Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Book 35 Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

Wizard ,Drum Billet, has 6 minutes to live and he has finally found the eighth son of an eighth son to pass on his magical powers. Unfortunately the eight son happens to be a girl.Eskarina sees herself as more of a witch but finds herself on a journey to become a wizard, but in the Discworld, girls aren't allowed to be wizards. With the help of Granny Weathermax she decides to follow her new calling but then discovers that magic is more powerful and dangerous that she thought. And she also learns that wizards are pretty stupid.

This is a fun book and I enjoyed reading it as I have enjoyed reading other Terry Pratchett books. It is the third book in the Discworld series and perhaps it isn't as hilarious and polished as some of the others and perhaps it is ( in parts) more for a younger audience than his later books. But it did have some brilliantly funny and imaginative moments and Terry Pratchett never fails to entertain me. Fun.


Friday, 22 July 2011

Book 34 Paranormality - Professor Richard Wiseman

I thought I knew a lot about the paranormal but this book made me realise how little I actually did know. It is a fascinating look at the paranormal from a sceptical scientific point of view and looks at the psychology of the paranormal. From table tipping to cold reading, from ghosts to prophetic dreams, it is an eye opener and it is very accessible and nothing like reading a textbook.

Professsor Wiseman's book is fascinating and entertaining, filled with interesting facts and humorous tales. I especially loved reading about Gef ' the Talking Mongoose' . I liked the interactive stuff as well, there are links to online videos and interactive psychological tests that you can take part in.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the paranormal , be they a skeptic or a believer, but this book shows how ( when it comes to the supernatural) there is more to it than meets the eye. A real eye opener, a truly interesting and thought provoking read.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Book 33 The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

I cannot even begin to review a book like 'The Secret Garden' because in all honesty I am not 'intended reader', this book could probably only really be reviewed by a child of a certain age or by a parent reading for a child of a certain age. I am a forty year old bloke with a big nose and a bald head ! However it is very important for me to read as many different kinds of books as possible during this challenge and that includes books like this.

I am sure I couldn't dream of appreciating this book as much as a young child, if in fact children are interested in books like this anymore. But there is much to be learned by reading this from an aspiring writers point of view and even though I am forty, it was fun to read. In fact I actually listened to this in an audio book format and it was a pleasant change, although it was at first a bit of a leap of faith to listen to an American woman attempting an English Yorkshire accent. But I soon got over that and in the end it didn't bother me !

What I liked about this book was the lovely way in which the author set the scene, I found myself seeing the big house and the big gardens in my minds eye without any difficulty, something that is not always true in other books. It is a skill I would like to master. The characters were good and endearing and I liked the way in which the three important characters all changed and grew , again something I think is important in any work of fiction.

But one of the best things in 'The Secret Garden' was its simple but well told tale with a strong moral story at its heart.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Book 32 Stop Me by Richard Jay Parker

"Forward this email to ten friends if it ends up in my inbox within a week I won't slit the bitches throat....."

Leo Sharpe's life is turned upside down when his wife Laura disappears. Women are being gruesomely killed in America, Germany and the UK and Laura could be one of them but unlike the others, her jawbone hasn't turned up in a parcel ! A character called Bookwalter turns up claiming to be the killer but is he who he says he is and what is his purpose ?

This is a very good psychological thriller and it is for books like this that the term 'a real page turner' was invented. It is easy to read and the pages just seemed to turn themselves, the plot is intriguing and there are enough twists and turns to keep you wondering what will happen next. One of the things that helped was an original idea that started a chain of events leading from England to the United States.

I don't know if Richard Jay Parker intends to write many more books but from the evidence of "Stop Me" he can only get better and that is a real treat to look forward to.

If you want to read a decent thriller with some great twists, you can't do much better than this. I'm not sure if the title or the back cover actually do this great book enough justice but it is one of the best thrillers I've read for a good while.
Now I'll never be the same whenever I receive a dodgy email and I still can't get that Smiths song ( Stop me if you think you've heard this one before) out of my head !

Why not watch the trailer ?


Saturday, 2 July 2011

Book 31 The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna

This book takes the reader into the lives of four main characters in different places and at different times. In Vienna in 1865 a doctor is locked up in a mental asylum after discovering that women are dying in childbirth due to inadequate handwashing techniques. In the present day Michael has written the story of this same Doctor, Ignaz Semmelweis, and it has become his first published book. But he is struggling to come to terms with how this has affected his life and he is forced to re-examine where his life has taken him. Brigit Hayes is going into labour with her second child and is determined to have a homebirth this time and in a future world women are locked in tall towers and normal childbirth has been outlawed. But something has gone wrong.

This book is a fantastic read and all four stories are told intelligently and with an unusual freshness. At one point in the book one of the characters states that a book about childbirth wasn't really the kind of book that a man would read, thankfully this is not true and I absolutely loved it! I loved the fact that at one moment I was in Vienna in 1865 with horses trotting down a cobbled square and the next I was in a sterile interrogation room in 2153.

But most of all I loved Joanna Kavenna's style of writing that was both interesting and fresh. Yesterday was actually a major day of celebration in Hungary where the life of Ignaz Semmelweis is honoured, I actually work with a Hungarian Consultant in my local hospital and he was amazed that I knew about it thanks to this book ! Some books rely heavily on a good ending but some books just take you on a fantasic journey, regardless of the ending, this is one of those books.

I will definitely have to read more from this talented Author.