Thursday, 29 December 2011

Book review: The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri

The Shape of WaterThe Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri

I read this after catching half of Inspector Montalbano on the BBC. Having read a few foreign novels (translated into English mind!) I had some idea of what to expect.
For a start, I would've thought it was written in English, you cannot tell at all that it is translated from Italian. But there were some problems with the plot. Although I felt it was well written, I didn't particularly care about the characters and what happened to them. I also felt that Camilleri left far too much open. I'm not sure if it's just me, but I couldn't tell you who killed the victim and why.
On the other hand, I loved Montalbano himself, and Fazio and am looking forward to reading more about them. This wasn't brilliant, but it wasn't all that bad and I flew through it pretty quickly.

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Saturday, 24 December 2011

Book review: Agatha Raisin and a Spoonful of Poison by M.C. Beaton

Agatha Raisin and a Spoonful of Poison (Agatha Raisin, #19)Agatha Raisin and a Spoonful of Poison by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Agatha Raisin and a Spoonful of Poison by M.C.Beaton

I haven't read an Agatha Raisin book in a long time, and starting this one felt like slipping on a comfy cardigan. I love Agatha, she's grumpy, is obsessed with men and always ends up getting herself in trouble. But she's a brilliant detective, which is why we love her.
The plot of this one, wasn't as tight as I'd have liked it to be. The person who committed the murders didn't really have a reason for it, and now thinking back, not all of the ends were tied up. But you can't help but be engrossed in Agatha's personal life, her dinner dates with Gorgeous George Selby and the goings on of her friends.
All in all, a welcome return home for me and it's about time someone made this into a TV series! With it's eclectic characters and beyond believable plot lines it would show Midsomer Murders a thing or two!

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Thursday, 22 December 2011

Book review: Carrie by Stephen King

CarrieCarrie by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Carrie by Stephen King

I've always thought King was my favourite author, and this book was just another to cement that fact. I didn't realise Carrie was his first book. If that had been the case I would have tried to read it first.
King has never, at any point in his life, been a teenage girl, so it comes as a surprise to find a believable story about a troubled teenager who just happens to have the power of telekinesis.
Before I started reading, I was unaware of the way the story was told, which I thought was very clever. Telling Carrie from different points of view, from different texts and books was genius!
The fact that it only took me two days, also shows how much pull this story had. Normally, although I'm a fast reader, it takes me a while to read Stephen Kind, I tend to savour it. But with this, I just had to find out what happened.

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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Book review: Last Seen Wearing/Last Bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter

Last Seen Wearing / Last Bus to WoodstockLast Seen Wearing / Last Bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Last Seen Wearing/Last Bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter

The first, really annoying thing about this book was that it was printed the wrong way round. Last Bus to Woodstock, the first ever Morse book, was the second book, so I started halfway through, and finished halfway through by the time I'd read Last Seen Wearing. I've watched a few episodes of Morse on the TV, therefore John Thaw and Kevin Whately were stuck in my head and Morse and Lewis, but I don't consider this a bad thing. Now having read Morse, I think they were perfectly cast, although I still can't get my head around Morse ever falling in love with someone.
Both novels were excellent, and although I worked it out in Last Bus to Woodstock, I hadn't in Last Seen Wearing. What I love most about these books is the fact that Morse spends most of the novel, barking up the wrong tree! He came up with endless theories and many of them turned out to be incorrect. So often detectives are perfect, and there's a light bulb moment when everything clicks into place. This isn't so with Morse. Colin Dexter also manages to create a simmering 'pull'. You never rush to turn the page, but your brain keeps telling you to read one more chapter. Before you know it, it's two in the morning.

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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Book review: Days Gone Bye (The Walking Dead Vol.1) by Robert Kirkman

The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone ByeThe Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman

I've wanted to read this ever since watching the series on TV. I've read a few graphic novels in the past but I'm not an expert so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect.
First of all, I loved the drawings. The close ups were incredible, but the pictures further away were a bit cartoonish. I was a bit disappointed that it was in black and white, but I think it adds to the bleak situation they're all in.
Although graphic novels are easier to read, I think character development can be a bit slower. Because I'd seen the show, my brain filled in the gaps. Obviously, in novels there are often descriptions of the people so help you flesh them out a bit. No pun intended.
I read this in a matter of hours, and although I felt some of it was rushed and some of the dialogue was a bit unrealistic I still loved it and I can't wait to see where it's going. From the last page I can already tell it's going to be different from the series.

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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Book review: Dead Simple by Peter James

Dead Simple (Roy Grace, #1)Dead Simple by Peter James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dead Simple is the first in the Roy Grace series, by author Peter James, who is from and sets his novels in my home town of Brighton.
That's my first, major point. I love knowing exactly where Grace, the victim and the murderers are. I can picture the places easily and sometimes are even familiar with the places where they go, especially if it's in Lewes.
The story is also epic. The victim, on his stag night is buried alive by his friends, all of whom get killed in a car accident moments later, so no one knows where he is. This is the principal idea, but James takes it further with a range of other victims and suspects and no one appears as they seem.
It's a quick read, with exciting chases on car and on foot and a race to find the victim before he runs out of air.
The only reason I gave it four stars was because of Grace's supernatural beliefs. I don't believe that police would go to a psychic of a medium, however I have been assured by the author since that they would!

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Monday, 5 December 2011

Book review: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Cloud AtlasCloud Atlas by David Mitchell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from this book. All I knew was that it was told in six parts and they were all linked.
Each part was very different and there were some parts I liked more than others. The first part, the journals of Adam Ewing, was my second to least favourite. I've recently read Sea of Poppies and it was a very similar vein, so it felt old. Mitchell used & rather than the word and, which was very irritating. Thankfully he only used it for the first section.
The second section, about Robert Frobisher was my favourite, although I've heard other describe it as the least relevant. I love the language Frobisher uses and I was completely drawn into his story.
The third section was all about Luisa Rey. I got through this section the quickest, although it wasn't clear that it was set in the seventies until it was actually mentioned by a character. The connection between Letters from Zedelghem is much stronger.
The fourth section, about Timothy Cavendish was excellent, especially the second half. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the activities that Cavendish and his cronies got up to.
Sonmi~451 was very interesting, but could be difficult. You definitely had to concentrate as normal words were replaced with brand names which I thought was very clever.
The final section, Sloosha's Crossin' was my least favourite. If this had been the opening section, I would have stopped because it was so complicated and difficult to read. Sea of Poppies had similar language and I hated it! However, this held the biggest surprises, so it was the most worthwhile section.
I must admit I was expecting more twists than there was. A lot of reviews discussed 'reveals' and apart from Sonmi~451 and Sloosh's Crossin' there wasn't anything spectacular.

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