This book captivated me from start to finish. You’d never know that this is a debut novel, as the writing is so compelling and flows beautifully. It This book captivated me from start to finish. You’d never know that this is a debut novel, as the writing is so compelling and flows beautifully. It’s sparse, but I feel that it really works with this story as it’s essentially a modern-day fairy tale and so the style doesn’t really lend itself to complexity. There’s so much packed into what is a relatively short novel, but none of it feels rushed – the plot moves along at a comfortable pace and there weren’t any slow parts for me. It did require a little suspension of belief as some of the things came together a little too easily, however this fits in with the general style of a fairy tale and so it really didn’t matter too much to me. The thing that makes this novel, though, is the characters. The main characters, Emily and Sam, are complete opposites, yet they are perfect for each other. It was really heart-wrenching to watch their relationship develop so quickly and then be torn apart. The main star of the show though, for me, was Riddle – Sam’s younger brother. I couldn’t help but feel protective towards the kid and he instilled in me a real emotional attachment to the story as a whole. After these three main characters came a host of other characters who had smaller, but still important, parts to play. The chapters in the book move around, telling the story from the perspectives of the different characters in the book and, where a new character is introduced, we find out how they came to be where they are before we find out how they fit into the story. I liked this, because it made for more believable characters and therefore a more believable story.
I loved this story and I took from it a message of hope and of faith in humanity. I will be on the lookout for future books from this author. ...more
No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in l"The circus arrives without warning.
No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not."
I don't know how many times I've read this paragraph recently. It's fair to say that this book has had more than your average amount of buzz. Lots more. This amount of buzz would normally put me off reading a book because I worry that it won't live up to my expectations. For some reason though, the buzz didn't put me off this book at all; it just made me want to read it even more. So much so that I pre-ordered the hardback - which is something I never do!
The Night Circus tells the story of Celia and Marco, two magicians who are trained from a young age to ultimately take part in a challenge where there can only be one winner. The stage for this challenge is a mysterious travelling circus that only opens at night and disappears as quickly as it arrived. Alongside this story we meet Bailey who, whilst playing out with his sister and her friend, is dared to break into the Night Circus. While there though, he meets a girl with red hair, dressed all in white, who helps him to get out of the circus when he's lost. She gives him her glove to take back with him - to prove to his sister that he did break in. 15 years later, he finds that the circus is back in town and Bailey can't resist returning to see whether the girl is still there...
As I said, I'd heard a lot about this book before it was released and the plot intrigued me. I love anything magical and this is magical realism at its most creative. The circus is mysterious and intriguing and I was fascinated by all of the different aspects of it, especially by the way the performers were so magical that they had to attempt to hide this from the audience by trying to make their acts seem like manipulation and sleight of hand.
There are many characters and the plot jumps around between years - moving from 1873 to the years prior to 1902, to 1902 when we read Bailey's story, to the present day when the story is written as though you are experiencing the circus yourself. The jumping around and trying to keep track of all of the characters did cause me some problems at first and I had to keep checking which year I was in, but as I got further into the book this became much easier and I settled into it. The characters each had their own stories, although none of them delve as deep as I would normally like, and I found them fascinating, especially the relationship between Celia and Marco, which develops slowly but is still interesting.
The plot itself isn't the fastest and there are some slow parts. I didn't mind this though, as this is more character driven than plot driven. It's also very visual - the author uses a lot of description, especially in the present day chapters, but it works perfectly for this book as it really is something that you need to be able to imagine to truly appreciate it. I can see how this, coupled with the slow plot, could put some people off, but I loved it. The writing is beautiful, almost lyrical, and I wanted to savour it and so I was happy to take my time.
The plot does pick up pace towards the end and the last few chapters are brilliant. I can't say anything really for fear of spoiling it, but I will say that there were things I wasn't expecting and that I liked how the author brought all of the characters together, especially as many of the characters seem peripheral but are brought closer and closer together throughout the book as we understand how their relationships intertwine.
All in all, despite a couple of flaws, this was an awesome book and one I will definitely read again. I can understand why many won't like it, however it definitely worked for me. ...more
I can see why people love it. The story just sucked me in and I devoured it in two sittings. I really liked Cassia and I cared about her right from thI can see why people love it. The story just sucked me in and I devoured it in two sittings. I really liked Cassia and I cared about her right from the off. I think that the connection with her really pulled me through the book, because I was interested in the decisions she made and the ways in which those decisions affected her life – especially as this was in a society where decisions are often made for the inhabitants.
Dystopia is one of my favourite genres. I love the comparisons to our society and I like to speculate whether the society in the book is actually that fair removed from our own or is that far outside of the realm of possibility. I also like to wonder at the different aspects of the society and whether or not they would be beneficial to our own. Dystopic societies are generally spawned from an over-exaggerated attempt to create a Utopia and so there are usually at least a couple of elements that would be great to have as part of a society. In the case of this book, I do love that they have managed to pretty much eradicate diseases. As someone whose family has been touched a number of times by cancer and other diseases, this really appeals to me. Would I want to have a set date to die though? I’m not sure. I can see the benefits, but I don’t know if I’d ever be ready! I also kind of like the idea of being sorted into the job that suits your skills, although it would take away ambition and dreams. Still, it would be nice to just automatically fall into a job that you’re good at!
The relationships in the book fascinated me. I wanted to hate Cassia when she was falling in love with Ky, but I just couldn’t. I wanted to hate Ky, as I really liked Xander, but I couldn’t do that either. Damn these nice people!! Surely in love triangles someone is supposed to be the bad guy?! The thing is, with this particular triangle, it’s really hard to resist sympathising with both Cassia and Ky. As much as I liked Xander, I could see how it must have been hard for Cassia to come to terms with being matched with her best friend – even though at first glance it would seem like the perfect match, it must have been hard for her to consider him as anything but a friend.
The writing was good, better than many YA books I’ve read. The pace was steady, with some faster parts and some slower, but it flowed well. The construction of the Society was creative and thought-provoking and the relationships were believable. I can’t wait to read the second book!...more
When Rosy Thornton contacted me via my blog to ask if I'd like to review her book, I wasn't sure whether to accept at first. This is not the kind of nWhen Rosy Thornton contacted me via my blog to ask if I'd like to review her book, I wasn't sure whether to accept at first. This is not the kind of novel that I usually read and to be honest I probably wouldn't have picked this up in a bookstore, but I decided to give it a chance because I do like reading about other countries and it has had some great reviews. Having read it, it's clear that I need to re-think how I choose my books in bookstores because I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Catherine was an instantly likeable character. She's incredibly strong willed yet down-to-earth and simply refuses to let anything bring her down. Throughout the book there are a number of occuring problems that would cause a lesser person to become self-pitying but this is never the case with Catherine and I loved her for it. Despite the fact that Catherine is much older than me, I was still able to relate to her and I felt a real affinity for her need to escape and to experience a different way of life. I also grew to really like the supporting characters in the book, especially Monsieur and Madame Bouschet. I loved the way that they took Catherine under their wing and it was nice to see the relationship build between the three. Patrick was an interesting character and it took me longer to warm to him, but I did eventually and it was interesting to see Catherine's relationship with him develop also.
The plot is brilliant in it's simplicity. It's simply a tale of life. There is no mystery, there is no huge twist and there are no vampires, but it's a compelling read. Everytime I picked this book up, I lost myself in the French way of life and I really didn't want to leave. I wanted to stay in the gorgeous French countryside, the slow, relaxed way of life and the sense of belonging and community that comes with living in such a small village. The images painted throughout the book of the mountains and the surrounding area just made me want to get on a plane as soon as possible - the authors use of description is just enough to make you feel like you're there, but not too much that it overshadows the rest of the book.
This book is just beautiful. I could have easily read another 300 pages without becoming bored. I will definitely be looking into Rosy Thornton's previous works....more
It was the cover of this book that initially caught my eye whilst I was browsing the books in my local supermarket. I think it's beautiful. SomethingIt was the cover of this book that initially caught my eye whilst I was browsing the books in my local supermarket. I think it's beautiful. Something about it screamed "pick me up!" so I did.
This book is very much a voyage of discovery and as such I can't really say too much about the plot without giving spoilers. So I won't - the blurb is enough.
This is pretty powerful for a debut novel. It got me so hooked that I read it in two sittings - I would have read it in one but I started it before going to bed and I was so tired that I just had to put it down!
Although this book deals with some serious and sensitive topics, she does so without going into too much detail, which I think is a good thing to do in this novel - she's not preaching, she's not trying to offer answers or theories, she's just writing about it and letting the reader make up their own minds. Grace is pretty damaged, psychologically, and it's a very emotional ride as she tries to remember exactly what happened to get her where she is now.
The writing is brilliant. The author has really managed to get into Grace's head and the book is pretty much a stream of consciousness. The writing reflects how confused Grace is and, as she starts to put the pieces together, the writing gets more consistant and spends less time jumping between the past and present. Grace has many flaws, but the book wouldn't be what it is without them and, as much as I felt like I should hate her, I really couldn't. I guess it's because I related to her in so many ways. I think that's one of the great things about this book - most people reading will be able to relate to some part of her story. At times I wanted to shout at her and ask her what the hell she was thinking, but most of the time I just wanted to hug her and tell her everything would be ok. I was very emotionally involved in this book from start to finish, especially at the finish. It wasn't an easy book to read, by any means, but it was well worth reading and, despite the seriousness of the content, still managed to make me laugh.
I really want to talk about the twist, but I can't without giving spoilers and so I'll just say that I didn't see it coming, but once it was out there it made a lot of sense. This is the kind of twist that makes you think OH! and completely changes your whole take on the preceding story.
Cat Clarke is a talented writer and, after reading this brilliant debut, I can't wait to read more of her work. ...more
I can't really put what I feel about this book into words. I never thought I'd be so gripped reading a story from the perspective of a 5 year old chilI can't really put what I feel about this book into words. I never thought I'd be so gripped reading a story from the perspective of a 5 year old child.
The author's style of writing gripped me from the start. I honestly can't believe how well she writes in the voice of a 5 year old boy. The language, grammar, everything is spot on. It's been almost 24 hours since I finished the book and it's been on my mind for much of that time. I was so moved by Jack and his little world inside Room. I can't say too much without spoilers but suffice to say there were parts that made me laugh, parts that made me cry and parts that made me just want to hug him real hard and tell him that everything is ok. I wanted to keep reading to find out what happens, but wanted to savour the book at the same time and I really didn't want it to end.
I didn't expect this book to pull me in like it did. From the first page I was hooked. I loved that the book was written in dialect as it made me feelI didn't expect this book to pull me in like it did. From the first page I was hooked. I loved that the book was written in dialect as it made me feel like I really got to know the characters. It really enhanced the characterisation.
Being from the UK, I really don't know how much of this book is true-to-life of how things used to be, however I have to say that most of it made my blood boil. The treatment the black maids were subjected to was horrendous and I hated that they just had to put up with it. The views were ridiculous and I found myself shouting at some of the characters, Hilly in particular, a lot of the time.
I definitely enjoyed this book more than I was expecting to. When a book receives a lot of hype it makes me apprehensive to read it because, more often than not, for me it just doesn't live up to the praise. This one certainly did and has gone straight into my favourites. I'm recommending it to everyone!...more
Sometimes I find it hard to put my feelings about a book into words. This is one of those books. The book is set during WWII, at the time that FranceSometimes I find it hard to put my feelings about a book into words. This is one of those books. The book is set during WWII, at the time that France fell to Germany, and falls into two parts - the first part chronicles the journey of a group of parisiens as they flee the city; the second tells the story of a village and how they cope with the German occupation.
This book invoked a multitude of emotions. There is just no way for me to imagine how it must have made them feel for their country to be at war like that. OK, so there is the war that is currently happening in the East, however it's not happening here in our streets and so although many people are touched by it because of family members fighting, we are still somewhat removed from it. To have the war thrust in their face constantly; to see their homeland in ruin; to be completely powerless to do anything; to have no hope that things would be as they were before; I just can't imagine how that must have felt. I read this book during a busy week and so had to put it down often, yet it was still in my thoughts when I wasn't reading.
The writing was excellent. I found the author's use of decription to be perfect. Sometimes description can be overused and it really isn't in this novel, yet there is enough to give you the feeling of being there. The story is told from many different viewpoints which, again, doesn't work well in some novels, but does in this one. I found that it really enhanced the story and helped to convey the many emotions felt by those living through the horror.
This is one that will stay with me for some time....more
I will start by saying that I didn't feel that this book lived up to the hype. I got the book on the day it was released, having pre-ordered it AGES aI will start by saying that I didn't feel that this book lived up to the hype. I got the book on the day it was released, having pre-ordered it AGES ago from Amazon. I couldn't wait to get started as I, along with so many others, had eagerly waited for this book after reading the first two amazing books. I had really high hopes. It didn't live up to those hopes...
...it was still a great read. Granted, it didn't pull me in like the other two books did. It didn't captivate me in the same way as the others did. But yet it was still a fun, interesting read. It still kept the pages turning. There was a part that I felt slowed down a little in the middle, but the final few chapters made up for that. The final few chapters had all the action and suspense that the earlier chapters didn't. The final chapters had me on the edge of my seat wondering how it was all going to turn out.
The writing was just as good as in the first two books. I think what was lacking was the focal point of the games, which took up so much of the first two books. But then, the Hunger Games a third time would have been overkill.
In all, this was an amazing trilogy and I'm definitely glad I read it. I rarely re-read books anymore, but I have a feeling that I'll be reading these again at least once more....more
It's hard to summarise this book without giving key parts of the plot away, but lets just say that after Katniss rebelled against the Capitol by forciIt's hard to summarise this book without giving key parts of the plot away, but lets just say that after Katniss rebelled against the Capitol by forcing the first ever dual-win of the Hunger Games, the Capitol is seeking revenge...
It took me a little while longer to get into this book than it did with the first one. Still, I loved it. The writing is as great as in the first book and the plot was, again, captivating. It took me longer to read but that wasn't the book's fault. When I did get chance to read it, I hated putting it down! The characters were well developed in the first book but we get chance to explore deeper into their feelings in this book and I came to really care about Katniss and Peeta.
I can't wait to read the final installment in the trilogy!...more
This is one of those books that is hard to recommend to someone, because when you try to describe the story, there's just no way to do it justice. ToThis is one of those books that is hard to recommend to someone, because when you try to describe the story, there's just no way to do it justice. To someone who hasn't read this, the plot would seem depressive and dark. But it isn't. Somehow Eugenides manages to stop it being dark and it's certainly not depressive. Man, can this guy write. The prose flows like poetry and his narrative captured me from page one and didn't let go. In fact, 3 days after finishing the book I'm still thinking about it.
We never know who is narrating. It could be one or more of a number of boys who lived in the same neighbourhood as the Lisbon girls. The narration is always 'We' instead of 'I' and the vagueness works well in this book because it gives a sense of how the lives and deaths of the Lisbon girls affected all of the boys who knew them and how, many years later, they are still haunted by this tragedy.
Knowing the ending of the book didn't spoil this for me at all. The story told by the boy(s) was such that I felt by the end of the book that I really knew the Lisbon girls even though, actually, no-one really knew them. The deaths, although expected, were no less shocking and I felt far more emotion than I thought I would do, given that knew it was coming....more
I finished reading this 4 days ago and I'm still thinking about it. This is only the first book in a trilogy, but wow, what a journey.
It tells the stoI finished reading this 4 days ago and I'm still thinking about it. This is only the first book in a trilogy, but wow, what a journey.
It tells the story of Callum and Sephy, teenagers in a world of racial divide - Crosses are the rich upper class and noughts are the poor lower class. Sephy is a Cross, Callum is a nought. They have been good friends since early childhood and as they age they find that their friendship gives way to stronger feelings. But then a bomb goes off and it shakes their beliefs to the core.
This is somewhat of a modern day Romeo and Juliet mixed with a fast paced thriller. There are many twists and turns throughout the book and it all feels fresh. The pages turned so quickly and there were no signs of slowing. I really got to know the main characters and felt their joy, pain and anguish as they fight to keep their friendship alive despite their cultural differences.
This book was, for me, a rollercoaster of emotions and it made me both laugh and cry in various places. I can't wait to read the next in the series.
(This book came with a shorter story An Eye for An Eye, which I also enjoyed a lot)...more
This book was so much more than I was expecting. It had been recommended by a friend who raved about it and so I read it as soon as I'd bought it (whiThis book was so much more than I was expecting. It had been recommended by a friend who raved about it and so I read it as soon as I'd bought it (which I very rarely do). I'm so glad I read it.
It cuts pretty deep for a YA novel, and I think it's one that will stay with me for a long time. It has a very valid message - that everything we say/do has consequences, and that things that may seem small/insignificant can actually come together to form a much larger problem, in this case suicide. It shows that people don't commit suicide for a single reason, but because of many things that form a 'snowball effect'. This book is the story of Hannah Baker, who took her own life - but not before recording a series of tapes, intended for a specific list of people, detailing the 13 reasons why she decided that she couldn't take it anymore. Each person is supposed to listen to the tapes and then mail them to the next person on the list. Our narrator is Clay Jensen, whose name is on the list. We watch as Clay falls apart, realising that he could have helped Hannah, had he only taken the time to see who she really was.
The writing is captivating and the unique format is perfect for this book. The dual narrative works brilliantly and I was swept up by the emotional rollercoaster of both narrators. I read it in a day. I haven't been touched this deeply by a book in a long long time. Everyone should read this. ...more
This book had me hooked from the first page. The action starts in the first chapter and I loved that about it. There was none of the slow build-up thaThis book had me hooked from the first page. The action starts in the first chapter and I loved that about it. There was none of the slow build-up that so many novels seem to have, although there is a LOT of detail. This may put some readers off but it really is essential to the story and the character building of the protagonist, Martin. There was a need to suspend disbelief to some degree, but that's part of the fun of the story! The story moved along at a good pace and there were parts where I held my breath wondering what would happen next and there were parts where I laughed out loud - cue the funny looks from people around me!
I took an instant liking to the protagonist, Martin, although I'm not really sure why. I guess it was because, despite his profession, he's actually a pretty nice guy and it's hard to dislike him. I also think that his methodical, organised approach to life resonated with me because, although I am nowhere near as meticulously organised as he is, I do have a pre-disposition to list making and attention to detail so this appealed to that side of me! The fact that he calls the homeowners 'Clients' rather than victims really endeared him to me - it shows that he cares about them and really does think that he's providing them with a service. I guess he's also using the term to make it sound more acceptable, but he does know that what he's doing is wrong. I don't really want to say anymore about the story as that would give away spoilers, but I will say that the situations he ends up in and the steps he takes to resolve those situations show how caring he is and made me like him even more.
As much as I did like Martin, it did really creep me out to think about how easy it is for someone to get into your house. I was lucky enough to be part of a chat with the author recently and he mentioned that he'd done a lot of research on lock-picking whilst writing the book and that it's surprising how many forums and sites there are on the internet that are dedicated to this. It definitely made me want to up the security on our house. It also made me think about things that I've misplaced in the past. Obviously the reality is that most burglars will go for the big cash items, but still...
A great read and one that I will probably read again. I can't wait to pick up the author's second book, Unexpectedly Milo....more
I loved this quirky little mystery. It shows that mysteries don't need blood and gore to be great reads.
The protagonist is Flavia de Luce who, in 1950I loved this quirky little mystery. It shows that mysteries don't need blood and gore to be great reads.
The protagonist is Flavia de Luce who, in 1950, lives in an old country house with her father, two annoying sisters and their handyman/gardener, Dogger. When she finds a dead man in the cucumber patch and her father is taken in for questionning, she decides that she needs to do some investigating of her own to clear his name.
I read this after hearing Michael talk about it on the Books on the Nightstand podcast. It took me a while to get around to reading it, but now I wish I hadn't waited so long! The writing is good and the pace flows well. I instantly liked Flavia and she seems much wiser than her 11 years. She also doesn't take any crap and I love that about her!
I'm really looking forward to reading the next installment! ...more
I absolutely LOVED this book. I couldn't put it down and read it in two sittings. I was hooked from the very beginning and loved that the suspense didI absolutely LOVED this book. I couldn't put it down and read it in two sittings. I was hooked from the very beginning and loved that the suspense didn't let up at all throughout the book.
Katniss is 16. She lives in District 12 of what used to be North America with her mother and twelve year old sister, Prim. There are 11 other Districts, plus the Capitol. There used to be a District 13, but they rebelled against the government and were consequently obliterated by the Capitol. Because of District 13's rebellion, the Capitol stages an event every year to remind the other Districts of the power that the Capitol holds. This event is called the Hunger Games. How does it work? Each District has 2 competitors, known as tributes. The tributes are put into a huge arena, where they literally fight it out to the death. The winner is the person left alive at the end. Scary stuff. When Prim is selected in the lottery that determines the tributes for District 12, Katniss steps into her place. And so the book (and the fight) begins...
We live in a world that is obsessed with reality TV. Personally I can take it or leave it. A couple of shows I'll watch now and again, but mostly they annoy the hell out of me. This book, however, is just captivating. Collins' writing is superb. Yes, this is a YA novel, however it's an intelligently written YA novel and stands well above some adult novels I've read. The writing flows, the suspense is fantastic and the characters are well developed for the most part. I got caught up in the emotions of the book and in some parts my heart was pounding along with Katniss' as I turned the pages.
I haven't read any fiction about the circus before, but I found this to be a captivating novel. It tells the story of Jacob, who is training to be a vI haven't read any fiction about the circus before, but I found this to be a captivating novel. It tells the story of Jacob, who is training to be a veterinarian at Cornell when his parents are killed in a road accident. Distraught, he walks out of his exam and decides that he can't go home and so he jumps on a train... not knowing that it's the train of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. The story goes back and forwards between his journey with the circus as a young man and his time in a nursing home as a 93 year old man.
I had wanted to read this for a while, but just never got around to it. As with many books I've read, I wish I'd picked it up sooner. I was engrossed from the first page. As a child, I loved the circus (well, except for the clowns) and this book brought back those magical feelings. Gruen has clearly done her research and perfectly blends fact with fiction and I found that her writing flowed really well. The characters were well-built and I found that I really got to know Jacob throughout the book. At times I wanted to shout at him but most of the time I was rooting for him. I took a lot of pleasure in hating August... the scenes with the animal cruelty were particularly upsetting and at times I wanted to kill him. I have a particular liking for elephants and I fell in love with Rosie as soon as she made an appearance in the book!
I can't say too much about the ending without giving away spoilers, but I will say that I liked the twist and wasn't expecting it at all....more
The narration in this book was brilliant. It really allowed me to get into the mind of the protagonist... and what a mind that is. The book is told frThe narration in this book was brilliant. It really allowed me to get into the mind of the protagonist... and what a mind that is. The book is told from the perspective of Christopher Boone, a 15 year old boy with Asperger's Syndrome. Having known a person who has Asperger's, I was able to see how well the author portrays the mindset and 'quirk's' of someone with this complex condition. Christopher, whilst out for a walk in the middle of the night, discovers that his neighbour's dog has been murdered with a pitch-fork. The story follows him as he attempts to find out whodunnit.
The story made me laugh and feel sad in equal amounts. I can't say too much, as it would give the story away, but at parts I really felt for him and wanted him to be able to connect to other characters in the way that a child without Asperger's can. In other parts, I was really rooting for him and actually cheered at one point (making myself look like a fool in the process).
Anyway, I found that this was a superbly written book and Haddon's characterisation was fantastic. I could have easily read many more pages. Some of the phrases used were a little annoying at times, however given that this is told in Christopher's words, I realise these phrases were integral to the story. Also, being fairly mathmatically-minded, I really enjoyed the maths side of the book too. Straight into my ever-expanding list of favourites....more
Well... who knew that the life of rabbits could be so engrossing?!
This book was a joy to read. The author used beautiful imagery to the point where IWell... who knew that the life of rabbits could be so engrossing?!
This book was a joy to read. The author used beautiful imagery to the point where I could imagine every little detail of the scenery and surroundings. He definitely has a way with words and I loved how he interspersed the writing with 'Lapine' (rabbit-talk) to make it that bit more believable. His writing made me want to keep reading and I would have happily read another 500 pages. I was sad when the story ended.
I loved the characterisation in the book. I guess that in a story about a bunch of rabbits, it could be easy to mistake one for the other. Not in this book. Each of the main rabbits has a distinct character, and throughout the book I found that I actually really cared about them. I can't really say much more about the characters without giving the storyline away, but suffice to say that it was a rollercoaster of emotions.
The story carries deeper meaning than just a story about rabbits. It's a tale of survival, team-work, friendship and perseverance. I think that this message is a valid one for adults and children alike, and that at some point EVERYONE should read this book. I can't believe that I didn't read it in my childhood....more
This book was everything I look for in a good humour book. It's a satirical look at parents who would literally do anything to make sure that their kiThis book was everything I look for in a good humour book. It's a satirical look at parents who would literally do anything to make sure that their kids succeed. Teetering on the edge between real life and bizarre exaggeration, this book looks at the rivalry between parents of kids who are the same age and are trying to get into a prestigious school. The crazy thing is, it's not really that exaggerated when you look at some parents today!
The book was very well paced. I didn't want to put it down and I read it in three sittings! It made me laugh out loud at many points and has gone straight onto my favourites shelf. Loved it and can't wait to pick up more from this author....more
This book was hilarious. I am now seriously wondering how the human race has managed to survive for as long as it has. Surely for each idiot mentionedThis book was hilarious. I am now seriously wondering how the human race has managed to survive for as long as it has. Surely for each idiot mentioned in this book there are loads more just waiting to do something fatally stupid? And doesn't it seem that it's the stupid ones that breed more frequently than those who possess a brain?
Anyway, this book chronicles the bizarre ways in which people have 'improved our gene pool by removing themselves from it in an astonishingly stupid way'. Also eligible for a Darwin award are those who have successfully rendered themselves unable to reproduce by doing something equally stupid.
Some of the stories are not for the faint-hearted, but most of them are hilarious to the point that I got some funny looks from people around me because I was laughing out loud. Straight into my list of favourites....more
This was my second taste of Steinbeck and I'll certainly be reading more.
Cannery Row may be a short read, but there's a lot packed into it. The plotliThis was my second taste of Steinbeck and I'll certainly be reading more.
Cannery Row may be a short read, but there's a lot packed into it. The plotline is pretty simple, it tells the story of the inhabitants of Cannery Row, Monterey, California and their attempts to throw a thankyou party for Doc, the local marine biologist who is the most generous person you could imagine.
The characters are well explored, given that this is such a short read. And the fact that the plotline is so simple gives the characters room to grow and we can see how complex they actually are. Steinbeck's prose is breathtaking and it amazes me how he can make any scene vivid, captivating and interesting.
Couple these things together and it makes for one great read....more
**spoiler alert** I loved this book! As an animal lover (especially dogs), it touched me in so many ways. Having grown up around dogs (albeit Collies**spoiler alert** I loved this book! As an animal lover (especially dogs), it touched me in so many ways. Having grown up around dogs (albeit Collies rather than Labradors), I could empathise with the family and all their emotions. Some of the things Marley did throughout the book reminded me of the dogs in our family (past and present) and I was laughing out loud for most of the time that I was reading.
Of course, the ending was inevitable - dogs don't live forever, however this didn't stop me crying buckets as I turned the pages of the last few chapters. It was so reminiscent of what we went through with Lucky, my grandparents' dog. It was heartbreaking to make the decision to put him down, but it was the only thing to do. I felt a complete connection with Grogan throughout the whole book, but especially towards the end and could see immediately how much emotion he put into his writing.
This is a wonderful book and paints an accurate picture of life with a dog - the good and bad. If this doesn't touch the heart of every dog owner then they don't deserve to have pets! I defy anyone to read this book and not enjoy it....more
Mariah White idolises her husband, so when she catches him with another woman she's devastated. She thinks she can't feel any worse, but then her daugMariah White idolises her husband, so when she catches him with another woman she's devastated. She thinks she can't feel any worse, but then her daughter, Faith, starts talking to an imaginary friend. Not just any imaginary friend though - Faith claims this friend is God (and also happens to be a woman). The story follows their struggle to deal with the events that life begins to throw at them in light of these two events.
The writing is fantastic. This was my second Picoult - the first was Nineteen Minutes, which I enjoyed, but I enjoyed this one even more. There is something about the writing that pulled me in and I couldn't put the book down.
The characters are well explored - I'm not a mother, but I felt a connection to Mariah. I could feel the emotions that she was going through - the despair, bewilderment, helplessness. I also like the characterisation of the reporter Ian Fletcher and enjoyed reading about his interactions with Mariah. Each of the main characters in the book goes on a personal journey and I enjoyed watching their characters develop.
The story is told from different viewpoints throughout. Also, it switches between first and third person. First person is mostly reserved for Mariah. I liked the switches - it kept the story fresh and it was interesting to see it from different perspectives.
There is also a decent amount of suspense thrown in - I can't really say too much without giving out plot details, but suffice to say I read the last 100 pages without taking a break because I just had to know what happened!
At age 15, Michael fell ill on the way home from school and was cared for by an older woman, Hanna, before returning home. After he recovered he wentAt age 15, Michael fell ill on the way home from school and was cared for by an older woman, Hanna, before returning home. After he recovered he went back to her house to thank her and from there a love affair developed. Then one day Hanna disappeared. Years later Michael is shocked when, observing a Nazi war crimes trial as part of his law degree, he finds that Hanna is one of the defendents. He struggles to distinguish between the person he knew, and the person sitting in front of him, who is accused of a horrendous crime. This book is his (fictional) memoir.
The story is definitely one to make you think. There are many books written about the Holocaust, but very few of them deal with the events without pointing fingers and taking sides. Schlink remains neutral throughout the book. It raises the question of how far a person can be held responsible for their actions if they were simply following orders for fear of punishment. More than once, Hanna asks the judge 'what would you have done?'. It suggests that the answer is not as clear cut as people would believe. The book challenges the 'normal' viewpoint of many people. There are many moral questions asked and the theme of guilt runs throughout the book.
The prose was simple, relatively unemotional and flowed easily. The simplicity could be seen as a bad thing, however I felt that it worked perfectly with the book and the subject matter. The 'secret' was fairly obvious as the book progressed but I also don't think that is a bad thing. This book isn't meant to be a mystery or thriller - it's a moving, well-written book that doesn't attempt to dramatise its subject. One that will stay with me for a while I think....more
This book has the right mix of everything - supernatural, mystery, humour, romance and not to mention a kick-ass protagonist!
Sookie is a waitress in aThis book has the right mix of everything - supernatural, mystery, humour, romance and not to mention a kick-ass protagonist!
Sookie is a waitress in a small town in Louisiana. She's friendly, but quiet... She doesn't date, but not because she's unattractive. She has a 'disability' (as she calls it). She can read minds. It's actually more of a problem than you'd think... can you imagine hearing every little detail of a person's thought process? Not really much fun. Imagine Sookie's delight, then, when she meets Bill, a handsome vampire (vampires are legal now dontcha know?), and realises that she can't read his mind. Finally, a guy she can date. Then things start to unravel when she meets Bill's friends - who are a little... creepy. When a colleague is murdered, Sookie starts to wonder if she'll be next.
I loved this book. I wish I hadn't waited so long to pick it up. I couldn't get enough of it and had problems putting it down. Whilst I did enjoy the Twilight books, this is in another leage completely. It's more witty and has a much better plotline. The romance was a smaller part of the book and was pleasant rather than sick-making. The sex scenes mean this is definitely a book for adults rather than teens. I loved the crime aspect of the story and it definitely kept me guessing right to the end. The characters were pretty well fleshed out and I'm looking forward to seeing them develop over the subsequent books.
I can't wait to pick up the next in the series....more
It's the story of Leo, your average high school student, who is intrigued when a new girl, Stargirl Carraway, joins his schI really enjoyed this book.
It's the story of Leo, your average high school student, who is intrigued when a new girl, Stargirl Carraway, joins his school. Stargirl's name isn't the only thing that's different... she's a free spirit who doesn't care what anyone else thinks of her. At first, Leo thinks (along with the rest of the school) that she's crazy. Then he gets to know her...
The writing flowed really well and this was an easy, pretty quick read. The thing I like about YA books is that the majority of them (the good ones anyway) have some sort of message/lesson to learn. Makes sense really, as teens are just starting to find their way in the world and need all the help/support/advice they can get. This book is no exception and carries a very valid message - it's ok to be different; be who you are.
That was my initial thought on finishing this book. I can't even begin to put into words my feelings about the author and the st**spoiler alert** Wow.
That was my initial thought on finishing this book. I can't even begin to put into words my feelings about the author and the story of his life.
Shantaram made for some heavy, yet mesmerizing, reading. It took me an age to finish, because I wanted to absorb all of it, and therefore felt like I wasn't doing the book justice if I simply rushed it.
Roberts has been through much more than your average person. Granted, a lot of it was because of things he had done, however even he didn't deserve the cruel beatings he was forced to endure in the Arthur Road prison. On the flip side of this, he also experienced a lot of love. This book shows the kind-hearted nature of the Indian population - even down to the hardest criminals.
I found this book inspirational. Roberts talks openly about the crimes he committed, and their consequences. Yes, he should have served his time in prison instead of running. After breaking out, however, a lot of the things he did in India (for example the free health clinic in the slums) went towards repaying those dues. He rebuilt his life, even though his past meant that he was constantly on the run, and proved that people really can change.
I liked the philosophical side to this book, and found that there were many passages which spoke to me. I especially liked Khader's take on life, the reasons for us being here and people's moivations for the things they do and the choices they make.
The friendships built within the book were heartwarming. I was particularly touched by the author's relationship with Prabakar. I cried like a baby when he died. The author does such a wonderful job of capturing the essences of all the people referred to in the book, and I felt like I really knew some of them.
This account of the author's incredible journey made for compelling reading and I was sad to finish the book. I know that the story and its lessons will stay with me for a very long time....more
This book is definitely a grower. The beginning makes for a difficult read because of the lack of punctuation and grammar. I actually had to make myseThis book is definitely a grower. The beginning makes for a difficult read because of the lack of punctuation and grammar. I actually had to make myself keep reading at the beginning... I didn't like this book. Further in however, this ceases to be a problem and you realise that it all makes sense and is the best way to present the book.
The writing is beautiful in its minimalism. The characters don't have names, the scenery isn't described in much detail and we don't know anything about the catastrophe that preceded this story. This is because none of it matters. The book is a laid bare story of human survival, the overwhelming feelings of love and protection of a parent towards their child, and the unconditional love of a child towards its parent.
The Road is a harrowing, emotional read. I found myself wondering if I could make it in their situation, and I have to say I don't think I could. Then again, the book shows that a humans basic instinct is survival - even if there is nothing to survive for. It would be so much easier for them to admit defeat, yet something keeps them going.
The relationship between the father and son was very well written. There were parts of this book that brought tears to my eyes. The fact that the father still had hope for his son, even though the present was bleak, was heartwarming. Regardless of the small disagreements between the two throughout the novel, their bond was unbreakable.
This was a truly haunting novel, and is one that will stay with me for a long time....more
Nothing I could say would do this book justice. I thoroughly enjoyed the story from beginning to end, and was really sad to finish it. Charlotte BrontNothing I could say would do this book justice. I thoroughly enjoyed the story from beginning to end, and was really sad to finish it. Charlotte Bronte is one of the most talented storytellers I've come across. There is something about her style of writing that pulls you in and captures your imagination, whilst taking you on a whirlwind ride of mystery, suspense and romance.
Jane Eyre was ahead of her time in her attitudes, and this really endeared her to me. Bronte's characterisation of the protagonist was well thought out and brilliantly executed. I loved that Jane wasn't afraid to defy convention and refused to conform to how people expected her, as a woman, to behave. I liked that she appeared, more often than not, to be quite assertive; however the reader was allowed glimpses into her thought process, which showed her to have a much softer side. I grew quite attached to Jane, and really cared about what happened to her throughout the story.
The story is well paced and I found that there weren't any parts of the book that I considered to be slow-moving. For me, this was a real achievement, as the classics I have read so far (which, granted, isn't really very many) have had slow parts throughout. I can't really say much more about my feelings on the story without giving spoilers.
There were a few twists in the book, and these made sure that my interest wasn't swayed. The ending, for me, was perfect and I have to say I wasn't expecting it.
I can't say enough good things about this book, it has gone straight into my all time favourites, and I have a feeling I will re-read this many times....more