George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl

Overview
George's Marvelous Medicine: Dahl, Roald, Blake, Quentin: 9780142410356:  Amazon.com: Books

Title: George’s Marvelous Medicine
Author: Roald Dahl
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Children’s, Easy reading
Dates read: 22nd January 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Puffin Books
Year: 1981
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘Why won’t they?’ asked George.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

‘The rule would be this: whatever he saw, if it was runny or powdery or gooey, it went in.

Thoughts

I understand more than most how miserable it can be to have a grumpy, nasty grandmother. I’m just lucky that my parents never invited them to live with us. So it was kind of funny to read this story in which George gets his comeuppance against his nagging, irritating grandmother. And in the finest, most enjoyable fashion possible.

George is a great lead for all the boys and girls out there. He is funny and quirky. And, although he ultimately doesn’t make the best decisions… he does so with a bit of hope and positivity in his decision making. Plus, who hasn’t wanted to make a “medicine” that removes the crankiness from a relative?

I remember reading George’s Marvellous Medicine as a kid and wanting to go and make my own “medicine”. It worked out pretty much exactly as you would predict. But it’s a nice memory, one that kept flicking back in my memory as I reread this great, childhood classic.

<- Fantastic Mr FoxThe Giraffe, and the Pelly, and Me ->

Image source: Amazon

Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

Overview
Fantastic Mr. Fox: Dahl, Roald, Blake, Quentin: 8580001048246: Amazon.com:  Books

Title: Fantastic Mr Fox
Author: Roald Dahl
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Children’s, Easy reading
Dates read: 22nd January 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Puffin Books
Year: 1970
5th sentence, 74th page: The feast was just beginning.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

‘Did you hear that, Mr Fox! It’s not over yet! We’re not going home till we’ve strung you up dead as a dingbat!’

Thoughts

I completely forgot that this story existed. Which is actually kind of sad, it’s a brilliant, funny and cute story. I absolutely adored this and was giggling throughout.

Fantastic Mr Fox is a funny little story that reminds us that being good and clever sometimes gets us what we want. It also kind of encourages us to steal… but I’m not going to look too closely at that rationale.

This is a light, quick and funny read. You know that a children’s book is good when you can still enjoy it and laugh over it as an adult. And that’s certainly what happens here…

<- Esio TrotGeorge’s Marvelous Medicine ->

Image source: Amazon

Esio Trot by Roald Dahl

Overview
Esio Trot: Dahl, Roald, Blake, Quentin: 9780142413821: Amazon.com: Books

Title: Esio Trot
Author: Roald Dahl
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Children’s, Easy reading
Dates read: 21st January 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Puffin
Year: 1990
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘Mrs Silver caught the paper and held it up in front of her.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

‘I do actually happen to know how to make tortoises grow faster, it that’s really what you want.’

Thoughts

This was funny, quirky and seriously quick to read. It doesn’t even really count as a novel, since it’s only 50 pages. And most of those are covered in pictures…

I must say, I really don’t condone the way that Mr. Hopper gets his way in this story. After all, he is literally stealing a pet to con the woman he loves. But, it is quite funny. And clever. And just all round ingenious. Pus, there is a happy ending for the tortoise that started the whole damn story anyway. So all is not lost…

I laughed out loud throughout this very short read. And, if anyone has a copy of this lying around… I most definitely suggest reading it. After all, there is nothing better than having a short read and laugh when life is getting a little too serious. No matter how old you are.

<- The Enormous CrocodileFantastic Mr Fox ->

Image source: Amazon

Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

Overview
Danny the Champion of the World eBook by Roald Dahl | Rakuten Kobo

Title: Danny the Champion of the World
Author: Roald Dahl
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Children’sEasy reading
Dates read: 21st January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Puffin
Year: 1975
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘Yes,’ he said.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

‘A stodgy parent is no fun at all. What a child wants and deserves is a parent who is sparky.

Thoughts

I love that this is a book, that, ultimately is all about poaching. Yet, it seems to be a positive. Mostly, when I read poaching stories, the poacher is the evil character. Instead, in this story, the poachers are the good guys. And poaching… is… well, fun. It certainly turned a lot of my thoughts on their head.

I read this novel since I needed a refresh of what it was about. I’m writing a little note for my friends’ child-to-be in the front of this. And the part that seriously struck me… I could totally see the father-to-be doing exactly this. Being that fun, quirky and sometimes not well thought out parent. The one that is enjoyable and loving, even if they do make some questionable decisions (poaching in this case).

The ingenuity that Danny shows in this story is seriously admirable and impressive. I know that I wouldn’t have been able to show the same myself when I was that age. It is also a great reminder that we can accomplish whatever we set our minds to… if we have a little bit of gumption to follow through.

Overall, this was a fun, funny and seriously cute novel. I’m definitely glad that I decided to pick up my Roald Dahl books again and enter his crazy, zany world.

<- Charlie and the Great Glass ElevatorDirty Beasts ->

Image source: Kobo Rakuten

The BFG by Roald Dahl

Overview
The BFG by Roald Dahl - Penguin Books New Zealand

Title: The BFG
Author: Roald Dahl
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Children’s, Easy reading
Dates read: 15th – 21st January 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Puffin
Year: 1982
5th sentence, 74th page: It’s a phizzwizard!

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

‘Human beans is not really believing in giants, is they? Human beans is not thinking we exist.’

Thoughts

It’s been a long time since I enjoyed a good Dahl book. And I remember The BFG being one of my favourites. So, it was a nice way to detox and wind down from work and a seriously chaotic week. It’s simply, fun, and light-hearted. With just enough confusion and storyline to keep me enthralled.

This was the book that reminded me that you can never judge a book by its cover. Or at least, it was the one that first taught me that little tidbit. After all, the BFG is large, ugly, and seriously awkward. He’s also uneducated and very, very different to everyone else that Sophie knows. But he is also good. And kind. And sweet. It makes for a very beautiful story.

One of my favourite things about this book is the way that the BFG talks throughout. It is quirky and unique, and just seriously, delightfully funny. I also love how Dahl is able to poke fun at things that are considered “ordinary” and every day. It certainly stops and makes you think about what you find “normal”, and is, in fact, just a little bit different and unique.

There is nothing better than revisiting a well-loved childhood classic and finding that you still enjoy it. Most of the time, when I revisit a beloved childhood classic, I tend to find it wanting. But that most certainly wasn’t the case with The BFG. And it’s inspired me to pick up and read more Roald Dahl books.

<- Ah, Sweet Mystery of LifeBoy: Tales of Childhood ->

Image source: Penguin NZ

Born Free by Joy Adamson

Overview
Born Free: The Full Story by Joy Adamson

Title: Born Free
Author: Joy Adamson
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Conservation, Memoirs, Nature
Dates read: 3rd – 15th January 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Pan
Year: 1960
5th sentence, 74th page: It was evident therefore that after having camped here for three months we try to choose a better home for her.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

‘In the back of the car were three lion cubs, tiny balls of spotted fur, each trying to hide its face. They were only a few weeks old and I took them on my lap to comfort them. The third cub was the weakling in size, but the pluckiest in spirit. I called her Elsa, because she reminded me of someone of that name.’

With these immortal words, conservationist Joy Adamson introduced the world to Elsa the lioness, whom she had rescued as an orphaned cub and raised at her home in Kenya. But as Elsa had been born free, Joy made the heartbreaking decision that hte mature lion must be returned to the wild, despite the incredible bond they shared.

Since the first publication of Born Free in 1960, and its sequels Living Free and Forever Free, generations of readers have been inspired and moved by the remarkable interaction between Joy and Elsa. Here is the chance to discover the full story in this 50th anniversary edition, in the words of the woman who walked with the lions.

Thoughts

I’ve been meaning to get to this book for a very long time. But it just seems to be sitting there, gathering dust. Which meant that I really needed to sink my teeth into this. Born Free is one of those books that I have picked up and put down more times than I can remember. Which made me very, very glad when I finally put aside the time to actually read this and experience the wonderful world of Elsa.

I’m incredibly glad that I read this novel. It’s definitely one of those stories that needs to be read at least once. And I found the journey of Elsa enthralling and fantabulous. However, I didn’t necessarily love Adamson’s writing. It was just a little… lacking. Which made it harder and harder to get into the tale. Particularly after the point in the story in which Elsa dies. It’s interesting what happens with her cubs, but I just didn’t feel that attached.

As someone who has done some work in conservation and read many, many reports on relocation, rewilding and releases, it was intriguing to read about one of the first cases of releasing a wild animal. The trials and tribulations which Adamson and Elsa went through are not only fascinating, but you can also see some of the mistakes that were built upon in today’s exercises.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. And, because of the awesome content, one that I would suggest to others. But it wasn’t the kind of book that I will pick up again and again. I won’t give away my copy, but I also won’t be diving to pick it up again.

<- WildingBabylon’s Ark ->

Image source: Goodreads

Beautiful Beast by E.J. Hill

Overview
Beautiful Beast (Beautiful Queens, #1) by E.J. Hill

Title: Beautiful Beast
Author: E.J. Hill
Series: Beautiful Queens #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Magic, Retellings
Dates read: 1st – 8th January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: ARC, eBook, Novel
Publisher: E.J. Hill
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: Dear, it is nothing you have done.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

My name is Kalista. They call me the beast.

Kalista has been cursed by a powerful sorceress and is now a prisoner in her own palace. As petals fall from an enchanted rose, her fate and the sorceress’s victory draw nearer. But Kalista refuses to be defeated so easily and uses her own magic to push against the bindings. Yet what if it is not enough and the only way the curse might be shattered is through the help of another?

When Arawn crosses into the beast’s domain, he has one motive: revenge for his brother’s death. But as he draws nearer to the beast and is surrounded by invisible servants, magical banquets, and an enchanted forest, he realizes that this beast is much more complex and much more human than he first thought.

As their paths intertwine, Kalista must risk opening her heart to another, while Arawn must learn to see past his hate and prejudice. Together, they struggle against spells, wolves, and time itself to break the curse. If they fail, Kalista will fall asleep and will never again wake.

Thoughts

I received this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I got this book as an ARC through Book Sirens. It’s the first of (I’m hoping) many books that I receive in this way. And boy, was it a great way to start getting books through this group. Books that will, hopefully, blow me away like this one did. Because I definitely plan on adding more E.J. Hill to my reading lists! It was brilliant and beautiful. The kind of book that most definitely swept me off my feet and left me feeling giddy, happy and just… complete. Like all good books do.

You can never really go wrong with Beauty and the Beast retellings to my mind. It is still one of my favourite fairy tales, and I have honestly loved each and every retelling that I have had the privilege of reading. Yet, this was somehow my favourite. The motif of roses is strong and repeated throughout, Hill is able to seamlessly weave different aspects of the Disney original throughout her words. And there are just generally so many parts of this retelling that are… well, impossible to step away from. It’s fantastic, wonderful, and, yup, is making me rave about this fantastic retelling.

Doing a gender swap on the Beauty and the Beast was a great and intriguing way to start off this retelling. That, and the fact that the curse placed upon the ‘beast” was brilliantly described in this story. I love that by starting with the curse and a child being cursed, you were able to feel so much more sympathy and fear for the characters in this story. I also like that Kalista is portrayed as the beast, even though she is physically unchanged. The multitude of different gender comments that this made left me smiling like a fool the whole way through reading this story.

Not only were the fairy tale aspects of this story brilliant, but I also loved the characters. Arawn and Kalista slowly fall for each other in this beautifully organic way. And although you already know some of the background for each of the characters, you only slowly get the full stories revealed. I can’t wait to see what Hill does as a follow up to this fantastic novel! I have all of my fingers and toes crossed in anticipation!

<- More E.J. HillUntitled ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Overview
The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2) by Helen Hoang

Title: The Bride Test
Author: Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 5th – 6th January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Corgi
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: Fortunately, this kind of firm touch was acceptable – he liked proprioception and deep pressure.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, not big, important emotions – like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better – that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly refuses to consider a relationship, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. So when the opportunity arises to go to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down. This could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go quite as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working… but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

As Esme’s time in the United States dwindles, will Khai let his head catch up with his heart? Can he find the strength to let go, and let love in?

Thoughts

This was one of those books that I read cover to cover, completely unwilling to put it down. It was brilliant and clever. Cute and the kind of book that left me with a smile on my face. In fact, I was almost late to work the next day because I couldn’t put this down and stayed up way too late reading.

Khai is a great male lead. You don’t get many neurodiverse leads in books, so having one that featured so strongly was brilliant. The fact that Hoang is neurodiverse herself makes his differences all that much more realistic. Not only did I find it seriously relatable, but I also love how Hoang is able to use her work to bring autism to the forefront in a light and understandable manner. Add to that the fact that Khai is a gorgeous romantic lead, well, it made everything that much more… yummy. And sweet. And I just wanted to hug everyone on the pages!

I’ve read a few contemporary stories which feature immigrants. And even non-fiction books. I haven’t yet read one which features an immigrant. Someone from poverty who is travelling to another country to try and make their lives better. Particularly when that person is effectively a mail order bride. Again, Hoang is able to provide an educated insight into the unique challenges of finding oneself in this situation.

I love the romance that Hoang takes you on in her story writing. But, I think the thing that I love the most and keeps me coming back again and again and again is the way in which she is able to feature marginalised groups. And she doesn’t do this from her imagination, but, rather, she is able to create these amazingly diverse characters from her own experiences, or the experiences of those near her.

This novel melted my heart and left me grinning from ear to ear. It is cute and sweet. And most definitely impossible to forget. Definitely one that I will be rereading at some point in the future.

<- The Kiss QuotientThe Heart Principle ->

Image source: Goodreads

Kiss of Heat by Lora Leigh

Overview
Kiss of Heat (Breeds, book 4) by Lora Leigh

Title: Kiss of Heat
Author: Lora Leigh
Series: Breeds #4
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: EroticaParanormal romance, Romantic suspense
Dates read: 3rd January 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Lora Leigh
Year: 2004
5th sentence, 74th page: And now Kane was sleeping deep and painlessly while she paced the room, kicking herself for her own lack of control.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

They’ve waited a decade to come together. Long years filled with unbearable pain and soul-wrenching torment that have changed them both and left wounds that have laid their souls bare. Wounds that stand one chance of healing – if only they could stop fighting each other long enough for the truth to work its healing balm.

Kane, a relentless warrior, lost more than his heart to Sherra in a night of mating passion that marked them both for life. But news of her death ripped his soul apart. For years he has fought to avenge the death of the woman he loved more than his own life, by revealing the deceit and cruelty of the Council that created the Breeds

But Sherra didn’t die, and now amid the rapidly escalating violence against the Feline Breeds, Kane and Sherra learn that there’s more to mating than just the “heat,” just as there’s more to love than just the sex…

Thoughts

Ever since reading Tempting the Beast, I’ve been really intrigued to find out more about Kane and Sherra’s story. There are hints and bits and pieces throughout the next two novels in this series that highlight how great a story it’s going to be. And very, very many hints about what really went wrong between these two. But until I actually had the chance to read this story… wow.

Although this novel had the same intensity and erotica as the other Breeds novels, there was a little more heart break and heart wrenching than the other stories. The horrors that have been committed against the female breeds start to rear their ugly, horrifying heads. And pull my heart apart even more. After all, some of the horrors that are mentioned in this story are exactly the things that I am most afraid of. I’m just glad they don’t go into too much detail.

I always find in a series, particularly romance series which focus on different couples each novel, by the third or fourth novel, things start to get… intense. And that’s exactly what happened here. Now, there is more at stake in each story than the happiness and the livelihood of the couples. Rather, war is declared and things are steadily getting deadlier and deadlier. I can’t wait to see how everything progresses from this point forward!

Kiss of Heat is a phenomenal paranormal romance novel. One that I read cover to cover in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed. It makes me not only keen to read more Breeds novels. But left me with some very… wonderful dreams later that night.

<- Elizabeth’s WolfSoul Deep ->

Image source: Fantastic Fiction

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn

Overview
The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband :HarperCollins Australia

Title: The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Rokesbys #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romance, Regency romance
Dates read: 1st – 2nd January 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: She took his arm, and then slowly, without a word, they made their way out to the street, where a carriage awaited to take them the short distance to the Devil’s Head.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

While you were sleeping…

With her brother Thomas injured on the battlefront in the Colonies, orphaned Cecilia Harcourt has two unbearable choices: move in with a maiden aunt or marry a scheming cousin. Instead, she chooses option three and travels across the Atlantic, determined to nurse her brother back to health. But after a week of searching, she finds not her brother but his best friend, the handsome officer Edward Rokesby. He’s unconscious and in desperate need of her care, and Cecilia vows that she will save this soldier’s life, even if staying by his side means telling one little lie…

I told everyone I was your wife

When Edward comes to, he’s more than a little confused. The blow to his head knocked out six months of his memory, but surely he would recall getting married. He knows who Cecilia Harcourt is—even if he does not recall her face—and with everyone calling her his wife, he decides it must be true, even though he’d always assumed he’d marry his neighbor back in England.

If only it were true…

Cecilia risks her entire future by giving herself—completely—to the man she loves. But when the truth comes out, Edward may have a few surprises of his own for the new Mrs. Rokesby.

Thoughts

This is one of those books that I’ve been really dying to get into, but keep getting distracted before I actually start it… I can be a little too easily distracted at times. But, once I finally actually got my butt into gear, I finally managed to completely sink my teeth into this. It was amazing, brilliant and, filled with Quinn’s brilliant wit and humour.

I think that one of the reasons I found it a little hard to pick up this book was because, just from the blurb you could see all of the things that could go terribly wrong. After all, the woman is pretending to be a man’s husband. And even though he wakes up and doesn’t quite remember things, he believes this. It’s not a great recipe for a romance. Or at least, so I thought. Since, once I read this… I realised that it was actually the perfect romantic recipe.

Cecelia might be doing something kind of horrible in this story (pretending to an amnesiac that she’s he’s wife). But all of her motives are honourable. And, ultimately, I love that Quinn created a heroine who is soft, sweet and delicate. She has a backbone of steel and bravery that, even at the end of this story, she isn’t able to own up to. But, ultimately, she is more of a typical heroine for a regency romance story. Yet, one that I didn’t find tedious and irritating.

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband was fun and beautiful. There were so many moments of awkwardness and fun throughout the story that had me smiling and giggling. It was such an easy, fairly light-hearted read. One that included just enough emotional and personal upheaval that you felt seriously personally connected to the characters. And completely unable to let them go. There’s nothing like a few pulled heart strings to make you emotionally invest in such a beautiful romance…

<- Because of Miss BridgertonThe Other Miss Bridgerton ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia