Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman Review

Firstly to thank the lovely Alex Love (comedian) for getting me this book, I adored it. with Harry Potter, Stardust, adventure, fantasy, imagination. It was quite the page-turner. The characters were interesting and lovable. And my copy, in particular, is brilliant as it includes illustrations throughout by Chris Riddell (author of Goth Girl and Ottoline) which really help to capture the imagination that is Gaiman’s man.

*SPOILER WARNING*

Richard is a lovable and relatable character in a lot of ways, from the very beginning he was shown as a flawed character in the eyes of the norm and immediately become loved and respected the moment he met Door. Meanwhile Door was quite intriguing in herself, we find out very little about her throughout the story, but what we do find out only leads to more questions, for such a young character there is plenty of details for Gaiman to dive into in the second London Below book set to be released 2020 called The Seven Sisters. The Marquis was a wonderful character full of almost fatherly love for Door, and knowing from the beginning what would happen he prepared Old Bailey as he knew Door would still need him. Old Bailey himself I think was one of my favourite characters, with a coat of feathers and the general impression to everyone around him that he was slightly balmy. And for that reason I loved him. Angel Islington was quite a character in their self, full knowledge for thousands of years being lived.

The storyline itself was constantly interesting, with Gaiman not leaving a single moment to get bored with the novel. I enjoyed the parallels between the London Above and London Below, the imagination of Gaiman and his ability to describe settings that beautifully is exquisite. And along with all Riddell’s illustrations I became so engrossed in the book, I barely noticed that I read almost the entire book in one sitting.

A book I couldn’t put down with characters I couldn’t get enough of, I would recommend Neverwhere to anyone who loves fantasy or Neil Gaiman in particular.

To find out more about Neverwhere click here.

9.5/10

 

Fireside Chat with a Grammar Nazi Serial Killer by Ryan Suvaal Review

43193437I would firstly like to thank Mr Suvaal for send me an ARC of his book.

I’ll admit I enjoyed this book, yes it only took 20 minutes to read, as yes it was heavily focused on the use of grammar (something I am terrible at) but I loved it none the less. I really enjoyed the two different styles this author used and how the book was nicely split between the two types. The second chapter was almost entirely conversational which meant it was direct and to the point without any of that description that can sometimes distract from the main point. The first chapter and the epilogue (yes there are only 3 sections) were in third person. The two styles of writing complimented each other well in such a short book.

And as for the story itself it was short and sweet (metaphorically) and I highly enjoyed that, it was the perfect length for a story of this sort.

10/10

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan Series Review

I’ve read this series multiple times but am still completely in love so I’m going to write an overall review split into each book.

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Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief – Book 1

So for a first book of a series it introduces you to each character well giving you a pretty good basis for the rest of the series. The character are funny and the situations can be hilarious and Riordan certainly knows how to kick off a series. The young characters such as the Campers all had dyslexia or ADHD and I think Riordan sets a good example by showing the even if you do have a disability or difference doesn’t mean you couldn’t be a HALF BLOOD. (whoops and cheers follow)

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Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters – Book 2

For some reason I’ve always enjoyed the second book slightly more than the first one, their seems to be slightly less structure to the story overall, as in some situations Percy and co get into have nothing to do with the overall storyline of the book. However I laugh love the new characters that are introduced such as Tyson. And throughout this book we also get to learn more about Annabeth and her history than we knew before.

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Percy Jackson and the Titans Curse – Book 3

Maybe this is an unpopular opinion or maybe it isn’t but I think this is the installment I like the least, and remember the worse for previous reads. Now although everything that happens on the dam is funny and relevant to the future of the story in the story that is the most exciting bit. For the rest I think it just lacks a certain oomph… But on a said note this book reminded me how much I loved Bianca as a character!

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Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth – Book 4

Now this book, I think is my least favourite of the series. If I had to pick one. There just seems to be so much going on, constantly compared to the other ones. Locations constantly jump about and there seem to be a couple of completely irrelevant scenes to the wider story. But when I say it’s my least favourite I mean that I’d rate it 4/5 instead of 5/5, it’s definitely not bad. Apart from the constant location changes the characters develop well, particularly Nico.

220px-lastolympianPercy Jackson and the Last Olympian – Book 5

And now is over… Well that is a lie, I’ll get round to the Heroes of Olympus but lets just keep this post to PJO. This final book is brilliant, the series is nicely rounded up with everything happening as it should. The battle in New York keeps you wanting to read this book, with twists and turns and so much action I could barely put this down. Percy and his gang grow up nicely and Riordan leaves no loose ends that I could see which is good. Solid 5/5.

If may be an unpopular opinion but in some ways I love this series more than Harry Potter and it’s a shame it got such terrible film adaptations. Here’s hoping this series has a bright future on screen.

 

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton Review

Where to begin.
I must admit I think this one will be rather hard to review.
I’d like to begin by thanking Net Galley for providing me with an ARC of this book.
This book is about a man who wakes up in a forest, he’s been attacked but remembers nothing from his life previously, the only thing he remembers is the name Anna. Over the next 8 days he wakes up as 8 different guests who are attending a party in a house called Blackheath, living the same one day over again in order to try and solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle which happens at 11.00 PM each time. As each host of Aiden Bishop wakes up, he must relive the day from different perspectives, and has from the moment each host wakes up till midnight. Each host has different personality traits that enable Aiden to see each day in a new light, and gives him the opportunity to quite literally look at the evidence in a new light each morning.

Disregarding the hosts own personalities which seep through into Aiden’s character, at Blackheath Aiden is compassionate and determined, yet during his life before (which we learn very little about) we know very little just that his actions are driven by revenge, anger and loyalty to someone we never know. He is a blank canvass from the moment we open the book, we see quite a lot of development through each host as he appears to pick up traits as we go. My favourite host Aiden became has to be Lord Cecil Ravencourt, he was a bit of a genius but in a very different way to  Rashton, I also really liked Aiden’s relationship with Cunningham which was again different with Ravencourt as with Rashton. I did Like Rashton as a host as well though – he had a objective steady mind that didn’t get overwhelmed with the many days and hosts crammed into one head.
From The Plague Doctor I got the impression of an almost (ALMOST) fatherly figure, plague doctors wore masks with beaks on them during the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when the plague was at it’s height in Europe, the beak was stuffed with herbs, straw and spice which at the time were thought to protect the doctors from getting the plague themselves. The Plague Doctor of this book seemed to be a guard or protector of the time loop Aiden was stuck in, so there would have been some symbolism behind the wearing of that particular mask, to cure those of emotions they previously had such as Aiden’s previous (rarely spoken of) traits such as revenge and anger which are seen to be rather ugly personality traits.
And although I can’t think of much to say, I liked Anna’s character who was determined and must have found the time loop more confusing, because while Aiden lived the same day over again as different character she only remembered it once and seemed to meet all of Aiden’s hosts in the wrong order. Meanwhile Daniel was smart, cunning and ruthless – and frankly he was one of my favourites. And lastly Evelyn Hardcastle – the center of the time loop. She was beautiful, smart, and full of surprises and if it hadn’t been for her kindness to Bell (a host) the events couldn’t possibly have played out in the way it did.

Although I got confused by the changes to the hosts for Aiden I enjoyed the structure of this book, this appears to be Turton’s first book and it is fantastically written. Throughout the book I was looking every which way trying to put all the evidence into a plausible conclusion, but as I’ve mentioned in previous reviews I am rather bad at working out the end, not that I mind. I feel you lose the joy of a good mystery book if you work it out before it’s revealed in the book, and I didn’t lose any love for it because I couldn’t work it out. Ravencourt as host was my favourite part of the book with his Poirot approach to the situation (working it out from an armchair), closely followed by Rashton who’s personality reminded me of a decent detective novel.

I did however find that this book didn’t bring on any particularly strong emotions, no laughing uncontrollably or crying over my Kobo, but I did become so absorbed that when my mum talked to me I felt like I was pulled out of Blackheath and dropped rather abruptly back into reality (which is never fun). I have very little complaints about this book, except the slight task I had of trying to keep up with all the hosts.

Overall, this was brilliant and I am definitely going to get this for my dear mother who will enjoy this.
9/10
xo

//www.instagram.com/embed.js Book Published 4th September 2018

Mine by J.L Butler Review

Image result for mine j l butler** Review copy provided by Netgalley, all comments made are my own**

A divorce lawyer, Francine Day is brilliant, ambitious and about to apply for silk then she meets her new client Martin Joy and the connection is instant. They start having a secret affair but when Martin’s wife, Donna goes missing, Martin is the prime suspect and Francine is the last person to see her alive everything starts to unravel.

This novel was quite good for a few reasons, the first being I found Francine to be quite a down to earth character with very human characteristic such as being impulsive and falling in love to fast. Butler wrote a couple of specific themes very well one being her detail to law, (Butler as Perry was previously a lawyer, see below) and the other being bipolar disorder. She did that very well without romanticizing it or blowing it out of proportion, she also talks well about issues that patients with mental illness have and their fight against stigma, e.g “I have spent half my life trying to remove the stigma between patients with a mental illness and the shit people connect it with” and she even talks about a valid form of psychotherapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) that is used for people with illnesses such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

I find the part about psychotherapy very interesting as I am a past psychology student and did part of a college project about EMDR.

The second reason I found this book to be very good was that the overall plot was fantastic, it kept me guessing and there was a point that I didn’t trust any of the characters at all. And that is the type of thing you want from a good thriller. I also loved it was written by a British author and was based in London, I like being able to follow characters in my head.

And thirdly, Martin was charming and made me think every which way. Loved it.

One thing I disliked… Just one, there were times when what was written seemed pointless, multiple times it said things such as “…it was too big to fit into my mouth, so I cut it with a steak knife…”, you’re talking about a burger… Just say you cut it, we don’t really need the small points like that. I personally think “it was too big to fit into my mouth” is pointless to add in.

Some Notable lines:

“I’ve always loved words, the way they can make you laugh or cry, hurt you, help you – the way they can transport you somewhere entirely different. I’ve always thought that words held magic”

J.L Butler is a pseudonym for Sunday Time Bestseller, Tasmina Perry. Perry was previously a lawyer before writing for women’s magazines in the mid 90s. She now is a British novelist who has written a wide variety of books.

Overall super good. Highly recommended to anyone who likes a thriller.

8.5/10

xo

Book Published 15th May 2018

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor Review

29748925Can we talk about how stunning the cover is before I make the review. I have a special place in my heart from moths, not actually moths they scare me if the fly into my face suddenly but they are absolutely beautiful, the patterns are beyond stunning. And the blue… Foreshadowing for the rest of my story is my guess.

HOLY MOLY! okay, lets begin.

First – Lazlo Strange is amazing, my ideal person loves books as much as Strange does, and my ideal job – librarian. He’s a character you can instantly fall in love and that love only grows the further you get through the book.

Now I’ve heard some people get a bit iffy during part one but if you are one of those people, stick with it. It gets better I promise. You fall in love with characters you should, and not just Lazlo but Sarai as well, you’ll be conflicted when it comes to some characters and just plain dislike others. And the story, it’s captivating.

One thing I did dislike was that quite early on we know or I worked out a certain “thing” and it took a frustratingly long time for the characters to figure out, so while listening (listened to the audiobook – it was about 20 hours long) I just kept telling them to work it out quicker, but of course they couldn’t hear me.

An enjoyable extract:

“And (he) had began to shave. Or as Sparrow put it to “abuse his poor face with knives”

Full of magic, mystery and romance you can’t go wrong with this book. (I should mention I’m not all that keen on romance but there wasn’t to much of it in the story for it to be annoying.)

10/10

xo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson Review

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first book in the Millennium Trilogy – or the ones that were originally written by Larsson, fact (I was going to say fun but this one is more just interesting) – Larsson died suddenly and unexpectedly in December of 2004 soon after he gave the three manuscripts of the Millennium Trilogy to his Swedish publisher so he never saw the success the series was. Larsson was a journalist whose work was characterized by a relentless struggle against injustice and inequality his work focused on anti-racism journalism, his work eventually took shape of three novels known as the Millennium trilogy. [Source]

And now for the review.

It took me a while to get into this book and it took me over a month to read all together but it was completely worth it, the story was never uninteresting it was just a book that I found you need need to read slowly and precisely. The storyline was filled with twists that nobody saw coming and like Henrik Vanger, I didn’t think quite how brilliantly terrible the conclusion would be.

Mikael Blomkvist is a journalist for the Millennium magazine and is hired by Henrik Vanger to delve into the Vangers’ family past to uncover the truth behind an unsolved mystery from thirty years previous. But while Blomkvist is investigating it’s clear someone wants the secret to stay hidden. Blomkvist’s character is one that is dedicated when his mind is set to something, he also has a good heart and is determined to hurt as few people as possible. I could definitely feel that Blomkvist was written by someone who’d had previous experience in journalism and not just reporting on cats stuck up trees but the real deal, enough to bring down the stock exchange (heehee).

Lisbeth Salander is the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, she’s a genius computer hacker who assists Blomkvist in the investigation. She shows antisocial behavioral characteristics and generally dislikes people. Lisbeth’s character shows the most development throughout this book and has a personality that I rather admire, basically someone who takes shit from no one (the book has swearing in it so I feel I am allowed to swear in the review). The title of the book does suggest more involvement on Lisbeth’s part in the plot but then again perhaps it’s like that to foreshadow the involvement she has much closer to the end of the book. The scenes where you see a different side of Lisbeth to the antisocial young woman were some of my favourite they were intense and I could feel what Larsson was trying to portray – it felt like cracking a safe and finding something you’d never have expected, it also felt like I was being let into a secret that none of the other characters knew since the whole book was written in third person. For crime novels I enjoy them written in third person because it means the writer can explore all aspects of the main characters, Larsson did this well. Very well. I never got confused about whose thoughts were being portrayed and, as I mentioned it was done in such a way that made me feel I was being let into little secrets of the characters.

Although it was slow, it was excellently thought out with pieces connecting where you don’t expect connections to be and that is the type of thing you want in a thiller/crime. The unexpected it’s what makes the build up worth while. I couldn’t put this book down for the last 200 pages, and I mean that trying to make cereal at 2 o’clock in the morning while reading isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Overall brilliant (apart from the slow start), I can’t wait to pick up the next one and, something that I don’t think I’ve ever said I’m also kind of excited to watch the film. (I mean Daniel Craig is a babe)

Highly recommended but if you don’t like the idea of a lot of pain and torture then this isn’t the book for you, if you don’t mind it – read this book and if you enjoy reading about pain and torture go see someone about that but of course read this book first…

Solid 9/10

xo

Book Published 2005

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby Review

This review will be short and sweet. I bought High Fidelity at a charity shop thinking it was the same author who wrote Feather Boy, turns out that was Nicky Singer. Any how I read it anyway as part of The Unread Shelf Challenge 2018 (Visit @theunreadshelf on Instagram), and its lovely. A guy who works at a failing record shop recently splits with his girlfriend and then he seems to have a bit of a crisis of sorts, but in an angry, sex (not explicit) fueled crisis. I found Rob’s character quite hard to deal with in the beginning he’s annoying and dull, but you get used to the annoying and the dull gets … less dull (what’s the right word?). I think Rob’s character was why I couldn’t stay hooked on the book in the beginning but it did pick up. I often laughed and smiled and above all this mentions about a billion albums so if you like music maybe this could help you discover some new/old artists.

9.5/10

xo

First Published 1995

Books I think about

When I think about what book I want to read next I have a habit of thinking back to books I love in the hope they will inspire me. I think about the books that made my heart race, the ones I couldn’t put down, even the ones that made me cry. Then I think about the books that were good, undeniably good but nothing more.

Image result for disclaimer renee knight coverLast year or maybe it was two years ago I read a truly amazing book called Disclaimer by Renée Knight, a crime thriller type. I loved it so much I actually scoped out shops high and low to find a copy to give my friend as a Secret Santa present. I haven’t found a book quite like it since, a woman finds a thriller om her bedside that plunges her into a living nightmare, a secret she has kept for so long has caught up to her and her life begins to fall apart… I found it to be highly entertaining and thoroughly engaging.

Image result for the kind worth killing movieThen there is The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson, I read the first page when I found it in a library in London then was lucky enough to find it in a charity shop a few weeks later and I devoured it. Another thriller (I should mention I love them) that I couldn’t put down. A man and woman meet at an airport when their flight is delayed and tell each other more than they should, from that a dark plan is hatched – but neither are serious. Are they? The characters were lovable and the twists a surprise and for me that is all I really need from a thriller.

When She Was BadThen there was a book called When She was Bad by Tammy Cohen… It was good, interesting but dull, nothing really got my heart racing in this one. But I’m picky when it comes to books and I even gave it a 3.5/5 on Goodreads but still… Do you ever find it it hard to describe why you didn’t enjoy a book, the writing was good, the story alright but it just didn’t do anything for you. When She was Bad is another book I often think about, partially because I have a cue dependent memory, if I go somewhere I read a particular book the book and everything about it comes flooding back to me when I go back and since I read When She was Bad where I work it comes back to me.

MomoNow I will move on from the thrillers, there are a few other books that comes to me when I think about what I want to read next. The first being Momo by Michael Ende, a hidden gem in my opinion (I think I’ll do a post about hidden gems a some point), it gave me 1984 vibes along with the Metamorphosis, weird but has and will stick with me. I tend to get rid of books if they didn’t tug at my heart strings but I’m not even planning on having kids and I want to keep this one for my children.

Then there were books such as The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which were brilliant classics and that I will tell everyone I know to read. But they aren’t really books I keep in my head when I’m deciding what to read next.

Image result for children of blood and bone coverAnd then there is “what’s cool”. When I say “what’s cool” I mean what the book loving community overall is reading – like The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton and practically anything by Sarah J Maas and that is how I got my current read. “What’s cool!” I just finished Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adyemi, I’ve been seeing it ALL over Bookstagram (the book loving community on Instagram) and I walked into my local library and there it was in front of me so I picked it up. Now CBB is not something I would normally read, it’s contemporary fantasy and “what’s cool” but I picked it up anyway. Now I won’t deny it – it’s great, well written, good characters with great development in some cases but for me it’s missing that… Tug… That quality in a book that makes you unable to put it down. (My review for CBB can be found here)

So I started writing this post last night and when I came back this morning I realised I’ve forgotten when my point was to this…

I guess what I’m trying to convey is I think about the books I love but I really have no idea how to find books just as good, with the same brilliant qualities but without being the same story. So I read books that are “cool”. I’m trying to stop doing that, picking up a book just cause everyone else is reading it.

xo