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Lucybird (Birmingham, UK)

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A Song of Ice and Fire (1) - A Game of Thrones
A Song of Ice and Fire (1) - A Game of Thrones
by George R. R. Martin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars So despite the fact that I had heard it was really fantastic, even in my pre-blogging days, 20 Sep 2014
Game of Thrones was one of the books which had been on my to be read (TBR) pile for a long time (years, literally). It was the size of it, partly, and the thought of starting a series, I’d heard that it’s difficult to keep track of the characters, basically it was daunting. So despite the fact that I had heard it was really fantastic, even in my pre-blogging days, well before the TV series was out, and despite wanting to read it before I watch the series, it stayed on my shelf all this time. It probably didn’t help that I don’t actually read that much fantasy (despite my Harry Potter obsession), in fact most of the fantasy I read (including this) is recommended by fellow Harry Potter fans, and I always hope to find something I will love this much.

Game of Thrones was very good. It is certainly epic. It takes some effort to read, and some concentration. The characters can be a little difficult to keep a track of, especially at first, but I found that most of the time I knew who was who and how they related to each other by the end.

I don’t think it was the plot which made Game of Thrones good. There were certain plot elements which did hook me, but mainly I was interested in the characters. There were some great characters. Lots of strong women. My favourite character though was Tyrion. I still can’t quite work him out, and that’s why I like reading him.

The end made me want to read the next straight away I my boyfriend has the whole set so I will be able to, but I decided to have a breather.

House of Glass
House of Glass
Price: £6.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Not her best, 20 Sep 2014
This review is from: House of Glass (Kindle Edition)
Have you ever watched the TV show Hostages? (Don’t bother is you haven’t it’s compulsive watching, but generally rubbish). There are certain elements of House of Glass which remind me of Hostages.

Obviously they both have a hostage type situation, there is also a hell off a lot going on in each of them which doesn’t really seem like it matters that much to the plot. It’s worst in Hostages because you know why the family are being held hostage, and therefore the extra bits are basically padding. Whereas with House of Glass you don’t know why the family were picked (you know to a level why they are being held hostage, but not enough), so anything which doesn’t seem to be related to the family being held hostage could be a reason.

They do seem both a bit contrived. Like there is too much going on for just one family. Everyone seems to have something bad going on, in the case of House of Glass only one of them is unlikely to be connected to the hostage situation. It feels a bit like there wasn’t enough story so Littleford added extra plot lines to stretch things out a bit.

They also both have a bit of the kidnapper’s own story. It’s something I like about both of them. In House of Glass it’s told through the hostage’s eyes, so you can never truly work the kidnapper’s out. Having said that it was pretty obvious- at least to me- who had bought the kidnapper’s to the family’s door.

It’s pretty action packed and keeps you reading. I wanted to know the truth throughout too, but it wasn’t the best crime book I’ve read, or the best thriller, or the best ‘issue’ book. The previous Littleford book I read was better, but then it was a bit more my type of thing, it’s what made me want to read House of Glass.

The Rosie Project: Don Tillman 1
The Rosie Project: Don Tillman 1
by Graeme Simsion
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars The Rosie Project, 20 Sep 2014
Everyone in the book blogosphere seems to have read The Rosie Project, and most of those people have loved it, I’ve not seen one negative review. I am no exception. I loved The Rosie Project.

It was cute and funny, and romantic, and quirky. Don was such a unique, yet believable character. He was a little bit of a less asexual Sheldon Cooper (of The Big Bang Theory).

Big Bang Theory, Sheldon, Sheldon Cooper, Bazinger, books, The Rosie project
Rosie is Don’s complete antithesis, but, for some reason, it works. Rosie takes Don completely out of his comfort zone, she helps him to relax. Don is so clever, but he’s blind when it comes to women, when it comes to Rosie. It means you see lots of times that Don is being clueless, you want someone to come and show him everything objectively- I think that could have worked for him.

I did love Don as a character. I loved reading the story through his voice. He obviously cares about things, he always works really hard at everything, but he doesn’t understand that you can’t learn everything from books, or in an intellectual way. It’s kind of adorable.

When looking for reviews of The Rosie Project I found out that a sequel is coming out this year. I’m excited to see the sequel but not sure if it will really work, especially if it was written just because The Rosie Project itself was so popular. I fear it won’t meet up to the amazingness of The Rosie Project, but I’ll still read it.

The Storyteller
The Storyteller
by Jodi Picoult
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different to her usual, 20 Sep 2014
This review is from: The Storyteller (Paperback)
The Storyteller is a little bit different when it comes to Jodi Picoult. Her books tend to follow a formula, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because the subject matter changes, and it works for the type of books she is writing. Her basic outline though is there’s an issue- you see different character’s point of views, and it’s not always clear who you should be backing- at least at first. Usually there’s a twist somewhere along the line which makes you question your own judgement of the situation. Basically they get you thinking- sometimes even after you’ve finished the book.

So you can understand why when I heard Picoult’s new book was centred around a former concentration camp worker I couldn’t work out how her formula would fit. You can make someone feel sympathy for someone like that but you can never make someone understand that there might be a good reason why they did what they did, so how was Picoult going to make that work.

There was a lot more in the past of this book, Franz’s past, the past of one of the women in the concentration camp, and her fictional story, which started before she was in the concentration camp and finished whilst she was there. Then there was the area now. With Sage finding out the truth about Franz. There is an element of should Franz have to suffer for something he had done so long ago, especially if he is remorseful (which at times he seems to be, but at times doesn’t seem genuine), if he is old and might well die before he even gets charged? Can he be forgiven?

It wouldn’t be much of a book if that was the only challenge, so yes there are more, and the history b its are interesting. There is little I can say without giving away some pretty major plot points (and I’m all for spoiler free reviews).

I’m still not sure I would say this is a favourite Picoult, but it’s a little too different to compare. In terms of others which are different it probably is the best, although even the different ones are hard to compare to one another

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz Series Book 1)
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz Series Book 1)
Price: £0.00

3.0 out of 5 stars We're off to see the wizard, 20 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I’m sure there is nobody who hasn’t at least heard of the film of The Wizard of Oz, and most people have seen it. It was my first introduction to the land of Oz so I couldn’t help but compare the two. I do like the film, despite it’s cheesy-ness.

One thing I was surprised about was the lack of appearance of The Wicked Witch of the West in the book. Yes she is there, but she isn’t as much of a major character. The wizard himself is less likeable too, but more like the film version of himself.

I did like the story. Although I think if I didn’t know elements of the story so well I would have enjoyed it more. There’s a little note at the begginning about it being written for children’s pleasure rather than any moral lesson. It certainly is more fun than moral, however I do think there was a bit of a lesson, about how you can improve yourself, or how people change I suppose.

Eleanor & Park
Eleanor & Park
Price: £3.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Eleanor and Park, 20 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Eleanor & Park (Kindle Edition)
There are so many reviews of Eleanor & Park out there that I almost feel that something original cannot be said.

So Eleanor & Park. After Attachments I expected to enjoy it, I didn’t expect better because it’s YA and I only usually read YA when I just want to read without thinking. As a more relaxing, easy read. It was on offer for the kindle though, so I thought I would give it a try. Actually I think it was better than Attachments. It was maybe in some ways less adult but it was less superficial I think. Especially from Eleanor’s side of the story.

I got Eleanor. The escapism. the shyness. The uncertainty. I was like her a lot in school. Whilst not having a bad time of it as she does; at home or at school, I could identify more with how she felt at times.

In a sense she was saved by Park. Una @ Watching the Words (see her review below) says it’s anti-feminist. Well maybe, but I don’t see that. It’s just another form of escapism. He facilitates so much of her escapism. The comics, the music. Why can’t he be a form of escapism himself? Does she need him? Maybe not. She ultimately helps herself. He makes it better though. He makes it easier. That’s not about him ‘saving’ her. It’s not about him being a boy. It’s about love. She doesn’t want that to end, of course she doesn’t.

I can’t say I liked Park so much. He grew on me. He understood more about life as he went through.
Yes this is a story about love, but it’s more than that. It’s a story about hope. It’s a story about overcoming bad things in life. It’s a story about finding yourself, and believing in yourself.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir)
Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir)
Price: £3.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky-funny, 20 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened has been on my radar and on my wishlist for a long time (it was listed on my 2012 wishlist on goodreads, which I used to choose books for The Wishlist Challenge last year). As with many things which I actually buy from my wishlist it was on special offer when I bought it- I have the awful tendency to add things to my wishlist but then buy things which are not on it. Part of me wishes I had bought it sooner, but then I wouldn’t have got a bargain. Anyway I am waffling.

Jenny Lawson is probably best known as The Bloggess but that’s not how I ‘discovered’ her. I read a few reviews of Let’s Pretend The Never Happened which compared Jenny Lawson to Caitlin Moran. Seeing as I pretty much got a girl crush on Caitlin Moran as a result of reading How To Be a Woman I basically had to add Let’s Pretend This Never Happened to my wishlist. Then it sat on my wishlist for about a year before I saw a few links to The Bloggess and decided to check her out. I knew it was Jenny Lawson so I’m not sure why I hadn’t looked at her blog initially, but it made me want to read the book even more, then it was on offer on kindle so I snapped it up.

First off I should say if you are easily embarrassed then don’t read this in public. You will not be able to contain your laughter in certain parts. (And guess what? If you try to explain to your boyfriend what you’re laughing at he will just look at it like you’re crazy, and say something about how it cannot possibly be true, because what person would think that making a squirrel into a puppet and pretending that it’s magic is good children’s entertainment?) I suppose I should say that there are bits that people might be a bit squeamish about (lots about taxidermy, and hunting, and wearing dead animals…yeah). At times I was squeamish myself but then something was funny, and I would forget things like Jenny accidentally running inside a deer (yes, that did happen).

As with How to Be a Woman there were serious bit too. Although most things had a funny spin put on it. It was good to see Jenny Lawson explaining things in a more serious mode however, some things require a more serious tone. I think Caitlin Moran has a very similar sense of humour to Jenny Lawson too, although I also think I preferred How To Be A Woman, maybe because it was closer to my own experiences. I should really get around to buying Moranthology- that’s been on my wishlist since it came out.

The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars The Fault in Our Stars, 20 Sep 2014
This review is from: The Fault in Our Stars (Paperback)
So. The Fault is in Our Stars. So many people adore this book. That’s part of the reason I read it, and because I wanted to read it before the film comes out. Oh and because I forgot something to read in the bath whilst away from home.

I enjoyed it, I really did, but, I don’t know, I felt there was something off with it, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then I read Una’s review. She got me thinking

“Augustus may be the most unrealistic teenage boy ever written: he keeps cigarettes but doesn’t smoke them, his first topic of conversation is ‘oblivion’ and he talks like a Nietzschian philosopher. ” (from Una’s review)

It was Augustus. I didn’t like him instantly. He seemed so pretentious, and yes unrealistic. I’ve sorry but no teenage boy talks like that. And the whole not smoking cigarette’s so they loose they’re power. It’s a bit stupid. For one thing I doubt that most people start smoking because they want to breathe smoke in, so not smoking a cigarette doesn’t make it loose its power. I came to like Augustus more. He went from someone pretentious to a ‘perfect’ boyfriend. It’s still unrealistic but it was more real. I didn’t feel for him in himself though. I more cared about his effect on Hazel.

Hazel was more realistic. She seemed to struggle more. Maybe that was just because we saw things through her eyes, but, either way it made her more realistic. The whole battle type thing, in a way how she appeared. It was almost like she was a ‘normal’ teenager. Her approach to things is more hesitant, for a variety of reasons. Where outside she may be all bravado inside she has fears, and dreams.

Augustus had a more carpe diem attitude (or YOLO if you must), was that because he had been through different experiences, or did he just not care about potential bad consequences? Maybe a bit of both, but possibly the most realistic part of him was his denial of certain things which let him live in the moment. If I was Hazel I would have hated him for that. She didn’t, but they say love is blind.

There are better books about cancer. There are better books about love. This is an easy read however. Maybe a step towards more gritty books which whence your heart rather than pull its strings.

31 Songs
31 Songs
by Nick Hornby
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

4.0 out of 5 stars An Ode to Music, 20 Sep 2014
This review is from: 31 Songs (Paperback)
31 Songs is not really a book of music criticism. It’s an ode to music. Nick Hornby talks about music the way one might talk about a beloved friend. He focuses specifically on 31 Songs (plus 14 albums, and with a quick mention of the top ten albums when he was writing). They are not neccersarily his favourite songs but they are songs which he has played obsessively at one point or another. Sometimes they are songs which he connects with memories, and that’s part of what makes them special. Sometimes he talks about how much he loves the lyrics, or the music.

The songs do tend to be in a similar vein, with a couple which break the trend- songs like I’m Like a Bird. Sometimes he really made me want to listen to the songs- which were often ones which I wasn’t familiar with. The Beatles- Rain I still want to listen to, but it’s not on Spotify.

Actually I think I prefer Nick Hornby’s non-fiction to his stories (although I’ve enjoyed them too). There is a certain amount of passion in it, although it’s interesting to see how some of the music he loves links to some of his novels- especially (as would be expected) High Fidelity.

Probably the main thing which I’d say negative about this book is that it is a bit dated. There are a couple of extra sections which update it, but they are still a little out of date. There is a discussion of the top 10 albums in August 2001- but that’s a good 13 years out of date (wow that makes me feel old- I remember most of those albums), but it’s generally negative, so the same love for music doesn’t come through. Then there’s a list of favourite songs from 2000-2010, but it’s just a list, no discussion.

I tried to listen to the songs on Spotify. Unfortunately there were some songs missing

Before I Go To Sleep
Before I Go To Sleep
by S J Watson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't quite meet the hype, 20 Sep 2014
This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Paperback)
A couple of years ago everybody was raving about Before I Go To Sleep. I didn’t read it then, partly because I’m not the biggest fan of crime fiction, partly because of my ever expanding to be read pile, and partly because the last raved about crime novel I remembered reading was The Da Vinci Code- which I have no desire to re-read. My Mum had read it, and my boyfriend and a handful of people from BCF had been very positive about it.

However it wasn’t the positive reviews which made me interested so much as the slight psychological plotline- that of Christine having basically no memory. Either way I was interested enough to go out and buy myself a copy, but when my Mum was sorting out books to get rid of (we have nine bookcases in our 3-up 3-down house, so need all the space we can get!) she put Before I Go To Sleep in the pile, and I moved it to my shelves (along with The Tiger’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry). When I actually got around to reading it I was in the mood for something which would be a quick, easy, but (hopefully) gripping read. I read crime the way other people read chick-lit, it’s more of a relaxed easy read (generally, there is some really good crime out there that you really can’t figure out, and that is more taxing). My Mum’s reaction to it more than anything showed me that Before I Go To Sleep would be what I was looking for.

It was that as well. Gripping enough whilst it lasted, but it didn’t really leave any lingering feelings. I guessed the twist quite early on, which meant that anything else was mainly just confirming my theory, although there were enough little twists on the way to make me want to keep reading for the story itself.

I had a bit of a love hate relationship with Christine. She was just too trusting! I understand that you have to trust someone in that situation, but it wasn’t even that she trusted people she met, she tried to force herself to feel things which she thought she should feel for them, I don’t really understand that.

The story was pretty unique. Which probably puts it above other crime novels of a similar quality. However it was just of standard quality. If you’re a fan of crime novels then you may like this one, but I wouldn’t expect it to live up to hype.

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