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review 2018-02-26 21:57
The Marriage Lie
The Marriage Lie - Kimberly Belle

Iris and Will Griffith seem to have a perfect marriage - they're crazy in love, they live in their dream home in a nice neighbourhood, and they both have rewarding careers. But on the morning Will was supposed to fly to Orlando for business, Iris learns that he was on a plane going to Seattle. She only learns this because that plane has crashed, killing everyone. Iris has trouble believing this is happening. She has so many questions - why was he going to Seattle? Why did he lie about going to Orlando? And she's determined to get answers.

This book grabbed me from the very first page and kept my interest all the way through. Sometimes the writing itself was just okay, and I wasn't crazy about what went on in the last couple chapters. But the very end, ooh, that was fantastic! I absolutely loved it! Poor Iris was on an emotional rollercoaster. There was one thing after another. I was impressed at how many things the author threw in there and still made it all work. I was shocked a few times. I don't know what I would do if I was in the same position as Iris. A very suspenseful and compulsive read for me.

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review 2018-02-03 21:41
Pullman Sprinkles Some More Magic Dust!
La Belle Sauvage - Philip Pullman

When it’s been more than 20 years since the publication of an awesomely successful trilogy, there must be a temptation to just leave it alone. Notwithstanding the frenzied publicity, there’s an attendant apprehension for the (now older) fans that a savoured memory might be about to be irreparably tarnished. Of course, my bluff was called by the Christmas gift of a copy of Phillip Pullman’s prequel to the original “His Dark Materials” (my family know me so well). Though, to be fair, I did delay my gratification until January and the last remnants of festive chocolate, before gorging myself in sumptuous sessions of novel gluttony. 546 pages swept past with all the force of the flood that has beset Pullman’s parallel Oxford. And, amid the carnage, an unlikely pair of guardians for Lord Asriel’s baby daughter – Lyra Belacqua.

Still, it was reassuring to discover the author’s story-telling has not dimmed at all in the intervening years and this latest adventure unfolds at a gloriously break-neck pace. All the familiar components are present, the fascinating animal dæmons accompanying each human, like an external emotional core; the alethiometer – an instrument of almost mystical qualities, powered by ‘dust’; and the ongoing struggle between the malevolent Magisterium (church) and scientific schools of thought. Throw in a giant, a witch and a fairy and what’s not to like?!

What I do like is the seamless way Pullman has laid the foundations of the later books here and even offered some deeper explanation for why, in due course, Lyra will find herself the subject of ‘scholastic sanctuary’ at Jordan College. We haven’t learnt much more yet about the relationship between her parents, Asriel and the enigmatic Mrs Coulter, but their absence from the life of their daughter is curious, especially since the baby’s safety is instead reliant on eleven year-old Malcolm Polstead and fifteen year-old pub washer-upper, Alice. But, what great heroes they turn out to be!


For younger readers there’s surely a certain satisfaction in seeing these main characters outwit their elders, however, that’s not to suggest the book cannot be appreciated by an adult readership. Indeed the brutality of some scenes and the protagonist’s struggle with their part in the violence suggests that this is more than simply a tale of derring do. In any event, Pullman’s compelling storyline that pits good versus evil fizzes along and readers (young and old), can expect to be rooting for the good guys and hoping the cruel wrong’un with the three-legged hyena for a dæmon, gets his comeuppance!


Using Malcolm’s canoe (the ‘Belle Sauvage’), the youngsters need to navigate the flooded Thames valley and get Lyra to safety in London, traversing the natural barriers and avoiding the chasing Magisterium agents, who have other designs on the child of prophecy. For me 'His Dark Materials' set the bar very high, but I'm delighted to report that  ‘The Book of Dust’ is a magnificent romp that skilfully adds to the existing classic trilogy and has left this reader wanting more. What more could I ask for....the next two books in the new series perhaps (family take note)?

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review 2018-01-28 17:49
Rapunzel's Royal Wedding/Belle's Royal W... Rapunzel's Royal Wedding/Belle's Royal Wedding (Disney Princess) (Pictureback(R)) - RH Disney,RH Disney

For more reviews, check out my blog Craft-Cycle

Thoughts on Rapunzel's Royal Wedding:

Kind of interesting, because it is basically what was happening at the actual wedding during Rapunzel's Wedding Day while Maximus and Pascal were trying to get the rings back. 

Cute story, but not much happened. It was just basically what Rapunzel had to do to get ready for her wedding day (way to not help out, Eugene!). I did like seeing more stories with Rapunzel's brown hair after feeling gypped during Tangled: The Series when Rapunzel get's her magical blonde hair back (Brunettes, unite!). 

Nice illustrations, although what kind of monsters eat wedding cake with a spoon!?

Thoughts on Belle's Royal Wedding:

Similar style to the Rapunzel story. It was cute and the illustrations were nice, but not much happened. I did think it was weird reading about their wedding and never knowing what "The Prince's" name is. Minor thing that isn't really important, but as I'm an adult, I'm like, "So what does she call him? She's like 'Good morning, Prince' and 'Can you pass the salt, Prince?'" Seems weird. Anyway, the story was fine, if you like the whole Beauty and the Beast thing. I'm firmly on the Stockholm Syndrome side of the argument, but whatever. 

Okay books. My only real commentary is on the weirdness of books written for children about princess weddings. Yes, we all know girls are supposed to grow up and marry the prince at a lavish wedding that they are supposed to plan. Let's give them some real adventures, huh?

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review 2018-01-21 00:00
The Marriage Lie
The Marriage Lie - Kimberly Belle WOW!!!

What would you do if you found out your life was a lie? I loved this book! It was like a rollercoaster ride! So very well written and the characters so well formed that even the ones I did not like .... I liked!! Could not wait for the ending ..which blew me away.. And then I was sad it was over. When it was over, went through a withdrawal so bad it was 2 days before I could let new characters in my life! You have GOT to read this book!!
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review 2017-11-13 17:57
The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust, Volume 1) - Philip Pullman

Trying not to be a fangirl, but wow. This was so good. Not going to lie, I missed Lyra and Will. We do get baby Lyra though, so at least she's in the story. Just not talking and being her Silvertongue self yet. Seeing younger versions of Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter though was interesting. Since I know what comes, it gave me a good deal of pleasure of seeing Mrs. Coulter wrong footed. We follow two young people, Malcolm and Alice who do what they can to keep baby Lyra safe.


Philip Pullman offers these tantalizing details: “I’ve always wanted to tell the story of how Lyra came to be living at Jordan College, and in thinking about it, I discovered a long story that began when she was a baby and will end when she’s grown up. This volume and the next will cover two parts of Lyra’s life: starting at the beginning of her story and returning to her twenty years later. As for the third and final part, my lips are sealed.


Look all I am saying is that I want Lyra and Will together. That's it. If I end up sobbing like a child again like I did when I finished "The Subtle Knife" Pullman and I are going to have some imaginary words.


We have two new young adult characters to follow. No they are not Lyra and Will. But I actually think I may have fallen more in love with them than the latter. We have Malcolm and Alice who end up being drawn to baby Lyra.

I think that both characters were very well developed. Though some pieces reminded me of "The Subtle Knife". We have another sexual awakening of sorts. You see a young boy and girl drawn together and willing to fight for each other after having an adventure. 

We also get to see familiar characters in this one. I already mentioned Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter, but there are some others I don't want to spoil about. 


I do think that there were a lot of characters to keep track of, but I didn't mind. Pullman writes them all quite well and they move in/out to the story. I do wish though we hadn't jumped between Malcolm and his goings on and another adult character as much (no spoilers). That took something out of the book for me. I know that Pullman is trying to set up the people for investigating dust and those who did not want to, but as I said, I think most readers are going to read "His Dark Materials" prior to this one, so you don't have to go into it as much. 


Volume 1 was really good. Though it starts off slow, the flow gets better and better and you will have your heart in your throat for most of the story. I was so worried about Malcolm and Alice until the very end. And even then I am worried, cause i don't recall these characters in "His Dark Materials" or if they are referenced I am too dumb to not have caught it when I did a quick skim read of the three books a few days ago.

The plot of "The Book of Dust" is about a young boy, Malcolm, and innkeeper's son (I got a great hoot at connecting that with Jesus/inn/etc. who finds out that a baby is living with a group of nuns nearby. Malcolm becomes instantly enthralled with the baby (called Lyra) and her tragic story that most people are not supposed to know about (though everyone does). That would have to be the funniest part of this book to me. People keep mentioning secrets here and there, but it did feel like most of the characters knew about things that they should not have. I think that may have made for a more interesting book if things were slowly revealed. But I bet Pullman figured most of us have read "His Dark Materials" so it's not like it's going to be a shocking reveal to us.


The world building in "The Book of Dust" was really good. We get to see an earlier Brytain that has some similarities to our world, but does not. There is a terrible story about a man called St. Alexander that was appalling. And I swear reminded me of someone else historical, but was too busy/lazy to look it up. How this man and his actions trickles down to a secret group of children that reports on teachers, parents, etc. gives more power to the Consistorial Court of Discipline was appalling to see. I can see at times why Lord Asriel was hell-bent on breaking the hold the Church had on the world that "His Dark Materials" inhabitants. 


The ending was very good and links up nicely with the story we were told about how Lyra comes to be at Jordan College. Now can't wait for part two where we find Lyra supposedly 20 years later after the events of this story. I already read "Lyra's Oxford" to just get a nice taste of Lyra and Pan when she's 15. I wish it had been longer.


 Image result for his dark materials gif

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