Saturday, 11 February 2017

Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn

Emperor of the Eight Islands (Tale of Shikanoko, #1)Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There was a lot more mythology than I expected in this book. I thought it would be much more about the warrior culture and political intrigue.
It was still a really interesting read, and I loved some of the 'magic', but it was also a difficult read sometimes with so many similar names (especially when listening to the audiobook) and I felt like it was a little long.

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Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

The Archived (The Archived, #1)The Archived by Victoria Schwab
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Again, Schwab comes up with a unique concept and story that is just so original and interesting! I just didn't think it was executed as well as it could have been.
There were a few holes in the story, a couple of character actions not quite believable and an attempt at a love triangle which all didn't really work. However, it is a short book, an easy read, and quite a page turner. (I ordered book 2 before I was even half way through!)
3.5 stars

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Friday, 20 January 2017

Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris

Gentlemen and PlayersGentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. I had no idea when I started this how much suspense and mystery there would be.
Told in alternating Points of View between a 65 year old private school Master and an unnamed antagonist trying to destroy the school, the book slowly dissects the school and it's teachers while going back into the past to reveal to us the antagonist's history with the school and potential motivations.
I love books that surprise me, and this certainly did that. Highly recommend the audio version too, although you may find yourself, like me, stopped in your car, mouth agape, not wanting to get out and get on with your day because you need to keep listening! :O

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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Dune by Frank Herbert

Dune (Dune Chronicles, #1)Dune by Frank Herbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first time reading Dune, although I did watch the 1984 movie beforehand. The book is sometimes described as "hard going" and I agree with that at the start. There is this entire world and LOTS of names and plots within plots within plots. If you can persevere and get your head around the who-is-who then you're in for a book full of complexities of characters and with a consistent tension that is quite remarkable to be sustained over such a long book.
I've also seen some people writing the comparisons between Dune and the "war on terror", but it should be remembered that this was written in 1965 so any comparisons are just coincidence... and maybe a little spooky.

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Monday, 16 January 2017

Book review: The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes

The Horse DancerThe Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I feel so sad marking a Moyes book as 2 stars. Maybe it is 2.5. But I was so disappointed with this book, it is a far cry from the other 8 books of hers I have read.
Mostly the book was too long, and not much happened. The things that did happen I didn't find overly believable and one of the main characters was just annoying and frustrating. There was also some strange flashbacks to the Grandfather as a prologue and later in the book that I felt unnecessary. Just a bit of a mess of a novel really. Thankfully Moyes has come far since writing this.

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Thursday, 12 January 2017

Book review: Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

Paper and Fire (The Great Library, #2)Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Totally readable and filled with fast paced action, this was a very good book 2.
We got a lot more information on the characters, the Iron Tower and the Black Archives and all the characters were developed further and have distinct stories and motivations. I love the theme of friends as family and sticking together.

There are a few inconsistencies in the book and a few moments where what is happening isn't explained properly (for example where a character seems to be attacked and lying in the ground and then a few pages later she is just running with the group like nothing's happened), and I guess this comes from the need to push out series books to a certain publishing timetable.

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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Book review: The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

The Impossible FortressThe Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It is 1987 and Billy is 14 and failing all his high school classes and only has two friends who are both misfits like him. The only thing he seems to be able to concentrate on is programming his Commodore 64 to make video games, and he has an obsession along side his friends to get a copy of Playboy because Vanna White is featured (from Wheel of Fortune).
As they make up more and more crazy plans to try and get their hands on the magazine, he finds himself friends with Mary who is much smarter and possibly more obsessed than him about programming. Together they form a team to try and win a computer programming competition.

The book reads like so many coming of age stories from the late 1980s, including nice local cops, the grumpy storeowner who is actually not such a bad guy, and boys being obsessed with girls and doing really stupid things to try and impress them. I found this a really enjoyable easy read and I think for anyone that grew up in this era, it has a certain nostalgia that gives you a nice warm feeling.
3.5 stars
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Sunday, 8 January 2017

Book review: The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters

The Mummy Case (Amelia Peabody, #3)The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was told this series improves as it goes, and that really is true. I started this not knowing if it would be my last Peabody book because the last two were good, but not great. And I found myself really enjoying this one. I think as her son has aged it has added more depth (and a lot of humour) to the characters. And it really is hard to go wrong with a cozy mystery set in Egypt :)

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Friday, 6 January 2017

Book review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've been sitting on this review because I still don't know how I felt about this sequel.
It just didn't have the pacing and "wow" of the first book. Quite a bit of time was spent on character back stories, which really should have been explored more in the first book. I also found the "Kaz is always one step ahead" a little unrealistic.
I still love Bardugo's writing, and the Grisha world, but I was ultimately not in love with this book.

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Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Book review: The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

The Last AnniversaryThe Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've now read all of Moriarty's books and this is one of my favourites.
I really enjoyed the setting which was much more 'Australiana' than her other books (a small fictional Island off Sydney called Scribbly Gum) and the characters were all loveable and realistic. The mystery was relatively easy to solve, but really wasn't the main purpose of the novel for me. I thought it was much more about family, including unconventional ones, and secrets kept over generations.

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Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Book review: The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty

The Hypnotist's Love StoryThe Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am such a fan of Moriarty since I first read What Alice Forgot many years ago and I have been slowly making my way through all her books.
Perhaps if I had read this one first I would have given it a higher rating, because it is a very good book. Just not her best.
I loved the premise of Ellen, a clinical hypnotherapist, meeting Patrick and then discovering that a relationship with Patrick and his son also comes along with his stalker of 3 years (ex girlfriend Saskia). The rotation of points of view between Ellen and Saskia was very well done and gave us an unexpected sympathy towards a "crazy stalker", but I never really warmed to Patrick and was never really convinced of Ellen's feelings towards him.
The audio narration is very well done and recommended.

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