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RennyRoo "RennyRoo" (London, UK)

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The Confession
The Confession
by John Grisham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Emotional and challenging your beliefs, 11 July 2012
This review is from: The Confession (Paperback)
When my friend read this book last year she was literally glued to it. I don't know how about you, but for me, this is the best recommendation for a book, especially when you know that you two have very similar taste in books. So as you can imagine, I was very keen to put this book on my (ever-expanding) `to be read' pile. I read one or two of Grisham's books years ago and I was really glad that this one appeared on my book club list. Well, truth to be told, I helped it to appear... Yep, killing two birds with one stone

So what do I think about the book? Apart from few minor criticisms, I thought that the book was very good, thrilling, fast paced and gripping. I don't know whether Grisham's seasoned readers would agree with me as I am not in a position to judge whether this book is better/average/below average than his other books. But as I said before, I don't read Grisham that often and maybe that is why I totally enjoyed the book.

Without giving you any spoilers here, I would like to say, that all parts of the book have their merits and I didn't expect to invest as many emotions into reading the book as I did (and I was ready to invest quite a few ). I think it is fair to say that the book will leave you with more questions than it gives answers and leaves you thinking about the story long after you finish the book. For me, the description of the Texan death penalty system and it's ins and outs was eye-opening. I know that the book is fiction, but I can easily see how something similar can happen in real life.

Little snippet from the book:

"... but as he watched the preliminaries unfold, he was struck by the coldness, the ruthless efficiency, the sanitized neatness of it. It was similar to killing an old dog, a lame horse, or a laboratory rat. Who, exactly, gives us the right to kill? If killing is wrong, then why are we allowed to kill? As X stared at Y, he knew the image would never go away. And he knew that he would never be the same."

Now the criticisms. Well, for once, I just thought that all the characters were too neatly cut - good guys on one side, bad guys on the other. Everything seemed black and white (literally) not only in the characteristics of the people involved in the story, but also the society was clearly divided by colour. I think that this also had impact on the fact that for me the characters felt bit two-dimensional. We are given a bit of background information about some of the characters, but we could have been given a little bit more. That still didn't stop me to ponder what would I do and how would I feel if I was in the shoes of each of the mums, the priest and the defence lawyer.

So, if you fancy a decent read that would challenge your perceptions and opinions then go ahead, you will enjoy this one!


Westsiders
Westsiders
by Tom Finn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant read, 26 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Westsiders (Paperback)
I must admit, I am not a massive fan of short stories. Why? Purely because they are short. With short stories, it feels almost like you start somewhere in the middle and before you realise the story is over. Imagine yourself really wanting to go swimming, you get ready, the excitement builds up and as soon as you are at the pool you jump in only to realise that the water is way too cold and you just shoot out of there never to return. That's how short stories feel to me, never getting the full satisfaction the same way I get from other books.

Said that, now and again I feel like I need to read something else, something different, something unexpected and it is in these times that I reach for short stories. So when I got the chance to read the Westsiders, I thought, why not. And I wasn't disappointed. This collection of short stories is like a deluxe package of spa treatment for your soul. You find yourself slowly strolling through 1940's/50's Corner Brook in Newfoundland listening to the stories of some of its residents. The book is full of more or less loveable characters and you only get a sneak peek into a brief moments in their lives. And that's when you realise that generations upon generations have dealt with the same problems as people are dealing with now. The only difference is that now we have more options how to deal with the situations such as unwanted pregnancy or secret relationship and running away with a boss.

As you can imagine, Corner Brook in the middle of last century must have been place small enough for everyone to know everyone and ultimately a place where everyone was involved in everyone's business. So there is no surprise that the underlying theme for the stories is an escape from Corner Brook. It seems that there are truly just two options - either to escape or stay and be the major topic of the town's latest gossip.

Overall, I had nice time with this book and my only hope is that when the time comes and I pick another book of short stories, I will be as lucky as with this ones.

(review copy)


Dirty Little Angels
Dirty Little Angels
by Chris Tusa
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.29

3.0 out of 5 stars Hmm, not completely sure what to think about this one..., 22 May 2012
This review is from: Dirty Little Angels (Paperback)
I don't know why, but I have really mixed feelings about this book. I really can't say that I am disappointed by the book, because I am not and in the same time I feel like the book was missing something, but I really can't put my finger on what the 'something' is. And of course, it doesn't help that the more I think about how to write this review the less I know what to actually write...

Let's take it step by step, first of all, what I liked about the book. I think the book has a great story and although it is a fiction, it can easily be a true story. The book is set in New Orleans in a very run down area. The author doesn't hold back and portrays the struggle of the 16-year-old with her awakening libido, exposure to violence, drugs and a skewed view of a religion as well as trying to make sense (and find who to blame) why the family is falling apart. But to be honest, the little girl has her darker wicked side too and has ways how to cope in this environment. The book offers very interesting insight into a section of a society that is living sometimes on the right side of the law and sometimes dipping on the other side. It shows that the author clearly took the time to do the research.

What I particularly struggled with was to build a bond with the characters (apart from Verma who is very sweet and down to earth). I tried over and over and it just didn't work out for me and as a consequence, I didn't really care about what is going to happened next. And I kind of feel sorry for that because the book is interesting and I should be able to enjoy it more.

For me, this book had all the right ingredients to be a great book but it is missing a 'soul'. I don't know whether I am biased because I have read quite a few exceptional books recently and this one didn't reach the same high mark, which was slightly unsatisfactory. Said that, this book is still a better than average read so try and give it a go, maybe you will have better luck with it than me.

(review copy)


Have A Nice Weekend
Have A Nice Weekend
by Ian Ellis
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So real and such a great read, 20 May 2012
This review is from: Have A Nice Weekend (Paperback)
This book is a little gem that can be easily overlooked if you look at it under a wrong angle. It is undoubtedly an easy read but it's true quality lies not 100% in what is written and how, but by a great part in what you take out of the book. This book bonds with you at a human level, it resonates within you and it makes you care about the characters.

I think we all met Will at some point in our lives and that makes him ever so real with all his hopes and desires (or the lack of) and his misunderstandings and mistakes. Will's story beautifully shows that neither of us is perfect as we all are only humans and sometimes we put on a show, and others might see right through it. Sometimes we are completely out of our depth, but try not to let it show and sometimes we just lose our way for a while. Neither of us lived our lives before so we all make do with what we think is the right thing to do, to want or to say. Combine this with other person's believes, desires and anticipations and you end up with life as complex and complicated as it gets. But don't we all have to deal with this? Didn't we all go through relationships that were bound to end because of the accumulation of misunderstandings, bits of selfishness and half-hearted compromises?

As the saying goes, `there are two sides to every story' and this book portrays both of them beautifully. Every each of us can find a part of us in this book and that's what makes this book excellent.

I think I should mention one more thing, I came to a conclusion that with this book it really matters how old you are. I can only write from my experience, but I believe that in most cases, if you are in your teens or twenties you will not get the full punch from this book. Once you reached thirty you take the first stock of your life and you change your views slightly and you start to think about things you never thought before and even see relationships in different light. And once you reach this certain maturity, that's when I think you will enjoy the book the most. I say this without any prejudice and if you are so lucky to be young and have a great insight into life, then good for you, go ahead and enjoy the book.

I hope that anyone who is going to pick up this book will have such a pleasurable read as I did.

(review copy)


And They Called Her Spider: Steampunk Mystery Novelette (Galvanic Century)
And They Called Her Spider: Steampunk Mystery Novelette (Galvanic Century)

4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping lovely short story, 14 May 2012
And They Called Her Spider is a short detective story set in a steampunk Victorian London, or its very similar but somehow different version. As this is a short story, the author doesn't beat around the bush and throws you right in the middle of the story, or so it seems. But this also means that you are literally hooked to the book from the first words as you want to know more! Despite its shortness, it is a very gripping read with two very loveable detectives. I don't think you could find two characters that are more opposite than these two but they work very well together, maybe because of the differences, rather than in spite of them.

When I was reading this story, the dynamics between the two detectives reminded me of the relationship between Holmes and Watson, but that is actually the only thing (and the `historical' setting) that these four characters have in common. I was quite surprise how skilfully managed Michael Coorlim establish the main characters in such a short space, so that even during the reading you feel like you really understand them and know what makes them tick.

I truly enjoyed this read and I am very pleased to let you know that And They Called Her Spider is first in the series of A Bartleby and James Adventures, the rest of the series is listed below. I hope to find some time to dive into all of them as I really want to know what happens next!

I would like to urge you to give this story a try even if this genre is not your cup of tea, because I have no doubt that you won't be disappointed.

The full series:

And They Called Her Spider
Maiden Voyage of the Rio Grande
On the Trail of the Scissorman
A Matter of Spirit

More information about the stories can be found on Michael Coorlim website.

(review copy)


Virals: (Virals 1) (Tory Brennan)
Virals: (Virals 1) (Tory Brennan)
by Kathy Reichs
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as it could have been, 8 May 2012
Before I start my review I should make two things clear.

Firstly, I am a big fan of Kathy Reichs' Temperance Brennan series. I find her books entertaining with thrilling plots and I also enjoy the scientific side of the books. I also think that they are very well written and thought through. No need to say that I totally love Bones, the TV series.

Secondly, I didn't buy this book, I got is as a Christmas present.

Now I think I am ready to dive into my review.

When I received this book I was really excited as I haven't read Kathy Reichs' book for a while, so I was really looking forward to it. Then I realised that this book isn't about Tempe and what's more, it is classified in Young Adult (YA) literature. Don't get me wrong, I have read my fair share of YA literature but it isn't my first choice when I reach for a book. With this in mind I still like to believe that I approached this book with reasonably open mind.

After I finished the book I realised, that I have few issues with it. Actually, I kind of realised that while reading it, but how much relevant they are is up to you to judge. To start with, the main character is a 14-year-old, but I can't imagine anyone of that age to have such a depth of knowledge and particular skills, not to mention such a freedom to run around any time of the day or night. I think the whole story would be more believable if she was 16/17 years old to start with. As in most of the other YA books, all the main characters acquire super powers. Nothing wrong with that if you are into it, but as I was reading, I repeatedly kept wondering how much similar this is to Twilight - the part about knowledge sharing and communicating between wolves.

Overall the book was incredibly light read to the point where I started questioning how much time did Kathy spent on it. Maybe it is just me, but when I want to read Kathy Reichs' book, I just expect more. As you can see I was pretty disappointed by the book, but I am happy to admit that this is partly my fault because I had high expectations. So to be fair, I give this book 3 stars but I know for sure that I don't want to read sequel to this. I will just wait for the proper Tempe book, if there is ever going to be one.


The Sense of an Ending
The Sense of an Ending
by Julian Barnes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting, 6 May 2012
This review is from: The Sense of an Ending (Hardcover)
The Sense of an Ending is a tiny book - merely 150 pages - and I think most of the people will regard it as a quick read, but that is where they are wrong. I don't think that this book is meant to be read in one go or over few days. It is more of a book that is better to be read in bite sizes to get the most of it. It feels like this book is offering a mirror to each reader and it is up to every one of us whether we decide to reflect upon our lives when reading the book or just take it at a face value and read just the story as it is.

The story itself is a reminiscence of a childhood and adulthood of a retired man, who is forced through some current events to see his past and its consequences in completely different light. For me, the story itself would have been interesting enough to read, but what I found more intriguing was that the book was literally littered by provoking thoughts. When I read a book, I always mark any interesting parts that I would like to either quote or go back to when I finish the book. With this book I marked 39 of them! Some of them are sentences, some are paragraphs. I don't think I can say that I was reading this book. I think it is more accurate to say that I was working through the book. I read few pages (sometimes just few paragraphs), I paused, I reflected, I let the book work on me and I continued when I was ready to continue. This book took me on an incredible journey and when I finished it, I was lost for words. And believe me, that doesn't happen often. And then, out of nowhere, great sadness washed over me because of the though, that we all have great and highly treasured memories, that we are fond off and no one can guarantee us, that what we remember is actually what happened and how it happened. And I got this urging wish to take back time and to be able to re-live the moments again.

Most of the time, especially when we are young, we don't even think how much our actions impact on other people and how much damage words can do. I think that one of the wisdoms I took away from the book is that we all need to try to make peace with our past because it has much more influence on our future than we can ever imagine. But then as the book says `You still don't get it. You never did, and you never will. So stop even trying.'

I would recommend to have a go at this book as it is beautifully written and there is something essentially human delivered through the story and some more is left to be found when you read between the lines. Let me know what you think.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 7, 2013 2:10 PM BST


LEGITIMATE ISSUES
LEGITIMATE ISSUES
Price: £3.29

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent read, 29 April 2012
This review is from: LEGITIMATE ISSUES (Kindle Edition)
This book has everything - twins, broken heart, damsel in distress, super villainous villain plotting on a world scale, hard muscle hired for a dirty work and his almost comical sidekick, confusion, plenty of action and one very loveable dog. All in all, plenty of good ingredients for a nice and fast paced thriller. The book reads well and there is some depth to some of the characters but sometimes I felt that the reality was stretched bit too far to be believable.

I enjoyed the read but in the same time I would prefer for the book to be bit longer, which would give the author some room to beef up the characters little bit more and to offer the reader more detailed information throughout the whole story. Overall, this was nice and decent read.

(review copy)


Supervillain: The Concise Guide
Supervillain: The Concise Guide
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very funny, 10 April 2012
What has window cleaning business to do with a Moon base and ruling the world? Well, to put it simply, everyone needs to start somewhere. And as everyone knows, the first steps are the hardest to make, so why not to take a self help book to your aid.

Said that, I would urge you to forget all self help books that you have read, owned or you aspire to read or own! This is the only one you will need! I admit, it is a self help book with a twist, but it still manages to highlight the importance of all the main business decisions. It answers the burning issues, such as, which industry to focus on, how to hire your new staff, guides you through the financial decisions you will need to face when your business starts to blossom (and believe me, it will!), opening new branches, decimating your competitors, all the way through to fulfilling your dreams.

Short, funny and easy read especially for people (and managers) who don't take themselves too seriously and enjoy now and again to put their feet on the table and have proper belly laugh.

Good luck to all current and aspiring villains. May the book help you spread your wings and reach your dreams! :D

(review copy)


Omegasphere
Omegasphere

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read, 10 April 2012
This review is from: Omegasphere (Kindle Edition)
Have you ever wondered where ideas come from? What prompts us write what we write or do what we do?Or do you just fancy a good read with an interesting topic?

Well, if you answered yes to any of those questions, then Omegasphere is the right book for you. The book has intriguing plot, engaging characters and is packed full of action. I am not a massive sci-fi fan, and although I would prefer the plot go down the conspiracy theory route rather than the way it did, I enjoyed the book non the less. It is very good and thought through gripping read that would satisfy even the more picky readers.

I even enjoyed the ending despite it being somehow abrupt. All in all, this book is very good read that provokes some interesting thoughts.

(review copy)


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