Calling Major Tom by David M. Barnett #BookReview

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callingmtTitle: Calling Major Tom
Author: David M. Barnett
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 304 pages
Publication Details: June 18th 2017 by Trapeze
Genre(s): General Fiction; Science Fiction
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

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CALLING MAJOR TOM is a heart-warming and ultimately life-affirming story of a man who has given up on the world… but discovers in the most unlikely way that it might not have given up on him.

We all know someone like Thomas.

The grumpy next-door-neighbour who complains to the Residents’ Committee about the state of your front lawn. The man who tuts when you don’t have the correct change at the checkout. The colleague who sends an all-company email when you accidentally use the last drop of milk.

Thomas is very happy to be on his own, far away from other people and their problems.

But beneath his cranky exterior lies a story and a sadness that is familiar to us all. And he’s about to encounter a family who will change his view of the world.

Review

Calling Major Tom is a story about family and friendship, and more importantly about losing your way.

Thomas Major is an extremely grumpy scientist who partly by chance and partly by his own stupidity becomes the first man to be sent to Mars. It’s basically a suicide mission but that doesn’t bother Thomas. He’s just happy that he’ll be alone. For a really, really long time, if not forever.

Thinking he’s calling his ex-wife from space, Thomas actually gets through to Gladys, a grandmother suffering from dementia and he’s unwittingly thrown into the lives of a family with some very real problems.

Despite his best efforts to be alone, Thomas Major finds himself trying to help the family from space, and in helping them he learns that maybe he’s not quite the lost cause he thought he was.

Calling Major Tom is wonderfully odd. It’s one of those genuine heart-warming stories that just makes you smile. It’s far-fetched; not at all realistic in plot, but each and every character stands out providing a good injection of realness to bring us back down to earth.

That’s not to say that I didn’t find some faults in it. There seemed a  tendency to jump from one scene or thought to the next without any transition, but that may have just been the pre-proof format to be fair. However, it did put me off at first until I got into the erratic rhythm of it.

I am always impressed by anyone who can create a wonderful story like this, but what impressed me the most was how current it was. There are references to David Bowie’s death and Brexit which makes me wonder when Barnett started writing it and how long it took him. I loved all the Bowie references, naturally, and its crazy quirkiness and undeniable charm made it a perfect tribute to the great man.

 

unicorn rating 4

 

Reading Round-Up: January 2017 #MiniBookReviews

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Welcome to my new post where I discuss any books that I read in the month which for one reason or another didn’t warrant a full review. This is a way for me to keep track of what I’ve read but without the pressure of having to write comprehensive reviews for them all. 

There are quite a lot this month because I took January off from blogging and read anything I wanted. It was great!

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Bowie: The Story of Rock’s Enduring Enigma ~ Mike Evans

I got this book for Christmas and really enjoyed working my way through it. The text wasn’t anything spectacular but it was laid out well and the photographs and old gig posters/ticket stubs made it special. As a huge Bowie fan, I was surprised to see a few photos I didn’t recognise which is always a bonus.

unicorn rating 3

 

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: The Novelisation ~ A.C.H Smith

Another Christmas book and one I had wanted for so long! I’m so glad I wasn’t disappointed. There were some notable changes from the film which made it fresh, but without a doubt the best part of this book is Jim Henson’s notes at the back and Brian Froud’s original sketches. A must for any fan of the ultimate ‘kids’ fantasy film.

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Heartless ~ Marissa Meyer

I was really excited about this Alice in Wonderland tale (mainly because it looks so pretty tbh) but also quite apprehensive to start it. The Lunar Chronicles was amazing, and something that I thought shouldn’t work (Cyborg Cinderella), and I worried that maybe Meyer was churning out another retelling on the back of that success. I’m pleased to say that I was wrong and found Heartless to be an enjoyable origin story for the Queen of Hearts. There were some really great bits in it, but I felt it dragged in places. Not hugely exciting, but enjoyable enough.

unicorn rating 3

Ruin & Rising ~ Leigh Bardugo

It’s taken me a whole year to read this series. I was quite disappointed with the second book so I kept putting this one off but I’m glad I finally picked it up. The third and final book in The Grisha series was a vast improvement and I couldn’t put it down. I loved Alina’s character arc, and her complicated (and very different) relationships with Mal, Nikolai and The Darkling. It’s a vivid, dark fantasy world that Bardugo has created here using elements from Russian folklore, which is what sets it apart from other YA fantasy.

unicorn rating 4

Pagan Portals: Merlin ~ Elen Sentier

I’m not religious at all but I like to think I’m pretty open-minded and I’ve always been interested in alternative religions, especially those which worship nature rather than a person. I’m also a fan of Arthurian mythology so I figured this book would be an interesting read.

Unfortunately it wasn’t quite what I was expecting (which I guess was something along the lines of exploring Pagan values in the stories of Merlin and King Arthur). However, what I actually got was what seems to be an eccentric old lady who is frequently visited (in real life) by the wizard Merlin who guides her spiritually, and goes on describe how we too can befriend him if we try hard enough.

It just wasn’t for me and I couldn’t finish it.

DNF – no rating

January’s Spotlight Review was A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week in Books 11.01.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

 

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where I share what I’ve been up to in bookland this week

Hi guys, I’m enjoying a bit of a blog hiatus this month but I’m still posting this Wednesday post where I’ll simply be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

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Now:  Labyrinth – The Novelisation

I’ve really not been reading much lately which is a bummer because I was hoping to spend my blog break reading ferociously to get a head start on the year. Hopefully this book will get me back into the groove. If anything can, this can!

Then:  A Mother’s Reckoning ~ Sue Klebold

This book was really interesting and I have so much I want to say about it!!! I won’t be posting a review until February though. Don’t worry, I have notes! It is being re-released Feb 9th.

I’ve also read one of the books I got for Christmas, Bowie: The Story of Rock’s Enduring Enigma by Mike Evans. The text itself wasn’t anything special (I’ve read quite a few Bowie books!) but the photographs and old posters in it were great.

Next: ??? 

Probably Heartless by Marissa Meyer which I got for my birthday and am verrrrry excited about. I do however need to read some ARCs…grr….we’ll see.

  

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Top books recently added to the dreaded TBR pile. #TTT

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is… Top ten books recently added to your TBR pile.

Well, this is a nice, easy topic, although I have been buying more books recently so it’ll be hard to choose just 10.

Added from Netgalley:

The Silent Songbird ~ Melanie Dickerson: I shouldn’t have requested this book because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get it read and reviewed by the pub date (today!) but I just couldn’t resist. I really fancy an epic historical YA. The opening line of the synopsis had me instantly…I mean castles =  DONE. “Evangeline longs to be free, to live in the world outside the castle walls. But freedom comes at a cost”

The Girl Who Saved Christmas ~ Matt Haig: You should all know by now that I love Christmas, and festive reads. I’ve wanted to read Matt Haig’s books for ages so this one was also impossible to resist.

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily ~ Rachel Cohn & David Levithan: I didn’t even know this book was on the cards until I saw it on Netgalley. I loved Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares so I’m thrilled that these authors have got together once again for a sequel. This time, Dash and Lily’s brother have just 12 days until Christmas to cheer Lily up after her grandfather became seriously ill. Can they recapture the magic of Christmas in New York for her?

Shock and Awe ~ Simon Reynolds: This book chronicles the legacy of glam rock from the seventies to today and as such will heavily feature my hero, David Bowie. I don’t often read non-fiction, but I’m really looking forward to this one.

Recently Bought:

The Red Eye Box Set ~ Various: This set of four YA Horror books from Stripes Publishing arrived at the beginning of October. I’ve already read one of the books, Frozen Charlotte and really loved it so I hope the others are as good too.

A Christmas Party ~ Georgette Heyer: I picked this up from a charity shop recently. ‘Tis’ the season for…Murder‘ is the perfect tagline that enticed me.

City of Dark Magic ~ Magnus Flyte: I bought this book in an English bookshop I found in Prague. It sounds amazing.

“Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood.”

Six of Crows ~ Leigh Bardugo: This arrived just this week. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

Borrowed:

The Rest of Us Just Live Here ~ Patrick Ness: It’s Ness. I don’t have to say much more. Other than perhaps my shame that I haven’t read it yet.

Koko Takes a Holiday ~ Kieran Shea: I think I can safely say that this will be my first ever Cyberpunk book. It sounds mad, in a good way. My friend Dora enjoyed it and passed it on to me.

Have you read any of these? What should I go for first?

 

 

Something for the Weekend… #BowieExclusive #BookPromo

Earlier this week an email appeared in my inbox which was not only a refreshing change from all the dull, badly-written press releases for books with home-made covers, but was also asking if I’d like to share news of this new book of never before seen photos of David Bowie…err would I ever!

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About the Book

A limited edition of 5oo copies, featuring stunning unseen photos of David Bowie. Released 22nd April 2016

This 45cm by 30cm book with its full bleed over the 20 pages of magnificent images produced in Black and White Duotone throughout the entire book, sporting a front cover of Galerie Art Gloss laminated 350 gram paper whilst the inner pages of text are laid out on 300 grams of Galerie Art Gloss paper. Nothing has been spared here when only the best would do for ‘The Legend’. Each copy will be hand signed by Michel Haddi, shrink wrapped and numbered from 1 – 500. The book is beautifully designed by the creative director, Roberto Da Pozzo. 

About Michel Haddi

Michel haddi has worked for more than 20 years as a leading photographer in fashion & celebrities. His editorial collaborations include the most important magazines in Europe, Asia and the USA. British, French and Italian Vogue, Uomo Vogue, Tatler, GQ, Interview, Vanity Fair, Italian Glamour, Elle, The German Harpers Bazaar, Marie Claire, Rolling Stone, The Sunday Times, The Washington Post, Face, Arena, Details, Vibe, Premiere, Stern are among them. He is not only a photographer but also owns publishing house One Eyed Jacks in London which publishes his own books and more.

David Bowie, the Legend…

Los Angeles, the 90s I don’t recall the exact time, but what I can remember I am at home, in my studio in Venice Beach. 

I am preparing some shoots for Vogue Hommes and some clients.

I get a phone call from Ingrid Sischy in New York asking me to photograph David Bowie for Interview Magazine.

Well as you can imagine I was ecstatic, my first proper record was an LP that my stepfather gave me following a visit to London: Diamond Dogs by Bowie and I still have it.

Anyway, I am with the production team, that includes Paul Starr for make-up and Kim Bowen for styling at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. An hour later, I see a man in a sharp suit, it is David Bowie.

I introduce myself and tell him that he looks like a fashion icon straight out of a Luchino Visconti movie. Bowie smiles and says he’s very much into neo-realist Italian movies.

The most unnerving thing while photographing Bowie was his intensity of looking, his eyes with those hypnotic dual colors felt like he was looking right through me. The shoot lasted an hour and I had a real blast.

In that time I tried to pay homage to Bowie through these portraits and indeed he looks like a character from Visconti’s film Death in Venice. – MICHEL HADDI

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Incoming: Best Book Week!

Seeing as I don’t have a review for you today I thought I would just share my recent book joy.

I had the BEST book luck last week!

I won two books in Goodreads giveaways, was sent Endgame by James Frey, and won a new book of unseen David Bowie photos in a raffle.

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Maybe I should play the Lottery this week?

Goodreads Giveaways

daughterHow well do you really know those you love?

Jenny loves her three teenage children and her husband, Ted, a celebrated neurosurgeon. She loves the way that, as a family, they always know each other’s problems and don’t keep secrets from each other.

But when her youngest child, fifteen-year-old Naomi, doesn’t come home after her school play and a nationwide search for her begins, secrets previously kept from Jenny are revealed.

Naomi has vanished, leaving her family broken and her mother desperately searching for answers. But the traces Naomi’s left behind reveal a very different girl to the one Jenny thought she’d raised. And the more she looks the more she learns that everyone she trusted has been keeping secrets.

How well does she really know her sons, her husband? How well did she know Naomi? If Jenny is going to find her, she’ll have to first uncover the truth about the daughter she thought told her everything.

Daughter was published August 14th 2014 by Penguin

gbyesThe house was silent. No sound of her parents getting ready for work, or her brother late for school. Were they punishing her for last night? She’d been out on a date when she should have been studying, and had a huge fight with her father. So where was everyone now? Why had her family disappeared?

Twenty-five years later the mystery is no nearer to being solved and Cynthia is still haunted by unanswered questions. Were her family murdered? Abducted? If so, why was she spared? And if they’re alive, why did they abandon her?

Then a letter arrives, a letter which makes no sense. Soon Cynthia begins to realise that stirring up the past could be the worst mistake she has ever made…

No Time for Goodbye was published in 2008 by Orion Books. Barclay’s new book, No Safe House is out now.

Friday Feature: Labyrinth Mania

Labyrinth, the 1986 Jim Henson film starring David Bowie (swoon) and Jennifer Connelly (it’s not fairrrrr) is clearly the best film there ever was.

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So just imagine my excitement when I discovered that not only is there a book ‘based on the film’-why is that not a thing anymore?- there is also a sequel in manga form. And it is amazing.

So far, I’ve only managed to get Vol 1 and 2 and have been on the look our for the other two for about three years now…they seem quite rare, and pricey! I refuse to pay £20 for a manga comic, even if it does look as cool as this:

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Just look at Jareth. Woah.

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You can read the first two volumes online at Manga Here.

And that is my gift to you all as we head into the weekend. Big Yays.

View the series on Goodreads