Wishing Cross Station – February Grace

This is a pretty short book, at about 170 pages, so it’s a good size to get through in a couple of days (for me anyway).

The book tells the story of a young man called Keigan who works in a library and is sent to pick up some donated books. One of the books was set aside from the others, along with an old toy train, and intrigued, instead of handing it into the library for categorisation, he keeps hold of it.

The story that follows is a magical, time travelling, love story, with a truly sad ending.

I did enjoy the book, but I felt that it could have been taken a little further. Questions were left unanswered, for example, without giving spoilers, Keigan left a task to his loved one – did she complete it? We just don’t know. Maybe the author left us wondering intentionally – I don’t know. I just felt a bit left wanting.

As I said, it’s a good easy read if you don’t want something too heavy, and it is well written. I certainly didn’t get bored reading it, and I looked forward to picking it up in my lunch hour.

My thanks to Booktrope Publishers, and Netgalley for this copy

The Great Zoo of China – Matthew Reilly

It’s been a while since I last posted! I have been reading – or more studying for my holiday this year. I chose China….this book came up on NetGalley just as all my other books arrived and I ‘thought’ that I would squeeze it in amongst the others.

I thought wrong….

As soon as I got back I picked it up, and I’m really pleased that I did. Because I’d learnt so much about Chinese culture, and then visited it and experienced it myself I was able to appreciate this book more than I would maybe have done.

This book doesn’t hang around with plot so i’ll keep it short as I don’t want to give away spoilers. China, in it’s obsession to become a bigger superpower than America is opening a Zoo. Not any old zoo of course, but the biggest zoo on earth, with a pretty spectacular animal.

As you’d expect with a good thriller – and this certainly is a good thriller – things don’t quite go as smoothly as the Chinese Government would like them to, and the main characters CJ Cameron, her brother Hamish, and the rest of the characters are swept along in a rollercoaster of events which never seem to end!

It’s pretty gory, and comparisons with a certain film are inevitable, but you do have to look past that and appreciate the book for what it is – which is a good thriller. The author has quite clearly done his research on China and it’s culture, and has portrayed it very well. I don’t know if this book would work so well in another country as it fits China very well.

My thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the advance copy.

No One Gets Out Alive – Adam Nevill

Tags

I started reading this on Halloween, and just before I had a blood test (which always makes me queazy anyway!)….maybe not the best idea!

It’s been a while since I read a horror, and this one really is. In short, the story follows Stephanie, a young woman who moves out of home (after an relationship breakdown with her stepmother), and moves into a cheap rented room in a Victorian house. Her first night doesn’t go well, with her being woken by noises and voices, which she puts down to her neighbours. However, when she tries to leave, things get worse – much worse.

This book frightened the life out of me, it really did. I had to put it down quite a few times and go and do something else for a bit, and there were bits that I just struggled to read. This book really got to me, it’s not a classic ghost story. This is truly awful – the landlords frightened me more than the ghosts somewhat, they’re not unbelievable characters, and you can actually see how some women would easily get themselves into the situation that Stephanie did.

It did have undertones of Fred and Rose West, which I noted were mentioned by the author at the end of the book. I think this is why it creeped me out so much.

I enjoyed this book very much, but I think it’s going to stay with me for a while…. A truly frightening story.

 

Thank you to Pan Books for providing this copy via NetGalley

2040 – Graham Tottle

2040I was really looking forward to reading this book, the cover looked fantastic, and it was sold to me as:

Imagine a world where there are no birds singing. There are no warm-blooded creatures at all and few people – the human population has been decimated. The First World Error has seen to that. That world is Downside, a dystopian parallel universe which split from Upside in 1990.

It sounded great. I’m sorry to say it isn’t. I’m halfway through it and I’ve just stopped. I’m bored. I struggled with his writing style, and i’m not a fan of footnotes (which there are many). I stuck with it even though I didn’t have much of a clue what was going on – I thought I’d pick it up eventually – maybe it was flipping back and forward in time? The upside/downside thing was fine, I got that bit – and I really like the concept of the POPS (machinery that keeps tabs on people).

However, i’m 40% through the book now, and despite having read this book without a break (I’m pretty immobile at the moment), i’ve kind of lost the plot. I don’t really know who’s doing what and why. It’s not helped that it is full of conversations that ramble on about irrelevant things. It reminds me of old 1970’s tv programmes, with two old people just sitting on a bench or walking down a street having a ramble on whilst on their way somewhere, as a filler….it’s not needed in a book – chatting on about a princess who became a model, and slavery and the British Indea Steam Navigation Co has absolutely no relevance to the story at all. Is the author just trying to show off his general knowledge?

When I started skipping whole paragraphs in order to try to get back to the story then I realised he had just lost me, and there was no point continuing. If nothing has happened in the first 40% of the book, then what’s going to happen in the rest – i’m almost halfway through. I don’t even know why the upsiders want to go to the downside!

Sorry – this wasn’t for me…

Thank you to Book Guild Publishing for sending me this book to review (honestly) via Netgalley. Image from Amazon.

 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman

Tags

The Ocean at the end of the laneWow. This is the first book that I have read of this author, although I have been meaning to buy one for quite some time, as I loved the film Stardust, and I knew he would be right up my street so to speak.

It didn’t disappoint. This is one of those books that you read as a child and it stays with you for the rest of your life. For example, for me, it’s Joan Aiken (The Stolen Lake being my favourite), and Alan Garner (The Weirdstone of Brisingamen – oh Alderley Edge!). I’ve never encountered a book like this in my adult life  life – it transported me back to my childhood and it was just absolutely magical.

I’m never going to forget this book, and I can see myself rereading it over and over again. It’s pretty short so you can do it in a weekend easily. Perfect.

I’m planning on buying the rest of his books, I hope they are all as special as this one – I’m confident they will be…

Titus Awakes – The Lost Book of Gormenghast

Titus Awakes

 

For those of you who have never read Gormenghast, you really should. It’s an absolutely amazing book, even if you don’t enjoy the plot (don’t worry, you will), it is written with what can only be described as artistry. It’s beautiful, descriptive, it’s a book which really does take you into it’s loving arms – you escape to a world that I never personally wanted to come out of.

I adore Gormenghast….

I didn’t even know about this book, I just chanced upon it when I was in a bookshop one day looking for something else (The latest Dwarves book by Markus Heitz if you’re wondering – my boyfriends birthday). Naturally, I snapped it up, finished food shopping, and legged it home full of excitement – well legged it home as quick as you can do with a full bag of vegetables in one hand and a bag of fish and meat in the other – which isn’t very fast truth told. Anyway, I digress.

You know where i’m going with this don’t you?…

Although it was not written by Mervyn, it was pulled together by Maeve Gilmore based on fragments that he had written before he passed away. It takes us on the next journey of Titus after he leaves Gormenghast behind, and his trying to find his way in the world. I’m not giving the story away – I don’t do that (sorry) – I found that I couldn’t put this book down, I really felt for Titus and once again I was drawn into the story and it wouldn’t let me go. It’s pretty short so I read it in a couple of days. It’s a really sad book, typically ‘Titus’, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. There is no happy ending – that would be wrong, it just ‘is’, and that is perfect for the end of the story of Gormenghast. I’m itching to reread the first three again to be honest….

Fractured Dream (The Dreamer Saga)- K M Randall

Tags

Fractured dreams

I have to admit, this is the sort of book that I absolutely love, full of fairytales, magic and mystery, with a good ‘got to work out how to take down the baddie’ plot.

The main character is Story Sparks, a young woman who has no idea how special she is. Story is plagued by firstly the lack of dreams, and then horrific nightmares – ones which she remembers having many years ago when she was a child.

We are swept away into Story’s tale, along with her and her two friends when they take a trip to Lake Sandeen on a sunny day for a picnic.

What follows is a magical world of fairytales, and the discovery of who Story really is…there are wolves, red riding hood, fairies, and of course the baddie.

I really enjoyed this book, it’s easy reading and you do get sucked into it. I await the next one….

The Winds of Purgatory – Rex Ewing

The story centres on Dr Jack Vara, the son of Carlos Herrera, a mexican immigrant who came good, and who it turns out was heavily involved in what is known as ‘The Purge’, an event that happened across the world when the world’s oil supplies were damaged.

After Carlos’s death, and the breakdown of his marriage, Jack returns to his fathers home in Purgatory to see his inheritance, and find out the meaning of a cryptic clue his father left him.

Salia Warchez – a religious madwoman is also after finding out what Carlos has left Jack for her own purposes…

This is a bit of a love story, and a bit of a thriller. It was okay……there were a lot of gaps, and a lot of areas where the book could have been filled out a bit more, eg the love story was very rushed into and predictable, and everything just kind of skipped along the surface, I felt nothing for any of the characters as you didn’t get to know them. The book felt a bit rushed, and I was left a bit empty at the end by it. It was ok, but it could have been a lot more. The ‘winds’ were also ‘bigged up’ at the start (and indeed mentioned in the title), and I was expecting a bit more from them, but it just really fizzled out if i’m honest, as did the rest of the book..

sorry – i hate writing a bad review – it was ok, just not great…

Book provided courtesy of Eastlake Books, via Netgalley

The Reality Dysfunction (The Nights Dawn Trilogy)

Tags

The Reality Dysfunction (Night's Dawn, #1)

This is one HUGE book! I initially picked it up a couple of years ago but I only made it through the first 50 pages,  then the rabbit got hold of it and chewed most of the front cover off, so it sat on the bookshelf until I decided I should really give it a proper go.

As I’ve said, it’s a HUGE book, 1200 odd pages, so it’s a bit of a commitment, and it is a complicated plot, so  you really do have to invest a bit of time each time you pick it up (I didn’t last time, and I got lost on what was happening). I’m really pleased I picked it up again though. He’s billed as Britain’s no 1 science fiction writer, and I really can’t disagree with that statement. It truly is a fantastic story, and very well written. If I have one complaint, it’s that the sex scenes are skimmed over (and there are a lot of sex scenes) – it’s all left to the imagination – maybe not a bad thing, but we are living now in the world of ‘fifty’ – I expect a bit more (then again, maybe it’s just me!!!).

This is the first book in the trilogy, and the other two are just as hefty. I’m not going to read all three in one go, I sometimes get a bit fatigued with trilogy’s, and can’t wait to just be shot of them by the end, and I think I’ll probably feel that way with this one, especially due to the size of the books.

So, the book – basically – because it is complicated, and I don’t like to dwell on tellling the plotline…we meet to Joshua Calvert, the main character, a lucky captain of a trading ship – the plot is mostly centred around this character, and the recently colonised planet of Lalonde. Lalonde was all going well, with villages becoming self-sufficient, growing their own crops, etc, etc, and is a destination planet for those in the galaxy who  wish to leave the technologies of space and go back to their roots.

Something catastrophic happens on Lalonde, and Joshua is caught up in it, along with many other characters…..I won’t reveal more.

I am very much looking forward to picking up the next two of these books, I’m holding myself back from picking up the second right now, as I’ve said, I don’t want to get fed up of them, so i’m going for a light read inbetween! A truly great start to what must be the reason  the term  ‘Space Opera’ was invented!

Picture taken from Goodreads.

 

 

 

Hi

I’m very concious that i’ve not posted in a while….i’ve been on holiday, work is manic, and watching the world cup has meant i’ve not been reading as I usually do…I admit I hate football, but I’ve been really enjoying the world cup…though not as much now we’re no longer in it…..oh…and have you noticed? It’s sunny!! I’ve been gardening….

Anyway – on holiday i read Stephen King’s ‘Under the Dome’. It’s been a while since I’ve read an SK – i went through a phase in my teen/early twenties years where I read loads of his books, and really fancied picking up a new one. I’ve often found his endings are often bad, and I just accept this now – it doesn’t bother me. He’s a best seller for a reason, and I found I still really enjoy his books, despite knowing the ending may be ‘silly’. Definitely one to pick up and read.

I also read ‘Flood’ by Stephen Baxter. This is the first book I ever bought for my e-reader years ago, and I’ve kept it as ‘special’.  Set myself up for a fall there didn’t I? I have to say, I didn’t like it – people fleeing everywhere for no reason it appeared, One minute they were in one country, and one minute in another – I couldn’t keep up, and the background of them all being hostages together just didn’t work for me – it seemed irrelevant. It’s not often I don’t like a book, but I just didn’t like this at all. I’m rather gutted about it..

What else…

I finally finished ‘A history of  the world in 100 objects’, by Neil MacGregor, which I’ve been reading on and off for about 3 years. I just kept forgetting I had it to be honest. I kept it in a drawer in the coffee table which I rarely went into. The book is what it says it is. It’s a good read, short chapters, easy reading, and I learnt quite a bit. I just wish I’d read it over a shorter period of time as I lost a bit where he referred to previous chapters in that i’d forgotten how it linked. My own fault, not the books. I recommend it – it’s always good to improve your mind!

The two I’m ploughing  through at the moment are ‘The Reality Dysfunction’ by Peter F Hamilton. LOVING THIS so far. Paper book which i’ve had for years and which is rabbit chewed. It’s a big heavy book, and I admit my wrists are weak from switching to an e-reader – hence why i’ve had it so long. God books are soooo heavy!!! I want rid of it from my bookshelf as I have double layers of books, and the shelves are bending – so i’m reading it and charity shopping it as quick as I can.

The second one I’m reading is ‘Winds of Purgatory’ Rex A Ewing, from those lovely people at Netgalley. I’ve had this on my reader for so long it’s embarrassing. I’m only on 4%…I will get there.

Despite my first paragraph it would appear I have been reading a lot. But ‘tidying up’ reading…’getting rid of clutter’ reading. Not ‘new’ reading. Ahh……bear with me……I’ll be back to normal soon….