Sunday, 26 June 2011

Book 30 The Phone Goes Dead by Anthony Horowitz

I always said that as part of this '52 books in 52 weeks' challenge I wanted to read a good variety of genres and thought it was about time I read another Horowitz book. This is the usual twisty scary story that I would expect and I wasn't surprised or shocked by these two neat little stories. This book, obviously, isn't aimed at a 40 year old bloke like me and is aimed more at the children and young teenage readers. But it was fun and quirky, if not totally original. I would probably recommend Anthony Horowitz to any young person who likes to read something a bit different.

The first story is about a boy who has a mobile phone that receives messages from the dead and the second tale is about a creepy old bath that you wouldn't want in your own bathroom.

I can't critique this because I am an old git but it is good fun. And it makes me think again that I wouldn't mind trying my hand at writing this genre.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Book 29 Walking the Tree by Kaaron Warren

Lillah lives on the island of Botanica and the island is the tree and life revolves around the tree. Now she has come of age and it is her turn to walk around the tree. She sets off on a journey to explore and to learn all that the island has to teach her but at the last minute is talked into taking a small boy with her. But if anybody even suspects that he is carrying a deadly disease then both of their lives could be in danger. Being ill on Botanica is a punishable offence.Punishable by death.

Imagine if somebody wrote a new version of Enid Blyton's Magic Faraway Tree for Adults
and you probably will come up with something like this. It is a highly imaginative and often erotic affair, it's like a wonderful new world in a book. It takes you for an amazing adventure around the island, meeting lots of strange and scary people.

If you like your stories to be imaginative and a form of escape then you would probably love this book. Kaaron Warren creates an impressive and believeable new world full of secrets. In Botanica women have the power ! They are free to travel around the island to their hearts content and can more or less sleep with as many men as they like while the men are stuck in one place doing all the work ! The book also is a tale about different cultures actually living separate but mostly peaceful lives without the threat of war.

I loved the whole idea and this is my kind of book. Perhaps the plot was a bit thin ( some may say non existant) but I enjoyed travelling around this strange and quirky land. A land that is alien but yet strangely familiar.


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Book 28 The Girl on the Landing by Paul Torday

Elizabeth is married to Michael and their marriage is as dull as dishwater but convenient. There is an old saying that ' Strangers are just friends you haven't met yet.' But in Elizabeth's case her boring husband one day becomes a stranger after he sees a picture of a strange girl on a landing. He starts to act like a new man and life with him becomes much more fulfilling and fun.Unfortunately she also learns that he is not only a new man but a complete and utter stranger with a terrible secret.

A terrible secret that could put her entire life in jeopardy.

This is a really good book that kept my interest all the way if you want to read something a little bit different and a little bit quirky. Paul Torday crafts an interesting story that both intrigues and gives an insight into the horrors of living with a mental ilness. And it doesn't disappoint. It is actually one of those rare books that actually has a good beginning, middle and ending. It is never boring even though there are no car chases or big bangs. Just when you think you know what is going on you realise that you are just guessing. Enjoyed. I must read his other books.


Thursday, 9 June 2011

Book 27 - Bloodstained Kings by Tim Willocks

Bloodstained Kings by Tim Willocks is one of those books that I started years ago but never finished for some reason and so I thought it was high time I finished it ! Right from the beginning you are aware that there is something different about it. It's a little bit more arty than other books.There's a little bit more meat on the bones.

It's quite a convoluted plot that I couldn't possibly sum up in a paragraph and one of the greatest things about it is that the story is revealed slowly and the characters are revealed slowly too. You start off wondering what on earth is going on and most things, eventually, are revealed.

Basically Cicero Grimes wakes in the middle of his dirty and squalid front room ( he is in the middle of some kind of a breakdown or psychotic episode)when a man knocks on his door to deliver a letter. This letter informs him that his nemesis Clarence Jefferson has died and left him two suitcases in his will. Suitcases that contain information that could ( it seems) incriminate half of the population of
America. Lenna Parrilaud is a multimillionairess who has inprisoned her husband ( presumed dead) in a self built stone house. Their paths cross as they race against time to find the suitcases, but then her husband escapes his prison, add to this a daughter that was stolen from her at birth and who was also was presumed dead.

This book is arty and at times poetic and I love Tim Willock's style of writing. He has a way of getting inside the character's heads and he tells a good story. ( Probably because he is a Doctor who specialises in addiction !)There are plenty of twists and layers and it also has its fair share of violence.

My only problem with Bloodstained Kings is the ending. For such a different and strong book I found the ending was a little bit convoluted and well it just felt like everything was wrapped up too quickly and conveniently. I loved this book but towards the end it kind of just ( lost the plot ?) and became another action movie book and with a better ending I would have rated it higher.


Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Book 26 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck.

I borrowed this book from my son who is using it as part of his High School English.

This is pretty much different from anything I have read before and I don't know what to make of it to be honest. It is a well known classic and I can see why it us used so often in schools because it is a short novel and there are plenty of pickings for literary study. There aren't too many characters and the story isn't too confusing and it introduces metaphors and foreshadowing and you could probably study and discuss the moral repercussions of the book for the next half a century.

However I have to say that although I found the book sentimental and charming and although it wasn't boring, it didn't exactly rock my world either ! It wasn't the worst book I have ever read and it wasn't one of the best.

It focuses on two migrant workers during the great 30's depression who travel side by side to find work in the USA. One of them is a small, intelligent man and the other is a huge beast of a man with a heart of gold but the mental capacity of a child. Lenny, the big man often gets his friend in trouble because he doesn't know his own strength.

Maybe this is the kind of book which gets better after a few reads and it is a small inoffensive novel but it isn't the most exciting thing I have ever read. I think part of the reason is because it was written like a play and also because it was mostly written in the third person.I like books where you really feel like you are ' in the book' but with this I felt like I was watching it on a stage somewhere. If that makes any sense.