Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Sleep (C L Taylor)

Taylor, C L - Sleep

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Sleep
Author: C L Taylor
Genre: Fiction/Thriller   Pages: 350
First published: 2019
Edition: Kindle e-book

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

I sped through this closed circuit mystery/thriller novel. It was a very easy read and it pretty much did what I wanted. Well, almost.

The plot was great, the tension was just right and the though the reveal was not incredible, it was good enough. It worked for me anyway.

I do feel that the book missed a bit of a trick. The author could have created so much more atmosphere by showing the reader this storm that was supposed to be raging instead of telling us about it. The book is set on a small Scottish island in an isolated hotel and we are told the visitors are stranded in this hotel because of this massive storm. The reader is told this several times, but the author never describes the storm. No sense of windows rattling, the wind whistling or rain lashing the building. The only time you notice that it is set during the storm is when the author tells you so or when the characters go outside and get wet. She could have done so much more with this to bring another sense of dread to the story and that is a shame.

Overall though, I really enjoyed this one and if you like the synopsis, just read it, because it’s a good one.

5 out of 7 stars

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Books · FIVE

FIVE on FRIDAY: beautiful covers on average books

Last week I looked at ugly covers. This week I thought I would go through some beautiful covers. But not just beautiful covers – beautiful covers on rather average books!

1. The Muse (Jessie Burton) ★★★★☆☆☆

I actually did unhaul this, despite the beautiful cover.

Burton, Jessie - The Muse

2. Talking to the Dead (Helen Dunmore) ★★★★☆☆☆

This is the most beautiful little hardback I own and despite my indifference to the contents, it is one I will treasure forever!

Dunmore, Helen - Talking to the Dead

3. Riders (Veronica Rossi) ★★★☆☆☆☆

I love this cover. I just wish the story was as exciting as the horse on fire – it isn’t. I will keep it for now though…

Rossi, Veronica - Riders

4. The Invisible Library (Genevieve Cogman) ★★★★☆☆☆

I read this on e-book, so I don’t own it. Not sure whether I will ever continue with the series, as I was pretty indifferent to this first book.

Cogman, Genevieve - The Invisible Library

5. The Bird King ( G Willow Wilson) ★★★☆☆☆☆

I loved this cover so much, but again, the story just did not grab me.

Wilson, G Willow - The Bird King

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Do you have any book with gorgeous covers that really did not live up to their exterior?

 

 

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: A Long Way Down (Nick Hornby)

Hornby, Nick - A Long Way Down

★★★☆☆☆☆

Title: A Long Way Down
Author: Nick Hornby
Genre: Fiction/Contemporary   Pages: 257
First published: 2005
Edition: Paperback, published in 2006 by Penguin

Meet Martin, JJ, Jess, and Maureen. Four people who come together on New Year’s Eve: a former TV talk show host, a musician, a teenage girl, and a mother. Three are British, one is American. They encounter one another on the roof of Topper’s House, a London destination famous as the last stop for those ready to end their lives.

I had to force myself to finish this novel, which is never a good thing. It is not that it is badly written, or that it is a bad plot, but it simply did not do much for me personally.

The premise was interesting. The novel is about four people, who meet on a roof of a tall building, each meaning to commit suicide for a variety of reasons. Now, this is a pretty heavy topic and I felt the book sort of made light of that. I understand that books about suicide do not necessarily have to be dark, but I simply felt like the author used it as a  trope to tell a story about four, frankly, quite uninteresting people.

And that is my main issue. The four main characters were simply not interesting enough. I don’t need to like a person to enjoy a character, but I did not care about any of these people. Maybe Maureen had most of affection, but really none of them were able to carry the story for me.

It was not a bad book, but it was just ‘meh’ for me and this book is going on my unhaul pile.

3 out of 7 stars

Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 11 September 2019

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WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

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What am I currently reading?

I am currently reading Knife of Dreams, which is book 11 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. It is epic fantasy in the most epic of ways. I am enjoying this one, but I am taking it reasonably slowly. The book is almost 800 pages.

Alongside that one I am reading A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. This is one of my Lingering Books. I am not quite halfway, and it’s ok. I don’t really like any of the characters very much and it is not quite grabbing me, but it is very readable.

Finally I am listening to Michelle Obama narrating Becoming. The more I listen to her the more I come to love and respect her. I am really enjoying it so far. I have listened to about 8 hours so far with about 12 hours remaining. I might finish it before the end of the month. Maybe…

What did I recently finish reading?

Since last Wednesday I have fiished listening to Walking Home by Clare Balding, which was really enjoyable. I finished A Polar Affair by Lloyd Spencer Davis, which was super interesting, and I finished Tin Man by Sarah Winman, which was also pretty good (and emotional). All in all, it has not been a bad week at all.

What do I think I will read next?

I will either pick up Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie, Never Greener by Ruth Jones or Sleep by C L Taylor. It just depends on my mood. All three are on my September TBR.

Randomness

Let’s Talk about the upcoming The Wheel of Time TV Adaptation

So, Amazon is turning my favourite epic fantasy series into a TV series. Is that exciting? Yes, definitely. Is it scary? Hell, yeah, what if it ends up being a complete farce like the Shannara Chronicles car crash? But I have a bit of hope that it won’t… Why not? Well…

1. It’s Amazon and one presumes that the program will have a decent budget. I mean, when I heard the budget for their (completely unneccesary) Lord of the Rings adaptation it kind of blew my mind!

2. Creator Rafe Judkins is a big fan of the actual book series and director (of at least the first episode) Uta Briesewitz has plenty of experience with big shows (Jessica Jones, Westworld, Stranger Things, Altered Carbon, etc)

3. Robert Jordan’s widow Harriet and Brandon Sanderson are involved in some sort of consulting capacity. Sanderson has said that the changes they made to the source material make sense considering the different medium and I think I trust his opinion.

4. The casting so far looks pretty solid. A big actress (Rosamund Pike) to play Moiraine and lesser known/less exposed talented actors for the younger roles. I am curious to see what other actors will be cast!

Image result for emond's field five

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I am curious to see what changes will  be made. From what I have heard Moiraine is the main protagonist in at least the first few episodes, whereas Rand is the main protagonist in the first book. Apparently they are also expanding the role of Logain, the false dragon. I think that could actually be a good move. I wonder whether they will show Rand and Logain with parallel storylines, so people unfamiliar with the books may not be sure who the true Dragon Reborn is.

Considering that Moiraine is kinda the main girl in the TV series, I wonder whether they will pull some of the prequel New Spring into the show to show some of her (and Lan’s) background.

I am also pretty curious what R-rating they will put on it. I mean, there is quite a bit of nudity, sex and violence in the books, even if the writing is never that gory or explicit. Bad, cruel shit happens all the time in these books and there is so much nudity!

Will they condense the books? How closely will the series follow the main events from the books? What will it expand on? What will it cut out? So many questions!

However, something I really love about these books is the cultural details. Every area in the WOT world has its own very detailed cultural differences. I hope they bring a lot of that to the screen as well. It is what makes Jordan’s fantasy world so rich.

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Have you read the books? Are you excited about the TV series? What changes do you think will/should be made?

Buckle up! The Wheel of Time Series is only two years away… 😂😉

 

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Tin Man (Sarah Winman)

Winman, Sarah - Tin Man

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Tin Man
Author: Sarah Winman
Genre: Fiction/Literary Fiction   Pages: 213
First published: 2017
Edition: Kindle e-book

Man, this little novel hit me in the feels. Curse you, Sarah Winman, for breaking my heart!

This novel is told in two parts by two men, who were always more than best friends. The first is a third person narrative from Ellis’ point of view and the second is a first person narrative from Michael’s point of view. Even whilst I was reading Ellis’ part, I felt like it would have been much better in first person. I found the third person narrative a little jarring here. I was pleasantly surprised when it came to Michael’s part. I was right. The first person narrative felt much more natural to me and it was the bit that had me in tears. Of course, the author probably used these narrative styles for the two men for a good reason. Maybe to underline the difference between them?

I felt like Ellis’ part was the skeleton and Michael’s tale the flesh.

The relationships in this book are just wonderful and I fell in love with Annie along the way. She was a character that I really connected to, even if we never really got to know her that well. The relationship between Ellis and Michael is uneven, but powerful, and beautifully written.

As the second part was, in my opinion, much stronger, I left the book on a high (but sad) note and I feel glad that I have read it. This will hit you in the feels, but it is so worth reading!

5 out of 7 stars (so close to 6 stars!)

Books · Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary: 8 September 2019

It’s been a strange week somehow. It has been really autumnal whilst I was hoping for an Indian summer, so I am a bit bummed. Winter always seems to last forever when September is cold and rainy. Hopefully it warm up a bit soon for a last blast of summer.

READING

My reading has been really up and down. I have been listening to audio books, which is something I have not really done all year, so that is pretty awesome. I always prefer to listen to autobiographies read by the author. I find I can’t concentrate on audio fiction, though if you have really good recommendations I would love to hear them! I finished Walking Home by Clare Balding, which I really enjoyed, and I have started Becoming by Michelle Obama, wich I am loving so far. Very different women, but both very inspiring to me.

Balding, Clare - Walking Home  Obama, Michelle - Becoming

The first book I finished reading was Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. That was such a fun read. It is a bit like reading a soap opera, but sometimes you need a good light read. That was exactly what it was. A fun time.

Kwan, Kevin - Crazy Rich Asians   Spencer Davis, Lloyd - A Polar Affair

Finally I finished A Polar Affair by Lloyd Spencer Davis, which was such a fascinating non-fiction book about the race for the South Pole as well as the lives of Antarctic penguins. It was very well done and I liked that it had these dual subjects and how they were related.

I am currently reading book 11 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, which is Knife of Dreams. As more and more information is released about the upcoming Amazon adaptation I am getting more and more excited about it as well. The casting is looking so good!

Winman, Sarah - Tin Man   Jordan, Robert - The Wheel of Time 11 Knife of Dreams

I have also started reading Tin Man by Sarah Winman, which I plan to read a good chunk of today. It is one of the books I am reading for my 2019 TBR. I have been reading bitesized chunks of it, but I would really like to get my teeth into it today.

TV

I have watched very little TV this week. We watched a couple of the earliest episodes of The Big Bang Theory for the first time in ages and that was kind of fun!

OTHER

It was my daughter’s first week back at school and it feels like we are right back into the swing of things. We have always opened our Airbnb cottage again, after being closed for the month of August, and we have been having guests in it again.

It was my grandma’s 93rd birthday. She has early stages of dementia and can be a very tricky lady. She finds it hard to know which memories are real and which she has made up along the way. Everything is real to her, which leads to very difficult situations. More of my family is travelling down today to see her, so I am bringing some cake and we are having a small celebration for her.

We have some sort of creatures in our roof making a racket at night. We are trying to figure out what it could be, but we are not sure. First we thought woodboring beetles, but it is a proper gnawing sound, which sounds more like mice, but that too seems odd, so we are not quite sure. I might ring pest control tomorrow and discuss it with them, as it is so annoying!.

COMING UP

I am hoping it will be a quiet week, but I always hope that and it usually isn’t. I usually end up running around like a headless chicken and then at the end of the week I have no idea what I did to make it so busy.

My daughter’s tennis lessons are starting up again, as is my football (soccer) training, which I do just to keep fit. No actual competitions for me!

Apart from that, we will wing it this week and see where it goes. At least it looks like the weather will be slightly better.

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What have you been up to? What have you been reading? Watching? Doing? And what are you planning for the coming week?