Thursday 31 May 2012

GoodRead - Gin O'Clock

I'm pretty sure you guys know I am a fan of Twitter. Might be classed as an addict by some of you (well, I use it for stupid things and for the blog, so I'm on it most of the time!) and one of the great things about Twitter is the parody twitter accounts. Some are stinkers and others are hilarious! I follow @MrsStephenFry, @CherylKerl & @Queen_UK and all three of them have made me snort with laughter. And they all, out of nowhere, have books out! I read @MrsStephenFry's Diary last year (she has another book on Unbound, revealing the secrets to a perfect marriage…)and I know of @CherylKerl's book but haven't got my hands on a copy yet.

 Now, the @Queen_UK. I had Waterstones' giftcard for Christmas and, remembered I wanted this book, I asked if they were in stock. Nope, not in that branch. So, checked on Kindle and treated myself to the ebook version (only to have a lovely person at Hodder ask if I wanted a review copy a week or two later…).

 While sipping her drink of gin and tonic (minus the tonic), The Queen [of Twitter] decided to reveal her diaries and shows us how, quietly, she is ruling the world while trying to keep her family in check. All with a gin and bacon sandwich in hand…

Oh, @Queen_UK! I knew I was going to like this because of your twitter but, when I read a teaser where you called Catherine's (Duchess of Cambridge's) mother Mrs "Please call me Carole" Middleton, I knew I was going to howl at this book. And I did! There was always something that made me smile or snort unexpectantly with laughter. It was just fun to see One calling her weekly meeting with the Prime Minister his "ego-realignment", her throwing fancy dress parties for the Corrie Tram Crash, Eurovision and other events (only to lose Camellia who was last seen going outside for a quick smoke…), and her coping with her landmark trip to Ireland, her handling of the Obama's' visit and having to deal with the Middletons…

 I do hope Hodder talk her Majesty into writing a sequel after the events that happen in 2012 (her Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics) as it would be very interesting (and probably rolling on the floor-worthy) to have her take on the world. Also, the PIW (it's been ages since I used that term - Person I'm With) think I should read the audiobook as my "posh voice" will add to the humour. If they can't, I'm sure Hodder could give the @Queen_UK some gin that will help change her mind…

Thursday 24 May 2012

GoodRead - The Match In The Tank

SURPRISE! A quick review about a short story that you guys will probably read within half an hour on your ereader.

In Edward Hogan's short story, we follow the life of a stuntman. A man who throws himself off cliffs, in front of cars, under trains for a living. And she, his girlfriend, doesn't mind. It's thrilling... at first. But she knows it will only be a matter of time before the inevitable hits...

When I saw this on Amazon while I was trying to find one of Edward's adult novels, the Hunger Trace, I couldn't believe. I had to tweet Ed to confirm, which he did. And I was surprised how quickly I flew through this short story (but isn't that the point of a short story? To be fast?)

And with short stories, you don't get much detail. But that's to be expected, people. I really like this shorts I read it in two 15 minute sitting (and the second sitting was reading info about Shortfire Press, which was interesting... weirdly, as I discovered its Submission section. Let's say I started plotting short story ideas that will NEVER see the light of day.)

But I like this and this makes me want to read Hunger Trace more. I just need to find time!

Monday 21 May 2012

Thursday 17 May 2012

GoodRead - Heart-Shaped Bruise

I only came across this book by sheer fluke. I was emailing Sam from Headline, thanking her for letting me have a copy of Kimberly Derting's The Last Echo to review when she mentioned Heart-Shaped Bruise. After she gave me some info about it, I thought "It sounds like the TV show Revenge meets Cat Clarke" and asked if it was ok for me to read this. She was thrilled as she thought I would adore this book.

On top of a wardrobe in the now-disused Archway Young Offenders Institution, was discovered the secret journals of Archway's most notorious inmate, Emily Koll. Emily who is unapologetic over what she did. Through her journals, we hear her side of the story. Through her words, we see how far she went to get revenge. But can we trust her versions of events? Is she showing us the truth or trying to get our sympathy?

This is a compelling read. It just demands your attention as you try and figure what Emily did that was so awful that she's in a young offenders institution awaiting trail. The quote on the front of my copy from best-selling thriller writer, Sophie Hannah, says "intriguing and compelling", don't take as a "oh, they got an author to say something good". Sophie is right!

This isn't a story of forgiveness. Let's make this clear before I go any further. Emily herself ever states in within the first two pages. But the further you read, the more complex you discover Emily to be and the more questions that pop up. Is Emily doesn't want forgiveness, then why is she writing this? Why couldn't Emily let go when it wasn't her fault? Why why why?

There's not much more I could say. Don't expect a neat ending. Because there isn't one. It's left messy and a bit of a crime scene, which (if you think about it) is very much Emily at that moment in time. Her life is a crime scene.

If you're a fan of Cat Clarke and want a dark, gripping read, this is perfect for you. I can't wait to see what Tanya writes next!

Thursday 10 May 2012

GoodRead - Corsets and Clockwork

I had this on my kindle since sometime last year when Amazon did a Kindle Sale. I wanted another collection of short stories [Corsets and Clockwork's almost prequel] Kiss Me Deadly, but I saw this and went "Bargain and it'll give me a taster for the world of steampunk" (I also got Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder who, actually, wrote a story for this collection). I had this for ages and then when I did decide to read it (taking my time as I was still reading books), it took me over a month to finish it.

Now, I didn't know much on steampunk before I was told. But, to my understanding, it's an alternative history that uses steampower. Most stories are set in the Victorian England, but there can be set in the Wild West, in the Second World War among others. You could include Mortal Engines and His Dark Materials as steampunk novels (that's according to that trusted site, Wikipedia). And steampunk novels can have touchs of fantasy, sci-fi and other genres, but as long as there's steam technology in the background.

I could be completely wrong about the above paragraph but that's how I read Wikipedia.

So, 13 short stories set in the worlds of steampunk from well-known YA authors. Did this collection make me fall in love with steampunk?

Er… yes and no. And the reason for both these answers is that it depends on the author and the story they wrote. I mean, this is a collection of short stories so, of course, you will find stories that were great and longed for more. And then there were others that were just ok. Nothing great, but alright. And then you have one or two where you finished the story more confused and preplexed than when you started the story! It's a mix bag and you are not going to like them all.

There's not much else to say expect this is a nice way to introducing yourself to steampunk (and die-hard steampunk fans will love it). And, after reading Maria V. Snyder's Under Amber Skies, am very excited to read Poison Study for the coming-soon Kindle Month!

Thursday 3 May 2012

GoodRead - Insurgent

I have to apologise in advance for this review as I am writing this when I'm not feeling 100% well (hence my Facebook/Twitter silence). But, here is my review of Insurgent, let's hit the ground running.

After the terrible events in Divergent, Tris is haunted by the past. Haunted by the pointless slaughter of her former Faction. Haunted by the death of both her parents. Haunted by her having to kill Will...

As Tris has to come to terms with her grief and guilt, she becomes more reckless in coming to terms with her past and her future. But, slowly, she realises that by doing this, she realises that the truth is still out there. And if she is going to discover what the truth is, she will have to make some shocking choices and sacrifices that could change everything...

 I'm going to say this now: I think Veronica Roth is trying to kill us.

 Seriously, she is! It's been a while since I have read a book that leaves me so breathless that I had to put the book down for a good few minutes to catch my breath. It never slackened its pace. Not for one page.

 It was interesting that Veronica made Tris suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and maybe Survivors Guilt, but it seemed perfectly natural to have Tris suffer with these and, because of these, to react the way she does in the situations that happen in this book.

 I don't want to reveal too much as I know there are many of you that want to read this book and are probably screaming "ENOUGH! ENOUGH!" but I have to warn you about the ending... Oh, the ending... That last few chapters will knock you all for six and will completely change the ball game. And Veronica does it in such a clever that you will not see it coming...

The only snag I had is that there was no catch up. You were thrown straight into the world (which is always a good thing) but you had no catch-up. After a year for most people, it's hard to remember which Faction means which virtue and it takes a while to go "Oh!" over it.

However, Insurgent. This is one breathless read that will leave you hunger for the third and final book in this trilogy. And we have to wait a year for it. A YEAR! *sulks* But still, we can reread Divergent and Insurgent. Just as long as we can put the books down everyone once in a while to caught our breath...       

(PS - quick thank you for Rosi at HarperCollins for letting me have a copy early. Not sure that was a wise decision, but I thank you nevertheless!)