Book Review – Red Sparrow, by Jason Matthews

Image Source: https://www.framerated.co.uk/red-sparrow-2018/

I recently finished both reading and watching the film adaptation of ‘Red Sparrow’, written by Jason Matthews. The main character; Dominika Egorova, played by Jennifer Lawrence, and Nate Nash played by Joel Edgerton.

Like many of the books I own, I had this book on my ‘TBR” (To Be Read) pile for a while. I first heard of it, and I hate admitting this, when it came out at the cinema. And, I refused to watch the film before I read the book… which I now slightly regret!

Warning: Book/Film spoilers!

What’s the synopsis?

The story is about a young Russian woman called Dominika who is sucked into Russian Intelligence by her uncle. She has a devistating injury which stops her dream of being a ballerina and due to her mum’s ill health, she ends up taking a job her uncle organises and gets sucked into the life. She is forced into a special school, and becomes what is called a ‘Sparrow’; trained in sexpionage. She is then put to work to uncover the mole in the Russian Intelligence, this is where she meets Nate Nash; CIA.

What did I think about the book?

My first impression, when I think back to the book, and how I would describe it to someone else; difficult to read. Although I do find the story interesting; a mixture of spy-thriller and romance (to a point), I actually had difficulty going back to finish it.

I would find myself putting it down after reading it, and sometimes I would take a few weeks to get back to it. This happened a few times, so much so that it took me quite a few months to finish it. And yes, okay, I was completing a MSc at the same time, and then moved house, and had other commitments and hobbies around that. But I found myself wanting to do other things rather than reading that book. Although, I found myself conflicted on occasion because when I got back to reading it, I did enjoy it in some ways. I did find myself wanting to know what happened next.

But the writing style seemed a little… off. At first I didn’t know how to put my finger on it. Some sentances didn’t flow right, or I struggled to understand what was going on. I then realised after getting quite a way into the book that there was a lot of ‘and then this happened, and then that happened, and then… and then…’ which really put me off.

I also felt a little nervous about the author’s portrayal of Russia, especially since President Putin was actually mentioned in it. I have a few international friends and I felt guilty reading the book and worrying what any Russian friends (and fans) might think of me for reading such a book. I understand there is a lot of ‘bad blood’ with Russia, and Putin in particular, but I felt like it was deliberately attacking Russia needlessly. Saying that, I did speak to one Russian person while reading it and they were actually interested in reading the book themselves.

As for things I did enjoy, I did like the depth to Dominika’s character, her motivation to do well and support her mother, and her conflicting relationship to her own country. I also enjoyed the relationship she started to have with other characters; including Nate. Their relationship was clearly more than business, yet complex, like most relationships should be, especially in their situation.

I also enjoyed the little chapter endings with recipes. I started to realise that they were based off what was mentioned in the chapter and then I started to look out for the different foods, to see what would next be mentioned at the end of the chapter. Some even sounded interesting enough for me to want to try them. Although, I will admit, they were a little weird at first, and I found them a little pointless, but I grew to like them, figuring it was just the author’s little quirk.

And I enjoyed some of the clever ideas within the story, such as the diversion stories that were used to find the mole in the Russian Intelligence and how that played out further in the book and the way Boucher, the US Chief of Staff/Senator was killed.

What did I think about the film?

Personally, I was actually dissapointed with the film. More so than the book.

‘We are making a film of the book.’

Earlier in my post I said how I slightly regret reading the book before watching the film, and this is because there was so much that was both left out and changed! A friend once said to me that he prefers watching the film first, then reading the book, because then you get to see all the extra bits that you didn’t see in the film. Although, a part of me worries that I wouldn’t be committed to reading the book because I already knew what happens.

Every bookaholic’s nightmare is having things missing from the film, but I personally understand some things need to be left out because it isn’t possible to fit it all in to a 2-3 hour movie. But due to some of the things that had been left out, the plot had not only changed, but the film didn’t seem to flow right.

One of my favourite parts (mostly because I actually understood what was going on, as the book was so difficult to read!), the little diversion stories, wasn’t in the film! Boucher’s death was also completely different, I mean, yes there were American CIA operatives there (in the book they closed in on her too quickly), in the film she was hit by a truck, but in the film she used a specially adapted pen to administer a poison. She took control of her own death in the book, which I feel was an integral part of her character.

I also noticed that Dominika bleaches her hair (I won’t even go into how difficult it is to bleach your hair that blonde without a professional…). In the book, she doesn’t change her hair colour; she is always her natural brown self. I think, in the film, she does it because she realises that Nate likes blonde women, and what better way to get his attention in the beginning but be the woman he is attracted to.

But I personally think that is a little discriminating; suggesting the age-old belief that men only like blonde women. I feel offended on behalf of men. Why change this in the film, when it’s not in the book? I’m going to assume it had something to do with Jennifer Lawrence and the fact she is a natural blonde.

One of the things that I was really looking forward to seeing portrayed in the film was Dominika’s synesthesia (basic way for me to explain it, she was able to see colours like it was another sense). I found it a really interesting twist in the book; she was able to work out when people were lying to her, when they were being honest, etc. It’s one of the reasons why she was such a brilliant spy. But it wasn’t even mentioned in the film. I know it could have been a difficult thing to portray, but I felt like it was a key part to her character.

And lastly, the ending. In the book, the end was when they made a deal to swap Dominika with the mole; MARBLE, but the Russian’s never intended to let MARBLE go and thus killed him, leaving the ending on a cliffhanger, what happens to Dominika? But, in the film, MARBLE wasn’t anywhere to be seen and instead Dominika ratted out her own Uncle as the mole, which lead to him being killed. It was a clever ending, I will agree. It gave Dominika the look that she was in control, she was a powerful and clever woman. You could argue it was better than the book, and I agree, thinking back at it, but at the time I was deeply disturbed at the change… I just hope that the author was quite happy with this change! I also wonder how this change will impact the next book/film (yes, there are other books, but I’m unsure if they’ll make a second film!)

However, I enjoyed Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal as Dominika, I thought she was a really good fit for the character. Some scenes were also done really well, such as when Matorin found Nate and Dominika, the little double-agent scene even had me fooled for a few minutes. I also warmed up to Joel Edgerton as Nate in the end, although I feel as if other actors probably would have been a better fit as I felt Joel was a little too stern. I know he was a spy and had to be professional, but I felt his character in the book was a tiny bit softer.

How many stars do I give it?

The book, I give 3.5 out of 5. Although it was refreshing to have well developed characters, and an interesting plot, but the style of writing really let it down.

The film, however, I give 3 out of 5. The changes in the story let it down, making it confusing, and I dislike that they thought it a good idea to change the character’s hair colour when the book doesn’t have this.

References:
Food Picture: www.woodenspoonskitchen.com/2013/01/08/food-photography-backgroundnatural-lighting/

Book to Film cartoon: www.cartoonstock.com/directory/f/film_adaptation.asp

Jennifer Lawrence Picture: www.bustle.com/p/in-jennifer-lawrences-red-sparrow-a-woman-must-be-raped-before-she-can-be-strong-8342129

Gold star cartoon: www.vippng.com/preview/oohxJR_star-smiley-face-cartoon-stars-with-faces/

~~~

Please do give this post a like, and feel free to comment. What did you guys think of the film and/or book? Do you have any suggestions of book/film adaptations?

And, don’t forget to check out my other posts.

I did another book review a while ago, please check it out here!

Don’t forget to check out my own books!

And have a look at my travel blog!

Both my books are currently 99c!

Both of my books are currently 99c in e-book format on Smashwords!

The idea of putting them up for sale is to get more reviews and traffic through my sites. I don’t get a lot of profits from selling them so cheap, as Smashwords takes a good chunk, but it’s mostly to get my name out there.

And hopefully, when I finally get my other books finished (still waiting for free time around uni work and job searching!) I’ll have a fan-base already!

See below for links and synopsis for each e-book.I-Fell-in-love-with-a-psychopath-full30713453_2359540254272254_3615440063170609152_n

Here is I fell in Love with a Psychopath:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/893044

Here is It’s My Mistake:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/744287

Synopsis for I Fell in Love with a Psychopath:

What would you do if you realised the man you fell in love with had a psychopathic personality disorder?

After getting her degree in history, Jo took the plunge and moved to Chicago. But one day a guy changes her life completely. And not necessarily in a good way.

When she first moved to the city, Jo met Liam. She had a small crush on him from day one. Along with his good looks, he was funny and charming. Maybe a little immature, but he never failed to make her laugh. Finally, one day Liam asks Jo out on a date and she is stupidly nervous and surprised he even likes her!

Jo meets Xander in a bar. He is handsome and confident. He holds himself tall and constantly watches her reactions with mild curiosity. She keeps bumping into him, sometimes deliberately. He seems to say all the right things and do all the right things and she finds herself craving more of him.

The problem was, however, one of them is a psychopath and he now has an obsession with Jo…

Synopsis for It’s My Mistake:

Alice wants a career change, especially after a terrible incident at her last job. Her dream job has always been to work in a hotel, maybe even own one. But after messing up an interview very spectacularly for a vacancy at a well-known hotel chain in London, she wasn’t expecting to hold the attention of the Global Business Manager; Daniel Jeffries. And in more ways than one. Does Alice take the risk and accept Dan’s offer or does she play it safe?

Who knew that that interview day would be the day that changed Alice’s life? But is it for the better? Is this alluring Global Business Manager as amazing as he seems? And who is that mysterious yet amazingly handsome man at the hotel?

**Mature Content** Recommended for ages 18+ due to sexual situations and language.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you want to read a part of I Fell in Love with a Psychopath, read it here.

If you want to read a part of It’s My Mistake, read it here.

Here are some links to my other works you might like:

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

Butterfly House – Chapter 1

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

My Normal – A Short Story by Penny Hooper

Other blog links:

Best places to visit in South Lanarkshire

The HALO Trust: Safe Steps – Challenge Complete!

I won! I came first in the Earnesty Writer’s Awards 2018 Paranormal Genre!

Paying for Reviews – BEWARE!

My Book ‘It’s My Mistake’ available in paperback!

Happy 3 Year Anniversary – Sorry I’ve been quiet!

Hey guys,

So, I logged into my Word Press account today with the intention of writing a post, seeing as my last post was Halloween, I figured I ought to write another one!

But I logged in and realised it’s my 3 year anniversary on Word Press today! Yay!

I much apologise for the lack of posts, if you have been following me on Word Press and/or on my social media sites, you’ll know I am completing a Master’s Degree and it is extremely demanding. That, and I finally have a social life again… it’s difficult to keep up with anything writing related. Although I have promised myself to get Rose Garden Sanatorium finished this year! Might even do a bit of editing today.

So? What’s new? Other than the string of reports I have to write for this Master’s Degree, I have managed to sell a few copies of my currently published books (in e-book format on Smashwords). Both were ‘accidentally’ put up for free on Smashwords, it was supposed to be a New Year sale, but on Smashwords, they were free… although I think on the other sites Smashwords put them up for sale, they weren’t free, so I did get a bit of money from the sales. I let it run anyway, as it’s nice to get some more readers and hopefully some new reviews!

They’re both currently on sale (e-book). It’s My Mistake is currently at $0.99 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/744287

I Fell in Love with a Psychopath (e-book) is: $1.50: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/893044

If you’re more into paperbacks, then you can buy them both here:

It’s My Mistake: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Its-My-Mistake-Penny-Hooper/dp/1985376709/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

I Fell in Love with a Psychopath: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1722710365/

I also got a new review for I Fell in Love with a Psychopath, my first one on Amazon, and it’s a 5 star. Although the reviewer said “A fantastic 1st novel”, which isn’t true, it’s my second. 😛

Oh, and I won another award! This time for my Short Story “My Normal”
https://www.wattpad.com/650286458-%E2%98%80%EF%B8%8Fsolstice-awards-winners-2018%E2%98%80%EF%B8%8F-%E2%98%80%EF%B8%8Fshort-story

Also, click here for a sneak peak of my book Rose Garden Sanatorium

And if you like videos, check this out!

Follow me on WattPad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/penny_bones16
Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PennyRHooper/

Pushing Rose Garden Sanatorium!

For us (indie) writers – well, me at least – it’s really difficult to market your work. Yeah, you might be really good at writing, might even be writing the next ‘best seller’… but most of us are introverts. We write because we are that introverted person where we like to read and escape reality, but have gone that one step further and decided to write our own realities… but actually trying to push ourselves to get our work out there… isn’t easy!

It’s also a full-time job in itself! But doesn’t pay the bills! (At least not in the beginning!) So, finding the time to do it, let alone learning new skills… is also difficult!

So, I’ve been trying to learn a few ‘marketing’ tips to get my work out there, and although a few of my ideas have been ‘reasonably’ good but very slow progress (using Twitter, WattPad, for example) others I’m terrible with.

Alongside my lack of marketing skills, I also will be (and am in some points of my time in the past) very busy! I will be starting a Masters in October and will be moving! Alongside my Masters I will be looking at being a volunteer with the Student Association they have and will be finding part-time employment in order to survive! Eek!

So, my writing adventures (both real and written) will be put on the down-low over the next year!

On the up-side, I did create this quick aesthetic image for my book Rose Garden Sanatorium. It’s not my best, but I was in pain while doing it. But someone suggested I do something like this. I may also have a book trailer video coming…

Rose-Garden-Aesthetics.jpg

My apologies if this post seems scattered… currently possessing a headache!

I also have some news to share very soon! So watch this space! 🙂

~Penny.

Another 5 star review!

Admittedly it was a friend of mine who bought and read my book, but I am extremely thankful that he has taken the time to buy it, read it and review it. 🙂

Another 5 star review is on Smashwords!

review2

It’s currently up for sale at 50% off! 🙂

www.smashwords.com/books/view/744287

If you’d like a paperback copy rather than an e-book, you can do here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Its-My-Mistake-Penny-Hooper/dp/1985376709

 

 

 

I fell in Love with a Psychopath – Chapter 5

If you’re new to the story, please read the prologue here.
This work is my first draft and thus unedited, so may be subject to changes.


Chapter 5

Just before the guy was even able to even think about what to do in that moment, Xander lunged for him. I didn’t really see much, only really a flash and a loud gasp from someone, because I had fallen onto one of my knees and held onto my foot instinctively.

When I looked up, I just caught Xander punching the guy in the face who was knocked to the ground by the force of Xander’s punch. I saw Xander pick something up from the floor and then walk over to the guy, now in possession of the knife.

“Now let’s see what your intestines look like,” Xander sneered.

He was about to bend down when his mate rushed over to him in a panic. He looked white as a sheet. Unlike Xander who looked red from rage. “Leave him, mate, just let him go.”

“Like fuck will I, after trying to steal my watch?” Xander replied, not even looking back at his mate. “Do you even know who I am?” he sneered again at the guy on the ground. He pointed the knife at him like an extension to his own arm.

“Please don’t hurt me,” the guy started to whimper.

“Listen to yourself, you’re pathetic!” Xander huffed and shook his head in disgust.

At this point I had noticed that my foot was actually bleeding, and I cursed under my breath. The rock had caught two of my toes as they had broken its fall to the floor. One of them had started to bleed and I was worried the other one, my little toe, was broken because it was excruciatingly painful. So much so that tears were starting to appear in my eyes. It took a lot for me to cry.

Because I had muttered though, Xander looked over at me and must have only just noticed I was hurt. At this he stood up a little straighter and appeared to talk to the guy on the floor; “Leave.”

“W-what?” said a small voice from the floor.

“Leave,” Xander repeated, looking back round at him. “Just go before I change my mind and cut you open from your throat to your naval.”

The guy clearly got the message as he stood up and rushed away, without even taking his knife. At first he tried to scurry away on all fours and then managed to stand up properly and made a decent run for it, nearly tripping over as he was in a panic to get away.

“Are you hurt?” Xander asked, walking over to me suddenly, not even watching the man run away. He walked passed his friend who was standing stock still in fright and passed him the knife. He took it without hesitation and just stared down at it in his hands as if shocked he now had possession of the offensive weapon.

I laughed. I was laughing at myself. I felt stupid for what I had just tried to do. “That bloody rock fell onto my foot.”

“Why are you bare footed?” he asked, as he towered over me from where I knelt. I was starting to wish I had sat down on my backside rather than kneeling. My knee were hurting as the road was digging into it. Not to mention I was worried about flashing anyone who stood in front of me. Luckily Xander was standing by my side, otherwise it could have been a lot more embarrassing.

“I took my heels off so they wouldn’t draw attention to me.” I gasped in pain as my toe twitched. “Are you going to help me up or what?” I accidentally spat, half in frustration and half in pain.

I heard Xander laugh slightly and he held out a hand for me. Just as I placed mine into his, he turned to his friend; “Get some ice from Mario’s.”

“W-what?” the guy stuttered.

“Ice, Devon, from Mario’s,” Xander demanded, just as he helped me effortlessly into a standing position. “It’s not a hard request.”

“Oh, sure,” the guy called Devon said and then went to wander off down the street back to where Mario’s front door was waiting.

“Devon, don’t take the bloody knife with you!” Xander snapped at the guy.

“Oh!” Devon stopped, turned round, looked at Xander and then at the knife and just placed it on the floor carefully like he was handling something that might explode and just walked away.

He wobbled slightly as I watched him. I was worried he was going to faint and collapse on the hard floor, but he disappeared round the corner and out of sight, and was momentarily forgotten about. Xander was just shaking his head at his friend as he had just placed the knife in the middle of the street.

I gasped again as a pain shot up my foot and up my leg like an electric bolt. It reminded me of when I once been bitten by an ant in Australia. Although double that pain – no, probably triple it. I remember sitting drinking a small bottle of beer the Australians called a ‘stubby’ under a slight canopy in my rented house. I hadn’t noticed there was an infestation of ants right next to my bare feet – what is it with me and bare feet? They were these huge things with blue abdomens, horrible little buggars they were. One had bitten me on my big toe. The pain had shot right up my whole leg. My toe even throbbed for at least an hour afterwards.

Although the pain I felt after dropping a rock on it was worse, the idea was still the same; the pain travelling right up my leg. Although unlike the ant, I was suddenly feeling a little sick from the pain.

“It’s probably best you move out of the street, Jo,” Xander said, his voice seemed to have gotten softer in a matter of seconds. Although I was mostly concerned with the fact Xander had taken his hands out of mine and I was now standing on one leg.

“Yeah, before I fall over,” I snorted, and put my foot down. But as soon as I did, I wobbled dangerously because I didn’t want to put pressure on it and the pain had made me a little dizzy. Xander had to grab me to stop me from falling over.

He had quick reflexes, but he didn’t seem too bothered where his hands landed when he grabbed me. Although, luckily he didn’t grab anywhere inappropriate, but he did have one hand on my arm and the other on my waist.

“I’ll help you,” he said.

I muttered a thanks and allowed him to guide me over to the side of the street.

Just as we reached the side and I was able to lean against a wall – Xander taking his hands off me again – he asked me a strange question.

“Did you not care that guy had a knife?” he asked.

“What?” I asked, looking back at him in confusion, unsure I heard him right.

“The mugger,” he said, “he had a knife. Did you not care?”

“Err… I guess not,” I shrugged. “My main concern was stopping him, I was worried he was going to hurt you.”

“You didn’t have to step in like that, you could have been hurt yourself.”

“If I didn’t, he could have hurt you. Were you not scared?”

“I’m used to it.”

I laughed. “You’re used to people attacking you with knives?”

He looked at me, his deep green eyes seemed darker for some reason. “I’m sort of used to-,” he paused as if choosing his words carefully, “people trying to threaten me.”

I stared at him for a few seconds wondering what that meant. He was used to people threatening him? Why?

Check out the next chapter here!

~~~

If you liked this story, please check out my other works!

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

If you’re interested in buying the book, here’s the links:

Psychopath-2 (2)

Paying for Reviews – BEWARE!

Since becoming a self-published author, I have come across a wide range of new challenges. And I don’t mean just the usual publishing and marketing challenges. I mean, what happens afterwards.

I’m not going to pretend that my published book; ‘It’s My Mistake’ is a working masterpiece. I have had a few good reviews, but I’m not letting them get to my head. I’m too much of a perfectionist to believe it. I wrote the book quickly, and I know there are mistakes (no pun intended) in it.

But aside from that, since actually committing to publishing the book, I have had a string of emails through my website, private messages and tweets through twitter from people claiming to want to help you.

Yes, it’s lovely to know I’m being head-hunted (although, I know it’s got nothing to do with my writing, it’s all about them making money) and it’s nice to know there is a wealth of help out there. But I have to admit, it’s a little annoying!

For the time-being, I am not in a position to be able to pay anyone anything, I can barely get my own hair cut lately. I am not in full-time employment, I am a student. I write on the side as a hobby, for now. I am not pushing sales on my book, I am not approaching newspapers, magazines, radio stations, etc, to try to market my book, I am just a woman sat at her computer tweeting and posting blogs every now and then.

Once I finish my degree, I will be taking a year out (at least) to relax, move again (as I had to move in with my parents for a while) and take a holiday that I desperately need (I’m thinking for my 30th birthday this year). Then, and only then, can I really start thinking about making my writing career (if I can call it that) professional.

But while I’ve been just dabbing into the world of an author life, I have noticed that there is an awful lot of people / companies out there that pray on people like myself who are new to the game.

One in particular I will mention, because I want to expose them, is a ‘company’ on Twitter calling themselves ‘Booktasters Authors’ (I think they have a few names on Twitter, this is the one that contacted me though). They approached me back in November with a simple question, “Hi Penny, Do you like to get your book reviewed?” (see pictures at the end of this blog post)

Now, firstly, am I the only one that can see that that question is grammatically incorrect? Or are they asking me if I like the actual act of getting reviews?

Normally I don’t tend to reply to DM messages on Twitter, I get annoyed with the automated messages. Tweets, however, I do try to reply to. But I figured I’d see what these guys wanted. So I responded.

It turns out, this ‘company’ is offering ‘free reviews’ for your book if you sign up your book to their community. The catch is… you have to PAY to sign up.

So… you PAY for REVIEWS!

Apparently not, apparently the community of reviewers aren’t paid themselves, they are reading your book for free, unpaid, and in return are giving you an honest review.

But I was trying to make a point that I am still out of pocket, and then getting reviews in return.

Now, even if I HAD the money to fork out and get my book reviewed and help it’s sales, and that’s if I wanted to do that (as I am in the process of re-writing It’s My Mistake) I wouldn’t do it unmorally. I do not want my name tainted. I don’t want people to see my name, see my books and think ‘she buys her reviews, I don’t want anything to do with her or her books’.

I know, there is a very big possibility that if I get more reviews on Goodreads and/or Amazon, more people will want to buy and read my book. But I do not want to get there by paying a company to give me those reviews. It’s not honest.

Anyway, at first, I figured I’d just ignore the message. I wasn’t going to continue in a conversation and waste mine and their time. So I just ignored it.

Apparently they weren’t taking my silence as a no. A few days later they emailed me again. I knew right away something dodgy was going on when they wrote “We are very passioned to take…” Wait… ‘Passioned’? I’m not entirely convinced this is even a word. Microsoft Word doesn’t register it as a word, but I did find it online. But either way, what was wrong with writing ‘passionate’?

I just figured, if I didn’t reply again, they’d get the message.

Apparently not. If you see in the pictures below, they very unprofessionally sent me two emoticons. Ha!

I figured I needed to shut this down quickly before I got anymore emoticons… who knew what ones they’d send next!

So I replied, rather politely if I say so myself; “Thank you, but I don’t pay for reviews.”

Ooo… they are sneaky buggars. The next message (oh yes, they replied, persistent I’ll give them that) was sent the same day and they were trying to explain that I don’t pay for reviews, the fee is for offering the book to their community, some ‘managing process’ and guaranteeing a posted review on Amazon and Goodreads.

I just laughed when I read that. The way I see it… I pay them > they give me reviews back. Doesn’t matter how fancy you try and make it sound, what I’m getting in exchange of my money is reviews. I’m PAYING for REVIEWS.

So, not only am I out of pocket, but the readers are getting my book for free!

The thing that started to really annoy me though, was their persistence. Bearing in mind that this last message I sent them was the 3rd of December (2017) and their reply was almost instant. I ignored them and they didn’t take the hint… again.

Seven days later, I get another message. Another unprofessional one with one of those emoticons again.

I ignored it and made sure I wasn’t following them. (It turned out I was! I quickly rectified that!)

I got another message on the 13th of January. Clearly they didn’t get the hint when I not only ignored them, but I unfollowed them too.

It was at this point that I realised I wasn’t going to get rid of them politely. So I had to block them.

Now, the reason why I am writing this post is because I am not only annoyed that I was getting harassed by them, but that they are probably harassing other people too. There are a lot of new authors out there that are probably thinking that doing something like this is a good way to make a name for themselves.

DON’T! I am fed up with seeing people who are not genuine. I know it’s a harsh world out there, but do not fall prey to these people. Do not pay for reviews. You worked long and hard on that book, people should be paying YOU not the other way around.

And do not contribute to a world of con!

Here are the screenshots of the messages I received:

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Penny’s Book Reviews

I have unconsciously decided that my new year’s resolution is to read more. Being a self-regarded bookaholic as well as a struggling author, I realised that I wasn’t reading as much as I should (I can’t really count my psychology books for my degree, that would be cheating!)

I have my excuses, of course; being ridiculously busy. But I decided that I shouldn’t make excuses and read those books I bought and get that To-Be-Read pile down. So, the next time I buy a load of books, I don’t feel so guilty!

Anyway, I decided that it would be a good idea to write a short review of what I have read so far this year. Give you my personal opinions of them.

The books I have read this year, so far, are:

  • This Savage Song, by V. E. Schwab
  • The Undesired, by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
  • The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger

 

This Savage Song, by V. E. Schwab

My first thoughts; brilliant, couldn’t put it down. Want to buy the sequel asap!

If you like YA in a dystopian / sci-fi / futuristic setting and monsters this is for you! The book is based in a world where monsters are real, they are real because of a ‘phenomenon’ where any act of violence, murder or genocide creates these monsters. There are three types, each getting even more deadly than the next. But it has a twist. The book is split into two views, a view of a girl and a view of a boy – but he’s not quite a boy, he’s actually one of the monsters.

I’m going to leave it there as I don’t want to give too much away and of course make this post too long. But one thing that struck me as a little far-fetched in this world was that one of these monsters, which feeds off human souls, do so by playing music. So one of the characters is always carrying around a violin. That was a little weird for me, but once you get around that, the overall book is really good.

Still going to buy the sequel.

Star rating, I’d say 4/5.

 

The Undesired, by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

This one, left me feeling a little weird. Like I was missing something. I’m undecided on this one, I have to admit.

I like the fact it was based in Iceland, I love reading books that are based in new places and I might learn a little bit about that place. Even if it might not be 100% true, it still gives me the element of wanting to learn more.

The book starts off really interestingly, it starts with ‘The End’ so you read the rest of the book wondering how the characters got to that point. Although I was a little worried it would ruin the experience of mystery, but it didn’t really.

I will admit, I had trouble putting the book down, as I found myself wanting to know more. But there were times where I could see what was going to happen. Sometimes these bits are fun, you get a sense of “I knew it!” and I don’t necessarily mind that. There were also times where I was left guessing. But when I got to the end of the book and I realised there was no more left – and yes, the ending was interesting and unexpected! – I still felt like I was missing something. Like there was parts in the story that didn’t really make sense.

Star rating; 3/5

 

The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger

Now, this one is a classic. And maybe I read it with high expectations because it was a classic. But I wasn’t overly enthralled by it.

I got this book from a friend, when I was going through a really REALLY rough time. I had just broken up with my boyfriend (whom I bought a house with) and I was extremely depressed. It was a lovely gesture from my friend, but I was left wondering ‘why’ when he bought it for me. Why this book?

At first, I found it a little difficult to get into. A few chapters in and I was wondering where the story was going. Feeling a little curious at the characters and they were going too. Until I got half-way through and realised that there wasn’t really a plot like we get in these days, there wasn’t a huge ‘Hollywood style’ adventure that the main character goes on and I was left wondering ‘why?’

I will admit though, that I did have trouble putting it down. I did want to know what the character was going to do next. And started to grow sorry for the boy and wanted to just climb into the book and help him.

And it wasn’t until the end of the book that I realised at least one point the book was trying to make; the boy was going through a rough time and was just trying to figure out his life. He was sixteen, he was starting to go from a boy to an adult.

I read reviews on Goodreads about the book and one person made a very valid point, that I can’t really agree or disagree because I don’t personally know the answer, but the book was apparently written in the time just after the war, and it was the first book of its kind; to show the true nature of what the world was like in those times, through the eyes of a boy trying to struggle to adulthood.

I think I gave it a 3/5 star rating on Goodreads, but I believe it is somewhere between 3 and 4, maybe 4/5 if I was being generous.

 

Now… onto reading my next book 1985 by George Orwell!