Monday, December 5

Book Review: Started Early, Took my Dog

Title: Started Early Took my Dog

Author: Kate Atkinson

Pages: EBook

Summary: A day like any other for security chief Tracy Waterhouse, until she makes a purchase she hadn't bargained for. One moment of madness is all it takes for Tracy's humdrum world to be turned upside down, the tedium of everyday life replaced by fear and danger at every turn.
Witnesses to Tracy's Faustian exchange in the Merrion Centre in Leeds are Tilly, an elderly actress teetering on the brink of her own disaster, and Jackson Brodie who has returned to his home county in search of someone else's roots. All three characters learn that the past is never history and that no good deed goes unpunished.

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The fourth and final (boo), book in the series was, an enjoyable read, the I enjoyed this one a lot, although not nearly as much as the third novel. I enjoyed the plot and the mystery for this one and read through it quickly piecing out the mystery as I read  The plot of the book threw me a bit, some interesting twists from the past and a few decisions of the characters in the present and other twists actually threw me. There were a few things that I didn’t see coming, which  made for an interesting read because I wasn’t expecting what the characters were going to do.

Some of the other characters were not my favourite, I disliked a few of them, but all were incredibly well written and fleshed out, which I appreciated. I enjoyed Jackson Brodie in this one a lot, he’s such a character but one who you grow to enjoy a lot, It’s a shame that there isn’t more books, I will miss the character a lot, although I still have the TV series to finish it won’t be the same.

Overall a great wrap-up to what turned out to be an enjoyable series.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, the last two books in this series were very well done, I will miss reading about Jackson Brodie – the character alone make this book and the others well worth reading.

What to read next: More by the Author, Ian Rankin

Sunday, December 4

Book Review: Last Night in Montreal

Title: Last Night in Montreal

Author: Emily St. Mandell

Pages: 230

Summary: When Lilia Albert was a child, her father appeared on the doorstep of her mother's house and took her away. Now, haunted by an inability to remember much about her early childhood, Lilia moves restlessly from city to city, abandoning lovers and eluding the private detective who has dedicated a career to following close behind.

Then comes Eli. When Lilia goes out for a paper and fails to return to their Brooklyn apartment, he follows her to Montreal, not knowing whether he wants to disappear, too, or help her find her way home. But what he discovers is a deeper mystery, one that will set past and present spinning toward collision

My Rating: 8.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The entire book has this atmosphere to it, and it keeps you invested in the book, I enjoyed the different view points and how everything eventually came together, although I was left with the feeling that there should have been more to the story at the end, overall it was an excellent book. 

I loved the revelation in the end, the twist – while I was able to guess at it while reading the book, it was still chilling revelation. The ending was also surprising and shocking, but I think it worked.

The entire cast of characters were incredibly well done and fleshed out, which made the book even more enjoyable to read, the characters had something about them that kept you reading the book. And their individual stories and how the crossed over worked out wonderfully.

A very enjoyable read, with a clear voices from the author – this one is well worth reading.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes, this book was a bit of a hidden gem and well worth reading.

What to read next: I’d read more by the author

Book Review: When Will There Be Good News?

Title: When Will There Be Good News?

Author: Kate Atkinson

Pages: EBook 319

Summary: On a hot summer day, Joanna Mason's family slowly wanders home along a country lane. A moment later, Joanna's life is changed forever...

On a dark night thirty years later, ex-detective Jackson Brodie finds himself on a train that is both crowded and late. Lost in his thoughts, he suddenly hears a shocking sound...

At the end of a long day, 16-year-old Reggie is looking forward to watching a little TV. Then a terrifying noise shatters her peaceful evening. Luckily, Reggie makes it a point to be prepared for an emergency...

My Rating: 9/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was my favourite book of the series, from the story to the characters it me engrossed in the story from the beginning to the end.

When I started the series, I wasn’t exactly a fan of the characters or the story, but the more I read into the series, the more I appreciated the authors writing style and the characters in the series – and this book helped with that a lot.

Reggie is what really made this book, I felt for her throughout the story, and I wanted to keep reading just so I would be able to find out what happened next for her, find out if she’d be okay. She was well written and fleshed out, making her a very realistic character. I also love Jackson Brodie, he was iffy for me when I started the series, but now that I’m in the third book, I don’t want to have to say goodbye to the character – while he’s a mess, he’s enjoyable to read about and is just an interesting character to read about.

The overall plot and mystery of this book also drew you in, I enjoyed how everything worked out in the end and working out the pieces for myself as I read the book.

Excellent read overall – probably the best book in the series
Would I recommend it to read: Yes, this book and the entire series.

What to read next: Started Early, Took my Dog.

Book Review: City of the Lost

Title: City of the Lost

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Pages: 468

Summary: Casey Duncan once killed a man and got away with it. Since then she’s become a talented police detective, tethered only to her job, her best friend, Diana, and the occasional evening with her sexy, no-strings-attached ex-con lover, Kurt. But then Diana's abusive ex finds her again, despite all Casey has done to help her disappear. And Casey’s own dark past begins to catch up with her. The two women need to run—and Diana’s heard of a place where they won’t be found, a town especially for people like them…

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was an enjoyable read, that has me looking forward to what the rest of the series will bring, it’s an interesting concept and I would like to know where the author is going next with the series and it’s eclectic cast of characters.

The concept is interesting and I think the author did an excellent job at creating this secret little town, how the town works and it’s history was very detailed thought out, which helped with the overall story, it’s almost its own character. I’m looking forward to find out more secrets and background stories for the characters, I have my favourites and I’m interested into seeing if that will change as I watch the characters grow, or if someone new jumps into the mix.

The mystery of the book had some interesting twists, pieces I was able to figure out, but there were other aspects that turned out differently than I expected.

Overall, great book.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, although to be fair I’d recommend anything and everything by Kelley. This one differs from most of her other books, as it isn’t speculative, so this might be good series to start if you want to try her.

What to read next: The next book in the series.

Challenges: 2016 Category Challenge, 10th Annual Canadian Book Challenge

Book Review: The Radiant City

Title: The Radiant City

Author: Lauren B. Davis

Pages: EBook 304

Summary: Scarred by his experiences as a war correspondent, Matthew flees to Paris to heal and forget—even as he must stir up the past to write the memoir he’s promised to his impatient literary agent. Resurrecting a friendship with Jack, a Vietnam vet and ex-mercenary, Matthew enters Jack’s alcohol-dimmed world of shadowy bars and calculating lovers. But there is also Saida—beautiful, damaged and proud—who fled Lebanon with her family and now runs a café. Matthew is drawn to her kindness, and to her fierce love for her teenage son, who is growing into manhood on the treacherous streets of the North African quarter.

This is Paris far from the glimmer of tourist lights. Here secrets are divulged, guilt and passion revealed, and Matthew is caught up in an inescapable final confrontation.

My Rating: 8.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: From the cast of character, to the writing and the setting – this book was a fantastic read – it pulled me in from the start and had me captured to the last page.
The story is very character driven, and there’s so much to it, it’s hard to know where to start. There’s a lot this book covers with it’s characters, all who have a lot of emotional baggage and trauma in their lives and the author showed that to the reader beautifully. She created such a wonderful cast of characters that you could enjoy and care about. It was hard to put the book down, because of the characters alone.

I both loved and hated the ending, I was surprised by some of the events in the end, but I think it was fitting for the book. It has an atmosphere to it, that pulls you in as well, even if it’s a more dark gloomy atmosphere, it pulls you in – but it’s the characters and their stories that made this book.
Fantastic read – one I’d highly recommend.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, this book had so much to take from, lovely characters, excellent story, it’s up there with one of my favourite reads this year.

What to read next: More Lauren B. Davis

Book Review: Bodily Harm

Title: Bodily Harm

Author: Margaret Atwood

Pages: 303

Summary: Bodily Harm is Margaret Atwood's powerfully gripping novel of intrigue and betrayal, set on a Caribbean island on the brink of revolution. Rennie Wilford is a freelance journalist who takes an assignment in the Caribbean in hopes of recuperating from her recently shattered life. On the tin island of St. Antoine, she tumbles into a corrupt world where no one is what they seem - and where her rules for survival no longer apply. By turns comic, satiric, relentless, and terrifying, Bodily Harm is ultimately an exploration of human defensiveness, the lost for power both sexual and political, and the need for compassion that goes beyond what we ordinarily mean by love.

My Rating: 7.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Overall an enjoyable read, the writing as I always find with Atwood was superb, and while I didn’t exactly like the main character, I found her to be naïve and I couldn’t get into her head to appreciate her attempt to find herself, let alone like her enough to truly care about her.

The book took a turn, a twisted turn I wasn’t exactly expecting and following that turn, I was surprised about the events and how the story moved forwards. It was well done and fit into the book, but the outcomes and journey the character went on wasn’t exactly what I expected – but it was also the parts of the novel I found to be the best part of the book, as it had me the most engaged.

Overall, it was a good book – but it’s by far not the best book by the author.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it’s not my favourite book by the author, but the journey the characters go on are well worth a read.

What to read next: Besides more Margaret Atwood? I’m not too sure, perhaps some David Adams Richards.

Book Review: Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang

Title: Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang

Author: Kate Wilhelm

Pages: EBook 216

Summary: Now one of her most famous novels returns to print, the spellbinding story of an isolated post-holocaust community determined to preserve itself, through a perilous experiment in cloning. Sweeping, dramatic, rich with humanity, and rigorous in its science, Where Later the Sweet Birds Sang is widely regarded as a high point of both humanistic and "hard" SF, and won SF's Hugo Award and Locus Award on its first publication. It is as compelling today as it was then.

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book drew me in right away in the beginning, and kept my attention throughout – it was a very enjoyable read. The overall idea of the story was interesting, especially for when it was written – especially now when something like this book is more than just a far fetched dream.

I found parts of the story moved to quickly, there were pieces that I found needed more explanation, more details that passed on in time far to quickly – I know there are people out there who would disagree, but I wanted more detail on what was happening.

I also found it hard to connect to the characters – perhaps it was because who and how they were created, they were all suppose to be the same, but there was never the case where I found that one character I enjoyed
Overall, it was a very enjoyable story, excellent example of a classic science fiction novel.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. Don’t be put off because it’s Science Fiction, it’s so much more than that and well worth reading.

What to read next: I’d say more classic Science Fiction novels, MaddAddam series by Margaret Atwood

Book Review: The Dream Woman: A Mystery in Four Narratives

Title: The Dream Woman: A Mystery in Four Narratives

Author: Wilkie Collins

Pages: 105

Summary: When Francis Raven is roused from his sleep on the eve of his birthday and confronted by the sight of a woman trying to stab him, he is unsure whether she is real or an apparition. Years later, against the wishes of his mother, he marries Alicia, a woman with a strange resemblance to the mysterious visitor, who ends up attacking him on his birthday, before vanishing from his life. Is Francis’s wife a ghost, a demon or a living human being? And will the prophecy of the night-time visitation be fulfilled one day?

My Rating: 7.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I enjoyed the story, while predictable the writing and lead up to the end made it an excellent reading atmosphere. Collins writing, as always is beautiful and draws you into the story, even one that’s predictable and you know the ending.

I did find the main character to be a little, thick-headed, but he was well written and flawed, so despite his decisions he was realistic.

Overall, it was a good read, while not my favourite by the author, well worth giving this one a try.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, while it’s not a you must read this book now, it’s still worth reading.

What to read next: More Wilkie Collins.