Monday, 23 April 2012

The Week Ahead...

I'm at my boyfriends for the majority of the week, which makes it is hard to gauge how much reading I'll get done as he likes to be outdoorsy on his days off.  However, with the forecast predicting plenty of rain, I figure I can still pack a few more books than I really should.  I've opted for some of the library books I've had for a while, which include:

Notes On a Scandal by Zoe Heller:  'From the first day that the beguiling Sheba Hart joins the staff of St George's, history teacher Barbara Covett is convinced she has found a kindred spirit.  Barbara's loyalty to her new friend is passionate and unstinting and when Sheba is discovered having an illicit affair with one of her pupils, Barbara quickly elects herself as Sheba's chief defender.  But all is not as it first seems in this dark story and, as Sheba will soon discover, a friend can be just as treacherous as any lover.'
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood:  'Pigs might not fly, but they are strangely altered.  So, for the that matter, are wolves and racoons.  A man once named Jimmy, now calls himself Snowman and lives in a tree, wrapped in old bed sheets.  The voice of Oryx, the woman he loved, teasingly haunts him.  And the green-eyed Children of Crake are, for some reason, his responsibility.'
And lastly, a purse friendly edition of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451: 'Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires.  And he enjoyed his job.  He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs or the joy of watching pages consumed by flames, never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid.  Then Guy met a professor who told him of a future in whch people could think.  And Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do...'

Here's to the week ahead! x

P.S Happy World Book Night! 

Sunday, 22 April 2012


Amanda Hocking's novel was a intriguing read.  However, with cheesetastic lines (that I couldn't help but read aloud in a melodramatic voice) and the love square/triangle with people that have only just met, Switched is not without problems.

Wendy Everly has always felt different.  At her sixth birthday party, after throwing yet another tantrum, her mother tried to kill her, all while screaming that she wasn't her daughter.  Now seventeen, and at yet another new school, Wendy can't help but notice the boy in class who has been staring at her.  Little does she know that he is about to reveal her true identity.

Plot wise, after the first few chapters nothing really happens.  For me the majority of the book is an introduction, and you'd think this would be a bad, no?  Well it isn't.  There's plenty of potential for the next two books, and because everything has practically been established in Switched, it should allow for more development without a re-hash of what has already been described. 

What also saved Switched for me was the short story included in my edition about the Vittra family.  I found those 20+ pages to be filled with characters who were complex and intriguing and had me slightly wishing that the whole book had been told from their perspective.   
  I think I had set out not to like Switched, but, I found there was enough to keep me happy and more than plenty for me to discuss once I had finished

Friday, 20 April 2012

Hell Train

An American in the English countryside, Shane has been hired by Hammer films to write a script that would either save the troubled studio, or be a fitting swan song.  Sitting down to write in the company's library, he discovers a strange board game named Hell Train.  The narrative then shifts to a small Carpathian village during World War One.  Four strangers board a mysterious train against the advice of the locals and are faced with a potentially fatal journey.

The cover alone should sell Hell Train.  The smile I had when I first saw it in Waterstones continued to stay put while I was reading.  A romp that stayed true to the influences of Hammer films.  The pacing is great, as are the switches between the narrative of the 'script' and that of Shane's dealings with the film studio.  Characters are stereotypes, but still manage to be interesting, which adds to the books overall feel of pantomime.  A wonderful stand alone book for any fan of the genre.

Bag of Bones

Succesful author Mike Noonan is dreaming of Manderlay. After his wife’s sudden death, Noonan has an unsettling recurring dream, and while awake he is coping with the physical manifestation of writers block. Deciding to get away from the city, he returns to Sarah Laughs, a holiday home in rural Maine that he hasn’t visited since before his wife died.  Not long after his arrival does he find himself not only embroiled in a custody battle that concerns the whole town, but also the feeling that he is not alone at Sarah Laughs.

Stephen King can never be accused of minimalism. This can sometimes be of a detriment to his novels, as I found the first third of Bag of Bones to be superfluous. However, once Mike Noonan finally gets to Sara Laughs, the story described by blurb begins and it’s definitely worth the dredge through 200 pages of whinging.  Once I'd passed this point, I couldn't put the book down.
  Creepy and atmospheric in all the right places, this is King at his best.  Bag of Bones has a solid story and complex characters to boot.  King manages to provide an explanation for all the right parts, but others bits, that have no need to be explained, are left to sit in the readers mind.  For me, it can’t compete with ‘Salem’s Lot, but I would still recommend Bag of Bones.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


S.G Browne's concept for his second novel intrigued me from the get go.  A humorous tale about the personification of  Fate and Destiny, and what happens when they meddle with the outcomes of the humans lives they preside over.  Fated has a similar tone to Breathers, so don't expect any happy endings, and the same self centered narrative that can be grating.  However, it is apparent that Browne's writing style has evolved, even if only slightly.  Not fantastic but something different and perhaps if Browne carries on with this trend he may publish an amazing novel in the future.