29 Dec 2015

DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER - JEFF LINDSAY

SUMMARY
Introducing Dexter Morgan, a serial killer to fall in love with...Dexter Morgan isn't exactly the kind of man you'd bring home to your mum. At heart, he's the perfect gentleman: he has a shy girlfriend, and seems to lead a quiet, normal life bordering on the mundane. Despite the fact that he can't stand the sight of blood, he works as a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami police. 

But Dexter also has a secret hobby: he is an accomplished serial killer. So far, he's killed 36 people and has never been caught because he knows exactly how to hide the evidence. And while that may lead some people to assume he's not such a nice guy, he tempers his insatiable hunger for brutality by only killing the bad guys. However, Dexter's well-organised life is suddenly disrupted when a second, much more visible serial killer appears in Miami. Intrigued that the other killer favours a style similar to his own, Dexter soon realises that the mysterious new arrival is not simply invading his turf but offering him a direct invitation to 'come out and play'...

REVIEW
I've been a massive fan of the TV series Dexter, bingeing for a sad amount of hours on Netflix, for quite a while and a fellow bookseller has been harassing me to read the series because I'd love them.

And I did. It's quick witted, darkly hilarious and just.... brilliant. I'm running out of adjectives. It isn't complicated in any way and the supporting cast aren't very well fleshed out but it's the first in a long series so all is forgiven.

I do have one confession to make though: I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if I hadn't already seen the show. Having prior knowledge of the series allowed my imagination to flesh out the characters in a way the book doesn't. 

I don't have a lot to say about this. It's different to you standard serial killer novel, obviously, but it's the type of easy reading that can take a few hours away from your life before you realise, and I'm already hooked. If only the TBR pile wasn't so big....

15 Dec 2015

SMART - KIM SLATER

SUMMARY
"I found Jean's friend dead in the river. His name was Colin Kirk. He was a homeless man, but he still wanted to live." There's been a murder, but the police don't care. It was only a homeless old man after all. Kieran cares. He's made a promise, and when you say something out loud, that means you're going to do it, for real. He's going to find out what really happened. To Colin. And to his grandma, who just stopped coming round one day. 

It's a good job Kieran's a master of observation, and knows all the detective tricks of the trade. But being a detective is difficult when you're Kieran Woods. When you're amazing at drawing but terrible at fitting in. And when there are dangerous secrets everywhere, not just outside, but under your own roof.

REVIEW
Smart is the story of a young british boy with unnamed social difficulties who finds a homeless man drowned in a canal and in determined to find his killer.

Kieran's problems aren't apparent in his narrative, it's only from the reactions of these around him, and that he has a classroom helper, that marks him out from other children. He is kind, loyal, empathetic and, as the title suggests, extremely smart.

He is bullied by his mother's boyfriend, step-son, and children at his school. It is horrible and brutal.  found it really difficult to read, not just because of what happens to Kieran, but because her represents real children all over the country. He takes the beatings and the bullying in his stride though and keeps going. He draws incredible pictures, drawing from his complete love of Lowery (the painter). It helps him process what is happening around him that he doesn't immediately understand.

The writing is so beautifully simplistic, and the way Kieran thinks is perfectly portrayed. It makes us think - what can we do when we think completely 'normally', but don't act the way society wanted us to? I'd like to think I'd be his friend regardless of how he looked, just like Karwarna at his school.

It's such a small, understated book but it's beautiful.

10 Mar 2015

OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE - NEIL GAIMAN

SUMMARY
Dive into a magical novel of memory and the adventure of childhood, from one of the brightest, most brilliant writers of our generation. It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed - within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. 

The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang. THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac - as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark.

REVIEW
The first book of Neil Gaiman's that I've ever read was The Graveyard Book, which I completely adored, and his new book is no exception.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is set in an almost alternate universe (not completely online Coraline) and is perfect for children and adults alike. It focuses on the memories of an unnamed narrator and the strange events that happened on the farm around his childhood home.

It's a really quick and easy read but don't let that fool you; you'll be completely sucked into the dark, perception-twisting, almost Dahl-esque events.

For adults, this is literally a trip down memory lane, back to a feeling of unlimited possibility, and the fear of the unknown that can sometimes come from that.

Gaiman effortlessly shows his ability to showcase the magic of childhood and perceived reality with effortless grace - as always.

25 Feb 2015

REMIX - NON PRATT

SUMMARY
Kaz is still reeling from being dumped by the love of her life... Ruby is bored of hearing about it. Time to change the record.

Three days. Two best mates. One music festival. Zero chance of everything working out.


REVIEW

The mark of a good book for me is an inability to put it down. Bear in mind I'm a painfully slow reader when I say that I read Remix in half a day - this for me is unheard of. It was part wanting to know what happens with the characters, and part nostalgia. It captures the feeling of being young and hopeful; being old enough to do adult things but too naive and inexperienced not to jump in headfirst because you think you should.

I remember my first festival like it was yesterday (not, sadly, nearly 10 years ago). The excitement of venturing out with your best friend believing everything would be magical and wonderful. The feeling that music can change the world and that those small moments of connection between you, the music, and the people you care about are perfectly written.

So much of the friendship between Kaz and Ruby rang true for me and my best friend, and I could understand and appreciate all the ways in which the characters had to choose between what they wanted and what was best for their friends, and how horribly wrong you can get it sometimes. That's the best thing about them, though, that nothing really works out perfectly. And that isn't a spoiler, just a reflection of real life relationships.

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