Tuesday, 7 May 2013

book reviews-many!!

I know, I've been a bit slack lately with reviews! Sorry! 
So here are some of the books I've read in the last couple of months.

A few customers came in looking for this or recommending it, so I felt I really should give it a go.
Well, I have to say, I was quite disappointed really, and I think it’s my own fault. I expected a dystopian style novel, only for it to be a coming-of-age-in-time-of-disaster type of novel instead. Very Judy Blume-ish.
In that vain, it did a great job, though the main character seemed a lot older than her 11 years of age, to me anyway.
I thought the author portrayed the way humans are likely to cope with a situation like this very well, though a little exaggerated. I don’t really think there would be such a divide between the 2 ways of life i.e. living with a 24 hour clock or with the sunset/sunrises, or I have more faith in human nature than her!
However, as I said, it did what it said on the packet and in a successful way.
Another book to recommend to the teenage girls today who are loving their dystopian/coming-of-age novels

Shades of Grey By Jasper Fforde
Jasper Fforde has an odd mind, that’s what I kept thinking all the way through this book!
To invent a world where our class/position in life is determined by the colours we see, is an odd concept to come up with but because of the incredible detail he went into with this world, it works! 
There were many little things in the book that made me laugh, and even more that made me yell out ‘What!!’ much to my hubby’s annoyance!
The storyline itself is fairly dull, but it’s the world the characters inhabit that makes this book so much fun to read.
If you enjoy a little bit of silly with your books every now and then, this is definitely worth a read.

Shatter Me By Tahereh Mafi
I had this book on my shelf for quite a while before I read it. I bought it because I thought the blurb made the book sound interesting.
I wasn’t disappointed. From the start, I adored the way the author wrote, the way she portrayed this girl and her broken mind, how she’d coped being locked away from any human contact for nearly a year. As the book went on with the main character having more and more contact with the outside world, she slowly got better and better at coping with reality and the many people she came in contact with. She was strong and fought back when she had to so she could survive.
I also loved that the author didn’t forget what the girl went through, that the fears never truly left her.
I can’t wait to pick up the next book in the series.
If you love dystopian teen fiction, this is a series for you.

The Things We Never Said By Susan Elliot Wright
I was sent this book by the publishers as a possible book club book.
It arrived and I was very excited-my first reading copy! It had a lovely cover and I thought the blurb about a past and present life intertwining sounded very intriguing.
So I sat down with this book with a great deal of anticipation. I read this book very quickly as I wanted to know why Maggie was in the psychiatric ward and how it related to Jonathon. However, I have to say, whilst I thought the story was good, I felt a little flat after reading it. I’m not sure if it’s because Maggie and Jonathon needed more depth or the story did. I also got a little annoyed at the fact that if Jonathan’s wife couldn’t handle the obvious stress he was under, how was she going to cope with a baby?
Also Maggie seemed to be doing a great job of raising her twins, then later in the book, she says that she was a terrible mother but that just didn’t come across to me at all.
So whilst it’s a book that I would recommend as a light read, I wasn’t entirely convinced my bookclub group would like it.

The Casual Vacancy By J K Rowling
Of course I heard about this book before it was even released, we all did. I just did not seem to be able to get around to reading it until now. No particular reason, I knew it would be in a completely different vain to Harry Potter of course, so it wasn’t that, I think I just didn’t have time to fit in such a large book amongst my already huge reading list!
Once it was released, the vast majority of readers of this book seemed to fall into 2 categories, those that loved it and those that hated it. I did wonder if that’s because most of them really did expect a Harry Potter style of writing and were just disappointed but I couldn’t comment until I read it.
Well, I have read it now and I loved it! The descriptive style of writing that she developed through Harry Potter is very evident is this book and sometimes to it’s detriment but aside from that, it is a wonderfully written piece of literature that shows an honest and comical take on a small English town. Being English myself and having grown up in a small town, I felt she did a brilliant job of capturing the attitudes of the men and women who live there (myself included, though I’m not saying what traits of mine those were!) as well as the attitude to council estates and the populace who abide in them.
I adored all the characters and couldn’t put the book down until I knew what would happen to them all. I laughed out loud on many a train ride, much to the disapproval of fellow train passengers and also cried like a baby a couple of times, though luckily not in public!
I felt Rowling must surely be a fan of Roddy Doyle as I did feel the style of writing in some places was very similar to his.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Roddy Doyle, A.M. Holmes even Michael Chabon.

My Life as a Traitor By Zarah Ghahramani
This is a beautifully written memoir full of fascinating facts about the history of Persia, quotes from many wonderful Persian poets and fables tied in with the brutal honesty of Zarah’s experience in prison. What made the book for me was Zarah’s account of how she emotionally coped with the torture, how she quite easily backed down and was happy to give them whatever they wanted, which know we would all do in the same situation, just to make it all stop. She thought she was weak but in reality, I felt she was incredibly strong for not just lying down and giving up. I finished this book with a realisation, which I must admit I’d never thought about before, of how lucky I was to be born where I was.
How lucky to have been able to wear pink shoes or say what I think or wear what I like without worrying about retribution.

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