Thursday, 9 November 2017

Book Review: Artemis by Andy Weir

Title: Artemis
Author: Andy Weir
Publisher: Del Ray
Release Date: 14th November 2017
Synopsis: Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you've got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of Jazz's problems, as she learns that she's stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself - and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even more unlikely than the first. 

Review: We all talk about the moon a lot and what life would be like to live there, especially the more realistic it becomes that Will.I.Am and Richard Branson will probably be there in the next few years (at a push). But think no more Andy Weir has done it for you and with a kick ass character. 

From the off set you want to be friends with Jazz. She has this open conversational tone that doesn't hold back. As a lone wolf on a small planet, and an independent one at that she's carved her own path and made her life harder. It was honest so you saw her flaws as much as anything else and this was important to the readers connection to the book as she drove the book forward.  

The moon was more structured than we all imagined. So many rules and regulations, and whilst this is obvious, there was a lot of the science within this that for me just got a bit lost in the narrative and distracted me. But it was great to have technology play this crucial role. It was a bit of a mind trip to have to remember the lack of gravity and the way this affected movement, but in that respect was quite cinematic. The book was very visual in all its aspects, it was like watching a movie where the lead character broke the 4th wall and talked at you. 

There was good pace and I enjoyed the plot. Within the overarching story line there was family drama, internal politics, friendship, love and a lot of comedy. All these little things that built to become the heart of the book that gave it that extra meaning and to show that although they live on the moon we're all still human. 

This was a good accessible fun read. Its one of those books that'll keep you going for nice Sunday afternoon or a long train ride and that i'll remember the laughs I had from it. 

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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The Blackbird Season Blog tour

Today we welcome to the Blog Kate Moretti the author of The Blackbird season to discuss her Favourite Characters in Crime Novels, which has got me thinking about who my favourite characters are! The Black Bird Season is out NOW and you can check out our review below. Over to Kate

Favorite Characters in Crime Novels

Some of the best characters in fiction come from the crime genre. They are lawless. They are evil, or worse, well-intentioned but misguided. Whether they are chasing criminals through darkened streets or they are the criminals being chased, crime novels have given us some of the most well-loved, and loathed, characters.

1. The Detective: I know I should say Sherlock Holmes here, but I will go against the grain and say my favorite fictional PI is probably Philip Marlowe. This is a double insult, I’m writing this for a British blog! I could at least say Hercule Poirot! I’m sorry. I fell in love with Sam Spade in college and graduated to Philip Marlowe in my late 20s. I love the sharp narration, the quick, witty dialogue, some dames and some gams and I’m all in. I shouldn’t love it as much as I do, it’s ridiculously sexist to say things like “her face fell apart like a bride’s pie crust” and “I could see that thinking was always going to be a bother for her”. The best of the bard-boiled, whiskey-slugging, Camel-and-pipe smoking best.

2. The Serial Killer: Obviously the bar is set at Hannibal Lecter. However, he’s not my personal favorite. I have to go with Tom Ripley on this one. He’s innocuous looking. A bit nerdy. Enigmatic. Affable, almost. In fact, it’s impossible not to like him and as a reader, root for him. He’s almost always a tiny bit sorry after he kills someone. Not, mind you, because it’s morally wrong but because he really doesn’t enjoy murder and despises his own lack of control. He’s chilling and somehow, lovable. Even Lecter couldn’t do that.

3. The Ultra-feminist: Lisbeth Salandar. She’s confusing. She’s loves Bloomkvist and hates him. She’s bisexual. She despises superficiality but gets breast implants. She’s incredibly smart, but a giant pain in the ass. She listens to no one and defies stereotype and cliche. Every time you think you know her she does something diabolical like drugs and tattoos her rapist and steals several billion dollars from an international criminal. Two words: Bad. Ass.

4. The Unreliable Narrator: Amy Dunne. Ok, I know. How obvious! But she’s the girl that started the craze. The terrifyingly smart wife to Nick Dunne who (spoiler alert, to the one person who hasn’t read Gone Girl yet) stages her own kidnapping as a revenge plot and secretly sends her husband on a wild goose chase all in the name of anniversary love? Wow. How can you not love/hate/admire her?

5. The Cop: Who else? Harry Bosch. The vietnam vet who has been fired and rehired from the LAPD more times than you can count. He’s a rebel who says that Everybody counts, or nobody counts. He arguably revived the traditional police procedural. He’s been in love, had a daughter, made mistakes. He’s frustratingly stubborn and stoic. You sympathize with both his boss, his enemies, and all his exes. But he always, always, gets his guy even if he has to bend the law to do it.

Check out the other stops on the blog tour: 

The Blackbird Season Review:

Years ago I read the slap, which looked at how a singular act affected the lives of people in the aftermath. IN a similar way the strength of this book was looking through the perspective of multiple characters and how they see the world and the actions of people around them. This creates an intimate web, and one of confusion because you don't know what to believe and your ideas slowly slip and change as you flit between the characters and more information and opinion is relieved. 

People are generally fascinating and we're seeing it all round us at the moment and how one moment can change the way people see, and look at something and this was so raw here.Small town big effect. Everyone knows everyone. Everyone was friends with Nate and in one quick moment the tide turned and that breakdown is great drama to watch.

Then there was this fantastic element of the blackbirds falling from the sky. Its this strange and beautiful imagery and you don;t know how it all connect for so long, because for a while it is two very jarring story lines but a great parallel for what it represents.

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Thursday, 28 September 2017

Book Review: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Title: Behind Her EyesAuthor: Sarah PinboroughPublisher: HarperCollinsRelease Date: 26th January 2017Synopsis: Only two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.
It’s said that the only people who really know what goes on in a marriage are the couple themselves. But what if even they don’t know the truth?
David and Adele seem like the ideal pair. He’s a successful psychiatrist, she is his picture-perfect wife who adores him. But why is he so controlling? And why is she keeping things hidden?
Louise, David’s new secretary, is intrigued. But as Louise gets closer to each of them, instead of finding answers she uncovers more puzzling questions. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise could never have guessed how wrong things really are and just how far someone might go to hide it.

Review:  On its basis this isn't a book I would normally read. But the proof I found had sprayed edges and the #WTFthatending tagline made me think twice. I was also a fan of Sarah and all these things together mixed into a winning combination. And overall it was different. It felt different.

I felt a lot of emotions when reading this book and was actively being affected as I read venting on the bus, then taking to twitter, then going back and repeating my verbal outbursts all the way through right up to the end. I regularly judge my mother for talking to the TV and then i go and do something like this. There were fresh twists and turns, you just wanted to grab the popcorn sit back and watch it evolve. 

Normally in a book you root for one side and there's a juxtaposition between the characters, but here you got wrapped up in all three of them. It was this weird triangle that you couldn't help get stuck in. First you're team Louise, then team Adele, then team David! 

This book exists across multi facets and the within that multi perspectives that lead up to this dramatic ending. Then you ok its done...THEN you get smacked across the face on he last page and there is all this adrenaline that i had to sit and take a moment at the end.

As I said you get very drawn into these peoples lives, but what I loved was the extent to which they got involved in each other lives and the weird dependant friendship, nay obsession, that developed between Adele and Louise. Because we saw from both their perspectives and we got the whole story and having all the information gives you the thrill of knowledge when seeing a certain situation. But in true Sarah style this information isn't always what you think it is so you;re constantly playing a game of tennis trying to keep up and piece everything together. I felt this strange affinity to Louise, I was the Louise in this book and I don't know how I feel about that. Though maybe rather be Louise than Adele.

This book was addictive, I flew through it, i'm not going to say it was my cup of tea but it was definitely my whisky and coke. Who says there have to be barriers beyond genres. No me. Gimme more Sarah...Gimmie More

And if you ever get a chance to go and hear Sarah talk do it because she's great! 

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