Review: Flu by Wayne Simmons

513HzPbjLZL I hate zombie novels. They make me groan and roll my eyes, perhaps a little unfairly and perhaps a little judgementally. I do try, however, to read a novel from each genre that irritates me, every now and then, in order to confirm my fears and give me an argument to back up my inward crying. So did this novel do as I expected? You know, I’m really not too sure. Read more

Short Story: An Underling Love

Foreword: This story is about the world and some of the characters from the book John Sharpe: No. 1,348 but it in no away affects or is affected by reading said book and is set many years before the book.  

A long time ago, in a land far away, there was an almost handsome young man named Jack McCavity.  The land, of course, was Underworld, the world that sits under our own and that is populated by Underlings: people much like ourselves but with stronger stomachs, weaker olfaction, and the ability to do magic.  This story, as I’m sure you understand, takes place before Queenie became Queen and before McCavity developed the massive paunch that we all know and love.  This story takes place long before the now famous royal son saga, and before those particular John Sharpes with whom we are now well acquainted were even a twinkle in their mothers’ eyes[*].  In fact, it takes place even before their mothers were twinkles in their mothers’ eyes and so on like that for many generations.  So yes, it takes place quite a while ago.

Read more

Review: Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan

51Btf+-XFdL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

The first half of this tiny, unassuming book irritated me to no end. It wasn’t the scandalous and profound proclamation of sexual freedom that the blurb proclaimed it to be but instead, a petulant, moody teenager’s distaste for her prospective new step-mother. I disliked all the characters – Raymond was far from a father figure or the charming and seductive creature that he was supposed to be, Anne was prudish and over-bearing, Elsa imbecilic and Cecile herself a grumpy little girl who couldn’t make up her mind about anything and seemed far from her apparent seventeen years in maturity. As for Cyril, he was so nondescript and banal that he could hardly be considered a character at all. Anne treated Cecile like a mindless child too. I was further infuriated by the glowing reviews that reiterated how fantastic this novella is merely because it was written by a girl of such youth herself (Sagan was 18). I don’t see why the age of the author matters – writing is a talent, regardless of age, surely?

Read more

Review: Reheated Cabbage by Irvine Welsh

51G7pgvw6BL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

I’ve read quite a few of Irvine Welsh’s novels: Trainspotting, Porno, Filth, Ecstasy and I can’t help but think that once you’ve read one (or possibly two), you’ve pretty much read them all. Drugs, sex, violence, sexism, homophobia – that kind of car-crash literature that you don’t want to like but somehow can’t help it and of course, is shocking for the sake of being shocking.

Read more

Sunday Morning Round-Up: Happy Apps, Hemingway, and Drunkards

Your one-stop shop for the week’s most interesting bookish news and reviews

Appy Reading

Photograph credit: Worldreader
Photograph credit: Worldreader

The Obama administration this week has announced a project that is set to turn America’s poor children into avid readers and like everything these days, it’ll be through the use of an app.  The app, designed by the New York Public Library, will hold around $250m worth of popular and award-winning ebooks donated by publishers, which can be accessed by children ages four to eighteen from poor backgrounds.  This scheme is already active in developing countries with the help of charity Worldreader and they have managed to reach an impressive 2.2 million readers in their first five years.

Read more

Review: Marking Time by April White

b307f615a54b0be1b852711dd2a49329

Seventeen year old Saira Elian’s mother has gone missing – again.  But this time, she doesn’t come back and Saira has to go looking for her.  It’s during this time that she learns about the Immortals: Time, Fate, Death, Nature, and War and about their descendants.  She discovers that she is actually a Descendant of Time and that she can move between centuries, effectively making her a time traveller.  In this, the first of three books, Saira takes us on a journey through Victorian England, when/where she falls in love, fights vampires, meets Jack the Ripper, and races against time to rescue her mother.

Read more

Short Story: Pond Life

Once upon a time, there was a pond in a far-a11059770_10206131865109833_213209077268199765_nway land.  It was a pretty little pond, with colourful flowers sprouting along the sides and lily pads floating on the quietly rippling surface.  The water gently plopped and splashed as the frogs jumped playfully on and off the surrounding rocks and dragonflies buzzed along the surface.  Newts and lizards skittered around the outside and fireflies lightened the sky like fairy lights.  To everyone who saw it, it was an ordinary pond.  It was idyllic, peaceful, and calm in the way that ponds often are.  But once all the human boys and girls were out of sight, everything changed.

Read more

Review: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

14201

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is a rather detailed history of English magic, focussing primarily (although far from entirely) upon the eponymous characters. It is also an epic fantasy novel that is quite different from anything I have ever read before and can be described by any number of the following adjectives: dense, complex, accurate, well-researched, poetic, beautiful, shocking and, at times, even a little boring and tedious.

Read more

Paranoia: Drowning

Foreword: I meant for this post to be a celebration of a great review that I got, but it turned into so much more.  Apologies in advance if you feel the need to barf.  

I don’t often post about my life-long friends, Confidence and Paranoia: those two personified parts of me, that exist inside of me, telling me I’m great or telling me I’m crap.  Yep – just like that episode of Red Dwarf (if you don’t know Red Dwarf, you should know Red Dwarf – it’s funnier than funny.  If you don’t like Red Dwarf, I’m worried that your sense of humour may have fallen out of your buttocks.  I’m sorry, but someone had to tell you).

Read more

Review: Dreams of Beautiful Whisper by Tanya Jones

25315311

Dreams of Beautiful Whisper by Tanya Jones is about Amanda, a young girl soon to turn 16 (along with all the trials and tribulations that that brings, like parents who do weird and embarrassing things).  At least, that’s how it starts out but soon things change for Amanda.  When her family suddenly up-sticks and move to a mysterious village, Amanda discovers that her real name is Amanae, that she is an elf, and that she has powers that she couldn’t even begin to imagine… (Oh, and as a side note: if you are somewhat irritated by the lack of the ‘a’ in the title as I was, the reasoning becomes apparent near the end of the book and once you understand, all will be forgiven!)

Read more

Sunday Morning Round-Up: Watchmen, Holidays, and Bookish Prizes

Your one-stop shop for the week’s most interesting bookish news and reviews

 

Go Set a Watchman

Were you expecting anything else to take the top spot this week?  The world is abuzz with the much20150326140533!US_cover_of_Go_Set_a_Watchman anticipated release of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, the follow-up of To Kill a Mockingbird.  It’s not even been released yet and still, everyone is talking about it.  You can read the first chapter, listen to Reese Witherspoon reading the first chapter, read reviews of the first chapter, and even share your thoughts on the first chapter.  The novel, which Lee wrote back in the 1950s and was actually written before To Kill a Mockingbird, is set to beat even Harry Potter’s pre-sales in this unprecedented book promotion but the question now on everyone’s lips is: will it live up to all this hype?  I understand the importance of building excitement but I can’t help wondering whether all this is just a build-up before a fall.

  Read more

Review: Clean: An Unsanitised History of Washing by Katherine Ashenburg

6395935

I have a confession to make. This modern obsession of cleanliness has somewhat passed me by – both in regards to the home and to the body. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from dirty but 2-3 showers a week, regular hand/face washing and daily clean clothes seem to suffice for me. I’ve never bought into this ‘need’ for 2 showers a day, face masks and portable hand sanitiser to be used in every day life. I’m neither dead nor sick (surprise surprise). I’ve always wondered, quietly, to myself, for fear of being thought of as a dirty harlot, whether I am more natural than others or just plain weird and so the blurb on that back of this delightful looking book pulled me in immediately (admit it – a good cover always helps).

Read more

Sunday Morning Round-Up: Hobbit Houses, Life Savers, and Bad Apples

Your one-stop shop for the week’s most interesting bookish news and reviews

 

A Real-Life Hobbit House

Peter Jackson, director of the hugely successful Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, has built an exact replica of Bilbo’s house, Bag End, in his basement!  Based on the books by the wonderful JRR Tolkien, Jackson has created an exact replica of the film set under his mansion in New Zealand – and it’s underground and through a bookcase.  Now that man clearly knows how to spend his money.  Whose house would you recreate if you could?  I think for me, it would have to be Mr Norrell’s Yorkshire house, as featured in Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

Read more

Review: Scandari Saga Book 1 – Aeonosphere by Jo Roderick

25328236

Aeonosphere is an exciting adventure that crosses time and space quite spectacularly.  Tom Scandari, our intrepid hero, is on the edge of a great discovery – and no doubt, a great story for the newspaper he works for.  As he investigates his case, he discovers something that even he can’t quite believe.  It is, and I quote, a “thingamabob-widget-sphere-thingy”.  His discovery leads him down a dangerous path of crime fighting, avoiding assassins, and time travel.  What more could you want?

Read more