Tag Archives: book review

A Quick Review of Other Books Read so far in 2014

Okay, so I have read far more books than I have had time to review. I have been swamped with work, PhD and life in general. Also, I am DROWNING in the amount of books I have to churn through – I swear for every book I read I buy 5 and then put holds on another three at the local library. This is my crazy bookshelf that probably houses a third of my book collection (they also hide under the stairs, in storage, and under the bed)

Therefore, I thought I would post a list of books I have read so far this year with a quick recommendation and rating. Somehow, I think I need to forget life and just keep reading like a madwoman to get through all this booky-goodnessImage

January

Revealed by P.C & Kristen Cast

This is the latest House of Night novel. I feel like I am now just reading the new installments because I have invested so much time with the series, and not that I actually enjoy them. I find that the authors are now trying too hard to capture teenager-lingo and it is now coming off as really false and pretentious. Also, I understand that Aphrodite is the callous one of the group, but deep deep down she has a warm, gooey core – but I actually find the use of explicit language doesn’t add much more to her character. The story line is lacking and I have enjoyed the spin-off novellas much more than the actual novels. I would give Revealed a 1 out of 5

 

Shroud of Sorrow by Tommy Donbavand (Doctor Who)

I love Doctor Who novels as they are easy to read, enjoyable and are usually written in a way that almost feels you are watching a Doctor Who episode. I am not much of a Matt Smith fan, but that still doesn’t stop me from enjoying the craziness of Doctor Who. I enjoyed this book, although it did deal with sorrowful themes. It was fast-paced and intriguing. I would give Shroud of Sorrow 3.5 out of 5 (only because sometimes I felt the storyline was a bit lacking, but still enjoyable).

 

The Lost by Claire McGowan

I loved this crime novel. It had so many twists and plots and was fast-paced and had the feel of an authentic Irish crime novel. I loved it so much that I hunted down more of her books to read. I would give The Lost 4 out of 5.

 

A Song for the Dying by Stuart MacBride

Ah … Stuart MacBride – the day I discovered your work was amazing. I almost feel this needs a review all on its own. The only issue with this book was that it felt like I had waited for it so long, that I had forgotten what had happened in his previous works. Despite that, I love the nitty gritty of MacBride’s works, the full-on in your face depravity. I give this book 4.5 out of 5. If you love crime and haven’t read MacBride, then I strongly recommend you do so (but be warned of Flesh House still leaves me a bit queasy).

 

February

Hades by Candace Fox

I felt like there was a lot of hype with his novel, which almost didn’t live up to it. While it wasn’t quite the crime masterpiece I was expecting, it still delivered a punch. I am looking forward to the follow-up novel as by the time you reach then end of Hades you were addicted and so disappointed that it had ended. I would give Hades 4 out of 5.

 

In the Blood by Lisa Unger

Fast-paced and twist after twist. I thought this was a fantastic read. It was intriguing and left me guessing. The character development was well done. I would give In the Blood 4 out of 5.

 

Ripper by Isabel Allende

This was another book that was surrounded by a lot of hype. However, I felt that it didn’t live up to it. It was painful to read – so slow going and character development and sideline stories that didn’t add that much to the overall story. While it did get me to sympathise with the death of the characters, I felt much more annoyed that I had invested so much time in a book where the climax and resolution was over in a few chapters. I also thought that the characters playing the Ripper RPG was unrealistic – as if a policeman (even if it was a relative) would divulge highly confidential information knowing that it would be repeated online to other individuals. This wasn’t a book for me and not one that I would recommend. I would give Ripper a 1 out of 5.

 

The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

This was a fantastic read – and not what I was expecting. I picked it up without knowing what it was about only that it was recommended for people who had enjoyed The Passage, and it my blonde-moment, I didn’t even click. So this novel was an absolute surprise and delight. I remember getting to when the kids have their arms untied to eat a bowl of grubs and thinking ‘is this some twisted government child abuse novel’. I think it’s an excellent new addition to the zombie category and one that added more in such a wonderful way. It asked a lot of questions regarding morals and what we would do in particular situations. I would give The Girl with All the Gifts 5 out of 5.

 

March (so far)

Beautiful Chaos by Gary Russell (Doctor Who)

Oh my tenth Doctor, how I love thee. It was great to have Donna back in some form. Her snappy comebacks and the tenth Doctor’s manner work so well together. This was a fast-paced Doctor Who addition with a lot going on. I loved it and would give it 4 out of 5.

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Book Review; Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett

Ok … so this review is long overdue. I actually had written the review down and just hadn’t had time to get around to typing it up. I am old school and love to use long hand – something more satisfying about it than pressing keys.

But back to the review at hand.

Raising Steam is the 40th Discworld novel written by Terry Pratchett. It focuses on the introduction of locomotives to the Discworld and their creator, Dick Simnel. He does so with the artful guidance from Moist von Lopwig and his clever ingenious methods to make money and coerce landownders, as well as managing the railway at the insistence of Lord Vetinari.

The plot thickens when the Dwarfish fundamentalists begin terrorist attacks and a palace coup at the seat of the Low King (er … Queen for those who have read it).

My first impression of Raising Steam was that I didn’t really enjoy it as much as Pratchett’s previous novels mainly because I found it hard to get into. However, once I did, I was hooked. I found Moist to be even more intriguing in his character development, and also seemed to flourish and work well with Vimes. I enjoyed the surprising bit when Lord Vetinari takes a holiday (and still manages to uphold his legendary reputation of striking fear in the hearts of many where-ever he goes, or whomever he is).

I would recommend this book to others, however not as an introduction to Discworld as I think to fully appreciate Raising Steam you need to have some background experience with the characters. I did enjoy this book and *hoping* that Pratchett’s next Discworld installment may be another Vimes’ holiday/crime book (there was a hint towards the end of Raising Steam that excited me).

I would give Raising Steam a 4 out of 5.

Book Review: The Asylum by Johan Theorin

I found this book listed online somewhere (I can’t remember where exactly) and thought ‘yeah … looks like a creepy crime novel, why not?’ and put a hold on it at my local library (since I hadn’t heard of this author before, I didn’t want to part with money to buy it). When my hold came through, I picked it up and saw the recommendation on the top ‘If you like Stieg Larsson, try a much better Swedish writer’. Well, that’s a tough call – I haven’t got around to reading Larsson yet but everyone who I talk to highly recommends his work.

So with great trepidation I started reading The Asylum … and OH MY GOD! I was hooked from the get-go. I always forget how incredibly amazing Swedish crime is.The story follows Jan Hauger as he successfully secures a job at The Dell, which is the pre-school near St Patricia’s Regional Psychiatric Hospital (a way to keep children close to their parents who are patients). St Patricia’s has fondly been nicknamed St Psycho’s by the locals for a reason – including that it houses a notorious serial killer.

However, what makes this book such a page-turner is the little plots and twists. You have a couple of chapters in the present, then a snippet from Jan’s creepy little past. Just when you have it figured out, Theorin throws in another side plot that’s oh so crucial to understanding the present. What started off as a ‘something to read to take a break from my PhD work’ turned into such a gripping read that I had read the whole book in 24 hours – it was THAT thrilling.

I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially the crime readers – it won’t disappoint and will keep you hanging on until the very end. Slightly disappointed in the ending, but only because I felt sorry for Jan in regard to his quest (I don’t want to give anything away).

I also love that for my *first* online book review – I am giving this a 5/5 (and looking forward to reading more from Theorin)