Tuesday, 22 May 2012

(17) One Day

One Day
David Nicholls

Rating: 7/10

I realised yesterday that I never reviewed this book on here. I read it a couple of months ago, I must have just missed it out. 

I love the idea of this book. The narrative returns to Dexter on the same day over 20 years (St. Swithin's day to be exact). This structure is a clever way to cover such a vast time span and a complicated relationship. Yet the execution did not live up to my expectations. 

Having such a big gap between each meeting made me feel like I was constantly playing catch-up; I didn't feel included in their lives. Some major life events happened in the gaps between ad in a normal narrative the reader would have witnessed them 'first-hand' rather than hearing about them in a conversation. Admittedly it didn't help that I knew this book had such a cult following. My expectations were just too high. 

I didn't find any of the characters overly likeable either. Some would argue that its because they are portrayed more realistically, as actual people with flaws and problems, but I found it harder to care what happened to them. 

And don't even get me started on the ending!!!! 

(16) Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian
Rick Riordan

Rating: 9/10

I know this book is probably aimed at a younger audience but I absolutely love this series! Don't worry if you've seen the film and hated it; the books are at least one hundred times better.

The series follows Percy Jackson after he finds out he is one of the sons of Poseidon and slowly learns of the Prophecy that could make or break the Gods.

All of the books are in quite a similar format so are somewhat predictable but I still thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. The characters feel real and it's nice to see a book where the main character seems to incur negative effects from practically being a modern day super-hero. He is labelled as being ADHD and dyslexic and frequently gets thrown out of schools for all the trouble he causes. It REALLY annoys me when writers pretend that the events in the book would have no impact on day to day life for the character. If you had monsters chasing you all the time concentrating in class probably would be pretty difficult..... (Rant over. Sorry!)

Anyway..... These books are very easy to read and get into. Some of the techniques are clever (Demi-God's just happen to see what is going on with their enemies while they are dreaming, hence keeping up to date on their progress. That's handy!) and the battle scenes, particularly in this book are epic.

This book can potentially appeal to anyone; it has love, war, friendship, death, magic and heroics all rolled into one. What's not to like?

Sunday, 20 May 2012

(15) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Deborah Moggach

Rating: 8/10


N.B. This book is also known called 'These Foolish Things' just in case anyone has already read that.

The book has some of the same characters as the film but is generally quite different. It still tells the stories of a group of pensioners who have, for varying reasons, decided to move to a newly opened retirement home in India but the route their lives take is very different. 

Having a group of such a vast range of characters makes this book what it is. The relationships between the residents and their families means the story feels very real. The question of how we treat the elderly in this country makes it all the more poignant. 

My one big criticism of the book could also be taken as a compliment; it feels so real that when it ends it feels too sudden. It really could have carried on for the rest of their lives, I wanted to know what happened next (although them all dying wouldn't be much of a happy ending!). 

Either way this is a good read full of realistic characters, complex relationships and heartfelt messages. Give it a go! 

(14) The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Douglas Adams

Rating: 6/10


This is the second instalment of Douglas Adams' Hitch-hiker's 'trilogy' (even though there are five books....don't even ask!). If you've read the first book you'll know what to expect.

The series is by no means technically brilliant. The language, for instance, is pretty basic yet it is an enjoyable read. The characters (I personally LOVE Marvin) and the storyline are why you'd read this book. In some places it is laugh out loud funny, in others....well not so much.

All of the series are fairly short so I'd definitely recommend them as amusing time-killers as long as you don't expect a masterpiece. There are worse ways to spend a rainy day.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

(10-13) Quick Catch Up

Gee I'm bad at updating this!!! Sorry about that....

I'm really behind now so here is a very quick rundown of the books I've read since I last posted and what I would give them out of 10:

(10) When God Was A Rabbit (9/10)

(11) The Diary of a Murder (5/10)


(12) Handmaid's Tale (7/10)

(13) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (7/10)

Monday, 9 April 2012

(9) Room

Emma Donoghue

Rating: 8/10

Date Finished: 18/03/12

Room is narrated by a 5 year old boy, instantly attracting my attention. Books with such naive narrators are often far more interesting in my opinion; To Kill a Mockingbird and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime are two prime examples. Having a child narrator means a lot of the deeper issues are only hinted at allowing the reader to take as much (or as little) from the book as they want, plus we often learn what is going on at the same time as our narrator does, our shock or confusion is often mirrored in them.

This is all definitely true with Room. Jack turns five at the start of the story and we learn about his daily life in Room, where he has spent his life, along with his Ma. It is slowly revealed to us the series of events that led to this, which I'm not going to spoil for you, although it is fairly transparent; I guessed the general plot within the first ten pages.

Never the less, Donoghue's story telling is superb, her insight into the mind of such an insular character is quite remarkable. Room probably would have had a higher rating if my attention span had have been a bit longer. The pace can be pretty slow at times, which is to be expected based on the book's concept, but still....I got bored!

I'd still recommend this to anyone with an attention span longer than a gnat though.

(8) Mockingjay

Suzanne Collins

Rating:  8/10

Date Finished:  13/03/12


Sorry for being MIA recently...been a strange couple of weeks. BUT I have still been reading. The final instalment of the Hunger Games was an obvious choice for my next book, especially with all the hype the run-up to the film was creating.

So what did I think of it? Honestly it is probably my least favourite of the three books but it's still a must read for any fans. The story follows Katniss' crucial (if somewhat unwilling) part in the campaign against the Capitol. Pretty much all the loose ends are wrapped neatly up, as well as some completely unexpected twists.

Yet this isn't a happy book...there are some brief glimpses of joy but I finished it feeling quite depressed (anyone who has read it should understand why).

But no matter what I say, if you've read the other two books, the chances are you aren't going to be put off. Go on, read it...you now you want to!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

(7) Before I Go To Sleep

Before I Go To Sleep
SJ Watson

Rating: 7.5/10

Date Finished: 10/03/12

This book has a lot of hype surrounding it and to be honest I think that's what lets it down. It is a thoroughly interesting concept, for those of you who haven't heard about it the basic plot is this; a woman wakes up each morning with no idea where she is or who it is she is in bed with. It is soon revealed that there was an accident and she had developed a very complicated type of amnesia. This story is about how that has ruined her life and the struggles of trying to rebuild what is left of it.

The use of a journal both as a means of creating the storyline and also of telling it is very clever (You'll understand what I mean if you read it) and up until a point I thought the story-telling was brilliant. Then I got to the end. A few people have recommended this book to me, remarking on the brilliant twist at the end, yet I found the ending to be the least revolutionary part of the entire book. I thought it was fairly predictable and not particularly in tune with the rest of the story. The tone went from subtle yet intense to full on action packed within one chapter. I just didn't think that was necessary.

Although I did really enjoy the novel, I'm slightly let down, particularly after the rave reviews. SJ Watson should have had the courage to let the message of the book shine through, without making it into something so formulaic . It's still one to put on your reading list though!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

(4-6) The Shiver Trilogy

Shiver, Linger and Forever
Maggie Stiefvater

Rating: 8/10

Date Finished: 02/03/2012, 04/03/2012 and 6/03/2012

I can't deny how many similarities there are between these books and others in the genre but I really enjoyed this trilogy, possibly more so than the others (aka Twilight). The basic story revolves around a werewolf Sam, and a should-have-been-a-werewolf Grace. Obviously they fall madly in love and chaos ensues. Pretty standard. Will Grace's parents allow them to be together? Can Sam overcome his destiny for the girl he loves etc etc.

Although this may sound cliched, the three books are all incredibly well told, the constant change in narrator keeps the story telling fresh and dynamic while the love between the two main characters is enviable. It seems genuine and you can't help but hope it survives. The female is arguably the stronger of the pair, meaning she doesn't completely fall to pieces for months on end every time her boyfriend walks out of the room (aka Twilight). 

In my opinion, these books are worth a read, they look quite long, (about 400 pages each) but have nice short chapters and are easy to get through. Pure escapism.

(3) I Am What I Am.

I Am What I Am
John Barrowman

Rating:  7/10

Date Finished: 1/03/2012

I have a confession to make... I am in love with John Barrowman!!! OK now that's out there I can continue. It physically hurts only giving this a 7, it should be full marks just for being by him. But unfortunately the book doesn't quite live up to its subject. Here's why....

The style of the writing is just messy. That's the only way I can describe it. The focus goes from one anecdote to another like a stream of consciousness which is fine, but more often than not the next story starts halfway the previous one, hence making it easy to forget what was originally being said. Although the actual content is usually very funny, Captain Jack Harkness riding a rickshaw for example, the flow, or lack of, is pretty distracting.

What it comes down to it this; if you're a big fan of John, you should be able to see past a lot of this and appreciate the witty insights into his life. If you're not, the chances are this book will drive you crazy.

Being such a huge fan and all it just scraped a 7.

Sorry John! I still love you!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

(2) Catching Fire (Hunger Games Trilogy)

Catching Fire
Suzanne Collins

Rating: 9/10

Date Finished: 28/02/2012

I read the first hunger games books just after Christmas on my brand spanking new kindle and couldn't put it down. I think I finished it in one afternoon. I've been meaning to buy Catching Fire ever since but I had a lot of other books on the go. I'm so glad I finally bought it!!! I actually enjoyed it even more than the first one despite some of the bad reviews I've read from other people. This book is far more intelligent than The Hunger Games, with more complex thought processes and emotions and an ending that genuinely surprised me even though I thought I had it all figured out.This sort of book is obviously not going to change the world but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable! In short don't believe all the bad reviews, this is a must read for anyone who liked the first book in the trilogy

(1) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Stieg Larsson


Date finished:

I'm a bit conflicted about this one. The mystery kept me guessing right up until the end, the twists and turns are incredibly well crafted and really clever. The characters were totally believable; some of the traumas they each experience were gut wrenchingly real; a few times I felt uncomfortable reading about them. But this is surely the point....some chapters begin with some shocking statistics (assuming all copies have this) about the status of women in Sweden particularly in regard to rape. Larsson seems to be sending a message to the reader about how real these problems are to the vulnerable people being taken advantage of and this poingant message definitely comes across.  Yet, despite all of these things, I still found myself getting a bit bored towards the end, the tying up of loose ends seemed too long and all in all I was glad when I'd finished it.

I would recommend this book but with a warning to keep at it, there is a sense of achievement when finishing any book but that was even more true with this one. Give it a try!!!!

Wish me luck!

OK here I go! One hundred books in a year. I'm going to be writing a review for all of them and posting it here as I finish them.

 I have a lot of free time at the moment...time I've decided to put towards reading. Heaven!!!!
 I've just left Uni and until I can reapply I should be getting a job but nowhere seems to be hiring. So frustrating! So until I have more luck on that front I've set myself a mission. Can I do it? Has anyone got any recommendations for things to read?

I'm going to be reading things of all lengths, ages and genres; some may be reasonably short if I'm struggling to keep up, no War and Peace for me!

My first review is on its way =D