Friday, 15 January 2010

Been too busy reading to do much reviewing

Will hopefully post some more reviews in the near future.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Book: Case Histories - Kate Atkinson

Blurb: Cambridge is sweltering, during an unusually hot summer. To Jackson Brodie, former police inspector turned private investigator, the world consists of one accounting sheet - lost on the left, found on the right - and the two never seem to balance. Jackson has never felt at home in Cambridge, and has a failed marriage to prove it. Surrounded by death, intrigue and misfortune, his own life haunted by a family tragedy, he attempts to unravel three disparate case histories and begins to realise that in spite of apparent diversity, everything is connected...
Rating: *****
Review: An excellent read. The story is well-written and you can sympathise with the characters. A good story that I didn't want to put down once I had started reading - try and ensure you have uninterrupted reading time if you are going to start this book. Believe me, you won't want to be disturbed!!

Book: The Tenth Circle - Jodi Picoult

Blurb: Bestselling author Jodi Picoult's The Tenth Circle is a metaphorical journey through Dante's Inferno, told through the eyes of a small Maine family whose hidden demons haunt every aspect of their seemingly peaceful existence. Woven throughout the novel are a series of dramatic illustrations that pay homage to the family's patriarch (comic book artist Daniel Stone), and add a unique twist to this gripping, yet somewhat rhetorical tale.
Trixie Stone is an imaginative, perceptive 14 year old whose life begins to unravel when Jason Underhill, Bethel High's star hockey player, breaks up with her, leaving a void that can only be filled by the blood spilled during shameful self-mutilations in the girls' bathroom. While Trixie's dad Daniel notices his daughter's recent change in demeanour, he turns a blind eye, just as he does to the obvious affair his wife Laura, a college professor, is barely trying to conceal. When Trixie gets raped at a friend's party, Daniel and Laura are forced to deal not only with the consequences of their daughter's physical and emotional trauma, but with their own transgressions as well. For Daniel, that means reflecting on a childhood spent as the only white kid in a native Alaskan village, where isolation and loneliness turned him into a recluse, only to be born again after falling in love with his wife. Laura, who blames her family's unravelling on her selfish affair, must decide how to reconcile her personal desires with her loved ones' needs.
The Tenth Circle is chock full of symbolism and allegory that at times can seem oppressive. Still, Picoult's fans will welcome this skilfully told story of betrayal and its many negative and positive consequences.
Rating: ***
Review: I quite enjoyed this book and found the story was enhanced by the artwork contained within it - unfortunately, I have not been able to decipher the hidden message. The story held my interest but, I feel, its not as good as some of her other books.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Book: Plain Truth - Jodi Picoult

Blurb: The discovery of a dead infant in an Amish barn shakes Lancaster County to its core. But the police investigation leads to a more shocking disclosure: circumstantial evidence suggests that eighteen-year-old Katie Fisher, an unmarried Amish woman believed to be the newborn's mother, took the child's life. When Ellie Hathaway, a disillusioned big city attorney, comes to Paradise, Pennsylvania, to defend Katie, two cultures collide and, for the first time in her high profile career, Ellie faces a system of justice very different from her own. Delving deep into the world of those who live 'plain', Ellie must find a way to reach Katie on her terms. As she unravels a tangled murder case, Ellie also looks deep within to confront her own fears and desires when a man from her past comes back into her life.
Rating: *****
Review: One of my favourite Picoult books - I was hooked from page 1. Excellently written with a twist at the end that I didn't see coming. I empathised with the characters and lost myself in the story. Highly recommended

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Book: Keeping Faith - Jodi Picoult

Blurb: For the second time in her marriage, Mariah White catches her husband with another woman, and Faith, their seven-year-old daughter, witnesses every painful minute. In the aftermath of a sudden divorce, Mariah struggles with depression and Faith begins to confide in an imaginary friend.At first, Mariah dismisses these exchanges as a child’s imagination. But when Faith starts reciting passages from the Bible, develops stigmata, and begins to perform miraculous healings, Mariah wonders if her daughter – a girl with no religious background – might indeed be seeing God. As word spreads and controversy heightens, Mariah and Faith are besieged by believers and disbelievers alike, caught in a media circus that threatens what little stability they have left.Is Faith a prophet or a troubled little girl? Is Mariah a good mother facing an impossible crisis – or a charlatan using her daughter to get attention?
Rating: **
Review: I was disappointed with this particular book by one of my favourite authors. Had this been the 1st book of Picoult's that I had read, I'm not sure that I would have read any more. This book has an interesting concept, but tries to be too many things to too many people. Its part mystery, part love story, with other elements briefly added. It doesn't seem to know what it is - and the ending is a particular let-down. Sorry, but a lacklustre book that doesn't explore fully or explain the questions it raises.

Book: The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness

Blurb: Imagine you're the only boy in a town of men. And you can hear everything they think. And they can hear everything you think. Imagine you don't fit in with their plans... Todd Hewitt is just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man. But his town has been keeping secrets from him. Secrets that are going to force him to run...
Rating: **
Review: Nominated for the Carnegie Award (2009). I only read this book because it was on the shortlist, and I am part of my school's Carnegie Shadowing Group. I was quite keen initially, the premise was promising - but the book failed to deliver. The "twist" at the end came across as an excuse to write another book rather than a genuine twist. I didn't relate to the characters, they didn't come across as believable. On the whole, a disappointment.

Book: Remember Me? - Sophie Kinsella

Blurb: Lexi wakes up in a hospital bed after a car accident, thinking its 2004 and she's a twenty-five-year old with crooked teeth and a disastrous love life. But, to her disbelief, she learns it's actually 2007 - she's twenty-eight, her teeth are straight, she's the boss of her department - and she's married! To a good-looking millionaire! How on earth did she land the dream life? She can't believe her luck - especially when she sees her stunning new home. She's sure she'll have a fantastic marriage once she gets to know her husband again. He's drawn up a 'manual of our marriage', which should help. But as she learns more about her new self, chinks start to appear in the perfect life. All her old colleagues hate her. A rival is after her job. Then a dishevelled, sexy guy turns up...and lands a new bombshell. What the **** happened to her? Will she ever remember? And what will happen if she does?

Rating: *****

Review: A funny chick-lit book from one of my favourite authors. If you enjoy the shopaholic series, you won't be disappointed. Lexi is a likeable character - if fact, I think I prefer her to Becky Bloomwood - and you can sympathise with her confusion. I enjoyed reading this one - an ideal summer read by the pool on holiday.