Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin | Book Review

Elsewhere is a YA novel about Liz, a fifteen-year-old who is killed in a hit-and-run accident and finds herself on a boat to Elsewhere – the afterlife. There, she learns that dead folk begin to age backwards until they become babies once again, at which point they’re sent back to Earth to start brand new lives.

I love the afterlife setting in Elsewhere. It has a lovely, whimsical and peaceful atmosphere, which is exactly what any of us could hope for when thinking about what awaits us in death. When we end up in Elsewhere, we get to choose an avocation (a job we love rather than one we have to do), we can reconnect with long lost relatives and friends that died before us, and we can even check in with the folks still left on Earth via magic binoculars. Oh, and a lot of people speak Canine, which means there are talking dogs. Talking. Dogs. Need I say any more? Continue reading “Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin | Book Review”

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare | Book Review

There’s been lotta hype surrounding the Mortal Instruments series and its author, Cassandra Clare, over the years. Some of the hype is good, some of it very, very bad. Clare has been accused of plagiarism in relation to this series, and I’ve read articles which reinforce those accusations and others which write them off as nonsense.

So what do I think? To be honest, I haven’t really read enough YA supernatural fantasy to really offer an opinion on which bits of City of Bones might be ripped off from somewhere else. However, I was keen to read a book which has sold millions of copies and been transformed into both a movie and a TV show – clearly there’s something about it that has people hooked and makes it such a talking point. I wanted to know what that something is.

And I still don’t know. Continue reading “City of Bones by Cassandra Clare | Book Review”

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold | Book Review

I loved the concept of The Lovely Bones. It’s the story of Susie Salmon, a teenage girl who is horrifically raped and murdered. She finds herself in heaven looking down on her family on Earth as they come to terms with her death and try to solve the mystery of her murder. While I found myself gripped enough to finish it in just a few days, I did have a few little gripes. There’ll be spoilers, I’m afraid. Continue reading “The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold | Book Review”

Tales from the Haunted Wordsmith by Teresa Grabs | Book Review

Teresa Grabs is known here on WordPress as The Haunted Wordsmith, and I’m a big fan of her work. She has a knack for writing witty shorts, unexpected twists, and dark tales that make you think. Her short story collection is more of the same fabulousness – smart, funny, uplifting, and wholly entertaining. Continue reading “Tales from the Haunted Wordsmith by Teresa Grabs | Book Review”

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough | Book Review

My copy of The Thorn Birds used to belong to my grandparents. It’s a hardback and missing its dust jacket, and other than the title and the author’s name printed on the spine, I knew absolutely nothing about it before reading it – not the blurb, not the genre, not a single thing. I’d never heard of it before. It was an unknown adventure in reading.

If I’d have looked the book up on Goodreads before I delved into it, I probably would never have started it. Apparently, The Thorn Birds is a sweeping romance novel that documents the lives of an Australian family over the course of three generations. Meh, boring – that doesn’t sound like my cup of tea at all. But oh, how wrong I was. I loved it!

This book is a soap opera. It’s got family feuds, long-hidden secrets, dreamy romance, saucy sex scenes, gruesome deaths, the horrors of war, natural disasters, handsome priests, beautiful women, and plenty of scandal. Continue reading “The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough | Book Review”

Concealed: A Compilation of Short Fiction by V.P. Grey | Book Review

If you’ve ever struggled with your mental health, or you’ve known somebody who has, the short stories in Concealed will no doubt resonate with you in an incredibly powerful way. If you haven’t, you can treat Concealed as a window into the minds of those who battle with mental illness. Continue reading “Concealed: A Compilation of Short Fiction by V.P. Grey | Book Review”

Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch | Book Review

Goodreads told me I would love this book. The internet at large told me I would love this book. The guy in the bookshop told me I would love this book. And luckily, I did love this book, ‘cos if I hadn’t I’d have been sorely disappointed.

Rivers of London is a mishmash of urban fantasy and classic crime. Protagonist Peter Grant, a probationary constable, finds himself taking a witness statement from a ghost after a very grizzly murder. Soon after, he’s drafted into a specialist department which tackles crime that is linked with the spooky and the supernatural. Someone’s face has exploded, random people are experiencing sudden bursts of violent rage, and there’s a turf war going on between Mother and Father Thames. Continue reading “Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch | Book Review”

A Single Swallow | Horatio Clare

I’ve got a hell of a lot of unread non-fiction books languishing on my shelves and lest they find themselves destined for the charity shop, I need to get stuck into them. I started with A Single Swallow, which is a mishmash of nature writing, travel writing, and history, with a touch of autobiography along the way.

Horatio Clare documents his travels as he follows the annual migration of swallows from South Africa to Wales. He journeys across Africa and up into Europe, finding himself making plenty of friends and losing an awful lot of money – and a touch of sanity – along the way. Continue reading “A Single Swallow | Horatio Clare”

The Cows, Dawn O’Porter | Book Review

I read this book in just a little over 24 hours, despite absolutely not having the time to do so, which goes to show how much gripped me. It’s a story about three women who are brought together by tragedy and public humiliation, and it’s both laugh-out-loud funny and hide-behind-your-hands cringeworthy. Continue reading “The Cows, Dawn O’Porter | Book Review”