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The Good Father
The Good Father
by Noah Hawley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Concept, 3 April 2012
This review is from: The Good Father (Hardcover)
This book really gets you thinking about essentially what would make someone bad. The narrator of this story is the father of Daniel, he is accused of killing a Senator. The story is the fathers struggle to find out exactly what happened to Daniel in the months leading up to the shooting and actually whether he did it or not. Snippits of the novel are told in the third person in order for us to see exactly what Daniel was doing throughout these months as both himself as his alias Carter Allen Cash.

I really enjoyed this book and it is nothing like anything I have ever read before. It is more than anything about recognition of blame and acceptance. The character of Daniel is perhaps the hardest to decide whether you like his character or not, you know of the accusations of guilt before the book dives into his past. As a reader, listening to a father's love of his son, I presumed from at the start that Daniel was innocent, I'm not sure whether this was because his father was trying to presume his innocence or as a reader you want a happy ending. In a way I think Hawley wants you to think this to start with and then takes you on a rollercoaster ride of is he? Or isn't he? I changed my opinion multiple times throughout the novels events. Whether he is guilty or not? Well you'll have to discover that for yourself.

I really enjoyed how Hawley used the assassinations of other people and explained them in great detail. Some of the minor ones I hadn't really heard of and did find myself looking them up on the internet to check it wasn't fictional. These bits intrigued me as to what the people's lives were like before they assassinated someone, the father tries to map these men onto his son and see if there are any similar traits.

The narrator is clearly desperate, you see the pattern of his life become fixed upon his son. Each large chapter is entitled Home, Iowa, Carter Allen Cash and finally the epilogue Boy. These represent what is revealed to the reader in more detail. Boy is particular becomes the point of true realisation mirrored with the innocence of Boyhood. I really enjoyed the imagery in this book, towards the end Hawley focuses a lot on imagery of wolves, I remember one in particular that stuck in my mind as comparing an event to a mad uncle.

At the end I felt a little exhausted, but in a good way. I think Hawley has captured the emotions of `the Good Father' perfectly so at the end I feel I felt as he would feel. It takes real skill to capture emotion to that capacity, is the end happy? Who knows really, its one of those books where you feel satisfied at its end rather than accumulating it to be happy or sad. It is the same feeling I get when I get to the end of a Picoult novel. This was a very hard book to write a review about to contextualise how it made me feel without revealing why it made me feel this way. So for the most part, you'll just have to trust me J
Overall , well worth a read!

Lone Wolf
Lone Wolf
by Jodi Picoult
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.14

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 18 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Lone Wolf (Hardcover)
Let's start off by saying this is a beautiful book both inside and out. The character of Luke's pages are muddied at the edges because of his wolf habits and there are various intricate drawings and paw prints which make the book a joy to read. I read this book extremely quickly, it was both addictive and astonishing in places. I enjoyed the wolf areas in particular as I'd never had insight into the life of a wolf before and as Luke says - they had always been painted as big and bad!

Picoult throws you into the action immediately by beginning with a childhood memory of Luke's. She captures the readers attention immediately with the line
"In retrospect, I never should have freed the Tiger."
Luke's voice captured me immediately, his passion for wolves is kept strong from start to finish, there is never a moment when I questioned Luke's devotion to wolves. If I didn't have Luke's voice in the novel I felt I really would not have been able to understand him as a character and essentially I might have thought him not a nice man. But, we did have Luke who I feel made the story what it is. The research done by Picoult is incredible and I was captured by the lives of wolves and their various habits and ideas. I don't think I have ever given them credit for how clever they are and how well established their family groups are.

Considering most of the book is set in the hospital you may think that the concept of the book may sound a little repetitive or even boring. With Picoult's transportations to the past through Luke and a few of the other characters there are very few episodes in the book where the hospital is the main place of action. By parading these memories in such a vivid way Picoult's characterisation was so well developed that I really cared for the characters in the novel. I found there wasn't a character I disliked and because of the shifting first person narratives I understood why each one acted in the way that they did.

Conflicts between the family is dangled under the readers nose in order for it to be snatched away by the next narrator and the reader is non the wiser. These intricate sub plots made the novel enticing. I really liked the character of Joe who is Cara's stepfather, he is a supportive role in the novel but I found him so interesting. His voice is one of wisdom and knowledge and supports each of the children in very different ways. I loved that his commercial is cheesy and describes his last name of Ng as a symbol of the words Not Guilty.

Overall the main characters Luke, Cara, Edward and Georgie became important to me in the novel. Caring is a major aspect for me when it comes to believability. I loved Picoult's novel and I cannot wait to read more, this was only my second . For anyone who loves family drama with a twist of wolf life this is the book for you. It is highly recommended.

Stuck with You (Time of Your Life)
Stuck with You (Time of Your Life)
by Trish Jensen
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty Excellence, 11 Jan. 2012
I got a copy of this from Netgalley, I requested it because it sounded really lighthearted and a nice romance story which I feel I have lacked in my reading lately. Boy, this book did not disappoint, what I didn't expect was it to be so witty. I have to commend Jenson on her idea of a disease which gives people heightened sexual awareness and for a hospital to have to stick two people of opposite sexes in the same room as the hospital was full of people injured in a bomb explosion.

In Quarantine both Ross and Paige find themselves feeling this 'heightened sexual awareness' only for them to try and distract themselves any way possible. One of my particular favourite moments in the novel had to be the Scrabble game. Paige trying to keep things professional just plays Scrabble normally but Ross sees sex in everything, Paige's innocent word ROB is turned into an entirely other word by adding TH at the beginning! As you can imagine there are many words which Ross manages to change to his advantage. At this point in the novel we are not sure whether as Paige thinks he is a scoundrel divorce lawyer or he is actually a nice guy. Only fourteen days of quarantine can help right?

I loved Ross' character in the novel, it is amazing how many ways he could provoke sex into almost everything. This made him quite lovable yet the reader was left unsure about his true nature towards Paige. When it is revealed of the various things he does it makes him all the more lovable and sexy! Well I can say I wouldn't mind a man like that!

With witty elements all the way through Jenson gives a thoroughly pleasing novel which in places is a little naughty, sexual awareness becomes apparent through the playing of baseball and other interesting sports in order to 'spice' things up. I have to say I really enjoyed this novel and found myself reading it very quickly due to it's lightheartedness and good plotline.

Parker Pyne Investigates (Agatha Christie Collection)
Parker Pyne Investigates (Agatha Christie Collection)
by Agatha Christie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short Stories with lovely links, 7 Dec. 2011
When I first picked up this book which happens to be my first Agatha Christie book, Parker Pyne is a really amazing character which helps each person in a variety of different ways. The short story's are individual yet towards the end all take place through a trip Parker Pyne. Each story is really heartwarming and non of them are similar to any of the others!!!

There's a story about a woman who looses her son which is one of my favourites. Parker Pyne tries to help her get her son back and then there is a massive twist at the end which is really intriguing. Parker Pyne moves around the idea that if you are not happy you should consult him. One thing which I particularly enjoyed was the fact that he only charges people what they can afford. At the start he charged someone a really high amount which made me dislike him slightly yet when a poorer woman turned to him he didn't charge her anything.

He is a very emotional detective finding himself often just helping people because he wants to and goes to great lengths to be able to achieve happiness for other people. I found that in his articles and helping people that's what makes him happy which is why he continues to do what he does. I've found that I really like Christie's detective writing in a small amount of pages and I'm really interested in trying one of her longer novels. There are some amazing twists in just the short pages of each chapter giving the reader excitement at the end of every story making this novel a really fun read!

I would recommend this book to any Christie fan or if you're not sure if you would like her this is a good book to try!!

LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 (PS3)
LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 (PS3)
Offered by passionFlix UK
Price: £12.46

4.0 out of 5 stars Lego Brilliance, 4 Dec. 2011
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
As usual the lego games do not fail to disappoint! The levels are quite long so you don't finish the game very quick as well as the play-through which takes place within the castle which makes the game even longer.

I've nearly finished the game now but it is becoming slightly tedious with all the characters and the gold bricks to collect but that does not deter me from completing it to 100%. A great addition to any lego fans collection!!
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The Radleys
The Radleys
by Matt Haig
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

4.0 out of 5 stars Vampires with a twist, 4 Dec. 2011
This review is from: The Radleys (Paperback)
This is a vampire novel with a twist, I suppose like in Twilight it is simply a family trying to obstein from blood from humans and trying to live and ordinary life. But this is a little different, they have the distinct problems of an ordinary family too. The children get bullied and are seen as freaks in their school. We are drawn into how hard life is for both the adults but more specifically the children. At first glance anyone would just think it's about a family pulling together which is why this book is just a little different to any other vampire novel I've read.

The children's bodies are suffering because of their blood loss, and guess what? They don't even know they're vampires, when their happy blood drinking Uncle turns up everything changes. But why are they even forced to call him?

I especially liked the fact that their daughter had opted to be a vegan which as a vampire was making her body really ill. It showed the reader that it wasn't just pure instinct that would stop you from drinking blood but the knowledge that you were normal that stopped. Although because she won't even eat meat it does take her instincts to show that she really does need something more substantial... The speaker changes rapidly through the novel with short chapters which makes the story flow nicely and easy to follow.

I found it really interesting in this take on vampires that you could be born a vampire or you could be converted, this is quite an interesting concept for Haig to adapt and very different from all the other vampire novels we've seen in the past.

Although this was a good plotline and nicely presented I'm not sure there was enough action for me in the novel which is why it only got four stars compared to five. Don't get me wrong the story was very enjoyable and you really want to find out more and more into the lives of the Radley's but with vampire novels such as Twilight and Sookie Stackhouse out there, there's just a little something missing from this book.

Dearly Departed
Dearly Departed
by Lia Habel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great debut for the series, 4 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Dearly Departed (Paperback)
First off, it's so refreshing to have a zombie novel rather than a vampire one! I found this novel a breath of fresh air and yes... zombies can be sexy!!! Habel has created this fantastically developed world where zombies can have treatment to help them stop decaying! So we have no smelly zombies ruining our love for the characters!

Bram is our resident zombie (don't get me wrong there are tonnes more... but for the purposes of no spoilers he's our main guy) I have to say I found myself warm to him just as I would a normal character if not more because he had an element of sympathy in his role. I really enjoyed his character development and for the most part he was the main protagonist, as a Captain he really doesn't do much as he's under command. I particularly love that zombies don't roll their eyes because these are the first muscles to `go' and therefore they are frightened of their eyes falling out!

Nora, I found to be a likable character but seemed to carried slightly in the novel by Bram and others. In contrast her friend Pam I found to be really energetic and a can do girl, even if she is in Victorian dress for the most part. Don't get me wrong Nora is a great character but she is, as a general rule much less kick-ass than Pam. Nora dresses in a shorter dress during the novel and considers herself embarrassed as she is almost naked! I found this really funny as I expected just the Victorian dress had been applied in the book but it is in fact all the mannerisms of the culture/time as well! I loved this futuristic element with the past thrown in it's wake, resulting in a nice balance of morals and attitude.

The story was definitely unique, I hadn't read anything like it before! The story line was fast paced and flicked between the POV of four main characters, Pam is back in Nora's hometown almost reporting on what's happening over there, Nora and Bram are at a secret location which I will say no more about and Victor is also away somewhere reporting on how the situation takes effect. There are so many revelations during this novel it's very difficult to write without spoilers! Overall this book is excellent and really worth a read! I can't wait for the sequel which Habel is currently writing now!

Water for Elephants
Water for Elephants
by Sara Gruen
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible, 4 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Water for Elephants (Paperback)
This is one of those books which you may not read without someone's recommendation like I did, you think 'Oh it's about a circus, I'll pass.' BIG MISTAKE I read this from a recommendation from Dani over at Pen to Paper, and that was my exact reaction. This book was absolutely, undoubtedly the best book I've ever read and I think I may even read this again... which if you know me means it was good! (I never read a book more than once because I think there are so many books out there it's not worth reading the same book twice)

First off Jacob! Such a loveable character yet has this dark dangerous side which although we only see once or twice in the novel it makes him all the more enticing. I must admit I saw him as much more of a well built character unlike Robert Pattinson that we see in the film, which while we're on the subject is a really good adaptation! I really like Jacob, he is a good protagonist always spurring the novel onwards in ways which you do not expect. His kindness is sometimes unbelievable when it risks his own life which makes his character even better for the heart of the reader.

Second Marlene, sometimes I found myself disliking Marlene for leading Jacob on even though she knew it was so dangerous but that is splashed away quickly with the love story which establishes itself in the novel. Marlene unearths a shining knight in Jacob from one of the very first times we meet her.

Rosie the elephant is by far the best character in the novel, and amazingly responds to Polish. For a character that does not speak it is surprising we find so much love within this character, I think this is partly due to the cruelness we see which she is going through. The fact that Rosie has so much compassion for the people around her no matter how strong she is is empowering for the reader. Compassion is something I love in a character in a novel and when it comes from someone who can't even speak for themselves is special.

Genuinely even if you think this novel isn't for you try it! It is the greatest book ever! I don't think I can find the words to praise this book enough.

The Governess: The Little Female Academy
The Governess: The Little Female Academy
by Sarah Fielding
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Children's Fiction has begun, 4 Dec. 2011
I was unsure whether to give this book 3 or 4 stars as the characters were very well developed even though we had little information about them it gave you a sense of caring for the characters.

The story was made up of stories of nine children in which Fielding incorporated all their misgivings to establish a enviroment in which to teach the reader (namely children) morals and ideals of their attitudes in the world and what would make them happy. Fielding provides the enviroment of a school and as it is deemed as the first novel for children we can see that over history not much has changed with sucessful children's novels like Harry Potter still exist today.

This novel was a great start to the children's fictin course that I'm doing and really helped me understand the writers intention for children's fiction and the reasons for setting.

Mockingjay (part III of The Hunger Games Trilogy)
Mockingjay (part III of The Hunger Games Trilogy)
by Suzanne Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannot believe this series is over!, 4 Dec. 2011
Wow, I'm devastated that this series is over. I actually had some idea of what happened at the end due to someone posting a review that didn't say it contained spoilers! Angry Gemma, but nonetheless the book still gave me lots of surprises!! The ending was predictable but in a really good way. Of course it wouldn't be a Hunger Games book without an amazing amount of people dying! There's definitely lots of break your heart in this one.

Peeta in this novel is very different to how we have previously seen him, the Capitol really has taken its revenge on the characters in this book. Even though Peeta is so different I still find him to be the most amazing character ever!! Gale is around much more in this novel which for Gale fans I'm sure they'd love to hear. In this book the fight against the Capitol is more intense than ever and Katniss, as the symbol of the Mockingjay is in danger yet again. Gale takes on the role of protector as well as Finnick.

As I said with Catching Fire, my likeness for Finnick only increased in this novel and never did it falter. Prim also has more of an active role in this book making sure the people of district thirteen are kept healthy. You just have to keep reading this book up until the end because you need to know what happened. I purposely haven't included many details about the actual book in this review because I don't want to spoil any of the previous books or the current book for you.

After shutting this book, or reaching 100% on the kindle you will find yourself staring around the room a little. All the young people in these books that were killed really hits you at the end and gives you a depressing sense of life, yet the fact that people still carry on in the mist of all that happened which gives you that shining light of hope. I physically could pick up another book till the next day because it just left your mind buzzing about all the things you had to read so quickly to get to the end.

Seriously, if you haven't read this series READ IT. It will be one of the best books you ever try.

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