Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Snippet

I'm really not sure what to make of Barbara Erskine's 'Time's Legacy'. Like the main character of the story, I can't quite decide who she is (she is a priest, but has done a History degree and dabbled as a journalist!?) and as a reader, what sort of book this is supposed to be, as it has so many themes running through it..

The funny thing about this, is that even though I would normally have put this type of book down by now, I'm finding this fascinating. This may turn out to be complete drivel, but I'm curious to know how this is going to pan out. Have you ever read a book that was muddled in its writing, but for some reason, wanted to find out the outcome?

Here's a 'snippet':

Page 203- ' Aware of Ben's scrutiny, Kier lifted his hand restlessly and brushed his hair back from his forehead. Then he sat forward in the chair, his elbows on his knees. 'I expect you have been given some kind of garbled fabrication of what happened between Abi and myself?'

'Time's Legacy' by Barbara Erskine

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the weekend. I'm off out for dinner this afternoon, I'm glad the weather is warming up. There is nothing worse that making my way to the restaurant and it's cold and raining.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

'The Hound of the Baskervilles' by Arthur Conan Doyle (E-Book)



Publisher: FeedBooks

Length: 154 Pages

Opening Line: 'Mr Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he was up all night, was seated at the breakfast table.'

What's good about this novel?

This is the second novel I have read within the 'League of Extraordinary Gentleman Book Challenge' . From the beginning, I knew that I was going to enjoy it.

'The Hound of the Baskervilles' is very well written and draws the reader in from the start. Even though this isn't the first novel in the series of 'Sherlock Holmes' books, Arthur Conan Doyle makes it possible for the reader to understand what is going on and who the characters of Dr Watson and Sherlock Holmes are, without reading the novels in a sequence. I also really like the humour within this novel, the writing in general has a lot of charm.

The story is complex, but I even though there are many twists and turns within the plot, I felt that for the most part, I could still follow what was going on. Saying that, I didn't predict what was going to happen in the end, which I would have found disappointing.

What's wrong with this novel?

To be honest, I can't really find many negatives about this book. Being a fan of the tv series 'Sherlock', I could see how fans of this could find the novel of 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' disappointing. This is because the story between the two versions are quite different. However, I found that both were equally as enjoyable. They both had their own identity, whilst still containing the essence of the plot and characters from within.

Is this worth a read?

Yes I think this is worth a read. 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' is a light and entertaining read. I look forward to reading more 'Sherlock Holmes' novels in the future.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Violet Jelly News

Do you have children aged between 8-10? Would you like to help to develop their vocabulary, whilst encouraging a love for reading? Well I think the 'Violet Jelly Trilogy' may be something you are looking for.

Today, author and blogger Ann Sharples has made an exciting announcement about the first 2 books in her 'Violet Jelly' series, going digital. To find out more click here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Snippet

After ploughing through 'Fall of Giants' by Ken Follett, I'm now reading a book that I'm enjoying! Although the method in which I am reading 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' by Arthur Conan Doyle (on my PC tablet) isn't as good as the reading experience you get with a paperback, I'm really like this book.

Being a fan of the tv series 'Sherlock' which is based on the 'Sherlock Holmes' novels, I was interested to see how the programmes differ from the original texts. In some ways the two versions of 'The Hounds of the Baskervilles' are very different, but the same intrigue and essence of the character of Sherlock is contained within the TV programme and the book.

Here's a 'snippet':

Page 107: 'It was several miles off, but I could distinctly see a dark dot against the dull green and gray.'

'The Hound of the Baskervilles' by Arthur Conan Doyle

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tagged!

I don't often take part in book hops or chain blog post schemes. However, when Barbara from 'March House Books' tagged me with the following questions, I thought it would be an interesting exercise.

The Tag rules;
1. You must post the rules!
2. Answer the questions and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
3. Tag eleven people and link to them.
4. Let them know you’ve tagged them.

Questions:

Do you use a bookmark or will any old bit of paper do?

99% of the time I use a bookmark to keep my place in books and have a small collection of them. However, I the very rare occasions when a bookmark isn't to hand, I will use an old recipt or scrap of paper.

What new books are you most excited to read this year?

I don't really keep an eye on new books that are about to be released, I just add books to my TBR list, when I discover potentially interesting reads. From the recent series of 'The TV Book Club' I would like to read 'Before I go to Sleep' by S.J Watson and 'The Sisters Brothers' by Patrick DeWitt.

Favourite season?

Autumn. You can still enjoy some pleasant weather, without having to suffer the baking heat of the sun.

If money were not an issue, what present would you give yourself?

A car and a little house, complete with library!

Do you buy second-hand books, new books or both?

I buy both new and second-hand books. I love discovering inscriptions inside second hand books as I wonder who owned the book before I did.

Early bird or night owl?

I'm definitely NOT an early bird, but I also like my sleep. So I would have to say I'm a mid morning kind of a person!

Do you like to read a specific genre? If so, what genre is it?

I generally read fiction books, but I do read the occasional non fiction book too.

Who is your favourite literary character of all time?

Either Harry Potter or Jo from 'Little Women' by Louisa May Alcott

Physical books, E-books or audio books?

Definitely physical books. After acquiring a tablet computer and being able to read ebooks, it has confirmed to me that 'real' books are better. There's nothing like the feel and smell of a paperback.

If your life was made into a movie, who would you like to play you?

Ohh that's a difficult one! Either Helena Bonham Carter or British comedian Sarah Millican

Cat person or dog person?

Dog Person


Blogs I'm tagging:

'Wordstitcher'

'This too...'

'Dancing Branflakes'

'Dizzy C's Little Book Blog'

'Isavirtue'

'Kelly Hashway'

'Man of La Book'


'Marcie'

'Miss H Writes'


'Savidge Reads'

'StephTheBookworm'

'The Daydreamer's Book Obsession'

Questions to answer:

If you could live in a fictional world, where would that be?

Do you read in noisy or quiet places?

What was the first book you ever read?

If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Favourite author?

Do reviews influence your choice of reads?

Fiction or Non fiction?

Have you ever met your favourite author?

Audio books or Paperbacks?

Classic or Modern Novels?

Book Groups or Solitary Reading?









Wednesday, February 15, 2012

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

At the local raft race at the weekend, a load of Elvises (or is it Elvi?) turned up and began serenading us....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

'Fall of Giants' by Ken Follett


Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 978-0-330-53544-1

Length: 941 Pages

What the 'blurb' says: 'Five families are brought together through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution and the struggle for votes for women.

It is 1911, and the coronation day of King George V. Thirteen-year-old Billy Williams begins his first day of work in a coal mine.

The Williams family is connected by romance and enmity to the Fitzherberts, aristocratic coal-miners, Lady Maud Fitzherbert falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German Embassy in London. Their destiny is entangled with that of Gus Dewar, ambitious young aide to U.S President Woodrow Wilson. Two orphaned Russian brothers soon become involved, but Grigori and Lev Peshkov's plan to emigrate to America falls foul of war, conscription and revolution.'

Opening Line: '22 June 1911- On the day King George V was crowned at Westminster Abbey in London, Billy Williams went down the pit in Aberowen, South Wales.'

What's good with this novel?

The opening to this novel is gripping. It was so gripping, that during about the first 100 pages, I couldn't put this book down. When Follett focuses on the purely character elements of the story, the writing is brilliant.

I found the conflict between the miners and the issue with the safety within that work environment, very interesting. I also liked the elements which talked about votes for women.

What's wrong with this novel?

Whilst I found the character focused elements within this novel gripping, I felt that 'Fall of Giants' was too bogged down with war strategy and indepth description about war. At times, I almost felt as if Follett was glamourising a war which, in my opinion, was useless anyway.

I was also disappointed to find that even though Follett sets the multiple characters within 'Fall of Giants' successfully, I felt that he did not maintain equal attention to them throughout the novel. During most of the novel, the story focuses on one or two of the characters which were heavily involved in war or politics then at the end, Follett hastily concluded the stories of the remaining characters.

The pace of this novel is unsatisfactory also. Whilst the beginning of the novel was well paced, I found the rest of it to be slow and at times, rather boring. To be honest, I was desperate to end this novel, because it could not hold my attention throughout its 941 pages and I couldn't wait to start something new. I was also disappointed with the ending of this novel.

Is this worth a read?

If you enjoy novels which focus heavily on war, you may enjoy this. If you are looking for a novel which more character driven, you will be disappointed.

Have you read this novel? What are your thoughts on it?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Snippet

I'm FINALLY on the home straight with 'Fall of Giants' by Ken Follett! When I say home straight, in reality I have still got 125 pages to go until I have reached the end. To be honest, the end can't come any sooner.

What started off to be a very enjoyable book, has transformed into a tedious mission to reach the end, so that I can begin a new book. I could give up but, seeing as I'm so close to the end, I feel obliged to complete this book. I'm not saying that this book is all bad, there are nuggets of brilliant writing but overall, this is not my kind of book. Have you ever read a book like this?

Here's a 'snippet':

P816- 'Gus had heard a rumour there would be a ceasefire at eleven a.m, but his commanding officer had ordered the assault so he was carrying it out.'

'Fall of Giants' by Ken Follett.

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the weekend. I'm planning to finish 'Fall of Giants' today. Wish me luck!

In other news, I was saddened to hear of the death of Whitney Houston this morning. She will be remembered as one of the greatest singers of all time.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Snippet

Firstly, I want to thank Relish from 'Literary Relish' for giving me this award:



It's lovely to receive awards like this, because it's great to get recognition for the posts I write, however infrequent they are.

Anyway this week has been a interesting one, because on Tuesday I received a late birthday present (which I bought for myself).

For a long time, I have considered buying myself a Kindle to read books on. Some of you may remember that I decided against it, because my theory was that I was contributing to the death of the paperback. Well, a few weeks ago I decided to take the plunge and get one, reasoning that I would only use it for storing doorstop sized books like Ken Follett's, for easy storage and transportation. To cut a long story short, I decided that instead of just buying a machine that I could only read books on, I would buy a tablet PC which I could do that and a lot of other things too.

Being someone who loves a bargin, I wasn't just prepared to settle on spending 500- 600ish euros on an I-Pad (you're just paying for the name in my opinion), I decided to shop around. By doing that, I am now the proud owner of a tablet computer, which does everything I want it to do, for a fraction of the price. The only downside is that at 7 inches, it's smaller than an I-Pad and the camera isn't fancy. That's no loss to me however, because I can work prefectly well on a smaller screen and I already have a camera phone AND a digital camera, so why would I want another camera?

With my tablet, I also have not one, but two apps for reading books, Kindle and Aldiko. Both work very week and offer a large range of free classic books. However, I do prefer Aldiko because I know that it sounds sad, but I like the fact that with Aldiko your books are stored on a virtual book shelf.

So far I have downloaded the following free books:

'Pride and Prejudice'- Jane Austen
'Treasure Island' -Robert Louis Stevernson
'Aesop's Fables'- Translated by George Fyler Townsend
'Les Miserables'- Victor Hugo
'Dracula'- Bram Stoker
'Frankenstein' -Mary Shelley
'Great Expectations'- Charles Dickens
'Romeo and Juliet'-William Shakespeare
'Sense and Sensibility'- Jane Austen
'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'- R.L Stevenson
' The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'-Mark Twain
' The Adventures Sherlock Holmes'- Arthur Conan Doyle
' The Count of Monte Cristo'- Alexandre Dumas
'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'- Francis Scott Fitzgerald
'The Divine Comedy'- Dante Alighieri
'The Hound of the Baskervilles'- Arthur Conan Doyle
'The Iliad and the Odyssey'- Homer
'The Time Machine'- H.G Wells
'The War of the Worlds'- H.G Wells
'White Fang'- Jack London
'Wuthering Heights'-Emily Bronte

I have started reading 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' by Arthur Conan Doyle and although the reading experience will NEVER be as good as with a 'real' book, it's not as bad as I had anticipated. You are able to change the font size, margins and which background you are reading the book on and I love the fact that both apps have in built dictionaries on them. I haven't read for long periods of time on my tablet, so time will tell whether I will be happy with Ebooks. Do you have a Kindle or tablet? Have you read a lot of books on there? What are your opinions on the reading experience, is it as good as reading a paperback?

So back to this week's 'snippet'. Due to playing with my new toy and suffering from a bad back this week (both things aren't connected), I haven't read as much as I would have liked. To be honest, I'm started to not enjoy 'Falls of Giants' by Ken Follett. The reason being is that the story has detracted completely away from how it was at the beginning. It has become increasingly more political than I had anticipated. Whilst some of you may enjoy this, I'm more interested in the characters within the story and so for me, it's disappointing. I only have a few 100 pages until the end, so I will continue. Here's a 'snippet':

Page 667: 'Vyalov's Packard Twin Six was waiting at the kerb. A new chauffeur stood proudly beside it, a kid from Kiev. The commissionaire hurried to open the rear door for Lev. At least I'm still riding in the back, Lev thought.'

Fall of Giants' by Ken Follett.

Whatever you're up to enjoy the rest of the weekend and if there is a lot of snow where you are, wrap up warm!

Happy Sunday!