Friday, 22 April 2011

A Private Affair, Lesley Lotto: Guest Review by Becky D

The story focuses on army lives and army wives (please excuse the rhyming I just couldn’t resist!) and the narrative jumps from the present day to the characters’ pasts. The book revolves around four main female characters and their various spouses and friends, most are married or involved with British army officers and the action takes place around the world following the women and their husbands as they go on tour.

Each lead; Abby, Sam, Megan and Dani, is given a background story by the author which is revealed over the progression of the book which gripped me and the sudden change in character being written about did pull me in to keep reading to find out the fate character. Although I did enjoy the almost mystery-book quality this gave the book because of the number of characters it did make for a bit of a long windy book and parts of the back story seemed to be put in for no reason and some events lacked explanation with the reader left to guess at what happened and why. This is an interesting way to tell a story to use your own imagination and not have every detail spelt out for you. However, I felt that it left me simply hungry for answers and feeling a bit let down by the author.

The book follows each of the women to show how they came to be involved with their army husband or boyfriend and the impact on their lives, and eventually how they come together in one place with the exception of Dani. Her storyline although connected by another character at one point in the book seems to have been added as something of a separate to the rest and could in all honest be lifted out without affecting the book.

From the start of the book you feel the author is building to some sort of head and through viewing the lives of these women I did begin to get invested in what the event would be and what would happen to the characters. Which is why I was slightly disappointed by the sudden and rather swift end that almost seem to come out of nowhere and ended a bit too abruptly with only a short final chapter to tie up a few loose ends.
All in all a pretty good read and one I would recommend for a holiday read for the beach but I would have liked a less rushed ending.


You can get it here.

Friday, 8 April 2011

The Mystery of the Whistling Caves, Helen Moss: The Famous Five get Modernised and Rationalised

The seagull did it.
The Mystery of the Whistling Caves. Even the cover looks famous five-y. But in this story the ginger beer and 'Gosh!'s have been done away with along with one of the the girls. The dead weight's been cut! The kid's are a slightly grumpy teenage boy with floppy hair and a band, Scott; his younger, annoying brother, Jack and the adventurous tomboy, love interest girl, Emily and her dog Drift.

Soon they are on an adventure trying to find out who's stolen Saxon treasure from the local museum and why the amazing local landmark, the whistling caves, have stopped whistling. They sleuth it out by talking to obligatory gossipy lady, old fisherman bloke and a bunch of other suspicious characters.

The Mystery of the Whistling Caves is good, especially if you like a mystery/adventure style book. It grates a few times with the 'cool' references it contains, like the Bohemian Rhapsody playing curate of the local church. But it's enjoyable, fun and funny story.

The Mystery of the Whistling Caves is available to preorder and out in July

cheers,

Mark

Sunday, 3 April 2011

The Demon Collector, Jon Mayhew: The Reading of Which Gave Me Riddle Envy

Something about the cover says EVIL
Firstly, The Demon Collector is a great looking book. I've got the hardback, all that's available at the moment also available as an eBook, and it has an evil grinning demon skull on the fiery front and has black-edged pages. It seems to be bursting with demonic power.

The Demon Collector follows the adventures of Edgy Taylor, a boy whose first job is collecting dog poo. But Edgy is no normal dog poo collector, he can see demons. He draws the attention of the Society of Daemonologie and in particular Envry Janus.

Soon they are investigating the whereabouts of a particular arch-demon, while Edgy is stalked by other demons, only keeping ahead due to his prowess at answering riddles. Riddles are like 'the force' for demons.

The Demon Collector rattles along at a good pace and things get a lot more complicated as it develops, much more than you'd think given the black and white slant the world is given at the start. It's good to read a book like this where things aren't so easily divided into good and evil.

I just wish I could come up with a riddle...

What has an ear but is as deaf as a post,
Can be found on your feet when you've walked the most?

See, I'm rubbish at making up riddles.

The Demon Collector is available now for about £7.

cheers,

Mark

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro: Damn it We're So Evil!

Never Let Me Go is such a good book it left me depressed for one whole day. Damn you Kazuo Ishiguro for making me feel emotions about people that don't exist! It's about a group of children, three in particular, growing up in a strange school in slightly alternative UK and their lives in the years afterwards.

The main story follows these three kids and the relationship between them but what it really made me think about was justification. How people are sometimes willing to justify anything if it suits there own ends. And that's what got me depressed. But I'm fine now and on to 'The Demon Collector' by Jon Mayhew and 'The Mystery of the Whistling Caves' by Helen Moss. Nothing depressing in kids' books. Apart from 'My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece'...sniff.

Never Let Me Go has been out for ages, they've made a film of it and everything, but if you haven't read it you can get it for a just over 3 quid here. Or just borrow it from a library.

Lauren will probably make me watch the film now so she can laugh when I get some 'grit in my eye'. Damn it!

Cheers,

Mark