Reading Round-up: August 2017 #MiniReviews

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Welcome to my monthly post where I discuss any books that I read during the month which for one reason or another didn’t get the full review treatment. 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 every single book. 

There were three books that I read but didn’t get round to reviewing in August…

Spectacles ~ Sue Perkins

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When I began writing this book, I went home to see if my mum had kept some of my stuff. What I found was that she hadn’t kept some of it. She had kept all of it – every bus ticket, postcard, school report – from the moment I was born to the moment I finally had the confidence to turn round and say ‘Why is our house full of this shit?’

Sadly, a recycling ‘incident’ destroyed the bulk of this archive. This has meant two things: firstly, Dear Reader, you will never get to see countless drawings of wizards, read a poem about corn on the cob, or marvel at the kilos of brown flowers I so lovingly pressed as a child. Secondly, it’s left me with no choice but to actually write this thing myself.

This, my first ever book, will answer questions such as ‘Is Mary Berry real?’, ‘Is it true you wear a surgical truss?’ and ‘Is a non-spherically symmetric gravitational pull from outside the observable universe responsible for some of the observed motion of large objects such as galactic clusters in the universe?’

Most of this book is true. I have, of course, amplified my more positive characteristics in an effort to make you like me. 

Thank you for reading.

This book was a total shock for me. I picked it up on a whim. I used to love Light Lunch (showing my age there) and also loved Sue in the Supersizers Eat series but other than that I didn’t know much about her, so I totally wasn’t expecting to get so hooked on this book. I couldn’t put it down and read it in about two sittings.

The beginning had me in stitches when Sue was talking about her family’s reaction to her writing a memoir, and there were lots of things I was surprised by in it, all carried off with Sue’s slightly self-deprecating, intelligent humour.

unicorn rating 4

 

Klaus Vogel and the Bad Lads ~ David Almond

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Fleeing persecution in his homeland, German refugee Klaus Vogel arrives in a small English town where the local gang take him under their wing. They call themselves the Bad Lads, but it’s all mischief and harmless tricks, never any real trouble.

But then leader Joe starts to encourage increasingly hateful pranks and Klaus has to make a stand for what he thinks is right.

Poignant and powerful tale set in the wake of World War II.

This was another one I picked up on a whim. It’s a short easy-read book which is dyslexia friendly that I found in my library. I’ve enjoyed a few of David Almond’s books before so I read this over a lunch break. It’s a nice story with a good message about bullying, persecution, and standing up for yourself and others.

unicorn rating 4

 

The Way it Hurts ~ Patty Blount

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There may be two sides to every story, but sometimes there’s only one way to set things right…

Music is Elijah’s life. His band plays loud and hard, and he’ll do anything to get them a big break. He needs that success to help take care of his sister, who has special needs. So he’d rather be practicing when his friends drag him to a musical in the next town…until the lead starts to sing.

Kristen dreams of a career on stage like her grandmother’s. She knows she needs an edge to get into a competitive theater program—and being the star in her high school musical isn’t going to cut it. The applause and the attention only encourage her to work harder.

Elijah can’t take his eyes off of Kristen’s performance, and he snaps a photo of her in costume that he posts online with a comment that everybody misunderstands. It goes viral. Suddenly, Elijah and Kristen are in a new spotlight as the online backlash spins out of control. And the consequences are bigger than they both could have ever imagined because these threats don’t stay online…they follow them into real life.

I’m afraid I didn’t get very far into this one. It’s nothing personal, I think I just wasn’t in the mood for a contemporary YA. The writing seemed fine but I didn’t gel with either of the protagonists at all, and all the integrated tweets and social media put me off. I’m sure this will be a hit for contemporary fans, but it wasn’t for me.

AOB

{that’s any other business for those of you that’ve never had the misfortune of having a job where people say that all the time}

 

 

Well, that really is a wrap on August now!  How did you get on?

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Lazy Saturday Review: The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin #MiniReview

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I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

icedragonTitle: The Ice Dragon
Author: George RR Martin
Series: N/A
Format: Hardback, 128 pages
Publication Details: December 4th 2014 by Harper Voyager
Genre(s): Children’s; Fantasy
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

Goodreads 

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From ancient times the ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.

Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara’s home. And only a winter child — and the ice dragon who loved her — could save her world from utter destruction. 

Review

This is a beautifully illustrated book (Luis Royo) from the Game of Thrones author. It’s a charming, short tale suitable for children and adults alike. I enjoyed it a lot.

Protagonist Adara was both adorable and strong and I loved that she was a sort of Winter princess, and the only one who can help defeat the dragons destroying the land. Full of rich mythology and folklore, this a much more accessible George RR Martin for those like me who are intimidated about starting the GoT books.

The illustrations are what really make this book special, and I think it would make a lovely gift. Especially for Christmas, with its celebration of Winter. Worth a read for sure.

unicorn rating 4

 

Reading Round-up: June 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 get the full review treatment. 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 was only one book I read this month that I didn’t feel like reviewing in full…

The Winter King ~ Bernard Cornwell

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I never would have picked up a Bernard Cornwell book before I watched and enjoyed the TV adaptation of The Last Kingdom, but it made me think that maybe it’s my kind of thing after all. I also wasn’t aware that he’d written a trilogy based on King Arthur until I stumbled across this reissue at work, so I couldn’t resist picking it up.

I enjoyed a lot about this story of war in the time of Arthur, Mordred, Merlin and Guinevere, but for some reason it never fully grabbed my attention. I found Cornwell’s writing surprisingly beautiful, and I usually love most things Arthurian so I’m not sure why I couldn’t get into it. I did manage to struggle through, and was glad that I did but I’m not sure if I’ll pick up the other two books.

AOB

{that’s any other business for those of you that’ve never had the misfortune of having a job where people say that all the time}

 

Well, that’s a wrap on June, folks! How did you get on?

Reading Round-up: May 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 get the full review treatment. 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 were only two books I read this month that I didn’t end up reviewing in full…

The Knife of Never Letting Go ~ Patrick Ness

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I loved this book the first time I read it and have wanted to reread it ever since but never seem to find the time to reread anything. I was therefore overjoyed when I got the audio book in my goodie bag at his new book launch. I enjoyed listening to it, but the narrator did annoy me a bit. He did a good job don’t get me wrong, but his voice was a bit irritating! This was my first ever audio book too, so it took a bit of getting used to. I haven’t been put off them, but I think I’ll stick to the books on this particular occasion.

The Time Machine ~ H.G Wells

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This was one of those books that I thought I’d read when I was younger but it turns out I hadn’t. I liked it a lot, especially seeing how much it has influenced science-fiction over the years and paved the way for sub-genres like Steampunk and Time-Travel novels. A true classic!

AOB

{that’s any other business for those of you that’ve never had the misfortune of having a job where people say that all the time}

Well, that’s a wrap on May, folks! How did you get on?

This Month in Books: Jan & Feb 2017 #Books #NewReleases #Reviews

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I haven’t done a monthly round-up yet this year (my bad), so here’s a quick summary of both. In January I took a blogging break and only posted TWIB and one review anyway. When I returned in Feb I decided to make some changes in which I wanted to blog less and read more, and also blog to the mantra of quality not quantity. It’s really renewed my enjoyment of blogging and reading so far. Whoop!

Jan & Feb 2017 Stats

Total Posts: 5 & 11 

Books Read: 9 & 5

Reviews

Most Viewed Posts

  1. This Week in Books 01.02.17
  2. Discussion: Blog-Life Crisis
  3. My Favourite Books of 2016

Awards

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That’s it for this month. I should be back to my full monthly round-up next time. I also usually share my TBR update here but I haven’t looked at that since Christmas so there’s lots of additions (and a few subtractions) to make. I’ll do a separate post if I get time.

 

 

The Ones that Got Away: Unreviewed Books read in 2016 #MiniReviews

I read 8 books this year that I failed to write reviews for, which I think is pretty good going actually. So as we come to the end of the year, in the spirit of tying things up, here are some very, very short reviews for them, or at the very least reasons for my lack of review!

A Christmas Party ~ Georgette Heyer: I only read about 50 pages of this before giving up. It’s a closed-house murder mystery that I was really looking forward to but I just couldn’t get into to it at all. There were lots of characters and none of them were remotely pleasant!

The Enchanted ~ Rene Denfield: This was a really strange book about a man on death row. I was trying to put my thoughts together for a review but I think it took so long I forgot. I’m still not sure how I felt about it. It was written in a very interesting way…

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children ~ Ransom Riggs: I didn’t finish this book. I wanted to read it before  I saw the film, but didn’t end up seeing it anyway. I think I wasn’t in the mood for it. I’ll hopefully go back to it at some point.

The Seeing Stone ~ Kevin Crossley- Holland: This was one of those books that had been on my TBR list for years. I love Arthurian stuff so thought I would love it, but I didn’t get on with it at all. I just managed to finish it but I wasn’t in the mood to write a terrible review of it.

Glass Sword ~ Victoria Aveyard: The second book in the Red Queen series was great. I enjoyed it a lot. I have no idea why I didn’t write a review for it!

Deception ~ Naomi Chase: I have actually reviewed this but for our library newsletter that we put together at work. Maybe I’ll share it one day. Deception is an ‘Urban Fiction’ book which are popular in the prison where I work. It wasn’t as bad as I was expecting!

The Colour of Milk ~ Nell Leyshon: This was a simple, short-but-sweet novel about a poor farm- servant who teaches herself to read. I liked it. Not sure why I didn’t review it at the time.

Goth Girl and the Pirate Queen ~ Chris Riddell: This was a short World Book Day story. I don’t remember much about it to be honest. I gave it 3 unicorns though so I must have liked it enough.

 

Lazy Saturday Review(s): A few that got away…

I’ve fallen behind of late, so before I completely forget about these books I thought I’d do a quick catch-up in the shape of some teeny tiny reviews.

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Title: The Testimony of the Hanged Man
Author: Ann Granger
Series: Lizzie Martin #5
Edition: Paperback, 400 pages
Publication Details: July 3rd 2014 by Headline
Genre(s): Mystery; Historical Fiction
Disclosure? Nope, I borrowed it!

Goodreads // Purchase

A hanged man would say anything to save his life. But what if his testimony is true? When Inspector Ben Ross is called to Newgate Prison by a man condemned to die by the hangman’s noose he isn’t expecting to give any credence to the man’s testimony. But the account of a murder he witnessed over seventeen years ago is so utterly believeable that Ben can’t help wondering if what he’s heard is true. It’s too late to save the man’s life, but it’s not too late to investigate a murder that has gone undetected for all these years.

Review

I initially picked this book up because it’s set partly on Putney Heath, which is where I lived when I was at uni. I like reading about places I know well, to see how the author portrays them, especially in another era. The Testimony of the Hanged Man is set in Victorian London, and is a classic mystery which unfolds at a slow pace.

I think if I read it all in one go, I would have enjoyed it more, but I only managed a few pages at a time. However, I still enjoyed it – and despite my pet peeve of alternating narrators too.

If you like traditional, light-hearted, Victorian detective fiction, give this series a go.

unicorn rating 3

kisskiss

Title: Kiss Kiss
Author: Roald Dahl
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 231 pages
Publication Details: October 26th 1987 by Penguin Books
Genre(s): Short Stories
Disclosure? Nope, I borrowed it!

Goodreads // Purchase

In these wickedly anarchic stories, Dahl explores the dark, sinister side of the psyche: the cunning, sly, selfish part of human nature that makes for unexpected outcomes and horrifying conclusions.

Review

I’ve wanted to read some of Dahl’s adult fiction for ages so I picked this up for my lunch-time read when I spotted it in the library. I read most of the stories in this collection, and came out with mixed feelings. The collection was first published in 1959, and you can tell; it hasn’t aged well.

The stories are not what I would call anarchic or horrifying in today’s meaning of the terms, but they were interesting, funny and slightly odd – as you would expect from Roald Dahl. I enjoyed Mrs Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat the most.

unicorn rating 3

badjelly
Title: Badjelly the Witch
Author: Spike Milligan
Series: N/A
Edition: Hardback, 64 pages
Publication Details: October 19th 2000 by Virgin Books (first published 1973)
Genre(s): Children’s; Picture Books
Disclosure? Nope, I borrowed it.

Goodreads // Purchase

Badjelly The Witch can turn children into sausages or chop them up to make boy-girl soup. She can turn policemen into apple trees or bananas into mice and she is the wickedest witch in all the world.

A charming fairy tale which has delighted children for many years, this edition is copiously illustrated with Spike Milligan’s own drawings which have been specially adapted and beautifully hand coloured.

Review

Spike Milligan’s Silly Verse for Kids was one of my favourite books when I was little, but I never read this one. I’m so glad I eventually got round to reading it! It’s exactly as bonkers as you’d expect – loved it!

Definitely a fun, wacky book to read to young children.

unicorn rating 4