RSS

Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock

1691371

Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock

Gollancz (Hardback), 1984

304 Pages

Author Website

This book is part of my Popsugar Reading Challenge 2015. The category for this book is ‘a book with magic’.  

BLURB FROM THE COVER

Deep within the wildwood lies a place of myth and mystery, from which few return and none remain unchanged…

Byhope Wood may look like a three mile-square piece of woodland in rural Herefordshire on the outside, but inside, it is a primeval, intricate, labyrinth of trees, impossibly huge, unforgettable – and stranger than time itself.

Stephen Huxley has already lost his father to the mysteries of Byhope Wood. On his return from the Second World War, he finds that his brother Christopher is also in thrall to this remnant of forest, wherein lies a realm where mythic archetypes grows flesh and blood, where love and beauty haunt your dreams, and in promises of freedom lies the sanctuary of insanity…

EXTRACT

Edward Wynne-Jones Esq.

15 College Road

Oxford

Edward –

You must come back to the Lodge. Please don’t delay for even an hour! I have discovered a fourth pathway into the deepest zones of the wood. The brook itself. So obvious now, a water track! It leads directly through the outer ash vortex, beyond the spiral track and the Stone Falls. I believe it could be used to enter the heartwoods themselves. But time, always time!

REVIEW 

This was my first time reading Robert Holdstock.

Mythago Wood was brilliant. I loved every word and every page. Holdstock offers a very original fantasy novel. I loved the concept behind Mythago Wood, an immense wood that can create creatures of myth and legend from the mind’s of humans. Who wouldn’t love to read a book with such a premise? Can you imagine the crazy shit that could happen? I loved the extracts from the journals of Christian and Stephen’s father. They were intriguing, rambling and fascinating. I loved how Holdstock writes about Christian’s descent into their father’s madness. I loved it when Stephen went running into the woods after his mad brother to save the woman, the mythago he loved. Mythago Wood ticks all the boxes of a great read. Mythago Wood is the first book in a series. I need to read the rest to see what madness spawns from Ryhope Wood next.

RATING

5 STAR RATING

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower By Stephen Chbosky

15950494

  Simon & Schuster (Paperback), 1999

  231 Pages

  Website

  This book is part of my Popsugar Reading Challenge 2015

  The category for this book is ‘a book set in high school’.

BLURB FROM THE COVER

Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his year yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the side-lines forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

EXTRACT 

Dear friend,

I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have. Please don’t try to figure out who she is because then you might figure out who I am, and I really don’t want you to do that. I will call people by different names or generic names because I don’t want you to find me. I didn’t enclose a return address for the same reason. I mean nothing bad by this. Honest.

REVIEW

This was my first time reading Stephen Chbosky.

I loved The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Charlie was a brilliant character. He reminded me a lot of myself in high school. Like me, Charlie is introverted, shy, always has his head buried in a book and thinks too much, far too much at times. I liked the fact the novel was written in the form of letters between Charlie and an unnamed 3rd party, almost like I was eavesdropping in on a private conversation. Chbosky perfectly captures all the craziness and angst of being the kid in high school who doesn’t quite fit in but isn’t exactly an outcast either. The novel gradually gets darker and darker and deals with some pretty intense stuff towards the end. Now I really want to see the movie. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a lovely, heart-warming book.

RATING

5 STAR RATING

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

437129

   The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

   Bloomsbury (Paperback), 2002

   326 Pages

   Author’s Website

   This book is part of my Popsugar Reading Challenge 2015

   The category for this book is ‘a book that became a film’.

BLURB FROM THE COVER

1970’S Afghanistan. Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. But neither of the boys can foresee what happens to Hassan that afternoon, an event that is to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return to Afghanistan under Taliban rule to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant: redemption.

EXTRACT 

I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realise I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.

REVIEW

This was my first time reading Khaled Hosseini.

Oh boy, oh boy, did The Kite Runner sucker-punch me right in the heart. I cried from towards the start of the novel when Amir peeks into an alley and sees something that will haunt him for twenty years and didn’t stop crying until I reached the end. The word love isn’t strong enough to express how brilliant The Kite Runner is. The Kit Runner is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I’ve never felt so moved or touched by a book before. I loved every word. I loved the characters. I loved the way The Kite Runner opened my eyes and heart. I’ve never read a book set in Afghanistan before. Some moments chilled me to the bone especially when Amir returns to find how much his country has been torn apart and changed by the Taliban. There is one scene when Amir sees the streets teaming with beggars and men with guns and compares the streets to the way they were when he was a child that brought a lump to my throat. The Kite Runner is outstanding. I’ve discovered another author I want to devour.

RATING

5 STAR RATING

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Shock Of The Fall by Nathan Filer

20754586

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

HarperCollins (paperback), 2013

314 Pages

Author Website

This book is part of my Popsugar Reading Challenge 2015. The category for this book is ‘a book by an author you’ve never read before’.

BLURB FROM THE COVER

‘I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.’

EXTRACT 

I should say that I am not a nice person. Sometimes I try to be, but often I’m not. So when it was my turn to cover my eyes and count to a hundred – I cheated.

REVIEW

The Shock of the Fall is Filer’s debut novel.

I loved The Shock of the Fall. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read and will stay with me for a long time. Filer offers one of those rare novels that makes you fall in love with the characters, the world and the story. This novel reached deep inside my chest and squeezed my heart so hard I could hardly breathe. The Shock of the Fall is a brave novel written in the first person by someone who is diagnosed as schizophrenic as a teenager, telling the story of how their down’s syndrome brother died when he was 8 years old and how the grief affected him and his parents. I loved Matthew’s voice and how real and heart-breaking it was at times. I love the different styles used in the novel (i.e. using a different font or a hand-written letter) to show Matthew’s mental state at different points in his recovery. I love it when writers use characters who are mentally ill or have a condition like down’s syndrome. These often make the best books because they force the reader out of their comfort zone and such books stand out from the millions published every year. I finished The Shock of the Fall at work, sitting in the canteen and crying like a baby, grateful it was  Sunday and there was nobody else around. The Shock of the Fall is breath-taking and I can’t wait to see what Filer writes next.

RATING

5 STAR RATING

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson

untitled

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson

Quercus (Paperback), 2009

599 Pages

Author’s Website 

This book is part of my Popsugar Reading Challenge 2015. The category for this book is ‘a trilogy’.

BLURB FROM THE COVER

THE TRIAL

Lisbeth Salander, outsider and apparent enemy of society, is charged with attempted murder. In addition, the state has determined that she is mentally unstable and should be locked away in an institution once again.

THE ENEMY

Pulling the strings behind the state’s prosecution is the inner circle of the Swedish security police. Only with Blomkvist’s help can Salander avoid the fate they have decided for her and expose the secrets they are protecting.

THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNETS’ NEST

Lisbeth Salander has been abused by a system supposedly designed to protect. And yet she is the one person whose intransigence and limitless bloody-mindedness can provoke the disruption of the Swedish secret state. This final volume of the Millennium Trilogy is the culmination of one of the most mesmerising fictional achievements of our time.

EXTRACT 

Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Gersac raised the nose of his helicopter and altered his course a few degrees to the south-south-west. The chopper shuddered from another blast of wind which he struggled to counter. Gersac looked to the west and saw the lights of Kungalv, and then he looked to the horizon, out towards Skagerrak. He saw a long, threatening black rim dividing the sea and the sky. He saw three almost simultaneous flashes of lightning, a few miles apart.

REVIEW

I thought The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest was great. This novel doesn’t start off as a good as the other two books in the Millennium Trilogy. I found the first 300+ pages quite dull at times. The plot seemed to drag on at times without going anywhere. Interesting enough, Lisbeth barely features in the first 400 pages of the novel which is odd considering what an important character she is. There seemed to be a lot of sub plots that could have been cut completely at no great loss such as Erika Berger’s new job and stalker issues. Lisbeth takes centre stage again after 400+ pages. From this moment The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest shines and is even better than The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire. I thought the ending with Lisbeth’s trial was brilliant. The epilogue was a treat as well. This was a great end to a great trilogy.

RATING

5 STAR RATING

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Triumph Of The Spider Monkey by Joyce Carol Oates

1370103

The Triumph of the Spider Monkey by Joyce Carol Oates

Black Sparrow Press (paperback), 1976

89 Pages

Author’s Website

BLURB FROM THE COVER

Bobbie Gotteson is found in a foot-locker in the Canal Street bus terminal and, turning early to acts of manic desperation, grows into a life of vengeful, fantasy-imbued murders.

EXTRACT 

Noise, vibrations, murmuring nosey crowd of bastards with nothing else to do but gawk – grunting sweating bastard in a uniform reaching in and grabbing me out of the darkness and delivering me to light –

–  to lights that is –

Holding me up to those lights. A baby! A baby still alive!

REVIEW 

This is my first time reading The Triumph of the Spider Monkey. I’m working my way through JCO’s back catalogue. There’s a lot I haven’t read.

I really enjoyed The Triumph of the Spider Monkey. This novella reminded me a lot of her novella Zombie which I also enjoyed. This novella isn’t an easy read. JCO offers a first person narrative from the point of view of a murderer. It’s not always pleasant being inside Bobby’s head but it’s always unsettling and interesting. The novella is the perfect length. I couldn’t have stayed in Bobby’s head for much longer and certainly not for a 400+ full length novel. I think The Triumph of the Spider Monkey is bold and very different. The broken, disjointed narrative is full of time shifts and does a good job of showing Bobby’s increasingly fragmented state of mind. Despite it’s gory subject matter this novella had some light even funny moments and was very weird and surreal – in a good way.

RATING

4 STAR RATING

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 17, 2015 in Fiction, Joyce Carol Oates, Novella

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

untitled

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

Quercus (Paperback), 2009

251 Pages

Author’s Website 

This book is part of my Popsugar Reading Challenge 2015. The category for this book is ‘a trilogy’.

BLURB FROM THE COVER

THE EXPOSE

Millennium publisher Mikael Blomkvist has made his reputation exposing corrupt establishment figures. So when a young journalist approaches him with an investigation into sex trafficking, Blomkvist cannot resist waging war on the powerful figures who control this lucrative industry.

THE MURDER

When a young couple are found dead in their Stockholm apartment, it’s a straightforward job for Inspector Bublanski and his team. The killer left the weapon at the scene – and the fingerprints on the gun point to only one direction.

THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE

Ex-security analyst Lisbeth Salander is wanted for murder. Her history of unpredictable and vengeful behavior makes her an official danger to society – but no-one can find her. The only way Salander can be reached is by computer. But she can break into almost any network she chooses…

EXTRACT 

She lay on her back fastened by leather straps to a narrow bed with a steel frame. The harness was tight across her rib cage. Her hands were manacled to the sides of the bed.

REVIEW

I loved The Girl Who Played With Fire. Larsson’s second Millennium novel is even better than The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Lisbeth continues to be one of my favourite fictional characters ever and one of the best I’ve read in recent years. The Girl Who Played With Fire is full of twists and turns and packed with suspense, intrigue and excitement. The plot of this novel is even better than The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Lisbeth’s character is developed a lot more and we finally get a glimpse beneath her hard-shell. A lot of the questions about her created in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo are finally answered and the results are not what I expected at all. I love it when writers make characters so real you want to reach out and touch them. Larsson does that every time in this novel. This novel ends in a bit of a cliff-hanger. I’ve started reading The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest and can’t wait to see how the trilogy concludes. It’s a pity Larsson died before the Millennium trilogy was published because he could have been one of the best crime writers to emerge in recent years.

RATING

5 STAR RATING

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 815 other followers