The Whistler

 

The Whistler by John Grisham

It has been a while since a new John Grisham was published, though it hasn’t been too long since I last read one (I finished The Innocent man just a few weeks ago).  I was eagerly anticipating this read and when it started off jargony and slightly hard to follow I persevered as it is not unusual for a JG book to throw a big bucket load of context at the reader in the first quarter of the book. However, this one took until the final third to really get going….having said that, there was one giant plot twist towards the beginning.

The story is of a whistle blower (Dur) submitting information about a dodgy judge working with an Indian reservation casino. The back story involves crime and murder and the actual story involves crime and murder.

I love JG, I have read far too many of his novels to simply be a casual fan of his, but this one I feel let me down.  It had a sense of rushness about it, and was a little on the placid side. I guess it just failed to really get my heart racing like to many of his others. It has 4 stars as I did read it, and wanted to and to be honest the 4th star was achieved simply because its JG.

I did like that the protagonist was a female, but I felt she was a bit too overly strong and lone wolf style in that she lived alone, was unmarried and loved her life that way. Why can’t a strong female character have a family, or a boyfriend or even be a single mum and still be rocking at her job? Why does she have to be female but own so many typically male traits? I wasn’t impressed.

If someone was to ask me what JG book they would recommend, this wouldn’t be in the top 5…..maybe not even the top 10. But having said that, I am grateful there is a new book to even review.

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Brooklyn

Brooklyn

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

Originally published: April 29, 2009 (my birthday)

I was at a train station, serious delays in every direction and I would not be leaving anytime soon. To top off my bad luck, my kindle had run out of battery. It was time to purchase a real, paper book.

I perused the bestsellers in WHSmiths and found Brooklyn. I had seen the film advertised and as always I prefer to read the book before watching the motion picture. The blurb on the back wasn’t exactly captivating, but it had won the Costa novel award in 2009 and had been short and long listed for a few other awards since. It seemed like an easy read that would help me pass the time.

It is set in 1950’s Ireland and is the story of a young girl, Ellis,  who has grown up in a small rural town with her mum and sister (and a few brothers who have since moved away). She has no real prospects until an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor her in New York where she will be able to live, work and study for a better future.

She travels to New York by ship, and has a bumpy ride. She finds a lodging with some other similar minded women, a job in a department store, an evening course and eventually love. But, as with all soppy stories there is also another man, this one all the way back in Ireland.

It is basically the story of Ellis growing up and having to choose between two boys. I would say it is half interesting and a very tame read. There was one dramatic plot twist which I didn’t see coming and actually upset me a little. But I soon go over it and realized I was back in the monotony of this read. This book is exactly the reason why I tend to avoid the WHSmiths bestsellers.

If you want an easy holiday read about young love, dances and courting then please…be my guest!

3 star

I don’t always read books….

  

Shakespearean Insults

 

I Love this, I keep discovering new insults!chartwell_shakespearean_NEW_large_016be32b-1836-497e-991c-5514ef085ef0

BOOK SMART; THE UNEXPECTED HEALTH BENEFITS OF BEING AN AVID READER

BOOK SMART; THE UNEXPECTED HEALTH BENEFITS OF BEING AN AVID READER

A Stylist article

I loved seeing this article pop up on my facebook newsfeed, it literaly felt like my insides were shining with the confirmation that reading is good for one’s health!

Reading, it transpires, has a profound effect on mental agility, the memory and our aptitude for imagination and compassion…..It can also help to alleviate stress and aid sleep.

Personally, I read because I crave the feeling of submersion, the feeling of flying away and the ability to completely cut out the real world. I allow each word to engulf me, transforming each into a visual picture, a movie inside my head.

“By losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination,” says cognitive neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis, leading the survey.

At the end of the article is a survey:

WHAT’S THE THING YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT READING?

1. It helps me to unwind and relax

2. The potential for escapism

3. The fact that it challenges me

4. The ability to gain a new perspective

Answer the question and you can see the percentage of readers who voted for each answer. I obviously chose number 2, and in all honesty the results surprised me!

If you want to read the full article, click here.

My year in books: 2014

My year in books: 2014

Not my best year for reading, but I did get engaged and married so I am not going to be too hard on myself.  A total of 23 successfully finished, and additionally some half read books I could not bear to finish; one being The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (Sorry Georgie!).

Just a few awards to dish out, obviously my opinions are my own so please do not start abusing me for my choices…

Best book of 2014

Tracks by Robyn Davidson. The true story of Robyn’s trek from the centre of Australia to the West coast, a truly remarkable account. It was funny, sad and exciting and left me wishing I was there, nay, her! I simply could not get enough of this book and I feel it has made me a better person for having read it. Maybe I appreciate people’s dreams or something, not quite sure how I ameliorated myself but I feel it, and that is what counts.

Runner up

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene.  This book I think deserves to be on everyone’s reading list.  It is a love story, written from a sad and distant perspective, and it is beautiful in every way. This is no story, it is a piece of literary art. It pains me to say, but unfortunately a story with this depth and skill is apparently no contender for the modern day dribble that we see on the Kindle best sellers, people need to wake up and smell the well written books!

Worst book of 2014:

This is a no brain-er. It has to be Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  What killed the ambience of this hollywood read was the terrible writing, shallow characters and the poor quality of the kindle version, to boot! I admit, the story had me turning the pages, but compared to a real thriller (John Grisham is a fantastic thriller writer) it was a wet flannel.

January – 😦

February  – 12 Years a Slave

March – A Respectable Trade

April – Gone Girl, Unchartered

May – The End of the Affair

June – The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Divergent, The Confession (again)

July – Insurgent, Allegiant, Tracks

August – Starting Over, an Officer and a Spy

September – Bite, Sycamore Row

October – Elephant Moon, Daughter, Orange is the New Black, The Secret Life of Bletchley Park

November – Birdsong, Philomena,

December – Dear Daughter

Having the books in list form has reminded me of many an unfinished review. Please bear with me…

I read a book and think I am the people in the book.

book quotes

Dear Daughter

Dear-DaughterBUY BOOK

Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little

A few weeks ago Stylist magazine published an article on the best books that have fallen below the radar in 2014, of which I instantaneously ripped out and stuffed it into my handbag. I couple of weeks later I then perused the page again with a smug, self congratulatory air and named Dear Daughter as the first book I would devour.

 Consumed within a couple of days, I could not put this book down. I revelled in the re-awakening of an addiction, which hadn’t flared up for some time.  It was such an unusual read, as though I were watching an interview on E-Entertainment with the same digression and memories a person would have if they were sat in front you.  There was also supporting evidence thrown in for weight such as Twitter feeds, news articles and texts which entertained the E-news similarity.  Elizabeth Little is an artist when it comes to setting up and delivering cliff hangers, I thought I predicted the climax. But I was wrong, and that felt so good!

It is the story of a wealthy American-Swiss Socialite who is jailed for murdering her philanthropist Mother.  It starts with her release 10 years later.

An excellent read, written in a modern, swearing way which usually I would have steered clear from. I will say this, missing words occur regularly.

5 star

New Header, New Home

header image

 

Today is moving day, and all of these precious items are being packed away and not seen again for another week.

Since I will have a new home, I figured, why not update the header image on my blog! Hope you enjoy!

See you on the other side!

Oh yes, I love to read

matilda

 

Reminds me of myself when I was a child.

Why readers, scientifically, are the best people to fall in love with

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My other half sent me this, makes for an interesting read;
click here to read the article

A good book should…..

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The Alchemist

the alchemist

 

BUY BOOK

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

After reading that this book has remained steadfast in the NY Times Best-seller List for 267 weeks, I felt it was a no brainer. I had to read it, and with only 192 pages it would provide a welcoming break between Bond books.

Very easy reading, finished in about 3 days.  A lovely story about a boy who sets off to fulfil his ‘personal legend’, finds love along the way and realises….well I will keep that bit quiet.  I don’t think it is written particularly well and has a sort of stop start style, but it is full of  life lessons and I can’t wait to read it to my kids (If and when).

I think every book worm should read this, then pass the book on to a friend….

3 star

Moonraker

Moonraker Book Cover LARGE

Moonraker by Ian Fleming

James Bond series #3

Third book done and dusted. I only enjoyed the last quarter of this book, the book begins almost immediately with a card game. It was interesting and very thorough, Fleming clearly knows his card games, and his champagne, even the popular delicacies of a rich bachelor in the 1950’s. However, none of the fancy talk could distract from the fact that most of this book is a dragged out card game.

When he finally moved onto the mission at hand, I spent a wee while almost in a daze whilst reading about a rocket being built, because it was not very interesting. Something about metal and the extraordinary melting point, being built by Germans blah blah…really couldn’t tell you much more.

Just when I thought I would have to drag myself through the rest of the book, it got thrilling and kept me on the edge of my tube seat on a few journeys.  This seems to be the norm for the Bond series, they begin rather technical and then get really good at the last minute.

What I enjoyed most about this book, is that the reality question I mentioned in my previous Bond review, is actually more realistic than in his first two books. The book is set post WW2 and is focused around a big nuclear weapon being built by a German in collaboration with some Russians, a story that was published mid Soviet Union nuclear capabilities scare. Obviously Bond succeeds in stopping the attack and is the unsung hero of the day, a very clever way Fleming alleviates some nuclear stress from the Great British public, Kudos to you good sir!

4 star

“Nothing else can give you the power to go anywhere, be anyone and experience infinite realities like a good story”

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“Nothing else can give you the power to go anywhere, be anyone and experience infinite realities like a good story” Lucy Mangan

“Thousands of books let me try out thousands of lives and attitudes in safety, and help me define who I am and who I am not”

 

 

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“Thousands of books let me try out thousands of lives and attitudes in safety, and help me define who I am and who I am not”

Another great quote from Stylist magazine.

“Only the captivation of fiction allows you to fully understand….”

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I saw this quote in Stylist magazine about Historical Fiction, and you know how much I LOVE historical fiction….

 

Inferno

Inferno

BUY BOOK

Inferno by Dan Brown

If you have read all the books from an author, the news of a new book release will without doubt excite you. Fact.

As soon as I learnt of Dan Brown’s Inferno, I didn’t stop and question the quality or possible storyline I just thought ‘I need to read that book!’ I was exactly the same with his last, The Lost Symbol, and despite the awfulness of that book….here I am reviewing the next one. Funny how people often forget a previous bad experience if a ‘new’ and ‘better’ product emerges.

I have to admit at this point I didn’t have high expectations, in fact I assumed the plot will follow his previous tried and tested Langdon sagas in that, to cut a long story short, he saves the world against all odds. There was nothing extraordinary about this book, the girl, the deadline and the normal thrill of fact entwined with fiction that enables you to regurgitate a few facts after finishing the book, my favourite being the origin of the word Quarantine.

As a fan of Dan brown you have to read this, as any other reader, you won’t miss much. If I am honest, it would have been nice to see some sort of exciting twist to the story (aside this), but I was hooked, it was easy to read and I enjoyed it like I enjoy a nice pub lunch. Safe.

3 stars, perhaps could have been 4 had it involved something  new.

3 star