Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Teasers Tuesdays # 2


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB ofShould Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


I received the box set of Sookie Stackhouse novels for Christmas and I have just started to work my way through them all.

My Teaser:

"Bill just looked at me, puzzled, and I spun on my heel and walked away. I came to regret that moment, regret it bitterly."



Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get out much - not because she's not pretty - she's a very cute bubbly blonde - or not interested in a social life. She really is . . . but Sookie's got a bit of a disability. She can read minds. And that doesn't make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill: he's tall, he's dark and he's handsome - and Sookie can't 'hear' a word he's thinking. He's exactly the type of guy she's been waiting all her life for. But Bill has a disability of his own: he's fussy about his food, he doesn't like suntans and he's never around during the day . . . Yep, Bill's a vampire. Worse than that, he hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, with a reputation for trouble - of the murderous kind. And then one of Sookie's colleagues at the bar is killed, and it's beginning to look like Sookie might be the next victim . . .

Monday, 28 March 2011

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday, a weekly meme created by Marcia at The Printed Page, is currently on tour, hosted this month by I'm Booking It. You can view the blog tour list at Mailbox Monday blog. Join the fun and see what books other bloggers found in their mailboxes.

So in my mailbox this week-


The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness, until she meets Ernest Hemingway. After a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they soon fall in with a circle of lively and volatile expatriates, including F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Ezra Pound. Ernest and Hadley are thrust into a life of artistic ambition, hard liquor and spur-of-the-moment dashes to Pamplona, the Riviera and the Swiss Alps. But Jazz Age Paris does not lend itself to family life and fidelity. As Hadley struggles with jealousy and self-doubt, Ernest's ferocious literary endeavours begin to bear fruit, and the couple faces the ultimate crisis of their marriage - a deception that will lead to the unravelling of everything they made for themselves in Paris, their 'great good place'.


Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (and as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit - we do paperwork so real coppers don't have to - and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluable, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England. Now I'm a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in fifty years, and my world has become somewhat more complicated: nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, and digging up graves in Covent Garden . . . and there's something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair. The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it's falling to me to bring order out of chaos - or die trying.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Book Review: The pile of stuff at the bottom of the stairs by Christina Hopkinson


The pile of stuff at the bottom of the stairs by Christina Hopkinson

‘You don’t see how much I do. And how little you do.’
‘Like what?’ he says, finally.
‘I don’t know, it’s not like I keep a list,’ I said.
‘Maybe you should.’
‘Maybe I will.’
(Page 3)

Mary is a 35 year old part time worker, full time mother, and what feels like full time house cleaner and maid to her three boys, husband (Joel) and two adorable children (Gabe and Rufus). Mary decides that in a life where she has very little control over the small every day things, such as tidying up the pile of junk at the bottom of the stairs, or picking up the dirty clothes from the floor that she needs to take some sort of action. Her stress levels are going through the roof as her temper is taking over all other emotions, but she can’t find a way to make Joel understand. So she decides to make a list over the course of six months outlining all the things that Joel does or doesn’t do, or messes up around the house. The list isn’t all negatives, in order to be fair Joel also gets points awarded for nice gestures, such as compliments or playing with the children. The list starts off as a bit of therapy, a list just to show her husband what he does on a regular basis over a period of six months that just doesn’t help, makes her life harder or downright annoys the hell out of her. However, along the way the list becomes a bit of a refuge, somewhere she can release the anger of yet another dirty tissue left lying around or another set of breakfast dishes that aren’t cleaned.

The story is about what happens after the fairytale ‘happy ending', it is about relationships, friendships and the daily grind of it all. However, this book is far from a miserable rant, it is also about all the good things in a long term relationship and the real joys of great friends and family moments. I don’t think my summary has done complete justice to the book, it is a funny and insightful look into the world of a working mother who dreams about having everything under control, as well as having all the dirty socks exactly where dirty socks belong.

I read the first couple of pages of this in the book store and I knew from that moment that this was going to be something which I would enjoy. I found this book and the writing style really easy to read and I seemed to finish it in no time whatsoever. The book was very easy just to pick up and dip into without requiring the attention of longer sessions. It wasn’t a book that I struggled to get caught up in, in fact it was quite the opposite, I struggled to put it down.

I loved the two main characters of Mary and Joel, the details of their relationship was at times brilliantly written and filled with the all tiny elements that make up a relationship and therefore made theirs seem real to me. I loved the bit of the book describing all their hopes for their first born child, where Joel made a beautiful home mixed selection of music to play at the birth. For me Christina managed to capture the unreal excitement and expectations as well as the gritty realistic truth that early relationships have and then the comfort of later years.

Some of the side characters, such as Mitzi, Mary’s long time friend seemed at times a bit overly stereotypical and almost over exaggerated and she did grate on me. However, on finishing the book and reflecting back Mitzi might have been written perfectly for the part she ends up playing in Mary’s life.

Although this book didn’t have me rolling around on the floor laughing out loud it did have a few occasions where I had the odd chuckle to myself. There are of course a lot of annoying habits that most of us in a long term relationship are either responsible for or have a partner that does it. There was more than one occasion where I thought Mary really hit the nail on the head with how annoying a certain behaviour can be when it’s repeated and repeated and repeated. There is a lot in this book that I believe people in a long time relationship will recognise and sympathies with, or even do themselves.

The one small criticism that I did have of this book was that I didn’t love the cover. In fact it almost stopped me from picking it up in the book store as I was much more initially attracted to its neighbour, and what a shame that might have been. Personally, I just don’t think the cover gives you any idea about the type of quirky, funny and interesting novel that this is.

This is Christina Hopkinson’s second novel, but she is an author I will look out for in the future.

What’s the thing you hate most about the one you love?

Recommended.

GREAT – 8/10

Published by Hodder & Stoughton
Hardback edition available from March 2011
Hardback edition – 402 pages

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Waiting on Wednesday # 1



"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at BREAKING THE SPINE, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.




My first waiting on Wednesday entry is going to be the latest outing of Detective Jane Rizzoli and Dr Maura Isles in Tess Gerritsen's 'The silent girl'. This is a series that I arrived to quite late, but it has been one that I have enjoyed reading. The last book was 'The killing place' and it was a fantastic read, one of those books that was really hard to put down. I am hoping this next one will be just as riveting. 


The silent girl will be available to buy in Hardback edition (in the UK) from the 21st July 2011





In the murky shadows of an alley in Boston's Chinatown a hand has been discovered. On the rooftop above lies a woman's severed head. Two strands of silver hair - not human - cling to the body that lies nearby.


These are Detective Jane Rizzoli's only clues, but they are enough for her and Dr Maura Isles to make a startling discovery: that this violent death had a chilling prequel.


Seventeen years early a horrifying attack in a Boston restaurant left five people dead. Only one woman connected to the massacre is now still alive - a mysterious martial arts master who knows a secret she dare not tell. A secret that lives and breathes in the shadows of the city. A secret that may not even be human.

It soon becomes clear than an ancient evil is stirring in Chinatown: an evil that has killed before, and will kill again - unless Jane and Maura can track it down, and defeat it.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Teaser Tuesdays # 1

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB ofShould Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My current read is ‘The Mayan Prophecy’ by Steve Alten.

“To have experienced my soulmate's life slip away before my eyes, to have felt her body turn cold in my arms - this is too much despair for one heart to handle. At times, I am actually grateful to be dying for I cannot begin to imagine the anguish of witnessing an entire population suffer amidst the planetary holocaust to come.” page 47

I will admit that this isn’t the type of book I normally pick up (being a huge chick lit and YA fan of late), but I fancied something completely different and so far (although I am only a hundred or so pages in) I have been enjoying it. Review to eventually follow. 



For thirty-two years, archaeologist Julius Gabriel investigated the Mayan calendar, a 2,500-year-old enigma that predicts the Apocalypse. His research led him to believe that ancient constructions like the Great Pyramid, Stonehenge, Angkor Wat, and Chichen Itza, were all built as part of a primeval fail-safe system, that might save humanity from total annihilation. But now Julius is dead, and his theories have perished with him, discredited and ridiculed. With the help of Dominique, a part-Mayan psychiatric intern, Julius' son, Michael, breaks out of an insane asylum in Miami, where he has been illegally imprisoned. Together they flee to the Yucatan Peninsula, where Michael believes he can find the evidence he needs to prove his father's theory, and to convince the world of the fast-approaching global catastrophe. In Mexico, at the autumn equinox, a serpent's shadow appears over the northern face of the Temple of Kukulcan, as it has done for a thousand years. But this time is different - it is the beginning of the end...

Paperback publish in March 2011
629 pages

Monday, 21 March 2011

Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver


“It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure.”


In Lena’s world love has been classified as a disease, one that her mother succumbed to years previously, which has since tarnished her name and ultimately led to her mother’s untimely death. Lena lives in a society that is heavily regulated and that the ‘cureds’ those that have already underwent through the Government enforced procedure of being cured from the disease of amor deliria nervosa (or love) lead content structured lives. Where everything, from who they marry, to how many children they have, to what job they do has already been predetermined for them by a selection committee. The cure is the ultimate birthday gift on the day a teenager turns 18 and starts their real life, until then there are a lot of curfews and rules in place to limit most activities. In her daily life Lena is content, until the day her life gets turned upside down and she meets someone that is worth breaking all the rules for. Instead of the cured life she had been looking forward to, free from the prospect of the disease of love, she can no longer bare to think about giving up the love she once feared.

There is a lot of Dystopian fiction making its presence felt and although I haven’t really read that many of them to date. I loved this book. Lauren Oliver writes beautifully, and creates the characters and parallel dystopian world perfectly, with the right amount of detail without getting bogged down in extra information. She really made a complex world with borders and many levels feel like an effortlessly, understandable and believable background to the main story.  

In my opinion, the ending was perfect for the story and although it was a tad predictable it worked perfectly. From the beginning right to the end of this book I was caught up in the characters life and found myself getting much more attached to them than I usually find myself. Although I doubt that there will ever be a sequel to this book I would happily get drawn back into Lauren Oliver’s world of Delirium. 

There was only one event in the book that I felt sort of didn’t really belong and was maybe a little confused feeling. Nearing the end there is a scene in the Crypts – the horrible, neglectful prison where people who are sympathisers to those that love, or other such criminals are hidden away from society. It’s hard to discuss this in much more detail without giving away some of the plot, but it was the only part of the book that I didn’t relish every word of.

The ending was perfect for the story and although it was a tad predictable it worked perfectly. From the beginning right to the end of this book I was caught up in the characters life and found myself getting much more attached to them than I usually find myself. Although I doubt that there will ever be a sequel to this book I would happily get drawn back into Lauren Oliver’s world of Delirium.

I don’t often judge a book solely by its cover, but if I did this would make a great first impression. At first glance the book is an unremarkable blue shade with a large title, author name and small dove like birds. Inside the writing is a picture of an attractive girl. Everything about this book from the synopsis, to the cover, to the first few paragraphs caught my attention and made me want to read this, which I am glad that I did.


The hardback edition was published in 2011 and has 393 pages.

GREAT -  8 out of 10

Friday, 4 March 2011

Welcome

Welcome to my blog, I have been reading book review blogs for years and I have finally plucked up the courage to dive in and start my own. I love to read everything and anything that catches my attention and I never tend to stick to any one particular genre. I am looking forward to getting started and to meeting many other book lovers. 

 
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