Sunday, 2 April 2017

Black Sheep by Susan Hill









'Brother and sister, Ted and Rose Howker, grew up in Mount Of zeal. a mining village blackened by coal. They knew nothing of the outside world. though both of them yearn for escape.'




Things I liked about this book -


I really liked the historical detail. It's like I was actually there. In a coal town in our distant past. I could almost smell the coal dust on my clothes. I also like the characters and how drew me in and helped to make me feel like we I was there.


Things I didn't like -


There was just too much going on for a short novella like this. It's almost as if Susan Hill decided to throw everything, including the kitchen sink, into the story line. What with a missing person, a mining disaster, a murder and a failed marriage, not too mention the ending, it was too much and became a little bit comical and unrealistic. I was almost waiting for a landslide or a plague of locusts to appear.


It started off well and I loved the historical details but as a story I felt like it was trying to cram too much into too few pages.



6/10

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Ostrich by Matt Greene









'Alex has a story to tell. He just doesn't know what kind of story it is yet. He's got a lot of the concerns every 12-year-old has but lately, ever since his brain surgery, everyone in his life is behaving more than a little mysteriously. He's certain there's something rotten at the heart of his parents' marriage, and when his beloved hamster Jaws 2 starts acting up as well he decides it's time to investigate.'





With it's unusual name and striking front cover I didn't know what to expect with this one. I was prepared for every eventuality.



What I got was a great read. It is witty and sad and cleverly written. We are taken into the mind of a 12 year old boy who has been diagnosed with a brain tumour. He wakes from surgery to find that things are a little bit different but he doesn't know why.


You will have a laugh with this one and maybe shed a tear. It's ending is as original and clever as every single page. It will make you think and it may take you a while to work it out. But when you do you will realize what a great book this is.




10/10





Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly ~ Sun Mi-Hwang







Meet sprout. A hen who only has one dream and that is to lay an egg. But she also wants her freedom.



I got this in a pile of books from my local library but I saved it until last because I didn't really fancy it. In fact I thought it was just going to be another run of the mill children's book. But how wrong was I. It is brilliant! Written by Korean Author Sun Mi-Hwang and translated by Chi-Young kim and with lovely illustrations by Nomoco, this really is a special little book from beginning to end.

At its simplest it's a lovely little story with wonderful characters but it is also full of deeper meanings and it will make you think and feel a mixture of emotions from joy to sadness in equal measure. This is a book that can be enjoyed by all ages. It's only a short book but it will stay with you.

Recently my son has more or less flown the nest and has gone living away from home and so I could connect with this book.



10/10

Saturday, 18 March 2017

The Sunshine Years - Afsaneh Knight













Do You Ever Wonder Where Your Life Is Going?

You are not alone.





This book should not work. In fact it should be incredibly boring.


It is genre less and plot less and it is basically the literary equivalent of a fly in the wall documentary about a group of life long thirty something friends. There is not really a story at all even though ironically the main character is a guy named Story.




But it isn't boring and the pages turn easily for one very important reason. The writing is incredible. The prose is fresh, clever, crisp, witty and compelling. The writing itself is worth eight out of ten stars by itself. I'm sure if Afsaneh Knight had given us a decent plot to cling on to this would have been a clear ten out of ten. But I enjoyed it. Even though I'm sure a lot of people will hate it. I didn't because I appreciate good writing. It didn't really need a better plot. The writing is wonderful.




8/10



Saturday, 11 March 2017

A Head Full Of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay









The lives of the Barretts, a suburban New England family, are torn apart when their fourteen- year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.




On the cover there is a quote by Stephen King that says this book scared the living hell out of him.


I'm not sure what book he was reading but apart from one semi creepy scene half way through it didn't scare me at all. Maybe he was reading it alone in a scary old building at night.

As for the book it's okay. It's an average run around of a novel. Not the most exciting thing I've ever read but certainly not boring in any way, It kept me turning the pages and had a good twist at the end. Worth a read but it didn't blow me away.




7/10

Friday, 3 March 2017

The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson








I picked this book up as part of a bundle from my local library because the cover and the blurb jumped out at me. Sadly the only lasting impression that I got was a stinging headache and a lot of frustration.



There isn't really a plot, just a collection of bizarre and confusing stories that are linked together tediously and tenuously in equal numbers. I always make a point of finishing whatever I start but I have never wanted to throw a book out of a window more than this. It is just a confused mess of a book.

The first chapter ( if you can call it a chapter) was actually clever and imaginative and maybe the book should have stopped there. Then the book just dissolves into a chaotic and nausea inducing stream of nonsensical stories that don't actually go anywhere. I am sure some people will applaud this book for being clever and thought provoking and artistic. They can think what they like. This book belongs on a bonfire.






2/10 for the cover artwork and the first chapter.







Sunday, 26 February 2017

He Wants - Alison Moore











'The front door is mostly glass, a pane as wide and tall as a man.'




From the first line you realize that you are about to read something completely different. The writing is crisp and fresh in this story about a man looking back and reflecting on his life. This book is pretty much like a jigsaw puzzle where the pieces are put together as you read each page. Or maybe a better analogy would be to say it's like painting by numbers.



It's a quirky book just like her breakthrough novel 'The Lighthouse'. This is as good as that one but totally different. It may not have all the thrills and spills of some modern day novels but there is something uniquely beautiful about this that will keep you turning the pages.



Not the most exciting read but thoroughly captivating.




Enjoyed.




8/10