What I read: February 2016

Zoo – James Patterson

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After seeing the trailer for the TV adaptation of this book I was dying to get my hands on the book! I admit that I am not a big fan of James Patterson but the concept of this book was so interesting that I picked up a copy!

My thoughts are a little mixed – I really do like the idea behind this book – animals “taking back the earth” and so on, and the general plot was engaging and so on but the end kind of ruined it all for me. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll leave it there. I will be checking out the TV show though, I’ve heard its quite different to the book (not normally something I like admittedly). Perhaps I’ll do a comparison between the 2 when I’ve caught up with season 1!

Day Shift – Charlaine Harris

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If you’ve been following my blog or You Tube channel for a while then you may already know that Harris is  one of my favourite authors. ‘Day Shift’ is the second book in her Midnight Texas series and I loved it. I love how well she is mixing this new setting and characters in with her other series of books (Sookie Stackhouse novels and Lily Bard novels!), It is bringing such a good dimension to her overall world building.

As I said in my Good Reads review of this book – I need  another book in this series now!

What Happens Next – Colleen Clayton

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This is YA book about what happens after date rape. I tend to reach for the YA books that explore difficult topics, so the synopsis of this really pulled me in. I’m planning on writing a detailed review of this book soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that if you are interested.

Dead Until Dark & Living Dead in Dallas – Charlaine Harris

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As previously mentioned, I’m a big fan of Charlaine Harrris, but it has been quite a few years since I read through the Sookie Stackhouse books so I thought it would be fun to re-read them. I’m planning on re-reading 2 of them of each month.

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What have you been reading recently?

 

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The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins [Book Review]

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This is a psychological thriller about Rachel, who takes the same train every morning.When the trains stops at the same signal each day she observes the same couple breakfasting in their garden each morning. She loves to imagine their perfect life-until one day she sees something shocking. She offers her knowledge to the police and becomes entwined in the events that follow.

The characters were definitely one of my favourite things about this book – there is an alcoholic, a cheat and no-one seems trustworthy or likeable! These characters gave a good edge to the book and made things feel more realistic.

We hear from multiple perspectives through the novel, which is something I have always enjoyed, and it does start to build up a bit of mystery and tension as we start getting little glimpses of the lives of different characters.

I read this book over a couple of days, I was quite gripped but didn’t feel the need to whiz through in one sitting. I also did not find the ending particularly surprising – I had worked it out already but, even knowing this, I still found it to be a gripping and dramatic climax.

I think my expectations of this book were very high after hearing so much about it, and it is often very difficult to have these expectations met. Being honest, they weren’t met but I still very much enjoyed ‘The Girl on the Train’, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a thriller. It’s not one of my favourites, but I’m glad I picked it up!

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You: Caroline Kepnes [Book Review]

You: Caroline Kepnes [Book Review]

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I’ve read a number of thriller/suspense novels that feature stalkers, so when I pick one up now I am looking for something “different”.
‘You’ definitely fulfilled that need. I really enjoyed reading from the viewpoint of the stalker, I found myself getting into his head far too easily and (worryingly) by the time I was halfway through I wasn’t horrified by his actions, which I feel would be different if I was hearing about them from another character.

I liked that the characters were not perfect – none of them – this made things much more realistic.

I liked how well the digital age is incorporated into the novel – the stalkers use of twitter, facebook and email. It’s alarming just how much we can reveal about ourselves and our whereabouts on the internet – and just how much someone can find out if they do manage to get hold of passwords.

I found the book a little slow in places, but overall my attention was grabbed quickly, and I finished the book fairly quickly. I like that the ending left a few things open, and I will reach for the next books in this series.

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*I read ‘You’ in June 2015, but forgot to upload this quick review. I also talked about this book in my ‘top reads of 2015*

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The Anti-Journal [Creative journal]

Today I filmed a first impressions and first completed pages of The Anti-Journal.

The Anti-Journal was created by David Sinden and Nikalas Catlow as a creative journal. It has been designed for people of all ages and all creative abilities as a way to express your creativity using the prompts in the book.

There are a wide variety of prompts within the book – I really love the variety and I can’t wait to complete more of the journal!

Here is my video, if you like it then why not subscribe to my YouTube channel? 🙂

 

 

I let You Go: Clare Mackintosh [Book Review]

I let You Go: Clare Mackintosh [Book Review]

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‘I let you go’ is a psychological thriller set around the case of a hit and run accident that kills a little boy – Jacob. I have chosen to leave the plot synopsis here so as not to give too much away!

The first half of this book has a slower pace than the second- despite there being some pretty dramatic scenes! I read the first chapters slowly, but once I got half way through I was hooked and whizzed through the second half in an afternoon. There are so many twists and turns through the book – which I loved! Some of them I sort of worked out, but one of the major ones really shocked me!

Some of this book is from the perspectives of the detectives that are working on the case. I  believe that Clare Mackintosh is actually a trained detective herself, which helps the novel feel very authentic. Having said that, the detective scenes are very easy to read and understand – sometimes when huge detail is included about the law side of things I can lose interest slightly –  but I felt that the perfect amount was included. The detectives also had their own lives going on and they felt like dimensional characters – not just there to fill a purpose.

I  finished this book wanting more – I wanted to keep on reading about the characters after the mysteries had been solved, I feel quite connected to them and a little sad about leaving them now I have finished the book.

This was a fabulous book to start off my 2016 reading, and I’m so glad I picked it up!

 

Suicide Forest – Jeremy Bates [Book Review]

Title: Suicide Forest

Author: Jeremy Bates

Publisher: Ghillinnein Books (2014)

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I’ve had this book on my shelf for a while now, and I was saving it specially for an creepy October read! I’m glad that I waited, I think this book made perfect October reading and I’m glad I picked it up!

This book is set in the real life place of Aokigahara forest in Japan. This sprawling forest is at the base of mount Fuji and is known as ‘suicide forest’ due to the high volumes of people that take their lives within the trees. It is rumoured to be a chilling and haunting place. You can immediately see why this is a great place for a scary novel to be set!

In suicide forest, a group of friends have to delay their climb up mount Fuji due to bad weather, and when they meet Nina and Ben who are going to camp in Aokigahara forest, they decide to join them. They enter the forest to explore and camp, but they get more than they bargained for!

My favourite thing about this book is the atmosphere – Jeremy Bates has created an amazing, tense and chilling feeling within the book and I had an overwhelming sense of foreboding while reading. Knowing that the setting is a real place also adds to the creepy element!

The plot was a little slow to begin with, and I didn’t love all of the character flashbacks, but things really did pick up once I was a few chapters in and I whizzed through the book in just a few days. The ending had a great twist – very unexpected!

This felt like a character based novel – each person really felt like they belonged in the story and the dialogue and interactions within the group made it very genuine and believable.

Overall, this was a 4 star read for me – I very much enjoyed reading Suicide Forest and will be checking more work by Jeremy Bates.

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How to be Happy (or at least less sad) – Lee Crutchley [Initial Thoughts/ First Impressions]

Title: How To Be Happy (or at least less sad)

Author: Lee Crutchley

Publisher and year published: Ebury Press ( 2015)

‘How to be happy’ caught my eye when I was browsing in my local bookshop – initially it was the bright green cover that caught me, but then I was dragged in by the title. I immediately thought that this was more than your average self help book, and I think I was right!

This book is not designed to fix you, make you happy or tell you what to do to get better. This book is designed to help you really look into your thought patterns and feelings, and to help you analyse them, and work to change them a little. I bought this for my anxiety, I have been really trying to get a grip on my nerves, and I hope that this book helps me a little in that step.

You are supposed to write in this book, it is a series of exercises designed to make you think, some of them are easy and some are very challenging. I have now filled out a few pages and I had to think quite hard about them. I like the layout and design on the pages, but you could easily use this a guided journal, even if you copy the exercises into your personal journal.

I’ve had this book for a week now, and have filled a little in each day. It is very versatile – I feel that you could fill it in as slowly as you need – taking all the time you want to do the exercises.

My initial impressions of ‘How to be Happy’ are very positive, and I’m looking forward to giving an overall review of this book in a few months time.