30 October 2016

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

Title: A Spot of Bother
Author: Mark Haddon
Pages: 503
Genre: Contemporary, Humour
Book Description:
At sixty-one, George Hall is settling down to a comfortable retirement. When his tempestuous daughter, Katie, announces that she is getting married to the deeply inappropriate Ray, the Hall family is thrown into a tizzy. Unnoticed in the uproar, George discovers a sinister lesion on his hip, and quietly begins to lose his mind.As parents and children fall apart and come together, Haddon paints a disturbing yet amusing portrait of a dignified man trying to go insane politely.

20 October 2016

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Pages: 422
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller
Book Description:
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

11 October 2016

On Writing by Stephen King

Title: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Author: Stephen King
Pages: 320
Genre: Non-Fiction
Book Description:
 Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer's craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King's advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

5 October 2016

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Title: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Author: Mark Twain
Pages: 327
Genre: Classic, Childrens, Adventure
Book Description:
Of all the contenders for the title of The Great American Novel, none has a better claim than The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Intended at first as a simple story of a boy's adventures in the Mississippi Valley - a sequel toThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer - the book grew and matured under Twain's hand into a work of immeasurable richness and complexity. More than a century after its publication, the critical debate over the symbolic significance of Huck's and Jim's voyage is still fresh, and it remains a major work that can be enjoyed at many levels: as an incomparable adventure story and as a classic of American humor.

28 September 2016

The Whispering Road by Livi Michael

Title: The Whispering Road
Author: Livi Michael
Pages: 404
Genre: Young Adult, Adventure, Fantasy
Book Description:
For Joe and Annie, the choice is escape or die. Manchester. That's where Joe's mom went after leaving him and his little sister at the workhouse. That's where you can have adventures and live life on your own terms—free from abusive Masters. Along the way Joe and Annie meet some kind strangers who offer help, but they also meet swindlers who want to control or even sell them. And no matter how hard he tries, Joe can't hide the fact that Annie is different in a way that makes people want to manipulate her for their own gain. 

When Annie is embraced by the traveling fair as if she's family, Joe is resentful. So resentful that he leaves her behind. He loves running with the gang he joins, but evading the codgers who rule the street is dangerous. Joe might not make it long enough to get Annie back and find out what happened to their mother. 

20 September 2016

The Colour Purple by Alice Walker

Title: The Colour Purple
Author: Alice Walker
Pages: 295
Genre: Historical, Classic, Feminist
Book Description:
Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to "Mister," a brutal man who terrorizes her. Celie eventually learns that her abusive husband has been keeping her sister's letters from her and the rage she feels, combined with an example of love and independence provided by her close friend Shug, pushes her finally toward an awakening of her creative and loving self.

13 September 2016

Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews

Title: Flowers in the Attic
Author: Virginia Andrews
Pages: 389
Genre: Mystery, Young Adult, Horror
Book Description:
It wasn't that she didn't love her children. She did. But there was a fortune at stake--a fortune that would assure their later happiness if she could keep the children a secret from her dying father.

So she and her mother hid her darlings away in an unused attic.
Just for a little while.

But the brutal days swelled into agonizing years. Now Cathy, Chris, and the twins wait in their cramped and helpless world, stirred by adult dreams, adult desires, served a meager sustenance by an angry, superstitious grandmother who knows that the Devil works in dark and devious ways. Sometimes he sends children to do his work--children who--one by one--must be destroyed....

6 September 2016

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Title: Sense and Sensibility
Author: Jane Austen
Pages: 409
Genre: Classic, Romance
Book Description:
Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor's warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.

30 August 2016

Quiet by Susan Cain

Title: Quiet
Author: Susan Cain
Pages: 333
Genre: Self-Help, Psychology, Non-Fiction
Book Description:
For far too long, those who are naturally quiet, serious or sensitive have been overlooked. The loudest have taken over - even if they have nothing to say.

It's time for everyone to listen. It's time to harness the power of introverts.

It's time for Quiet.

23 August 2016

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkien

This review is going to follow a different style. The Lord of the Rings is considered to be a trilogy by most however I have decided to combine all parts of the books into one blog post! Instead of a long review about each book, there will be a mini review. Hope you enjoy :)

Title: The Fellowship Of The Ring (Book 1)
Author: J.R.R.Tolkien
Pages: 531
Genre: Fantasy
Book Description:
The first part of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic adventure. 

In a sleepy village in the Shire, a young hobbit is entrusted with an immense task. He must make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ruling Ring of Power - the only thing that prevents the Dark Lord's evil dominion.

Thus begins J.R.R. Tolkien's classic tale, which continues in The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

16 August 2016

Marbles by Ellen Forney (Graphic Novel)

Title: Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michaelangelo and Me
Author: Ellen Forney
Pages: 256
Genre: Comic, Graphic Novel, Art, Memoir, Mental Illness
Book Description:
Shortly before her thirtieth birthday, Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Flagrantly manic and terrified that medications would cause her to lose creativity, she began a years-long struggle to find mental stability while retaining her passions and creativity.

Searching to make sense of the popular concept of the crazy artist, she finds inspiration from the lives and work of other artists and writers who suffered from mood disorders, including Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O’Keeffe, William Styron, and Sylvia Plath. She also researches the clinical aspects of bipolar disorder, including the strengths and limitations of various treatments and medications, and what studies tell us about the conundrum of attempting to “cure” an otherwise brilliant mind.

9 August 2016

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Title: Milk and Honey
Author: Rupi Kaur
Pages: 204
Genre: Poetry, Feminism
Book Description:
'milk and honey' is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. 'milk and honey' takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look

6 August 2016

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Pages: 312
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Horror
Book Description:
After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family...

26 July 2016

Moby Dick by Herman Melvile

Title: Moby Dick or The Whale
Author: Herman Melville
Pages: 663
Genre: Classic Literature
Book Description:
"It is the horrible texture of a fabric that should be woven of ships' cables and hawsers. A Polar wind blows through it, and birds of prey hover over it." 

So Melville wrote of his masterpiece, one of the greatest works of imaginations in literary history. In part, Moby-Dick is the story of an eerily compelling madman pursuing an unholy war against a creature as vast and dangerous and unknowable as the sea itself. But more than just a novel of adventure, more than an encyclopaedia of whaling lore and legend, the book can be seen as part of its author's lifelong meditation on America. Written with wonderfully redemptive humour, Moby-Dick is also a profound inquiry into character, faith, and the nature of perception.

19 July 2016

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Title: The Yellow Wallpaper
Author:  Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Pages: 64
Genre: Short Story, Gothic, Mental Health, Feminism
Book Description:
First published in 1892, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is written as the secret journal of a woman who, failing to relish the joys of marriage and motherhood, is sentenced to a country rest cure. Though she longs to write, her husband and doctor forbid it, prescribing instead complete passivity. In the involuntary confinement of her bedroom, the hero creates a reality of her own beyond the hypnotic pattern of the faded yellow wallpaper--a pattern that has come to symbolize her own imprisonment. Narrated with superb psychological and dramatic precision, "The Yellow Wallpaper" stands out not only for the imaginative authenticity with which it depicts one woman’s descent into insanity, but also for the power of its testimony to the importance of freedom and self-empowerment for women.

12 July 2016

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Title: Stardut
Author: Neil Gaiman
Pages: 250
Genre: Fantasy, Gothic, Romance
Book Description:
Young Tristran Thorn will do anything to win the cold heart of beautiful Victoria—even fetch her the star they watch fall from the night sky. But to do so, he must enter the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall that gives their tiny village its name. Beyond that old stone wall, Tristran learns, lies Faerie—where nothing, not even a fallen star, is what he imagined.

My Opinion:
After watching the film based on this novel and really enjoying it, I felt it was necessary to read the novel! I have read a few of Gaiman's books before and have loved their creativity, so I had high hopes for this one.

A common theme in all of his novels seems to be the gothic nature in which he writes. I love this aspect and found it to be quite prominent in this novel. This is very different to the film adaption, which isn't gothic at all but more imaginative and fantasy based, so I did enjoy hearing it from a darker side.

The story line was definitely intriguing so I found myself reading the book quickly! There were many twists, especially at the end which some aspects could be seen as predictable (for instance the romance part) however other sections I wasn't expecting! I loved the ending for this reason.

As for the characters, these were wonderfully creative and easy to relate and connect to. Some characters, like Tristan really developed throughout the novel and this was lovely to read about as he grew from a naive boy to a gentleman. Some of them followed with the gothic vibe, such as the witches, which was also interesting to discover.

Overall this was an enjoyable book to read and I would recommend. The fantasy world created by Gaiman is incredible and easy to lose yourself in. Compared to other novels I've read by him, I wouldn't say this is his best book, but definitely worth a read!

Favourite Quotes:

She says nothing at all, but simply stares upward into the dark sky and watches, with sad eyes, the slow dance of the infinite stars


A philosopher once asked, "Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?" Pointless, really..."Do the stars gaze back?" Now, that's a question


Every lover is, in his heart, a madman, and, in his head, a minstrel


He wondered how it could have taken him so long to realize he cared for her, and he told her so, and she called him an idiot, and he declared that it was the finest thing that ever a man had been called

Rating ★
4 out of 5 stars 

 Next book I'm going to review:
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

5 July 2016

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Title: Jane Eyre
Author: Charlotte Bronte
Pages: 507
Genre: Classic, Romance, Gothic,
Book Description:
Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.

With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte's innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.

My Opinion:
Beginning with a young girl and ending with a strong and capable young lady, we follow Jane Eyre as she develops through life, encountering many wonderful people and going on some unusual adventures!

Of course, the protagonist here if my favourite character but not for the reasons one may think. The character development here is fantastic and makes reading a slow plot (at times) bearable. Jane is strong willed and awfully judgmental, however this is what makes her so likeable! She's unusual and unlike most other female characters written during this similar time (for instance, many of Austen's creations who follow a similar path in the desperation to be married) Jane is independent and is looking for the reliance of no one! She possesses many feminist qualities that I love and remains true to her independence throughout.

Overall the plot line was quite slow at times, expected with a classic novel but it did pick up throughout and there were times where I was really intrigued to see what happened next, such as the plot twist with the marriage! The ending was fabulous to read and not something you'd expect from such a classic novel that's often compared with other writers of the time like Austen's masterpieces. Compared to everything previously in the book it was really happy and something I'm so pleased to have occurred!
Another unique aspect of the novel was the narration in which the narrator, Jane, addressed the reader many times. She'd refer to you as 'reader' directly and that isn't something I've come across in any book before so it was nice to be connected in that way.

To round up, the plot line was slow in scenes but I feel that the ending, plot twists and strong willed characters really made up for this. It's certainly an excellent classic that I'm so glad to have finally read!

Favourite Quotes:

And with that answer he left me. I would much rather he had knocked me down.


I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will


I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself


Reader, I married him

Rating ★
3 out of 5 stars 

 Next book I'm going to review:
Stardust by Neil Gaimen

29 June 2016

Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

Title: Girl Interrupted
Author: Susanna Kaysen
Pages: 168
Genre: Mental Health, Psychology, Autobiography
Book Description:
In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele -- Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles -- as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its sanctuary. 

My Opinion:
This is a true story about an 18 year old girl's experience in a mental hospital for two years after being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. It's a short memoir about her thoughts/ feelings and the people she learns to become friends with.

When I ordered this book online, I didn't realise how short it was, meaning I was able to whiz through it in one sitting. This was really great because I was able to immerse myself in the late 1960s and learn about what life was like for the mentally ill in this time. It was a lot different to today and I learned a lot from this book just about treatment and hospitalisation.

The characters brought the story alive I felt. There were so many different people with different mental illnesses so it was really fascinating to hear about their stories as well as the main protagonist's. I liked how they became close friends and explored together which was nice to read, since the topic can be quite morbid and low, yet there are some entertaining parts include.

Something unusual about this novel that I didn't expect were the snippets of Kaysen's mental records from McLean Hospital. There were some notes about her experiences written by doctors and psychiatrists and records from when she was admitted to her release. I enjoyed reading these and felt that they were a nice touch to the memoir.

Overall I did enjoy reading this however it was very short and (since I watched the film first) I expected a lot more than I received. The film is actually set out quite differently whilst the book seems to jump around a bit more. Nevertheless I did enjoy this and felt like I learned a lot about mental health.

Favourite Quotes:

The only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy


Suicide is a form of murder - premeditated murder. It isn't something you do the first time you think of doing it. It takes getting used to. And you need the means, the opportunity, the motive. A successful suicide demands good organization and a cool head, both of which are usually incompatible with the suicidal state of mind


I told her once I wasn’t good at anything. She told me survival is a talent


Was insanity just a matter of dropping the act?

3 out of 5 stars 

Before reading this memoir, I actually watched the film, which I really enjoyed. It had a great cast and a really strong message. I was surprised at how different the book was to the film and visa versa, however I still felt that it was an accurate reflection of Kaysen's life.

Here is the trailer!

 Next book I'm going to review:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

21 June 2016

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Pages: 372
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, War
Book Description:
Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them—in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul—they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation

My Opinion:
This magical yet horrific novel takes us on a journey through three generations of families, as they are torn apart and meet new people whom they may or may not bond with. Through heartache and pain, joy and birth, we see the strength of women during this time of war in Kabul.

After reading The Kite Runner (check out my review here) I couldn't wait to get my hands on another one of these culturally fascinating books written by Hosseini. As mentioned in my review for the Kite Runner, once again I found it so interesting that he chose to write on a topic he knows about because this makes everything so much more real. The author grew up in the places that he writes these stories so he knows what they're like, for the good and bad, which is exactly what he includes in his writing. This novel really opened my eyes to how different people are treated in different cultures and religions around the world, which isn't something I've explored as much as I'd like to in novels.

Another unique twist was that this novel follows the lives of two people that come together unexpectedly. At the beginning it's in the perspective of Mariam, who is only a child, but as the novel goes on we watch her grow up into a strong and intelligent woman, despite her hardships in the beginning. In the second part the perspective changes to Laila and we see her life as a child to woman. This was so interesting to read about because we got to see hoe their two lives, although completely separate and different, came together with more in common than first perceived. The final section has a split narrative of both Mariam and Laila which was really unique and something I enjoy in novels just to see the differing opinions between characters.

Despite the brutal honesty in the plot and the pain the two protagonists and their families face, this was a profoundly written novel with a surprising happy ending (of some sorts). My favourite technique was moving through almost 3 generations with these characters and watching them grow and develop into their own identities.

I would definitely recommend this to readers of historical fiction or those who want to be enlightened about another culture. This really reminded me how lucky I am and reminded me not to take things for granted - a very important message in life that most people forget (including me!) Hosseini only seems to have 3 novels, and since these first 2 have been astounding, I will definitely be getting my hands on the last one!

Favourite Quotes:

Marriage can wait, education cannot

One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls


A society has no chance of success if its women are uneducated


Learn this now and learn it well. Like a compass facing north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always. You remember that, Mariam


The past held only this wisdom: that love was a damaging mistake, and its accomplice, hope, a treacherous illusion

Rating ★
5 out of 5 stars 

 Next book I'm going to review:
Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

14 June 2016

Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Title: Woman in White
Author: Wilkie Collins
Pages: 672
Genre: Mystery, Gothic, Classic
Book Description:
The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright's eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his 'charming' friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.

My Opinion:
In this timeless classic, Walter meets a lovely painter whom he falls in love with. This leads him to stumble across many strange and peculiar occurances, including the meeting of mysterious Count Fosco.

This character was on of my favourites. He was very captivating and had many unusual qualities that just enticed me to discover more about him. There were many twists surrounding him and I found him to be quite humerous although slightly creepy!

Due to the classical form of the novel, written in the 19th century, I was expecting it to be quite slow and dull with lots of detail, as a stereotypical classic would portray. This was quite different however in that there were a lot more twists than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise. At many times I was eager to read on and was unsure of what was going to happen next, making reading very enjoyable.

The 'woman in white' was an intriguing concept and from her first appearance in the beginning I was hooked to discover more about her. This is a fantastically gothic theme of the novel and worked really well to add depth.

Altogether this was a wonderfully mysterious novel with many gothic elements and twists in the story line similar to the what we see today in modern novels. The characters were so imaginative and creative, really well written and I loved seeing their development. I would certainly recommend this to lovers of classic novels as well as those who are intrigued by works that created the mystery and twists evident in today's fiction.

Favourite Quotes:

In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop... There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth, stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white


No sensible man ever engages, unprepared, in a fencing match of words with a woman


The fool's crime is the crime that is found out and the wise man's crime is the crime that is not found out


Silence is safe
3 out of 5 stars 

 Next book I'm going to review:
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

7 June 2016

The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen | Rizzoli and Isles #2

Title: The Apprentice
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Pages: 376
Genre: Crime, Thriller, Mystery
Book Description: 
It is a boiling hot Boston summer. Adding to the city's woes is a series of shocking crimes, in which wealthy men are made to watch while their wives are brutalized. A sadistic demand that ends in abduction and death.

The pattern suggests one man: serial killer Warren Hoyt, recently removed from the city's streets. Police can only assume an acolyte is at large, a maniac basing his attacks on the twisted medical techniques of the madman he so admires. At least that's what Detective Jane Rizzoli thinks. Forced again to confront the killer who scarred her - literally and figuratively - she is determined to finally end Hoyt's awful influence . . . even if it means receiving more resistance from her all-male homicide squad.

But Rizzoli isn't counting on the U.S. government's sudden interest. Or on meeting Special Agent Gabriel Dean, who knows more than he will tell. Most of all, she isn't counting on becoming a target herself, once Hoyt is suddenly free, joining his mysterious blood brother in a vicious vendetta. . . .

My Opinion:
After reading The Surgeon (you can find my review for the first novel in this series here) I was straight onto this sequel. From my experience with Gerritsen's first novel, I expected the same from this, and I was not disappointed!

Whilst this isn't the sort of series that you can just pick any book up and read it, you do have to read them in order since there are characters and messages that get carried through, This is something I do like because characters we got to know in the first book aren't completely left out and forgotten and although they don't have such a main part, they are still referenced.

Once again with this novel, it began and ended with the perpetrators voice. This was something I only realised from reading the first book in this series and really enjoy this feature as it gives another edge to the perspectives. We see this opinion at random points throughout the novel which is thrilling and the ending with his voice really enticed me to grab the third book.

Speaking of the ending, this was really, really great. It was just as unexpected and gripping as I had hoped from reading The Surgeon, however in comparison to that ending, it wasn't as good. I did still enjoy it very much and still feel encouraged to read one.

One different feature this book had that the previous one lacked was some romance. As I've mentioned before, I'm not a huge fan of romance as I find them to be too cliched, however this was just an extra feature the author weaved in between the main plot line of the killings. It was unexpected which is fantastic since many romances are predictable, however this one wasn't and it was interesting to see this side of the character.

Overall this sequel was just as gripping as the first one and, once again, I'll be jumping straight onto the third one in the series! As I said in my first review, this series is targeted at a much older audience in which there are some graphic scenes and very academic language about biology which may be difficult to understand from younger audiences. Despite this it was thoroughly action packed with unexpected twists and a hint of romance!

Favourite Quotes:

Rizzoli wanted to be heard, and so she sat shoulder to shoulder with the boys in the trumpet section


Is this all we are? A necklace of chemicals? Where, in the double helix, does the soul lie?


Some people make choices hoping for the best; Korsak had made a choice simply to avoid the worst

Rating ★ 
 4 out of 5 stars 

 Next book I'm going to review:
Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

31 May 2016

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen | Rizzoli and Isles #1

Title: The Surgeon
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Pages: 416
Genre: Crime, Thriller, Mystery
Book Description: 
In Boston, there's a killer on the loose. A killer who targets lone women, who breaks into their apartments and performs terrifying ritualistic acts of torture on them before finishing them off. His surgical skills lead police to suspect he is a physician - a physician who, instead of saving lives, takes them.
But as homicide detective Thomas Moore and his partner Jane Rizzoli begin their investigation, they make a startling discovery. Closely linked to these killings is Catherine Cordell, a beautiful medic with a mysterious past. Two years ago she was subjected to a horrifying rape and attempted murder but she shot her attacker dead. Now she is being targeted by the new killer who seems to know all about her past, her work, and where she lives.

The man she believes she killed seems to be stalking her once again, and this time he knows exactly where to find her...

My Opinion:
The first novel in the Rizzoli and Isles series, one Boston detective and the chief medical examiner take on a serial killer in this fast-paced thriller. Before I start the review, there is a television series, named Rizzoli and Isles based on Gerritsen's novels (there's 7 of them I think) and they're really good! I've watched all of them up to date and would certainly recommend them. Anyway, onto the review.

Firstly, the novel starts with an ominous narrator who we as an audience are completely unaware of. I was hooked entirely from the beginning and loved the insane plot line with it's many, many twists and turns. As the story continues we figure out who this speaker is and I really enjoyed it because you had to read on to discover it; it's wasn't something I predicted. The character was always on the sidelines until the ending when he surfaced and the voice became clear. It was fascinating to hear his point of view.

Following the story line, it honestly was so intense. There wasn't a scene when I was bored and if I had had the time I'd have probably read this in one sitting. Everything was so well written  and linked together and as soon as one problem was solved another one arose! The ending had to be the best part because it was action packed and had me on the edge of my seat in anticipation! Certainly one of the best plot lines I've read and one of the most exciting thrillers.

Due to the genre of this novel, I wouldn't recommend it to younger readers, For starters, there's a lot technical language surrounding parts of the body and other biological factors since this is a crime fiction which may be difficult for some readers to understand (mainly since this is aimed at adults and there were even some terms I was unsure of!) and secondly there are some really gruesome scenes such as murder and dissection which may be unpleasant to some readers. I personally don't mind it.

Overall this was a fantastic first novel to the Rizzoli and Isles series and I've jumped straight onto the second book, The Apprentice. Gerritsen has written some stand along thrillers which I assume are just as insane as this one, so if you're looking for a fast paced mystery about crime, this is your author!

Favourite Quotes: 

The most intimate feeling people can share is neither love nor hate, but pain


She now knew her death was inevitable, and with that acceptance came liberation. The courage of the condemned


And like a drowning woman who chooses the black sea instead of rescue, she did not take it

 Rating ★ 
5 out of 5 stars 

 Next book I'm going to review:
The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen

24 May 2016

Blood Brothers by Willy Russell

Title: Blood Brothers
Author: Willy Russell
Pages: 112
Genre: Play, Drama
Book Description:
A Liverpudlian West Side Story: twin brothers are separated at birth because their mother cannot afford to keep them both. She gives one of them away to wealthy Mrs Lyons and they grow up as friends in ignorance of their fraternity until the inevitable quarrel unleashes a blood-bath.

My Opinion:
During my time at secondary school, I came across this play as part of my English course. It follows the lives of two twin brothers that were separated at birth. One grows up in a high middle-class family whilst the other is raised by his real mother in a council estate. I really enjoyed studying this.

The best part of this play was the story line. Most authors use the well known, literary technique of flashback to hint at things that happened in the past. Interestingly, Russell does the opposite and frequently flashes forward in the text. This is a really unique feature of the play because we get to see how the two boys grow up and how their lives intertwine.
I thought the ending was also really well written because it was unexpected. Personally, I find that plays that end in tragedy are usually the best (perhaps why I love Shakespeare's work!) because it can be so surprising and sad. The ending really made me think about how the characters in this novel acted and how things could have been different if different choices had been made in the beginning.

The characters were interesting and had a lot of depth to them. I enjoyed the contrast between the two brothers since this linked to how the environment you've been raised in change shape your personality.

The play itself was quite short so it's a nice and quick read, as most play's usually are. To some degree, I would've liked to have heard more about the boy's life, however I also felt like everything wrapped up well and there were no loose ends or unanswered questions.

Overall I do recommend reading this if you're looking to explore more genres or fiction besides novels, since this is short, yet full of tragedy, humor and even a small romance!

Favourite Quotes:

See,this means that we're blood brothers, an' that we always have to stand by each other

3 out of 5 stars 

 Next book I'm going to review:
The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

17 May 2016

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Title: Lord of the Flies
Author: William Golding
Pages: 182
Genre: Classic
Book Description:
William Golding's compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first, it seems as though it's all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious & life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic & death. As ordinary standards of behavior collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket & homework & adventure stories—& another world is revealed beneath, primitive & terrible. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a classic.

My Opinion:
When a group of primary school boys are stranded on an island they must do whatever they can to survive. Even if that means fighting like savages and causing chaos.

This was a good read. I liked the narrative voice being the child because we really got to see the young boys perspective.

Although I really enjoyed the storyline, I felt that there were some scenes, especially those involving violence, were a little unrealistic. However, when in that situation. I recognise that people often do the unexpected. This is something that was really well conveyed throughout as I was always left wondering what was going to happen next.
The ending was also a bit disappointing. I liked how it was left ambiguously and you have to assume what happens however I felt like there could have been more detail and description.

My favourite character was Piggy. As soon as he was introduced I found him to be quite sensible and cute. I loved watching his friendship with Ralph develop as the novel progressed because at the beginning it was clear Ralph was unsure about him. I was so sad and shocked to hear what happened to him but I felt like he was a fabulous character.

Lastly, I enjoyed the themes introduced. For instance, group hierarchy was something really interesting to read about as this showed how the characters reacted to each other and which boys were seen as better leaders. The underlying message here is that human nature is corrupt and beyond redemption and that's something so fascinating to be able to explore. I also loved the reference to the title half way through as this made a lot of sense despite the pretty twisted and gruesome imagery.

Overall this was a short and pleasurable read, despite having a few faults. I felt that it was well written and I enjoyed the character development throughout. There are some violent and gothic scenes so I would recommend this to older readers!

Favourite Quotes:

Maybe there is a beast… maybe it's only us


The thing is - fear can't hurt you any more than a dream


Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are what they are?


People don't help much

Rating ★
4 out of 5 stars 

 Next book I'm going to review: 
Blood Brothers by Willy Russell

10 May 2016

Atonenment by Ian McEwan

Title: Atonement
Author: Ian McEwan
Pages: 351
Genre: Classic, Romance, Historical
Book Description:
Ian McEwan’s symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to expect from this master of English prose.

On a hot summer day in 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives—together with her precocious literary gifts—brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece.

My Opinion:
Set in World War II England, we follow the lives of 3 main characters as the youngest one misinterprets her older sister's love affair to be something much worse. This is a fascinating novel about romance, separation and honesty.

Straight away, I loved the descriptions. This was the first thing I noticed as I was reading and they were so lovely from start to finish. McEwan seems to have a way of describing things in such a delicate manner. I'm not usually a fan of lengthy descriptions however I do not mind these for they were so beautifully written.

Following many different character perspectives was an unusual touch that worked really well as we got to see their in-depth thought processes. This was especially interesting between the sisters, Briony and Cecilia, as it really enforces the age gap and their differing levels of innocence.

I also enjoyed how the story line is split into parts so that we see how this event has affected the character's entire lives and not just their childhood. We get to see historical events and the gender roles, such as men being in the army and a woman's role in medicine/nursing. This is something that really interests me personally so I enjoyed this aspect a lot.

The ending was also fantastic with a lovely revelation and closure. I felt that this was brought to a close at the correct time with no unanswered questions.

This novel altogether was really well rounded and followed an in-depth-written plot. The characters were really vivid and I loved how similar yet different they were, as well as seeing how their relationships changed over time by growing closer and further apart. I'm so glad to have read it as I feel that I've learned a lot so I'd definitely recommend it!

Favourite Quotes:

Wasn't writing a kind of soaring, an achievable form of flight, of fancy, of the imagination


A story was a form of telepathy. By means of inking symbols onto a page, she was able to send thoughts and feelings from her mind to her reader's. It was a magical process, so commonplace that no one stopped to wonder at it


Was everyone else really as alive as she was?


She lay in the dark and knew everything


A person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn, not easily mended

Rating ★
5 out of 5 stars 

I watched the film adaption before reading the book by chance, which was a shame since I knew the ending and noticed many things in the novel which I doubt I'd have picked up on otherwise. However it's a beautiful film, with wonderful casting and fantastic scenery. Although the book is better, as usual, the directors have done an excellent job of recreating it visually. 
I certainly recommend watching this although you made need a box of tissues as it will definitely bring on some tears!

Next book I'm going to review:
Lord of the Flies by William Golding