Category Archives: Books and Reviews

If you are an author or publisher and would like me to review your book, please get in touch and I’ll see what I can do.

Booking Through Thursday – Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

Hosted by Booking Through Thursday

Ever read a book you thought you could have written better yourself?

Yes. The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer. Personally I think a chimp with a typewriter could do better, so it’s not much of a challenge. I found the story unoriginal and the writing very poor. I know that flies in the face of the millions of fans the saga has, but I thought they were terrible books.

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays are hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

* What are you currently reading?
* What did you recently finish reading?
* What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?
Thomas Hoover – Caribbee (E)

I’m about 3/4s of the way through this and I’m enjoying it immensely.

Georgette Heyer – Regency Buck
Borrowed from a colleague. So far, so good.

What did you recently finish reading?
Nothing – but I did abandon Ben Hur by Lew Wallace because it was boring me rigid. It’s a real shame because a) it was for discussion in Kindle Klub, and b) I nominated it, so I feel rather guilty at having suggested a total duffer. At least one other member has also found it impossible to get on with this one.

What do you think you’ll read next?
Robyn Young – Insurrection
The publishers have sent me this one to review and I’ll be getting the sequel around the time of its publication in August this year. It looks like it will be right up my street, so I’m looking forward to getting to it as soon as possible!

Tuesday Memes

Teaser Tuesday
Halfhead by Stuart B MacBride

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
5. Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser:

There’s blood everywhere.

It sparkles in the artificial light like diamonds scattered onto dark red velvet. It fills the air with the scent of burning copper and hot rust, tugging at her belly. It soaks through her jump-suit, making the cheap fabric cling to her gaunt body like a second skin.

– page 1, Halfhead by Stuart B MacBride

Glasgow, not too far in the future. A new punishment has been devised for the perpetrators of serious crimes — one that not only reduces the prison population but also benefits society at large. The process is known as halfheading: the offender’s lower jaw is removed and they are lobotomized. They are then put to work as cleaners in municipal areas like hospitals, where they serve as a warning to all that crime doesn’t pay. But for one halfhead, it seems the lobotomy hasn’t quite succeeded. Six years after her surgery, Dr Fiona Westfield ‘wakes up’ surrounded by the butchered remains of a man she has just brutally killed. As her mind slowly begins to return, she sets out on a quest for vengeance. William Hunter, Assistant Section Director of the ‘Network’ — a military wing of the police — attends the crime scene left behind by the newly awakened halfhead. Sherman House is a run-down concrete housing development full of undesirables and Hunter and his team quickly find themselves in a firefight with the locals. With the help of old comrades and a new friend in the form of prickly but attractive Detective Sergeant Josephine Cameron, Will gets on the trail of the killer. But before long the investigation leads back to a terrible tragedy in his own past, as well as to a terrifying conspiracy to sow violence and misery among Glasgow’s most vulnerable citizens.

What I think of it so far:
I actually read this quite a while ago, but it pretty much jumped off my shelf at me today and I thought I’d give you the opening paragraph. It’s a slightly futuristic crime thriller written with the same pitch-black gallows humour that MacBride shows in his Logan McRae series. If you’re not usually a fan of sci-fi, this can be a nice ease-in from the crime side of things.

Top Ten Tuesday
Top Ten Books On My Spring To-Be-Read List

For various reasons, from being given books to review to getting books out of the library, to books I have waiting on my shelf to be cracked open, here are the top ten books I’ll be reading this spring:

  1. Insurrection by Robyn Young (for review)
  2. Gladiator: Fight For Freedom by Simon Scarrow (from library)
  3. Ultraviolet by R J Anderson (from library)
  4. The Body at the Tower (The Agency 2) by Y S Lee (from library)
  5. Huntress by Malinda Lo (from Xmas)
  6. Praetorian (Romans #11) by Simon Scarrow (from Xmas)
  7. A Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire 1) by George R R Martin
  8. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
  9. North By Northwest by Ernest Lehman
  10. The Transformation by Catherine Chidgey

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Monday Memes

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

Hosted by Sheila at One Person’s Journey through a World of Books.

E– E-book Challenge
G – 2012 Genre Challenge
BFF – Bookie Friends’ Favourites Challenge
BL – Bucket List Challenge
S – Off The Shelf Challenge
AZ – A-Z Challenge
C – Classics Challenge
R – Review for author or publisher
K – Reading for Kindle Klub Book Group

Thomas Hoover – Caribbee (E)
I’m about 3/4s of the way through this and I’m enjoying it immensely.

Georgette Heyer – Regency Buck
Borrowed this from a colleague – so far, so good.


Cover Crazy

Around the World in 80 Days
From the Earth to the Moon
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Journey to the Centre of the Earth
– All by Jules Verne

What I love:
What’s not to love about these gorgeous covers? Looking at them, you get a real feel for the contents of Verne’s wonderful tales, and the vintage look of them speaks of the time in which they were written. Truly, these classic novels deserve such stunning covers. Everything from the colours to the composition, to the style of cover art and typeface just screams class and is just so beautiful to look at I could cry right now because I do not have these versions on my bookshelves. I shall have to remedy that situation as soon as possible!


Musing Mondays

Hosted by Should Be Reading

Would you choose to review a book if its description sounded interesting but the cover was terrible?

Short answer – yes. I’ve reviewed hundreds of books over the years and some of them had truly dreadful covers. Some of the contents matched the awful cover art (“art” being a very kind description in some cases!), but others have been wonderful.

Even looking at the books in my permanent collection – the earlier Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett have, in my opinion, hideous covers – ugly, bulbous characters sprawling across the cover bearing little-to-no resemblance to the characters on the pages, with garish colours to add to the offence. However, the contents of those books are wonderful – some of my favourite books of all time come from that very series. If I had let myself be put off by the covers, I would have missed out on so much enjoyment.

In general, a pretty, unusual or striking cover will tempt me to pick up a book and at least read the blurb to see if it might appeal to me, but sometimes the ugly ducklings turn out to be swans too.

Friday Finds

What great books did you hear about / discover this past week? Share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

By following links to blogs taking part in various memes, I’ve heard about so many great books it would be impossible to list them all. I’m also a regular visitor to our local library and am always eagerly awaiting newly published books by my favourite authors. However, here are the ones that really stood out for me this week and for which I’ll be looking out on future book acquisition expeditions:

They’ve all gone onto my wish list!

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Booking Through Thursday – More!

Hosted by Booking Through Thursday

Which non-series book would you most like to read the sequel to?
Do you have any wishes for what might happen in it?

The Stand by Stephen King! And here’s why…

If you’ve not read this novel,
there are spoilers below this point!

Continue reading

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays are hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

* What are you currently reading?
* What did you recently finish reading?
* What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?
Georgette Heyer – Regency Buck
I’ve borrowed this one from a colleague. Stephen Fry once mentioned on a TV programme that The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer was one of his favourite books, and I resolved I would give it a try. My colleague offered to loan me this one as she’s just finished reading it, so I couldn’t refuse! I’ll get to the other one another time and see if I agree with Mr Fry!

Lew Wallace – Ben-Hur (e-book)
I’lm reading this e-book for discussion with the rest of Kindle Klub this month, but so far it’s like reading a novelised version of the New Testament, which I’m not particularly enjoying. I’m not sure how much further I’ll continue with this one. Unless it picks up very soon, it will be ditched, I’m afraid!

What did you recently finish reading?

Terry Pratchett – Snuff (Discworld 39) Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
I was so excited about this novel as it’s a Vimes book and his are always my favourites. Till now. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it, but nowhere near as much as the others and therefore not as much as I had hoped and expected. I don’t know what it was about it exactly, but it just didn’t have the same flow as usual – perhaps it’s the switch Pratchett has had to make from typing to dictating. It’s good, but others have been better. Vimes is still Vimes, but I feel he’s mellowing a bit with age and fatherhood, and the rest of the watch were barely mentioned – there were a few bit-parts and one-liners for a couple of the usual crew, but they were mostly left out and Vimes took the helm, so to speak. Usually, this would be a fine thing indeed, but on this occasion, I felt it lacked a little sparkle.

I’m still looking forward to the publication of The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter in June though!

Charles Dickens – Great Expectations (e-book) Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
I enjoyed the earlier parts of this novel, but as time went on I found myself less and less engaged in the plot and characters. I no longer cared about Miss Havesham; I couldn’t understand why Pip still pined for cold, aloof Estella; and I wasn’t bothered by Pip distancing himself from his old friends and family. Before reading this, I knew the basics of the story, but there’s a lot here that always gets cut in adaptations, and I can see why as a lot of it was, to be perfectly frank, very dull. The humour I found in the first half of the book gave way to the doldrums and I felt like I was wading through the second half of the book like wearing lead boots in a lake of treacle. It felt like it took forever and by the time I neared the end of it, I was wishing it would hurry up and reach a conclusion. So, overall, I was rather disappointed by this, but I will not let it put me off trying more Dickens…

What do you think you’ll read next?
Malinda Lo – Huntress
Prequel to Ash, which I loved.

Simon Scarrow – Praetorian
Eleventh in the fantastic Romans series.

These are the last of my Xmas gift books!