A tiny story in a tiny book about a tiny wife. This novella is less than 100 pages long, but what you get for that is a weird and wonderful little stoA tiny story in a tiny book about a tiny wife. This novella is less than 100 pages long, but what you get for that is a weird and wonderful little story that starts off in a bank. A robber (dressed rather flambouyantly in purple and feathers) enters and holds the queue up at gunpoint and asks each person in the line to hand over the thing with the most sentimental value to them. Once he has got something from each of them he disappears after telling them that he has taken a portion of each of their souls.
Over the coming days and weeks, bizarre things start to happen to those who were in line at the bank that day including one woman discovering she is made of candy and her husband eats her all up, and another one who has a tattoo of a lion on her leg which suddenly comes alive and starts chasing her all over town. I love the fact that the book has illustrations in it too which makes it all the more fairytale-like.
The Tiny Wife is so called after the main character who, after the bank episode, finds herself shrinking slightly each day – but will she disappear altogether?
Verdict: Fun, cute, quirky and well worth a read. ...more
I really did not enjoy this book! It is not often I am this blatant about a book when I have actually finished it but I honestly couldn’t find any redI really did not enjoy this book! It is not often I am this blatant about a book when I have actually finished it but I honestly couldn’t find any redeeming qualities at all. What I am even more annoyed about is that I kept on reading thinking that at least there would be some big revelation and reward for my time invested in reading it.
It’s really difficult to say anything about Under the Skin without giving anything away but to summarise as much as I can without ruining it for anyone else brave enough to give it a go, it starts with a woman, Isserley, with huge breasts and bottle-top glasses driving up and down the A9 in the Scottish Highlands looking for hitch-hikers. She does this all day, every day and she has a particular type that she picks up (hence she can drive past the same person several times before deciding whether or not he is worth picking up). Her type is big, beefy men with lots of muscle. Anyone with a weedy frame is dismissed (and lucky for them, although they don’t know it at the time). That is about as much as I can say about the plot, but it doesn’t mean I have to stop ranting about the rest of it; hell no!
This book is weird, it doesn’t make sense, it freaked me out massively, it made me feel sick and at the end I didn’t have a resolution or “aha” moment that I was craving due to having no idea what was going on in the rest of the book. I can honestly say that this is like nothing else I have ever read and I am still unsure exactly how I felt about it other than knowing that it horrified me. I couldn’t engage with any of the characters but I think that is partly because I didn’t want to get close to them at all.
On Amazon and Goodreads there are really mixed reviews of Under the Skin – some love and some hate it. Judith from Leeswammes loves it (and it’s always good to have several takes on a book so that you can make the decision of whether it might be for you or not).
Fortunatley I have heard that this book is very different from The Crimson Petal and the White by the same author (which I had planned to read at some point this year).
When I handed this book back in at the library I told the Librarian how much I had hated it and she told me that when she worked in a bookshop they used to have a whole shelf called “Books we hated” where they would write little cards saying how much and why they hated the book. She told me that the books on this shelf always sold like hotcakes! After this review, I fully expect sales of Under the Skin to soar and I duly await my commission from Mr Faber ...more
This isn’t normally the sort of book that I would pick up. Although, in recent years, I have read and really enjoyed a number of post-apocolyptic noveThis isn’t normally the sort of book that I would pick up. Although, in recent years, I have read and really enjoyed a number of post-apocolyptic novels, I was initially somewhat put off this book by the promise of zombies. Then I read that I it had elements of McCarthys The Road (which I LOVED!) and Matheson’s I am Legend (which I expected to hate when given it to read for a bookclub, but actually really enjoyed).
The book started really well. Temple is 16, alone and kick-ass. She has spent the last few weeks on an island off the Florida coast catching and eating fish and spending her days looking out over the water to make sure she remains alone. Life as we know it is hinted at with details like Temple finding a stash of magazines (from before) which have glossy pictures of a life she has never known. The only thing that upsets Temple’s solitary existance is coming across a body on the beach. The body, as she suspected, is one of the undead (or Slugs as she calls them): it looks like the Slug has got wind of her on the island and tried to swim over but been dashed on the rocks and left for dead. Temple knows that it’s only a matter of time before more follow and she picks up her handful of belongings and makes her way back to the mainland to set off north and on to the next place.
The world that Temple inhabits is a mixture of humans (some nomads and some who have set up communities in the wake of whatever happened) and zombies who roam the the land looking for flesh to feed on. Temple encounters several people along the way: some who help her and some who are after her. Temple does whatever she has to to survive, and boy does she. She has never known a different world and it is clear early on that her parents weren’t around for very long so she has had to cope for herself all her life. There are scenes of violence as Temple is ruthless in her desire to stay alive, but this isn’t just a book about destruction and desolation; it’s also about human emotion. Temple picks up a mute man along the way (whom she calls “Dummy”) and despite her thinking that she can cast him off onto someone else, she becomes strangely attached and realises that she does have it in her to help and be kind (which is something unfamiliar to her).
The narrative in this book is clean and uncluttered and exactly what I loved about The Road. I think it will and can be enjoyed by those who love fantasy type fiction, but also those (like me) for whom this isn’t their normal genre. There was only one part that bothered me, and that was in the middle when Temple meets a group of people called “The Inheritors of the Earth”: I just didn’t get wht they were in it; it seemed unecessary to me and made what seemed a plausible storyline (even with the zombies which I could accept) into something that instantly made me snap back to reality and disbelieve again.
In summary, I enjoyed this book and would recommend to anyone who likes post-apocolyptic novels and fantasy. ...more
What an absolute treat this book was to read! I absolutely loved it. I was recommended this book a few months ago (thanks Kathryn) so I picked up a coWhat an absolute treat this book was to read! I absolutely loved it. I was recommended this book a few months ago (thanks Kathryn) so I picked up a copy when in NYC in December as it wasn’t out in the UK then. Then in January I was lucky enought to interview Gail for my blog and was even more fascinated and intriguied when I read her answers. Who knew a book about vampires, werewolves and ghosts wandering around Victorian London and attending tea-parties would be so much fun? From the minute I cracked open the spine I knew I was in for a great ride. Our heroine is Miss Alexia Tarabotti and she has fast become one of my favourite characters in any book: she’s feitsy, speaks her own mind, sarcastic, soulless, large chested and so funny!
In the opening pages, Miss Tarabotti accidentally kills a rogue vampire who tries to attack her, and although she is put out that said vampire doesn’t appear to know that she was born without a soul and therefore immune to any supernatural attack, she is more annoyed that the vampire landed in the middle of the food table and on top of the treacle tart, which she had particularly been looking forward to. Within minutes, The Earl of Wolsey, Lord Maccon, arrives in the middle of the mess – he has been sent by Queen Victoria to investigate the mystery of disappearing registered vampires and appearing rogue vampires. Lord Maccon also happens to be a werewolf, the Alpha at that, and Miss Tarabotti appears to exasperate him at every turn. The characters are what really made this book, for me. Alexia aside, I also fell in love with Lord Akeldama, a flambouyant vampire who practically minces through the pages, and Lyall, Lord Maccon’s beta werewolf and sidekick are fantastic, as are the vile Mrs Loontwill (Alexia’s mother) and her two sisters.
Miss Tarabotti’s adventure with trying to track down what has happened to the disappearing vampires and werewolves and getting herself kidnapped by a man with a wax face are nothing compared to the other big distraction that keeps following her around in the shape of an increasingly randy Lord Maccon. There are fangs, fur, ghosties, tea, treacle tart, peacock hats, silver-tipped parasols, adventure, science, satire blended with steampunk and some fantasy – the whole shebang.
I really did enjoy this book and I can’t wait for the next in the series, Changeless, to come out in April. I can highly recommend this book and urge you to read it!...more
The second in the trilogy of the amazing Hunger Games. There's not so much I can say about the plot of this book without giving away the ending of theThe second in the trilogy of the amazing Hunger Games. There's not so much I can say about the plot of this book without giving away the ending of the first one, or ruining the surprise of the second.
What I can say is that it is just a brilliant! I cannot wait to read the last in the trilogy. I want it NOW!...more
This book is amazing! It was so difficult to put it down that I cursed every time I had to. Such a brilliant idea for a plot and coupled with being soThis book is amazing! It was so difficult to put it down that I cursed every time I had to. Such a brilliant idea for a plot and coupled with being so well executed has made it one of my favourite books, possibly of all time.
The book is set in Panem (formerly the USA) where there are districts known as the Capitol (who rule everything else) and Districts 1-12. Seventy-five years ago, the people of the Districts (who are fenced in and not allowed to communicate with other districts) staged a rebellion so in order to make sure that it never happens again, the Capitol invented THE HUNGER GAMES. Every year, two children (one girl and one boy, aged 12-18) are picked randomly from each district and are put into an arena which can be anything from swamps to lakes or forrests or deserts and the victor is the last one standing once all the others are dead. The Hunger Games are mandatory TV viewing for all Districts who have to watch their loved ones be killed on live TV. The only ones who relish this are the people of the Capitol where the cheer their favourite tributes on and place bets about who will survive and who will die.
Katniss Everdeen is sixteen years old and when her 12 year old sister's name is read out at the reaping (the televised event where the names are called) she steps up and volunteers to go in her place. Katniss's district partner is Peeta, a boy from school who has always liked her. The book follows their journey from District 12 to the Capitol where they are put into the arena to fend for themselves.
I read that the author got her idea for the book when she was flicking between channesl on the TV and on one side was a reality TV show and on the other was footage of the horrors of the war in Iraq and she wondered what it would be like to put these two together. The synopsys for this book may seem farfetched but to be honest I'm not so sure that we're all that far away from these games anyway. You only need to watch Jerry Springer or Big Brother (the UK version) to realise that so much of it is set up or instigated to get the best arguments and subsequently ratings possible. It's not that far away from the Gladiators in Rome killing each other for the publics viewing pleasure.
Having said that, this book is aimed at young adults and although the theme of the book is one that really makes you think, it isn't gory or gruesome and is appropriate for its intended audience. I may be well past my teenage years but I can honestly say that this book is one of the best I have read for pure excitement and that "un-put-downable" factor.
Wow! I LOVE it when I read a book that I'm not expecting to enjoy and I do! I listened to the audibook of this (which I normally don't like either butWow! I LOVE it when I read a book that I'm not expecting to enjoy and I do! I listened to the audibook of this (which I normally don't like either but I'm doing so much driving lately that it turns out to be a great way to while away those tedious hours on the motorway!). OK so this version took some artistic licence by adding in voices and a made up language but this really successfully added to the experience.
The Time Traveller is a Victorian scientist who gets in his time machine and travells to the year 802701 A.D where he discovers that life really is not as we know it. It is inhabited by the Eloi, as race of people half our size who speak a strange language and live in harmony. Nobody works, nobody toils, there is just sun and flowers and green grass. The Time Traveller reaslises that the human race has regressed because they don't have to use their brains or braun anymore.
It is only a short book but I was amazed where I expcted not to care and enraptured where I expected to be bored. I had a hard time remembering that this book was written in victorian times too - H G Wells was so far ahead of his time. I can't wait to read more from him.