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I read a lot of books and I write about them on here. Mummy Geek is sometimes a guest blogger....people seem to love her.....Oh and you can find me on Twitter.....@book_geek_says. Shortlisted for Blog of the Year by the 2015 Love Stories Awards...THANK YOU!!

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Review: Shocking True Story

I'm going to be honest from the off about this book. It didn't really do it for me.

Yes, I can see what GO was trying to do, but really, I mean COME ON? Why write a true crime novel that's pretend and make it as cheesy and naff as all other true crime novels are. If you are going to be different then be different and keep it that way.

The story was alright, the twists were pretty decent too, but I couldn't get over the cheese which mainly came from the lead character Ryan. He really annoyed me and was so self-indulgent and irritating I could have screamed.

So I'm keeping this short. Nice try, but could have been so much better



Tuesday 5 December 2017

Review: No Conscience


We are thrown in to Wes and Mary's family, we meet him, his sister and brothers, his girlfriend, Mary - his Mum, and all the other people that come with this mixed family. To be honest, I was not at all sure where this book was going to go and what was going to happen as the blurb leads you down a path you do not necessarily follow.

I think this book is a great character study. A flawed character is looking and analysing another flawed character and other characters who are just as flawed around them. And basically, everyone is trying to muddle along and sort their shit out.

How personalities unfold and how people develop in the book is great, it keeps the pages turning, in what is not 100pc that lively or gripping a story on occasion. Also what is great is how normal and real it all seems, I think the fact that the general day-to-day bits are so relatable is what keeps you reeled in.

A real surprise of a book, a very intelligent and observational read that I would recommend around!



Monday 27 November 2017

Review: Pseudotooth

Publisher: Unsung Stories
So, first line, I really enjoyed this book. Second, thing I have to say that while I pretty much always end up enjoying books from Unsung, I'm not 100pc sure that I actually always get the nuances an subtleties of the genre mashups/creations etc that they strive for. This isn't because of anything on their part, it's because I do not think I am clever enough to get it always....but any way....
So, I, as I said, really enjoyed this book. I love the writing style, I loved the plot, I loved the creation of new worlds, I really enjoyed (what I think) is a look at mental health.
What I also enjoyed was that VH is not afraid to be dark, and different and focus on certain aspects of the narrative that was defos not expected at all.
I also loved the story in a story, with characters that blurred the lines between fiction and reality.
Definitely a novel that gives a lot more than is expected and took me to a place I was not expecting it to either.

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Review: The art of fear

Publisher: Tabella House
This review is likely to be short as I'm not sure I have much that's constructive to say about this book.
Yes, the topic is rather unnerving, child sex trafficking is never easy as a topic and that really does give this book a gritty edge, and it even gave me some confidence at the start that this would be a good read. Also, as it deals with mental health and suicide, it also, I thought would be a gritty book with some balls.
But alas, as time goes on and the story develops it basically becomes one big cliché-fest. Ari's whole conclusion and progression is just gull of cliche and is VERY predictable. Tristan's development is just totally painful as is in the end his character in total which is really sad to see.
Also, how things all come to their conclusion and head is just rather painful. I wish I'd known (paid more attention) that this book will be part of a series, I may then have avoided it.
I'm to be honest getting rather sick of there being very few real standalone novels left in the world. What's wrong with writing an independent book I ask???


Monday 13 November 2017

Review: Black Spring

This is the final book in the tournament trilogy. If you haven't read the first two, please don't read this one as I don't want to give anything away!
Let's go.
So, after the second book which, to be honest, seemed a bit like a filler of a book, this one had a lot more going on.
We see the tournament evolve and become a bit corrupt, but we also see what those involved in the tournament are really made of. And that is awesome.
It's great to get the action, grit, exhilaration and fun of the first book back.
The new characters are a good choice it turns out, and indeed it was good to get to know some of the other ones even better. I still have several questions, largely surrounding Black and Green and their history/heritages but you can't always have everything tied up in a nice little bow.
But indeed, a very satisfying conclusion to what has in the end turned out to be a cracking set of self published novels.
Defos got something for you if you like mile and minute action, characters you can grow to like and characters you can grow to hate and a good imagination to boot.
Yep, worth a shot

Monday 30 October 2017

Review: Soul Cage

Publisher: Titan Books
I'm going to get it out there early, the only thing that I couldn't hack in this book were the names. I know that makes be a bit of a dick but I found it hard to follow with the Japanese names as lots were quite similar.
But other than that, this book took me by surprise. Excellent badass female main character, cracking plot with an incorporated subplot, great that we had a bit of gangster and mafia action, and I had that OH MY GOD yes moment just at the same time as our heroine did too. So it was brills to read a crime novel/thriller that I didn't see coming early.
I think the translation is outstanding. Nothing was lost or misunderstood and you could still see the author's turn of phrase and style come through. Sometimes I find with translations an author's voice is lost as getting the plot rather than the style is focussed on.
I would like to read the book before this one and read others to get to know the characters more. As while these can be read as standalones as the plot is the main focus, the underlying character stories seem intriguing and interesting.
So, yep a surprisingly good read

Friday 20 October 2017

Review: That Dark Remembered Day

Publisher: Headline

The whole way through this book I had deja vu. But I know I've never read it. I'm wondering if it's because of the Falkland link that it reminds me of another book I read.
Anyway, we are with Stephen as he visit his mum in his childhood town where a horrid event happened that changed his and the lives of many others forever. I'm not going to tell you the even that happened because that's the whole point of the story. But, we get to know Stephen and his life and the events very slowly. This is intriguing and keeps you reading and (tbh) you can guess what happens more or less. But indeed it's worth a read.
The events, war, soldiers, PTSD etc are dealt with quietly and calmly, as are the fallouts of the events that dictate the entire novel on that day in the 1980s.
There isn't however anything to make this a stand out book. As I said I thought it was another book for ages. Decent effort though

Tuesday 10 October 2017

Review: Tell the Wolves I'm Home

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
I've had this book since 2012, and it has been one of those ones I've been ignoring on my bookcase not really knowing what it's about and then reading the blurb and not really being grabbed by it.
But a little while ago I thought, no, read it, do it!
And it's been another one of those books I'm THRILLED TO HAVE READ!
Meet June and Greta and their Uncle Finn who is painting a portrait of them, he's paining it because he is not long for this world.
This book is about love, relationships, familial and otherwise. It's about the 80s and how illnesses were looked at, discussed, treated and stigmatised. It's about being there for each other, or even not being there for someone at all.
Really, this book was gorgeous. The characters were real, the plot convincing, the feelings tangible, the bonds almost visible. But all was so delicately portrayed.
In all honesty, the more I think about this book the more I think I loved it. I would recommend it to any one and everyone, I think people will really appreciate it for what it is regardless of their usual reads and genre preferences.
Please have a read and embrace.
BG :-)

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Review: The Tournament Trilogy: Grey Winter

We're back with the tournament, the second book this time. We're not too long after the end of the last book and there are a lot of questions. BUT a word of warning, if you don't want to spoil the first book, don't read this review.
We're on the hunt for the killer of 2/3 of Team Blue, we want to know exactly what Team Black are up to and we're about to discover that the world is learning all about The Tournament.
To be honest, I don't think I enjoyed this book as much as the last one.....the novelty of the concept had worn off a tad and there were a few ridiculous aspects (yes I don't find the premise etc ridiculous at all). But, I could overlook them on the most part and get on board with the novel as I want to know what will happen in the end of all of this.
This was your typical mid point filler book I feel. We now have ducks all in a row and the questions of book 1 answered. We have some new characters who I think are going to fit in well, and we have all the set up ready for the final novel, which I am suspecting is going to be one big shoot out.
Overall, your typical mid filler book, but decent enough. I am looking forward to book three!


Wednesday 20 September 2017

Review: City of Saviors

Publisher: Titan Books
So, I've been consistently enjoying the Lou Norton series, I've really loved Lou as a lead character. She's been fresh and different and just (to be honest) what the crime/thriller genre needed to breath a breath of fresh air in to the heroine realm.
Sadly, I have felt a tad let down by this fourth book in the series. It has felt like a filler, a bit like the latest Matt Damon Bourne film. A book to fill in some Lou time, and bridge the next arc of Lou's life. I think we could have done without that. And sadly, the crime plot woven amongst Lou's life wasn't as gripping and enthralling as the previous three have been.
Alas, I'm sorry to say I was disappointed here.
It would have been ok if the book had had a great crime plot or Lou's story was more than just bitching and whining. But there was neither, they were both neither here nor there. But I will not give up on these books - I will plough on with the next one when it arrives as I have hope we can claw this back.
Also, if you do tend to pick up and read crime novels regardless of them being in a series or not, you will not want to really read this one. It's too entrenched in Lou's story and not the crime she's investigating so you will miss a lot of context and interesting things.
Anyway, fingers crossed for the next one!


Tuesday 12 September 2017

Review: The Tournament Series: Blue Fall

Self published
This book was highlighted to me as free on the Book Bub newsletter, well the whole first three were and I figured, hmmm sounds a bit realms of The Hunger Games but why not. And tbh I'm really glad I downloaded this on my kindle and I can't wait to read the next ones.
I was enthralled from the word go I love the concept of elite betting on teams around the globe battling the shit out of each other. Even if I can see the slight rip of a Hunger Games/Battle Royale kinda thing. It's more the latter tbh, but there is the new edge to it and that's awesome.
The book was clearly centric on just a few select teams, but who cares, it got me hooked.
The Youngsmith sub-plot didn't really grab me but obviously is a plot device that was warranted and we'll see what comes if that moving in to the next one.
It's a brutal book in some ways but it seems fair tbh and it's also passionate and raw which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Seriously can't wait to read more!


Monday 4 September 2017

Review: The Shadow of Fu-Manchu

Publisher: Titan Books
I do indeed like it when old books are republished so good on Titan for doing it. And this oldie is exactly as it says on the quotation on the back 'at best these books are very superior pulp fiction...at their worst, they're gruesomely readable.' The book was just that, a bit of both and was spiffing company on the six hours I spent on a train over the bank holiday weekend in August.
I haven't read the others in the series, but I know about and of the legend of Fu-Manchu so I got this novel. I think however that if I didn't have the knowledge I wouldn't have liked the book or really got it shall we say.
You will need to put yourself beyond the1940s language and slightly un-PC rhetoric but as long as you can get over this you will enjoy it no end. I've read many a book with language and style of them olden days so not bothered at all now.
It's a gripping read and a bit tongue in cheek, but it's also really easy to read too.
One gripe I have is Camille. She had the potential to be so badass but in the end she was so girly and wet I was really rather cross. MAybe this is something of these books that I'm not over just yet.

Wednesday 30 August 2017

Review: The First Church on the Moon

Publisher: Big Hand Books
I know this will sound stupid, but I read this book by accident. I wanted a short story to read and my Kindle lied to me when I first looked at the details of this book. It told me it would take me 40mins to read it. So woo hooo short story. No it was a whole novel....but anyway.
I liked the style, it was very Monty Python. I liked the asides of humour and comments, I liked the weird statements of the bloody obvious, I liked the comments that left you wondering why the hell they were there at all and what exactly the hell was going on. Also, the plot and concept is really rather bonkers.
ALSO, how could I not be delighted by the fact that there was a cat called Bishmillah??
Anyway, the style, as I said above was awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But, I fear I have missed the integral and crucial point of this book. I feel as if a comment regarding religion, and free will and even humanity in general was being made in this book and it's passed me by to an extent. Then again, I could be having one of my episodes where a book that's quirky and well written is leading me to believe that there is something more to be found when there isn't. Maybe someone can help me out here???
Anyway, good read, funny, amusing, bit thought provoking
BG :-)

Thursday 24 August 2017

Review: Something Beginning With

Publisher: Friday Project
I have never before read a book like this, where the narrative is told via alphabetical topics. It was mad but it was refreshing and really, truly in the style of what the Friday Project was about for me. Bringing new and different an refreshing books to the world.
I really liked Verity, she was like a younger and mini Bridget Jones. She was endearing and the style of her character really made one warm to her. Also she's very amusing, unintentionally sometimes but, still really amusing.
This thoroughly novel but good book seems to be a bit unnoticed (as far as I can tell) but should be one that you read. It's a bit of a womanly coming of age read so won't appeal to all the reading masses but if you want a different, amusing, heart warming read where you end up feeling like you've made a new friend then defos give this a go.

Friday 18 August 2017

Review: The Girl With The Fragile Mind

Publisher: Avon
Hmmmm, I'm really not sure how I fell about this book. I'm not sure at all if I liked it or thought it was worth a read. I'm really torn. Yes, the concept is decent and the plot is alright, but I don't think it was executed in the best way possible.
Basically we have Claudie and she has some shit going on that's messing up her life and then we have a terrorist attack that gets in the way of things and mixed up with Claudie.
To be honest, I think this book is one of those novels that has jumped on the female psychological thriller bandwagon that was started by The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. That series was super and it did yes, inspire some good books along this genre/line/theme but alas I don't think this was one of them.
To speak more about the book, Silver and Keaton, were characters I did indeed enjoy and I liked the mix up in POVs. I do like a book that mixes up the voice, otherwise I can get a tad bored.
The things I didn't like.....the plot was too farcical and far fetched. It was not constructed well enough to feel believable. I hated all the coincidental nonsense. There was far too much of that. I really did not like Claudie. She really pissed me off.
So, in all, not the best read....sorry chaps

Tuesday 8 August 2017

Review: The State of Me

Publisher: The Friday Project - no longer in existence Harper Collins imprint
So, I have a functioning Kindle once more - HUZZAH. So I can read ebooks again HUZZAH. And this is the first one I decided to read.
This is the story of Helen and how ME came around and how it controlled, dictated and shaped her life.
The book's style is unique the voice is fantastic. You are completely engaged, and drawn in. You basically become Helen. I think that the 1980s references would be hard to follow if you don't have a knowledge of the 80s or were around in the 80s, but they I'm sure can be easily overcome.
I know people with ME but this book really helps give you more of an understanding. It really does draw you in to the world of someone who is suffering, and someone who is fighting to try and lead a practical life with this debilitating illness. The novel deals beautifully with a serious illness that can destroy lives completely.
I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to read something great or even wants to see how this illness can hit an individual and those around them.
A fabulous, endearing, funny, whimsical, hard and compassionate read.
For sure give it a shot.

Friday 21 July 2017

Review: Himmler's Cook

Publisher: Atlantic Books

I will admit, I've had this book a while. A friend of mine has raved about it at me a few times, but something always put me off reading it.

Now I am so happy I have read it!

The style is amazing, Rose's voice is fantastic and I am very impressed that a male author can write so astutely as a woman, be it a VERY old woman recalling her life, its triumphs, its failures, its loves and its woes. The writing beautifully crafts Rose's voice and I really felt I got to know her and what she stood for.

But, despite the beauty, there is plenty of comedy and plenty of darkness, both in equal portions. And they are thoroughly good in their own ways.

The life Rose has led through war, death, love, pain, communism, fascists and more is amazing, and of course fantastical, but it works so perfectly as a story, but also a summing up of our society and what the world and man kind has been, done and created over the 100 odd years the novel covers. In its own way it's a comment on society as well as glorious fictional memoir.

I would thoroughly recommend this book to man and woman, do not be put off by it being a love story, do not be put off by the title. The tag line 'a blackly funny yet beguiling tale of love and bloody revenge' is perfectly apt and indeed shows you that this novel has something for everyone.

Definitely one of the best books I've read this year....if not ever.....


P.S. the only one niggle I have is regarding Himmler....but I don't want to spoil anything - so guesses and answers on a post card.

Tuesday 11 July 2017

Review: Death in the Family

Publisher: Cutting Edge Press
I will be honest, when I started reading this book it was driving me round the bend. I found it really slow, it annoyed me that nothing much happened and all the characters were really self indulgent with their feelings and ways.
But, the more I read, the more I enjoyed this book and became deeply attached to Kalil, Maryam and Dee. In each of their own ways they are dealing with the death of their father, their lives and each other. And their other relatives are doing exactly the same thing. I really liked how the individual stories are told and woven together amongst the story of Ally and his death and life.
It was really interesting to have the stick in the mud, people will never change, tradition versus the changing world and modern times. The construction of the novel to include this was great too. I also enjoyed learning about Guyana of which I knew nothing about before.
IT's a short review, but I think I've said all I can. Get to know this family and their personal struggles, feelings and thoughts. Read about how the world can change but people won't. Read about how families can keep secrets and feelings.
Oh, there is one thing I'd say - the ending is all very neat and a bit unlike other CEP books....not sure how I feel about that...hmmm
Anyway, worth a read

Tuesday 4 July 2017

Review: Snow Blind

Publisher: Orenda
We are in a small town, with a big town guy, he doesn't know really how to deal with the small town mentality, but a shed load is going on there.
This book is a translation, as I'm sure you can imagine, and the one question I have is, is the original language as quaint as the translation? But, despite that the translation was good and also, I don't know why, but I had it in my head that this would be a very dense and hard to read novel but it really wasn't. It is your definition of a crime novel, it is compelling, surprising and a real page turner.
I am, as you may have noticed if you are an avid reader, pretty good at seeing what's coming. Either I'm losing my knack, or this book is that good. I really didn't see coming, what actually arrived. The book totally kept me guessing and I loved that.
There is the love element to this novel as well as the crime which provides some light relief, but the real darkness that comes across in some pages make this novel stand out in the crime world and probs helps give the book it's regional voice. I particularly like the italicised chapters. Really put a spanner in some works in my mind as to who done what!
I think one of my notes kind of sums up this novel for me 'Twas dark in places but also a bit lovely as people are close.'
A good crime read, a good plot, good characters.

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Review: The Lucky Ones

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer
I have the feeling I've read something by Mark Edwards before, and I'm being lazy and not searching for it...I am sorry. But let's crack on with this one.
I enjoyed the different voices and povs. I even enjoyed the switching up from first to third person etc. It gave the book plenty of variety and kept it moving. Was also good to see things from other people's perspectives.
This is definitely a page turner of a book and I was gripped, but it's not horribly hard core in its crime and violence which I think people who like this type of book but can't cope with violence will be pleased about. There is one hardcore section but it's ok....it's more the description of someone's reaction that's horrifying compared with what happens.
I have to ask, why do novelists keep making their police women sound like they look like me!!!???! Imogen seems to look like me and it's rather terrifying when this happens. It also means i get very attached to these characters which is sometimes not a good thing ;-)
I was delighted in general with this novel, and none  more so because I couldn't guess the who dunnit. I have a knack of getting them but not this time and I thank you for that Mr Edwards.
Definitely a good read, defos one to pick up!
Happy Reading

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Review: Sinner Man

Publisher: Hard Case Crime

Previously I've only read the Michael Crichton/John Lange books from these chaps before so it was great to get this one and see what other bits and bobs they had. Obviously, the novels/authors/styles have similarities but it was gooooood to get nonetheless.
From the first page I was absorbed and it was good to get a book that wasn't so slap stick or housing a lead man who went to the James Bond school of wooing women :-p. You were thrust into the action from the word go and even though the novel is set in the (I want to say) 1950s it was very easy to forget that it was alien to today in its lack of technology and ease at which Nat slipped in to a new world.
I can see this book as a Layer Cake style film. I can also see it being made in like a film noir style but with a modern tech and character twist. I think you can see I clearly was captured by this novel.
So, this is short (like the book), but I hope it encourages you to read. The grit, the fear, the worry, the old school gangster fun, totally worth a pop!


Monday 12 June 2017

Review: If We Were Villains

Publisher: Titan Books
In December last year I read The Secret History - Yes I haven't reviewed it yet, yes I'm getting that bad. But I finished this book this morning and felt the need to review it, and I bring up TSH as, as the press release says, there are touches of it in this book, and if I'm honest I would maybe go so far to say that this feels like a less dense version of TSH.
We meet Oliver as he's being released from prison for murder and we're going with him and a retired cop to retell the story of why he's there. We are going to watch it, relive it, experience it. We're in an arts college and these kids are leading the life I would have liked to have led if I hadn't have been told come back in 1 year when I auditioned for a post grad music course and then went to work in publishing where I then resided for 8 years before I moved to where I am now. But, the life if maybe a bit darker and full of a bit of horror, and that bit I am not jealous of.
I was absorbed from the very start by the writing style if nothing else. Thoroughly loved the nod to a layout like a play, the scenes, the acts, the way dialogue was written. I also loved how we had scenes, dialogue etc from the plays they perform in the novel too. MLR knows her Willy Shakes obviously as the plays and scenes and passages chose to include and recreate reflect perfectly what's happening in the story and seemingly in the minds of characters.
The characters were fantastic also. The fourth years, I just don't know if I loved or hated them, I think I did all at one point and their little world was so fascinating. For Oliver, I kept picturing Boy Geek's cousin as he's in a small private drama school, and I'm not sure tbh if he will be flattered or offended when he reads this.
Defos enjoyed this book, will be recommending it around.
Happy Reading

Monday 5 June 2017

Review: Tyrant's Throne

Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books

I was so so happy to have Falcio, Kest and Brasti return to my life. If you've followed my blog for a while you will know that I've now read all four of the books involving this spiffing trio and I'm completely in love with them.

I often worry with series that things will fizzle out and become shite...this has not happened with these four epic tomes!

The adventure, the humour, the comedy, the heartbreak, the angst, the passion and the fun returned again in what is sadly, the last book in the series. The writing continues to be glorious and the friendship and loyalty between these three is amazing. The plot that was started 3 books prior comes to its final conclusion also and that is great, but I'm not giving anything away as I want you to read these four books and enjoy it all.

What I have to say about these books in particular is pretty much every single one has made me cry be it in happiness or sadness. This occasion I was sobbing on my train to work. ACTUALLY SOBBING and people were looking at me really weirdly and it was all very awkward. But I think the fact that these books have made me cry (when I don't think others have) is a testament to the talent of SdC!

The only criticism I have is that these books were published with big gaps between them. But that can't be helped, we can't rush these things.

So Enjoy, Read them now! READ THEM ALL

Happy Reading
BG :-)

Tuesday 30 May 2017

Review: You Will Grow Into Them

Publisher: Unsung Stories
I don't often read collections of short stories but when I do I really enjoy them and this collection is no different. The collection as a whole has the feel of modern fairy tales and that they are in their own creepy, exceedingly creepy way in some cases, trying to teach you a moral lesson. But they never quite get there with fully explaining what moral is trying to be put forward and you are left feeling unsettled. But, you feel these things in a good way if that can at all make sense.
Also, I thoroughly enjoyed the fine line that's tread by stories between the normal and the fantasy, the normal and the supernatural.
I'm going to just chat about a few of the stories now if I may:
Passion Play

This is the first story in the book and it was far more mystical and supernatural than I was expecting after reading the blurb. But it was good, and it kept me turning pages, but man is Dark the word for this one.

Two brothers
This is pretty heart-breaking and set in the days of history. It is however so mundane and normal in comparison to the others in the collection. It's stark in comparison and does indeed show off MD's abilities to mix it up with style, voice and vision.

Really got on board with this one and could see it being a rather decent film type thing.

So, if you want an edgy and unnerving but splendid collection of eclectic and starkly contrasted short stories....THIS IS YOUR BOOK

Happy Reading


Tuesday 16 May 2017

Review: Southern Cross the Dog

Publisher: Picador
We are following some people round, who the blurb tells you are linked, but nothing else points to that....they are in the deep south, the wild west, the end of the world as you know it.
I was gripped from the start but I had absolutely no idea why. Why was I gripped by mundane misfortune? Why did I care about these not particularly interesting people and their fates? Why because the language was brilliant. The words in this book are bare but they are bold and they get you truly thinking about what you want to get out of reading this book and why. As I said, the story wasn't particularly gripping but the language absorbed me.
What came at the end of the book however, well the conclusions saddened me as I was so encapsulated in the mundane life with beautiful language that I didn't see the sort of social history comment coming. The end occurrences were touching and sad to an extent, but the moral lesson of it all, the comment on a time and a people being made so blatantly obvious was a tad irritating in the end and even dare I say it, a bit self-righteous.  
So, read this book for it's skill and it's language and it's making something great out of nothing....but kinda brace yourself for the end so it doesn't annoy you.

Tuesday 9 May 2017

Review: Strange the Dreamer

Publisher: Little Brown/Chapter 5 Books
Meet Lazlo, he's an abandoned boy who is now working in the best library in the world. He's strange and loves dreaming, lost worlds and thinking about what's next. This book is his adventure and his discovery.
Lazlo is a lovely character, he's lonely, but he's brave and interesting and kind and warm. But by far the best characters are the Godspawn for all their faults, foibles, problems, fears, situations and relationships. They are a fantastic bunch and really did grab my interest and attention.
Now come the problem....I had really high hopes that this book would not take the predictable turns and lead to inevitable. Unfortunately it did just that. And a book that was full of such hope and promise in the beginning just turned, in the end, to something predictable and even possibly generic. :-(
This novel embraced the cliché in everything. I wonder if it's because that such a young author wrote it, or maybe I'm slightly too old for the target audience to find it exhilarating and unpredictable. Whatever the reason, the predictability, and me being/getting fed up with this stopped me from getting involved with the book and becoming as absorbed in it as I'd hoped.
Definitely had potential - but for whatever the reason, didn't do it for me!

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Revew: Relics

Publisher: Titan Books
So, I read The Silence a while ago and it really got to me. I also bloody loved reading it. So when this book landed on me I was pretty thrilled.

This book is far more obvious in its story, its content, its plot, what it's trying to make you feel. Yes it's definitely compelling, it's definitely a page turner. But, it seems to lack the subtlety of The Silence. This is by no means a bad thing, but I was surprised at the contrast between the two books.

Relics is the story of Angela and her finding out some things about Vince along with a whole new realm of normal.

The plot is great, the POV of Angle is pretty good and you forget a chap wrote it. But, I do admit, I found Angela pretty annoying at times. She was a bit of a pain in the arse. But, Vince and Fredrick in particular were stonking characters and I really liked them a lot.

The plot was good, it was more complex maybe than The Silence as it had a few more layers, more characters and some sub-type plots going through. Relics was also far more amusing and fun in points. Watch out for the violence if you can't hack it. The book does indeed warrant violence as you'll see when you read it, but it's pretty bloody brutal in places.

Once again a good book in a world that balances the norm/mundane with a whole new world of fantasy that will suck you in.

Happy Reading


Friday 21 April 2017

Review: Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give

Publisher: WW Norton & Company
I met a friend of a friend a few weeks ago. We got chatting, she worked in books, I'm a secret book blogger and am getting married in November. They have a book coming out 'Wedding Toast's I'll Never Give'. Match Made.
So, the book arrives and I get reading. I start it on the train to work one morning. I am thinking that this will be deep, enlightening, but witty and heart warming at the same time. Hmmmm - I get 2.5 essays in on the train and feel like crap about getting married. I text the boy saying 'I've read 2.5 essays in the wedding toasts book and so far I am deeply depressed.' Reply - 'Oh God! Stop Reading!'
So, yes, in the beginning man did I find this book deeply depressing and it made me feel rather put off the whole getting married side of life. And I'm not exactly that keen to begin with.
But, as the book went on and the essays developed along with the illustrations and commentaries on the different aspects and stages of marriage I felt a bit better about it. I got more heartened but still didn't get out of this book the things I thought I would get.
This book, yes points out to the reader that marriage is something that needs to be worked at, it's something that needs to be ploughed through at points. And it almost let's you feel like it's all worth it....almost.
I'm overall sorry to say I am not taken with this book. It's pretty bleak in places and in others I found it rather self-indulgent. I think to an extent AC is using it to justify her way of being married and the things she has done whilst being married. I think she's using it as an excuse and a way to prove she's ok really. Hmmm - I could be wrong, or tbh it could be that I'm not in the right frame of mind for a book like this as I'm getting married later this year and really didn't need the downer side laid out so bare.......hmmmmm
Strange thing...
Oh...there is a P.S. Oliver's mentions, parts and tales - super - the main reason I read this collection to the end. 

Tuesday 4 April 2017

Review: Close to Me

Publisher: Wildfire/Headline
I saw this book on Twitter being made available to bloggers and I must admit I took a look at the cover and thought - meh, bothered - but then I read the blurb and actually it intrigued me....a lot!
Jo has taken a tumble down the stairs and has lost the last year - but what has she lost and what the hell is going on?
I thoroughly enjoyed the flips between days after the fall and the days after. The progression of you learning about Jo (admittedly at a faster pace than her) as she learns about Jo is great. You have time to form your own thoughts and theories as she is about her current situation and how she got there and who is or how is the flow of information to aid discovery being fed to her. This construct is great.
BUT, I do have to say that some things are rather blindingly obvious from rather early one. There are many of these - but they are necessary, but what is also good are the number of things that also seem bloody obviously but are not and that balances these 'knew thats' and makes you dismiss them pretty much.
The characters are fab. They are, if I'm honest normal. They are not inflated egos, or caricatures which is often what books about normal people lean to. They are people who you can recognise and relate to and that is great, it's thoroughly enjoyable.
For the ending, I really couldn't see how it could be done - apart from in one way (which I won't mention here as it wasn't the way but I don't want to spoil the book). But the actual conclusion works perfectly.
A very satisfying read, good work
BG :-)

Monday 20 March 2017

Review: Metronome

Publisher: Unsung Stories
So, I totally judged this book by it's cover. I thought yes high fantasy from the offing. So when I opened it and we were in a nursing home with WM, to be honest I was rather disappointed. I didn't see how we could get to the world on the front page, I didn't see how we could get where the book was going. BUT WE DID!!! YAY
The move away from the story of the old man in his nursing home to the adventures in the dream world is perfect, it's calculated and it takes you there and you stay there. The world that is created is amazing and I truly loved it. The descriptions were fantastic and I could picture everything in my mind (not exactly as the cover maybe). I think that if the descriptions in a book are detailed but concise enough to make you completely immerse yourself then they are spot on and amazing and deserve credit. This book contains those type of descriptions. 

What I also like in this novel (and I hope I don't give too much away here) is that you never know if you are in a real situation that is in this dream world or if you are just in a situation that is in WM's subconscious/imagination. In a way, the book pokes at this possibility itself with some things related to Reid, which in itself it great.

The only criticism I would have is that the book's ending is a bit too intense and philosophical. It was rather unexpected and for me, made the book a bit too heavy and not as enjoyable when the final conclusion was drawn.

BUT, some people love this and I will let them have it ;-)

Happy Reading


Friday 17 March 2017

Review: Snake Eyes

Publisher: Crossroad Press and Bad Moon Books
This book was in fact two stories in one - which I had totally forgotten about YAY!
Snake Eyes
It was a really intriguing read. It was unnerving but entertaining and enjoyable at the same time to try and work out what was 'real' and what was not, I was even doing this up until the end. And if I am totally honest, even now I'm not 100pc sure what I think was the 'real' place and person of being.
But the story did make me feel a bit sad too with feelings of escapism being wanted and the escapism is wanted because anything would be better than leading the life you live.
This story was both kick ass and sad all at the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
A trespasser in long lifting

I couldn't help but find this story a bit more light hearted and jovial after Snake Eyes. The amusement was great and DD was a fantastic character. But I do have to say that the end of this story as pretty deep after the fun stuff.

I think that the contract of the two stories was spot on, they both offered something that could be thoroughly enjoyed and embraced. And at the same time they showed off JD'L's skill as a writer as they were VERY different in tone and style.

The only thing I wish for these stories is that they were better subbed - I offer my services ;-)



Tuesday 7 March 2017

Review: Journey by Moonlight

Publisher: Pushkin Press
The boy was given this book for his birthday by his colleague. Apparently it's their favourite book.....hmmmm
Boy Geek read this book when we were on  holiday in December and immediately needed something else to read after it. I thought this was a good sign that he was enjoying reading on holiday - apparently it was because he needed something he would enjoy to read.
I started this book with hope because I didn't know the feelings Boy had about it. I found the first half a bit Woody Allen and could see it as one of his films. Full of whimsy and weirdness. I did indeed enjoy the first half. The premise of a chap disappearing on his honeymoon just because and staying away, just because was great.
BUT, about half way through the charm went. The book became monotonous, it became tedious in its whimsy as the whimsy turned dark, and repetitive and self-indulgent. I just couldn't stand to pick it up. So much so that I started reading this book on  14 January and finished it last night. I read one book at home and one on my commutes and while on my commutes I read 5 books in this time frame.
I really don't think this book is for me (or Boy Geek) but I'm glad at least one person out there likes it as everything needs a fan.

Tuesday 28 February 2017

Review: Romantic Misadventure - a point and click quest for love

Now, Kit Lovelace, I have been an avid Twitter follower and reader of his column whilst searching for love. And while I was at my height of following and this book appeared in the e-book realm I downloaded it - BUT, alas I completely forgot about it, but now I have read it and huzzah!!

First off, the format is stonking. Back to the good old days of the quest book, I loved a quest book in my youth. BUT you don't have to go back and fore flicking between pages. You just select the link and go! BRILLS.

It was great to be reminded of the most amusing but brave, and slightly daft mission KLL went on with his column to find love. It was great to be back on that weird mission and it was great as well to be back with KLL's writing style which I do really really enjoy. It is like the most eloquent stream of consciousness I have ever encountered, but still slightly mad ;-)

If you haven't come across this chap and his escapades, it's worth reading this and embracing it. Great fun :-)

Happy Reading


Monday 20 February 2017

Review: The Erl King

Publisher: Atlantic Books
WEIRDLY I was reading this book at the same time as one of the newbie colleagues in the office and we just happened to discover that each other were reading it...such fun.

So, we are with one man, one very strange man who lives a very secluded life and, to me anyway, always seems to be on the edge of doing something really inappropriate in the world.

I found the initial parts of the book really difficult to read and to want to read because of Abel's relationship with children. It was more the what might happen than the what was happening that put me off it on many occasions. But, when we came to the sinister writings, I found myself more at ease with the book as Abel's ways were more easily explained, dealt with and well, understandable. One got more of an insight into him, what makes him work and why he is like he is. There is almost a certain naivety about him.

The sections of the book that were written in the usual 3rd person style when we first enter the war were interesting more than anything else. It was interesting to watch Abel from the outside once more, especially with a better insight in to him and his ways. Also, it was interesting to look at the world of fascism and how people dealt with and developed it. But, the return to the sinister writings was welcomed.

I really don't know what I make of this book. It's truly individual partly because of its topic, partly because of how it is constructed and partly Abel as a character. Even now I still wonder/think about how I feel about him and this book, am I sorry for him? Am I scared of him? Is it a bit of both?

Definitely a book that lingers


Monday 6 February 2017

Review: Red Country

Publisher: Gollancz
I have never before read a JA book and I really don't know why! People have raved at me about them, and I've always fancied picking one up.
Red Country puts us in a fictional wild west type place and from the start I loved the fact that we were in the wild west but with a dark fantasy edge to it too. From the offing I also loved two characters, Shy and Lamb. These two will be your friends for life and they really give the book its heart, soul and balls.
I think without Shy and her being as a whole I wouldn't have enjoyed this book half so much. BUT, I think without Lamb the novel wouldn't have had its many layers, its turmoil and its altogether grit. Appreciate these two!!!!
The story is fast paced and full of action page on page on page. But, it's in no way rushed and this was a concern for me at the start when I realised I was half way in and there was still so much to do when it came to the book's main quest. I think that getting everything done but answering all questions and leaving no stone unturned in what is a relatively short number of pages shows how skilled JA is.
The novel isn't all cow boys, bandits and ghools though. It has its own share of romance, heartbreak and sadness which makes this more than a western romp. Also, the violence is a bit more intense too. Intense, but not gratuitous. AND finally, there is some politics be it town wide, country wide or even bandit group wide and again, this gave the book some depth and wider context.
A stonking read that really did take me by surprise. I'm now going to try and get my hands on some more JA!