Monday, 31 January 2011

Review: Rowan the Strange by Julie Hearn

Rowan the Strange by Julie Hearn
Published by Oxford University Press
Challenge: BBC
Source Own copy (UK paperback)


Set at the start of the Second World War, Rowan the Strange shows what life is like in a mental asylum for a young boy who is diagnosed with schizophrenia. The treatments he receives are still experimental - and nobody predicts the effect they will have on him ...

***
This book wasn't at all what I was expecting.

The book follows the story of Rowan a young boy who is sent away by his family to a mental hospital because he is strange. During the course of the book you see how he is treated by the staff at the hospital, other patients and his family. It also has the nice touch of being set during the early part of World War Two.

The main reason I would recommend someone should read this is because it gives you real insight into how people with mental illness were treated and viewed during the 1940s. The treatments used are quite horrific and the way they are treated by other is at times appalling.

I loved the relationship between Rowan and Dorothea another hospital inmate. The dialogue between them was really funny and heartwarming at times and really heart breaking at other times.

The story also had another edge when looked at the German Doctor who worked at the hospital and his motivation for doing what he was doing. It touched on the T4 programme in Germany and ideas about the role of bystanders allowing such terrible things to happen.

All in all defiantely not the book I was expecting to read. A interesting read with many issues raised.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

In my Mailbox (34)

 IMM in hosted by the lovely Kristi at www.thestorysiren.com

Please forgive me if I'm MIA this weekend I am marking GCSE scripts for exam board and am on stupidly tight deadlines (made worse by the fact I am off to Scotland to see my younger brother next weekend). I will make up for it in half term and become a commenting machine!

While you're visiting enter my Long Reach Giveaway! UK only 5 copies up for grabs!!




Delirium by Lauren Oliver (UK Proof)
The Gorgeous Jesse for books4teens.co.uk sent me this. He is now officially my favourite person (shh don't tell Hadley)

When the following two books arrived I did a happy dance - you probably know why!

Across the universe by Beth Revis (UK proof)
Words cannot describe how much I am looking forward to this!!

Between shades of gray by Ruta Sepetys (UK proof)
This is completely different to the book above which I received in the same package but I am so excited to read it (with my history head on). If you've not heard anything about it find the author's website and check it out as the trailer is heart breaking!)

Hexbound by Chloe Neill (UK hardback)
I am so excited about this one. I loved the first book and can't wait to get stuck into this.


The Cabinet of curiostities by Paul Dowswell (UK paperback)
I received this out of the blue. I haven't heard about this author before but I think I might have to check out some of his other work as it sounds exactly like my sort of thing.

Rockoholic by CJ. Skuse (UK paperback)
Another one I received out of the blue and haven't heard much about. I've since heard good things and am quite looking forward to it.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

First edition website

Dear all

as you read this I am off in a secret online room doing standardisation for marking History GCSE papers. I will then be set loose on marking millions of them over the next few weeks (millions is a bit of an exaggeration but it feels likes it sometimes when you are in the middle of doing them) and will be on very tight deadlines. You might find therefore that I'm not about it in blogoworld for the next few weeks as much while I'm getting it done so please keep leaving me comments anyway and I'll catch up back when half term hits.

I thought today I'd leave you with this link - it is a site I hope to be using very soon when all the lovely money rolls in for marking all the papers!!

http://www.firsts-in-print.co.uk/

I have used them before and they have loads of signed and first edition books you can buy. For a signed copy addict like myself it is heaven!!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Review: Entangled by Cat Clarke

Entangled by Cat Clarke
Published by Quercus
Challenge: DAC, BBC
Source: Own copy (UK paperback)

The same questions whirl round and round in my head:
What does he want from me?
How could I have let this happen?
AM I GOING TO DIE?

17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with a table, pens and paper - and no clue how she got here.

As Grace pours her tangled life onto the page, she is forced to remember everything she's tried to forget. There's falling hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Nat, and the unravelling of her relationship with her best friend Sal. But there's something missing. As hard as she's trying to remember, is there something she just can't see?

Grace must face the most important question of all. Why is she here?

A story of dark secrets, intense friendship and electrifying attraction.


***
The thing I liked best about this book is that it was original in its ideas, concepts and execution along with being an engaging and pacey read which never left me bored or hoping something would happen.

Entangled is a story told by Grace of her recent past history as she tries to come to make sense of the situation she has found herself in. She has just woken up in a completely white room left with nothing apart from papers and pens to occupy herself with. She has no ideas where she is or how she got there. The story flits between a diary format in which Grace describes the here and now and parts when she discusses events that have happened previously in her life which mainly centre around the relationships she has with her best friend, her boyfriend and her absentee mother.

Grace is a funny main character. She isn't always all that likable, she can be very demanding and has quite a hard personality to allow you to warm to her. I actually quite liked this about her that she wasn't all sweetness and light and found finding out about her all the more interesting for it. I didn't connect as well with the other characters but they were also intriguing within themselves.

The book dealt with issues surrounding self harm in a thoughtful and insightful way which I thought was a nice touch as you got behind the psychology of why someone might self harm.

The only little niggle I had with this book was the amount of alcohol the girl consumed as a routine thing. I wasn't sure it was entirely realistic either that or I clearly must have been a tame teenager.

I loved the final part of the book where it opened up all the mystery surrounding the white room and why Grace was there. I didn't figure it out and thought it was cleverly done.

All in all a book I really enjoyed that was refreshingly different and pacey. I will be waiting eagerly to see what Cat Clarke produces next.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

adult books I love

I don't read a lot of adult books but if I had to pick out my top five books ever most of them would be adult books.

These are the ones I would recommend without question to other people as they are fab. I haven't reviewed them in full but I might do someday as it will give me an excuse to reread them. Maybe in the summer holidays..

Gone to soldiers by Marge Piercy
If you love your World Wat Two fiction you will love this - it is an epic at a staggering 800 pages but it is totally worth the time and effort (I have read it twice and would certainly read it again.


In a stunning tour-de-force, Marge Piercy has woven a tapestry of World War II, of six women and four men, who fought and died, worked and worried, and moved through the dizzying days of the war. A compelling chronicle of humans in conflict with inhuman events, GONE TO SOLIDERS is an unforgettable reading experience and a stirring tribute to the remarkable survival of the human spirit.

The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffengger
My husband bought this for me last valentine's day. It is awesome and  gorgeous throughout. Don't bother with the film though


A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare's passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger's cinematic storytelling that makes the novel's unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant. An enchanting debut and a spellbinding tale of fate and belief in the bonds of love, The Time Traveler's Wife is destined to captivate readers for years to come.

Charlotte Grey by Sebastian Faulks 
Another book that had an awful film to go with it. So bad in fact that I refused to watch all of it. I loved this book completely and loved the historical period it was set it. I loved the relationship between Charlotte and her airman and though it was generally a bit awesome





IN 1942, Charlotte Gray, a young scottish woman, goes to Occupied France on a dual mission:to run an apparantly simple errand for a British special operations group and to search for her lover, an English airman called Peter Gregory, who has gone missing in action. In the small town of Lavaurette, Sebastian Faulks presents a microcosm of France and its agony in 'the black years', here is the full range of collaboration, from the tacit to the enthusiastic, as well as examples of extraordinary courage and altruism. Through the local resistance chief Julien, Charlotte meets his father a Jewish painter whose inspiration has failed him. In Charlotte's friendship with both men, Faulks opens up the theme of false memory and of paradises—both national and personal—that appear irredeemably lost. In a series of shocking narrative climaxes in which the full extent of French collusion in the Nazi holocaust is delineated, Faulks brings the story to a resolution of redemptive love. In the delicacy of its writing, the intimacy of its characterisation and its powerful narrative scenes of harrowing public events, Charlotte Gray is a worthy successor to Birdsong.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer
I did find this one a bit hard to get into first - the whole concept of it was a little confusing. Once I got over that though I loved it. Definitely as good if not better than Twilight. I loved Jared as a character loads


Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.

Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.  Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves - Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.  Featuring what may be the first love triangle involving only two bodies, The Host is a riveting and unforgettable novel that will bring a vast new readership to one of the most compelling writers of our time.



Can you recommend any other adult books I really should read???

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Published March 2011

This book sounds amazing - I love a bit of dystopian fiction and this one sounds particularly good.


What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Review: Burned by PC and Kristin Cast

Burned by PC and Kristin Cast
Published by Atom
Challenge: None
Source: purchased from Amazon (UK hardback)


Zoey Redbird is the youngest High Priestess in House of Night history and is the only person – vamp or fledgling – that can stop the evil Neferet from raising all kinds of immortal trouble. And she might just have a chance if she wasn’t so busy being dead.

Well, dead is too strong a word. Stevie Rae knows she can bring her BFF back from her unscheduled va-cay in the Otherworld. But it’s going to take a lot more than hoping to bring Zoey back. Stevie Rae will have to give up a few secrets of her own . . 


***
I started this series late last year and completely gave up before this book. Now some time has passed I've picked it up again and I have to say that this book was a definate improvement on the previous instalment in the series.

House of Night is a bit of a guilty pleasure. There is so much of it that is a little bit cringy but you are drawn in all the same.

This book is definitely Stevie Rae's book. She is developed much more as a character and gets the most of the screen time in this story. I actually liked having the break ware from Zoey because she can bug me at times. For me the character who really stood out in this is Aphrodite. I rarely go from hating a character so strongly to loving them but I actually think she is awesome and she is probably the reason why I will now keep following the series. I love that she is really bitchy but it always seems to get the job and pull the rest of the characters together as a few of them have no back bone whatsoever.

Some of the scenes were brilliant. The action scenes in this series are always really good and there were quite a few steamy scenes with different characters that popped up.It just sometimes feels like there is a lot of padding stuffed in at times.

Don't get me wrong. I didn't love the book. The Casts still insist on using the F word almost every single sentence and have made up some lovely new words of their own which are equally as offensive. They still have what could be considered appalling offensive racial stereotypes used throughout. The scottish character was so typically Scottish it was cringy but I have now come to the point when it is actually funny when all these stereotypical characters pop up.

I am not uninterested to see what awakened holds for us now that Zoey has returned. I am hoping against hope that she is a bit stronger now and that she doesn't utter the words brown pop or bullypoopy but I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Review: Tymes End by BR Collins

Tyme's End by BR. Collins
Published by Bloomsbury PLC
Challenge: BBC
Source: Review Copy (UK paperback)






Bibi feels out of place everywhere - everywhere that is, except for Tyme's End, the deserted house that she breaks into when she thinks nobody is nearby. There she unexpectedly meets Oliver Gardner, the owner of the house, who's just returned after ten years away. Their story and the story of Oliver's grandfather becomes inextricably entwined, linked as they are by Tyme's End itself. For Tyme's End is more than just a deserted house. It is a house that by turns can be romantic, beguiling, sinister and malevolent. It is a house that had a cruel and manipulative owner. And anybody who enters Tyme's End must prepare themselves for terror ...Part mystery, part psychological thriller, set in the present yet with forays into the past, this is a cleverly ambitious novel that makes for a compulsive and gripping read.

***
I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book but I found the more I read the more I enjoyed this book.

The thing I loved most about it was that it was in three parts. The first set in 2006, the second in 1996 and the final part in 1936. The characters in all three time periods overlapped and I loved jumping back in time to find out more about the story.

The first part part of the story focuses on the story of Bibi a young girl who feels out of place everywhere she is except when she spends time in an old abandoned house called Tyme's End. I found it quite difficult to warm to her initially because she was quite ungrateful and bratty in her outlook but I did start to warm to her as she started to open up a bit more when she met and started to develop a relationship with Oliver the owner of Tyme's end. I loved how their story in that time period ended and certainly didn't see it coming.

The second and third parts follow Oliver 10 years younger and then his grandfather as a young man and develops the story surrounding the mystery of Tyme's End. I loved getting into the mystery behind the house and it's colourful past owner and genuinely found many parts of a bit creepy and not sure what was going to happen next. I loved how the mystery was looked into then built up and up in a very suspenseful way that kept you wanting to read more and more (I finished the whole thing in two sittings).

A pleasant surprise, this book did not turn out how I expected it would especially when reading the first section which made it appear to be a light and fluffy ghosty sort of book. It was so much more and so much better than what I was initially expecting, an awesome read I would definitely recommend and nothing like any other YA I have read.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

In my Mailbox (33)

IMM is hosted by Kristi at www.thestorysiren.com

I have had an awesome week bookwise this week!!

Arrived in the post


The Other Countess and The Queen's Lady by Eve Edwards (UK finished copies)
 I haven't heard a lot about these books but I can tell you they are set in the Tudor period and they look fab. They are a series - the first was out in July and the second out in early February (and a third later in the year). I am looking forward to reading them soon.

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (UK paperback)
I have read Anna's Bright Young Things and have heard people rave about this series - this came up on Read it Swap it this week and I managed to swap it. Looking forward to it.

Life as we knew it by Susan Pfeffer (UK paperback)
My lovely blogging friend Clover offered me her copy of this - I put it back on my wishlist a while back when I was on Dystopian Kick. I did notice after a flick through it is written in a diary format which I usually love.

Matched by Ally Condie
I managed to pick up a finished copy of this on readitswapit as I only had the proof. Fab book which I'd definately recommend.

Random House Children's Books Blogger Bunch

I spent yesterday yesterday in London attending the Random House Children's Books Blogger Bunch. It was amazing meeting the Random House Publicity team and all the other Bloggers who were there!! I will update you with details of the entire fab event later in the week but I wanted to show off my pretties today!

From Goody Bag


These are the books we got in our goody bags when we arrived! As well as these lovely books we got a mug, some postcardy swag and a lovely tote to keep them in.

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (UK Proof)
This book is out in April and is described as being a mix between CS Lewis, JK Rowling and Philip Pullman. I've linked to the Goodreads Synopsis for you to check it out. The buzz from the Random House girlies is that it is going to be huge. I also got a notebook (the plain green one in the picture) to go with the copy of the book!


The Kissing Game by Aidan Chambers (proof copy)
This is a collection of short stories based on a variety of experiences teenagers go through. The girlies said the last one is quite dark - looking forward to dipping into it.

In the Sea there are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda (UK Proof)
This book is the true story of a young boy who escaped from Afghanistan and follows his journey from there to Italy. We were told while it's quite horrific in places and quite an eye opener it really is quite uplifting in its message.


Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough (Bound Manuscript)
This is the book out of the ones I got this week I am most excited about. I dipped into a bit of it whilst on the train home and it was awesome - I have been told to read it during the day and with all windows shut as it is apparently really scary! I'm not sure when it is out but I think it is in April or the summer.

Office shelves raid!!

After were heard about all the lovely new books we were allowed up to the offices of the publicity team who let us raid their shelves and take home whatever we liked!! This is what I picked up.


The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (UK hardback)
I read this ages ago but never had my own copy. I doubt it needs much introduction.


Brisingr by Christopher Paolini (UK paperback)
I haven't yet read this series but I have been meaning to for ages! Maybe this will give me the kick I need to get started.

You against me by Jenny Downham (UK paperback)
I am so excited to get started on this one!! I loved before I die and I told that this one is just as good if not better!!

Newes from the Dead by Mary Hooper (UK hardback)
Another author I have been meaning to read for ages - This one looks particularly good!

Creature of the Night by Kate Thompson (UK paperback)
Another one I always meant to read but never got round to.

Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak (UK proof)
I loved The Book Thief and I've always meant to pick this one up. Looks fab!!

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay (UK paperback)
This book sounds really sweet and looks like a good one for school once I'm done with it.

Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel (UK hardback)
I've heard really mixed reviews about this book and I'm really looking forward to seeing what I make of it!


Beauty by Robin McKinley (UK paperback)
I love Disney's beauty and the beast, hated the freaky 80's live action version. Not sure what I'll make of this but I am reliably informed it is awesome!!

Hitler's Canary by Sandi Toksvig (UK paperback)
Another one I picked up for school which I am very excited about!!

Gifted


The lovely Caroline at Portrait of a Woman bought me this lovely book. It is the waterstone's special gold sparkly edition and it is gorgeous and best of all Karen Mahoney was there herself and signed my copy for me!

A huge thank you to the random house team - I had a fantastic day and can't wait to get reading all your fab titles!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Books by John O'Halloran

When life seems so mundane
When I resent my name, can't cope with blame

And need someone to help me through the shame
Someone who feels the same

A faceless friend who will not judge
To clean the mud, who holds no grudge

I need a place to hide away
A shield to keep the world at bay

These pages are my portal
And
This story is my saving grace

This made up unreality
Is made for me
A private place

Books by John  O'Halloran

This person that I read about
Is less than me
And more than me

But more than that
Is nothing like me

I am made irrelevant

Along with all that bothers me

I swear these books were heaven sent



For more go to
http://johallo1.blogspot.com/

Friday, 21 January 2011

UK GIVEAWAY - Long Reach by Peter Cocks

NOW CLOSED!!! WINNERS WILL BE ANOUNCED SOON

Today I am pleased to announce my first giveaway on The Overflowing Library of a book which I think is awesome.



I have available for a UK Giveaway  five copies of Long Reach by Peter Cocks provided by the lovely Walker Books. You can check out my review of it here

You can also check out the trailer below and read an extract here to help you decide if you want to enter




To enter please fill out the form below before the 31st January. Good Luck!!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Review: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Published by ATOM
Challenge: DAC
Source: Review Copy (UK paperback)


Three angels- Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human- are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They must work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.

Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong. 





***

I'm not sure what I was expecting for this book but it certainly wasn't like other angel YA titles I have read recently.

This book follows the story of three angels who have been sent to Earth on a mission to help people. Of the three Angels Bethany, the youngest is the Angel whose story we follow the most closely over the course of the book.

I enjoyed the book and thought the writing style was nice. The main character was sweet but a bit too naive for her own good at times. I hope she grows a bit more as a character in the next book(s) and gets a bit more streetwise as there were several things she just walked into. There were some really funny bits of dialogue (Ivy's explanation of what a MILF is was priceless).

The story was very slow to start, and not uninteresting in itself because it was written well I did find myself at times hoping something would start to happen. That said the last 70 pages or so were where everything kicked off, the story moved very quickly and secrets were revealed.

The main thing that might put someone off this book is that it does have quite a lot of religious undertones. It doesn't bother me all that much but there are a lot of ideals put forward in this which I imagine some readers would start to find annoying.

All in all a nice book (which is huge by the way) which has a different take on the angel genre.


The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?


Thank you ATOM for sending me this book for review. As ever I am eternally grateful

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Published February 2011

 I feel like this book has been out for ages because all I've seen recently are reviews for it. I actually think this will be more my thing than Lauren's first book which I did enjoy.


Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that one love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Review: The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove

The betrayal of Natalie Hargrove
Published by Random House Children's Books
Challenge: None
Source: Gifted by the lovely Emma / Asamum


Natalie Hargrove would kill to be her high school’s Palmetto Princess. But her boyfriend Mike King doesn’t share her dream and risks losing the honor of Palmetto Prince to Natalie’s nemesis, Justin Balmer. So she convinces Mike to help play a prank on Justin. . . one that goes terribly wrong. They tie him to the front of the church after a party—when they arrive the next morning, Justin is dead. From blackmail to buried desire, dark secrets to darker deeds, Natalie unravels. She never should’ve messed with fate. Fate is the one thing more twisted than Natalie Hargrove Cruel Intentions meets Macbeth in this seductive, riveting tale of conscience and consequence.






***

The person who said this book was Macbeth meets cruel intentions wasn't lying. I loved it and read it in one sitting.

The main character Natalie is the most popular girl in school and has worked hard to gain that status. She is a bitch to everyone and uses people left, right and center. She is driven by becoming her High School's Palmetto Princess and will stop and nothing to gain the title.

I have read reviews that have complained that the main character is unlikable but for me that was what made the book so good. She is completely self centred and self obsessed but I think that makes her a more interesting character when you look at what motivates her. I think her self obsession was seen best through her reaction to the outcome of the prank she had been involved in.

That said as the book progresses you get to see how and why Natalie is like she is. Her mother is like a best friend and no a mother figure at all who has remarried several times meaning a multitude of father figures have come and gone from Natalie's life. Her father, who until recently, has been in jail subjected her and her mother to violence on a day to day occurrence.

I found the story and the dynamics of the characters involved fascinating. I loved that this girl had no moral's whatsoever and was totally fixated on one very superficial thing. While taken a little to extremes I think it says a lot about the real price of high school popularity and absurdity of it all. The ending was quite predictable when you think about it but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Hadders guest review: The Logic of Demons by Hal Goodman

Today at The Overflowing Library I have something a little different for you. The review you will read below is done by my lovely husband Hadley. I am hoping it is something I can persuade him to do on a semi regular basis as it will mean I won't have so much pressure on when work is busy.

For those of you who haven't heard me chatter on about him Hadley is at least if not more responsible for the fact that we are rapidly running out of shelf space in our library (although he doesn't always read the quantity I do). While he will read the odd young adult novel (usually at my insistence) he usually reads adult Sci-Fi, fantasy, Gothic horror or thriller novels and a variety of graphic novels (he is currently in the middle of a Judge Dredd Marathon). He is patiently tolerant of my book obssession and generally a bit of wonderful chappy

I was offered this book by the author late last year. While I was interested it wasn't the type of book I usually read and I wasn't sure if I would have time to read it with all the January review titles I knew I needed to get through. Hadley read the description over my shoulder and expressed a real interest in it so I accepted it on his behalf for review at The Overflowing Library

___________________________________________________________________________________

The Logic of Demons - the quest for Nadine's soul by Hal Goodman
Published by Author House
Challenge: None
Source: Review copy (paperback)


What would you do if the love of your life was murdered by a deranged killer? Would you become a vigilante and seek retribution? And would this revenge affect those you care for in the afterlife? LOGIC OF DEMONS The Quest for Nadine's Soul takes you on a journey inside the psyches of men and women forced to deal with the spiritual consequences of their decisions. Through the lives of a demon, two Angels, and a mysterious teenage girl, a plethora of politically and socially relevant issues ranging from the roots of genocide and sex trafficking to child conscription and religious fundamentalism are addressed in this fantasy thriller. Life as well as the afterlife converge in this novel to explain certain peculiarities of the human condition. Whether you are God fearing individual or an atheist, LOGIC OF DEMONS The Quest for Nadine's Soul addresses moral and theological issues of interest for people of all backgrounds

***
A complex book that examines the nature of good and evil by addressing the issues of faith, revenge and justice.  The basic idea is that following the murder of his wife and child, the book’s protagonist Devin seeks revenge against the killer - becoming himself a murderer.  Upon death he finds himself transported to “The Office” where he is employed to sell a formula to the living that will help them to stand up for themselves and to seek justice – as he himself did.

Impressively (and also unusually for a book with theological overtones) this was not preachy, it did not try to convert you to a particular belief system but rather broadly analysed the concept of what it means to believe in something and whether it can be right do a wrong thing for a greater good (i.e. kill someone to prevent them from killing ten others).  Equally it didn’t pull its punches in its depictions of many of the less pleasant aspects of reality such as rape, genocide, radical fanaticism and child conscription.

Interestingly good and evil were not simply black and white but instead blurred into one another somewhat – the forces of light being composed of many zealots willing to do anything to realise their plans, while many in the evil camp had been manipulated or pressured on to that side.  My personal favourite was the depiction of hell as a corporate entity complete with board meetings, productivity assessments and sales divisions.  Anyone who has ever worked in an office environment will be amused by the corporate stereotypes transferred into demonic personalities.

This book was quite unlike anything I’ve read in some time.  Best of all was the radical change in direction towards the end of the tale that I really did not see coming.  All in all an entertaining read that left me pondering “What would I do if….”

Sunday, 16 January 2011

In my Mailbox (32)

In my Mailbox is hosted by the awesome Kristi at www.thestorysiren.com

This week has been an insanely mental week for books - they all seem to have dropped through my door at once!! I literally don't know where to start with them all!!

Presents

I was given a waterstones giftcard by a friend who know I love to read but knows I have loads and loads of books. It is reallt rare that I go to a waterstones (nearest one is over 20 miles away). I spent ages looking and finally decided to take advantage of their 3 for 2 offer and bought

The Demon Trappers: Forsaken by Jana Oliver (UK paperback)
I am looking forward to this loads and I believe it is a debut novel so I will be reading it for my DAC attempt this year.

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles (UK paperback)
I recently read the first perfect chemistry book and really enjoyed it - looking forward to getting to this soon!!


Lament by Maggie Stiefvater (UK paperback)
I have been waiting ages for this - been told it is better than shiver but I personally prefer werewolves so I am looking forward to seeing what I make of it.

More Presents

I also got these as belated christmas presents this week too!!

I put this on my amazon wishlist ages ago and my sister in law finally bought it for me. It sounds really creepy!!

I put this on my wishlist too quickly and am not sure if I want to carry on with the series - I might give it a go if I get time - or I might end up book fairying it away elsewhere

I have pretty much everything Scott Westerfeld has produced but had a hard time getting this - Hadley managed to track it down for me the lovely boy.

Mega cheap shopping trip

Whilst up the city I found a cheap book shop ( say found - it's always been there just they never usually have anything) and they had all of these for £2 each of 2 for £3. I was rather pleased to pick up such a bargain. If any one is interested the shop is in the Castle Mall Norwich on the first floor


Jenny Valentine is one of those authors I have always meant to read more of as I have loved what little I have read of her. As I am doing the BBC challenge this year it has given me a kick to find some more of her stuff.

Another one that will be good for the BBC. I have just read Rowan the Strange which was good and have been told this is a prequel. I do love a bit of historical fiction too!!

I love this book and it was cheap - very cheap and I love hardback books - too good to pass up!!

Thirteen Treasures and Thirteen curses by Michelle Harrison (UK paperback)
I have heard so many good things about this series (from Jenny at wondrous reads) that I picked these up. I'm not all that into fairies but I'm willibng to give it a go.

For review

I have been spoilt rotten by my publisher contacts this week - thank you so much for all the lovely books!


This is a graphic novel which comes out in February. It is about anorexia and based on the author's personal experiences of dealing with the disorder. 

You can't see it but this edition has a black edge. It looks super cool. Looking forward to reading it a lot.

This is due to come out in June and the buzz is that is it going to be huge (it is also literally huge at over 500 pages)

 This book lots like it would appeal to male readers quite nicely - it is about some friends who find a bag stuffed full of money and looks at what they do after they find it. It is released in february.

I am not entirely certain if this is YA but it looks mega creepy. I am really looking forward to getting started on it soon.

Bought / swapped
I had some preorders drop through the door this week and things have picked up on readitswapit.co.uk again!!


Having been  dispatched by Amazon over 2 weeks a I was starting to worry if this one was going to turn up. The cover is gorgeous. I am very excited to start it soon. Another UK debut.

This book looks awesome - dystopian is definately my thing! I lied when I said I didn;t know where to start with my TBR pile this week. This is probably where I will start! Also it is a debut so it will be part of my attempt at the DAC.

My husband is officially in love with this cover (it is a red head thing he picked up after years of watching Willow in Buffy). I have already finished and really enjoyed it. review will be up later in the month. Another debut from a fab British author.

I have heard lots of good things about this and actually managed to swap a copy on www.readitswapit.co.uk this week.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

negative reviews - discussion follow up


Last week I posted about not writing negative reviews. I loved that I got loads of comments but I just wanted to clarify a few things about my position as I think a few people misunderstood what I was saying. (Thank you to those who did comment you really made me think)

I see a negative review as one that has nothing, however small, to say about the book which is positive. I often find what I’ve seen of those types of review that they are often quite nasty or personal or just unreasonable as well.

If I have nothing good to say about a book and I’m half way through I simply don’t finish it. I don’t see that it is worth my time finishing something I am not enjoying and then wasting even more time reviewing it. That said out of the 168 books I read last year there were only 7 I did this with. In which case I put a note on goodreads explaining why I didn’t finish it and include them in a round up post of books I didn’t finish periodically.

What I think some people thought I meant by my post is that I would only post 5 star reviews on my blog – that certainly isn’t the case. Out of everything I read about 10% get a 5 star rating from me and a vast amount get 3 stars. To my mind if I’ve finished a book I’ve liked it enough for at least 2 stars and will review it. I am happy to outline a balanced review in which I outline both what I liked and didn’t like about a book. I think 95% of my reviews are like that. 

I certainly don't believe in giving a book a 5 star rating just because everyone else has - Mockingjay being a prime example of that - people raved about it but I was actually left disappointed and I said so in my review. Another one that springs to mind is Emma Michaels The Thirteenth Chime. People (I suspect in a bid to suck up to her for free swag - which that really didn't need to do as she is lovely) wrote rave reviews, all five stars about her book the instant it came out. I certainly didn't think it was worth that (nothing against Emma's work - I don't think many books are worth 5 stars). I wrote an honest review outlining what I liked and didn't like about it and was pleasantly surprised to see Emma had clicked on my goodreads account to say she liked my review. (If you are interested my review is here)

so to sum up ... 
  • If you see a review on here I have liked that book enough to see it through to the end. 
  • Not everything I review is five stars and sometimes I can't even say why I gave something a lower star rating than another book - a lot of it goes down to how I feel after I finish a book. 
  • If I do post a 5 star review the book has to have been very special and one I would reread time and time again.
  • I will not write negative reviews of books (by negative I mean I have nothing good to say about a title) but ..
  • I will write balanced / neutral reviews saying what was good and bad about a given title.