Sunday, May 1, 2016

Taking a break

Every May here on the blog I tend to take a break. This month is no exception and so I will be taking a break from blogging (but not reading) for the month of May. This is pretty good timing and there are a few reasons why I would like to take this month long break from blogging.

  1. I'm beginning my PhD studies in May and would like to spend the first month of it just getting my bearings and seeing how things will go.
  2. I'm feeling a little bit like I'm in a reading slump at the moment so my reading (and therefore my reviewing) is reduced.
  3. I'm currently working two jobs (one of them is temporary so won't be too long) so a lot of my spare time is taken up with that.
  4. I want to spend some time getting specific books read to get on top of them so that I can work on the New Zealand section and so I can start another section when I get back.
Anyway, those are all the things. I'll still be answering emails and such so you can still contact me at everythingtodowithbooks@gmail.com.  Have a good May everyone and I will see you in June!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Title: Running with Scissors

Author: Augusten Burroughs

Published: Picador, 2003 (First published 2002)

Pages: 300

Purchase Links:
The Nile
Book Depository

Summary: The true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. 

So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor's bizarre family, and befriending a paedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year round, where Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull an electroshock-therapy machine could provide entertainment.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: This book is strangely addictive and somewhat disgusting.  I say disgusting just because of the amount of dirt and things that were in the house Augusten went to live in and it was something I found hard to stomach. That being said, the book really was addictive and I had a hard time putting it down.

Running with Scissors centers on Augusten and his life from a young boy to a teenager. His life is very crazy and so much happens in such a short amount of time. He ends up living with his mother's psychiatrist and him and his family are very eccentric.  There are so many strange things that happen, at times it seems crazy that all of this actually happened to someone.

There are some pretty intense parts to this book. Augusten Burroughs had a very strange life and a lot of it was not good. There were quite a few parts of this book that I was a little shocked at. It's really difficult to write about my thoughts on this book because it's someone else's life and their telling it. I will say that it's very well written and the way that Augusten Burroughs writes is definitely engaging.

Overall, I found Running with Scissors to be strangely engrossing and I definitely feel like I will be reading more of Augusten Burroughs' work. I've already had a look at his other books and they sound very intriguing.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Visitor by Amanda Stevens

Title: The Visitor

Author: Amanda Stevens

Published: Mira, March 2016

Pages: 400

Series: Book 4, Graveyard Queen

Purchase Links:
Book Depository
The Nile

Summary: May contain spoilers! Restoring lost and abandoned cemeteries is my profession, but I'm starting to believe that my true calling is deciphering the riddles of the dead. Legend has it that Kroll Cemetery is a puzzle no one has ever been able to solve. For over half a century, the answer has remained hidden within the strange headstone inscriptions and intricate engravings. Because uncovering the mystery of that tiny, remote graveyard may come at a terrible price.

Years after their mass death, Ezra Kroll's disciples lie unquiet, their tormented souls trapped within the walls of Kroll Cemetery, waiting to be released by someone strong and clever enough to solve the puzzle. For whatever reason, I'm being summoned to that graveyard by both the living and the dead. Every lead I follow, every clue I unravel brings me closer to an unlikely killer and to a destiny that will threaten my sanity and a future with my love, John Devlin.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I've waited to read this book for about four years and now it's finally here. As soon as I spotted it on NetGalley I snapped it up to read as I have been waiting so long. The trouble with waiting so long though, is I had forgotten a lot of what happened in the last book. I was also a little nervous that I wouldn't really enjoy this one after I had been waiting for so long. So I let the book sit for a while.

The things I love the most about this series are the mystery elements and the spooky vibe. I felt like in this book there was a little less of both those things but the creepy parts were still pretty creepy. The mystery aspect of this one was better than what I remember of the third book but I felt like there wasn't a whole lot of emphasis put on this one.

I think the thing that bothered me the most about this book was that I didn't like Devlin and I just thought there was too much weird stuff going on with him. The relationship between him and Amelia felt really awkward and strange that every time he was in the book I felt kind of uncomfortable, like I didn't want him to be there.

Overall, I enjoyed reading The Visitor but it just didn't feel like the previous three books in the series. That being said, I might actually go back and read the first three again at some point before I pick up book five as I really couldn't remember much of the previous books.

Source: NetGalley for review

Friday, April 22, 2016

Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson

Title: Shadows of Self

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Published: Gollancz, 2015

Pages: 383

Series: Book 5, Mistborn

Purchase Links:
The Nile
The Book Depository

Summary: May contain spoilers! This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks. (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I wasn't the biggest fan of the first three Mistborn books, they were enjoyable but they weren't my favourite books by Brandon Sanderson. But I really loved The Alloy of Law which is book four so I was excited about reading Shadows of Self.

The book started off really interestingly but one issue I had was that I had trouble remembering what had happened in The Alloy of Law which is also about the same characters. So, I kind of had to second guess myself about some of the characters, eventually I started to remember things again and I was away and reading the book.

The book has a really good mystery, as it opens with a mass-murder and you have no idea whats going on. Eventually Wax gets called to the scene and from there he pieces together bits and pieces to try and figure out what happened.

I'm really fascinated by Wayne's magic use and just the things he does. He's so mysterious and I just feel like I want to know more about him and his past and what he can do.

I really enjoyed reading this book, there was an interesting mix of magic and technology as this has a Western feel to it. I kind of feel like there's something missing from it though. As though there's something more that I wanted from the story that I just didn't get. I just don't know exactly what it is.  That being said, I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series so I will be reading that one soon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The New Zealand Section: The Killing Hour by Paul Cleave

Title: The Killing Hour
Author: Paul Cleave
Published: Atria Books, 2013


The Killing Hour

Synopsis: 'They come for me as I sleep. Their pale faces stare at me, their soft voices tell me to wake, to wake. They come to remind me of the night, to remind me of what I have done.'
Only Charlie doesn't know what he has done. His shorts are covered in blood, there's a bump on his forehead and on the news it says the two young women he was with the night before were brutally murdered. 
Charlie knows Cyris is the murderer - except the police don't believe Cyris exists. Nor does Jo, Charlie's ex-wife, to whom he goes for help. He desperately wants her to believe in him, and when she doesn't, he knows he must force her. As Charlie goes on the run with Jo bound and gagged in the car boot, he tries to figure out whether Cyris is real or imagined, while the killing hour approaches yet again... (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: This is Paul Cleave's second published novel, the first being The Cleaner. I really enjoyed The Cleaner and was interested in picking up the second book written by Paul Cleave. While this is not a sequel to The Cleaner, it's set in the same place and references the first book once or twice. There are, I believe a couple of references to a character who will be focused on in a later book too. That being said, I don't think you need to have read any of Paul Cleave's other books to enjoy this.

I went into this book not knowing a lot about it, as I didn't bother reading the synopsis. I think that was a really good way to go into the book as I was really surprised by everything that happened. The synopsis doesn't give a lot of plot away, it was just that I had no idea what was happening right from the start.

I really loved this book. I read it in two days in four settings. I genuinely couldn't put it down. The book starts off with Charlie waking up and things are revealed really slowly about what happened and as they get revealed his story just seems so crazy and unbelievable. It's really hard to tell if Charlie was telling the truth or if he was just making up this insane sounding story.

I don't think there was ever a dull moment in The Killing Hour as there was always something going on. There were a few twists and turns that were really unexpected. It really was just a thrilling book.

In terms of the New Zealand aspect of this book, it's set in Christchurch, New Zealand which I'm quite familiar with so it was very interesting reading the book and finding the main character Charlie finding himself in places which I was quite familiar. It's definitely something different hearing about a killer in a place you're very familiar with.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Killing Hour by Paul Cleave. It's so interesting and fans of thrillers should definitely check it out as it has an interesting spin on the run of the mill thrillers that are out there. I am definitely going to be checking out more by Paul Cleave.

Where to Purchase the Book: