Monday, November 23, 2015

Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs

Title: Bare Bones

Author: Kathy Reichs

Published: Arrow, 2004

Pages: 420

Series: Book 6, Temperance Brennan

Summary: During one of the hottest summers on record, Dr Temperance Brennan is haunted by a string of horrifying events.

First, the bones of a newborn baby are discovered in a wood stove. The mother is nowhere to be found.

Next, a plane flies into a rock face. The dead pilot and passenger are burned beyond recognition, and covered in an unknown substance.
And then a store of bones is found in a remote corner of the county. What has happened, and who will be the next victim? The answers lie hidden deep within the bones - but Tempe must find them in time to stop further disaster.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I've been feeling in the mood to read through this series lately so I was pretty excited to pick up book six in the series.

I really love the science aspects of these books.  I'm not sure if they're 100% accurate but I know that Kathy Reichs worked in the field and also does her own research so I'm willing to bet that a lot of it is accurate.  I also know some of the stuff she's talking about and that stuff is accurate.  Either way, it just makes the stories that little bit more interesting.

I don't have a lot to say about this book, other than it starts off in an interesting but tragic way and then mysteries just keep getting deeper.  There were a few mystery aspects going on in this book and I felt like I needed answers so I read this book in two sittings.  I really feel as though Kathy Reichs' writing improves with every book and they become that much more enjoyable.

Overall, I'm really enjoying this series.  They're just really fun to read and they're really easy to read so I can just read through them when I'm feeling tired and I don't have to switch my brain on to analyse every sentence and such.  Anyway, I am definitely enjoying the series and will be carrying on with the next book soon.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Title: The Handmaid's Tale

Author: Margaret Atwood

Published: Vintage Books, 2007 (First published 1985)

Pages: 324

Summary: The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I wasn't initially going to write about this book as I feel like it's such a famous book that everyone has heard of it and most people have already read it, chosen not to, or intend to read it at some point.  Either way, I felt like I didn't really need to add my opinion to the vast sea of opinions already out there about this book.  However, having just finished this book I felt like I wanted to talk about it and this was the best way to do so.

Margaret Atwood is an amazing writer.  Her writing style is simple and easy to read yet it leaves a lasting impression and has an addictive quality to it.  I had no idea where the character was going to end up in this book.  Her future was unknown to me, much as her fate was unknown to her.  There were so many different scenarios I could see happening at the end of this book, but I was quite impressed by the way this book ended.

The Handmaid's Tale is a really sad book and I felt bad for Offred and all of the women.  What everyone had to go through in the Republic of Gilead was really not nice.  It really made me even more appreciative of what I have now and the choices that I can make on a daily basis.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Handmaid's Tale.  It was so interesting and so well written.  It was definitely a book that made me think about how we live today and how we may live in the future.  At this point in time I want to rush out and get every book of Margaret Atwood's to read through.  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Old School by Jeff Kinney

Title: Old School

Author: Jeff Kinney

Published: Amulet Books, 1 November 2015

Series: Book 10, Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Pages: 225

Summary: Life was better in the old days. Or was it?
That's the question Greg Heffley is asking as his town voluntarily unplugs and goes electronics-free. But modern life has its conveniences, and Greg isn't cut out for an old-fashioned world.
With tension building inside and outside the Heffley home, will Greg find a way to survive? Or is going 'old school' just too hard for a kid like Greg?  (Taken from Goodreads)
Thoughts: This is the tenth book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and I have loved every book so far.  Old School was no exception.
The day that I read this, I was having a bit of a bad day and so I felt like this book cheered me up so much.  I always feel like I can pick up one of these books when I need a good laugh.
There isn't too much that I have to say about this book other than it was just a really fun read and the jokes were just as funny as in previous books.  There are particular sections to do with the family's pet pig that made me laugh so much.
Overall, I feel like the Diary of a Wimpy kid books can be read and enjoyed by anyone of any age.  They are just so funny and really good if you're looking for something light and if you're looking for a good laugh.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Title: The Coppper Gauntlet

Author: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Published: Corgi Children's, September 2015

Purchase Links:
The Book Depository*

Pages: 272

Series: Book two, Magisterium

Summary: May contain spoilers! Callum Hunt’s summer break isn’t like other kids’. His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. His father suspects him of being secretly evil. And, of course, most kids aren’t heading back to school in the magical world of the Magisterium . . .

It’s not easy for Call . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc.
Call escapes to the Magisterium but things only intensify there. The Alkahest - a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic - has been stolen. And in their search to discover the culprit, Call and his friends awaken the attention of some very dangerous foes - and get closer to an even more dangerous truth.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: After reading the first book in the Magisterium series I was curious as to how the next book would play out.

In some ways I felt as though this book resembled Harry Potter a little more than the first one.  I'm not sure if that was because I read a few reviews for The Iron Trial after I finished reading it, and so I was more aware of Harry Potter similarities.  Either way, really the way that I felt like it was similar was just with the set up of the characters and some of the behaviours of other characters.

This book is quite a bit shorter than the first one in the series so events play out quite fast.  There were a couple of interesting developments in the plot.  There were a couple of things that I wasn't expecting to happen but thought they were definitely interesting.  That being said, I felt like there were a couple of questions left unanswered and while some of them will be answered in other books, I felt as though there were one or two events that happened in the beginning of the book that were just glossed over.  There was a particular comment from Alastair Hunt that made me wonder about a certain event but it was never addressed and I felt like that part of the story had been finished up in the end.

I find the magic system to be quite interesting and it's quite fascinating to see the way that magic sort of manifests itself to do with specific elements.

Overall. I thought that The Copper Gauntlet was an entertaining read.  That being said, I feel that the series as a whole is one that I could take or leave.  It isn't completely amazing and wonderful so at this point in time, I have no idea if I will ever pick up the next book in the series when it is released.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs

Title: Grave Secrets

Author: Kathy Reichs

Published: Arrow, 2008

Pages: 436

Series: Book 5, Temperance Brennan

Summary: Temperance Brennan is helping her Guatemalan colleagues identify Something savage happened in the Guatemalan highlands two decades ago and something savage is happening today. Four girls are missing from Guatemala City, and the victims may be linked. An American human rights investigator is murdered as Tempe listens to her screams on the phone. Will Tempe be the next victim in this web of intrigue?  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I had been taking a bit of a break from this series as I had found the first three books to be pretty repetitive.  A couple of months ago, I was sent book 18 in the series and I flew through it because I absolutely loved reading it.  After having a not so great reading month in October, I decided to carry on with the series.  I had already read book four a few years ago so carried on with book number five.  That is one really good thing about this series, you can read the books out of order and it doesn't really matter.  That being said I am working on reading the rest of the series in order.

So what did I think of Grave Secrets?  I really enjoyed it.  I feel like Kathy Reichs is one of those authors whose writing improves over time.  There are some authors who start out strong and then the quality of their books degrade over time.  This is not the case for Kathy Reichs.

I love the scientific explanations in this book.  I really enjoy mysteries and when they go over some of the forensic processes and explain some of the science behind their findings, I just find that so good.  With these books it's also realistic as Kathy Reichs used to do forensic anthropology as her job.

It took me two days to read this book because it was so interesting.  I was hooked because I just had to know who the person in the septic tank was, and then who killed them and why.  I think what didn't help was that the end of every chapter was presented in a way that made me just have to read the next chapter.

Overall, I really enjoyed Grave Secrets and I can't wait to read the next book in the series.  I have already got it out of the library so will be reading it very soon.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Did Not Finish: The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler

Title: The Basic Eight

Author: Daniel Handler

Published: Ecco, 2006

Pages: 416

Summary: Flannery Culp wants you to know the whole story of her spectacularly awful senior year. Tyrants, perverts, tragic crushes, gossip, cruel jokes, and the hallucinatory effects of absinthe -- Flannery and the seven other friends in the Basic Eight have suffered through it all. But now, on tabloid television, they're calling Flannery a murderer, which is a total lie. It's true that high school can be so stressful sometimes. And it's true that sometimes a girl just has to kill someone. But Flannery wants you to know that she's not a murderer at all -- she's a murderess.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: This is my first ever did not finish review.  I had a big internal debate about whether I should even write about this book because I didn't finish it.  However, 212 pages of a 380 page book is good enough for me.  Plus, I feel as though I need to get my thoughts out about this book, because it is bothering me.

So, I adored Daniel Handler writing as Lemony Snicket.  A series of Unfortunate Events is one of my favourite middle grade series of all time.  Because of this, I decided to pick up his YA novel, The Basic Eight, even though I do have quite a few reservations about reading YA these days.

The book starts off interesting enough.  From the beginning we know that Flannery is going to kill Adam, and as we read on we are going to find out how she did it.  So the book is basically, the events of Flannery's life up to and I believe after she kills Adam.

There is so much teen drama and angst to the point where it drove me crazy.  Flannery was obsessed with this guy but he didn't like her back so she used some other guy and all this other drama.  I decided to keep reading because I was curious as to how she ended up getting to the point where she killed Adam.

I never got to that point because I just couldn't take all of the crap anymore.  So many people have described this book as dark.  I didn't find it dark, I found it to be pathetic.  I didn't care about Flannery and her friends.  I don't even care that she killed a guy.  

I just had to stop reading this book because I was dreading picking it up every time I sat down to read.  It just frustrated me how the characters acted so I just didn't want to finish this book.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Off Season by Jack Ketchum

Title: Off Season

Author: Jack Ketchum

Published: Dorchester, 2006 (First published 1980)

Pages: 308

Summary: A beautiful New York editor retreats to a lonely cabin on a hill in the quiet Maine beach town of Dead River, during off season; awaiting her sister and friends. Nearby, a savage human family with a taste for flesh lurks in the darkening woods, watching, waiting for the moon to rise and night to fall.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Lately I have been trying to find horror novels that don't have a supernatural element to them and I was recommended Jack Ketchum.  So, I decided to pick up Off Season, as it sounded like the most interesting of his books.  That being said, I did toss up between getting Off Season and his novel, The Lost.  In the end I decided to go with Off Season.

My version of the book is a new(ish) version of the original in which the graphic scenes that were apparently taken out in 1980 for being too disturbing.  However, it is explained in the authors afterword the changes that were made and it actually wasn't really that many changes.  

The version I read could have done with some serious editing.  At first there were just minor mistakes like a word being put in twice or words like their being used instead of they.  Then just over 100 pages in the main character Carla kept being referred to not only as Carla, but also has Carta and it got so bad that at one point, I was starting to wonder if perhaps there was someone else around called Carta.  It just annoyed me that there were so many editing mistakes as it really detracted from my reading experience.

So, this was recommended to me as a scary read and honestly it just was not scary.  It had more of a focus on the gore aspect, but at the same time it wasn't really gory.  Probably because this was published in the early 80s originally and I feel like gore has become a lot more gory since then.  I just felt like the atmosphere of the book wasn't scary.  That disappointed me as that was what I was really hoping for.

It took me longer to read Off Season than what I was expecting because I just found it pretty dull.  I kept going though because while I was looking for an entertaining horror novel, I was also studying this book to see how it was written and how it would end. 

I feel like I could say a lot more about how much this book annoyed me, but I feel like I've said enough, none of the characters interested me but I thought the afterword by the author did put a couple of things in perspective for me.  I'm just really disappointed that this book wasn't better, given all of the recommendations and praise I had seen for it.  I am still curious about Jack Ketchum's work so will perhaps pick up another of his books in the future.