Saturday, 18 June 2011

Oh Genre!

Hey all :)

I hope you have enjoyed the last few reviews. I have really enjoyed working with Sam and Flo and hope I can get a few more people involved in reviews when I am busy. Sam already has a book waiting for him when he gets home that he has promised me he will review!

So much for my summer off! I have managed to get my self into 3 jobs and reading has been segregated to only train journeys and at bedtime.Thus the slow progress on my very exciting 'to read' pile.

I am currently reading a very different genre than I normally go for... Historical Drama. Science fiction, fantasy, crime drama, a lot of teen vampire flicks are normally what I spend the most of my time reading, but I have really fallen in love with "Queen of Silks" by Vanora Bennett.

I inherited this book from my Dad's late godmother (RIP London Mary) with a selection of other books that she had in her home. She was a passionate reader and we had shared books with her for a number of years. This one however doesn't look like it has ever been read before, but I hope in her final weeks she had lots of other great books to read.

The book was originally published as "Figures of Silk" back in 2008 but I am reading the paper back version printed in 2009. As I have already mentioned I haven't read any historical style novels before so I wasn't expecting the rich content (I wouldn't know if it was accurate!) mixed in with more recognisable themes of ambition, feminism, romance and adultery.

If it doesn't really sound your thing, I wouldn't blame you! I only picked this book up to read first as it was the smallest (mainly because it is a paperback) and would be lightest to read on the train. However I have been drawn into it, and found myself sat at Portsmouth Harbour station, sat on the train, reading speedily to reach the end of the chapter before I have to get off so the train can go back in the other direction!

Look out for the review when I have finished it! I would love for you guys to give a new genre a try as you never know - you might find a real gem!

What genre is your favourite normally? Have you been surprised by a new genre?

Please comment and let me know, I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading,

Rie xx

Monday, 13 June 2011

Marina and the Diamonds - 'The Family Jewels' Album Review by Florence Parrack

I present to you a bit of a different blog review today from school friend Florence Parrack (who normally prefers Flo).

I invited her to write a review for the blog after she said she liked reading mine, and would love to be able to write more reviews herself.

The album has been out since 2010 but is still a cracker and well worth a listen. I have included the links for you to go and have a listen on YouTube as well.

So please make Flo feel welcome and don't forget to comment and recommend any more artists / albums you think we both might like.

Marina and the Diamonds - 'The Family Jewels' Album Review

Lately I have been a musical bored slob, for want of a better phrase – all the stuff I already have is overplayed, and I’m too lazy to branch out and find new music to add to my collection.

Well, imagine my surprise when I discovered Marina and the Diamonds, and didn’t have to listen for long before I fell in love!

Marina Diamandis, her real name, comes from Wales and found her unique musical style after dropping out of four different universities. She claims such influences as Gwen Stefani and Britney Spears, but has been compared to a much more diverse selection of artists including Regina Spektor and Elvis Costello.

I stumbled across the music video for ‘Hollywood, and watched it twice straight away. Marina, dressed as a variety of American stereotypes, sings a biting commentary on Hollywood culture and the way it dictates how we should live our lives. Her voice is beautiful and unusual, and her songs actually have depth and meaning so often neglected in pop music.

Obsessions’ deals with conditions such as OCD and eating disorders, ‘Girls’ is a feminist anthem that criticises the stereotypes we are constrained by, ‘Hermit the Frog’ tells the story of a damaging relationship. Her songs are catchy and often upbeat, but they also contain a social commentary.

I like to think that it’s singers like Marina who will go on to influence future generations, rather than the many female singers in the charts who promote dangerous messages about the importance of receiving male attention and looking beautiful at any cost.

So, she’s got a gorgeous voice, she’s witty and clever, and she’s insanely cute *swoon* - her 2010 album ‘The Family Jewels’ is available on iTunes and several of her videos can be found on Youtube. Go and listen to her – you won’t be disappointed (well let’s hope not!)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Roadside Crosses by Jeffery Deaver - A Review

I am a bit behind on reviewing this one, as it was released back in 2009. The author has since released 3 other books that I intended on reading and reviewing before the summer was out, but I just wanted to write a little something about this one.

I have been a big fan of Deaver since I got hold of a copy of ‘The Vanished Man’ which was released back in 2003. Any good crime drama seems to need to sexual tension, some chemistry between the protagonists; the lighter side of all the death, science and cop work, and Deaver accomplishes this in all his books. I worked through the Lincoln Rhyme series of his books quickly, gathering them from libraries, charity shops, and borrowing them from family, as the characterisation of the quadriplegic Lincoln Rhyme, and the lingering chemistry between him and Amelia Sachs was a great read.

This book, however, focuses on the protagonist Kathryn Dance. She is a body language, or kinaesthetic expert: think the female version of Dr. Lightman from the American television show ‘Lie to Me’. I am a great fan of anything body language related and I’m really surprised I hadn’t picked up on this series earlier. In fact I only picked up these books in my local library for my mum to read, as I am more into my supernatural fiction (addiction?) but I picked them up after she has finished and have had to renew them so I could finish them!

‘Roadside Crosses’ promises to be an exploration of the synth world, blogging and MMORPG’s in the author’s note, but I feel it does this in a detached sort of way. Although it does explore how damaging the anonymity of online behaviour can be, and how it affects our lives I was expecting more action online.  Instead it started off as a more than standard crime book and at times I thought I might just put it down and read something else. However I am glad I stuck with it as the easy to read but complicated constructed narrative was a real treat to read.

I have always loved the way Deaver writes in the way that I never think about it. Some books are so badly written, with too much or too little action I find myself criticising the way it is written, but these are seamless page flickers that suck you in. The second half of the book in particular is a really good read. The characters are well rounded and show weaknesses that allow many red herrings to lead us as the reader down many dead-ends.

There are many shock victims, and suspects along the way, and the weaving of the personal life of Dance and the case presents shocking conclusions. I always like to try and guess how the book is going to end, and having an easy suspect only halfway through the book is always a giveaway to a change in direction, but the narrative took me on a blind journey the whole way to the end, and I loved the end.

4/5 (extra browning points added for the supporting material your can discover online)

I have now ordered 2 copies of Carte Blanch (1 a first eddition signed copy and another to read) as well as a paper back of Burning Wire so look out for the reviews of those coming up soon too!

Thanks for reading,
Love Rie xx

Monday, 6 June 2011

Pre-ordered :D

I have officially pre-ordered Kelley Armstrong's new book: Spellbound!!

I cannot tell you how excited I am to read this new book, Waking the Witch was good but this one promises to be soooo much better.

It will be with me early August so look out for the review!

Thanks for reading,
Love Rie xx

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Chris Carter – The Executioner. A Book Review by Sam Crossley

 I met Sam at school and we have been close friends since, particularly in College. He has been a big supporter of my blog and is also a fan of reading. So when he mentioned he had a bit of time of his hands and a pile of books this weekend I asked if he would like to write some reviews.

And this is the result :)

Please enjoy and comment your opinions on this book, and I look forward to hosting more of his reviews in the future.

Chris Carter – The Executioner

This book is thriller, and it’s not scared to go into detail! A detective in LA, specialising in serial killers, his psychological background making him perfect for analysing the evidence and working out the motive of “The Executioner”. His name is Robert Hunter and unfortunately this is the second book in the series, I have a feeling I have the first book at home, unread, which is a pain because although the other book is only briefly mentioned once or twice and has no effect on the plot of this one, it would lend something deeper to the characters in this book. It’s obvious whatever happened in The Crucifix Killer had a dramatic effect on the main characters.

Anyway, it’s a very easy read; the writing style is very fluid, coupled with the incredibly short chapters it keeps thesuspension up whilst giving you plenty of places to stop. If you feel inclined that is. I didn’t and finished this 472pg, 142 chapter book in 6 hours. Throughout the book you gain more and more knowledge about the main characters, Hunter and his partner Carlos Garcia. Towards the end you are even able to guess comments made before you read them. Their partnership is very fluid, although my only criticism is that the partnership is very one-sided with Hunter the wealth of knowledge and Garcia the less experienced sidekick who is sometimes ignored in my opinion.

The author, Chris Carter, was a criminal psychologist before he took to writing; this really shows in this book. You really get a feel for the type of person the detectives are facing as they slowly unearth the clues from each horrible crime scene to the next. Each thought up with detail that’s slightly more sinister and cruel than the last.

I feel that reading the first book would have given you a better understanding of the characters and possibly solved a few of the odd niggles I felt about the partnership, but other than that a very enjoyable read. One of the first things I intend of doing upon getting home is read the first one.

I give this a 3.5/5

Love Rie & Sam xx