The Book Club Blog

Books for any occasion and other life stuff

The Silkworm – Robert Gailbraith

Welcome to my new favourite series! I read The Cuckoo’s Calling a few months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it! You can read my review here and the next in the series does not disappoint.

Cormoran Strike is officially one of my new favourite characters in a book with his trusty sidekick Robin, who is navigating her relationship with her fiancé and having found her calling in her work life. I do like how it is been portrayed in the book and adds in an extra dimension to the characters. Strike is Strike, a war veteran with one leg and relationship issues with his ex. I really enjoyed that he didn’t succumb to his fleeting desire to get in contact with his ex girlfriend Charlotte.

I found the murder in this book a little gruesome (and have to admit to having had a night mare one night which was closely related to the books murder…doesn’t happen often when a storyline heads into my dreamscapes…) but the book was full of literary references and was twisty enough to keep one interested and entertained. The only thing which I did notice and which detracted slightly from the book, was the continued references to how Strike was feeling at times, it just felt a little repetitive, though I am not sure if it is just because I read the first one a few months ago, so still have that as a reference inside my head or if it was slightly repetitive. Other than that, I enjoy her writing and I think she manages to wheel the reader in and keep one there in order to find out what happens.

I would highly recommend this series if you are interested in crime novels with a heart.

Have you read it, what did you think? Are you as taken in as I am?

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Book Review – The Waves by Jen Minkman

The Waves is the second in The Island books. You can read my first review here.

Though this book can be a stand alone book, it shows us the other side of the story that we read in The Island, and get an understanding of some of the characters that we meet in The Island. I did enjoy this short book and I have to admit that Jen Minkman does definitely write readable books. Though I do find her books a little under utilised, with regards to the fleshing out of  characters and story line, they are very readable and she manages to draw the reader in to her story so you want to know what happens next.

The third in this series is called The Deep and concludes the story of The Island.

I would recommend this book for teens, and though it is dystopian in form, it is not as hard core as the likes of The Hunger Games etc.

Available in English and Afrikaans on Kalahari, and easy read when you need a quick fix, though I would recommend reading the series in chronological order.

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I am number four

I loved this book!

Part of my library loot, it was the first I read out of them and I couldn’t put it down! Its a bit like The Hunger Games but with aliens and no games. I enjoyed it so much I went to purchase the second in the series: The Power of Six. I have not yet started reading it as I am still reading The Golem and the Djinni (which I was distracted by reading due to reading this one instead and not much time to read last week).

So, what is it about?

Most of the story is told in the first-person by Number Four, who takes the name John Smith. As the story begins, he and his guardian, Henri, learn of the death of Number Three and move to Paradise, Ohio, assuming new identities. There, John befriends conspiracy theorist Sam Goode and is ‘adopted’ by a dog identified by its name tag as Bernie Kosar. He also meets and is attracted to a fellow student who is an amateur photographer, Sarah Hart. Sarah’s ex-boyfriend, football player Mark James, is a bully who torments both John and Sam.

‘John Smith’ is an alien who was evacuated from his planet when the Mogadorians destroyed it and now they are also on Earth to destroy this planet too. This is the first in a series written by Pittacus Lore who is a pseudonym for James Frey (author of A Million Little Pieces – awesome book that too) and Jobie Hughes. When I saw that, I completely understood how this book was so readable, as loved A Million Little Pieces, if you haven’t yet read it, I would highly recommend it!

This book has also been turned into a movie, which I haven’t yet seen and was released last year. Have you seen it?

I am number four is the first in a proposed six part series, and if the story line stays as interesting as the first one, then I think thats great! Have you read this, what did you think? I am hoping that my niece has not yet read it as she will be getting the first three books for Christmas… (Shayne if you are reading this, sssshhhhhhh….)

Happy Monday!

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New author eBook review AND available in Afrikaans!

The great thing about having a book blog is that every so often I will be approached by an author or publishing house to review a book. As in the case with this one.

Jen Minkman is a YA author from the Netherlands and her books are also available in English. She is a well know author in her country and writes paranormal romance, chicklit and fantasy. The novel that I am about to review is dystopian in theme.

The Island – Jen Minkman

I walk toward the sea. The endless surface of the water extends to the horizon, whichever way I look. Our world is small. We are on our own, and we only have ourselves to depend on. We rely on the Force deep within us, as taught to us by our forefathers. If I were to walk westward from here, I would come across a barrier – the Wall. Behind it, there are Fools. At least, that’s what everyone says. I have never seen one.’ Leia lives on the Island, a world in which children leave their parents to take care of themselves when they are ten years old. Across this Island runs a wall that no one has ever crossed. The Fools living behind it are not amenable to reason – they believe in illusions. That’s what The Book says, the only thing left to the Eastern Islanders by their ancestors. But when a strange man washes ashore and Leia meets a Fool face to face, her life will never be the same. Is what she and her friends believe about the Island really true? Or is everyone in their world, in fact, a Fool? (taken from Kalahari)

So, what did I think? I enjoyed this book, it was extremely readable and the story line was good. I do think that the characters could of been fleshed out more as well as the story. The book was only 80 pages which is great for a quick and easy read but I think it could have had more depth. I wouldn’t call this a YA book, I think it would be aimed more at late tweens. There are two more in the series, The Waves (Island #2) and The Deep (Island #3) which I haven’t read yet, but I think I could be persuaded to see what happens to the characters after the initial book.

I think this would make a great book for children who are looking for something without too much violence and an easy story line to follow. It is available at Kalahari in both English and Afrikaans, yay! You can find the English version here and the Afrikaans version here for a very nice price too. If you would like to know more about the author, head over to Goodreads and check her out.

So, if you have a child who is needing a ebook, get yourself over to Kalahari and download the book now!

She has a range of other books available too, so if you fall in love with her writing, there are many more books to read:-)

Let me know what you think!

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Monday Reviews

Happy Monday! Did you manage to get some reading done this week? I did. In fact, I entered the world of e readers this past week! I bought a gobi from Kalahari which was a mere R400 AND came with two vouchers to go towards books, which I thought was a steal (please note that the Gobi ereaders have now been discontinued, shew, Im glad I got mine in time!. )I bought and downloaded my first e book, which was great, and as MUCH as I love real to touch books, I really did enjoy the ease with which I could buy the book and instantly it was there, no needing to go to the library or a book shop. I also managed to read it in a day as I had a child free afternoon last Friday. I spent my free time wisely by reading in bed. It was great!

But enough waffling this is what I managed to read last week.

First up:

The Fire Chronicles – John Stephens

This is the second in the Books of the Beginning series, the first one being The Emerald Atlas which I read last year and really enjoyed. It is a children’s fantasy novel and highly readable! The book follows orphan siblings Kate, Emma and Micheal  who, after a series of unsuccessful orphanage dwellings, get transferred to the mansion of Dr Pym where they find a magical book which allows them to travel through time. The Fire Chronicles follows on after this book whereby they need to find the second book of beginnings before the Dire Magnus does. The story is compelling and readable with enough magic and reality to make it real. I loved it and look forward to the third in the trilogy. You can read my review on The Emerald Atlas here

The Peach Keeper – Sarah Addison Allen (ebook)

I love Sarah’s books, they have a touch of magic about them and her writing is just delicious. It is the perfect easy read, with enough mystery to keep you reading to the very end. This story follows the lives of a group of adults 10 years after having left school, where they all end up in the same small town that they grew up in. The book shows us how we all grow and change but sometimes don’t allow ourselves to be the real people that we are, hiding under preconceptions about ourselves and often, fear. It shows us the magic of friendships and how the people that we often think are the most unlikeliest of friends turn out to be the best of friends. A story about friendship, small towns and change. Magical.You can read a review of The Sugar Queen, another book by her here

What did you read this past week? And any suggestions on ebooks will be welcome, I need to build up my library!

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Children’s Books

I go through stages where I like to read children’s books, it also helps that I have a 6 year old daughter who loves books too! Here are a couple that we have read lately and that you should enjoy, either as an adult OR reading to your child:-)

The BFG – Roald Dahl

Would you believe that I don’t actually remember reading Roald Dahl as a child? I am sure I must have read something by him, but really cannot remember. This was a thoroughly enjoyable book and my daughter enjoyed it too. The BFG stands for the ‘Big Friendly Giant’ and the story is about a little girl in an orphanage who sees the BFG blowing something into peoples windows of their houses. The BFG sees her seeing him and comes to carry her away to the land where he lives. Luckily Sophie was taken by the friendly giant and Not a man eating one. The story follows Sophie and the BFG and how they save the world from the man eating giants. I don’t think one can ever be too old to read Roald Dahl!

Matilda – Roald Dahl

This was an interesting and enjoyable novel about an unloved little girl who is a genius. Matilda is able to read at the age of four (and I love the list of books that gets included that she reads) and has magical powers which she uses to keep her and her friends safe from Mrs Trunchbull, the extremely nasty headmistress of the school she goes to. The only thing about reading this book to a 6 year old is that there are many words which need to be explained! Which is not a bad thing, just a time consuming one;-)

Both of these books have been made into movies, which I didn’t realise, but according to Wikipedia there will be a new version of The BFG being made this year and released in 2015. Sounds like it could be quite fun to watch!

Did you read Roald Dahl as a child or as an adult?

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Monday Reviews

Its that time of week again where I tell you how great the books I have read are…

 

The Last Rhino – Lawrence Anthony

After reading The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony I was drawn to his other books. I was just amazed at how he lived with his elephants and believe he is an inspiration for us all. And I reserved both Babylon Zoo and The Last Rhino from the library. Last week I read The Last Rhino and it truly was an amazing account of one mans desire to make a difference. I find it quite sad how the Rhino is becoming extinct just because of some superstitious belief that its horn can heal. Read this book, in some ways it makes one feel embarrassed to be part of the human race and yet on the other hand, so proud to know that there are people who do believe that we can do something about it. Read it. I didn’t realise that Lawrence Anthony had died! A commenter on FB mentioned it and I was so sad to hear that such an incredible man who did such incredible things had passed on. And that the elephants came to pay homage to the man who had helped them made me feel so humble.

The Fault in our Stars – John Green

I first came across this book about a year or so ago when it first came out. I vividly remember standing at Exclusive Books reading the first few pages and then deciding against buying it because of the Cancer theme. I went and bought it for book club last week because almost everyone I know has read it and raved about it. So, I decided to bite the bullet and read about an ‘uncomfortable’ subject and I adored it! What a beautiful book! I really enjoyed how he portrayed Life. Even though this is a young adult book, and a love story to boot, it doesn’t read like a willy nilly love story with characters that just irritate. It is a great expression of how we as humans deal with what life throws at us and how we can get fixated on an idea of something. I really enjoyed it!

Have you read either of these? What did you think?

 

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Monday Morning Reviews

With life being so busy lately, its amazing that I actually have time to read! but read I have with one that stands out from the rest. So much so, that I really am frustrated that the next book out is only available in June. I thought it had already been published. Luckily, I guess June is really not all that long to wait, can you believe at the rate this year is flying by? So before I get distracted, my favourite book in the last month has been:

 

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling.

I don’t know how many of you read Harry Potter, but I was a great fan. LOVED the books,(didn’t really enjoy the movies- as well done as they were) so when The Casual Vacancy was released, I was just as excited as the next fan but I never actually read it. Why? I guess I had heard to many varying opinions on the book. Also, I tried the first couple of pages and didn’t seem to be my cup of tea, though I will eventually get round to reading it properly. Anyhoo, so when The Cuckoo’s Calling came out, I didn’t pay it much heed, then it was recommend to read on The Book Club Blog’s FB page and then it came out in the library so I reserved a copy and then I read it. And Wow, I really enjoyed it. Classic JK in the fact that it is JUST SO READABLE. The main character Cormoran Strike is interesting, the case he needs to solve is interesting, the back drop is interesting and it kept me going back for more. I was very lucky that I had it out on a long weekend where I was away from my usual routine so had a lot more time to read, and I couldn’t put it down (unless I really really had to). So whats it about? Cormoran Strike is a down and out private detective who has just broken up with his girlfriend, gets a new case trying to find out if the model that fell from her balcony to her death was a murder or suicide.. He is  a very likeable, unique and  someone you can’t help having a soft spot for, character and reigns you in to his story. You know when you keep thinking about a character after you have finished reading a book? Well, thats the case on this book. Which means I am looking forward to the next book in the series, and was highly annoyed when I realised I still had to wait another monthish for it to come out;-)!

The Goldfinch by Donna Tart

I have never read Donna Tart before and to be honest wasn’t particularly keen to try her new book but I read a good review and when I was in the bookstore, I read the first few pages, which had me wanting more so again, my library got it in, I reserved a copy and then loaned it out when it was my turn. My first problem with this book was that it was a tome of a book to read AND it took me just under two weeks, TWO WEEKS to read this book! Now, for those of you who know me, I am a fairly fast reader and I enjoy reading at a good pace, in-between life and work. But TWO weeks, was for me a bit long to keep going at a book. If it had taken me longer, I might just have left it dangling…but I couldn’t, I had to find out what happened in the end! So what’s it about? In a nutshell about a orphaned boy throughout his life from when he was orphaned to his being much older, wizened and  I’d even go so far as to say a little broken down by life. Which is not really surprising considering his start but also made me think about how we make the choices that we do. This is a part novel part philosophical book. What I enjoyed about it was the unlikely friendship between and older antique restorer gentleman and the young boy and the how it shapes his passion and the talk about the antiques and famous paintings. Also, how the standoffishness of the main character is paralleled with how he ‘feels’ empty in his life.I have to admit to having found it a little long winded at times but all in all an enjoyable book. Not for the faint hearted though.

Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell is another author who I normally really enjoy for her easy light reading books, perfect for escaping the day with but this was not my most favourite of hers. It was a little mundane for my liking. So, what’s it about? A young girl looks after her step grandmother during her last  years of life and at the reading of the will discover someone nobody knows who she is or how she was connected to the grandmother. Therein lies the story of how the granddaughter goes about finding her and what the circumstances surrounding her were. This is the back drop to the story and was my favourite part. The ‘main’ part of the story I found a little unbelievable and over the top but easy reading enough. If you are looking for a light read and enjoy the 1920’s era, give it a go, you may find you enjoy it more than I did:-)

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Monday Morning Reviews

Goodness, the time is just dissapearing at a rather rapid pace at the moment, it feels like there is just not enough time to read at the moment! But I have managed to read a couple of good books lately. The first was:

The Elephant Whisperer – Lawrence Anthony

This was a beautiful read! I am always amazed at how some people just have a natural affinity to live in Africa’s bush and be with wild animals. To stand in that awesomeness which is the wild. This book looks at how Lawrence takes in a herd of angry at humans elephants and how they begin to trust him. It is an awe inspiring book and I urge you read it.

Making Finn – Susan Newham-Blake

This is also a true story about a woman who finally deals with the fact that she prefers woman to men and consolidates that with her need for having a baby. I really enjoyed this book as it shows the anxst of dealing with two opposing ideas of what we think of as ‘normal’. It also tells us of her baby making process…I would highly recommend it.

Inferno – Dan Brown

This typical Dan Brown, about how a scientist takes on the world, with a virus, which no one knows about until the very last minute, in order to cull the population. High speed and high energy with a much art and architecture thrown in for good measure. I enjoyed it, and I think even if you haven’t read any of his books before you should enjoy it. I have to admit to skim reading through some of his book though when the descriptions were a little too long winded. Based on Dante’s Inferno, this is an interesting read. If you have read it, what did you think?

And now onto you, what have you read lately, anything good??

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Lets talk about a book

I first read about this book after Exmi had reviewed it and I thought it sounded pretty good. I then promptly forgot all about it (I find if I don’t write book names down, then they go completely out my head) until I saw it in the window of one of my favourite second hand book shops. I dashed in and bought it for a mere 90 raands, was most impressed and then left it on my bookshelf as I had other things to read at the time.

Come Christmas holidays, I had run out books to read, the library was closed so I scoured my bookshelves for something to read. (I still have a good 7 or so books which need to be read from my bookshelves but I did manage to make a dent in them over the holiday season…) And out came 30 Second World.

And I really enjoyed it! Emma van der Vliet is a South African author(as you know, I am a fan of good SA authors) and her previous novel Past Imperfect was published in 2007, I never reviewed the book but I read it at the beginning of 2012 and also enjoyed that novel.

She has a lovely writing style whereby the characters become like friends and you find yourself wondering what is going to happen to them when a) you have to put the book down to go to sleep b) you have finished the book but still the characters stay with you.

It is an easy read, and I love how she contrasts the different worlds. The one of TV ad production and real life. Alison is a working mother and I think that Emma manages to get right down to the nitty gritty of this character showing how often we make the wrong choices because we think they are the right ones and only once Life has pushed you to the absolute limit do we make the changes that were staring us in the eyeball all along! I love the blossoming friendship between Alison and Beth, I love the creativity of the novel, I love the characters. I love that I know where (most aka the swinger club, for those of you who have read it, I would not have a clue) most of the places are and can relate to the book. That is one of my most favourite things about reading South African authors where their books are based in Cape Town:-D

Read it, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Have you read anything good lately?

(I have just started  ‘A Discovery of Witches’ by Deborah Harkness which I am already devouring it as if I haven’t read anything in ages….)

 

 

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