About Me

My photo
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!!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Review: Southern Cross the Dog

Publisher: Picador
 
We are following some people round, who the blurb tells you are linked, but nothing else points to that....they are in the deep south, the wild west, the end of the world as you know it.
 
I was gripped from the start but I had absolutely no idea why. Why was I gripped by mundane misfortune? Why did I care about these not particularly interesting people and their fates? Why because the language was brilliant. The words in this book are bare but they are bold and they get you truly thinking about what you want to get out of reading this book and why. As I said, the story wasn't particularly gripping but the language absorbed me.
 
 
What came at the end of the book however, well the conclusions saddened me as I was so encapsulated in the mundane life with beautiful language that I didn't see the sort of social history comment coming. The end occurrences were touching and sad to an extent, but the moral lesson of it all, the comment on a time and a people being made so blatantly obvious was a tad irritating in the end and even dare I say it, a bit self-righteous.  
 
So, read this book for it's skill and it's language and it's making something great out of nothing....but kinda brace yourself for the end so it doesn't annoy you.
 
Cheers
 
BG

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Review: Strange the Dreamer

Publisher: Little Brown/Chapter 5 Books
 
Meet Lazlo, he's an abandoned boy who is now working in the best library in the world. He's strange and loves dreaming, lost worlds and thinking about what's next. This book is his adventure and his discovery.
 
Lazlo is a lovely character, he's lonely, but he's brave and interesting and kind and warm. But by far the best characters are the Godspawn for all their faults, foibles, problems, fears, situations and relationships. They are a fantastic bunch and really did grab my interest and attention.
 
Now come the problem....I had really high hopes that this book would not take the predictable turns and lead to inevitable. Unfortunately it did just that. And a book that was full of such hope and promise in the beginning just turned, in the end, to something predictable and even possibly generic. :-(
 
This novel embraced the cliché in everything. I wonder if it's because that such a young author wrote it, or maybe I'm slightly too old for the target audience to find it exhilarating and unpredictable. Whatever the reason, the predictability, and me being/getting fed up with this stopped me from getting involved with the book and becoming as absorbed in it as I'd hoped.
 
Definitely had potential - but for whatever the reason, didn't do it for me!
 
Cheers
 
BG

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Revew: Relics

Publisher: Titan Books
 
So, I read The Silence a while ago and it really got to me. I also bloody loved reading it. So when this book landed on me I was pretty thrilled.

This book is far more obvious in its story, its content, its plot, what it's trying to make you feel. Yes it's definitely compelling, it's definitely a page turner. But, it seems to lack the subtlety of The Silence. This is by no means a bad thing, but I was surprised at the contrast between the two books.

Relics is the story of Angela and her finding out some things about Vince along with a whole new realm of normal.

The plot is great, the POV of Angle is pretty good and you forget a chap wrote it. But, I do admit, I found Angela pretty annoying at times. She was a bit of a pain in the arse. But, Vince and Fredrick in particular were stonking characters and I really liked them a lot.

The plot was good, it was more complex maybe than The Silence as it had a few more layers, more characters and some sub-type plots going through. Relics was also far more amusing and fun in points. Watch out for the violence if you can't hack it. The book does indeed warrant violence as you'll see when you read it, but it's pretty bloody brutal in places.

Once again a good book in a world that balances the norm/mundane with a whole new world of fantasy that will suck you in.

Happy Reading

BG
:-)

Friday, 21 April 2017

Review: Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give

Publisher: WW Norton & Company
 
I met a friend of a friend a few weeks ago. We got chatting, she worked in books, I'm a secret book blogger and am getting married in November. They have a book coming out 'Wedding Toast's I'll Never Give'. Match Made.
 
So, the book arrives and I get reading. I start it on the train to work one morning. I am thinking that this will be deep, enlightening, but witty and heart warming at the same time. Hmmmm - I get 2.5 essays in on the train and feel like crap about getting married. I text the boy saying 'I've read 2.5 essays in the wedding toasts book and so far I am deeply depressed.' Reply - 'Oh God! Stop Reading!'
 
So, yes, in the beginning man did I find this book deeply depressing and it made me feel rather put off the whole getting married side of life. And I'm not exactly that keen to begin with.
 
But, as the book went on and the essays developed along with the illustrations and commentaries on the different aspects and stages of marriage I felt a bit better about it. I got more heartened but still didn't get out of this book the things I thought I would get.
 
This book, yes points out to the reader that marriage is something that needs to be worked at, it's something that needs to be ploughed through at points. And it almost let's you feel like it's all worth it....almost.
 
I'm overall sorry to say I am not taken with this book. It's pretty bleak in places and in others I found it rather self-indulgent. I think to an extent AC is using it to justify her way of being married and the things she has done whilst being married. I think she's using it as an excuse and a way to prove she's ok really. Hmmm - I could be wrong, or tbh it could be that I'm not in the right frame of mind for a book like this as I'm getting married later this year and really didn't need the downer side laid out so bare.......hmmmmm
 
Strange thing...
 
Cheers
BG
 
Oh...there is a P.S. Oliver's mentions, parts and tales - super - the main reason I read this collection to the end. 

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Review: Close to Me

Publisher: Wildfire/Headline
 
I saw this book on Twitter being made available to bloggers and I must admit I took a look at the cover and thought - meh, bothered - but then I read the blurb and actually it intrigued me....a lot!
 
Jo has taken a tumble down the stairs and has lost the last year - but what has she lost and what the hell is going on?
 
I thoroughly enjoyed the flips between days after the fall and the days after. The progression of you learning about Jo (admittedly at a faster pace than her) as she learns about Jo is great. You have time to form your own thoughts and theories as she is about her current situation and how she got there and who is or how is the flow of information to aid discovery being fed to her. This construct is great.
 
BUT, I do have to say that some things are rather blindingly obvious from rather early one. There are many of these - but they are necessary, but what is also good are the number of things that also seem bloody obviously but are not and that balances these 'knew thats' and makes you dismiss them pretty much.
 
The characters are fab. They are, if I'm honest normal. They are not inflated egos, or caricatures which is often what books about normal people lean to. They are people who you can recognise and relate to and that is great, it's thoroughly enjoyable.
 
For the ending, I really couldn't see how it could be done - apart from in one way (which I won't mention here as it wasn't the way but I don't want to spoil the book). But the actual conclusion works perfectly.
 
A very satisfying read, good work
 
BG :-)

Monday, 20 March 2017

Review: Metronome

Publisher: Unsung Stories
 
So, I totally judged this book by it's cover. I thought yes high fantasy from the offing. So when I opened it and we were in a nursing home with WM, to be honest I was rather disappointed. I didn't see how we could get to the world on the front page, I didn't see how we could get where the book was going. BUT WE DID!!! YAY
 
 
The move away from the story of the old man in his nursing home to the adventures in the dream world is perfect, it's calculated and it takes you there and you stay there. The world that is created is amazing and I truly loved it. The descriptions were fantastic and I could picture everything in my mind (not exactly as the cover maybe). I think that if the descriptions in a book are detailed but concise enough to make you completely immerse yourself then they are spot on and amazing and deserve credit. This book contains those type of descriptions. 

What I also like in this novel (and I hope I don't give too much away here) is that you never know if you are in a real situation that is in this dream world or if you are just in a situation that is in WM's subconscious/imagination. In a way, the book pokes at this possibility itself with some things related to Reid, which in itself it great.

The only criticism I would have is that the book's ending is a bit too intense and philosophical. It was rather unexpected and for me, made the book a bit too heavy and not as enjoyable when the final conclusion was drawn.

BUT, some people love this and I will let them have it ;-)

Happy Reading

BG

Friday, 17 March 2017

Review: Snake Eyes

Publisher: Crossroad Press and Bad Moon Books
 
This book was in fact two stories in one - which I had totally forgotten about YAY!
 
 
Snake Eyes
It was a really intriguing read. It was unnerving but entertaining and enjoyable at the same time to try and work out what was 'real' and what was not, I was even doing this up until the end. And if I am totally honest, even now I'm not 100pc sure what I think was the 'real' place and person of being.
 
But the story did make me feel a bit sad too with feelings of escapism being wanted and the escapism is wanted because anything would be better than leading the life you live.
 
This story was both kick ass and sad all at the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
 
A trespasser in long lifting

I couldn't help but find this story a bit more light hearted and jovial after Snake Eyes. The amusement was great and DD was a fantastic character. But I do have to say that the end of this story as pretty deep after the fun stuff.

I think that the contract of the two stories was spot on, they both offered something that could be thoroughly enjoyed and embraced. And at the same time they showed off JD'L's skill as a writer as they were VERY different in tone and style.

The only thing I wish for these stories is that they were better subbed - I offer my services ;-)

Enjoy

BG

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Review: Journey by Moonlight

Publisher: Pushkin Press
 
 
The boy was given this book for his birthday by his colleague. Apparently it's their favourite book.....hmmmm
 
Boy Geek read this book when we were on  holiday in December and immediately needed something else to read after it. I thought this was a good sign that he was enjoying reading on holiday - apparently it was because he needed something he would enjoy to read.
 
I started this book with hope because I didn't know the feelings Boy had about it. I found the first half a bit Woody Allen and could see it as one of his films. Full of whimsy and weirdness. I did indeed enjoy the first half. The premise of a chap disappearing on his honeymoon just because and staying away, just because was great.
 
BUT, about half way through the charm went. The book became monotonous, it became tedious in its whimsy as the whimsy turned dark, and repetitive and self-indulgent. I just couldn't stand to pick it up. So much so that I started reading this book on  14 January and finished it last night. I read one book at home and one on my commutes and while on my commutes I read 5 books in this time frame.
 
I really don't think this book is for me (or Boy Geek) but I'm glad at least one person out there likes it as everything needs a fan.
 
Cheers
 
BG

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Review: Romantic Misadventure - a point and click quest for love


Now, Kit Lovelace, I have been an avid Twitter follower and reader of his column whilst searching for love. And while I was at my height of following and this book appeared in the e-book realm I downloaded it - BUT, alas I completely forgot about it, but now I have read it and huzzah!!

First off, the format is stonking. Back to the good old days of the quest book, I loved a quest book in my youth. BUT you don't have to go back and fore flicking between pages. You just select the link and go! BRILLS.

It was great to be reminded of the most amusing but brave, and slightly daft mission KLL went on with his column to find love. It was great to be back on that weird mission and it was great as well to be back with KLL's writing style which I do really really enjoy. It is like the most eloquent stream of consciousness I have ever encountered, but still slightly mad ;-)

If you haven't come across this chap and his escapades, it's worth reading this and embracing it. Great fun :-)

Happy Reading

BG

Monday, 20 February 2017

Review: The Erl King

Publisher: Atlantic Books
 
 
WEIRDLY I was reading this book at the same time as one of the newbie colleagues in the office and we just happened to discover that each other were reading it...such fun.

So, we are with one man, one very strange man who lives a very secluded life and, to me anyway, always seems to be on the edge of doing something really inappropriate in the world.

I found the initial parts of the book really difficult to read and to want to read because of Abel's relationship with children. It was more the what might happen than the what was happening that put me off it on many occasions. But, when we came to the sinister writings, I found myself more at ease with the book as Abel's ways were more easily explained, dealt with and well, understandable. One got more of an insight into him, what makes him work and why he is like he is. There is almost a certain naivety about him.

The sections of the book that were written in the usual 3rd person style when we first enter the war were interesting more than anything else. It was interesting to watch Abel from the outside once more, especially with a better insight in to him and his ways. Also, it was interesting to look at the world of fascism and how people dealt with and developed it. But, the return to the sinister writings was welcomed.

I really don't know what I make of this book. It's truly individual partly because of its topic, partly because of how it is constructed and partly Abel as a character. Even now I still wonder/think about how I feel about him and this book, am I sorry for him? Am I scared of him? Is it a bit of both?

Definitely a book that lingers

BG

Monday, 6 February 2017

Review: Red Country

Publisher: Gollancz
 
I have never before read a JA book and I really don't know why! People have raved at me about them, and I've always fancied picking one up.
 
Red Country puts us in a fictional wild west type place and from the start I loved the fact that we were in the wild west but with a dark fantasy edge to it too. From the offing I also loved two characters, Shy and Lamb. These two will be your friends for life and they really give the book its heart, soul and balls.
 
I think without Shy and her being as a whole I wouldn't have enjoyed this book half so much. BUT, I think without Lamb the novel wouldn't have had its many layers, its turmoil and its altogether grit. Appreciate these two!!!!
 
The story is fast paced and full of action page on page on page. But, it's in no way rushed and this was a concern for me at the start when I realised I was half way in and there was still so much to do when it came to the book's main quest. I think that getting everything done but answering all questions and leaving no stone unturned in what is a relatively short number of pages shows how skilled JA is.
 
The novel isn't all cow boys, bandits and ghools though. It has its own share of romance, heartbreak and sadness which makes this more than a western romp. Also, the violence is a bit more intense too. Intense, but not gratuitous. AND finally, there is some politics be it town wide, country wide or even bandit group wide and again, this gave the book some depth and wider context.
 
A stonking read that really did take me by surprise. I'm now going to try and get my hands on some more JA!
 
Thanks!

 BG

Friday, 3 February 2017

Review: The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief

Publisher: Jo Fletcher
 
First off, I will admit, I had to ask what a somnambulist is....I asked my Mum in fact as I was with her when I was reading it a few weeks ago. Now I know! WHOOPIE.
 
So, we are in Victorian London, Di needs a new life and Jasper needs a partner, woo hoo - match made in heaven!
 
Firstly, the story is great, it's fun, it's intriguing and it's got clout. It's not just a case of a nice little Victorian detective story, there are more bits of intrigue and layers as the characters have pasts and relationships already standing. This, I enjoy.
 
The characters themselves are a good mix - some are complete caricatures for this type of novel. The bad guy could have had a twiddly moustache, Jasper is your typical bumbling man who wants a purpose and the Italian psychic could not have been more Italian. But Di is refreshing. She's a strong, confident woman of the day who is not afraid to get what she wants and bloody well do what she wants too. GO DI! And Mrs Jesperson - well, you will love her and if you don't I will be VERY disappointed.
 
If you are a fan of this type of novel you will not be disappointed. For an American LT really has captured Victorian Britain. Her style in writing and language is also very fitting for the characters and time period she is trying to capture. It's got a touch of the Conan-Doyles about it too.
 

I will be keeping out an eye for the further adventures of these two...I do however hope that not everything will be based around the paranormal as the novelty was nice here, but it could all become a bit one trick pony!

Happy Reading

BG

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Review: The Lady Who Turned



Publisher: City Fiction
 
Sorry I can't find a cover for this on tut interweb...I'll try to remember to take a photo of the cover and add it to the post...but I can't promise anything.
 
So,
This book came to me because Boy Geek knows a chap who is mates with the author and mentioned to said mate that I do anonymous book reviewing (Kept me really anonymous there didn't he). So this came to Boy Geek in the post to be passed on to me.
 
First, I'd like to say that I'm not 100pc convinced that the title of 'Romantic Thriller Writer' is totally apt. Firstly I don't see there actually being more romance/sex/love in this novel than any other and also, this title, would have put me off the book a bit if I was to select it from a shop and not have it presented to me.
 
Now on with the story.
 
The links between the plot and sub plots are good. I enjoyed them appearing and developing and trying to work out how they all fit together. A plot with many layers always satisfies me and this was indeed one of those.
 
I also thoroughly enjoyed the style of writing and the language. The tone in general and the narrative were right up my street and suited the story really well.
 
When it came to the characters, the photo fit kid was BRILLIANT. She was one of my favourite characters and a really great moment in the novel for you to realise that the world is not alllll horrible. In fact, now I think about it the kid in the book in general were portrayed well.
 
The only criticism of this novel is that there is a lack of time frame. I would have liked to have some indication of how things progressed and at what speed and maybe that would have added intensity and suspense.
 
But, overall, I enjoyed this book and would be keen to read more!
 
YAy

BG

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Review: Forbidden Lines

Publisher: Galley Beggar
 
I'm going to say it from the start, I think this is one of those books AGAIN where I am not intelligent enough to really get the full impression/understanding/depth of it but there we go..I admit it from the start and leave you to see if I am correct in this assessment.
 
And secondly, it has made me want to read Don Quixote as I think I would get the book even more, and even in retrospect if I did.
 
We are with Don and Is on their journey, more Don's journey that Is has been dragged on and it's a really mental journey with lots to get involved with. And even though I didn't have the full intelligence to get it all, the journey was a riot. It was warming, it was amusing, it was scary and it was confusing.
 
I thoroughly enjoyed the interjections from the narrator, it really did jolt you back to reality and they were really rather amusing also. Especially when you are with Is and Don you find yourself totally embedded in their completely bizarre world of weird.
 
I also loved the Triseptimums. They were great little bags of mad, but they did to an extent make sense and really did help me understand the crazy mind of these two bods we are on a tour with.
 
Finally, the question I'm still pondering is who was more mad Don or Is? Is to go with Don or Don to start the crazy mission.
 
Overall, I know I didn't understand the whole thing, but I am so glad I read it and I hope the guys at GB are pleased that even if the reader isn't as clever as maybe necessary to get the nuances, the reader can still enjoy it!
 
Happy Reading

BG
:-)

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Review: The Girl on the Train

Publisher: Double Day
 
I am sure you are alllll going to tell me I'm way behind the times with this book, but tough, I've only just read it.
 
Mother Geek gave it to me after she had read it....she only read it as was going to see the film and even then didn't finish it in time....
 
Well, I am sure most of you know what the story is about but if you don't, Rachel is on a train when she sees something that impacts her and her slightly sad and troubled life.
 
To start I'm not sure how I feel about Rachel. I'm not sure if I love or hate her. I spent the whole book wanting her to sort her shit out but also wanting to smack her in the face as she can be annoying.
 
The other women in the book I'm very confused about too. Anna, I despised her to be honest, but then I did change my mind about her a tad when it came to the end. Megan, just needs to get a grip. I did again feel sorry for her because of all the shit in the her life and her depression, but she seemed a tad spoilt bitch too.
 
I enjoyed the flicking of voices/POVs between these three characters, BUT I don't think the tones/styles were as different as they should have been or had room for when it came to three very different women. I agree wholly with Mother Geek on that.
 
I also really enjoyed the slow, slow unveiling of the plot as a whole. I admit, I did see the end coming, but I liked the delicacy with witch it was handled and written. Very slowly, slowly catchy monkey!
 
I can see why this is a popular book and I did indeed enjoy it. So much so I recommended it to Boy Geek and he read it on holiday. He also enjoyed it!
 
Cheers and Happy New Year!
 
Book Geek
*<:-)