Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Snippet

Even though they are probably the most iconic romantic characters in a novel, I'm not sure if I like Catherine and Heathcliff in my latest read 'Wuthering Heights'.

So far in my opinion, Catherine is a spoilt, unpleasant woman and Heathcliff is rough and moody. I may change my mind throughout the course of the novel and feel free to convince me otherwise, but at the moment, I find both characters rather unlikeable. Heres a 'snippet':

Page 111: " This is insufferable!" he exclaimed. "It is disgraceful that she should own him from a friend, and force his company on me!"

'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte

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

Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 23, 2012

'The Lake of Dreams' by Kim Edwards



Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 978-0-14-312036-0

Length: 377 Pages

Opening Line: 'Although it is nearly midnight, an unusual light slips through a crack in the wool, brushing her arm like the feathers of a wing.'

What's good about this novel?

The descriptions within this novel, are beautiful. Edwards' way of writing, helped me to immerse myself into the story's setting. I could see the locations in the story clearly in my mind whilst reading this.I could actually see this novel, being turned into a film, due to the vivid descriptions and backdrop.

I found the characters to be believeable and well formed, the thread of story involving the central character's ancestors, to be very interesting and it echoes my family's attempt to trace our family tree, at the moment.

What's wrong with this novel?

There are a couple of things wrong with this novel in my opinion. I found the pace of this novel to be a little slow, particularly at the beginning. In fact it was so slow, that at times I found my concentration wandering. I also found the book to be a bit predictable and the ending to be a bit rushed and convenient.

Is this worth a read?

I think so yes. 'The Lake of Dreams' isn't a book that I would read more than once, but I still enjoyed it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday


Just a quick note to remind you that Ann Sharple's interview will be tomorrow (Thursday 22nd) on http://www.talkradioeurope.com at 3.45pm (Spain/Europe) and 2.45pm (UK time). Visit her website at: www.annsharples.com or her blog 'Wordstitcher' .

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New author Facebook Page

Social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter are becoming useful promotional tools for bloggers and authors alike. With that in mind, I thought that I would draw your attention to a new author's page on Facebook.

Ann Sharples, author of the 'Violet Jelly' children's books, now has a page on Facebook. You can find it at: https://www.facebook.com/annsbooks .You can also find her official website at: www.annsharples.com .

I feel that those of us involved in social network communities and in the blogsphere, should try and support each other, so please have a look at both links. Alternatively, if you know anyone who would be interested in learning more about Ann's books, spread the word. Thank you!

Do you have a Facebook page for your blog or writing? If so, feel free to add the link to a comment.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Snippet

Moving away from the prison tales of 'You Got Nothing Coming' by Jimmy Lerner, Kim Edwards' 'The Lake of Dreams' is a completely different read. In fact, it echoes what is going on in my real life at the moment. The book is about a woman researching into her family's past and currently, my mum is doing the same with our family.

Here's a 'snippet':

Page 105: 'When I got back to the house, afternoon light was already pouring into the west windows, polishing the lake with a golden sheen.'

'The Lake of Dreams' by Kim Edwards

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

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

'You Got Nothing Coming' by Jimmy Lerner

Publisher: Corgi Books

ISBN: 0-552-14965-9

Length: 413 Pages

What the 'blurb' says:

'You are convicts. Your job here is to lie, cheat, steal, extort, get tattoos, take drugs, sell drugs, shank and sock each other. Just don't let us catch you- that's our job. We catch you, you got nothing' coming.'

It's your worst nightmare, You wake up in an eight-by-ten-foot steel cell designated 'Suicide Watch #3.' The cell is real, Jimmy Lerner, former family man and corporate strategic planner, has become a prison 'fish', or green new arrival. Taken to a penitentiary in the Nevada desert to serve a twelve- year sentence for voluntary manslaughter, this previously nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn ends up sharing a claustrophobic cell with Kansas, a hugely muscled skinhead with a swastika tattooed on his neck and a serious set of issues.

'You Got Nothing Coming' takes us into the corrupt world of the American prison system and, with brash, dark humour, tells us how the teachniques learnt in management seminars helped Lerner survive this brutal environment. It is a book and an experience you will never forget.'

Opening Line: 'The prison shrink thinks I should talk about why I killed the Monster.'

What's good about this novel?

Even though this is the sort of book that I would never have thought of reading, there are many good elements to this novel. Whilst graphic in both content and language, I think that 'You Got Nothing Coming' is well written and even funny in places. It's a fascinating insight into how the prison's systems and sub systems, are created by both the prison officials and inmates alike.

This isn't an easy read, but I sailed through this novel, because Lerner's tone is engaging and interesting. By writing this novel he isn't excusing any of his behaviour and, up until 3/4 of the way through the book, he does not even mention his crime. This is mainly an insight into his experiences whilst in prison.

What's wrong with this novel?

If I had to make a criticism about this novel, I would say that at times the writing is so well formed, it's as if Lerner is either writing from the perspective of an uncover investigative reporter, or even writing a fiction novel. I felt Lerner was the observer, rather than the inmate. What helped this though, was that 3/4 of the way through the novel, does go on to write an account of events, leading up to the time of his incarceration thus bringing the book back to his own life story.

Is this worth a read?

This is a book I wouldn't normally read, but I really enjoyed (possibly not the right choice of word for this type of book!) it. 'You Got Nothing Coming' is graphic both in detail and language, but everything is justified within the context of the book. If you're easily offended however, this book may not be for you. If you want to read an insightful and fascinating insight into an element of life that (hopefully) none of us will ever see, then this could be for you.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

'Time's Legacy' by Barbara Erskine

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 978-0-00-730229-1

Length: 520 Pages

What the 'Blurb' says:

'Ancient secrets buried deep in Glastonbury's past. One woman's quest finally to set them free.

Cambridge, present day: Following the death of her mother, Abi Rutherford receives a mysterious bequest- a misshapen crystal sphere known as the Serpent's Stone, which seems to give her glimpses of concelaed mysteries, long covered up by the church.

Western England 25AD: A stranger has come to the chilly Somerset wetlands, with a story of hope and reconciliation. But he is being followed by powerful forces, determined that he will not undermine Roman rule in Britain.

Abi questions what connects these ancient events and her gift. And why so many people seem desperate to hide the truth?

Opening Line: 'An icy wind whipped in across the shallow water bringing with it the first breath of autumn.

What's good about this novel?

I found the opening segment of this novel showed great promise. I found how the author attempts to introduce a debate on the complexities of religion, to be interesting. I also found the plot within the past to be compelling.

The central character Abi also showed promise. Being a Reverend, she isn't a stereotypical protagonist, so I found this approach to be refreshing.

What's wrong about this novel?

In my opinion, the potential of this novel is ruined by many different things. The writing within this novel is well paced, but it is also packed with of cliches which annoyed me.

I also found the plot within the present day to start off well, but then rapidly change from being over dramatic, to down right ridiculous. The ending itself takes away any legitimate debate that Erskine is trying to illustrate throughout this novel, which I think is a shame.

In my opinion, I think that Erskine has been a bit too ambitious with the weave of time in this novel. 'Time's Legacy' would have been much more effective and enjoyable, if the plot had just one linear storyline in the past.

Although the main character Abi is quite well formed, I found that most of the the characters within this novel, mainly within the present, to be mostly 1 dimension and merely puppets to move the plot along.

Is this worth a read?

It frustrates me that I can't give this book a better review, because it has the potential to be a very good read. As it is, 'Time's Legacy' is a novel that you could read if you want to switch your brain off for a while and not care about whether a book is realistic or not. For me though, 'Time's Legacy' is a very disappointing read.