Friday, July 31, 2015

Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings

Title: Poltergeeks

Author: Sean Cummings

Published: Strange Chemistry, 2012

Pages: 320

Series: Book 1, Poltergeeks

Summary: 15-year-old Julie Richardson is about to learn that being the daughter of a witch isn't all it's cracked up to be. When she and her best friend, Marcus, witness an elderly lady jettisoned out the front door of her home, it's pretty obvious to Julie there's a supernatural connection. 

In fact, there's a whisper of menace behind increasing levels of poltergeist activity all over town. After a large-scale paranormal assault on Julie's high school, her mother falls victim to the spell Endless Night. Now it's a race against time to find out who is responsible or Julie won't just lose her mother's soul, she'll lose her mother's life.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  This book has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years now, and this year I have made it my goal to read as many of these old books gathering dust as I can.  My reading tastes have changed a bit since I purchased Poltergeeks and lately young adult books have not been my kind of book.  So when I decided that this was to be my next read I didn't have particularly high expectations.

Needless to say, I actually quite enjoyed reading Poltergeeks.  It was just a nice fun and light read. I think that my low expectations of the book worked in my favour as I was pleasantly surprised by this one.

There are quite a lot of cliches and things that are typical of a lot of young adult books but I felt like the mystery and supernatural side of this book kind of outweighed those parts and I found myself having fun.

While this is quite a light read, I was reading it at night time by myself and I was pretty tired, so I did find myself getting a little nervous at some parts.  I will admit that it was a little bit scary.  That being said, I think it was just the situation of having read a few other scary stories earlier in the day that I was a little on edge.  Poltergeeks isn't meant to be overly frightening.  The tone really is quite fun and light-hearted.

In all honesty, there isn't a lot I have to say about Poltergeeks, other than it was a light-hearted and fun read.

So, will I read the second book in the series?  At this point I'm still not sure.  On the one hand this was quite a fun read, but on the other, there are so many other books that I want to read before it that really it will just depend on whether or not I feel like it one day.  If you are interested in reading this book and/or its sequel I would suggest purchasing them sooner rather than later as the publishing company, Strange Chemistry are not in business anymore, so the books that are out there, are the last going to be printed, unless they get picked up by another publishing company some time in the future.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs

Title: Speaking in Bones

Author: Kathy Reichs

Published: William Heinemann, 30 July 2015

Pages: 320

Series: Book 18, Temperance Brennan

Purchase Link:
Book Depository*

Summary: Forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan investigates what looks to be a typical missing person case, only to find herself digging up bones possibly left by a serial killer, a cult, or perhaps something not entirely of this world.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  I'm not normally one to read books in a series out of order, but with the Temperance Brennan books it doesn't really matter about reading them in order unless you care about small spoilers such as the relationship and life statuses of the characters.  These things never bother me so I had no qualms about reading book 18 even though I have only read five of the other books in the series.

Speaking in Bones was pretty much exactly what I needed.  It was so good.  I started reading it and had a lot of trouble putting it down because every chapter made me want to know more about what happened next.  It was so well written and it just got me really excited about reading.  I do wonder if my love of this book had something to do with the fact that I have been reading some books I haven't been enjoying as much lately, but Speaking in Bones was really good.

The mystery aspect was so interesting.  I really love how a lot of the science is explained, and it's like being in a lab with Temperance, learning about forensic anthropology techniques.  I also really enjoyed that as Brennan was discovering information about Web Sleuths, I too was learning more about them.

I thought it was funny that a couple of times in the book, Temperance Brennan referred to people being interested in web sleuthing as being enthusiasts of shows such as CSI and Bones.  Although, I feel like if that was bought up in every recent book, it would probably get a little old.

I had taken a break from reading the Temperance Brennan series because the first three had followed a really formulaic pattern that I was getting a little tired of.  However, Speaking in Bones has renewed my excitement about this series and has left me wanting to read more.  This book is proof that this series gets better over time.  I would definitely recommend Speaking in Bones and cannot wait to go back and read more Temperance Brennan.

Source: Penguin Random House for Review

Friday, July 24, 2015

Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist by M. C. Beaton

Title: Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist

Author: M. C. Beaton

Published: Constable and Robinson, 2010 (first published 1997)

Pages: 292

Series: Book 6, Agatha Raisin

Summary: May contain spoilers! Agatha Raisin leaves her sleepy Cotswolds village of Carsely to pursue love - and finds murder. Spurned at the altar, she follows her fleeing fiance James Lacey to north Cyprus, where, instead of enjoying the honeymoon they'd planned, they witness the murder of an obnoxious tourist in a disco. Intrigue and a string of murders surround the unlikely couple, in a plot as scorching a the Cypriot sun!  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  I've been on a cosy mystery kick lately so I was pretty eager to pick up the next book in the Agatha Raisin series, as I always find those to be quite fun.  

James annoyed me so much and he always has really.  I just wanted to go up to Agatha and to tell her to forget about him because he is not a very nice person.  I have no idea what she sees in him and I feel as though the whole Agatha pining after James Lacey thing is getting to be a little tiring.  It's one of the least likable things about the book.

I felt like the mystery in this book was put on the backburner a lot and while there were the odd mentions of it, there just wasn't enough delving into the mystery to keep me fully interested.  I really felt like the majority of the book was Agatha chasing James, then messing around with someone else so James would get mad and act weird.  That part just did not interest me in the slightest and it's really what made me dislike the book.

By the time I got to the end of the book I no longer cared about who the murderer was because really I just wanted the whole awful affair to be over.  I had a fair idea about who it was but at the same time I didn't really care which character did it.

I think one of the other issues I had with this book was that it didn't take place in the village of Carsely and so there weren't the usual cast of characters that I have come to find fun and enjoyable.  This book could have been exciting as it took place in Cyprus and Agatha could have explored and been more excited about it but really she just had a one track mind throughout the entire book.

I have to say that this was definitely my least favourite book in the series and I'm not sure how I'll feel about the rest of the books.  I own the next book in the series already so I will see how I feel about that one, but at this point I feel as though I will probably take a break or just stop reading this series, depending on how I feel about The Wellspring of Death.  Really, there are so many other cosy mystery series out there that are more exciting and interesting to me that I'm not sure I want to waste much more time on this series.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett

Title: Murder is Binding

Author: Lorna Barrett

Published: Berkely Prime Crime, 2008

Pages: 281

Series: Book 1, Booktown Mysteries

Summary: The streets of Stoneham, New Hampshire, are lined with bookstores...and paved with murder. 

When she moved to Stoneham, city slicker Tricia Miles met nothing but friendly faces. And when she opened her mystery bookstore, she met friendly competition. But when she finds Doris Gleason dead in her own cookbook store, killed by a carving knife, the atmosphere seems more cutthroat than cordial. Someone wanted to get their hands on the rare cookbook that Doris had recently purchased-and the locals think that someone is Tricia. To clear her name, Tricia will have to take a page out of one of her own mysteries-and hunt down someone who isn't killing by the book.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Cosy mysteries are my new light reads.  I love picking up a cosy mystery and just reading through it when I want to read something that doesn't require a lot of brain power.  Because of my newly discovered love of cosy mysteries I have been trying out a few series looking for some that will take my interest and make good additions to my collection of cosy mysteries to read and enjoy.  Murder is Binding sounded really like it could be pretty good.

From the beginning I was very much intrigued by this book.  Tricia is a mystery bookseller and so scattered throughout the story were little references to famous mystery novels and I just really enjoy things like that.  The mystery itself was so interesting and I found myself drawn in and just couldn't stop reading.  I had to know who the murderer was.  There were hints and clues dropped about a lot of people but I found it really difficult to make a decision about who the killer was.

The Sheriff in this book was so awful and I hated the way she targeted Tricia.  I just hated how she was intent on pinning the murder on Tricia, and so I really couldn't wait for her to eat her words when she was proven wrong.

The food in this book sounded so amazing and I just wished I could have tasted all of the amazing things that Angelica made.  The book also comes with recipes and I for one am definitely interested in trying them out.

I really loved Murder is Binding, it was a great start to a series and it was exactly what I had needed.  I cannot wait to read the next book in the series because this one was just so good.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Title: Shadow Scale

Author: Rachel Hartman

Published: Random House Children's Books, March 2015

Pages: 608

Series: Book 2, Seraphina

Summary: May contain spoilers! The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways. 

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  After reading Seraphina almost as soon as it came out, I have been waiting a very long time to get my hands on Shadow Scale.  Seraphina was such a good book and so I had high expectations for Shadow Scale.

I feel as though my expectations may have been a little too high, as while I found Shadow Scale to be a good read, it just wasn't anywhere near as good as Seraphina.  That being said, after a while of reading this book I started to get a little bit bored with the book and was considering putting it down.  However, I really loved Seraphina so I really wanted to give Shadow Scale a chance.  I decided to continue on and read this book in the end.

I feel like if I wasn't listening to this book on audio I probably would have finished it.  I didn't hate this book but it wasn't amazing either.  I did continue to the end, and I will say that I feel as though the end was so odd.  It wasn't at all what I was expecting and not in a good way.  The romance was hinted at throughout this book and Seraphina, yet the outcome was rather different.

I don't even really know what to say about Shadow Scale to be honest.  I felt as though a lot of what made Seraphina amazing, was missing in this one.  I also felt like a lot of the interesting aspects of the story were put down and disregarded a lot.

As this was a library book I have to say that I will not be purchasing my own copy of Shadow Scale because it isn't something I want to read again.  This is supposed to be the last book about Seraphina but not the last book set in Seraphina's world.  At this point, I just don't feel any excitement about reading any more in the series.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My Reading Goal for the Rest of the Year

I have now finished with my university work for good and so I don't need to spend every waking minute working on that, so I can now put more focus back into blogging because I really do enjoy writing about books on this blog.  So today, I wanted to talk about my plans for the rest of the year in terms of reading.  

Now is the time where I want to really focus on reducing down my reading pile and making my way through my old books.  I have a pile of books that keep getting bigger and while I have been having a go at reducing the pile, I feel as though I have started slipping with that lately.  Now that I am finished with university I am going to be knuckling down and getting through that tbr pile.  I think to help get through that I will be writing about some of the things I am trying to do to make sure that I do reduce down that pile.

I am also doing the Pop Sugar reading challenge this year and so I would like to continue working my way through the books on that list.  To make it easier to do I have made some suggestions for books to read for this challenge, from my tbr pile as it is.  I don't really want to go out of my way to find some new books for this as I really do want to read through the pile of books I have now.

The end goal for this is probably about 10-15 books in my reading pile at once, because I think that is a good amount that I'm not overwhelmed by choice and I won't be underwhelmed by choice either.  So that is the plan.

The reason I am really wanting to reduce my reading pile is because there are so many times when I have a lot of difficulty choosing which book to read next.  There end up being a bunch of books that end up getting pushed to the back of the pile and they sit there gathering dust for years.  The pile also seems to be getting bigger rather than smaller and so for the rest of the year I am going to be trying very hard to read as many of the books on my tbr pile as I can.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Trouble with Lichen by John Wyndham

Title: Trouble with Lichen

Author: John Wyndham

Published: Penguin, 2008 (First published 1960)

Pages: 204

Summary: Francis Saxover and Diana Brackley, two scientists investigating a rare lichen, discover it has a remarkable property: it retards the ageing process. Francis, realizing the implications for the world of an ever-youthful, wealthy elite, wants to keep it secret, but Diana sees an opportunity to overthrow the male status quo by using the lichen to inspire a feminist revolution.

As each scientist wrestles with the implications and practicalities of exploiting the discovery, the world comes ever closer to learning the truth...
   (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  I have been really enjoying John Wyndham's books and so I was very much excited to read Trouble With Lichen.

One thing I really enjoy about John Wyndham's books is that it's quite difficult to tell what direction the books are going to take.  So while I had an idea about how the story would go I was completely wrong.  John Wyndham's books usually contain some sort of science fiction issue and then it focuses on the human interaction and reactions that occur based on the events.  I felt as though this book had more of a focus on the human element than any of the other books I have read.  It was quite interesting to read about.  I would have liked to have learned more about the lichen and the science behind it but one cannot have everything.

I was happy with the way that the book ended.  I felt as though it sort of left things open ended for me to think about and come up with my own opinion about how things would play out in the future.  I do feel that one thing I'm unsure about was that the beginning of the book basically told you what would happen in the end.  So while that kept me reading, I did find that it made me lose focus on the information being portrayed sometimes because it would make me think, well how does this fit in with what's going to happen at the end?

I'm not sure if I just missed it, but I felt like there was a part of the plot that wasn't explained very well.  It was a point of conflict that was important at one point of the book and then I felt like it never got resolved or explained further so it was constantly in the back of my mind.

I really liked the way that Diana had all these plans and how she handled the way the press wrote about her.  I also thought the articles written by the press about the events were quite interesting to read.  The book as a whole does have an interesting way of discussing the role of women in society and how this lichen could change things.

While this isn't my favourite book of John Wyndham's I did still really enjoy it.  His novels always get me thinking about situations and how people would react to them.  I love Wyndham's novels and cannot recommend them enough.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Rogue by Gina Damico

Title: Rogue

Author: Gina Damico

Published: Graphia, 2013

Pages: 326

Series: Book 3, Croak

Summary: May contain spoilers! Lex is a teenage Grim Reaper with the power to Damn souls, and it’s getting out of control. She’s a fugitive, on the run from the maniacal new mayor of Croak and the townspeople who want to see her pay the price for her misdeeds. Uncle Mort rounds up the Junior Grims to flee Croak once again, but this time they’re joined by Grotton, the most powerful Grim of all time. Their new mission is clear: Fix his mistakes, or the Afterlife will cease to exist, along with all the souls in it. 

The gang heads for Necropolis, the labyrinth-like capital city of the Grimsphere. There, they discover that the Grimsphere needs a reboot. To do that, the portals to the Afterlife must be destroyed…but even that may not be enough to fix the damage. Things go from bad to worse, and when at last the fate of the Afterlife and all the souls of the Damned hang in the balance, it falls to Lex and her friends to make one final, impossible choice.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I've been reading my way through a bunch of books that have been sitting on my reading pile for quite a few years and I thought it would be a good time to read Rogue by Gina Damico.  This is the third book in the trilogy so I was curious as to how it would end.

I'm not sure if it was just me or the book, but I felt as though Rogue wasn't as good as the first two books in the series.  It didn't have as much of the dark humour that I had come to really enjoy.

The characters weren't as exciting as they used to be and I found Lex to be more annoying than anything.  Driggs was an interesting character especially after the way things happened in the last book in the series.

The plot was interesting and I was curious as to how they were planning on doing exactly what they had planned to do.  I felt like everything sort of just came together in the end all of a sudden.  I felt like it went by so fast that I had to re-read a few pages to reassure myself that the conflict had been resolved.

I don't have a lot to say about Rogue to be honest.  It worked as an ending to the trilogy but I just felt it was missing something that the other two books.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Passing Strange by Daniel Waters

Title: Passing Strange 

Author: Daniel Waters

Published: Simon Pulse, 2010

Pages: 386

Series: Book 3, Generation Dead

Summary: Karen DeSonne always passed as a normal teenager - and now that she's dead, she's still passing - this time, as alive. When her dead friends are accused of a high profile murder and forced into hiding, she has to prove their innocence.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  I have had this book for about five years now, and had read the first two books in the series about six or seven years ago.  It has been so long that these books are now out of print.  So, I figured that I should probably read Passing Strange now.  I'm glad that I did too.

Having not read the previous two books in the series for quite a few years, I was actually pretty surprised at how well I remembered events.  There were one or two things that I hadn't fully remembered that I was reminded of throughout Passing Strange.

The story was quite interesting and I like the way this book series talks about and brings to mind ideas of human rights and how people who are different are treated differently to others.  The book also brings up issues of sexuality, depression and suicide.

I have to say that I thought the actions of Karen were a bit odd at times.  I don't want to give away any spoilers but I felt as though she didn't treat her friends in a very good way.

I thought the story went back in time a little weirdly.  There wasn't any warning when Karen would start reminiscing and so sometimes I wasn't aware that was what was happening.

The ending left me feeling fairly confused.  There was this whole sub-plot going on throughout the book in which Karen kept thinking of this one person and then at the end the name of the person was different to what it had been the entire time.  I can only assume that it was an error that the editors managed to miss, otherwise there was something I completely missed.

Overall, I liked Passing Strange but I didn't think it was overly wonderful.  I am glad that I have now finished the series, however.

My thoughts on the other books:

Generation Dead
Kiss of Life

Friday, July 3, 2015

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Title: Elizabeth is Missing

Author: Emma Healey

Published: Penguin, January 2015

Pages: 275

Summary: Maud keeps finding notes in her pockets with this message scrawled on it, but she can’t remember writing it. That said, she can’t remember much these days: the time of day, whether she’s eaten lunch, if her daughter’s come to visit, how much toast she’s eaten. Still, the notes about Elizabeth nag at her. When was the last time she spoke with her best friend? It feels like ages ago...

Frustratingly, no one seems willing to help Maud find her: not the police nor Elizabeth’s son - not even Maud’s own daughter or granddaughter. It’s like they’re hiding something.

Maud resolves to take matters into her own hands, and begins digging for the truth. There are many clues, but unhelpfully, they all seem to point to another unsolved disappearance: that of Maud’s sister Sukey just after the war.
Could the mystery of Sukey’s disappearance lead Maud to the truth about Elizabeth? As Maud’s mind retreats into the past at a frightening pace, alienating her from her family and carers, vivid memories of what happened over fifty years ago come flooding back to give her quest new momentum.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Elizabeth is Missing is so beautifully written.  Healey's use of language is so amazing and she just captured the emotions of the moments so well.

I will admit I was a little bit scared reading this book and so I kept putting it down.  The reason I was scared, is because this book is so sad and I felt like it was so difficult to read about Maud's decline in health, regarding her memory.  I didn't want it to get worse so it took me a little longer to read than I had expected.

The mystery aspect is what initially had me interested in Elizabeth is Missing.  Interestingly enough, there were actually two mysteries in the book, one set in the past and one in the present and it was presented really well.  The mystery of what happened to Maud's sister is told in flashbacks where Maud is remembering events from her past.  I have to say that I guessed pretty well what had happened to Sukey.  I had a couple of ideas about Elizabeth's disappearance and while I didn't guess completely what had happened I was pretty close.

Elizabeth is Missing is about a lot more than just the two disappearances however, it's also about Maud and her slow decline in health, particularly to do with her memory.

I absolutely loved Elizabeth is Missing and feel as though I would definitely like to read more books by Emma Healey in the future.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June Wrap-Up

The first half of the year is over and I have read a total of 44 books so far this year.  I'm hoping that the second half of the year will be even better in terms of reading for me because I should hopefully have more time for reading.  So, in June I managed to read a few more books than last month, which I am pleasantly surprised about.  Without further ado here are the books I read this month:

So I managed to read quite a lot of books this month which makes me really happy, and I can hope that July will be just as good but I'm not entirely sure that will happen.  For the first half of the month I have my thesis to tidy up and hand in but for the second half of July I will be finished so hopefully I'll get a lot more reading done.