSpins: Michael Mullin

Happy lazy Sunday once again readers; now today’s review is a big apology review. One of my huge resolutions for 2015 and is to get my inbox into shape. My inbox needs some serious TLC and I’m forgetting about the brilliant books that authors have sent me and it’s unfair. So from today I’m putting a stop to it and making sure that every review is counted for. Now today’s review was read a little while ago now but it somehow got saved as something else in my blogging folder so it’s been sitting a little unloved and forgotten! However, once saved I can bring you this wonderful review.

TaleSpins is a 3 story fairytale retelling told in verse. Some trends in novels come back time and time again and fairy-tales and twists on fairy-tales are books that I come into contact with on a regular basis when reviewing books. Now, sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes it is not such a good thing because they can become tired and grating. Well I am happy to say that here this is not the case! I am so glad this author thought to turn these three stories into verse and it is incredibly clever and a very lovely little read which helps to bring these stories right up-to-date. The first story is the previously untold story of the 8th dwarf. Yes you heard right. The story follows Creepy the 8th dwarf who lives with his other seven brothers however due to his odd behaviour (as the name suggests) he is locked up by his brothers. Lucky for little locked up Creepy he has an eye hole which he can see through and one day a beautiful girl arrives and so as you can see another tale of Snow White is told.

The second story is named The Plight and Plot of Princess Penny and follows a slightly alternative Princess. She goes in search of a witch after reading an advert that advises her that she can help her take revenge on the school bullies who are making her life a misery. She travels to the woods and upon coming to a bridge she meets a troll who cannot stop talking but offers some sound advice to this slightly different princess. After travelling to meet the witch, Penny suddenly has the idea to steal the potion the witch has created, but will everything turn out for the best? The final story is called Jack’d (rather clever as it is an altered version of the original version of Jack and the Beanstalk.) The story tells of a doctor who lives in a penthouse, however one day the penthouse is robbed; the doctor takes the elevator down to find Jack and bring him to justice but did he commit the crime? Not is all as it seems; once again told in verse and even darker than the first two.

I loved that the stories were told in verse; although a little difficult to read at the start in terms of getting your head round, once you do you get lulled into a soothing read that twists and turns. The first story is so very clever as it allows the author to play with a number of different events in the story including the way the princess is poisoned, the way she is awoken and also the happy ending. It is a lovely little story but has a dark edge that makes it an utterly fascinating read. This is the same for all of the stories which helps to create similarities between them. The plot moves with pace and isn’t too long in length so it keeps the reader interested throughout. I also loved that all of the stories had the same type of feel and that it ran throughout which helped to connect the stories creating a streamlined story. Overall I loved the updated versions of the fairytales but with an inclusion of well-known factors that helped to connect the stories back to their original stories. I loved the idea of Penny being an alternative almost ‘scene’ character, with piercings and lashings of eyeliner but also suffering with the same socially awkward events such as social cliques. I thought that by bringing the stories up to date they allow the reader to connect more with the stories and place themselves in the characters shoes. I thought the rhyming verse was a really good showing of quality writing and I liked the simple reminiscent childhood nursery rhymes that they reminded me of. I did think that at times the verses did falter a little especially in the second story but the joy of the story overwrote this. I cannot wait to see what Michael Mullins writes more because his work is both refreshing, dark and overall wonderfully original. One of my favourites for 2014!

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