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Tag Archives: 4 Stars

Book Review: Let the Right One – John Ajvide Lindqvist

Let the Right One in – John Ajvide Lindqvist

I purchased this book as part of the Kindle Spring Sale for £1.01. Not only was I excited to get a bargain but I was also thrilled with the book. Having not seen the Swedish movie or the American remake, I was introduced to the story for the first time by reading the novel that the movies were based on. From being recommended the movie by family and friends, I had a rough idea what the story was about – A Vampire love story.

I’ve read a lot of Vampire stories recently, and have become a little tired with them to be honest. I do love my True Blood series but everything else seems to feel like it’s jumping on the Vampire bandwagon. As more of a classic horror novel, I decided to give this a go and was very glad I did.

The story follows 12-year-old Oskar, targeted by the class bullies and wishing he could disappear. Near to where he lives, the police find dead bodies, which they believe to be caused by a ‘Ritual Killer’. At the same time, he meets and befriends a neighbourhood girl called Eli and soon realises that maybe his new found friend and the murders are linked.

I really loved the character of Oskar – although only 12 and bullied by his classmates, he is extremely intellegent and has a wonderful imagination. The writer has created scenes where Oskar believes he’s someone else, a hero, slaying bullies and bad guys.  John Ajvide Lindqvist has captured the imagination of this 12 year old outcast perfectly. Oskar, with very few people in his life and only books for company until he meets Eli, creates this heroic alter-ego to get him through his days.

The story itself felt a little long but it was well paced and the way the writer went from character to character really pulled you into this Swedish estate. There are so many characters – from Oskar and Eli, to Eli’s ‘Dad’ Håkan, Oskar’s teenage neighbour Tommy, the bullies, and a group of alcholics who not only bare witness to the murders, but become victims also. The whole group of characters seem seperate and unrelated at the beginning, but soon their paths are brought together, and only the reader will understand their significance from their backstory.

The novel had a very Stephen King-eqsue quality to it. It mixes a ‘coming of age’ story of friendship and love, with the horror of the supernatural. Particularly in the last scene of the novel at the swimming pool, I had flashbacks of Stephen King’s Carrie, along with many other King classics throughout the book. Being a fan of Stephen King, of course this is only a good thing!

Overall, it’s a really enjoyable novel. Although long, it’s packs into the story so many characters who are directly and indirectly affected by Eli and the murders, and they are all brought together very well as the story concludes. Lindqvist has done a marvellous job of creating potentially horrific characters that you feel attached to, and combining a sweet story of friendship with that of a supernatural thriller.

4 Stars ****

Let the Right One in – John Ajvide Lindqvist on Amazon

Book Review: Club Dead: A True Blood Novel

Club Dead: A True Blood Novel


This is the third novel in the Sookie Stackhouse series and roughly follows Season 3 of the TV show, with the King of Mississippi and all the werewolves being introduced in Club Dead. While reading book one of the series (Dead Until Dark), I found the TV show followed it so closely that it wasn’t a terribly thrilling read as I’d seen how it ended on TV. However, as the novel series progresses, I’ve found that the TV show follows it much more loosely and books 2 and 3 are much more entertaining than the first, as it tells a similar story but in a much different way.

Club Dead, book thee, is no exception. Having watched series 3 on TV, I was interested to see how different this third book would be. While it roughly includes the story following the King of Mississippi and introduces Alcide the werewolf to protect Sookie, it was quite a lot different to the season on TV – making it entertaining and surprising even after seeing the HBO show. However enjoyable it was, I found this book lacked a little in excitement, especially compared to the corresponding season on TV. In season 3 of True Blood on TV, the King of Mississippi has a much larger role with his attempt at overthrowing the Vampire Magister and taking power himself, not to mention Eric’s desire for revenge against the King, the torture of Pam, blackmail of the Louisiana Queen and the King’s interest in Sookie. With all these things introduced for TV, the novel story seems a little flat in comparison. However, it is still a very enjoyable read and I do love the character of Bubba which was obviously dropped for the TV show.

It is an excellent book and I love whole series of Sookie Stackhouse novels. The TV show follows it loosely enough so if you see the show first like I have, it’s still almost a new story when reading the novels. However, the TV show has magnified the excitment and brought a lot of new twists and conspiracies to it’s season three, which makes this particular novel feel a little inadequate in comparison.

4 Stars ****

Club Dead: A True Blood Novel on Amazon

Book Review: Dead Until Dark – Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark: A True Blood Novel by Charlaine Harris

 

As a huge fan of HBO’s True Blood TV show, the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris have been at the top of my reading wishlist for some time.

The series follows the story of Sookie, living in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps. She has the gift of mind-reading, although she would never refer to it as a gift but more of a curse, as her head is constantly filled with noise. When she meets Vampire Bill Compton, she hears nothing and enjoys the peace. However, there is a serial killer in Bon Temps, one that goes after women who associate with Vampires. With both her brother Jason and her new Vampire boyfriend Bill both suspects, this first novel follows Sookie’s investigation into the murders while trying to stay alive herself.

What strikes me most about Dead Until Dark, is how closely the TV show has followed the novels. The creators of the True Blood TV show on HBO have done a marvellous job of keeping the show as close to the novels as possible. It’s always a shame when stories and characters are altered too much to suit a TV audience and ends up ruining a great series. However, reading Charlaine Harris’ novels, it’s obvious to see that nothing from the novels has been compromised to bring it to TV.

Having said that, reading the novels after watching the show on TV does have some downsides. While it’s easy to picture the characters in the novels, the element of surprise is lost. While the story itself is still gripping and I found it difficult to put down, I already knew who the serial killer was from the TV show. I can imagine it’s a spectacular read if you are unaware of the conclusion of the Bon Temps Serial Killer storyline.

It’s a very entertaining and easy to read book. There’s so much going on and very well paced. What HBO has fit into the entire Series 1 on TV, Charlaine Harris has fit it’s entirity into this first novel. What I especially enjoyed is her creation of the Bon Temps townspeople. With Sookie working at Merlotte’s Bar, Harris has enabled the reader to become familiar with everyone in the town. Sookie’s telepathy only adds to this – the readers here the thoughts of Merlotte’s patrons, meaning we get much more insight into the lives and thoughts of the less-important characters. She clearly paints a picture of the gossiping people of the small town, which really envelops you in the story. The main characters themselves are superbly well written and you feel so emotionally attached to them all.

Dead Until Dark has everything you’d want in a book – mystery, murder, romance, fantastic characters and a really enjoyable story. The only disappointment was that I knew how it would end. However, I fully intend on continuing reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels and I’m sure once I surpass the point in the storyline that is currently on TV, the story will grip me even more. Dead Until Dark is a brilliant book, but I did miss the element of ‘what will happen next?’.

4 Stars **** (Would have been 5 stars, had I read this before watching the TV show!)

Dead Until Dark: A True Blood Novel by Charlaine Harris on Amazon

Gadget Accessory Review: iTALKonline Purple Wallet Case for Kindle

iTALKonline PURPLE Executive Wallet Case for Kindle

 

Most of my reading is done at home, but since getting my Kindle, I noticed opportunities where I could really benefit from taking my Kindle out and about. Not wanting to let my new Kindle get scratched in my bag with my keys, I went on a search for a case similar to Amazon’s £50 cases but at a fraction of the price – my Kindle doesn’t get used enough outside the house to warrent spending that kind of money on a case, however much I’d like to!

The case itself is a beautiful colour – slightly darker purple, less pink in colour than the photo (more plum than magenta), but a gorgeous colour nonetheless. The quality, for the price, is amazing. Strong and sturdy, and to my surprise, it also came with a screen protector and cleaning cloth. While I have no intention to use the screen protector (the case itself will protect my Kindle sufficiently), it was an unexpected bonus and I’m sure one that would be appreciated by other Kindle users.

The one downside I found with this case is the weight. While I wanted something that I could just throw in my bag for times when I might need it, I find it really adds weight to my lightweight Kindle. While the Kindle is light and portable, this heavy case cancels that out. But then again, I did want something of good quality and something much lighter and flimsy might not protect my Kindle as much.

Overall, it’s a great case for keeping my Kindle protected from scratches and scuffs while in my bag, but when I’m reading, my Kindle won’t be in it’s case – it’s just too heavy for me to feel comfortable while reading. The one thing I really love about my Kindle is that it’s so much more comfortable to hold compared to a real book and this case takes away that benefit. It is a stunning case, high quality and perfect if you’re looking for a leather-look wallet-style case

4 Stars ****

iTALKonline PURPLE Executive Wallet Case for Kindle on Amazon

Book Review: The Case Of The Missing Boyfriend by Nick Alexander

The Case of the Missing Boyfriend by Nick Alexander

I picked this book up for Kindle last week when it was priced at £0.00 – a free Kindle book! It quickly made it to the #1 spot on the Free Books chart, and even when the price was put back up to £1.49 a few days ago, it’s still at #2 on the Kindle ‘paid’ list. It’s no surprise either – it’s a fantastic book and a real bargain, even when not on the free list.

The Case of the Missing Boyfriend follows CC, who like the title suggests, is boyfriendless. While it’s a contemporary romance novel, it’s only subtly so. CC is approaching 40 with a fantastic job in advertising and wonderful friends, but feels pressured to find a boyfriend and settle down. She dreams of a life away from London, living the ‘Good Life’ in a little cottage somewhere in the countryside, but is blocked by the endless search for love.

Nick Alexander has done a wonderful job of creating characters that your really feel an emotional bond with throughout the book – CC herself, her group of comedic gay friends, her hilarious mother due to marry her 20-year-old toyboy to keep him in the country.

There’s laugh out loud moments throughout, along with emotional ups and downs. Plenty of red-herring potential romances keep you unaware of who CC will ultimately end up with. It’s a well-written, intelligent and heartwarming read – completely opposite to the stereotypical ‘chic-lit’ novels. Alexander writes CC’s point of view so perfectly, it’s quite surprising when you remember that it’s written by a man.

This book is a fantastic story of personal encounters, relationships and CC’s desire to escape the city and settle down. The end is so perfect and unpredictable. This is a great example of the gems you can find in the Kindle ‘Free Book’ list – it’s something I’d not necessarily go for usually, but I’m likely to look for more from this author.

4 Stars ****

The Case of the Missing Boyfriend by Nick Alexander on Amazon

Book Review: The Girl With Glass Feet

The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw

The Girl with Glass Feet is a modern-day ‘grown up’ fairytale by Ali Shaw. The story is unusual and captivating, and is one which will linger with me for a while.

Midas Crook is a lonely photographer who lives on a small fictional island. He believes that allowing people into his life only complicates matters and is haunted by the memories of his dead father. He spends so long analysing his thoughts, actions and feelings and comparing them with his heartless, bully of his father, and fears becoming him. That is, until he meets Ida MacLaird, visiting from the mainland. He’s not necessarily attracted to her, but he finds her interesting and mysterious and wants to know her. Especially, her very odd feet in her big black boots.

As the story progresses, you learn of the transformation that is taking place – Ida is turning to glass, from the feet upwards. Putting trust in Midas, she enlists his local knowledge of the island. Having seen something magical here years before, she believes there must be someone on the island who can enlighten her about her condition.

The story is unusual and beautiful. The description of the magical island, with it’s deadly jelly fish, captivating glowing lights, and it’s herd of flying bull moths is stunning. Ali Shaw’s writing is full of elaborate, beautiful descriptions of the island’s nature. While the fantastic poetic writing is hypnotic, it’s not the easiest to read unless fully concentrating, as it flies backwards and forwards between time, places and people. While it’s a love story, there’s nothing typical about it – it’s a very unconventional love story and it’s not until the very end when you realise it was a love story at all.

There are many characters that become involved with Midas and Ida – people who they search out help from, and friends who become worried for them both along the way. The writer dedicates whole chapters to these supporting characters and you learn about their loves and losses along the way, such as Henry, the man with the bull moths who loved Midas’ mother; Carl, who was in love with Ida’s mother and, subsequently, loves Ida as when he looks at her, he sees her mother; and Midas’ father who is resented for the way he treated Midas and his mother. All the characters are real and believable as they are all flawed in some way and due to past hurt, they struggle to love.

It’s a really beautiful, magical book. A fantastic, poetic fairytale, written itelligently. With the chapters jumping through time, written from different points of view, it does take some concentration and I found myself going back to re-read paragraphs to work out which character the writer was referring to by ‘he’ or ‘she’. But, despite this, I found myself unable to put it down and entranced by the story.

Currently, this particular book is only £1 for download from the Kindle Marketplace…it’s most definitely a bargain at this price!

4 Stars ****

The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw on Amazon

Book Review: My Blood Approves 1-4

My Blood Approves (Books 1-4) by Amanda Hocking

As you may have read, I bought myself a Kindle. One of the first books I downloaded was book one in the My Blood Approves series by Amanda Hocking. While they’re aimed at the teen/young adult audience, I was instantly hooked and drawn into the magical world of modern day Vampires. Amanda Hocking is a self-publishing author and Amazon Kindle has given her a platform to sell her work. Many of her books are constantly in the Kindle Bestsellers list.

The story is about Alice Bonham, a teenager who meets a boy called Jack and suddenly becomes involved in his life and his family, only later discovering that he and his family are Vampires. She is told that she is ‘bloodmates’ with Jack’s brother Peter, who is an older, stronger vampire, and she is destined to belong to Peter. The series of books follow the life of Alice and adventures she has with her new Vampire family, as well as the threatening situations she finds herself in as a human in a Vampire world.

I know the books are probably comparable with Twilight, but, I’ve never read any of the Twilight books or seen the films, so I was able to enjoy this series without drawing any comparisons to the current ‘top’ Vampire franchise. It’s aimed at teenage readers and the writing style just comfirms this, but it’s a very fun, feel-good series with enough action and ‘life-changing choices’ to make it gripping. There are four books to this series and books 1-3 all finish with cliff-hanger endings. At £0.70-£1.40 each, it’s very easy to just keep downloading until the story draws it’s final conclusion.

The thing I loved about this series was the Vampire characteristics. Each Vampire series, be it book, movie or tv, all have different versions of their vampires – the rules and abilities that the Vampires live with. Hocking’s Vampires were more modern and lived almost like ‘normal’ humans – sleeping in beds and being able to be out in the sunlight for short periods of time if necessary. The blood-magnetism that they feel towards their bloodmates is a fantastic bit of imagination – Vampires who have soulmates in other Vampires and their blood and abilities change when around their bloodmate.

Overall, it’s an enjoyable series for those wanting some light reading and something a little bit magical. Don’t be put off by the teen audience it tries to reach to, but if you’re not into fantasy love-triangles, I’d give it a miss! While I loved this series, I followed this with Hocking’s Trylle series and found it was practically the same story but with trolls and a few name changes. When it was done with Vampires, it was magical and addictive, yet the Trylle books were too much a case of Deja Vu and quickly bored me.

4 Stars ****

Amanda Hocking on Amazon