Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Teaser Tuesdays #8

Teaser Tuesdays is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading. Grab a book you're currently reading and post a teaser (no spoilers) to persuade others to read the book.

It hits me with the force of a blow: the understanding that I'd rather die than know I might never have a chance to truly, finally, kiss Delilah McPhee. - p. 86 Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Showcase Sunday #4

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea. It is an opportunity to show off the books you have recently acquired. Whether it was purchased, gifted, borrowed or sent for review, you can display it here.

Tricks by Ellen Hopkins (purchased)
Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer (purchased)

I didn't get many books this week because I'm trying not to buy or request books as my TBR pile is getting way too big. I ordered these books about two weeks ago so techincally, I didn't buy any books this week. I'm going back to school on August 28th so I won't have as much times on my hands to read. It's my final year of school, though, so I'm happy. Also, I LOVE the UK cover for Between the Lines. It's way better than the US edition (which has just a girl on the cover). My UK edition is so beautiful and I love how the pages are different to normal book pages and the font and colour of the font changes each chapter. 

Sorry for not doing my usual memes this week. I am really stressed out and keep forgetting about it but I'm trying to sort that out. Once I go back to school I'll be more on track with things (hopefully).

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Life, Death and Vanilla Slices by Jenny Eclair

Life, Death and Vanilla Slices by Jenny Eclair
Genre: Contemporary/Humour/Chick-lit
Age Group: Adults
Publisher: Sphere
Release Date: 5th July 2012
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 343
Source: Little Brown Publisher
Pre-order: $13 with free delivery

Poor Jean Collins. She stepped out into the road without looking and now lies broken in hospital. But what distracted her? And why was she carrying a box of vanilla slices, the cream cakes she only ever bought for special occasions? Jean's daughter Anne travels back up north to find out. But her mind is on her teenage sons in London - boys on the brink of becoming not very nice men. What damage could they do in just a few days? (Quite a lot, probably.) Meanwhile there are secrets waiting for Anne and Jean, back at the old family home. Secrets that were buried a long time ago ...Jenny Eclair is celebrated for her unflinching black humour and brilliantly sharp observations. In her extraordinary new novel, she has also created a compelling and heart-breaking family drama that feels as rich and honest as real life. - Book Depository
When I got this book I was expecting a fun, light read with lots of LOL moments. I was wrong. There was some LOL moments but behind the humour there was a dark, heart-wrenching story of a dysfunctional family.

It is about Anne and her mother Jean. Each chapter is from one of their POVs. I found this really worked because while Jean was in the coma, you were going through her old memories that she was thinking about while in the coma. Anne has two teenage sons and has to leave them behind while she stays in her mother's house and visits her at the hospital each day. You really get inside the heads of both these characters.

Through Jean's chapters you learn what it was like for her to be a young mother and the struggles she went through. You also found out what Anne was like when she was younger. Anne was also remembering her childhood memories with her mother and sister, Jess. In the present day, Anne never mentions a sister Jess, nor does her sons so the mystery of where Jess is now is constantly with you throughout the book.

I found myself feeling sorry for Jean at times and other times, for Anne. Though, there is a lot of humour in it too which I thought was great.

The only thing I would criticize about this book is that occasionally in Anne's chapters it would switch back her son's POV quickly and switch back. I found this annoying and unnecessary since at the end of the book there is a chapter or two from the POV of her son's. I also didn't like how everything was all resolved by the end (I'm not saying it was a happy ending), everything that was a little bit of a mystery to you throughout became very obvious and known at the end. I like some loose ends, though I know most people don't.

If you're looking for some family drama with a bit of humour, this for you!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Showcase Sunday #3

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea. It is an opportunity to show off the books you have recently acquired. Whether it was purchased, gifted, borrowed or sent for review, you can display it here.

Books for review:

 Come to the Edge by Joanna Kavenna
In Her Shadow by Louise Douglas
The Devil's Cave by Martin Walker

Books purchased:

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Yes, I purchased the entire collection of this series. I had read books 1-9 when I was 10 or 11 but lost/sold/gave away the books (why??). I had a sudden urge to find out the ending once and for all so I decided to see if I could find a cheap set of these books. I found a second hand set on eBay for under €50 (inc. s&h charges) which was great! I am beginning the series all over again and so far I have completed The Bad Beginning. I had forgotten how completely amazing this series is. Despite the fact it is aimed an age group way below my age, I still love and enjoy this series. 

Also, sorry for the lack of comments back and/or failing to comment on your MM, TT or SS. I have been really busy with personal things this month. I'll try and be more active from now.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Girl on the Stairs by Louise Welsh

The Girl on the Stairs by Louise Welsh
Genre: Mystery
Age Group: Adults
Publisher: Hodder
Release Date: 2nd August 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 214
Source: John Murray Publishers
Pre-order: $16 with free delivery

Jane Logan is six months pregnant and has moved to Berlin to live with her long-term lover, rich banker, Petra. The women's chic new apartment is in a trendy part of the city but Jane finds herself increasingly uneasy there. She conceives a dread of the derelict backhouse across the courtyard and begins to suspect something sinister is happening in the flat next door, where gynaecologist Alban Mann lives with his teenage daughter Anna. Petra believes her lover's pregnancy is affecting her judgement, but Jane is increasingly convinced that all is not well. Her decision to turn detective has devastating results when her own past collides with the past of the building and its inhabitants. A haunting, atmospheric novel from the acclaimed author of The Cutting Room. - Book Depository

This book wasn't what I was expecting. The blurb on the back was a lot more vague than the summary on Book Depository. I was expecting some sort of horror/mystery but what I got was a very dull mystery. It got 3 stars mostly because the characters were interesting and well developed and also the writing was great.

Jane and Petra's relationship was very believable. I knew they were very much in love. I didn't find any element of their relationship to be false or forged. Many people found their relationship to be odd and/or presumed they were sisters so that was realistic to today's society's general regards to lesbian/gay/transgender relationships.

It was very clear of the roles in this lesbian relationship. Petra was out working, gaining income for Jane and the soon to be born child whilst Jane was staying at home which she conveniently found time to 'investigate'. That was one thing I found a little annoying and also stereotypical of the male/female roles in the typical, heterosexual household.

There was a good balance of humor and the dynamics between the main characters and side characters. Overall the characters were very interesting and believable. I found myself engaged with the characters and connecting to them from the beginning.

The character development was great. I liked both Jane and Petra from the beginning but nearing the end I found myself slightly annoyed with Petra. Anna and her father also developed well.

From the beginning it was all very ominous and the suspense and mystery was built up gradually in a very well done manner. Though, I was a bit let down when I found out what the mystery was. I don't understand why Jane would care so much about a seemingly rude and ignorant thirteen year old girl so much! But that aside, the mystery was written appropriately for a mystery novel.

The writing was great. There was a lot of nice descriptions and metaphors which I love. Though, sometimes the metaphors were slightly exaggerated which irked me a little: "She pulled the pink scarf from a drawer and twisted it into a complicated knot." Since when do scarves have complicated knots? Generally it's a simple knot (if you would even call it a knot). I know I'm being picky but there was many more examples I found which I failed to take note of/remember.

The suspense and mystery did not drop for a second in this book. There was always questions being asked and answers but yet there was still more unanswered questions. It kept me guessing throughout.

The ending (the last 20 or so pages) was very fast paced and engaging. I found myself not wanting to put the book down for a second. There was also a great twist at the end too.

Overall I thought this was a decent mystery but it was far too short and lacking in depth. It was too straightforward. Also I found it a little tedious; why was Jane so obsessed with finding the answer to this mystery? Why should she care?

Anyone who likes basic mystery novels should definitely pick this up. (Though, it's no Agatha Christie!)

Thanks to John Murray Publishers (imprint of Hodder) for supplying me this book for review. 

Teaser Tuesday #7

Teaser Tuesdays is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading. Grab a book you're currently reading and post a teaser (no spoilers) to persuade others to read the book.

Harry and Dumbledore approached the back door of the Burrow, which was surrounded by the familiar litter of old wellington boots and rusty cauldrons; Harry could hear the soft clucking of sleepy chickens coming from a distant shed. Dumbledore knocked three times and Harry saw sudden movement behind the kitchen window. p. 81 Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K Rowling

Monday, 16 July 2012

Musing Mondays #7

Musing Mondays is a meme hosted by Should be Reading, which involves answering a book related question each week.

What are you currently reading? Is it any good? Would you recommend it?

I am currently re-reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince for the third or fourth time ad I'm loving it! If you haven't read this, do so now. I'm not going to waste my time explaining what it is because if you don't know what it is you have been living under a rock for the past decade.

This particular installment of the Harry Potter series is one of my favourites next to Goblet of Fire and Deathly Hallows. I can't decide between the three!

Leave a comment and let me know what you're currently reading.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Showcase Sunday #2

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea. It is an opportunity to show off the books you have recently acquired. Whether it was purchased, gifted, borrowed or sent for review, you can display it here.

A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern (purchased)
Wonder (purchased)
The Girl on the Stairs by Louise Welsh (for review)
The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes by Marcus Sakey (for review)
Melody by Virginia Andrews (bookmooch)

Friday, 13 July 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L James

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L James
Genre: Erotica Romance
Age Group: Adults
Publisher: Vintage
Published: 2011
Format: Kindle
Pages: 540
Source: Amazon
Buy: $5 with free delivery

WARNING: This is a review of an erotica novel so don't read the review if you don't like that. This review may also contain direct quotes from the novel.

Romantic, liberating and totally addictive, `Fifty Shades of Grey` is a novel that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever. When literature student Anastasia Steele interviews successful entrepreneur Christian Grey, she finds him very attractive and deeply intimidating. Convinced that their meeting went badly, she tries to put him out of her mind - until he turns up at the store where she works part-time, and invites her out. Unworldly and innocent, Ana is shocked to find she wants this man. And, when he warns her to keep her distance, it only makes her want him more. But Grey is tormented by inner demons, and consumed by the need to control. As they embark on a passionate love affair, Ana discovers more about her own desires, as well as the dark secrets Grey keeps hidden away from public view... - Book Depository

This book is good and bad for many reasons. I liked it because it had a decent plot/storyline and just enough drama to keep me interested. Though there was so many problems with this book. The writing was terrible and after about 40% of it, I was sick of it; here's why:

The writing was okay up until the sex scenes when there would be so many overused phrases e.g: gasped, holy fuck (any other variation on 'holy') and "I felt it down there". Really? Down there? If this is an erotic novel the least it could have was the damn scientifically correct words for 'down there'. Also, when she was angry with Christian or unsure of what to do, her 'inner goddess' would come out and her 'conscience' would hide. What is that? It was beyond annoying!

There was some plot issues also. Since when is a Mac-Book the latest technology? Also who doesn't have an email address? This is in reference to when Christian bought her a computer and set up an email for her.

I hated Ana more than words can describe. Though, I did find Christian to be very interesting. Why is he the way he is? etc. Christian is probably the reason I kept reading. Don't get me wrong though, he is not the type of guy you will fall in love with.

The whole book was literally just Ana arguing with herself about weather she should consent to the BDSM relationship with Christian. I just wanted to shake her and scream at her to consent because it's obvious she does somewhere along the lines considering there is a whole trilogy.

I won't bother with the Twilight similarities because there wasn't many. It definitely didn't take away from the story so don't let that affect your thoughts on this book.

Though there was a nice bit of drama, Christian was interesting and kept me interested for the most part. Read it if you like, if you don't, oh well.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Musing Mondays #6

Musing Mondays is a meme hosted by Should be Reading.

Have you ever read a book that, at the time, you didn’t feel a strong connection towards, but as time goes by you find yourself thinking about it a lot?

Yes! This has happened to me on several occasions, though I can only recall one book which I read recently that made me feel like that; Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. I heard so many great things about this book and when I read it I didn't think much of it. I am still thinking about it, 3 weeks later and Tyler Durden is still lingering in my mind.

Has this ever happened to you? Let me know in the comments! 

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Showcase Sunday #1

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea. It is an opportunity to show off the books you have recently acquired. Whether it was purchased, gifted, borrowed or sent for review, you can display it here.

*I am swapping this meme for Friday Finds.

 The Stand by Stephen King (purchased)
A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon (purchased)
2nd Chance by James Patterson (bookmooch)
3rd Degree by James Patterson (bookmooch)
Friends Forever by Danielle Steel (for review)


Thursday, 5 July 2012

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
Genre: Literary fiction
Age Group: Adults
Publisher: Vintage
Published: 2010
First Published: 2003
Format: Paperback
Pages: 180
Source: Book Depository
Buy: $9 with free delivery
Rating: ★ 

He is a brilliant maths professor with a peculiar problem - ever since a traumatic head injury seventeen years ago, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory. She is a sensitive but astute young housekeeper who is entrusted to take care of him. Each morning, as the Professor and the Housekeeper are reintroduced to one another, a strange, beautiful relationship blossoms between them. The Professor may not remember what he had for breakfast, but his mind is still alive with elegant equations from the past. He devises clever maths riddles - based on her shoe size or her birthday - and the numbers reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the Housekeeper and her ten-year-old son. With each new equation, the three lost souls forge an affection more mysterious than imaginary numbers, and a bond that runs deeper than memory. - Book Depository
 This book was beyond amazing! I enjoyed it much more than I expected and it was just great. I found it very hard to put down and I read it in just a day. But, keep in mind, this book is not action packed, full of suspense or anything else a commercial novel may have. It is very much character driven.

Although, it's character driven, none of the characters in this book have names. The housekeeper is simply the housekeeper, the professor, again, is simply the professor and the housekeeper's son is referred to as Root: a nickname he obtained from the professor because his hat is flat like a square root sign. There is also another character whom appears only a handful of times; the sister-in-law. This definitely made it more personal for the reader because these characters could literally be anyone.

The professor seems to have a problem with keeping housekeepers. At the beginning of the book it is noted that the professor has had nine housekeepers which have previously quit their job. Predictably the housekeeper we are presented with seems to find it easy and enjoys working with the professor. The professor is a very loving man. He can be a bit snappy but a lot of the time he is very polite and nice. He also loves Root's company. A very strong bond grows between Root and the professor throughout this book.

As the professor is a maths professor, there was a lot of equations throughout this book. For someone who hates maths, I didn't find it overpowering. I thought it was a nice, simple touch to add to the book. Numbers are basically the professor's only friends and he also admits this fact in the book.

This book was sad for a few reasons. The professor was such a recluse. He didn't know how to act around people and whenever he got frustrated or anxious he resorted to numbers. When he was out in public, this didn't work. This made me feel sorry for him. He seemed also to be a very lonely man and this is touched on in the book. Also, the ending. Not what I was expecting but it was still very sad.

If you're looking for a nice, easy but touching read, this is for you.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Teaser Tuesday #6

Teaser Tuesdays is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading. Grab a book you're currently reading and post a teaser (no spoilers) to persuade others to read the book.

I do as he asks, and he binds my wrists together with his tie, knotting it firmly. His eyes are bright with wild excitement. He tugs at the binding. It's secure. - 26% Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L James