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I read a lot of books and I write about them on here. Mummy Geek is sometimes a guest blogger....people seem to love her.....Oh and you can find me on Twitter.....@book_geek_says. Shortlisted for Blog of the Year by the 2015 Love Stories Awards...THANK YOU!!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Work Calls

Hello my beloved readers!

Sadly I've got to go away again! I am US bound for work! BOOOOO!
Do not worry, Father Geek will be looking after Catsby and my flat and guarding my books from evil book stealers.

Whilst I am away I will be working my way through this fine collection:

(isn't the cat sheet charming??...my parents actually used to use it as bedding....oh dear)

Anyway, I will probs be Tweetable at @book_geek_says as I will have iPhone and wifi but alas I will not have blog access!

I will be back with a review or 4 by 8th October at the VERY latest!

See you all then and happy reading!

Book Geek

Review: Sherlock Holmes - The Army of Dr Moreau

Publisher: Titan Books
Price: £ 7.99

I have more or less always had a thing for Sherlock Holmes, the same as my grandfather (read more about that in the My Bookshelf post). So, when Titan Books offered me a new Sherlock Holmes story I was keen if not a tad sceptical (I had no reason to be the latter).

I haven't read any Sherlock in a good 18 months, but I feel that the language and tone used by Adams is far easier to get along with than the original (SORRY). I mean don't get me wrong, I bloody love the good oldies but Adams' turn of phrase just seems some what lighter. I did feel in the beginning however that I was missing a trick as I hadn't read The Breath of God.......this didn't last long though as, as per the originals, Adams treats everyone as a separate entity. I thought it was a cracking page turner from the offing.

Brief recaps are interwoven at the beginning of each part and that was an immediate sign that Adams had studied Mr Conan Doyle and the earlier collection. I was relieved. I was terrified that Adams was going to just adopt the characters and completely divert away from the original. I am however not 100% sure how I feel about the earlier stories/cases being referred to....yes it keeps the thread but, well I dunno, didn't quite sit right.

As well as Watson's most dry and entertaining turns of phrase continuing to flourish and Holme's cutting, dark and thoroughly enjoyable dark wit being ever present, there are moments of darkly funny comedy. It could just be my odd brain but I found some moments fantastically comic in a terrible, should I really find this funny way! The changes in language and voice for the soliloquy/witness statement/testimony chapters throughout the novel were fantastic and as Watson was recording them the interjections were cracking.

I am going to try not to spoil anything but the change of tones/voices towards the end was AMAZING and totally convincing as well as thoroughly enjoyable.

Overall this is a very intelligent, very well written, very thoroughly researched and very enjoyable read. I may also go off and Google Guy Adams because I really hope he is fit!

Happy Reading

Book Geek

(nearly typed my real name then! UH OH)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Review: Pangea

Publisher: Thames River Press
Price: There ain't one on it

I will admit that I haven't read all the introduction to this book so I'm basically telling you the bits I know before I start the review proper. This is a collection of short stories from around the world written and collected by an online writers community called Writewords. All the stories are by members and they show what life is like and what people are like everywhere.

I'm going to do my usual and say a bit about each story in turn. There are 34 so this may take a while!

1. The River - Rebecca Lloyd (one of the Editor's of the collection)
Sweet, very sweet, very touching and also very spooky and eerie. Wasn't totally sure if I liked it in the beginning but thinking about it in retrospect, you feel very different about it. Or at least I do anyway.

2. Boston Brown Bread - Liesl Jobson
Absolutely cracking story! You can see the real life in it, a family situation that I am sure most people can relate to, or imagine! The son is just amazing and provides a couple of very comic moments.

3. All for just fifty baht - Joel Williams
Sad, just so so so so so sad! I don't know if it is meant to be, but I found it really sad. There was hope but it was so false. Impressive how so much emotion can be created up in only 2.5 pages of a book.

4. Rock Fall - Indira Chandrasekhar (one of the Editor's)
Totally brill story and really thoroughly enjoyed it! No idea what was going to occur and you were lured in to a false sense of security. Then boom, it all explodes!

5. Signs of Redemption - Tara Conklin
I like the southern dialect used (as usual big dialect fan). Story about love and freedom and slavery. It was nice.

6. You're Dead - Tom Remer Williams
Didn't really know what to make of this story. The initial school set up etc was a tad alien to me as it was a boarding school etc. But I bloody hate bullies so it did invoke an emotion in me.

7. The Doe - John Bolland
Didn't really get down with this one. Too pretentious for my liking!

8. The Wedding Fair - Sarah Hilary
An essence of the ground hog life was very present in this story, as well as an essence of not really being who you want to be and living the life you want. It was normal and tragic.

9. Big Sister - Shola Olowu-Asante
This story reminded me of Harmattan and it also made me a little sad. If you are a big sister or a mum watch out.

10. Missy's Summer - Oonah Joslin
Oh god, another sad one, really really really sad!!

11. White Horses - Stephen Tyson
I am afraid that I once again didn't really get the point of this story and it seems like it is a story that is trying to make one. Sorry!

12. Manic - Juli Klass
Bloody loved this one! Tiny quick look at mental health and who is really mad!!! Brilliant. Was fantastically located by....

13. Passport - Sarah Leipciger
.....which is another madness focused story. Thoroughly enjoyable but so alien at the same time as the family set up and dynamic is so far beyond my realms of experience.

14. There's Nothing I Can Do - Katie Mayes
Gorgeous story! I knew from the beginning what it was about and the POV but I will not spoil it for you here!

15. Shuttered Landscape - Fehmida Zakeer
Sad story of a life unlived! However, it is always sweet when people relate stories to objects, songs, clothes, smells etc. One of the things I love in life!

16. Soda Lakes - Liesl Jobson
I liked it and I didn't. Made me think of The Boy because he is in to rowing. The science bits and water treatment bits made me think of work....well I was in work reading it.

17. Places To Go And People To Meet - Lisa Marie Trump
Why oh, why are the stories mainly sad?! Yes there is a little joy in this one and there is real happiness for the characters but it all ends so tragically.

18. Raptor - Rebecca Lloyd
Ok, it has taken me a while but I have noticed that the stories are clumped together in themes...well at least I think. I think this one is about love and a bit of obsession! I liked it! I particularly enjoyed the fact that you saw things from two perspectives.

19. Mother's Not Home - Jennifer Walmsley
Could see what was happening from the offing. Very nicely written though and very simple. 

20. Adoration - Indira Chandrasekhar
The tragedy of obsession and fallen idles and celebrity all in one fell swoop. Some may call me cynical so I bloody enjoyed every word of this one!

21. Rabbit Cake - Emmanuella Dekonor
This story made me think about loneliness. It was sad and I think the ending could have been a bit different...or maybe it was alluding to what I think....hmmmm

22. Hollows - Stephen Tyson
Throws a hit of childhood at you, friendships, love, fallings out. It is angst of a 12 year old in one neat bundle. 

23. Fallout - Trilby Kent
Love and relationships and snotty neighbours and race and it was great. Bit of humour thrown in there too which I enjoyed thoroughly!

24. The Undercurrent - Clayton Lister
Sad and upsetting story and rather unsettling and horrid in parts. But well done indeed.

25. Lovefm - Sarah Hilary
Another one to love and so bloody creepy with it! No real idea what was going on until the story told you. Thoroughly enjoyed.

26. Breakdown - Vanessa Gebbie
Hmmmm, we are defo in the death section! DEFO!! However, this story didn't do much for me, I wasn't very fond of it.

27. Some Game - Sarah Leipciger
I couldn't really take this story as seriously as I think you are meant to because of the London, wide boy, gangsta speak. Also, the events were not that shocking as you read things like that in the papers around here all the time. Maybe someone in another country would get more out of it and there would be a greater impact.

28. The World's End - Andy Charman
Good old being afraid and unkeen on progress! Gotta love the familiar theme. Brotherly love and contrasts also played a role. Also, set in the proper olden times and a date is even given...the others in this collection do have a sense of time but I am not always 100% sure.

29. Matilda And The Missing - Caroline Robinson
This story was short and OK. Didn't blow my mind but I didn't dislike it either!

30. Stealing Their Churches Behind Them - Trilby Kent
Race and culture clashes in one story, I enjoyed the two POVs, good once again.

31. Hunter's Quarry - Dee Weaver
I kinda think I missed the point of this story. Could see it as a longer one though.

32. City People - Shola Olowu-Asante
Thoroughly enjoyed this story. Loved the whole thing as it gave you a whole proper picture and some character studies too!

33. The Fixer - Joel Williams
A very sweet story but also creepy. I did like it but it gave me the shivers and reminded me of mental ex boys.

34. Sofia The Beautiful - Mary Farquharson
This made me feel both sad and happy. A very bitter sweet story but very beautiful none the less.

Happy Reading!

Book Geek

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Review: Dance With Dragons Part 2

Publisher: Harper Voyager
Price: £ 8.99

Well bugger me, George has created yet another bloody amazing book!! WOW!!! Admittedly, in the beginning of part 2 I wasn't convinced, well part 1 was actually amazing, but he turned it around and WOW!!! JUST WOW!!!

If you haven't read this series after reading my reviews and following my love of George and these beautiful creations then where have you been?!?!? You really are missing out! Seriously! Even if you don't think you like fantasy and dragons and all that you will bloody well love these! There is something for everyone!

Getting back to this book, as I said above I wasn't convinced at the start, which was surprising seeing how good part 1 was, but it all turned around. So many of your favourites and usuals are in there and the tedious ones are not AND there are even some new ones thrown in for good measure. There is everything, action, love, fear, pain, horror, tension, revulsion, upset, shock and maybe a VERY VERY small bit of happiness on occasion. 

The plot has become even more twisty and turney and scary and complicated and you have no idea what is going to happen from one second to the next! George has an amazing brain!

I am so so angry and upset that George is yet to write the next installment which is called The Winds of Winter. I had preordered it but apparently the publication date has been delayed!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING GEORGE??? WRITE FASTER!!!! WRITE MORE!! AND DON'T DIE BEFORE YOU FINISH THE WONDER THAT IS A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE!!

OOO, also, before I finish my usual hysterical rant about my love of this series I will share something a colleague said to me today. This particular colleague is a total knob and I don't particularly like him, he's a sales man in my office. He saw DWD part 2 on my desk and asked me what it was about. When I told him it was a fantasy novel and there are dragons and stuff, he came out with 'Aren't you a bit old for that shit!' Well, he obviously hasn't read it and he is one of those people missing out!!

Anyway!! I know this isn't a fantastic review but I don't want to spoil any of the plot and I am only professing my usual love...you'll soon get bored of that!!!

Happy reading!

Book Geek


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Review: Viva La Madness

Publisher: Duckworth
Price: £ 7.99

People, it is finished!!! VLM introduced me to possibly the greatest phrase ever 'mad as cheese!' WOOOOOOO!

The whole thing is in the first person of the unnamed councillor, salesman, posh crim, gangster.....I could go on. It works. It is great to see his reasoning, doubts, madness etc etc. He is a fantastic point of view for a gangster novel to have as he doesn't seem like your average London thug. He's educated, has wit, skill, knowledge and just doesn't seem to fir the stereotype. The London gangsta dialect that swoops in on many occasions is also hugely enjoyable.

I will admit that I have never read a novel that falls in to the gangster realm of crime writing, but I think this fitted in to a tee from the start. VLM falls in to the same category as Lock Stock and Snatch. As you read it, you know that in the end everything will tie up in some crazy, off the wall but satisfying little package! YAY!

When it comes to the characters there are some fantastic caricatures, mainly Sonny and Roy. Brilliantly written, developed and constructed and so totally believable but larger than life at the same time. Mummy Geek would so fancy Morty in real life...totally her type. 

Sadly the book wasn't as quick to read as I was expecting or would have liked. The chapters were short but I found the first half(ish) a bit slow moving. This could however be that I was in the wrong frame of mind to read it. I was looking for a quick read so I could move on pretty sharpish to part two of Dance with Dragons. Just past the 1/2 way mark the whole thing did pick up though, this could be because I was in to it more then or the plot thickened, I'm not sure. I just don't think I was totally in the correct frame of mind to read and appreciate VLM all the way through. 

I am not sure that I would have got more out of the book if I had read Layer Cake previously or not. I did watch the film many many moons ago but all I can remember is the pitiful performance by Sienna Miller. I would now like to read Layer Cake to see if it sheds a light on anything in VLM. 

The ending totally blows your mind, well the end portion! Totally fantastic and totally unexpected. However, the VERY VERY end does make the novel feel a tad self consious. Well, for me it made the novel feel like that, don't know if it would be the same for everyone.

The above may be a tad mixed, but I think it is just me and if I had read VLM at another time I would have enjoyed it from the offing and enjoyed it even more. Defo one for the gangster fans and defo worth a read as it's fun, funny, dark and unexpected.

Happy Reading

Book Geek

Monday, 3 September 2012

Mummy Geek: The Twelve

You may or may not have read Mummy Geek's review of The Passage. Well, since then she has read The Twelve which I reviewed a month or two ago and *drum roll please*, Mummy Geek has written her very on review of it! HERE IT IS:

Justin Cronin, I am sorry!!
I enjoyed "The Passage" with reservations but I didn`t realise until reading "The Twelve" what a masterpiece it is. One needs to read the trilogy to fully appreciate the magnitude of the concept. Obviously it was appreciated fully by the British man who approached me beside a pool in America asking how I had come by an advance copy as he and his family were desperate to read it! (Couldn`t offer him mine as the Geeklet had a waiting list for lends!).
I expected a repetitive series of quests to find The Twelve but right from the start I saw I was very wrong.
I can now understand why the author took such great care to give backstories to characters and didn`t abandon all of them as I wrongly assumed. I`ll say no more, don`t want to spoil the enjoyment!
Everything in this novel, including what I interpret as intended humour in the form of Guilder who I envisage as a kind of `Allan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham` kind of ranting character. Or perhaps that`s just the way I interpret things? 
At the end the scene is brilliantly set for the concluding part. Can`t wait!!
And along with all this is Mr. Cronin`s outstanding writing ability. I missed the subtleties sometimes as the plot had me so engrossed. I might read these again sometime (I almost never read anything more than once, and then only years later) to fully enjoy his style. 
If well conceived, properly financed and carefully cast, scripted, directed etc this would make an excellent film trilogy I can imagine queues around the block for the sequels after people had seen the first. Perhaps it needs more than three films as if condensed too much lots could be lost. 
Buy the first two now, get the third when it comes out and read all three, one after the other. It won`t take as long as you might think as you won`t be able to put them down!!
Thank you Justin Cronin for a great read on a number of levels.