Jessie Burton

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Mini Pin-It Reviews #29 – Four Graphic Novels

Published April 3, 2019 by bibliobeth

Hello everyone and welcome to another mini pin-it reviews post! I have a massive backlog of reviews and this is my way of trying to get on top of things a bit. This isn’t to say I didn’t like some of these books – my star rating is a more accurate reflection of this, but this is a great, snappy way of getting my thoughts across and decreasing my backlog a bit. This time I’ve got four graphic novels for you – please see my pin-it thoughts below!

1.) The Graveyard Book Volume 1 – Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell, Kevin Nowlan, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson, Stephen B. Scott, Lovern Kindzierski

What’s it all about?:

The first volume of a glorious two-volume, four-color graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s #1 New York Times bestselling and Newbery Medal-winning novel The Graveyard Book, adapted by P. Craig Russell and illustrated by an extraordinary team of renowned artists.

Inventive, chilling, and filled with wonder, Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book reaches new heights in this stunning adaptation. Artists Kevin Nowlan, P. Craig Russell, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson, and Stephen B. Scott lend their own signature styles to create an imaginatively diverse and yet cohesive interpretation of Neil Gaiman’s luminous novel.

Volume One contains Chapter One through the Interlude, while Volume Two will include Chapter Six to the end.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

2.) The Graveyard Book Volume Two – Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell, David Lafuente, Scott Hampton, Kevin Nowlan, Galen Showman.

What’s it all about?:

It Takes a Graveyard to Raise a Child.

Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead.

There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy–an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack–who has already killed Bod’s family.

Each chapter in this adaptation by P. Craig Russell is illustrated by a different luminary from the comic book world, showcasing a variety of styles from a breadth of talent. Together, they bring Neil Gaiman’s award-winning, nationally bestselling novel The Graveyard Book to new life in this gorgeously illustrated two-volume graphic novel adaptation.

Volume One contains Chapter One through the Interlude, while Volume Two includes Chapter Six to the end.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

3.) The Bad Doctor – Ian Williams

What’s it all about?:

Cartoonist and doctor Ian Williams introduces us to the troubled life of Dr Iwan James, as all humanity, it seems, passes through his surgery door.

Incontinent old ladies, men with eagle tattoos, traumatised widowers – Iwan’s patients cause him both empathy and dismay, as he tries to do his best in a world of limited time and budgetary constraints, and in which there are no easy answers. His feelings for his partners also cause him grief: something more than friendship for the sympathetic Dr Lois Pritchard, and not a little frustration at the prankish and obstructive Dr Robert Smith.

Iwan’s cycling trips with his friend Arthur provide some welcome relief, but even the landscape is imbued with his patients’ distress. As we explore the phantoms from Iwan’s past, we too begin to feel compassion for The Bad Doctor, and ask what is the dividing line between patient and provider?

Wry, comic, graphic, from the humdrum to the tragic, his patients’ stories are the spokes that make Iwan’s wheels go round in this humane and eloquently drawn account of a doctor’s life.

Would I recommend it?:

Not sure.

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

4.) The Restless Girls – Jessie Burton and Angela Barrett

What’s it all about?:

For the twelve daughters of King Alberto, Queen Laurelia’s death is a disaster beyond losing a mother. The king decides his daughters must be kept safe at all costs, and for the girls, those costs include their lessons, their possessions, and most importantly, their freedom.

But the sisters, especially the eldest, Princess Frida, will not bend to this fate. She still has one possession her father cannot take: the power of her imagination. And so, with little but wits and ingenuity to rely on, Frida and her sisters begin their fight to be allowed to live on their own terms.

The Restless Girls is a sparkling whirl of a fairy tale–one that doesn’t need a prince to save the day, and instead is full of brave, resourceful, clever young women.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

imagesCAF9JG4S

COMING UP NEXT TIME ON MINI-PIN IT REVIEWS – Four Random Books.

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Talking About The Muse by Jessie Burton with Chrissi Reads

Published January 11, 2017 by bibliobeth

27213208

What’s it all about?:

The Sunday Times Number One Bestseller

A picture hides a thousand words . . .

On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn’t know she had, she remains a mystery – no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.

The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harbouring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences . . .

Seductive, exhilarating and suspenseful, The Muse is an unforgettable novel about aspiration and identity, love and obsession, authenticity and deception – a masterpiece from Jessie Burton, the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist.

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: How does The Muse compare to The Miniaturist?

BETH: The Muse is Jessie Burton’s second novel after the roaring success of her debut, The Miniaturist which I thought was great but I actually enjoyed this one more. Physically speaking, they are both beautiful specimens with some gorgeous art but more specifically, they are both works of historical fiction that tell their stories from the perspective of strong women. In The Muse, we actually follow the stories of two women in different countries and time periods but who are strikingly similar in some aspects. There is a link between both stories which is brought together towards the end of the novel but part of the fun of this book is watching it all being brought together.

BETH: There are a number of supporting characters in this novel. Which one was your favourite and why?

CHRISSI: Ooh interesting question. I think my favourite character would have to be Cynth. I really liked their friendship and thought it came across really well in the beginning. It is their friendship that immediately hooked me in the story. I wish we would’ve seen more from her!

CHRISSI: The story is split between London in 1967 and Spain in 1936 – what parallels do you see between the two stories?

BETH: There are a lot of parallels between the two, one being as I mentioned above is the similarity between Odelle and Olive’s strength of characters. Both stories also feature a love interest that at some point in both narratives causes the women some concern for different reasons. Odelle and Olive are also both artists – Olive in the literal sense of the word is a very talented painter and Odelle is a writer. In both narratives they struggle with their art, being in both the thirties and sixties as something not many women did.

BETH: Discuss the character of Marjorie Quick and her relationship with Odelle.

CHRISSI: Marjorie Quick is an incredibly interesting character. I found her really intriguing right from the start. I think she saw something in Odelle right from the start which was really intriguing. Majorie really was an no nonsense character. She seemed incredibly protective over Odelle and I wondered why she was so keen to stifle the interest in the painting. She also seemed cautious over Odelle’s relationship. I found her to be an incredibly complex character and their relationship too seemed complex!

CHRISSI: Jessie Burton evokes two very different settings in London and Spain – how does she create the sense of place and time for both these storylines?

BETH: First of all, I loved that we got two such colourful stories with a multitude of intriguing and diverse characters. The author evokes the sense of London perfectly, from the fashions that were worn to places that were mentioned. It was quite a contrast between sections to be transported from a cold, dreary London to a hot, tempestuous Spain but the author’s use of descriptive prose meant that each setting was available in glorious and vivid detail.

BETH: Did you find any parts of this book difficult to read and why?

CHRISSI: If I’m honest, as I got further into this book I began to lose interest in it. I find Jessie Burton’s writing to be quite flowery and sometimes that doesn’t capture my imagination as much as I want it to. Don’t get me wrong, she is a brilliant writer, she’s just not my cup of tea.

CHRISSI: What was your favourite part of this book?

BETH: That’s such a hard question as I really loved every single minute from start to finish. There wasn’t even a narrative that I preferred, both were perfect and equally fantastic. If I had to choose though it would be a certain scene in Spain when a certain shocking event occurs that I was NOT expecting. (no spoilers!)

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I don’t think so. A great writer- sure, but not one that I’ve connected with during both of her books.

Would we recommend it?:

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Yes!

Star rating (out of 5):

BETH:

imagesCAF9JG4S

CHRISSI:

3 Star Rating Clip Art

Talking About The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton with Chrissi

Published January 19, 2015 by bibliobeth

The Miniaturist

What’s it all about?:

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office-leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.

But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist-an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .

Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand-and fear-the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?

Enchanting, beautiful, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: Did this book draw you in from the start, or did you take a while to get into it?
 
BETH: From the first page, I could tell that this was going to be a good book, the writing is absolutely beautiful, but it did take a while before I was fully immersed in the story. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it from the start, but that it was a bit of a “grower,” before I really appreciated what the author was trying to do.
BETH: Describe the relationship between Johannes and Nella and how it develops through the novel.
 
CHRISSI: I was very intrigued by the relationship between Johannes and Nella. Nella obviously struggles with the lack of attention Johannes pays her at the start. She expected to have an attentive husband and that is not what she got! I don’t think Nella ever anticipates the twist (won’t spoil) to the relationship. Their relationship becomes incredibly dramatic as time goes on and secrets are revealed. I thought Nella came across as incredibly mature, despite her young age.
 
CHRISSI: Nella starts this novel young and new in unfamiliar surroundings. How does her character grow and develop throughout the novel? 
 
BETH: Nella is only eighteen when she comes to live with her new husband in Amsterdam and hasn’t really had much life experience so is quite naive and gullible when it comes to certain things. She learns pretty early on through her relationship with Johannes and his sister Marin that if she wants to survive she must develop a thicker skin. Several incidents in the novel certainly give her the chance to do that!
BETH: Did you like the character of Johannes? Was he believable?
 
CHRISSI: To be honest, I didn’t really have a strong opinion of Johannes. He irritated me at times and I never really come to like him despite the fact that he had a horrible turn of fate! I didn’t find him overly believable as a character, but that could be down to my lack of connection with him.
CHRISSI: The replica house that Johannes gives to Nella is the key that the plot revolves around. What do you feel that the cabinet symbolises?
 
BETH: The miniature house that Johannes gives to Nella as a wedding gift represents their own home and Johannes encourages Nella to decorate it with bits and bobs as she sees fit. At first, Nella is outraged, seeing it as little more than a play-thing for a child and sends off for pieces that may be seen as a bit controversial, like a miniature lute that Marin has banned her from playing. When the miniaturist who makes these pieces starts sending her other things, especially things she hasn’t requested things start becoming a bit eerie as it is if the maker has predicted the future for the occupants of the house. I think for me the cabinet symbolises the fact that you cannot make a completely accurate likeness of anything – people, life and chance are always going to surprise you.
 
BETH: What did you think of the relationship between Marin and Nella?
 
CHRISSI: I think it was incredibly intriguing. I wasn’t sure how it was going to develop. Marin is so mysterious but so cold towards Nella at the beginning and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen or what secrets Marin was hiding. I enjoyed reading about their relationship even if it was a difficult, complex relationship. 
CHRISSI: Was there a character that intrigued you? Why?
 
BETH: There were some great characters in this novel and quite a few that intrigued me but I’ll pick Marin. Marin is Johannes sister who has never married and before Johannes married Nella she was mistress of the household. Therefore it probably wasn’t easy for her to give way to a new mistress especially one a fair bit younger than she was. I started the novel determined to hate her for the cold way that she treated Nella but in the end she surprised me and reminded me that people are not always what they seem.
BETH: Would you read another book by this author?
 
CHRISSI: I want to say a tentative yes. I thought the writing was good, but I wasn’t blown away by the story. I think I was expecting more about The Miniaturist and I found it to be rather lacking in that area! 
Would WE recommend it?:
BETH: But of course!
CHRISSI: Yes!
Star rating (out of 5):
BETH:
four-stars_0
CHRISSI:
 3 Star Rating Clip Art