Tag Archives: books

Nasty Women- 404 Inc.


Disclaimer: I was given this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis

‘Nasty Women’ is a series of essays written by nasty women, that is women who apart from being marginalised because of being women are also marginalised for other reasons e.g. being gay. being of non-white descent. The essays talk of life for women in the world today.

Review

I’ve really been into feminist books recently (apart from this I have recently read Moranifesto and Animal, and I’ve started Yes Means Yes), so when I saw this on netgalley it instantly caught my eye.

Nasty Women is inspired by Donald Trump’s comment about Hillary Clinton being a “Nasty woman” and the following twitter trend, because of that I sort of presumed that the book would be written by American women. I was wrong, it doesn’t matter to me, just a comment. 404 Inc. are based in Scotland so, understandably, a lot of the writers were British, and many of those Scottish. In a way I maybe prefered this being British myself because that made a lot of the essays easier for me to relate too.

Having said that I do think I’m a privileged woman. My everyday sexism stories are few and far between, I’m straight, I’m white, I’m educated. Some of the people in these essays aren’t as lucky as I am, and those essays were eye opening. I don’t want to go into too much detail, there were elements I recognised and connected to, and those I didn’t so much but which I could understand.

As far as readability goes it was quite variable. Most of the essays were easy to read, I’d say the conversational types, it doesn’t mean the ones I had to concentrate on more weren’t good, just harder going.

The fact that Donald Trump won though really makes me angry. Partly as a woman, mainly as a human being.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£4.99)

Paperback (£8.99)

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Filed under Feminism, non-fiction review

Readathon Closing Survey


Well, here we are, I finished! That was good fun, could have kept going though.

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

Hour 10/11 somewhere between 11pm and midnight I started . getting a bit blurry eyed so took a break to look at twitter and the challenges, then had supper whilst reading and got some sleep. I guess my waking up hour was tough too, I spent about half an hour hitting snooze, that was 8:30am…not sure which hour
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a reader engaged for next year?

Armada when really well for me, I spent most of yesterday evening and some of this morning on that one. I did have in my head to read bits of Moranifesto in between because I could just read one essay to break things up, but I ended up not doing that.
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season?

Not really. I wouldn’t mind it being longer, but I suppose people who read the whole 24hrs wouldn’t agree with me there!
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

I liked the challenges, especially some of the more creative ones.
5. How many books did you read?

2 and a bit.
6. What were the names of the books you read?

Career of Evil- Robert Galbriath

Armada- Ernest Cline

and I started Cauldestone- Linda Gillard
7. Which book did you enjoy most?

Probably Armada
8. Which did you enjoy least?

errr…I guess Cauldstone because I didn’t finish
9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I really want to, but it depends, this time I had an excuse to do nothing.

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Children’s Hour: Jack and the Beanstalk


Children’s Hour is a  feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.
A few months ago we got a forest school put into our nursery. The kids loved it, and still do, and we found it really sparked the imagination of some of the children. One of the children suggested that the posts for the hammocks (which we put up as an when) could be candles for a giant’s birthday cake, so that started us off on a whole topic about the giant who had visited our forest school. Of course we needed to find out more about giants so we read Jack and the Beanstalk.

I think there is a reason why some stories stay around for a long time, and the kids certainly enjoyed this one. They used what they had learnt from the book to facilitate their play, from hiding, to cutting down the big tree so that he would fall.

The edition which we have is a lift-the-flap book (it’s the same as the one shown and linked below) which is always something which helps to engage the kids because they love lifting the flaps. They asked to read it quite a few times after it had first been introduced, and a lot of them could tell parts of the story off by heart. We even had one parent coe in and tell us that their son had been talking about Jack and the Beanstalk at home- which is really lovely to hear.

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.99)

Paperback with CD (£7.99)

Kindle (£2.69)

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Small Great Things- Jodi Picoult


Synopsis

When the baby of .a white supremacist dies fingers point to black nurse Ruth who had been banned from caring for the child.

Review

I was excited about reading ‘Small Great Things’ as I generally really enjoy what Picoult writes, but I was also a little unsure. For a white author to write in the voice of a black woman could be problematic, I was concerned about stereotypes, or just that generally the character wouldn’t be right. Thinking about it more I thought that maybe I shouldn’t be concerned about it, after all part of Picoult’s writing is about people who aren’t herself. She can never be a black woman, but then she can never be a male lawyer with epilepsy either, or a child who speaks to God (or at least she can’t be that and a teenage witch, school shooter, abused teenager, abused child, suicide victim) so why shouldn’t she be able to imagine the voice of a black woman?

Whether she wrote an actual realistic representation of a black woman, I can’t say, but I didn’t think that it was stereotypical, and I did think that an interesting view was put on racism which seemed rather empathic. Whether she was actually a believable character is a bit of a moot point, because Picoult definitely did a good job of highlighting, sometimes unnoticed, elements of prejudice and racism.

What I was more surprised about was how Picoult managed to make the voice of the white supremacist a voice which couple be understood and sympathised with- beyond simply as the voice of a man who had lost his child. It wasn’t so much that you could understand why he was racist as you could see how someone could fall into that life.

There was one part of the story which I did find hard to believe, and I don’t think it was really needed. Maybe Picoult just wanted a twist at the end. I won’t say what it was because of spoilers.

I found when I started writing this review that ‘Small Great Things’ is being made into a film– lets hope a better job is made of it as there was on ‘My Sister’s Keeper.’

4//5

Buy it:

Paperback (£2.99)

Kindle (£4.99)

Hardback (£4.99)

Other Reviews:

Annette’s Book Stop

So Many Books, So Little Time

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Did I miss your review? Leave me a link in comments and I will add it here

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Beelzebelle- Heide Goody and Iain Grant


Beelzebelle is the fifth book in the Clovenhoof series

Synopsis

Only Jeremy Clovenhoof could accidentally acquire a baby, but he’s ready to be a Dad- in his own way.

Meanwhile Michael has discovered a new church, Ben has found a new hobby in taxidermy, and there is a wild beast roaming around Sutton Coldfield.

Review

I’m glad to see the series back with Clovenhoof, not that I didn’t like the others, I just missed that group.

Clovenhoof approaches parenthood like no other, including hiring a monkey assistant  and joining a mother’s group in a quest for milk for the baby. Of course things don’t quite go to plan, especially as he’s not really the baby’s father!

A lot of the more action-y part of the story is focussed around Michael who finds a new church which rewards its members for ‘good deads’, a bit like a supermarket loyalty card. and also, accidently creates a beast in the lab where he works.

As with most of the clovenhoof novels most of the action is towards the end, but there is an amusing journey to get there.

4/5 

Buy it

Kindle (£3.50)

Paperback (£8.99)

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Filed under Contempory, Fantasy, Fiction review, Humour

Deals of the Moment- April 2017


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.



A Girl is a Half-formed Thing- Eimear McBride

A Girl is a Half-formed Thing has been on my radar since in won the women’s prize. One of those on the wishlist but never bought ones. It is about a girl and her relationship with her brother who had a brain tumour as a child.

You can buy it…here (only £2.29)


Freedom- Jonathan Frazan

I’ve never read any Frazan, there’s a reason he’s popular right? Otherwise nobody would read him because of his tendency to be a bit of a…idiot.

This is one of those expansive novels and I can’t quite work out the plot except that it’s about a family.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)



The Lady in the Van- Alan Bennett

About the lady who lived in a van by Alan Bennett’s house. Completely on this list because Alan Bennett.

You can buy it….here (only £1.29)


Grief is the Thing With Feathers- Max Porter

I’ve picked up this one several times in the bookshop, but somehow never actually bought it. It’s about 2 boys, and their father, and a crow, and their lives after their mother/wife dies.

Buy it…here (only £2.59)


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What I’m Reading Now


Hi, I’m back! Considering all the reading I’m going to be having the time to do, and that I’ve done already I thought I would do a sort of last, now and next post.

I’ve also linked this post up with ‘It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?’

I have just finished…

‘Small Great Things’- Jodi Picoult

I got a surprisingly good deal on the hardback of this, it was actually cheaper than the paperback. It’s the usual Jodi Picoult moral dilemma story. This time a black nurse is accused of being the cause of the death of the child of a white supremacist. I thought the voice of the white supremacist was surprisingly easy to emphasise with, but it’s difficult to judge how well her voice of a black woman came across. Full review to        follow

I am currently reading…

Do No Harm- Henry Marsh

Because I am insane I decided to start reading this memoir of a neurosurgeon about a week before I went into hospital. Whilst there I put it on a break (although I was still reading it the day before my surgery). I am finding it really interesting, and readable, and I’m almost done with it now. I got a good deal on this one too.

All the Light We Cannot See- Anthony Doeer

This one has been on my TBR pile since Christmas. I only started it today so I have no real opinion yet but I’ve heard great things, and it’s a novel set during wartime which I tend to enjoy.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone- J.K. Rowling

I brought this one into the hospital mainly as a comfort read, and actually didn’t read much of it in the end (I have been tending to watch The Gilmore Girls as a comfort thing instead which takes even less concentration). I may still read it but it’s looking pretty unlikely. (link is to another edition)

Up next…

Nasty Women- Various

I got this series of essays about being a woman in the 21st century from netgalley. Once I’m done with ‘Do no Harm’ it’s going to be the next read on my kindle

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Filed under general, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Memes, what are you reading?

Deals of the Moment- March 2017


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.



Left Neglected- Lisa Genova

Left Neglected is about a woman who essentially looses the left side of her body, her mind just can’t connect to it. With Genova’s medical knowledge and sensitivity it’s a great read.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Inside the O’Briens- Lisa Genova

Inside the O’Briens was one of my favourite reads last year. This one is about a man with Huntington’s and his family

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)



The Dust That Falls from Dreams- Louis de Bernieres

I’ve bought this one mainly because it’s by Louis de Bernieres and it’s set during war time, about 3 sisters and the boys who lived next door.

You can buy it….here (only £1.99)


Do No Harm- Henry Marsh

I bought this after having it on my wishlist after reading Ellie’s review. It’s the biography of a neurosurgeon and I’m reading it now, so far it’s interesting, although I’m not sure it’s the wisest thing to read on the week I’m due to go to hospital for an operation myself!

Buy it…here (only £0.99)


 

 

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Our Endless Numbered Days- Claire Fuller


Synopsis (written by me!)

When Peggy is young she goes on a trip with her father to a cut off area of the woods, her father tells her that the world has ended, and everyone she knew is dead. They are the only survivors and must keep themselves alive living off the land.  The story is told looking back after Peggy has found the world again, and discovered that her father was lying.

Review

It took me a very long time to get into this book, I as reading it for months. I was in the middle of a slump, which probably was a part of it, but the story was slower than I had expected, and a lot of the time not much was really happening. Towards the end it picked up a lot, and I read the last, maybe third, quite quickly. I’m not sure that last section actually brought up the story enough for me to recommend it, but it probably just about made it worthwhile for me as someone who had already started it.

As I’m writing this review more bits of the book are coming back to me from what was quite hazy. There were some good plot points throughout, although not enough to make me eager to read. They were nice little touches though, and they might be enough for others.

Looking at other reviews it seems to be a very much ‘marmite’ book, so I suppose it might be worth giving a try, although it seems that if you don’t like it close to the

3/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.59)

Kindle (£4.99)

Other Reviews

Me, My Shelf and I

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Word By Word

 

 

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Hellzapoppin’- Heide Goody and Iain Grant


Synopsis (from amazon)

Life at St Cadfan’s is never dull. There’s the cellar full of unexplained corpses. There’s the struggle to find food when the island is placed under quarantine. And there’s that peculiar staircase in the cellar… Being a demon in Hell has its own problems. There’s the increasingly impossible torture quotas to meet. There’s the entire horde of Hell waiting for you to slip up and make a mistake. And there’s that weird staircase in the service tunnels… Brother Stephen of St Cadfan’s and Rutpsud of the Sixth Circle, natural enemies and the most unnatural of friends, join forces to solve a murder mystery, save a rare species from extinction and stop Hell itself exploding. The fourth novel in the Clovenhoof series, Hellzapoppin’ is an astonishing comedy featuring suicidal sea birds, deadly plagues, exploding barbecues, dancing rats, magical wardrobes, King Arthur’s American descendants, mole-hunting monks, demonic possession and way too much seaweed beer.

Review

Hellzapoppin’ is the fourth book in the Clovenhoof series, but can easily be read as a standalone novel. We have seen the characters in previous books in the series, but they were minor characters, and the events in the previous books they appeared in don’t really have an effect on the events in this one (I would recommend reading the others anyway).

This one did take a little more getting into than the first couple (probably about the same as Godsquad though), and it had less of an action focus.

I did like seeing the image of what Hell might be like though- again a little bit of a poke at bureaucracy that we first saw in Clovenhoof. I also likes the friendship between Ratspud and Stephen. It seems like an unlikely friendship- a monk and a demon, but actually they ended up bringing out the best in each other.

I also liked some of the odd inventions in hell, and the inclusion of Escher and C.S Lewis. If you know the work of Escher you can probably imagine how hellish a piece of architecture based on his work could be. C.S Lewis is known for being a Christian and his Christian writings so it’s interesting to see him here, ‘on loan’ from Heaven.

escheromhoogomlaag

I enjoyed the comedy of the events at the monastery, even the dark humour which isn’t always to my taste.

Part of the reason I picked up Hellzapoppin’ was because of my loss of reading mojo, which I thought this might get through, and I was right.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£2.99)

Paperback (£7.99)

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Filed under Fantasy, Fiction review, Humour

Deals of the Moment- February 2017


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.



The Thorn Birds- Colleen McClough

I read ‘The Thorn Birds’ quite recently, I haven’t reviewed it yet but I did enjoy it. It’s about a family who move to Australia and the following generations of that family.

You can buy it…here (only £2.39)




Love Anthony- Lisa Genova

The usual grip of Genova’s compassion and realism. Love Anthony is about two women. One coming to terms with life after her autistic child has died, and another dealing with separation from her partner and how they help each other in unexpected ways

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Bad Science- Ben Goldacre

I’ve been interested in Bad Science for a while. It’s about all the less that scientific science things which we are exposed too. Things like ‘detox’ diets, and studies sponsored by companies which will benefit from certain results.

You can buy it….here (only £1.99)



The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins

I’m pretty sure most people know the general premise of ‘The Hunger Games’ by now, and it’s well worth a read. It focuses around one contestant in ‘The Hunger Games’ a game held every year where children are chosed to fight to the death.

Buy it…here (only £2.69



The Secret Scripture- Sebastian Barry

Ever since I read ‘The Secret Scripture’ I’ve been hoping for a Barry novel which I loved as much. It’s the story of Roseanne, a woman who has spent most of her adult life in a mental institution in Ireland, how she got there, and her life in there.

Buy it…here (only £3.09)


The Good Immigrant- Various

The good immigrant is a series of stories from immigrants to the UK about the nature of being an immigrant. I’m really interested in this one

Buy it…here (only £2.99)


The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult

I always love a Picoult novel and ‘The Storyteller’ is no different. The story of a hidden Nazi war criminal who confesses his sins to a Jew, and her battle with what to do with the information

Buy it…here (only £0.99)

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Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole- Allan Ropper and David Brian Burrell


Synopsis (from amazon)

What is it like to try to heal the body when the mind is under attack? In this gripping and illuminating book, Dr Allan Ropper reveals the extraordinary stories behind some of the life-altering afflictions that he and his staff are confronted with at the Neurology Unit of Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Like Alice in Wonderland, Dr Ropper inhabits a place where absurdities abound: a sportsman who starts spouting gibberish; an undergraduate who suddenly becomes psychotic; a mother who has to decide whether a life locked inside her own head is worth living. How does one begin to treat such cases, to counsel people whose lives may be changed forever? Dr Ropper answers these questions by taking the reader into a world where lives and minds hang in the balance.

Review

Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole was one of my five star reads last year, but my lack of blogging means I haven’t actually reviewed it yet.

In fact I’ve been on a bit of a non-fiction drive over the last year. In so far as I’ve been reading this year proportionally I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction.

It’s a little bit like ‘The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly’ combined with ‘House’. Lots of real life medical symptoms which seem to have obscure reasons behind them. That tends to be a lot of physical symptoms which have neurological causes, or neurological or psychological symptoms which actually have a physical cause. It’s part of what I always found interesting about House, so it’s even more interesting to see it in real life.

In other ways it’s a lot like some of Oliver Saks work. However I found it easier to read than the things that Saks had written (and I’ve read).

I also liked that you got to see a bit of the hospital itself and also the authors own learning curve. It added a little something. I guess you could say it’s a human element which you don’t get from standard case studies.

5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£6.64)

Paperback (£6.99)

Hardback (£17.99)

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Filed under Fiction review, health, non-fiction review, psychology (non-fiction)

Year in Review 2016


2016 hasn’t been the best year when it comes to reading, and when it comes to blogging things have been even worse.

I’ve read 27 books, considering that at one point I was averaging two a week this is a big dip, and quite a few of those were short books.

Slowly things are getting back on track, and I’m hoping to read more, and blog more in 2017.

I rated three books as 5 stars in 2016. I’ve only reviewed one so far;

Ready, Player One by Ernest Cline which is really a book you have to read. I put it off because I wasn’t sure if it was my thing, and how I regretted it.

The other two are; a none fiction book about brain disorders, Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole by Allan Ropper and Brian David Burrell, which is really interesting.

And Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova, a story about a man diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, and his children who may also have the disease in their futures.

I’m not going to talk about my disappointing reads this year, mainly because I think that my lack of concentration may have made me less tolerant of harder books.

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Filed under Fiction review, general, Musings, non-fiction review

Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Books Santa Should Leave Under my Tree


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s 10 Books Santa (or Father Christmas if I’m being English) should leave under my tree. My wishlist is over 180 items long, most of them are book, because every time I see a book I want to read I add it to my list, but then when I’m shopping I see other books I want, so I only tend to get books from my list as presents. Some things have been on there a long time, the oldest item was added in 2006, the oldest book in 2009. So my problem isn’t pickig 10 things but narrowing it down to 10!

As always in o particular order

1) Where My Heart Used to Beat- Sebastian Faulks

I have been a bit disappointed by the last few Sebastian Faulks novels, but I also have loved past novels, so I shall keep going, this one sounds like it will be a good ‘un.

A man looking back on his life which includes some of the biggest events of the 20th century

 

 

2) Yes Means Yes- Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti

Maybe not really a present book, but one I am really interested in all the same.

It’s about approaches to women’s sexuality and rape. How approach to a woman’s sexuality leads to the type of victim blaming which is often seen in rape cases, and how things need to change.

 

3) Moranifesto- Caitlin Moran

What can I say, I love Caitlin Moran. Another collection of her columns, and a few unique to the book pieces.


 

 

4) The Lake House- Kate Morton

Another favourite author. I’ve loved everything my Kate Morton. With all the usual intrigue, a missing person, an abandoned house, and an old woman with secrets The Lake House promises to be no different.



5) Career of Evil- Robert Galbraith

 I have somehow yet to get my hands on this third Cormoran Strike book.

 

 

6) Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years of Pilgrimage- Haruki Murakami

 

It’s been too long since I read any Murakami (I read Sputnik Sweetheart a few months ago) and I really like the sound of this one. Tsukuru had four best friends in school, but one day they decide they don’t want to be his friends anymore. Since then Tsukuru has been adrift.

7) Migraine- Oliver Saks

 A psychology one, always high on my non-fiction lists. This one is about migraine, and manly interests me because I get the

8) The Closed Circle- Jonathan Coe

I mainly want this one because it’s a sequel to The Rotter’s Club. This time about the characters who were teenagers in The Rotter’s Club now living in the Britain of ‘New Labour’

9) A Recipe for Bees- Gail Anderson-Dargatz

I read A Cure for Death By Lightening a few years ago and really loved it. This book, by the same author is about a normal woman with gifts she can’t quite cope with. I very much doubt this will be under the tree, it doesn’t appear to be in print anymore

10) A new Kindle.

 

I haven’t even asked for this because I don’t know what kindle I want. I just know my current one is getting tired and I could really do with a new one before it completely conks out on me.

 

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Filed under general, Memes, Top 10 Tuesday

Some Small Reviews, and Serial Reader


breakfast-serial-iconRecently I’ve been reading some books on an app called Serial Reader. Serial Reader is a free app, which I found out about on thingy thing. It has a number of  books on it (mainly classics) which are sent to the app in small bite sized chunks (of about 10 minutes worth of reading time) with one chunk being sent per day.

It’s really designed for people who don’t have time to read (who I don’t understand) but I find it’s good for when I’m waiting for a little time and don’t want to get involved in a whole book.

So far I’ve only been reading the shorter pieces, which I feel is more ideal, but you can read longer things, it just takes longer.

There is a Serial Reader premium, which allows you to read ahead and highlight, among other things.

So far I’ve read two books, and started two others, so I thought I’d review these. I also started Sun Tzu’s Art of War which I doubt I’ll finish but is on the Rory List

The Monkey’s Paw– W.W. Jacobs

Most people know the barebones of The Monkey’s Paw, at least anyone who has watched a few of The Simpson’s Halloween episodes. The  basic premise is that there is a monkey’s paw which gives the owner three wishes. However it is somewhat of a curse because of the way the stories came true.

It was pretty spooky, but had a little too much superfluous information which made the beginning drag, and the actual wishing bit was more brief than I expected. A quite entertaining little read.

If you would rather read it on your kindle it’s only 49p

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button– F Scott Fitzgerald

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is the story of a man who ages backwards, he is born as an old man, and dies as a baby.

My own knowledge of the story comes mainly from the film, the film lasts over two hours, so I knew they really must have stretched the plot to make a short story into such a long film. I think I expected a bit more similarity though.

It was an enjoyable read, and I think it did well as a short story (which I often find are lacking in something). I didn’t really feel much for Benjamin, but I think what was more interesting was how others reacted to him.

You can read this one on kindle for free (as part of Tales of the Jazz Age)

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What the world needs now is Hygge? | Chrisbookarama


Finding comfort with hygge reading.

Source: What the world needs now is Hygge? | Chrisbookarama

I saw this post earlier today on Chrisbookarama (but for some reason wouldn’t comment, so I hope she doesn’t mind me borrowing her idea).

The post was about comfort reading, which I think a lot of us are in need of right now.

My ultimate comfort read is Harry Potter. There’s an escapism in those books, that whole new world that Rowling has created, I think theirs also the element that I grew up with those books so it sort of takes me back to happy times reading them for the first time. I have many happy memories related to Harry Potter.

If buzzfeed is to be believed I’m not the only one who finds comfort (and even strength) in Potter.

There are other books to escape into, although not a chick-lit fan generally, I do find that chick-lit is pretty easy to sort of ‘dive’ into, and in that sense it’s comforting because I find I don’t need the same concentration to get into a story.

The other thing is ‘issue’ type books (especially Jodi Picoult, not exactly comforting as such, more they wrap you up in someone else’s world and someone else’s problems, somehow your problems don’t seem so bad themselves.

What are some stories you like to escape into?

 

 

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Delusions of Gender- Cordelia Fine


Synopsis (from amazon)

This is a vehement attack on the latest pseudo-scientific claims about the differences between the sexes – with the scientific evidence to back it up. Sex discrimination is supposedly a distant memory. Yet popular books, magazines and even scientific articles increasingly defend inequalities by citing immutable biological differences between the male and female brain. Why are there so few women in science and engineering, so few men in the laundry room? Well, they say, it’s our brains. Drawing on the latest research in developmental psychology, neuroscience, and social psychology, “Delusions of Gender” rebuts these claims, showing how old myths, dressed up in new scientific finery, help perpetuate the status quo. Cordelia Fine reveals the mind’s remarkable plasticity, shows the substantial influence of culture on identity, and, ultimately, exposes just how much of what we consider ‘hardwired’ is actually malleable. This startling, original and witty book shows the surprising extent to which boys and girls, men and women are made – and not born.

Review

This book has been on my kindle since 2014 (according amazon anyway), which makes me wonder how long some of my ‘real’ books have been on the shelves unread.

I kind of wish I had read it sooner, but I’ve been on a bit of a roll when it comes to non-fiction recently, so maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind before.

It was a while ago so more exact details are lost to me, but there are certain things which still stand out, and in a way doesn’t that make for a better review? I was helped a little to remember by reading Ruth’s review (which I recommend).

Delusions of Gender did take a little getting into, in terms of a ‘sciencey’ book it was easy to read, and it was interesting, but not necessarily immediately engaging.

I did find some of the arguments a bit repetitive, which makes sense when you’re talking about different but similar studies, but not so much when you are talking about the same one. It is difficult though if you are referring to something said earlier to know how much to say to make sure the person you are writing to knows what you are referring to.

The main thing I got out of it really is about how much difference small things might be able to make, especially when a child is still trying to work out their identity. Would not gendering a child change this? I’m not so sure, at some point the child themselves would want to know what they are, and I’m sure they could work it out.

In a way those little things seem hopeless, because they’re the type of things that you don’t even think about, so how can you hope to have a gender neutral environment.

4/5

Buy:

Kindle (£4.68)

Paperback (£8.99)

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Filed under Feminism, Fiction review, non-fiction review, psychology (non-fiction)

Juliet, Naked- Nick Hornby


Synopsis (from amazon)

Annie lives in a dull town on England’s bleak east coast and is in a relationship with Duncan which mirrors the place; Tucker was once a brilliant songwriter and performer, who’s gone into seclusion in rural America – or at least that’s what his fans think. Duncan is obsessed with Tucker’s work, to the point of derangement, and when Annie dares to go public on her dislike of his latest album, there are quite unexpected, life-changing consequences for all three.

Review

Wow it’s been a long time since I’ve read a book this quickly, took me just over a day. I’m not convinced it’s all down to the book, I was phoneless at the time (ok that’s not quite true, I had the boyfriend’s old iphone which is so out of date that apps just aren’t compatible with it) so there were less distractions.

Part of it was the book though. Hornby is very readable, and the story was engaging. It had a bit of a High Fidelity feel about it, although I wouldn’t say it’s up to the same level.

Part of what I liked but also sort of disliked was that the characters were rather unlikeable. I suppose that makes them more real, which is good, but it did mean I didn’t feel that much of a connection with them.

The ending sort of fizzled out too which was disappointing but maybe true to life.

4/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£8.99)

Kindle (£3.99)

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Love Anthony- Lisa Genova


Synopsis (from amazon)

Olivia Donatelli’s dream of a ‘normal’ life was shattered when her son, Anthony, was diagnosed with autism at age three. He didn’t speak, hated to be touched, almost never made eye contact. Then, just as Olivia was learning that happiness and autism could coexist after all, Anthony was gone.

Now she’s alone on Nantucket, desperate to find meaning in her son’s short life, when a chance encounter with another woman, Beth, brings Anthony alive again in a most unexpected way. In a piercing story about motherhood, autism and love, two unforgettable women discover the small but exuberant voice that leads them both to the answers they need.

Review

I’m becoming quite a fan of Lisa Genova, and I enjoyed this one, but it wasn’t quite what I expected. It still had the sort of knowledge I would expect of Genova, she obviously had more than a layman’s knowledge of autism, but that didn’t really feel like the centre of the story.

The story was more about the two women, and, although that story was somewhat involving, it didn’t have that extra kick that I expect from a Genova novel.

I felt like I was reading the novel waiting for the two stories, the stories of the two women, to intertwine. Part of that was I think because of the synopsis I read (which was the one above) which made it seem like there would be more of a relationship between the two women. The relationship was pretty intense, but it was also a while in coming.

I did enjoy it it just wasn’t a typical Genova.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£5.99)

Paperback (£7.99)

Currently part of amazon’s 3 of £10 promotion

Other reviews:

So Many Books, So Little Time

Reading With Tea

 

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Psychology (fiction)

Deals of the Moment- September 2016


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


Going Solo- Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl’s second autobiography, chronicalling his adult life, mainly his time in the RAF during WW2. As a child I prefered the first; Boy, but now I think I’d prefer this one, it’s been a long time, maybe I should re-read.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


Inside the O’Brians- Lisa Genova

I enjoy Lisa Genova, so I’ll almost certainly buy this one. It’s about a cop diagnosed with Huntington’s, and the impact the inheritable disease has on him and his family.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Where’d You Go, Bernadette?- Maria Semple

I’ve heard really good things about this book, but I’ve never read it, so I’m considering it. It’s about an amazing woman who goes missing, and her teenage daughter’s search for her.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Horologican- Mark Forsyth

The Horologicon, a book all about language, is one of my favourite books. Interesting, funny, entertaining, and easy to read. I recommend it to everyone.

You can buy it…here (only £2.79)

 

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Ready Player One- Earnest Cline


Synopsis (from amazon)

It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.

Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.

Review

I’d been hearing great things about Ready Player One, reviews that almost made me want to read it, but I didn’t really think it sounded like my type of book, so I didn’t seek it out.

Then I was trying to think of a present for my partner. I’d had a fair amount of success with books which sounded good but a little too fantasy or sci-fi for me, so Ready Player One came to mind.

My partner really enjoyed it, so, when my TBR pile wasn’t looking especially appealing, I decided to borrow it.

Oh how I wish I’d read it sooner. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with sci-fi- which is the main thing that puts me off, but this book definitely fell on the love side of things.

It had everything, action, romance, intrigue. The geek in me loved it. A lot of people say that they liked the nostalgia element, but most of the things based o the past were from the 80s, I was born i 87 so a bit early for me, and I was’t a console player anyway which a lot was based o. Maybe if I was I would have enjoyed it eve more, but as it was I loved it.

5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.84)

Kindle (£4.99)

Other reviews:

Reading is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac

Book Journey

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Silly Little Mischief

Ink and Page

Girl Vs Bookshelf

Leeswammes’ Blog

Words For Worms

Nylon Admiral

Did I miss your review? Leave me a link in comments and I’ll add it here

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Filed under Contempory, Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction review

Oddjobs- Heide Goody and Iain Grant


Disclaimer: I was given this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from amazon)

It’s the end of the world as we know it, but someone still needs to do the paperwork.
Incomprehensible horrors from beyond are going to devour our world but that’s no excuse to get all emotional about it. Morag Murray works for the secret government organisation responsible for making sure the apocalypse goes as smoothly and as quietly as possible.
In her first week on the job, Morag has to hunt down a man-eating starfish, solve a supernatural murder and, if she’s got time, prevent her own inevitable death.

Review

I’ve been really enjoying the Clovenhoof books by Goody and Grant (I’m reading Hellzapoppin’ at the moment) so when they sent me an offer to read the first book from their new series I jumped at the chance.

Oddjobs has the same humourous tone that the Clovenhoof books do but I think it has a bit more of an edge to it.  It’s a little bit political, about work in general and probably a lot about more about government work (I’ve only ever really worked in that sector so I’m not sure how true it would be of other sectors).  Basically about red tape and silly ideas.

It has more action throughout that the Clovenhoof books too, which makes it readable in a different way.

Clovenhoof is probably a bit more easy going, but I think overall this might be a more interesting series, I’ll be looking forward to the next one.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£3.50)

Paperback (£6.99)

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Filed under Contempory, Fantasy, Fiction review, Humour

Deals of the Moment- August 2016 (Part 3)


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

I have 28 tabs of deals open this month so I’m breaking this post into three parts; this part (part 3) is books I’m interested in. Part 1 was books I’ve already read, and, part two was books I own/can borrow but haven’t read yet,

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


A Year of Marvellous Ways- Sarah Winman

I’m mainly interested in this because I enjoyed ‘When God Was a Rabbit‘ (it was one of my first ARCs too).  It’s about an old woman and a solider.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas- Hunter S. Thompson

I partly want to read this because it’s a modern day classic, and partly because it’s on the Rory List. It’s about drugs and the collapse of the American Dream.

You can buy it,,,here (only £1.99)


Emma- Alexander McCall Smith

I enjoyed the original Jane Austen Emma, and I like Alexander McCall Smith’s writing so I would be interested to see his take on the classic

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)



All the Light We Cannot See- Anthony Doerr

I’ve heard really good things about this World War novel, and I love world war novels, I’m not sure how I haven’t acquired this one yet.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)

 


Orange is the New Black- Piper Kerman

I guess just because I am addicted to the show but raced through the latest series. About a woman in a woman’s prison. Probably the one on this list I’m ;east likely to buy.

Buy it…here (only £1.99) Buy the others in the series, Charlotte Grey, and Birdsong, for £4.99 each.


 

 

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Deals of the Moment- August 2016 (Part 2)


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

I have 28 tabs of deals open this month so I’m breaking this post into three parts; this part (part 2) is books I own/can borrow but haven’t read yet, part 1, yesterday, was books I’ve read, and part 3 will be books I’m interested in. My computer is going to the macshop tomorrow (l0ts of little problems) so I will try and get part 3 out on Friday but we will see how it goes.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


On Beauty- Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith is one of those writers I’ve always wanted to read, but sometimes never got around to. On Beauty, a story about love and feuding families is on my Mum’s shelf.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Secret Life of Bees- Sue Monk Kidd

I bought this one when I saw how cheap it was. It’s on the Rory List and I’ve heard good things about it.

You can buy it,,,here (only £0.99)


Americanah- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Another author I’ve always meant to read (I have read We Should All Be Feminists, but that doesn’t really count). My sister has Americanah so I may be able to borrow it at some point. It’s about two refugees from Nigeria who were in love but ended up in different parts of the world.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


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Deals of the Moment- August 2016 (Part 1)


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

I have 28 tabs of deals open this month so I’m breaking this post into three parts; this part (part 1) is books I’ve already read, part two (hopefully tomorrow) will be books I own/can borrow but haven’t read yet, and part 3 will be books I’m interested in. My computer is going to the macshop tomorrow (l0ts of little problems) so I will try and get part 3 out on Friday but we will see how it goes.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


Still Alice- Lisa Genova

I really enjoyed this rather sad novel told by a narrator who has early onset dementia. It’s very touching, and language wise an easy read but also rather emotionally difficult

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury

To be honest I didn’t love this classic about book burning, but there were some points which made it worth a read.

You can buy it,,,here (only £1.99)


The Rosie Project- Graeme Simsion

I loved this funny, quirky, sweet book about a clever man who thinks he has found a clever way to find love. It was so much more than I expected

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


Mockingbird- Kathryn Erkstien

A beautiful book about a girl with Asperger’s whose brother is killed. The normal grief of that situation added to her autism.

Buy it…here (only £1.39)

 


Girl at the Lion D’or- Sebastian Faulks

This book is actually the first in the trilogy which ends with, what is probably Faulks’ most well known novel, Birdsong. It’s probably my least favourite of the trio but it’s a nice little book about a girl who starts working at a slightly seedy hotel. I read the series in the wrong order and it does stand well as a novel on its own.

Buy it…here (only £1.99) Buy the others in the series, Charlotte Grey, and Birdsong, for £4.99 each.


 

The Secret Scripture- Sebastian Barry

Since reading The Secret Scripture I have read a lot of other Sebastian Barry novels, and none are as good as this one, I loved this one. About a woman who has spent most of her life in a mental institution

Buy it…here (£1.09)


Clovenhoof series- Heide Good and Iain M. Grant

Funny, political-ish books about satan being expelled from Heaven and being sent to live in Birmingham. I love these books, I’ve read 1-3 (and the short) and ordered number 4 when I saw it on offer, number 5 is out too, but that’s not on offer.

Buy one, two, three, four (only £0.99 each)


The Elements of Eloquence- Mark Forsyth

I love Mark Forsyth, his books about language are interesting and funny, I recommend them to everyone.

Buy it…here (only £1.19)


The Pact- Jodi Picoult

I love Jodi Picoult, I’ve read all her books. This one is about a boy and a girl who apparently had a suicide pact, or did the boy call the girl?

Buy it…here (£1.99)


Look Who’s Back- Timur Vermes

Hitler wakes up in the modern day. Everything is wrong, he must find his power again. Satirical, funny, a bit on the edge.

Buy it...here (only £0.99)


Middlesex- Jeffrey Eugenides

This is one of my favourite books. A sort of coming of age novel, kind of hard to describe, but there’s a family secret involved and I can’t tell you because that will spoil the story. Just read it

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


 

The Shock of the Fall- Nathan Filler

An incident happened, it effected the whole of one man’s life

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


Eleanor and Park- Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor is the new girl, she’s not fitting in great, but then she meets Park. A nice little love story.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Beach- Alex Garland

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book about a secret island, and the things that happened there.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


How to Build A Girl- Caitlin Moran

Yay Caitlin Moran. How to Build a Girl is a little too autobiographical to feel like novel, but I still loved it.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)

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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close- Jonathon Safron Foer


Synopsis (from amazon)

Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, detective, vegan, and collector of butterflies.

When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father’s closet. It is a search which leads him into the lives of strangers, through the five boroughs of New York, into history, to the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima, and on an inward journey which brings him ever closer to some kind of peace.

Review

After loving Everything is Illuminated I had high hopes for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, maybe that’s why I was a little unimpressed. It took me a while to really get going, and it really didn’t have the emotion that I expected. I expected Oscar’s Dad’s death to be a major theme but it was more of a trigger point for the rest of the story.

There was a certain amount of emotion, but I’m pretty sure Oscar was autistic, or at least he didn’t show emotion in the ways most people would. It just didn’t hit me like I expected.

Reading on a kindle didn’t help either, there are pictures in the book, which were in the kindle version, but they were never very well displayed, whether that is just a kindle thing I’m not 100% sure, but I think it probably was.

In the end I did sort of enjoy it, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone

3/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£4.99)

Paperback (£8.99)

Other reviews:

Knitting and Sundries

The Perpetual Page Turner

Lit and Life

 

 

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, YA

The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps- Michael Faber


Synopsis (from amazon)

Note: I don’t like this synopsis, but it’s the best of a bad bunch and I can’t write a better one myself, so…yeah

Siân, troubled by dark dreams and seeking distraction, joins an archaeological dig at Whitby. The abbey’s one hundred and ninety-nine steps link the twenty-first century with the ruins of the past and Siân is swept into a mystery involving a long-hidden murder, a fragile manuscript in a bottle and a cast of most peculiar characters. Equal parts historical thriller, romance and ghost story, this is an ingenious literary page-turner and is completely unforgettable.

Review

This is more a novella than a novel, which suits my reading habits right now.

The synopsis makes it sound more exciting that it really is, it’s more interesting than exciting. The story carried on nicely though, and was quite beautifully written, it’s no Crimson Petal and the White but it fills the gap well enough.

There’s not really that much of a story to it. The letter offers some intrigue, but it isn’t really used to the best it could be, and the romance was a bit everyday.

I did enjoy it enough though to be disappointed when my kindle copy ended at around 60%, and I felt a bit ripped off, I must admit the customer service at canongate were very good when I complained on twitter though.

Both editions listed below also contain the novella ‘The Courage Consort’

3/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£4.53)

Paperback (£8.99)

 

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Top 10 Tuesday: Books to Sink Into


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s freebie week so I’ve decided to do Ten Books to Sink Into. That is books which swallow you up. Books you can’t put down. Books you read above other things (which for me would be netflix, Hearthstone, and getting off the bus at the right stop!) .Books where you have to read ‘just one more chapter’. Books you don’t want to end.

They might not be literary greats. They are rarely growers (although a grower may become a book to sink into, it’s not a complete book to sink into). They may not even be books you remember, but they are books that at the time really hooked you

The Shell Collector- Hugh Howey

I finished this one yesterday, and considering how my reading has been of late I read it really quickly. It’s an easy read but involving. It is about a journalist who is writing an expose on a family of oil tycoons who she blames for wreaking the world.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)- Mindy Kaling

I had to watch the American version of the office after reading Mindy’s first autobiography just so I wouldn’t loose her. Why isn’t The Mindy Project back yet?

Fangirl- Rainbow Rowell

I have a history of reading Rainbow Rowell on the bus and then sitting at the bus stop because I have to finish the last little bit (it happened with Landline too). This one about a fanfiction writer and her twin starting university is my favourite though

The Rosie Project- Graeme Simison

This funny and quirky book really drew me in. It’s about a man, Don who is trying to find the perfect women, although going about it in maybe too much of a scientific manner. I’ve recently read the sequel, The Rosie Effect which I enjoyed but didn’t quite have the same hook

Charlotte Street- Danny Wallace

I remember little real content of this book, other than that it was a sort-of romance and involved a lost camera. I do remember that it left me buzzing though, and that I devoured it

Handle With Care- Jodi Picoult

I pretty much devour any Picoult, but this is my favourite. About a mother suing her midwife who missed a birth defect in her daughter.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin- Louis de Bernieres

Although as a whole I preferred The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts to de Bernieres more well known novel, Captain Corelli’s was more compelling to read (if you ignore the first chapter). It tells the story of an Italian army captain billeted to a Greek island during WW2 and how he falls in love with a woman who should be his enemy.

Harry Potter Series- J.K. Rowling

Well if you’ve been a visitor for a while you probably know how much of a Potter nut I am

Shades of Grey- Jasper Fforde

There is meant to be a sequel to this fantastic dystopian book book coming out, but will Fforde ever finish it (George R,R Martin fans may think they have it bad but I’ve been waiting  almost a decade for the next Shades of Grey book)

Texts From Jane Eyre- Mallory Ortberg

This funny little book of texts literary characters and authors might write is great for flicking through and quickly digestible.

 

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Filed under general, Memes, Top 10 Tuesday

Deals of the Moment- April 2016


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


The Double Comfort Safari Club- Alexander McCall Smith

I really enjoy the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books, but I haven’t got as far as this one yet

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


Lost and Found- Tom Winter

A nice little book about a woman writing letters to nobody, and the postman who finds them

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


 

Round Ireland With a Fridge- Tony Hawks

Tony Hawks is one of those comedic writers, like Dave Gorman, of the type that was very popular a few years ago, part comedian part travel writer, This one is about him hitchhiking around Ireland with a fridge.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


Wool- Hugh Howey

The start of Hugh Howey’s much praised trilogy, and the best of the three in my opinion, set in a future where there survives just one silo of people.

You can buy it…here  (only £1.99)

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The Seed Collectors- Scarlett Thomas


Synopsis (from goodreads)

Aunt Oleander is dead. In the Garden of England her extended family gather to remember her, to tell stories and to rekindle old memories. To each of her nearest and dearest Oleander has left a precious seed pod. But along with it comes a family secret that could open the hardest of hearts but also break the closest ties…

Review

I adored Pop Co. and loved The End of Mr Y, but the Scarlett Thomas books which I’ve read since have been a bit disappointing, not not good, just not as good. So I approached The Seed Collectors with a mixture of excitement and apprehension.

I think with The Seed Collectors Thomas is getting back to the writer I love, the writer who I was excited to see new books by. I think the gap between this book and her last was bigger, and maybe that shows.

It’s still not as good as Pop Co. It took more time to fall into- more like The End of Mr Y- but I ended up loving it all the same.

It wasn’t exactly what I expected, I expected it to mainly be a book about the seeds, but it wasn’t really about the seeds much at all. I suppose you could say it was a story about a family, but that makes it sound boring. This isn’t some ‘normal’ family, everything is screwed up. Plus some of the people are vile, ok all of the people are pretty awful (so if you like to love your characters, this probably isn’t the one for you).

To be completely honest it’s not really very plot driven, but I really enjoyed it all the same and found myself reading it in the same sort of incessant way that I would normally only read a plot driven book in.

4.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£5.22)

Paperback (£6.74)

Hardback £13.48)

Other reviews:

Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link in comments

 

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Deals of the Moment- December


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. In this post I talk about the interesting deals which I might buy or which I’ve already read.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


Bad Pharma- Ben Goldacre

I’ve heard lots of good things about Ben Goldacre, in this book he talks about the problems with medication trials.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Dirt- Mötley Crüe

When I read this autobiography of Mötley Crüe  I enjoyed it so much more than I had expected. It’s not for everyone, it sometimes goes out of it’s way to offend or disgust you, but I really enjoyed it

You can buy it…here (only £1.49)


When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit- Judith Kerr

I mentioned this autobiography in my Top 10 Books Set During Wartime post. A very good account of a family fleeing the Nazis

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)

 


Stardust- Neil Gaiman

A boy goes over a wall in search of a shooting star, but finds more than he expected. Loved this one.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


The Gun Seller- Hugh Laurie

This has been on my wishlist for so long that I’d forgotten what it was even about. Still sounds really good though, it’s about an assassin with on conscience.

. You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


 

 

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A Tale For The Time Being- Ruth Ozeki


Synopsis (from amazon)

Ruth discovers a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the shore of her beach home. Within it lies a diary that expresses the hopes and dreams of a young girl. She suspects it might have arrived on a drift of debris from the 2011 tsunami. With every turn of the page, she is sucked deeper into an enchanting mystery.

In a small cafe in Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao Yasutani is navigating the challenges thrown up by modern life. In the face of cyberbullying, the mysteries of a 104-year-old Buddhist nun and great-grandmother, and the joy and heartbreak of family, Nao is trying to find her own place – and voice – through a diary she hopes will find a reader and friend who finally understands her.

Review

‘A Tale for the Time Being’ marks the beginning of what I am calling my return to ‘normal’ reading, ok still not completely normal for me- I’m reading one book at a time rather than two. I’d had a few single books which have held my attention since my return to blogging, but now I’ve had a bit of a run, and I hope it’s not just due to the books I have chosen. (You can read a bit about my lack of reading here). Is it ‘A Tale for the Time Being’ which made me be able to come back to my old reading levels? I’m not sure, but I do know that I enjoyed it, I do know that I wanted to read it above other activities which require less concentration (and which I had been holding my interest more than reading), and II do know that since reading it I have read a number of other books which have held my attention (which I intend to review in due course).

So, yes, I really did enjoy ‘A Tale For the Time Being’, but actually I don’t know if I have anything significant to say about it.

It did take me a little time to get into, but once I did get into it I didn’t want to stop. I especially wanted to know what had happened to Nao, and Ruth’s story helped fuel that as she got so absorbed in Nao’s story.

I liked Nao’s voice. It made subjects which were sometimes very emotional easy to read, and her story really did sounds like she was telling it to a friend who she was slowly getting to know.

I certainly recommend it. Although if you can go for a paper copy rather than an ebook, I read the ebook and all the footnotes were at the end of the book, which doesn’t really work when you can’t flick through it!

4.5/5

Buy it:
Paperback (£8.99)
Kindle (£5.29)

Hardback (£16.59)

Other reviews:

The Relentless Reader

Words for Worms (contains spoilers)

Fay Simone

As the Crowe Flies (and Reads)

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

 

 

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Furiously Happy- Jenny Lawson



Synopsis (from amazon)

In Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson regaled readers with uproarious stories of her bizarre childhood. In her new book, Furiously Happy, she explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.

As Jenny says: ‘You can’t experience pain without also experiencing the baffling and ridiculous moments of being fiercely, unapologetically, intensely and (above all) furiously happy.’ It’s a philosophy that has – quite literally – saved her life.

Review

I loved Let’s Pretend This Never Happened so I was excited when I heard Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) had a new book coming out.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was hilarious, so I was expecting the same from Jenny’s new book. It was very funny, but it had more of a serious side than her first book had. I still liked it, but it wasn’t as easy a read.

This one featured a lot about Jenny’s mental illness. That made it less light, although a lot lighter than you would expect of a book which has a high content about mental illness. She had a philosophy of always being Furiously Happy when her illness would allow her. A way to show that she could have a good, happy, time, a way to say that that illness is not her.

Jenny says she wrote this book with people who have the same problems as her in mind. So I wasn’t exactly the target market, but I still found the book pretty uplifting, and I definitely enjoyed Jenny’s sense of humour.

If you loved the first one you can’t go wrong with this, but I think you may be better off starting with the first.

4/5

Buy it:

Hardback (£12.08)

Kindle (£7.49)

Paperback: pre-order (£8.99)

Other reviews:

Alison McCarthy 

Words For Worms

Did I miss your review? Leave me a link in comments and I will add it here

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Top 10 Books Set in War Time


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s Top 10 Books set for… my old post on books set in wartime has been one of the most popular in the lifetime of my blog, so I’ve decided to update it. Some of the books are the same, some have changed.

Links lead to reviews, pictures lead to amazon. In no particular order.
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Judith Kerr, book, book cover

1) When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit- Judith Kerr is a semi-autobiographical book which features a Jewish family fleeing from Nazi Germany. It’s one of the first World War novels I can remember reading, although I read a lot around the same time (most notably Carrie’s War, Goodbye Marriane, Goodnight Mister Tom, The Peppermint Pig), and it’s the first of a series of three books.

 

Regeneration, Pat Barker, book, book cover

 

2) Regeneration- Pat Baker Pat Baker has written a fair few war novels (I’ve reviewed Double Vision on the blog, which is more modern) but the Regeneration trilogy is by far her best (of what I’ve read, anyway). It is set in a hospital where shell-shock victims are treated, with the aim of sending them back to the trenches

 

Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks, book, book cover
3) Birdsong- Sebastian Faulks this love and war story was a favourite of mine for a long time.

 

 

 

The shouting wind, linda newbery, book, book cover
4) The Shouting Wind- Linda Newbery, a favourite of mine as a teenager. All about a girl working for the RAF (as a sort of air controller) during WW2 who falls in love with one of the pilots. It’s the first of a series which follows three generations of a family, but it’s the best.

 

5) A God in Ruins- Kate Atkinson follows the life of Teddy, a significant part of which includes him being in the RAF. Very emotive.

 

 

 

Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet, Jamie Ford, book, book cover
6) Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet- Jamie Ford tells the story of a Chinese boy, with a Japanese best friend who lives in America during the time of Pearl Harbour. It’s a side of the war which is more rarely covered. When I wrote the original version of this post I said that this was one of the best books set during wartime which I’d read recently, it still remains a firm favourite

 

Sarah's Key, Tatiana de Rosnay, book, book cover

7) Sarah’s Key- Tatiana de Rosnay As with The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Sarah’s Key is based on a less covered side of the war. This time in occupied Paris, and with rounding up of Jews there. It is heart wrenching. Since writing the original version of this post I think I’ve come to appreciate Sarah’s key more, certainly parts of it stick rather significantly in my memory.

 

 

Remembrance, Teresa Breslin, book, book cover
8) Remembrance- Teresa Breslin another book I read as a teenager, and it remains one of the best war novels I’ve read. Follows five young people through WW1, the most memorable scenes for me were with the young woman who became a nurse.

 

 


9) The Book Thief- Markus Zusak sad bit also beautiful story of a girl living in Germany during WW2. The story is narrated by death and includes a hidden Jewish man amongst other things. The film is well worth watching too

the almond tree, book, book cover

10) The Almond Tree- Michelle Cohen Corasanti the only one on my list which is not set during the world wars. This one is about the Israel/Palestine conflict, and it’s my recommendation of the moment.

Special mentions:Pegasus Falling: indie book about a paratrooper who ends up in a concentration camp, and his life afterwards.

Gone With the Wind: not strictly a war book, although it does feature the war of independence.

– Captain Correli’s Mandolin: More of a love story set during the war really.

The Kommandant’s Girl: about a Jewish woman in Poland during Nazi occupation who is hidden in plain sight and become the girlfriend of a Nzi Kommandant to help the resistance.

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Deals of the Moment- April 2016


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


Missing Rose- Linda Newberry

I loved Linda Newberry as a teenager, in fact her book The Shouting Wind still holds a place in my heart (and remains one of the best war novels I’ve ever read), but I’ve only ever read one of her books written for adults. So Missing Rose, which is about a girl whose sister goes missing, sounds interesting to me

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


Shakespeare- Bill Bryson

Still, somehow, the only Bryson I’ve ever read. Interesting and entertaining, definitely recommend if you are interested in Shakespeare. I read it during my short burst living in Stratford.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


Not much this month, but some of the deals from last month are still on, so worth a check on those too.

 

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The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly- Matt McCarthy


Synopsis (from amazon)

In medical school, Matt McCarthy dreamed of being a different kind of doctor the sort of mythical, unflappable physician who could reach unreachable patients. But when a new admission to the critical care unit almost died his first night on call, he found himself scrambling. Visions of mastery quickly gave way to hopes of simply surviving hospital life, where confidence was hard to come by and no amount of med school training could dispel the terror of facing actual patients.

Review

McCarthy’s autobiography is an interesting and eye opening look into the American healthcare system. It would be interesting to see how it differs from a doctor’s experience in the NHS.

I must admit that I expected to see lots about patients who couldn’t afford the healthcare that they need, the idea of no NHS is not one I like, and I never really understood people who are against ‘Obamacare’ in the US. There was a little bit of that, but in was only really a very small part of the book, and I wouldn’t even say it was particularly hard hitting. At one point McCarthy was interning in the medical centre, which seemed pretty much like a drop in centre would be here in the UK, except that the same patients would keep returning. I say like a drop in centre because the treatment seemed rushed, and fairly basic, for example medication over other possible solutions which a specialist might recommend. Plus it seemed like it was mainly run by interns, which suggested a lack of continuity of care. McCarthy found that it was difficult to get to grips with the patient notes because there was a rush and lots of notes to read. He found reading just the latest notes wasn’t enough, but reading further took too much time. Part of this I think was to do with his approach, but it seems that with this patients would end up falling through the gaps.

There was also a section where he went to se and treat the homeless. This bit was too brief I felt, but he only did it for one night. There was certainly enough to give me admiration for people who do it. I think this bit would be pretty much the same in the UK, I imagine homeless people easily don’t see GPs, or go to appointments at hospitals, just because they are hard to keep contact with, and I’m not even sure if you can register with a doctor if you don’t have an address.

Anyway I am going on somewhat of a tangent. I really enjoyed this book. There were plenty of ups and downs and at times you thought that maybe Matt wasn’t cut out for it. After all being a doctor is one of those jobs where a mistake can really cost someone, even to the point of death. But everyone has to start somewhere and it was a real eye opener on how hard things are for doctors, especially those still training.

The hours were absolutely ridiculous. I mean you’d think that you want someone that important to be as sharp as possible when they were working, but the long days meant that was practically impossible. It certainly gave me more sympathy for the junior doctors over here (and I already supported them).

Despite the subject having the potential to be either over emotional or too dry I thought McCarthy did a really good job. There was emotion when it mattered, but it a way you had to be like a doctor and not get too bogged down in the emotions- and the way McCarthy wrote helped with that. He actually made it quite an easy read, and entertaining, which I hadn’t expected. I had expected it to be interesting, and it was, but I did expect it to be so entertaining. I thoroughly recommend

5/5

Buy it:

Hardback (£22.50)

Paperback– preorder (£11.23)

Kindle (£21.38)

Other Reviews:

Sam Still Reading

Did I miss your review? Leave me a link in comments and I will add it here

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Sunday Surfing 13/3/16


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

 

The Booker Prize Longlist has Been Revealed

This Young Gil Opened a Library in the Slums

Men Give Up on Books Quicker Than Women Do

And on the blog this week…

 

I reviewed ‘The Radleys’

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The Radleys- Matt Haig


Synopsis (from amazon)

Life with the Radleys: Radio 4, dinner parties with the Bishopthorpe neighbours and self-denial. Loads of self-denial. But all hell is about to break loose. When teenage daughter Clara gets attacked on the way home from a party, she and her brother Rowan finally discover why they can’t sleep, can’t eat a Thai salad without fear of asphyxiation and can’t go outside unless they’re smothered in Factor 50.

With a visit from their lethally louche Uncle Will and an increasingly suspicious police force, life in Bishopthorpe is about to change. Drastically.

Review

The Radley’s was on my wishlist for years, before I read The Humans, before The Humans was even released. I have a problem, I add things to my wishlist and never buy them, because when I’m in a bookshop (or to a lesser extent on an online store) I get distracted by books which are not on my wishlist, and end up buying them. I think I ended up buying The Radleys because it was on kindle deal.

I’m trying to think how to review without spoiling.

It’s somewhat of a coming of age novel, although not in a classic sense, because the thing which is making the Radley children grow up is not exactly normal. Also that there is a sort of coming of age novel for the parents too- who says you have o be a teenager to ‘come of age’?

At times it was sort of predictable, but that’s ok, I enjoyed it anyway.

3/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£8.99)
Kindle (£5.69)

Other reviews:

Reading With Tea

Leeswammes’ Blog

Knitting and Sundries

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

B Reading

Did I miss your review? Leave me a link in comments and I will add it here

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Sunday Surfing 6/3/16


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

 

Writer Louise Renson has Passed Away. I remember reading the Georgia Nicholson books as a teenager.

Axel Scheffler has Said There Would Have Been ‘No Gruffalo Without (the) EU’

 

Beatrix Potter’s Lost Book is Being Released. This is the Cover

Le Prix de la Page’ Literary Prize Picks books by Reading Just to Page 112

Reasons to be Proud of Being a Book Horder

The Library is Allowing People to Donate Food in Lieu of Fines

Writers With Strange Deaths

And on the blog this week…

Lots of great kindle deals this month

 

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Why Not Me?- Mindy Kaling


Synopsis (from amazon)

Mindy Kaling has found herself at a turning point. So in Why Not Me?, she shares her ongoing journey to find fulfilment and adventure in her adult life, be it falling in love at work, seeking new friendships inunlikely places, or attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behaviour modification whatsoever.

Review

I love Mindy’s show The Mindy Project, when I read her first book last year I adored her even more, I watched The US version of The Office just because I needed a Mindy fix (despite being a bit against American adaptations as a general rule, and yeah actually I was proved wrong on that one). When I heard she had a second book coming out I was excited, but I was finishing buying a house, and was on a self inflicted book buying ban (and well, even on amazon the paperback is almost £10, that’s a lot for a paperback…yeah I’m like that).

In the end I got it as a Christmas present, and it was the first of my present books which I read. I did really enjoy it, but I think I prefered her first. I think the first one was just a bit more accessible. In the first book she wasn’t famous, or becoming well known I suppose. It just meant a lot of what she talked about was a bit more recognisable. In Why Not Me for a good part she was well known, and for some I would go as far as to say she was famous. Her stories, whilst still entertaining didn’t quite have that same sense of reality.

I think it was a bit less thought provoking too. There were still elements which were thought provoking, but not in a way that hit me like the occasion with the dress in Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Part of the problem I had I think was that there was so much build up for me. I was excited from back when I knew the book was going to exist. That’s quite a while to anticipate something.

I still love Mindy. I would still recommend this book, I did really like it, but it is less memorable than her first for me, and I don’t think it quite meets up to it.

4/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£9.09)
Kindle (£9.49)

Other reviews:

Bookjourney

Alison Mccarthy

Chris Book-a-rama

 

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Wool Series- Hugh Howey


The Wool series consists of 3 books; Wool , Shift and Dust

Synopsis (written by me, because there isn’t just one)

Years in the future a civilization, the only survivors on earth are living in a silo. Outside the air is poison. The Wool series of books looks at how this came to be, and how things started to fall apart.

Review

Note on the review: Because I read Wool, Shift, and Dust one after the other I have decided to review them all in one go rather than as separate books. Because of this I’ve decided to use a sort of key code. Anything in black refers to all the books and isn’t a spoiler. Anything in red refers to Wool, there may be spoilers for Wool but won’t be any spoilers for previous books. Anything in green refers to Shift, it may contain spoilers for Shift or Wool. Anything in purple refers to Dust, it may contain spoilers for any of the three books.

I bought Wool (and later Shift and Dust) for my partner initially. There were quite a few reviews around at the time (I definitely remember that Ellie reviewed Dust) and I thought the books sounded good, but not quite me. These sorts of sci-fi things are more my boyfriend’s taste. However when he enjoyed it I thought I would give it a read too.

Overall I did enjoy the series although for all the books I found they started slow and after a while became more interesting. I must admit as well that I found my interest in the series overall wavered with each book, so although I fairly enjoyed Dust, it had significantly less pull than Wool did.


By the end of Wool I was really looking forward to starting Shift and seeing what happened next. My boyfriend warned me I would be somewhat disappointed, and he was right because Shift doesn’t continue on from where Wool left off, instead it jumps back to when the silos were new and gradually moves to the same time but in silo one- head silo- and how the events in Wool effect that silo.

I still enjoyed Shift by the end, it was interesting to see another side. It was also interesting how Jules almost became the enemy. Or I suppose I should say how it didn’t seem like the plans we learnt about in Wool were so bad after all. They seemed somewhat good intentioned.

I sort of wish things had stayed that way, where you can see both sides of the coin, but Dust changed it into bad plans again. I think it would have been more interesting to see Jules and silo one discussing her problems with what they were doing and maybe finding a solution.

Dust’s start was rather disappointing. It didn’t start where Wool had left off but jumped a little further forward, and I think partly because of this things were a little confusing. Jules seemed to know a lot but it was difficult to understand how she knew a lot of it. Of course I could have forgotten what exactly had happened in Wool which may have marred my impression of Shift.

 

Would I recommend the series? I don’t know. A lot of promise seems unfulfilled, but I did enjoy reading them, so maybe

3/5

Buy it:

Wool (from £4.99)
Shift (from £4.99)
Dust (from £4.99)

Other reviews:

Leeswammes’ Blog Wool | Shift

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm Wool | Shift

Quirky Bookworm Wool

The Sleepless Reader Wool

Did I miss your review? Leave me a message in comments and I’ll add it here

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The Tiger’s Wife- Téa Obreht


Synopsis (from amazon)

Natalia is on a quest: to discover the truth about her beloved grandfather. He has died far from home, in circumstances shrouded in mystery.

Recalling stories her grandfather told her as a child, Natalia suspects he may have died trying to unravel two mysteries. One was the fate of a tiger which escaped during German bombing raids in 1941; the other a man who claimed to be immortal. But, as Natalia learns, there are no simple truths or easy answers in this landscape echoing with myths but still scarred by war.

Review

I read the first chapter of this book back in 2011 when it was in the first Waterstone’s Eleven. It went on my wishlist then, but it’s was only towards the end of last year that I actually read it.

There are four stories in this novel. That of Natalia as a child and her relationship with her Grandfather. The story of Natalia now. And the two stranger stories, those of the tiger’s wife, and the deathless man. All the stories are meant to be true, the stranger stories being stories which Natalia’s grandfather told her about his life.

The stranger stories are what make the book really. They have an almost fairytale like quality. I especially liked the tale of the deathless man because it had elements which seemed more real than that of the tiger’s wife, but they were contrasted in the idea of this man who couldn’t die. The idea of a woman falling in love with a tiger was less supernatural I suppose, it’s more how much it was believed I think that was unusual.

I did enjoy the writing in this book, however I’d find I got interested in one story only for it to stop and give way to one of the others, and then I’d stop reading because I didn’t want to read that other story. Even though I liked each story on it’s own I wasn’t ready to leave one for another, and that meant it took me a surprisingly long time to read for such a short book.

(Isn’t the new cover awesome?)

3/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£7.99)

Kindle (£4.99)

Other reviews:

Word by Word

Lit and Life

Nose in a Book

Page Turners

Literary Lindsey

Did I miss your review? Leave me a link in comments and I will add it here

 

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Look Who’s Back- Timur Vermes


Synopsis (from amazon)

Berlin, Summer 2011. Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of open ground, alive and well. Things have changed – no Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognises his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman.

People certainly recognise him, albeit as a flawless impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable happens, and the ranting Hitler goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own T.V. show, and people begin to listen. But the Führer has another programme with even greater ambition – to set the country he finds a shambles back to rights.

Review

This book has had some controversy. Mainly focusing about is it right to write a humorous book about Hitler? I think the main problem people see in it is that it sort of makes light of Hitler and in doing so somehow makes light of what he did.

I think the people who say this miss the point somewhat however. It’s a book about Hitler in the basics, but really it’s more about the media and how life now views Hitler. He’s seen as a sort of spectacle. Think of all the tourist destinations which wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for Hitler. Is this about the point of not forgetting so it can’t happen again? Or is it more of a morbid curiosity or some sort of extended rubbernecking?

I think it shows how something similar could happen again. Hitler in this book became known and famous. Maybe he would never have been taken seriously as a politician, but the start of it was there. It does make me think somewhat of the popularity of people like Trump, many people are against him, but he also has a certain amount of support- and that could be dangerous.

On the surface this is a humorous book, and it did make me laugh. You could probably read it just as an entertaining read if you wanted to. If you didn’t feel the need to justify it.

It won’t be for everyone. I know it’s something that could offend. I understand why. But I liked it.

4/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£6.29)

Kindle (£4.99)

Hardback (£13.49)

Other reviews:

Plastic Rosaries

Did I miss your review? Post a link in comments and I will add it here

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Historical, Humour

Top 10 Tuesday: Toddler’s Top 10 Books


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

 

It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s a free choice so I decided to do The Toddler’s Top 10 Books. That is books which the toddlers that I’ve worked with over the years have loved. I started working with the pre-schoolers a couple of weeks ago so I thought this would be a nice way to close that period of time.

In no particular order.

I’m Not Cute- Jonathan Allen

I’m Not Cute is about Baby Owl who everyone thinks is cute, but he says he isn’t. It’s consistently popular with the toddlers, even as the groups change. We also love ‘I’m not Reading’ and ‘I’m Not Sleepy’ which are about Baby Owl

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt- Michael Rosen

A sort of modern classic. A poem in essence about going on a bear hunt and the obstacles encountered

 

Cock-a-Moo-Moo- Juliet Dallas-Conte

Another that has been popular with different groups. A funny little story about a cockerel who forgets how to crow.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

This one has been popular for a long time, and it’s popular with the babies too. Very simple. Each animal being asked what they see. The kids can ‘read’ it to themselves. Special mention to ‘Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?’ which is similar but about sounds and the kids also love.

Shh! We Have a Plan- Chris Haughton

This one is a current favourite, the kids ask for ‘The blue book’. It’s about some men trying to catch a bird. The pictures are key

Don’t Wake the Bear, Hare!

This is an old favourite, but stayed popular for a long time. The animals are having a party, bt they don’t want to wake the sleeping bear.

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Monkey Puzzle- Julia Donaldson

A personal favourite. About a monkey trying to find his Mum. Of course Julia Donaldson is basically queen of picture books.

The Animal Boogie- Debbie Harter

A favourite singing book. Complete with CD. Special mention for ‘Walking Through the Jungle’ another song book we’ve loved

Some Dogs Do- Jez Alborough

About a year ago the kids always asked for this book which is about a dog who finds he can fly. I really disliked it.


Painter Bear- Vivianne French

The kids loved the way my collegue used to read this story- telling painter bear off.

What books do you like to read to your kids? Or which picture books did you like growing up

 

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Filed under general, Memes, Top 10 Tuesday

Double Dexter- Jeff Lindsey



Double Dexter is the sixth novel in the Dexter Series.

Synopsis (from amazon)

Everyone’s favourite serial killer is back and deadlier than ever…

A witness. Such a simple concept – and yet for Dexter Morgan, a perfectly well-disguised serial killer, the possibility of a witness is terrifying. As an upstanding blood-spatter analyst for the Miami Police, Dexter has always managed to keep the darker side of his life out of the spotlight. An expert at finding truly bad people – murderers who’ve long escaped justice – Dexter has long been giving them his own special brand of attention.

But now someone has seen him in the act. Dexter is being followed, manipulated and mimicked, leading him to realise that no one likes to have a double – especially when his double’s goal is to kill him.

Dexter is not one to tolerate such displeasure … in fact, he has a knack for extricating himself from trouble in his own pleasurable way.

Review

I’ve recently finished watching Dexter on netflix which made me want to read more of the series (which I hadn’t read so far because of the size of my to be read pile) so I borrowed ‘Double Dexter’ from the library. The TV series is pretty much a completely story to the books, so one doesn’t spoil the other, although if you try to compare them it just makes you annoyed that the TV series is so different, and that I suppose is what made me want to keep reading the books. The TV series is good, as a TV series, just not as an adaptation.

In ‘Double Dexter’ Dexter is, well, different. He gets seen and that puts Harry’s Code under threat, because he has to deal with this new threat.

One thing I really feel shows skill when it comes to Jeff Lindsey’s  writing is how he makes the reader actually feel sympathy with Dexter. It makes some sort of sense in the other books because the people who he murders are murderers themselves, it’s a sort of vigilante justice. That isn’t true in Double Dexter, because the person who he is trying to kill did nothing criminal- he just saw Dexter at his work. However we still feel sympathy for Dexter.

One thing though I tend to get with the Dexter books (and I have mentioned it before) is that sometimes Dexter seems very slow. I’m not sure if that is just that I’m cleverer than Dexter, or if there has become a certain predictability with the books.

This one though is the first time I’ve got frustrated with Dexter for other things. Like how he expects Rita just to have the dinner on the table. Sort of sexist. Except is he sexist or is he just single minded? Because it’s always been like that does he just not question that maybe it shouldn’t be like that?

3/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£6.74)

Kindle (£5.99)

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Children’s Hour: The Time it Took Tom


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.
The Time it Took Tom has been fairly popular with the toddlers, and more popular with the pre-schoolers.

In the story Tom finds a tin of paint, and decides to paint to living room…completely! The story talks about the time it took, and the time the events after took.

The toddlers like the simpler parts of the story as Tom is actually painting, but they tend to loose interest in the longer bits that describe how they fixed it. It’s a good book to talk about time, and there is a lot of extra story in the pictures as you see Tom’s Mum out of the window.

The pictures are by Nick Sharratt and of the style which tends to be popular with kids

Buy it:

Paperback- new or used (from £3.40)

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

Sunday Surfing 6/9/15


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

A Group of Authors Are Raising Money for Syria. Different authors are matching £10,000 each, as I type they’ve raised over £860,000 you can donate here

Books to Read if You Love Haruki Murakami

How Books Changed This Prisoner’s Life

How Reading Books is Better to Reading e-books

Bookish Sand Sculptures

Why Books Are Dangerous

It’s been a while since I’ve put a video in here but I couldn’t resist this little bookworm

 

And on the blog this week…

 

Blogiversary Giveaway

I Reviewed ‘Hallucinations’

The Kids Read ‘Dinosaur Kisses’

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Dinosaur Kisses


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.
I’ve read Dinosaur Kisses to both toddlers and pre-school, but it went down better with the younger ones.

The story is about a dinosaur who sees a kiss and wants to copy, but keeps getting it wrong.

It’s very simple, probably too simple for a pre-schoolers, at least I think that’s why they appreciated it less. The toddlers though liked all the noises included in the narrative, and found it funny when the dinosaur got it wrong.

Personally I liked the pictures which were very cute. and I had imagined it as being more a book for the toddlers than the pre-schoolers.

Buy it:

Paperback (£6.99)

Hardback (£11.99)

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

Hallucinations- Oliver Sacks


Synopsis (from amazon)

Have you ever seen something that wasn’t really there? Heard someone call your name in an empty house? Sensed someone following you and turned around to find nothing?

Hallucinations don’t belong wholly to the insane. Much more commonly, they are linked to sensory deprivation, intoxication, illness, or injury. In some conditions, hallucinations can lead to religious epiphanies or even the feeling of leaving one’s own body. Humans have always sought such life-changing visions, and for thousands of years have used hallucinogenic compounds to achieve them.

In this book, with his usual elegance, curiosity, and compassion, Dr Sacks weaves together stories of his patients and of his own mind-altering experiences to illuminate what hallucinations tell us about the organisation and structure of our brains, how they have influenced every culture’s folklore and art, and why the potential for hallucination is present in us all, a vital part of the human condition.

Review

Oliver Sacks is probably generally seen as one of the most accessible neuroscientists of modern times.  Considering that, and my interest in psychology it’s quite surprising that I haven’t read anything by him before now. I can see why he is seen as accessible from his writing style, however I did find Hallucinations a little hard-going, more because of repetitiveness than anything else.

The book was split into sections based on causes of hallucinations (e.g. particular illnesses, sensory reasons, drugs), which made sense in some ways, however it also meant that when more than one cause for a particular type of hallucination could be found a description of that type of hallucination would be given in each chapter about each cause. There were different first-person accounts, which was interesting in it’s own way because different people hallucinate different things, even within a set type of hallucination. Even that did have some repetitive air to it though.

Having said that it was very interesting. I think Sack’s main aim was to make hallucinations more acceptable. They are generally seen as a sign of madness, and they can be that, but usually they aren’t, there are many more things that can cause them, and lots of different presentations of hallucinations which many people wouldn’t consider.

In fact he described what one would call a migraine aura usually as a type of hallucination which is interesting. I suppose calling it an aura makes it seem less serious or scary- but is that just because of a sort of stigma put on the idea of hallucinating. I do sometimes find migraine auras distressing- would they be more distressing if I called them hallucinations? Anyway it just shows that hallucinations aren’t all what one’s first thoughts of hallucinations would be. They aren’t always ‘real’ things. They aren’t always pictures even.

I did find it very interesting, and it probably changed my view of hallucinations a bit. It could have done with a bit of editing though. I’ll certainly read more by Sacks, and I already have Musicophilia and Migraine on my wishlist.

Oliver Sacks sadly died this weekend, which is what prompted me to write this review over the others that are waiting to be written.

3.5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£7.49)

Kindle (£4.49)

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Filed under non-fiction review, psychology (non-fiction)

Blogiversary Giveaway 2015


 photo 276bb9e1-1cf9-4786-8239-44a84554fba0_zps94b4d079.jpg

It was my blogiversary yesterday (6 years, can you believe it?!) so I’m running a giveaway to celebrate.

The prize is your choice of any book mentioned in my review of the year posts, so long as it is sold on The Book Depository

The giveaway is open internationally if The Book Depository does free shipping to your country.

You don’t need to follow my blog to enter, but can earn extra entries by following in any of a few different ways.

Enter Here

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Filed under Fiction review