Sunday, November 11, 2012

The 'Twilight Saga'- Some thoughts

This isn't so much a review, but just some of my thoughts on 'The Twilight Saga'. Nevertheless, this may contain spoilers, so if you haven't read any of the books, then you might want to look away now!

Nearly everyone knows the story of 'Twilight',whether they have read the books/ seen the films or not, but basically this is about a teenage girl called Bella, who moved to Forks to live with her father Charlie. At high school she meets Edward Cullen, a boy who she falls in love with and who, Bella discovers is a vampire. Mix that with a best friend Jacob who is a werewolf and is also in love with Bella and you have the basic plot for the saga.

However, even though I know that this collection of books are fantasy and could not possibly happen, there are a few things that 'The Twilight Saga' should be criticized for. Firstly, I think the writing is extremely poor. Meyer's vocabulary is limited and unimaginative. For example, every type of emotion is described as 'sanguine' and I found that I became extremely frustrated by the endless use of this word. Just because her novels are aimed at a younger audience, that doesn't mean that Meyers' audience is unable to understand more complex language. I know it may be unfair to compare 'The Twilight Saga' with 'The Hunger Games Trilogy', but Suzanne Collins adds diverse, exciting use of language for the same age group, so why not Meyer?

I also found that Meyer lacked ability to write decent speech between her characters. Characters reactions to what people are saying to them, are often over dramatic and downright childish. Quite often characters start conversations that are supposedly serious, but actually end up going around and around in circles, without the characters having said anything at all. This I found very frustrating, because I don't feel that many of the conversations drove the story forward.

Writing style aside, the point that I wanted to talk about in this post, was how disturbed I felt when reading this series. Edward and Bella's relationship is seen as forbidden and romantic, but I think something much more sinister running throughout it. On many occasions, in my opinion, Bella and Edward's relationship borders on abusive. Not physically, but their relationship shows classic signs that Bella is being controlled by Edward. Particularly in 'Eclipse', Bella is held against her will by Edward, with the pretext that he is worried for her safety. Also Edward will only let Bella she her best friend Jacob, only on his terms. Edward insists that he deliver Bella to designated place and even supplies her with a mobile, so her can keep track of her. Then there is the fact that Bella is made to feel guilty for everything she does and for keeping the company of certain individuals, when in fact it's Edward that is the one responsible for what is going on in the story. This a classic sign of an abusive relationship.

On the positive side, Meyer also conveys the idea of astinence and the love of a family, but is that enough to hide the darker messages that she conveys in her writing? I'm not sure. All I know, is that 'The Twilight Saga' makes me feel quite uncomfortable.

Have you read this Saga? What are ypur thoughts on the messages it conveys?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

'Sunday Snippet'

I've reached the halfway point of 'Game of Thrones'  by George R.R. Martin and I'm beginning to become disappointed with it. Maybe it's my lack of patience, but where this book was fast paced at the beginning it seems to have slowed to snail's pace. Nevertheless I am determined to finish this, because I have abandoned too many books this year.

Here's a snippet:

Page 383: A light snow was falling. Bran could feel the flakes on his face melting as they touched his skin like the gentlest of rains.

'Game of Thrones' by George R.R. Martin

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Happy Sunday! 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday Snippet

A few weeks ago, I was frustrated by the fact that I couldn't find anything good to read. Now, I have so many books, I haven't got the time to finish them!

I recently joined the library (which I have mentioned before some where on the blog) which has finally opened  and have borrowed 3 books in Spanish:

'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' by Roald Dahl
'Emil and the Detectives' by Erich Kastner
'The Chronicles of Narnia-(The Magician's Nephew) by C.S.Lewis

Not only that, but I still have books on my shelves to be read, 'Game of Thrones Books 1' by George R.R Martin and the other day, a friend gave me the entire collection of 'Twilight' to finish, as I mentioned that I had only managed to read the first and second  book in the series. I'm not complaining about having so much to read, but I wish that there were more hours in the day!

Anyway back to my current read. I'm ploughing through this and, even though 'Game of Thrones' is a thick book, I'm really enjoying it still. Here's a snippet:

Page 232: 'Maester Luwin had sent a bird after Lord Eddard with a message, and another to Mother and a third to Jon on the Wall, but there had been no answers.'

'Game of Thrones'- George R.R Martin

What are you reading at the moment?

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Snippet- The Return

Apologises for not having done a 'Sunday Snippet' for ages and ages. My reading has been rather irratic lately and I've abandoned book after book so haven't had the chance to post a snippet, because I haven't stayed with anything long enough.

However, I'm back and I'm reading 'Games of Thrones' by George R.R Martin the first in 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series. I started watching the tv series called 'Game of Thrones', which is an adaptation of the novels and really enjoyed it. However, as I'm lacking my on dvd player at the moment (it's a long story!), it's hard to find the time watch more episodes, as the family tv is always being used. So I have switched to the books and so far, I'm not disappointed.

Here's a 'snippet':

Page 88: 'Jon climbed the steps slowly, trying not to think that this might be the last time ever.'

'Game of Thrones' by George R.R Martin


Which series' of novels do you enjoy?

Enjoy the rest of the weekend and I promise I will be back next Sunday, with another 'Sunday Snippet'.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Valencia Trip- Part 2

So where we left off, I was on the coach going to the Botanical Gardens. We had only been on the coach for about 5 minutes when it came to a stop. I hadn't a clue where the Botanical Gardens were, but assumed it wouldn't be in the middle of the City. Then I saw the coach driver with a map and thought 'Uh Oh, we're lost.' However, a few minutes later we were told that the Botanical Gardens were just around the corner, so we all go off the coach. When we stopped, we were in front of a building which looked more like a Government building, rather than a tranquil garden. However, our tour guide went inside and we followed. To my surprise, we were transported to another place entirely.


 'The Botanical Gardens' of the University of Valencia, was founded in 1567. The Gardens were used for classes in Botany and also the Medicinal plants were was for studies in Medicine. During the 20th century the gardens fell into adandon, until a major restoration of the gardens which began in 1987. I can't many names of the plants we saw, only Palms and Cacti, but here are some photos:



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There were many people sitting on the benches in the garden,s enjoying the peace or reading a book. There was even an art class, drawing the plants in the garden. I couldn't think of a perfect place to chill out and get away from the noise of city.

Surprisingly, a group of cats were wandering the gardens too. They have been adopted and are cared for by the employees of the gardens. They are very well cared for and very friendly:

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One was so friendly, that he/she came to sit on my mum's lap! The rules of the Gardens state that you are not allowed to feed or stroke the cats, but it was hard not to, because the cats were so lovely (we saw a lot of people breaking the rules though).

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Here are some more photos, we even saw a man climbing a tree to saw a branch off:

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After a wonderful couple of hours it was time to leave. I would definitely go back to the Botanical Gardens and next time I visit Valencia, I'm going to be more prepared and find out where the shops are, before we leave!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Valencia Trip (Part 1)

On Tuesday, my mum and I went on a coach trip to Valencia and the Botanical gardens there. I have been a couple of times to different attractions in Valencia, Bioparc, Ciudad de las Artes y Las Ciencias (both well worth visiting if you ever get the chance) and a Sorolla art exhibition with my art class. Also not forgetting the disastrous trip to Valencia I took with some relatives which, to cut a long story short, ended with us boarding a bus that went around and  around Valencia,but was no where near where we wanted to go, even though the bus driver assured me it would take us where we wanted to go! Up until this point, my mum has never seen Valencia city, so I was wondering whether or not she was going to enjoy it.

Very early (well, early for me) in the morning, we caught the excursion coach and travelled for about an hour before being dropped off in the centre of Valencia itself. For those not used to city life, this can be a bit of a culture shock, as you're bombarded with cars and buses darting in all directions and people rushing every where. One of the first things you will encounter, if you are travelling by yourself, is the train station, one of the prettiest buildings I have seen:


After a bit of wandering, mum and I had to have a plan, so we decided to go to the cathedral. Although there are many churches and cathedrals to visit in Valencia, but the majority of tourists head for Santa Maria Cathedral. The admission fee (about 3 euros each) included a guided commentary on headphones in many languages. What we didn't know, what that in order to get the headphones, you had to leave some form of I.D as a deposit, which is given back after returning the headphones. As mum and I had planned to pack as light as possible, neither of us had any bank cards, or any form of picture I.D. So it looked like we would have to go around the cathedral, without the audio tour. However, then I had an idea. I didn't want to give my camera over, because I was planning to take photos, so I gave the lady behind the counter something very precious to me......my mobile phone. The lady thought it was funny when I told her 'I will definitely give the headphones back now!'

The cathedral is a beautiful structure and it houses religious statues and painting (by famous painters such as Goya) which date as far back as the 12th century (and probably further). The funny thing is that even though these artifacts as really old, they are in so good condition that they look as if they were made yesterday.




 The cathedral is busy with tourists nearly every day, but that doesn't stop worship. Whilst we were there, a service was taking place. Also, at the statue of Mary, it is tradtional for pregnant ladies to pray at the statue and then walk around the cathedral 9 times, to represent the 9 months they are carrying their baby. This bring luck and wealth to the baby. Whilst we were there an expectant mother was doing the circuits of the cathedral. I didn't know it was possible to have a play so full of activity, but at the same time, be so serene.




After the cathedral, we were in need of a bit of retail therapy, so we found a department store called 'El Corte Ingl├ęs'. This is a well known department store in Spain and I would say that it was a cross between 'Harrods' and 'Debenhams'. Browsing around the different floors of the store, we saw designer clothes which makes like Prada and D&G. They halso had a huge section of handbags (my weakness), but unfortunately at 200 euros for the cheapest handbag, I could only look. The weird thing about the store was, that even thought the prices of items in the store were expensive, there were loads of people pushing and shoving past with their purchases.

When we exited the store (without buying anything), we wondered what to do next. Mum thought it would be a good idea to just walk along and see what we would find, but that's where everything went wrong. Having walked for a while aimlessly through the streets of Valencia, we realised that we were lost. Very lost. It was decided that we would try and retrace our steps but only ended with us walking around in a circle. At first we weren't that worried, we had plenty of time to catch the coach and so we thought that we would find our way back in good time. We were so laid back at that point, that I even took another picture of the city (which strangely looks deserted although I can assure you, it was far from that:




Without warning though, the time quickly started to drain away and that's where panic set in. Not only were we to meet the coach at a specific time, but we were told by the lady running the excursion that we must have lunch before we left Valencia, because when arrived at the Botanical Gardens, there would not be a cafe/ restaurant to buy anything substantial, only vending machines.

So we frantically tried to make sense of the map were given (I hate maps!) and even asked several people for help, but they directed in the wrong way! By this time, mum and I were both in snappy moods and all we wanted to do was find the coach. However, rescue came in the form of a builder (a very cute one I may add), who pointed us in the right direction.....well nearly. By the time we were near the coach meeting place, we saw a advert for 'Burger King' which was very near the designated place. So, in the end, we followed the signs for 'Burger King'. We made it back to the right part of Valencia (we discovered later that we had made it all of the way to the outskirts of the city) and with less than an hour to spare, we managed to have lunch, before meeting the coach....phew!

We weren't the only ones in our group to get lost thankfully. The coach had actually pulled out and went round a roundabout, before the excursion organiser realised, that we were missing a person. We turned around and the poor guy that was left behind, was frantically running to catch the coach and was very apologetic when he boarded. I snapped this final photo, as we were leaving for the Botanical gardens........To Be Continued.....

Without warning though, the time quickly started to drain away and that's where panic set in. Not only were we to meet the coach at a specific time, but we were told by the lady running the excursion that we must have lunch before we left Valencia, because when arrived at the Botanical Gardens, there would not be a cafe/ restaurant to buy anything substantial, only vending machines.

So we frantically tried to make sense of the map were given (I hate maps!) and even asked several people for help, but they directed in the wrong way! By this time, mum and I were both in snappy moods and all we wanted to do was find the coach. However, rescue came in the form of a builder (a very cute one I may add), who pointed us in the right direction.....well nearly. By the time we were near the coach meeting place, we saw a advert for 'Burger King' which was very near the designated place. So, in the end, we followed the signs for 'Burger King'. We made it back to the right part of Valencia (we discovered later that we had made it all of the way to the outskirts of the city) and with less than an hour to spare, we managed to have lunch, before meeting the coach....phew!


Without warning though, the time quickly started to drain away and that's where panic set in. Not only were we to meet the coach at a specific time, but we were told by the lady running the excursion that we must have lunch before we left Valencia, because when arrived at the Botanical Gardens, there would not be a cafe/ restaurant to buy anything substantial, only vending machines.

So we frantically tried to make sense of the map were given (I hate maps!) and even asked several people for help, but they directed in the wrong way! By this time, mum and I were both in snappy moods and all we wanted to do was find the coach. However, rescue came in the form of a builder (a very cute one I may add), who pointed us in the right direction.....well nearly. By the time we were near the coach meeting place, we saw a advert for 'Burger King' which was very near the designated place. So, in the end, we followed the signs for 'Burger King'. We made it back to the right part of Valencia (we discovered later that we had made it all of the way to the outskirts of the city) and with less than an hour to spare, we managed to have lunch, before meeting the coach....phew!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

'Catching Fire' by Suzanne Collins



Publisher: Scholastic

ISBN: 978-1-407109-36-7

Length: 472 Pages

Opening Line: 'I clasp the flask between my hands even through the warmth from the tea has long since leached into the frozen air.'

Review:

The writing in this book is intelligent, intense and the suspense Collins creates in this book had me racing through, to find out what happened next. It's not often that I read a book quickly, but I finished this book in less than three days, because I couldn't put this book down!

One slight complaint would be that some of the second half of the novel was a little similar to the first book, but there were enough surprises in there, to make this book different. The cliff hangers left at the end of this book, make me desperate to find out what happens next.

Is this worth a read?

Yes. I think that this is a fantastic trilogy, which is not just confined to a teenage audience.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

'Sunday Snippet'

I haven't done a 'Sunday Snippet' for a while due to personal reasons, but I thought I would post one from my latest read 'World Without End' by Ken Follett:

Page 266 : 'Gwenda got up while it was still dark.'

Having read 'Pillars Of The Earth' I was looking forward to reading this novel but so far, I'm quite disappointed. I'm not even sure I want to continue with this.

Do I continue or do I give up reading this? 

Whatever you're up to, have a great weekend.

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

'War Horse' by Michael Morpurgo


Publisher: Egmont

ISBN: 978-1-4052-2666-0

Length: 182 Pages

Opening Line: 'In the old school they use now for the Village Hall, below the clock that has stood always at one minute past ten, hangs a small dusty painting of a horse.'

The 'Blurb': 'A powerful story of the truest of friendships in the worst of wars from the award-winning former Children's Laureate Michael Morpurgo.'

Review:

Having seen the film adaptation of this novel, I was interested to see how it differs from the original text. The plot of  the novel 'War Horse' may be slightly simpler than the film version, but I think it is its simplicity, that makes this book more powerful. Even though this is a children's book, Morpurgo doesn't dumb down the effect that the war has on the soldiers and horse involved in the fighting and neither does it glamourize it. I did have some trepidation about the fact that a horse is the narrator of this story, but I think it works. This isn't a cute story about a horse, but a powerful message that war is useless and not everyone who is involved, wants to be there.

Is this worth a read?

If you love animals or a book with heart, then yes I would suggest reading this book. It would also be a great book to share with children, to educate them about the effects of war.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

'May I Have Your Attention Please?' by James Corden



Publisher: Arrow Books

ISBN: 978-0-099-56023-4

Length: 341 Pages

Opening Line: 'I've always thought that the first few lines of any book would be the hardest to write.'

The 'Blurb': 'So... the story of my life. I've often thought about this moment, about what it would be like to write my memoirs. I always thought it would make me feel important. It doesn't. If anything it makes me feels a little strange.

The truth is, I should never have been this famous guy. I wasn't the cool, clever, good-looking boy at school. But I always dreamt of it, hoped for it, longed for it: throughout school when I was disruptive, in my teens when I tried to form my own boy band, and through hundreds of auditions for parts which were met with constant rejection.

Until finally I co-wrote 'Gavin and Stacey'. And my whole life changed. This is that story. The story of how I found myself here, talking to you.'

Review:

Being a fan of the British comedy 'Gavin and Stacey' and the actor James Corden, I thought that this book would be interesting to read. Corden's chatty, easy style of writing is engaging and easy to identify with. There are many times throughout this book in which I laughed out loud. Also as a wannabe writer, I was interested to read about the process that took place when James Corden and Ruth Jones set about writing 'Gavin and Stacey'. The book has loads of photographs of James growing up and also some of the benchmarks (like his character 'Smithy') which have marked his career.

One criticism I would have, would be that on occasion, Corden gushes so much about some of the directors/ actors he has worked with, that to me, he almost sounds insincere.

Is this worth a read?

If you like James Corden or 'Gavin and Stacey', then yes, this is worth a read. This is an easy going, funny book that I enjoyed.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

'The Art of Racing In The Rain' by Garth Stein- Review



Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 978-0-00-728119-0

Length: 321 Pages

Opening Line: 'Gestures are all that I have; sometimes they must be grand in nature.'

The 'blurb':

'The captivating and moving story of an extraordinary family, how they almost fell apart and how they were brought back together by the wisest and most loyal member- Enzo the dog.'

Review:

Having read many positive reviews of this novel, I was worried that when I read 'The Art of Racing in the Rain' for myself, it wouldn't live up to my expectations.

I must admit that the 'voice' of Enzo didn't quite feel real to me at the beginning of the novel, after all it's not often that you get a dog who loves Formula 1 racing, but very quickly, I believed in Enzo and his story.

This novel is written with wit, intelligence and even though I'm not a fan of Formula 1, I thought that the inclusion of the psychology behind the sport, fitted perfectly into context of what was going on in the main body of the story. Even though this did have some sad elements to the story, this novel had an upbeat and positive message.

Is this worth a read?

This is a must read for anyone who loves animals or enjoys motor racing. I loved it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

'The Dandelion Clock' by Guy Burt



 

Publisher: Transworld Publishers

ISBN: 0-385-60037-2

Length: 416 Pages

Opening Line: 'Altesa is in the rain.'

The Blurb: 'Alex is an artist, preparing for a major exhibition. His life seems ordered and complete, but an impulsive trip back to the Italy of his childhood forces him to explore the unresolved questions of his past.

There, in those seemingly innocent days, as he swam and explored the wild countryside with Jamie and Anna, Alex must surely find the key to so much of his later life. To understand the fear that now assails him, he has to experience again his first friendship with Jamie and his first love for Anna; and to put together the pieces of a dangerous episode which brought the three of them closer than they could realize, and which was to have such devastating consequences in their adult life.'

Review:

Having already read two of Guy Burt's books ('Sophie' and 'After the Hole'), I had certain expectations about this novel. I wasn't disappointed.

Believable characters, combined with Burt's unsual style of writing, make this a dynamic read. Unlike a more linear novel, this kept my mind busy, trying to piece together the fragments of story (both in past and present) together. Although I have to say, the frequent switch between past and present throughout the book, took me a while to get used to.

Even though this is set in the sunny climate of Altessa, this has darker under currents running through it. I could feel a certain of tension building throughout this novel. The only slight complaint I have about this novel, is that I found the ending to be slightly anticlimatic.

Is this worth a read?

Yes, I do think this is a very good read. The unique style in which Burt writes, in my opinion, makes him one of the most innovative and interesting of writers. This coming of age story will keep you gripped from the first page.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Facebook Experiment- Day 2

I slipped up......well, nearly. It's probably to do with muscle programming, (as someone commented yesterday) but the natural reflex action of clicking the Facebook short cut was at work again this afternoon. To be honest though, today, Facebook is bothering me less.

It could be due to the fact that I was busy having coffee with my good friend Aguja (you can find her blog here) and that I wanted to get started on reading a new book, but the only time I reached for my mouse, was when I had stopped for a second.

What I'm learning so far is that Facebook isn't necessarily a bad thing, it can be very useful, but the trick is to balance Facebook with other things.Today's mantra......balance is the key....




Monday, July 9, 2012

The Facebook Experiment- Day 1

The other day I wrote a post about Facebook, how it has taken over my life and my quest to leave it alone for a week to see what happens.

It's day one and it is going ok. I found that I could resist my urge to sit down at the computer first thing this morning, to check out what people have posted on my timeline. I did however find that, because I was denying myself Facebook, I kept thinking about what I was missing. It's the addictive nature of Facebook, that means that Facebook is in my psyche, whether I want it to be or not.

However, I'm sure as the days go on, my need for Facebook will decrease. I just need to get it out of my system. I must confess however, that 10 minutes before writing this post, I automatically clicked the Facebook shortcut on my computer, but I quickly shut the page down after realising what I had done....phew....

There are bound to be some blips in the next week, but the main thing, is to persevere!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Snippet

This Sunday is proving more chilled out than last week's motorbike chaos (see details here) and the town is very quiet. It's so hot here at the moment (it's due to reach 30 C here today), that all you can do is read and sleep. I'm hoping to find some space in my sluggishness (is that a word!?) to try and finish 'The Dandelion Clock' by Guy Burt.

Here's a 'snippet':

Page 263: 'I think about that, and it does feel strange to me that Anna can feel bored in so many situations that Jamie and I would find fascinating; but in the dim shadow-world of the chapel, listening to the hermit's stories, she never is'


'The Dandelion Clock' by Guy Burt

What are you reading at the moment?

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday-Motorbike show 2012

Last year, I did a series of photos of the annual Motorbike Show in my town, so I thought I would share with you a few photos from this year's:





 


 

When I was coming back from the Motorbike Show, I noticed a lot of activity going on near my house. Imagine my surprise, when I found that a stage had been put up and men and women strippers were putting everything on show, whilst men, women and children watched...bizarre! Also, a motorcyclist put on a demonstration of crazy stunts and tricks and here is a video I took:




Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Social Addiction

I love the internet. I don't know what I would do if I weren't able to check my email and I love looking at blog posts and write them (although grantly, they are far and few between at the moment). Recently, I read a blog post on 'This too....' about social networking sites like Facebook, which I can totally relate to.

Don't get me wrong, I have found social networking sites like Facebook, to be a brilliant way in which to keep in contact with my friends and family, here and in other countries. However, I do also think that Facebook can become an addiction, something that is instilled into one's lifestyle, whether they are for useful purposes or not!

The other day I got out of bed and, before I had even had breakfast, found myself gravitating towards Facebook, to check what had been going on in the 10 or hours or so, since I last checked it. It was then that I realised, that whether I wanted it to or not, Facebook was taking over my life.

Ok, there are worse things that I could be doing, but it feels ridiculous that something such as a website could be controlling my day to day activities. It was even worse when I took part in all of the games that Facebook has, such as Farmville etc. At one point, these applications took over my life so much, that I had instruct a family member to go on Facebook at a certain time whilst I was out, in order to harvest digital vegetables! It was when I was planning my daily tasks around these games, that I knew it had to stop. I deleted them all and my life got back to normal. Yet Facebook is still a part of my life.

However, I have decided to do an experiment. Next week, starting from Monday (9th July), I am going cold turkey and abandoning Facebook, to see if I can live without it. I will still blog (I may even keep a day to day record of how I get on) and e-mail but Facebook, is off limits. Some people that I have spoken to about this (ironically on Facebook), say that if I enjoy logging on to check my updates and it isn't hurting anyone, then keep doing it. As a person who likes to be in control of their life however, I don't like the idea that something or someone, could dictate my life as much as Facebook has been doing.

So for those seven days, I won't be available to PM, Tag, or look at your funny quotes. Hopefully, I will be doing something more constructive.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday

I haven't done a 'Wordless Wednesday' in a long time, so I thought that I would post a photo of a friend I made at a place called 'Rio Safari Park' in Elche, a couple of weeks ago:


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Snippet

There are some writers that hide under the mainstream that I think, should get more credit than they do. Guy Burt is one of them.

Mostly known nowadays for television, Burt's novels are some of the most interesting I have read. One of the reasons is because I think he has the ability to really get inside his character's heads. So much so, that with my latest read, 'The Dandelion Clock' I initally found it difficult to follow the way in which the story leaps from what is going on in the present, to the memories within the main character Alex's mind. As I am progressing with this novel, the more interesting the concept becomes. Here's a 'snippet':

Page 63- ' I am left with the strangest feeling that the history of the past year is changing around me; that the details of the 'miracle' are no longer quite so miraculous.'

'The Dandelion Clock' by Guy Burt

Which authors do you think have the ability to transport their readers into the minds of the characters?

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the rest of the weekend. I'm going to be avoid watching the England football game, by reading some more of this novel....football isn't my sort of thing....

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

'We Bought a Zoo' by Benjamin Mee- Review



Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

ISBN: 978-0-00-743182-3

Length: 313 Pages

Opening Line: 'Mum and I arrived at Dartmoor Wildlife Park in Devon for the first time as the new owners at around six o'clock on the evening of 20 October 2006, and stepped out of the car to the sound of wolves howling in the misty darkness.'

Review:

Up until a few weeks ago, a group of friends (a mix of Spanish and English) and I would spend our Wednesday nights going to a discount evening at our local cinema. Not only did this provide an excellent form of Spanish practise for us Brits, but also a very enjoyable evening for all. This is on hiatus at the moment, but one of the films we have been to seen, is 'We Bought A Zoo' with Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson. Having enjoyed the film (despite being a little schmaltzy), the end credits revealed that this film was based on a true story, told in the book I'm about to review.

The story surrounds Benjamin Mee the writer of a DIY column buying a zoo with his family, despite none of them having any experience of animals whatsoever. The majority of the book deals with the problems Benjamin faces learning the many rules and regulations necessary to reopen Dartmoor Wildlife Park and also family tragedy.

Being a animal lover, I knew that this book was going to be right up my street. Mee's writing is warm, funny and contains many interesting facts on animal psychology/behaviours and very amusing anecdotes about the individual animals within the park. Mee also deals with his personal tragedy with sensitivity and even at times, humour.

In most of my reviews, I can always find something within a book that doesn't quite work, but with 'We Bought a Zoo' I can't find anything negative to say. The only disappointed I felt when reading this book, was that it had to end.

Is this book worth a read?

If you're an animal lover like I am, 'We Bought a Zoo' is definitely worth a read. Even if you aren't, I still think that this story of taking on the unknown is very good read. One word of advice, forget the film version of this, just read the book. It's brilliant.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Snippet

It's funny how some of the books I have read are arduous and quite frankly a chore to get into and others, I whizz through. 'We Bought a Zoo' by Benjamin Mee, is the latter.

I will probably finish this book today and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Whilst with 'The Passage' by Justin Cronin I mentioned that this would be better in film form, I think that 'We Bought a Zoo' works perfectly as a book. The film version has the bare bones of the story, but the book version provides the flesh to tell this interesting story.

Here's a 'snippet':

Page 276: I didn't help, pointing out that by the tiger house (for want of something to say while we waited for the keys to arrive) there was blood on the padlock of the external door.

'We Bought a Zoo' by Benjamin Mee.

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the rest of the weekend. As today is Father's Day (in most places anyway), I'm taking my dad out to lunch this afternoon. What are you up to this weekend?

Happy Sunday! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review- 'The Passage' By Justin Cronin (Contains Spoilers!)



Publisher: Orion Books

ISBN: 978-0-7528-9784-4

Length: 766 Pages

Opening Line: 'Before she became the Girl from Nowhere- the One Who Walked In, the First and Last and Only, who lived a thousand years- she was just a little girl in Iowa, named Amy, Amy Harper Bellafonte.'


Review:

Being a door stop sized novel, I was bit hesitate about reading this novel. However, the cover alone pulled me into giving this a go.

I wouldn't say that I was completely disappointed by this novel, but I certainly wouldn't say that this was the best book I have ever read.

'The Passage' is a book that is hard to get into for starters. It took me over 200+ pages, before I could comprehend where this book might be going. The set up is rather slow and a few times I contemplated abandoning this altogether. However, I would recommend to anyone who is/contemplating reading this novel, is to stick with it, the story gets better.

What I would say with this novel, is that I think that this would translate better on film rather than on paper. Whether or not Justin Cronin had a film in mind when writing this novel, I do think that the vast landscape and multi layered story plot might be better explained on the big screen. A lot of dialogue could have been better though. Sometimes I didn't feel like the characters where real people talking and the speech felt a little disjointed.


One thing I found particularly annoying (apart from the endless use of the word 'Flyers'), was that on numerous occasions, Justin Cronin sets up relationships between characters, investing a lot of the reader's time getting to know these characters, only for Cronin to then inexplicably kill the character off! It felt like Cronin was making all of the events up as he went, rather than having a purposeful journey he wanted to take his readers on. Twists and turns are sometimes good in novels, but when it gets to the point where the reader has no idea where the story is going, can be rather off putting.

I also felt this novel was an amalgomation of many things (books and films) that I have seen before. In all fairness, a lot has been done in the apocalyptic/monster genre in the case of films and literature, so there is many more places for 'The Passage' could go with it. However, I felt that this was orignal enough, to keep my interest.

Is this book worth a read?

Yes I do think that this novel is worth a read. 'The Passage' is not without flaws, but the suspense and cliff hangers Cronin creates makes me want to read the sequel, if only to have some answers to the numerous unanswered questions left, in this novel.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Snippet

'Sunday Snippet'

Now that I have finished 'The Passage' by Justin Cronin, I can add a different 'Sunday Snippet' rather than have continual extracts from the same book! I haven't really progressed past the prologue of 'We Bought a Zoo' by Benjamin Mee, so I haven't formed any opinion of this yet.

Here's the first sentence of the novel:

Page 1 : 'Mum and I arrived at Dartmoor Wildlife Park in Devon for the first time as the new owners at around six o'clock on the evening of 20 October 2006, and stepped out of the car to the sound of wolves howling in the misty darkness.'

'We Bought a Zoo'- The Amazing True Story of a Broken-Down Zoo, and the 200 Animals That Changed aFamily Forever' by Benjamin Mee.

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the rest of what is left of the weekend.

Happy Sunday! 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

'Sunday Snippet'

Apologises for not having done a 'Sunday Snippet' for a while. We have had visitors for the last month and so I have been very busy. I have had enough time to make progress with 'The Passage' by Justin Cronin and I'm glad that I have persisted with it.

I can't say that it is the best book that I have read. I find that it has peaks and troughs when it come to exciting storyline and dialogue, but it's turning out to be more interesting than I had anticipated. Whilst reading this novel, I have found myself wondering whether or not this book would translate better on screen rather on the page.

I don't do this with a lot of novels, in fact 99% of the time I think that film adaptations to books are never as good as it's original text. However with 'The Passage' I think the story/action would be better shown rather than told. What do you think? Have you ever seen a film adaptation of a novel, which was better than the original text?

Here's a 'snippet':

Page 497: 'The approached the station from the rear. Inside its fenced compund they detected no sign of movement. "You hear that?" Alicia said. Peter stopped to listen. "I don't hear anything." "That's because the fence if off."

'The Passage' by Justin Cronin

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the rest of the weekend. I'm disappointed that the U.K Eurovision entry came a measly second to last last night. Even though they are Irish, maybe the U.K should have this as their entry. It is from a programme called 'Father Ted', in which this episode featured a song contest like Eurovision (hence the link) . This series is no longer running, but I still love it:




Happy Sunday!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins



Publisher: Scholastic

Length: 454 Pages

Opening Line: 'When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.'

What's good about this novel?

Being in my 30's I was a bit unsure whether or not I was going to enjoy this novel. However, something intrigued me enough to give this a go.

I thought that this novel is very well written. Suzanne Collins' writing has maturity and is able to convey a lot of information and back story of the characters, without losing the pace of the novel.

The characters in this are very believeable. I also liked the way that the main protagonist of this novel Katniss, is a strong female character, who doesn't pine over boys and is generally silly.

The story itself is rather disturbing at times, there is a lot of violence, but the suspense that's in this novel, meant that I couldn't put this book down. The ending leaves with a cliff hanger, that makes me really want to read the rest of this trilogy.

What's wrong with this novel?

Due to the violent/mature nature of this novel, I'm unsure whether this should be for Young Adults at all. An adult could easily read this novel and still find it uncomfortable reading at times. On the other hand, it's refreshing to see a YA author who doesn't talk down or dumb down their work.

Is this worth a read?

I think that 'The Hunger Games' is worth a read. However if you're easily offended/disturbed, you maybe want to avoid this novel.

Have you read this novel? Do you think this is too mature in content to be considered a 'Young Adult' novel?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday Snippet

I feel a little deceived by 'The Passage' by Justin Cronin. For anyone that doesn't know, the front cover looks like this:


Looking at this I assumed that this is going to be rather dark and mysterious. Ok I have only read 82 pages of this, but so far I'm finding it be slow and mediocre. I will still keep reading this, but have you ever had certain expectations of a novel just by looking at the cover? Did the content within fulfill that expectation, or were you left disappointed?

Here's a 'snippet':

Page 82: 'In his office on L2, Richards was sitting at his terminal, his mind deep inside a game of free cell.'


'The Passage' by Justin Cronin.

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Happy Sunday!


Friday, May 4, 2012

'I Capture the Castle' by Dodie Smith










Publisher: Random House

ISBN:978-0-099-46087-9

Length: 408 Pages

Opening Line: 'I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.'

What's good about this novel?

I thought that the writing in this novel was very good. The descriptions of the castle and the surrounding landscape were beautiful and vivid. I felt that I was being transported to the tranquil peace of the countryside and, in the section where Cassandra travels to London, to the hustle and bustle of the city. I also liked the fact that this novel is written as diary entries. Not only does it make the book more realistic, but it also draws the reader into the story.

The characters are well formed and believeable. I could identify with a few of the characters, they reminded me of people I know in real life. However, in the case of Topaz, there is a unique quality to her.

What's wrong with this novel?

I found a few things difficult with this novel. The fact that Cassandra's sister Rose was marrying for money and believing in silly superstitions, perceived her as a weak character. In fact, I thought that this was a weak plot in the story. I also found it a little strange that Cassandra helps Rose, then suddenly changes her behaviour rather abruptly, to then pine over the man in question. I thought that this was a little feeble and in some parts, rather over dramatic.

Is this worth a read?

Yes I do think this is worth a read. The landscape depicted is beautiful and most of the characters, very well rounded. There are elements within the story which let this book down in my opinion, but overall this is a very good read.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Snippet

I'm coming to the end of 'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins and I must say, that this is the best book for Young Adults I have ever read....even though I'm in my thirties. It's not always comfortable reading in fact, some elements are brutal; but the suspense and slick writing that Suzanne Collins uses, makes this novel compelling.

This afternoon, some friends of mine are off to see the film version of the novel and I have had to decline their invitation to see it just because I want to read the book, before I compare it with the film version. Have you seen the film? Did you enjoy it? If you have read the book, did the film live up to your expectations? Anyway, as soon as I finish 'The Hunger Games', not only am I going to watch the film, but rush out to buy the remaining books in this trilogy.

As I am nearing the end of this novel, there may be descriptions which give away important events within this book. So here's the first paragraph of the novel:

Page 3:' When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim's warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress.She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course she did. This is the day of the reaping.'

'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the rest of the weekend.


Happy Sunday!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Snippet

I have less than 100 pages until finishing 'I Capture the Castle' by Dodie Smith. Whilst I am enjoying this novel, my opinion of the characters has changed considerably in the last few chapters. I'm not sure whether the main character Cassandra is as innocent as she first appears. I think when characters change throughout a novel (whether from unpleasant to reformed or the other way around), this can create some interesting complexities within a novel. What do you think?

Here's a snippet:

Page 324: I shall never forget it- the thick carpet, the brocade-covered walls, the bright lights staring back from the gilt mirrors, everything was so luxurious- and so meaningless, so lifeless.'

'I Capture the Castle' by Dodie Smith.

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the rest of the weekend. I'm filled with a mix of excitement and apprehension, because tomorrow is the start of my art class exhibition. I will be showing two pictures and I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else is going to be exhibiting. I will post pictures of the event on Wednesday.

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson (E-Book)



This novel is read as part of 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' book challenge


Publisher: Feedbooks

Length: 80 Pages

Opening Line: 'Mr Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance that was never liughted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary and yet somehow lovable.'

What's good about this novel?

I like the idea of this novel. The fact that this novel is examining the multifaceted nature of human beings is interesting. Everyone has two sides to them, the good and evil and it's up to the individual to choose whether to repress or embrace the darker elements of their nature.

What's wrong about this novel?

I think that the promising idea of the story is delivered in a dull way. From the beginning, I didn't feel inspired to continued reading this story. However I was determined to persist with this novel, thinking that it would improve. For me, it didn't. The writing often waffled and I felt my interest wane throughout. Even though this novel is a mere 80 pages this novel dragged, I couldn't wait until I had reached the end.

Is this worth a read?

I don't think this was particularly worth a read. Maybe science fiction isn't my thing, but this and 'The War of the Worlds' was unable to capture my imagination. This is possibly worth a read however, to make your own mind up about it.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Snippet

Once again, apologises for not having blogged all week. This week I have been ill with a cold; I never knew that it could wipe me out quite as much as it did. I'm a lot better than before, but still trying to shift this cold grr!

On the positive, being forced indoors for the best part of a week has given me some good reading time and I have completed 'The War of the Worlds' by H.G Wells (click here for the review) and 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson (watch this space for the review).

Now, I'm reading 'I Capture the Castle' by Dodie Smith. This is the May read for the 'Book Circle' on a book forum I visit called 'Book Club Forum' and I'm enjoying the novel so far.

Although the previous 3 books seem to have nothing in common, it's interesting the way in which each of the novels is from a one person perspective, but for me, only 1 of the 3 authors has successfully used this writing tool successfully. In the next few weeks, I will write a exploration into first person narrative.

Here's a snippet of my latest read:

Page 47: ' Little did I think what the evening was to bring- something has actually happened to us!'

'I Capture the Castle' by Dodie Smith

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the rest of the weekend. Today, I'm going out for lunch, my first time away from the flat in over a week yay!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

'The War of the Worlds' by H.G Wells




Publisher: Feedbooks

Length: 182 Pages

Opening Line: 'No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.'

What's good about this novel?

What I really liked about this novel is the overall message that this novel is trying to convey. This novel is about the power that nature has over mankind and that we as humans, should respect it and not become too consumed by our own importance.

I also liked some of the descriptions of the landscapes the main character travelled through. The desolation and loneliness the character encounters, gave impact to the novel.

What's wrong with this novel?

I think the fundamental problem I had with this novel, was it's placing in time. Due to the fact that the accounts of the alien invasion were told in the past, I felt that this gave distance to the action and discouraged me as a reader from being drawn into the story.

Having listening to the Orson Welles radio adaptation of the novel, I feel that if the story had been presented in the present, this book would have worked a lot better. As it is, the straight commentary of events gave no immediacy or drama to the story.

Is this worth a read?

To be honest, I would recommend listening to the Orson Welles radio adaptation, rather than reading this novel. I feel that 'The War of the Worlds' has too many flaws, for me to enjoy it.

Have you read this novel? What are your thoughts on it?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday Snippet

I'm a little disappointed by 'The War of the Worlds' by H.G Wells. At the beginning, I thought that the one person narrative in the book was a great way to draw me into the story. Ninety pages in however, I'm finding this style of writing, flat and at times, rather boring. Considering this book is about alien invasion I hadn't anticipated feeling bored whilst reading this!

It is a contrast with the last book I read 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte. In my opinion, this book successfully uses mostly one person narrative, to create a very interesting book. So it's a shame that 'The War of the Worlds' is not as effective. Here's a 'snippet':

Page 90: 'One may picture the orderly expectation, the officers alert and watchful, the gunners ready, the ammunition piled to hand, the limber gunners with their horses and waggons, the groups of civilian spectators standing as near as they were permitted, the evening stillness, the ambulances and hospital tents with the burned and wounded from Weybridge; then the dull resonance of the shots the Martians fired, and the clumsy projectile whirling amid the neighbouring fields.'

'The War of the Worlds' by H.G Wells

Whatever you're up to have a great Easter break.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 6, 2012

'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte (E-Book)




Publisher: FeedBooks

Length: 331 Pages

What's good about this novel?

I began reading this book, with the anticipation that 'Wuthering Heights' was going to be a novel filled with cliched romance. The reality of this novel however, is completely different.

The writing within this novel is extremely good. The way in which the story is told by Mr Lockwood, the prospective tentant of Thrushcross Grange and Mr Lockwood's maid, drew me in. Although I have to admit, it took me a while to get into this novel.

Although on paper the characters within this novel are unpleasant, irrational and in most cases totally unlikeable, I felt drawn to find out what was going to happen to them all.

One element that really stood out for me with 'Wuthering Heights', is the atmosphere of sadness and torment that is created by Emily Bronte. At times it is overwhelming, but I have never read a book that could envoke so much emotion within one novel. I felt as if I was being carried on the wave of torment, along with the characters.

What's wrong with this novel?

The only negative that I can find with this novel, is the ending. The latter part of the novel builds in anticipation for something to happen, only for there to be a slight anticlimax.

Is this worth a read?

Saying that I love this book, considering its content is a rather weird thing to say, but I do love this book. I think that the complexities in emotion and character, make 'Wuthering Heights' one of the most intriguing novels I have read so far.

Have you read this novel? What are your thoughts on this?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday Snippet

Firstly apologises for not posting a 'Wordless Wednesday' this week. There is no real excuse for it, except to say that I lost track of days and Wednesday passed me by without me noticing! I will try and post a photo next Wednesday.

Anyway, I'm more or less on the home straight wiith 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte. I didn't know it were possible for one book to contain so many unpleasant characters! Here's a 'snippet:

Page 256: ' Seven days glided away, every one marking its course by the henceforth rapid alternation of Edgar Linton's state.'

'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte.

Whatever, you're up to, enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Snippet

Even though they are probably the most iconic romantic characters in a novel, I'm not sure if I like Catherine and Heathcliff in my latest read 'Wuthering Heights'.

So far in my opinion, Catherine is a spoilt, unpleasant woman and Heathcliff is rough and moody. I may change my mind throughout the course of the novel and feel free to convince me otherwise, but at the moment, I find both characters rather unlikeable. Heres a 'snippet':

Page 111: " This is insufferable!" he exclaimed. "It is disgraceful that she should own him from a friend, and force his company on me!"

'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 23, 2012

'The Lake of Dreams' by Kim Edwards



Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 978-0-14-312036-0

Length: 377 Pages

Opening Line: 'Although it is nearly midnight, an unusual light slips through a crack in the wool, brushing her arm like the feathers of a wing.'

What's good about this novel?

The descriptions within this novel, are beautiful. Edwards' way of writing, helped me to immerse myself into the story's setting. I could see the locations in the story clearly in my mind whilst reading this.I could actually see this novel, being turned into a film, due to the vivid descriptions and backdrop.

I found the characters to be believeable and well formed, the thread of story involving the central character's ancestors, to be very interesting and it echoes my family's attempt to trace our family tree, at the moment.

What's wrong with this novel?

There are a couple of things wrong with this novel in my opinion. I found the pace of this novel to be a little slow, particularly at the beginning. In fact it was so slow, that at times I found my concentration wandering. I also found the book to be a bit predictable and the ending to be a bit rushed and convenient.

Is this worth a read?

I think so yes. 'The Lake of Dreams' isn't a book that I would read more than once, but I still enjoyed it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday


Just a quick note to remind you that Ann Sharple's interview will be tomorrow (Thursday 22nd) on http://www.talkradioeurope.com at 3.45pm (Spain/Europe) and 2.45pm (UK time). Visit her website at: www.annsharples.com or her blog 'Wordstitcher' .

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New author Facebook Page

Social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter are becoming useful promotional tools for bloggers and authors alike. With that in mind, I thought that I would draw your attention to a new author's page on Facebook.

Ann Sharples, author of the 'Violet Jelly' children's books, now has a page on Facebook. You can find it at: https://www.facebook.com/annsbooks .You can also find her official website at: www.annsharples.com .

I feel that those of us involved in social network communities and in the blogsphere, should try and support each other, so please have a look at both links. Alternatively, if you know anyone who would be interested in learning more about Ann's books, spread the word. Thank you!

Do you have a Facebook page for your blog or writing? If so, feel free to add the link to a comment.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Snippet

Moving away from the prison tales of 'You Got Nothing Coming' by Jimmy Lerner, Kim Edwards' 'The Lake of Dreams' is a completely different read. In fact, it echoes what is going on in my real life at the moment. The book is about a woman researching into her family's past and currently, my mum is doing the same with our family.

Here's a 'snippet':

Page 105: 'When I got back to the house, afternoon light was already pouring into the west windows, polishing the lake with a golden sheen.'

'The Lake of Dreams' by Kim Edwards

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

'You Got Nothing Coming' by Jimmy Lerner

Publisher: Corgi Books

ISBN: 0-552-14965-9

Length: 413 Pages

What the 'blurb' says:

'You are convicts. Your job here is to lie, cheat, steal, extort, get tattoos, take drugs, sell drugs, shank and sock each other. Just don't let us catch you- that's our job. We catch you, you got nothing' coming.'

It's your worst nightmare, You wake up in an eight-by-ten-foot steel cell designated 'Suicide Watch #3.' The cell is real, Jimmy Lerner, former family man and corporate strategic planner, has become a prison 'fish', or green new arrival. Taken to a penitentiary in the Nevada desert to serve a twelve- year sentence for voluntary manslaughter, this previously nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn ends up sharing a claustrophobic cell with Kansas, a hugely muscled skinhead with a swastika tattooed on his neck and a serious set of issues.

'You Got Nothing Coming' takes us into the corrupt world of the American prison system and, with brash, dark humour, tells us how the teachniques learnt in management seminars helped Lerner survive this brutal environment. It is a book and an experience you will never forget.'

Opening Line: 'The prison shrink thinks I should talk about why I killed the Monster.'

What's good about this novel?

Even though this is the sort of book that I would never have thought of reading, there are many good elements to this novel. Whilst graphic in both content and language, I think that 'You Got Nothing Coming' is well written and even funny in places. It's a fascinating insight into how the prison's systems and sub systems, are created by both the prison officials and inmates alike.

This isn't an easy read, but I sailed through this novel, because Lerner's tone is engaging and interesting. By writing this novel he isn't excusing any of his behaviour and, up until 3/4 of the way through the book, he does not even mention his crime. This is mainly an insight into his experiences whilst in prison.

What's wrong with this novel?

If I had to make a criticism about this novel, I would say that at times the writing is so well formed, it's as if Lerner is either writing from the perspective of an uncover investigative reporter, or even writing a fiction novel. I felt Lerner was the observer, rather than the inmate. What helped this though, was that 3/4 of the way through the novel, does go on to write an account of events, leading up to the time of his incarceration thus bringing the book back to his own life story.

Is this worth a read?

This is a book I wouldn't normally read, but I really enjoyed (possibly not the right choice of word for this type of book!) it. 'You Got Nothing Coming' is graphic both in detail and language, but everything is justified within the context of the book. If you're easily offended however, this book may not be for you. If you want to read an insightful and fascinating insight into an element of life that (hopefully) none of us will ever see, then this could be for you.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

'Time's Legacy' by Barbara Erskine

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 978-0-00-730229-1

Length: 520 Pages

What the 'Blurb' says:

'Ancient secrets buried deep in Glastonbury's past. One woman's quest finally to set them free.

Cambridge, present day: Following the death of her mother, Abi Rutherford receives a mysterious bequest- a misshapen crystal sphere known as the Serpent's Stone, which seems to give her glimpses of concelaed mysteries, long covered up by the church.

Western England 25AD: A stranger has come to the chilly Somerset wetlands, with a story of hope and reconciliation. But he is being followed by powerful forces, determined that he will not undermine Roman rule in Britain.

Abi questions what connects these ancient events and her gift. And why so many people seem desperate to hide the truth?

Opening Line: 'An icy wind whipped in across the shallow water bringing with it the first breath of autumn.

What's good about this novel?

I found the opening segment of this novel showed great promise. I found how the author attempts to introduce a debate on the complexities of religion, to be interesting. I also found the plot within the past to be compelling.

The central character Abi also showed promise. Being a Reverend, she isn't a stereotypical protagonist, so I found this approach to be refreshing.

What's wrong about this novel?

In my opinion, the potential of this novel is ruined by many different things. The writing within this novel is well paced, but it is also packed with of cliches which annoyed me.

I also found the plot within the present day to start off well, but then rapidly change from being over dramatic, to down right ridiculous. The ending itself takes away any legitimate debate that Erskine is trying to illustrate throughout this novel, which I think is a shame.

In my opinion, I think that Erskine has been a bit too ambitious with the weave of time in this novel. 'Time's Legacy' would have been much more effective and enjoyable, if the plot had just one linear storyline in the past.

Although the main character Abi is quite well formed, I found that most of the the characters within this novel, mainly within the present, to be mostly 1 dimension and merely puppets to move the plot along.

Is this worth a read?

It frustrates me that I can't give this book a better review, because it has the potential to be a very good read. As it is, 'Time's Legacy' is a novel that you could read if you want to switch your brain off for a while and not care about whether a book is realistic or not. For me though, 'Time's Legacy' is a very disappointing read.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Snippet

I'm really not sure what to make of Barbara Erskine's 'Time's Legacy'. Like the main character of the story, I can't quite decide who she is (she is a priest, but has done a History degree and dabbled as a journalist!?) and as a reader, what sort of book this is supposed to be, as it has so many themes running through it..

The funny thing about this, is that even though I would normally have put this type of book down by now, I'm finding this fascinating. This may turn out to be complete drivel, but I'm curious to know how this is going to pan out. Have you ever read a book that was muddled in its writing, but for some reason, wanted to find out the outcome?

Here's a 'snippet':

Page 203- ' Aware of Ben's scrutiny, Kier lifted his hand restlessly and brushed his hair back from his forehead. Then he sat forward in the chair, his elbows on his knees. 'I expect you have been given some kind of garbled fabrication of what happened between Abi and myself?'

'Time's Legacy' by Barbara Erskine

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the weekend. I'm off out for dinner this afternoon, I'm glad the weather is warming up. There is nothing worse that making my way to the restaurant and it's cold and raining.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

'The Hound of the Baskervilles' by Arthur Conan Doyle (E-Book)



Publisher: FeedBooks

Length: 154 Pages

Opening Line: 'Mr Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he was up all night, was seated at the breakfast table.'

What's good about this novel?

This is the second novel I have read within the 'League of Extraordinary Gentleman Book Challenge' . From the beginning, I knew that I was going to enjoy it.

'The Hound of the Baskervilles' is very well written and draws the reader in from the start. Even though this isn't the first novel in the series of 'Sherlock Holmes' books, Arthur Conan Doyle makes it possible for the reader to understand what is going on and who the characters of Dr Watson and Sherlock Holmes are, without reading the novels in a sequence. I also really like the humour within this novel, the writing in general has a lot of charm.

The story is complex, but I even though there are many twists and turns within the plot, I felt that for the most part, I could still follow what was going on. Saying that, I didn't predict what was going to happen in the end, which I would have found disappointing.

What's wrong with this novel?

To be honest, I can't really find many negatives about this book. Being a fan of the tv series 'Sherlock', I could see how fans of this could find the novel of 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' disappointing. This is because the story between the two versions are quite different. However, I found that both were equally as enjoyable. They both had their own identity, whilst still containing the essence of the plot and characters from within.

Is this worth a read?

Yes I think this is worth a read. 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' is a light and entertaining read. I look forward to reading more 'Sherlock Holmes' novels in the future.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Violet Jelly News

Do you have children aged between 8-10? Would you like to help to develop their vocabulary, whilst encouraging a love for reading? Well I think the 'Violet Jelly Trilogy' may be something you are looking for.

Today, author and blogger Ann Sharples has made an exciting announcement about the first 2 books in her 'Violet Jelly' series, going digital. To find out more click here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Snippet

After ploughing through 'Fall of Giants' by Ken Follett, I'm now reading a book that I'm enjoying! Although the method in which I am reading 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' by Arthur Conan Doyle (on my PC tablet) isn't as good as the reading experience you get with a paperback, I'm really like this book.

Being a fan of the tv series 'Sherlock' which is based on the 'Sherlock Holmes' novels, I was interested to see how the programmes differ from the original texts. In some ways the two versions of 'The Hounds of the Baskervilles' are very different, but the same intrigue and essence of the character of Sherlock is contained within the TV programme and the book.

Here's a 'snippet':

Page 107: 'It was several miles off, but I could distinctly see a dark dot against the dull green and gray.'

'The Hound of the Baskervilles' by Arthur Conan Doyle

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tagged!

I don't often take part in book hops or chain blog post schemes. However, when Barbara from 'March House Books' tagged me with the following questions, I thought it would be an interesting exercise.

The Tag rules;
1. You must post the rules!
2. Answer the questions and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
3. Tag eleven people and link to them.
4. Let them know you’ve tagged them.

Questions:

Do you use a bookmark or will any old bit of paper do?

99% of the time I use a bookmark to keep my place in books and have a small collection of them. However, I the very rare occasions when a bookmark isn't to hand, I will use an old recipt or scrap of paper.

What new books are you most excited to read this year?

I don't really keep an eye on new books that are about to be released, I just add books to my TBR list, when I discover potentially interesting reads. From the recent series of 'The TV Book Club' I would like to read 'Before I go to Sleep' by S.J Watson and 'The Sisters Brothers' by Patrick DeWitt.

Favourite season?

Autumn. You can still enjoy some pleasant weather, without having to suffer the baking heat of the sun.

If money were not an issue, what present would you give yourself?

A car and a little house, complete with library!

Do you buy second-hand books, new books or both?

I buy both new and second-hand books. I love discovering inscriptions inside second hand books as I wonder who owned the book before I did.

Early bird or night owl?

I'm definitely NOT an early bird, but I also like my sleep. So I would have to say I'm a mid morning kind of a person!

Do you like to read a specific genre? If so, what genre is it?

I generally read fiction books, but I do read the occasional non fiction book too.

Who is your favourite literary character of all time?

Either Harry Potter or Jo from 'Little Women' by Louisa May Alcott

Physical books, E-books or audio books?

Definitely physical books. After acquiring a tablet computer and being able to read ebooks, it has confirmed to me that 'real' books are better. There's nothing like the feel and smell of a paperback.

If your life was made into a movie, who would you like to play you?

Ohh that's a difficult one! Either Helena Bonham Carter or British comedian Sarah Millican

Cat person or dog person?

Dog Person


Blogs I'm tagging:

'Wordstitcher'

'This too...'

'Dancing Branflakes'

'Dizzy C's Little Book Blog'

'Isavirtue'

'Kelly Hashway'

'Man of La Book'


'Marcie'

'Miss H Writes'


'Savidge Reads'

'StephTheBookworm'

'The Daydreamer's Book Obsession'

Questions to answer:

If you could live in a fictional world, where would that be?

Do you read in noisy or quiet places?

What was the first book you ever read?

If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Favourite author?

Do reviews influence your choice of reads?

Fiction or Non fiction?

Have you ever met your favourite author?

Audio books or Paperbacks?

Classic or Modern Novels?

Book Groups or Solitary Reading?