Room by Emma Donoghue was recommended to me by a friend a few months back and I just got around to reading it.
Jack is five years old.
Room is 12 feet b...moreRoom by Emma Donoghue was recommended to me by a friend a few months back and I just got around to reading it.
Jack is five years old.
Room is 12 feet by 12 feet.
Jack was born in Room, raised in Room and has never been outside.
But Jack doesn’t live alone, he lives with his Ma who educates him, plays with him and takes good care of him. Only at night are they separated when Ma puts Jack into the wardrobe whilst Old Nick visits and brings them food.
The tragic truth is that Old Nick has held Ma captive for 7 years, even though it’s this small space is all Jack has ever known – they need to escape.
I wasn’t really sure about this book – a different perspective is always an interesting read but a 5 year old? That worried me. Thankfully Jack is well spoken from 5 years of one to one with his Ma – his language and sentences aren’t perfect so it takes a short while to get used to reading slightly off sentences but it’s completely readable.
It’s a strange, endearing and tear-worthy mix of innocence and the horror of the situation. You can gather what awful things are really happening through Jack’s narration but Jack is so innocent he almost brings a lightness to atmosphere.
And after all that horror, we get to see the world – the “outside” through Jack’s eyes. A 5 year old who has never seen anything outside of Room before in his life. He’s amazed, horrified, scared, excited but most of all – he is brave – brave for his Ma.
The bond between Jack and his Ma is tear-jerking and I say this as somewhere who rarely sheds a tear reading a book, in fact I can’t remember a time I have (unless through laughter).
Ma herself is a very well developed character – she is strong for Jack and has carved out a life within Room for him as best as she can. She is not without her limits.
It’s great to see both characters progress and in a way “come of age” (all over again for Ma), as well as see the story unfold.
I could not put this book down, I always wanted to know what was going to happen and how this all happened. How Jack will react to things. I loved this book, it’s firmly one of my favourites now and I will probably read it again. I highly recommend this book, it’s really worth reading – even if your not a fan of this particular genre.(less)
Dracula is an old classic and I think one that is taken for granted a lot since now there are so many Vampire books, movies and such like out there an...moreDracula is an old classic and I think one that is taken for granted a lot since now there are so many Vampire books, movies and such like out there and many people think they know the story without having read the book. Let me tell you - you are wrong.
The format some people may find unusual as it is written in diary entries rather than one flowing story and from the perspective of different characters. In the past I have found that this method from different perspectives, a little too staggered and characters underdeveloped. This however is not the case with Dracula, all main characters are well developed and the story knits together well as time goes on. It's very interesting to read from different characters perspectives on the situation, given they are - for the most part in completely different places with completely different levels of knowledge about Dracula and circumstances surround his existence. Dracula himself is even well established as a Character from the beginning with close encounters with Jonathan Harker and yet Stoker manages to keep a creepy air of mystery about the Count.
The story follows the journey of Jonathan Harker across Europe on a simple business trip which turns out to be less than friendly. Finding himself staying with the count himself until he's ready to move to London - he turns to his diary for sanity and to try and make sense of his experience in the castle. Whilst they are journeying across the sea, strange things start to happen in England where Harker's wife awaits his return - she in turn writes in a diary recording her life and the strange events. Slowly with the help of doctor and friend from The Netherlands, Doctor Van Helsing things start to make sense and the battle against Dracula begins.
You'll find little of the friendly, or romantic vampire that shows mercy many of you will have come to have known of late in Dracula, it is a true horror story with mostly dark moments. However the strength in the small army of people that have banded together to rid the world of the Count, is uplifting and warm. If you are a person that says Classics aren't your thing then I still urge you to try Dracula out. Great writing, page turner.(less)
Even being an avid fan of Robert Rankin, I think this is probably my favourite that I have read so far.
Rankin is the self-proclaimed grandfather of fa...moreEven being an avid fan of Robert Rankin, I think this is probably my favourite that I have read so far.
Rankin is the self-proclaimed grandfather of far fetched fiction, and has been likened to Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett - but in my opinion, I would say Rankin writes far more far fetched, although if you enjoy the two authors mentioned you will probably enjoy Robert Rankin's work too. The Plot is simple but surreal - Centred around Fudgepacker's Emporium, which is a movie prop warehouse and one of it's workers - it's only worker besides the boss Mr Fudgepacker himself and Morgan - Russell. During lunchtime Morgan tells Russell of the disappears of The Flying Swan; a pub famous for it's customers John O'Mally and Jim Pooley in Rankin's other books. O'Mally and Pooley have disappeared along with the pub and all of it's occupants at the time. All of which appear to have me atomised on Christmas Eve thanks to the Ark of Covenent.
Russell now involved and seeking the truth about all this disappearing business, stumbles across a movie plot - Nostradamus Ate My Hamster. Which results in time travel and effects the world massively - particularly the events of the Second World War. This book is very complex in that there are a lot of short stories woven into one another, which only start to come together about half way through the book.
Nostradamus Ate My Hamster has some very controversial and possibly offensive parts to it, there is a lot of hidden meaning and opinion in it about politics, religion and such - but unless you're really interested in that stuff, it shouldn't really bother you - just take it as a (very far fetched) story. Many dead celebrities show up in this book, as well as Hitler himself (the above statement about being offensive doesn't apply to Hitler himself much so don't let that put you off). This makes for some very comical scenes and personalities.
As always Rankin's characters are well developed and strong. He lets their personalities come through in whatever the situation is and keeps good continuity. A strange but awesome mix of history, conspiracy theories and life which perhaps some dabs into the back to the future theme. Just another day in Brentford really.
I highly recommend this book to anyone. It's a bit complex so it will keep you on your toes. If you're new to Rankin and want to be eased into his style - perhaps choose another of his books that are less complex. Nevertheless this book is a real page turner, you won't want to put it down and be eager to pick it up again when you do. A great escape from reality, into a world that could have been... well perhaps not, but it's certainly a scary thought!(less)
Malice by Chris Wooding tells the story of a rumoured but hardly ever seen comic book called – you’ve guessed it – Malice. A comic book that’s near on...moreMalice by Chris Wooding tells the story of a rumoured but hardly ever seen comic book called – you’ve guessed it – Malice. A comic book that’s near on impossible to get hold of – what teenager could resist? Not only that but the rumour is that if perform a simple ceremony and say a little chant (not unlike “Bloody Mary”) Tall Jake will come and take you away, into the world of Malice – into the comic book itself. But that’s all just rumours – isn’t it? Where are all those children that go missing without a trace? These are questions that Kady and Seth – the two main characters start to ask themselves when their friend Luke disappears, just days after telling them he’s managed to get a copy of the extremely rare Malice.
There’s two things you’ll notice immediately about this book: 1.) The cover (for some editions) is 3D – not that you need 3D glasses, but there is a plastic covering on the front, which is has Tall Jake and all the lettering embossed on it. This will definitely draw your eye. 2.) Some of this book is in comic form – about 10% of it.
I didn’t know about the 3D cover when I purchased it as I brought it online, but the comic book part intrigued me but I really wondered if this would work – graphic novel/comic book writing is a lot different than novel writing. But it actually works really well – not all parts of the story that take place in Malice (the comic book world) are in comic book form, in fact only a few are but it does really add to the storytelling. Really seeing what the readers of Malice might well be seeing – or what a comic book world might just look like. Fears of Wooding messing this merging avoided – I do think a better illustrator could have been used.
The story is very much about solving the mystery and defeating evil. There are so many questions the characters (and reader) want the answers to – what is Malice? Who is Tall Jake? Why take children? – to name a few, that you are on a journey of discovery with the characters as they slowly uncover clues as to what’s going on. This really drew me in, as the mystery of it all is really big in your mind and you are only spoon fed bites of information at a time.
It’s not often that I read something from the Young Adult genre – as for me this genre can be a bit hit and miss, but I’m really glad I picked this up on a whim. It’s a fantastic read, though my grumble at the end as that I hadn’t realised that this was a two parter – the story cuts off in the middle of all the tension and I was left feeling – where’s the next chapter? But alas, the story continues (literally – this isn’t a sequel) in Havoc: There’s no Going Back. Which I will be purchasing to read soon, because I really loved Malice.(less)
I do love Alan Carr but I wasn’t sure I could see him as an author, even of his own autobiography. I picked up Look who it is!: My Story by Alan Carr...moreI do love Alan Carr but I wasn’t sure I could see him as an author, even of his own autobiography. I picked up Look who it is!: My Story by Alan Carr as I do all autobiographies because I like the person or they interest me.
The book follows Alan’s life as an awkward child to just when his comedy career is really taking off. Of which he is very honest about – which I love. He shares his school days with a distinctive comic loathing, doesn’t try to hide the fact at all that he was lazy at university even by student standards and the following 9-5 jobs that almost (literally in some cases) drove him insane. Not to mention those eccentric house mates along the way.
What I loved the most was seeing the extremes of Alan – from extremely nervous to travelling the world for a year. Seeing him see himself just as he had done before, even when success hit And even when things didn’t go so well – he still writes with such humour and wit about it.
The book is really well written and I found it surprisingly inspiring – which is why I would recommend it to anyone, not just Alan Carr fans – you might not appreciate the humour, but I think you’ll find some inspiration – it’s not exactly a rags to riches story, but even if you get knocked down – you gotta get back up.
I loved reading this comic wit dashed account of this portion of his life and rather hope he’ll write another book in the future – but that remains to be seen.(less)
Lyss Brewer starts off the new year a mess – no job, no boyfriend, no place to live, no money and of all places in a motel room. However her luck quick...moreLyss Brewer starts off the new year a mess – no job, no boyfriend, no place to live, no money and of all places in a motel room. However her luck quickly changes when she’s offered a job at a local inn, not to mention it’s a live in position which solves all manner of the aforementioned problems for Lyss. She makes friends fast with most of the staff, they soon become like a family to her and finally everything is going right again. Soon though the walls of the old inn start to speak to Lyss, as the fear of a serial killer on the loose in Santa Fe spreads throughout the town. Lyss wrestles with her own sanity not knowing if she’s going stark raving mad or if she really is seeing ghosts. Ultimately Lyss needs to decide who to trust – herself, the voices or the real people in her life.
At first I thought Wildflowers Come Back by Sarah Spann was going to be a book that was slow to start – boy was I wrong, you’ll get hit with the main plot before you even realise it. It definitely won’t take you long to be hooked on the storyline and if I hadn’t had things to do in the day, I would have been up all night finishing this book. I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this book – I was worried that the romance in it would over shadow the deeper goings on in the inn at one point but it never did, it just strengthened the story.
Each of the main characters are all very loveable in their own way, and there’s definitely a bit of slight angsty, sweet, vulnerable but strong Lyss in everyone. There are some very strong characters in the inn, that Spann brings to life beautifully. The inn is described in all it’s decorative detail – I was walking the halls with Lyss and could picture everything. And the smells from the kitchen – so deliciously described you’ll be able to smell them yourself (thinking about it you might want to have a snack near by).
The history of the inn is mapped out very carefully and revealed to the reader all in good time. It’s mystery is bigger than you can imagine and I was constantly surprised by things that happened, things that were uncovered and all the new questions that you get with each new discovery.
The end is very open ended, as there will be a sequel which infuriated me (in a good way). I had more questions than when I started reading the book and I can’t wait for the sequel – I’ll definitely be reading that.(less)
The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh is a Young Adult/Fantasy book which I picked up thinking I’d take a chance on it. It’s the year 1347 and William find...moreThe Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh is a Young Adult/Fantasy book which I picked up thinking I’d take a chance on it. It’s the year 1347 and William finds himself collecting wood for the Abbey – as his one of his duties during the winter months since a fire killed his family and the monks at the abbey had taken him in. Today however is the day that Will discovers he has the sight – the ability to see Fay creatures (Fairy’s, Hobs, etc) and he takes it upon himself to rescue an hob; caught in a trap and incredibly injured. He takes the big risk of taking the hob back to the abbey amidst the the highly religious monks. It’s not long before Will has to come to terms with the fact that there’s a lot more to this world than he first thought and that there is a blood thirsty fay on the rampage.
I cannot tell you how much I loved reading this book. I read until I fell asleep and couldn’t wait to pick it up again the next night.
Will is such a kind soul – loving to all those around him, even if he may not actually like them very much. The bond he forms with the injured hob – who he later names “Brother Walter” (Hob wouldn’t give his name for fear of giving a human power over him) – is very sweet. Brother Walter slowly warms up to him and starts revealing things about himself and his fellow Fay. In return Will answers the most awkward questions about the monks and their way of life.
Being set in medieval times – and during the winter too; the story has a very dark mysteriousness to it. Almost Gothic in nature. This is only deepened when the dark side of the Fay is revealed and you see the stark contrast to the light fay and dark fay.
The descriptions are beautiful – one can feel the cold as it’s described and sense the looming dread in the atmosphere. Even the monks whose day to day life is much the same have distinct personalities.
There are rather a lot of words used that are monastery specific dotted without the book however there is a glossary of terms in the back of the book to explain these as well as the abbey’s winter timetable (what the monks do each day) so if you feel a bit lost amongst the terminology don’t panic.
The Crowfield Curse is fantastic for it’s target audience (11-12 year olds) and adults a like. It’s just a fantastic book that feels so magical and mysterious – it pulled you in straight away.
I highly recommend this book and I can’t wait to read the sequel The Crowfield Demon by Pat Walsh.(less)
I've been curious about the Mortal Instruments series for a while, a few of my friends have read them and recommended them. Plus they have pretty good...moreI've been curious about the Mortal Instruments series for a while, a few of my friends have read them and recommended them. Plus they have pretty good reviews. So I brought a copy of the first book in the series - City of Bones by Cassandra Clare a few weeks back. And then I really struggled to want to read it. Let me explain why. The blurb on the back cover of my copy says this:
Clary Fray is seeings things: vampires in Brooklyn and werewolves in Manhattan. Irresistibly drawn to a group of sexy demon hunters, Clary encounters the dark side of New York City - and the dangers of forbidden love.
Mythical creatures I'm all for - even if vampires and werewolves have been WAY overdone lately. The problem I have is with "sexy demon hunters" and "forbidden love". This makes it sound like some erotic mythical creature fetish - which I assure you - it's not (thank God).
Clary is 15 years old - petite with red hair - she's the daughter of an overprotective mother and has few friends. Her regular hang out is Pandemonium a nightclub with a buzzing teen night. However this time when she enters the club with her best friend in tow - she witnesses a murder but the body disappears in seconds. Later Clary learns that the murderers are Shadowhunters - who only she can see. She is thrown in at the deep end of their world when her mother goes missing from their home and Clary is attacked by a demon left behind to guard the house. What a demon would want with her or her mother Clary has no idea, but she is determined to find her mother and as secrets unfold - to find out who her mother really is. All the characters in the book are very different from each other - they have all their own strong points and even Jace, who is a complete jerk 99% of the time is very likeable. However none of the characters are perfect, they all have their own issues and towards the end of the book this starts to show through.
The book brings in different world views on things such as racism (or speciesism as it mostly is in this book), homosexuality, tyrants, cults and social divides. The tensions are definitely there and there is a very thin line between what is acceptable to some and what is not. Towards the end of the book it takes a glimpse of how things were when these situations were much worse - making it very clear that they are one move away from an all out bloodbath.
To be honest some of the "twists" in the book were pretty predictable but there were a few that still made me quite shocked, and thus it kept me wanting to read on.
I'm not quite sure how I feel about the end of the book - relationships change and twist, which is understandable considering all that has happened but they have that very tense sense of awkwardness - which is uncomfortable to read. It's like they're all standing in a room shrugging their shoulders and saying "well... what now?". That said, the story is clearly not over - although plenty of loose ends have been tied up in this book, you'll definitely be wanting to know what happens next. Which is why when I was getting close to the end, I ordered the second book.
Great young adult book - which is more complex than it seems on the surface. (less)
This book gives some great background into being a kid in the midst of a Rock Show. Jack Osbourne has had a semi-normal life before being shot into the...moreThis book gives some great background into being a kid in the midst of a Rock Show. Jack Osbourne has had a semi-normal life before being shot into the spotlight with the world wide phenomenon of The Osbournes - a reality show that follows the Osbourne family in the daily life.
Jack is brutally honest about himself about the person he was and the person the media had painted him to be. Before being in the spotlight Jack had a life that was balanced between spending on tour with her parents, and spending time in a normal school environment with her parents being at home or away for just a few days. The books starts with some of Jack's memories of his childhood, both from England and the US. These range from the rock and roll to plain old school days. This part of the book is very interesting and gives a great insight into Jack's struggle to fit in at school.
The bulk of the book concentrates on his decent into using drugs and drinking alcohol, the height of that use and then the recovery process. All of which give a great insight to the world of drugs, specifically around the LA club scene and music industry. The danger faced by users and also the difficulty of the recovery is highlighted through Jack's personal experiences - which are varied from extremely sad, to inspiring - all of it being quite informative about each process Jack went through. Although there are some very sad and even desperate moments, the high insight prospective which Jack now writes from oozes with the lessons he's now learnt from the many situations he's been confronted with. This makes it not only an excellent read about life in what has been considered a famous example of a dysfunctional family and a boy lost in drugs, but a very inspirational read about giving it your all even if you are "shit scared".
I highly recommend this book, if you think Jack has nothing to say and no life experiences at the young age of 21. Think again and read for yourself.(less)
Sharon Osbourne - Survivor is the follow up to her first book Extreme. With Extreme covering the first 40 years or so of her life, this second book sp...moreSharon Osbourne - Survivor is the follow up to her first book Extreme. With Extreme covering the first 40 years or so of her life, this second book spans the next 5 years or so. So you might think - what more has the woman got to tell? And the answer is simply - plenty!
The book starts around the time that Sharon was diagnosed with cancer - I have read a few reviews where people have said that the book disappointed them with how little was said about the time she spent fighting cancer. I have to disagree. The book is not about cancer, it's about Sharon as a whole and her experiences, and her surviving those. The difficult choices she'd had to make in life. Cancer plays it's part in that but this is not a book about cancer. There is enough said on the subject however in the few chapters of the book. The book then goes on to follow Sharon through her TV career - her two chat shows (US and UK), X Factor and American's Got Talent. Revealing that not everything is as it seems to be, things don't run smoothly and there are many things that go into making a show. She also talks about her constant travelling to and fro from the US to the UK, to do her various jobs, whilst Ozzy in on tour or recording - which really brings to light the strength of their relationship.
It also follows a theme of her visiting her father - Don Arden - who is now old, frail and very ill. Despite all the arguments, fights and how he mistreated her - she is paying his bills, and medical bills and keeping him alive and comfortable - even when he doesn't know who she is or even that she's in the room. Eventually this leads to her having to make some very difficult decisions about her fathers future, and she talks you through how difficult she found this and how she came to the decisions she did. Of course there is plenty about the music industry, Ozzy and Ozzfest between the pages. Notable are the visits to Russia before and after the Iron Curtain has been lifted and also reading about Ozzy working sober and drug free for the first time.
Overall this is a great book, classic Sharon with a slightly difficult touch than the first book, since there have been a few changes like Ozzy being clean and the kids having their own careers and homes. I'd recommend this to anyone, especially to Osbourne fans.(less)
Necrophenia comes from the mind of author Robert Rankin who is the self proclaimed grandfather of "far fetched fiction" - of which this book is no exc...moreNecrophenia comes from the mind of author Robert Rankin who is the self proclaimed grandfather of "far fetched fiction" - of which this book is no exception. Re-writing history as we know it - particularly in the music scene of the sixties and seventies and stretching it far beyond what you could ever have imagined. A group of lads with a high school band with second hand school instruments are trying to make it big, so when they are offered a record contract - brand new instruments and promised to be touring the world - of course they say yes. Unfortunately for them there is far more to this deal than they ever thought was possible; what with the undead trying to take over the world and make it into a necrosphere, finding out that Elvis' is a sextuplet and there was that business with the cross dressing zombies around the time the contract was signed. Dabbling into the world of religion and magic makes for a bit of controversy.
This far fetched writing style of Rankin's is what really attracts me to his books - they are out there, but then it is all explained how these things come to be. History is re-written but with great references to icons of the time such a Elvis who makes an appearance (well several actually), The Rolling Stones, Wimpy (and how it came from the US to the UK) and of course the drug scene of the 60's and 70's. The characters develop greatly with the villains being ever mysterious. Rankin always leaves you wanting to know what happens in the next chapter, but no in an over-done cliff hanger way. The chapters are fairly short (2-7 pages hardback) which for me makes for a more comfortable read, as I have more convenient stopping places. I particularly like how the story spans several decades with the story developing at different paces, whilst the ever impending doom of earth becoming a dead planet hangs over the heads of the human race. As always the banter between the characters is great and really adds to each character and builds on the story. Overall, I would say one of Rankin's best books.
You will find that many of Rankin's characters cross over from book to book, and although in some cases this can get a bit "samey", those characters are classic to Rankin and retain their original loveable (or unloveable) personalities. I would recommend this to anyone who loves particularly fantasy, sci-fi and humour fiction - but it really does have elements in it for anyone who loves a great story. If you have never read any of Robert Rankin's books, you may find his writing style a little different than what you are used to but I would encourage people to stay with it as you will soon be sucked in by it.(less)