Saturday, 21 January 2017

Review: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides






Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

My Rating:




 

As part of the TBR Canine Jar Challenge, Middlesex was chosen by Enya. So far she's chosen The Exorcist which was a 5-star read and now Middlesex which I have to say I struggled with.

There is a lot of reading to this one. It's not that it's over-written per se, more that it's over told. It was hard work and I struggled to get through it. For every 100 pages read, it felt like 1000. The author kept going off on tangents, throwing in facts or history which weren't necessary. It was extremely annoying to have to wade through all this extra information while still keeping track of the narrative. It pulled me away from the characters and their stories every time. So much so, that I had to force myself not to skim these sections. It would have been a much faster and a more enjoyable read without the tangents and history lessons.

That being said, I did enjoy the storyline. When the author stuck to the characters and their stories it was an enjoyable read, but way too often it was interrupted by everything else. I wanted to read on to learn what happened to the family. I enjoyed getting to know each generation and seeing how their experiences were influenced by the generation before. Had the book concentrated on this and had all the other stuff removed, I would probably recommend it. As it is, It's not one I would recommend.



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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr





The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

My Rating:


I would like to thank Penguin Random House UK for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

The One Memory of Flora Banks was a quick and easy read, but it wasn't executed the way I had hoped. The premise was an interesting one, but I feel that the storytelling only scratched the surface. I found it to be extremely repetitive, I get the idea behind the repetitiveness, but it got too much.

Character wise, all the characters outside of Flora's character felt more like props than actual characters. The storyline was totally unrealistic. Flora's ability to cope when all of a sudden she didn't know where she was, how she got there, or who the people around her were, was far too calm and accepting. There was no sense of panic or danger. The whole journey thing was beyond unrealistic.

I am also disappointed in how Flora's mother was portrayed. I feel her character needed to be explored more to give an insight into her grief and what she was feeling and going through in order to understand her actions, but instead, she had a very negative light shone on her.

Not one I would recommend.



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Saturday, 14 January 2017

Review: 1,342 QI Facts to Leave You Flabbergasted



 
1,342 QI Facts to Leave You Flabbergasted


My Rating:


I would like to thank Faber and Faber for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book. 

There's not a lot I can say about this one. It is what it says it is; a book full of weird, funny and interesting facts that will have you either chuckling, WTF'ing, or scratching your head.

Here are a few examples:

- The Very Hungry Caterpillar was originally called A Week with Willie Worm.

- In China, it's illegal to reincarnate without filling in a government Reincarnation Application form.

- Men who watch a lot of porn have smaller than average brains.

- In the 18th century, chickens were known as "cacklers" and eggs were "cackling farts".

- "The Copper-Penis Owl" is the monster used in Hungary to scare children into behaving.

I now find myself throwing out random useless facts during conversations, lol. As an added bonus, my point score has gone up when watching QI on TV!



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Friday, 13 January 2017

Review: The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty






The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

My Rating:


As part of the TBR Canine Jar Challenge, The Exorcist was chosen by Enya. This was her first ever pick and she chose a 5 star!
 
Not much I can say about this one that hasn't already been said. It is, after all, a well-known and well-read horror novel, and also a great movie that I'm sure most have seen at some point or another.

If you haven't picked this one up before now, what the heck are you waiting for!?

PS - Am I the only one who kept picturing Columbo whenever Lieutenant Kinderman made an appearance?





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Monday, 9 January 2017

Review: My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal






My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal

My Rating:

I would like to thank Penguin Books (UK) for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

My Name is Leon is a story told by a nine-year-old boy called Leon. I'm normally not a fan of child narrators as I find them to be either unreliable or too mature for their age. This book, however, got the balance perfect and I found his story to be both engaging and heartbreaking.

Leon's story pulls on your heartstrings, but at the same time inspires hope and reminds us that family, love, and understanding, can be found in the most unlikely places. My heart broke for Leon, I could feel his loss, confusion, frustration, and yearning, and I cried a few tears for him while reading. I just wanted to hug him and help him make sense of all that was happening.

In summary, My Name is Leon is an emotional, thought-provoking book which will bring both tears of sadness and of hope, and will have you reaching for your tissues.

It's a short read, but it packs a punch. It touches on many sensitive and important issues such as race and racism, mental illness, and the foster care system.

Definitely one I would recommend.


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Thursday, 5 January 2017

Review: Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell






Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell

My Rating:




 As part of the TBR Canine Jar Challenge, Frozen Charlotte was chosen by Thorin. This is his first pick and I have to say, he done well.


I picked this up at my local charity shop based purely on the cover. I didn't expect it to be as good a read as it was and ended up reading it in one sitting. The atmosphere and characterization really drew me in. It's got everything: things going bump in the night, ouija board, ghosts, creepy dolls, old school house in the middle of nowhere, and disembodied voices coming from the walls. It was a lot of fun and I found myself completely engaged and lost in the story.

The atmosphere was dark and creepy and the writing and world building very visual. I could hear and see everything clearly while reading. The descriptions were so vivid at times that I could almost hear the dolls whispering and scratching within the glass cabinet. The characters were well-written, likeable, and relatable, and the house and its harsh landscape adds a wonderful atmospheric background to the storyline.

I would have liked to have gotten a little more background on the dolls themselves but apart from that I can't fault anything about this one. It's not hardcore horror, but it was delightfully creepy and a lot of fun to read.

Definitely one I would recommend. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough and stayed up into the wee small hours just to finish it



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Review: Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land






Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land

My Rating:


I would like to thank Penguin UK for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

I enjoyed Good Me, Bad Me at the time of reading, but I was left feeling a bit let down on finishing it. The premise was interesting enough to hold my attention at the time, but I guessed almost right from the start where the story was heading and found it rather predictable as a result.

I couldn't connect to the characters, they didn't have enough depth to make them feel real and there were too many different elements to the storyline. I think it would have enjoyed it more had they been narrowed down and more depth and detail invested in the few rather than skimming the surface of many. I wasn't able to get into the headspace of the main character because there was so much going on around her, her character lacked the complexity and detail needed to portray her situation.

That being said, it wasn't a bad read. The premise was a good one and it was an easy, quick read, but it was lacking the suspense, thrills and tension that I love to experience in a good psychological thriller, and was too predictable.

Not one I would recommend.




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