Category: Book

Book Review: Hunger by Michael Grant

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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Hunger is the second novel in the “Gone” series by Michael Grant, following on from the series titling original. The book picks up on the lives of a group of school children who have been cut off from civilisation, turned against each other as the realisation of their plight and the natural power struggle it gives rise to becomes more pronounced and now, starving, they are stalked by a deadly pray.

The book really does pick up from where Gone finished and as a result I actually believe that unless you have read the original there is no way you could even attempt this. I thankfully, have read the first book, but even so, I found this instant reconnection hard initially. I’ve had a 6 month gap between finishing Gone and starting Hunger, not a massive amount of time, but enough to mean I’d forgotten some of the background characters, idiosyncrasies and finer details that made up the world, it’s inhabitants and what had gone before, so to be presented with a character and be instantly expected to remember everything about them, and more importantly why they did, said or acted as they do was annoying and frustrating to say the least. I didn’t want the book to recount everything from before, I wanted it to be independent, to continue the story by going forward but it needed to ease the characters back into my life in a gentler and more compassionate way. It’s too blunt and asking too much as it is. Read more

Book Review: Apache Dawn by Damien Lewis

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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I’ve owned Apache Dawn for a very long time. I can’t tell you why I originally bought it, chances are I was probably off ballooning somewhere and thought having a book with me “just in case” was a good idea, but whatever the reason it has sat unread, squished into the corner of my bookcase for a very long time. I only have one bookcase, so to speak, and it now only has a few fingers worth of unread books left on it. I’ve become a digital reader, Google Play stores my “to read” pile now and, as it seemed to make more sense to read up the physical books I already own rather than spend digital money on new, so, I blew off the dust and set to, but I have to admit, as I did my heart wasn’t really in it.

I’m not a big fan of military warfare either in general, or as a genre. I can accept it on screen, or in literacy because there is a detached safety that makes it somehow not real. It’s a horrible thing to say, but it’s the truth. But when you make it real, when I’m forced to accept that these are real people and this actually happens I don’t enjoy it. It’s not something I can connect with because I know I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t be in the army, or the air force, facing these situations. If I was, I’d would be the weakling, cowering in the corner, probably urinating over himself, that you see so often shown in war movies as the hero charges past to save the day. Read more

Book Review: Around The World In 80 Days by Jules Verne

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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Having been left so disappointed by Falling Sideways by Tom Holt I was suddenly gripped by wanderlust. Mentally I just wanted to go on an adventure. I wanted to let my imagination travel, dream and walk upon foreign lands. I didn’t want reality. I didn’t want comedy. I just wanted to be transported from the confines of my life and shown the world. And so I turned, naively, to Jules Verne.

The reason that I say “naively” is because in my mind Verne has this loose connection to hot air ballooning that means I feel some sort of affinity towards him. I think if I’m honest, I decided to read Around The World In 80 Days because I’m so use to seeing images of both hot air and gas balloons associated with it that I was expecting a tale of globe-trotting by balloon. So it came as a bit of a shock when one neve appeared within its pages. Read more

Book Review: Falling Sideways by Tom Holt

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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I just needed an escape. I just needed to read something that wasn’t based on psychology. That didn’t grab you and demand your full attention, that wasn’t heavy, melancholic or dark. I just wanted a story that was light and comedic and throwaway. I wanted the literary version of cinematic popcorn fodder.

Matthew Thomas only wrote two stories: Terror Firma and Before & After but that was the style I was after, a humorous and almost silly look at life and a quick Google search for “Authors like Matthew Thomas” turned up Tom Holt, the first book at the top of his metaphorical pile being Falling Sideways and that was enough to get me reading. Although the brief synopsis describing a story mixing frogs, humans and evolution answered my brief for a preposterously fun story that I had initially searched for. Read more

Book Review: Unravel by Calia Read

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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Part of me wants to write that it is strange, macabre almost, that suffering from my own mental health issues that I should seek out books that relate to mental health. Aside from my natural fascination with psychology and the longing to answer the question “why?”, part of me wonders whether, subconsciously, it is an attempt to seek reassurance that my own life will get better. That recovery is possible.

The problem is though, I’m just picking books by their titles. Refining lists: Books -> Psychology -> Thrillers and seeing what titles jump out, what star ratings suggest that a novel is worth reading. I’m not looking for anything in particular, and that is how and why I ended up reading Unravel by Calia Read. It simply fitted the filter. Read more

Book Review: Disclaimer by Renee Knight

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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Picking what you read from pictures on Instagram must be the most blatant example of judging a book by its cover. I lurk on Instagram, posting occasionally, but more often than not spending my time browsing pictures of food, cats and piles of books. But it was when a friend shared a combined picture of a book and a cat that I took notice. The book in question was Disclaimer by Renee Knight.

I trust my friend. She reads a lot more than I do and also shares my interest in film. In fact, she has often recommended some of the best independent and foreign language films I’ve seen. So that, tied to the fact that the plot – a thriller based on the premise of what you would do if you discovered a mysterious book only to realise it was actually all about you – seemed wonderfully open ended to the twisting, dark possibilities it could contain. I was sold. I bought it electronically and set about reading it. Read more

Book Review: The Shock Of The Fall By Nathan Filer

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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I have finally read enough to realise the type of books I like. By that I don’t mean the genre, I’m still a firm believer in not condensing yourself into one specific group or another, it is such a rich and imaginary world that it seems beyond foolish and narrow minded not to keep your eyes open to it all. Rather, I have realised that I like a novel with a beginning, a middle and an end. I like a story that feels in motion and in which A leads to B and concludes with C.

When it comes to choosing a book to read you can obviously place weight onto recommendations from friends, previous works you’ve read or simply looking at the “best seller” charts to see what’s popular. And sometimes you just have to judge a book by it’s cover. That’s exactly what I did for The Shock Of The Fall by Nathan Filer. I’d never heard of it but it seemed popular and well received online. It’d won the 2013 Costa Book Of The Year Award and more importantly, of course, there was something about the cover that grabbed my eye. Read more

Book Review: The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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Hugh Laurie went from quirky British treasure to international superstar thanks to House MD. A programme into which I fell completely. I rowed every episode and still, to this day, have a complete soft spot for the characters, actors and anything related to it. It’s therefore, unsurprising, that I have an unfaltering faith in Hugh Laurie as a result, if he suggesting jumping, I take note and look to see if he’s dictated how high.

It’s this interest in his celebrity endorsement that firstly lead me to read The Night Manager by John Le Carré, a book I must admit I hated, but it was while putting together my review of it for this blog that I discovered that Laurie, has in fact, written his own tale of fiction – The Gun Seller. And so, with blind, and untainted faith, I put it in the “to read” pile of my ebook collection and waited for it to reach the top. Read more

Book Review: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest By Stieg Larsson

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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After I read The Girl Who Played With Fire I went out and I purchased the original Swedish film version of Steig Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. I wanted to see how the second and third books had been turned into films (Hollywood as of yet has only tackled The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), I wanted to relive the story. But this gave me a problem. I hadn’t read the final part. If I watched the films I’d spoil the last book, and while I could watch the opening pair, taking me up to the point I’d read, I didn’t know how the films compared, and/or how much story cross over there would be. I could unwittingly be unlocking the plot without knowing it.

I decided therefore that the only thing to do was to sit the films on the shelf, and read the final book first. To learn how the story ends and then watch the trilogy in its whole. So that’s what I’ve done and while it’s taken me a little longer than planned to complete Lisbeth Salander’s tale, I now have and I now cannot wait to watch the films. Read more

Book Review: Hyperion By Dan Simmons

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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He speaks fluent French, took one of the most rewteeted selfies of all time, and happens to be one of Hollywood’s hottest actors, in both the looks and property department. There are many, many reasons that you can dislike the apparent perfectionist talents of Bradley Cooper. And now he is turning his attentions to conquering the small screen, as he helps bring to life Dan Simmons’s award winning novel Hyperion.

I must confess, until I heard that Cooper was attempting this feat, and the ensuing discussion as to whether there is actually anything that Cooper cannot do, I’d never heard of Simmons or his story, but because the discussions around Cooper’s choice of source material seemed to suggest that this was something of a quality book, commanding almost cult status which would be a challenge to bring to life I was intrigued. I wanted to read it, to see what story Cooper was attempting to relay. Read more