Sunday, 25 October 2015

My Review of A Death In The Family

I received an advance e-book copy of A Death in the Family by Michael Stanley directly from the author in exchange for an honest review.

A Death in the Family is the fifth outing for Detective Kubu and is written by Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip (known together as Michael Stanley). I always find it mind boggling when more than one person has written a book as to how they can get on and make their ideas work together and yet these two are on their fifth book.

 I've never read a Kubu book before but the synopsis sounded great and was exactly what I was in the mood for reading, When the weather turns cooler and autumn arrives, I love a good crime book. This book centres around the murder of Kubu's father and murders related to a mine expansion in a small town called Shoshong. We follow Kubu as he deals with the grief of losing his father and trying to keep away from that investigation (and failing) while trying to concentrate on the murder of an official and the troubles in Shoshong,

The story was really well written and full of twists and turns which worked perfectly without feeling shoehorned or pasted together. The characters are all really well formed and I really loved Kubu, he felt very real and you felt his emotions with him. His relationship with his family and his mother is portrayed beautifully as well and it was nice to see a strong family that loved each other and got on with each other, Seeing a detective with a wife and family that was together was really good to see for a change, I think my favourite character however is Jacob Mabaku, the Director of the Botswana CID. He is exactly the kind of boss you want, someone who respects you but is willing to put you in your place when it's needed. He came across as a really nice man but a complete badass,

Before reading this my knowledge of Botswana was a complete zero. Throughout the book I learnt so much about the country and about its culture, and it incredibly interesting. I felt that all the cultural references and explanations fit smoothly into a crime novel and it really gave a sense of the country the book is set in. I also think the fact the Kubu in Setswana (one of the languages spoken in Botswana) means hippopotamus is fantastic, it fits the character so perfectly, I definitely want to look into finding out more about this part of Africa in the future.

My only niggle about the book is that the bad guy felt a little stereotypical or cardboard cutout - actually I think I might go with panto villain, I wanted to scream "he's behind you" a few times. But really this doesn't take away from how well the rest of the book is written and how well thought out and plotted the storyline is.

Overall a really interesting and enjoyable read that I would recommend to anyone even if like me you haven't read a Detective Kubu book before, you can very easily just jump in on this book. I personally will also be seeking out the earlier books to read in the future.

A Death in the Family is out on October 27th 2015.

I started this book on the 11th of October and finished it on the 19th of October 2015
I gave this book 4.5 Stars on Goodreads

Saturday, 24 October 2015

It's a kind of magic - My review of The Tales of Beedle the Bard

The last book I read before making my decision about giving up my 2015 Reading Challenge was for the Popsugar reading challenge for the "a book with magic" topic and the book I had chosen was The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling. I chose this book as though I have read all the Harry Potter books I had never got around to reading this and thought that this would be the perfect opportunity.

I'll own up to the fact I generally dislike reading introductions to books and for the most part I skip them or just skim read for the important information, but as this book was so short I figured I would read the whole thing, I'm glad I did as I really enjoyed the explanation of the similarities and differences between muggle and magical fairy tales.

I enjoyed each tale for its own merits and I liked the fact that they were similar to Grimm's fairy tales as I re read the whole collection in the past year. I think my favourite was either the The Warlock's Hairy Heart for its Edgar Allen Poe feel to it or The Fountain of Fair Fortune for the moral it tells.

Personally I don't feel the notes from Dumbledor add anything to the tales at all and I could have done without these and had another couple of tales instead. I did however like the likeness that Beedle the Bard is supposed to be a magical Brothers Grimm writer, whereas Beatrix Bloxam is the magical Disney retelling stories without any of the darkness and filling them with sweetness and light,

Overall this is a very nice book and it was all for charity so definitely a worthwhile read, but for me it was just very average and didn't capture the same of magic that we all know and love in the Harry Potter series.

I started reading this book on the 10th of October 2015 and finished it on the 11th October 2015
I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads

Sunday, 18 October 2015

An Update on my 2015 Reading Challenge

At the beginning of the year I decided that I was going to participate in both the Book Riot Read Harder challenge and the PopSugar Ultimate Reading challenge as I believed that it would widen my horizons and book choices. I made a list of all the books I wanted to read to accomplish this and spent time considering what would be the best choices for me.

I was really excited by the whole thing and at the start I flew through quite a few of the books on my list, but as I got further into the year, I just wasn't in the mood to read the choices of books that I had made so I changed up some of my original choices with books that I did want to read but that still fit the challenge criteria. As more time went on the books I wanted to read no longer fit under any of the criteria to fit on my challenge list and I started to begrudge reading any of them, even though I do want to read them all, just not at this point in time. Because of this I went into a reading slump for a couple of months which was tough to get through.

So I've made a decision, I'm not going to be completing my 2015 Reading Challenge that I set for myself, I have hit my target of how many books I wanted to read this year (100) and I have thoroughly enjoyed, for the most part, the books I have read. I'm doing this so that I can carry on enjoying my reading experience which is the most important thing to me. I have found that this sort of challenge just doesn't work for me as I found it very restrictive, which is the complete opposite of the reason I was doing it in the first place. This is also the reason that I don't set monthly tbr lists as I never know what genre I'm going to be in the mood for. I do still think that it's a great way for people to expand their reading experience it is just not for me.

If I do read any books that fit in before the end of the year, I'll definitely still blog about them and update my list, but if not, I really don't mind. If you'd like to see how I did, click here for my original 2015 Reading Challenge post.

Have you ever participated in a reading challenge? How did you find it?

Thursday, 1 October 2015

My Review of Sigmund Shaw: A Steampunk Adventure

I received an e-copy of Sigmund Shaw: A Steampunk Adventure directly from the author Mark C. King in return for an honest review. Thank you Mark.

I have never read a steampunk book before, but I have always wanted to delve into that world and see what all the fuss is about. I love the Victorian time period and I'm intrigued by the machinery and fashion relating to steampunk so I thought it would be a good fit of genre for me. Sigmund Shaw I feel was a perfect book for me to read first!

I want to start off by saying just how much I absolutely adore the character of Sigmund, he is just such a nice guy and its so nice to see. Yes he has faults and he has done things that aren't right, but he has done them for the right reasons and in ways to cause as little hurt to people as possible. He is a good brother, uncle, brother in law and friend. Sigmund will put the people he loves first at all times he is just so selfless and he'll do whatever needs doing to get the job done. I feel he has been written so well that I have become really attached to him while reading his story.

I do also like a lot (if not all) of the other characters, Sarah is a badass, Harry is a sweetheart and I love Holmes and the fact he is annoyed by his name (nice touch!). I feel they are all well thought out and written beautifully so that they all stand out with their own personality and are not just 2 dimensional.

The story is fantastic from the start and I was gripped from page 1. Sigmund is asked to do something that will possibly help his niece walk for the first time and what follows is a story of adventure, mystery, murder and war. The writing is fast paced but you never lose what is happening and everything is shown and not told. I didn't see the end coming till not long before Sigmund and his crew figured it out themselves, so King kept me guessing for a long time and I followed the twists and turns at the same time as the characters.

The machines that are brought out towards the end of the book are amazingly described and I could picture perfectly these mammoth war and flying machines. I actually also preferred reading the battles using this kind of weaponry than your typical gun, tank etc. In some books that have war scenes I tend to skip over the fighting as it can sometimes be confusing and sometimes it can be boring, but the fights in this book didn't fall into either category.

I only really have one ever so small criticism of this book and that is when Sigmund and his crew have figured things out, they go to tell someone of importance (I'm being vague to avoid spoilers) and then they explain in full everything that has transpired up until that point. I remembered and had understood already everything that they then explained and I feel it could have been left at the characters explained while the important person listened in disbelief or some such before asking questions. But that is just my opinion and it didn't take away any of my enjoyment of the story.

Overall a fantastic book and I feel lucky to have been asked to read this. I recommend that you read this book even if you're not a steampunk fan but you enjoy a good mystery and crime drama. I look forward to reading more both from this author and from the genre in the future.

And one last thing I started reading this book on the 30th of July and finished reading it on the 19th of September. The only reason it took this long was due to the fact it was an e-book, I only have my Nook at the side of my bed and I don't use it every night. Had I had my hands on a paper book I would have read this in one or two sittings at the most because I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads

September 2015 Book Round Up

As soon as there was a chill in the air I immediately wanted to start reading crime thrillers and psychological mysteries etc, so my YA and fantasy were put to one side so I could indulge in what I class as my guilty pleasure (though you should never feel guilty about what you read). I haven't got much reading done this month as the Nerdish family has been very busy but I've managed to sneak in quite a few graphic novels/trade paper backs and I finally read the first Sword Art Online book which the hubby has been wanting me to read. I haven't changed the format of my round up this month, but look forward to seeing something different at the end of October!

Book 1 - You by Caroline Kepnes - 3 Stars
Book 2 - Black Butler, Vol 6 by Yana Toboso - 5 Stars
Book 3 - Batgirl, Volume 2: The Flood by Bryan Q. Miller - 4 Stars
Book 4 - Remember Me This Way by Sabine Durrant - 5 Stars
Book 5 - Sword Art Online: Aincrad, Vol. 1 by Reki Kawahara - 5 Stars
Book 6 - Iron Fist: The Living Weapon, Vol. 1: Rage by Kaare Andrews - 2 Stars
Book 7 - Sigmund Shaw:  A Steampunk Adventure by Mark C. King - 4.5 Stars
Book 8 - Action Comics, Vol 1: Superman and the Men of Steel by Grant Morrison - 3 Stars
Book 9 - Siege by Brian Michael Bendis - 4 Stars
Book 10 - Winter Soldier, Vol. 1: The Longest Winter by Ed Brubaker - 5 Stars
Book 11 - Black Butler, Vol 7 by Yana Toboso - 5 Stars
Book 12 - Black Butler, Vol 8 by Yana Toboso - 4 Stars
Book 13 - The Winter Soldier, Vol. 1: The Longest Winter by Ed Brubaker - 5 Stars

What books have you been reading in September? Do you have a TBR for October? Let me know, I'm always happy to talk books.