Monday, December 28, 2015

The Dead Zone by Stephen King

Title: The Dead Zone

Author: Stephen King

Published: Hodder & Stoughton, 2011 (first published 1979)

Purchase Links:
Book Depository

Pages: 600

Summary: Meet Johnny Smith. A young man whose streak of luck ends dramatically in a major car crash. Followed by blackness. A long, long time in cold limbo.

When he wakes up life has been turned upside down. His fiancee has met someone else. And Johnny is cursed with the power to perceive evil in men's souls. He's had these hunches since he had an ice-skating accident as a child. Now he has an ability to see into the future. An ability which will bring him into a terrifying confrontation with a charismatic, power-hungry and dangerous man...  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: This is the third work of Stephen King I have delved into, and to be honest I was a little unsure of how much I would like this book.  It took me a little while to pick this book up because of this reason.  I was a little intimidated by its size but when I started reading the book I felt as though I couldn't put the book down.

The book was a little slow to get going but at the same time I felt as though it had quite an addictive quality to it however.  So while this book is pretty big, I managed to read it in three sittings because I just wanted to sit down and find out more about what was happening.

I really thought the parts of the book where Johnny developed his psychic ability was so interesting.  I was kind of hoping for a bit more of that sort of stuff in the book because I found it to be really fascinating.  Interestingly, I wasn't really sure at all how this book would play out and I was expecting a little bit more horror elements but at the same time, I was fairly interested in the way that things went.

I do have to say that later on in the book there is a little bit of political talk and the book took more of a political direction, and I felt that bit of the book to be less interesting.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Dead Zone.  I definitely feel interested in trying out more books by Stephen King as he has so many interesting sounding books that I feel I would really enjoy.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Poison Study

Author: Maria V. Snyder

Published: Mira Books, 2007 (First published 2005)

Purchase Links:
Book Depository

Pages: 409

Series: Book 1, Study

Summary: Yelena has a choice – be executed for murder, or become food taster to the Commander of Ixia. She leaps at the chance for survival, but her relief may be short-lived.

Life in the palace is full of hazards and secrets. Wily and smart, Yelena must learn to identify poisons before they kill her, recognise whom she can trust and how to spy on those she can’t. And who is the mysterious Southern sorceress who can reach into her head?
When Yelena realises she has extraordinary powers of her own, she faces a whole new problem, for using magic in Ixia is punishable by death...  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I have read one other book of Maria V. Snyder's and I really loved it so I thought it was time that I read another one of her books.  I've had this one sitting on my shelf for a couple of years so I figured it would be a good time to read it.

I really enjoyed Poison Study.  I especially liked the parts where Yelena was studying different poisons and substances.  I was a little disappointed that there weren't more parts that talked about the different poisons and how they taste or if they have a smell.  Things like that interest me quite a bit.

As a whole I really enjoyed the story.  There were quite a few things going on, and I really felt as though Yelena had a tough life but she stayed so strong throughout all the ordeals she had to go through.

I like Maria V. Snyder's writing as she tends to write light fantasy.  In other words, if I want to read a fantasy novel but don't want something of a heavier fantasy I can pick up one of her books.  They're just really easy to fly through and such interesting reads.

Overall, I thought Poison Study was a very good and very interesting book.  I'm definitely keen to continue on with the series at some point.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson

Title: Legion: Skin Deep

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Published: Gollancz, September 2015

Purchase Links:
Book Depository

Pages: 199

Series: Book 2, Legion

Summary: Leeds is a genius, his mind contains too much information. And to cope it his split his skills off into individual personalities. They crowd his head and he lives with them in a vast empty mansion. While he can call on any one of them to solve a problem he also walks a line across an all-consuming madness.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I remember reading Legion last year and really enjoying it, so I was looking forward to reading the second book. 

I couldn't remember much about the first book, but as I kept reading through this one things started coming back to me.  I think the good thing about this book is that you don't necessarily need to remember every detail of the first book as the story line is unrelated to the first one.  The only thing that relates is that Stephen has all these aspects who help him solve the mysteries.

The mystery of this book was so good.  It took a little while to get into the story but once I got there, I couldn't put it down because I was so curious about what was going on and who was behind the different aspects.  I think that I really liked this one because it had quite a few mysterious parts and I was intrigued by all of it.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Skin Deep.  I can only wonder if there will be a third book in the series because I would definitely be keen to read more.  That being said, the way the second book ended and the way that it hinted at things I feel like there may be a third book at some point in the future.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Title: Stolen Songbird

Author: Danielle L. Jensen

Published: Strange Chemistry, 2014

Purchase Links:
Book Depository

Pages: 469

Series: Book 1, Malediction Trilogy

Summary: For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind: escape. But the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time…
But the more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing. And she just might be the one the trolls were looking for...  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: At the beginning of the year I went on a purge of my bookshelves and got rid of the majority of the YA titles as I seem to have outgrown the genre.  One of the very few YA books I did keep however, was Stolen Songbird as I was told that it wasn't a typical YA novel and that it was a really great fantasy book.

Stolen Songbird was alright.  I didn't think it was the most amazing book I've ever read and I don't think it was particularly original either.  It has an interesting premise and the idea of trolls being the main supernatural/fantasy creature I was definitely intrigued.  I just felt that as I was reading the book, the trolls seemed like they could have been any magical creature as they just didn't stand out.  Towards the end of the book it became clear what the trolls were but I thought it was a little odd the way that it was kept secret for so long.

The ending was interesting as it wasn't what I was expecting.  I will admit that I'm a little bit interested in how the second book will go, but I'm not interested enough to read the next book in the series.

The way that Tristan and Cecile argued constantly was kind of annoying.  For instance, the majority of the book were just the two of them fighting about one thing or another.
Overall, I just couldn't really get into Stolen Songbird, it was ok but it wasn't really my kind of book.  I feel like anyone who loves Young Adult fantasy will definitely enjoy it though.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Title: Lord of the Flies

Author: William Golding

Published: Penguin Books, 2013 (First published 1954)

Purchase Links:
Book Depository

Pages: 256

Summary: At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate; this far from civilization the boys can do anything they want. Anything. They attempt to forge their own society, failing, however, in the face of terror, sin and evil. And as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far from reality as the hope of being rescued.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: This is a re-read for me as I originally read the book about nine or ten years ago but I remember I really loved reading it then so I was curious as to how I felt about the book this many years later.  Needless to say, I felt like re-reading this was like going back to an old friend.

I really like the way the book shows the decline in behaviour of people over time when they're taken away from society.  I remember the first time I read the book I just had to know what would happen at the end.  I needed to keep reading the book to see how it ended.  I still speculate about what would have happened if things had ended slightly differently.  What would have happened further down the line on the island.

William Golding's writing is very good and I'm curious about some of the other books he has read.  Really I don't feel like I have much more to say than that to be honest.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Lord of the Flies but I didn't feel like I got any more out of it than I did last time.  The upside is that I did get to read a nicer version of the book though.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Title: Siddhartha

Author: Hermann Hesse

Published: Penguin Books, 2013 (First published 1922)

Purchase Links:
Book Depository

Pages: 224

Summary: A young Brahmin named Siddhartha searches for ultimate reality after meeting with the Buddha. His quest takes him from a life of decadence to asceticism, from the illusory joys of sensual love with a beautiful courtesan, and of wealth and fame, to the painful struggles with his son and the ultimate wisdom of renunciation.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I have been eyeing this book up for a while.  Mostly because it is part of the Penguin Drop Cap series, which I am trying to read all of.  However, I was also recommended it by someone else recently so I decided it would be a good idea to pick it up sooner rather than later.

This book is written in such simple language but it's extremely effective in relaying its message.  I really do love books that speak in simple language but convey deep themes so well.

I really enjoyed reading Siddhartha.  It was just one of those books that I know will stay in my mind for a long time.  It's also definitely a book that I know I'll be returning to over and over again.  The characters are all very interesting and I was very intrigued in following along with Siddhartha's life and how his experiences influenced him.

There were a couple of things that happened in the book, I was a little surprised and taken aback by.  I think that given what I knew of the book I was just a little surprised that it had a tiny little bit of sexual content.  Anyway, I got over that pretty quickly, it was just a bit surprising.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Siddhartha.  I don't really feel like I have much else to say but I know that it's a book I'll definitely be recommending to people.  I'm also very interested in reading more books by Hermann Hesse in the future.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

Title: The Grownup

Author: Gillian Flynn

Published: W&N, November 2015

Purchase Link:
Book Depository

Pages: 80

Summary: A young woman is making a living, faking it as a cut-price psychic working at Spiritual Palms (with some illegal soft-core sex work on the side). She makes a decent wage - mostly by telling people what they want to hear. But then she meets Susan Burke. Susan moved to the city one year ago with her husband and 15-year old stepson Miles. They live in a Victorian house called Carterhook Manor, built in 1893. Susan has become convinced that some malevolent spirit is inhabiting their home, and taking possession of the stepson. She has even found trickles of blood on the wall. The young woman doesn't believe in exorcism or the supernatural, but she does see an opportunity to make a lot of money. However when she enters the house for the first time, and meets Miles, she begins to feel it too, as if the very house is watching her, waiting, biding its time... (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I was really interested in reading The Grownup as a lot of the reviews I had seen said it was a scary story and I have been wanting to read more scary things.

This story is very short and while I found it to be interesting I thought that because it was so short it took away from that a little bit.  The way I found that it took away from the story was that the last few pages just kind of revealed a thing, then revealed another thing, and then another so I felt as though this didn't give me a chance to wrap my head around one of the 

As I was reading The Grownup I didn't find it very scary but when I started thinking about the story later that night I will admit I did get a little creeped out.

Overall, I enjoyed The Grownup but I felt as though I would have enjoyed it a little bit more if it had been even just a tiny bit longer.  That being said, I am looking forward to reading more Gillian Flynn in the future.

Friday, December 4, 2015

In the Woods by Tana French

Title: In the Woods

Author: Tana French

Published: Viking, 2007

Purchase Links:

Book Depository

Pages: 429

Series: Book 1, Dublin Murder Squad

Summary: As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children. He is gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox (his partner and closest friend) find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I have been wanting to read this book since I discovered The Secret Place, book five in the series in a bookshop and thought that sounded amazing.  So I have been obsessed with wanting to read this one for about a year.  Well, I have finally picked it up and I have to say that I'm really glad that I picked it up.

I have to say that I loved reading In the Woods, it was so addictive.  I felt like I needed to know what happened next and I needed to know the answers to both mysteries.  Now, I don't want to say too much about the mystery aspect because that would make it less of a mystery 

I feel as though there were hintings at other mysteries which will be addressed in further books.  This was good in some ways as it has me interested in the next books.  But it was also bad because I felt as though some of my attention was then taken away and I started to wonder about the second book in the series and what secrets I will learn in there.

In the beginning stages of the book and until about three quarters of the way through I really liked Rob as a character.  I found him to be really interesting and there was just something about him that made me sympathize with him.  Then about three quarters of the way through his behaviour changed and he did something that I didn't really like.  I felt a little disappointed in him.

I stayed up way too late to finish this book as I got to a point where I just couldn't stop reading it because I needed to know the answers.  I have to say that I managed to guess whodunnit and why and it made me pretty happy that I was able to figure it out.

Overall, I felt as though In the Woods was such a great book and I am already itching to get my hands on The Likeness because I just need more of the mysteries.  Tana French can write very addictive and wonderful mysteries.

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.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Title: The Iron Trial

Author: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Published: Corgi Books, 2015

Pages: 400

Series: Book 1, Magisterium

Summary: Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst – and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.
The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Every now and again I enjoy a good middle grade book.  Especially ones filled with magic.  I had heard a few things about this book and I do enjoy Holly Black's writing so I thought I would give this book a go and see what I thought.

The concept is a mixture of new things and things we have seen before.  It's about a boy who is chosen to go to a magical school and interesting things happen from there.  I quite liked the way the magic was presented and also the way the classes were taught was quite unique.

A lot of the reviews I read for this book and a lot of people seemed to think of this book as a rip-off of Harry Potter. I have to say that I felt like this book reminded me more of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, than anything.  And only if The Name of the Wind was written for a younger audience and had a lot of its components stripped down.  Really, I feel like if this book sounds interesting enough then there's no harm in giving it a try.

I thought the ending was interesting.  It wasn't quite what I had expected and I am a little curious as to how things play out.  That being said, while the story was enjoyable, I'm not entirely sure if I enjoyed it enough that I want to invest my time in reading the entire series.  It will take a few years as I see there are meant to be about five books in the series.

Overall, I thought The Iron Trial was a fun and interesting read.  I have the second book in the series so I will be picking that up at some point soon.  At the moment I feel like I could take it or leave it in terms of this series so we will see if the second book picks up to be just that little bit more exciting.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Flipped for Murder by Maddie Day

Title: Flipped for Murder

Author: Maddie Day

Published: 27 October 2015, Kensington

Pages: 304

Series: Book 1, A Country Store Mystery

Purchase Links:
Book Depository*

Summary: Nursing a broken heart, Robbie Jordan is trading in her life on the West Coast for the rolling hills of southern Indiana. After paying a visit to her Aunt Adele, she fell in love with the tiny town of South Lick. And when she spots a For Sale sign on a rundown country store, she decides to snap it up and put her skills as a cook and a carpenter to use. Everyone in town shows up for the grand re-opening of Pans ‘n Pancakes, but when the mayor's disagreeable assistant is found dead, Robbie realizes that not all press is good press. With all eyes on her, she'll have to summon her puzzle-solving skills to clear her name, unscramble the town's darkest secrets, and track down a cold-blooded killer--before she's the next to die...  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I have found myself absolutely loving Cosy mystery stories lately and I felt like this one looked like my kind of book.  I always seem to love the mysteries that have a foodie theme to them.  Flipped for Murder was no exception.

This book had so much food, that it made me feel really hungry.  It also made me want to jump into the kitchen myself and do some cooking.  This is one of those cosy mystery stories that have recipes in the back and these one sounded really good so I need to try those at some point.  Anyway, the point is, that I always enjoy reading cosy mysteries when they have interesting side themes, and a foodie side theme is always a winner.

The mystery itself was quite interesting, although I did feel like this one didn't have the main character investigating as much.  That being said, there was another little bit of a mystery that was happening and the same time and I really enjoyed that.

I kind of managed to guess the murderer but at the same time, I had two other suspects as well so I wasn't completely able to guess.  I did find that the ending just sort of happened really abruptly.  I was a little taken aback by that.

Overall, I quite enjoyed Flipped for Murder, it was really interesting and just a fun cosy mystery.  I look forward to reading the next book in the series when it is released.

Source: NetGalley for Review