Category Archives: Books

Gulliver’s Travels (book review)…

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I decided to read this after reading ‘The Toymakers’, in which ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ gets more than a passing mention.

I used to think that ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ was a children’s book, but how wrong i was. Maybe that’s the way the establishment wants everyone to think about it, but it really isn’t for children. It’s an incredible critique/satire of the society at the time, but unfortunately it is just as relevant today as it was back then. It’s a shame that society took no notice of what Swift had to say and simply condemned this book to a child’s bookshelf as fantasy nonsense.

For example… hypertension, and its complications, is one of the human race’s biggest killers globally, and it is simply caused by consuming sodium chloride (salt). Swift knew back when he wrote this book that salt was a luxury of no use to humans and that you soon adjust to not using it and realise that you actually don’t need it. Yet here we are today stuffing our faces with this debilitating substance that our bodies simply don’t need making ourselves sicker than ever…

I was at first at a great loss for salt, but custom soon reconciled me to the want of it; and I am confident that the frequent use of salt among us is an effect of luxury, and was first introduced only as a provocative to drink, except where it is necessary for preserving flesh in long voyages, or in places remote from great markets; for we observe no animal to be fond of it but man, and as to myself, when I left this country, it was a great while before I could endure the taste of it in anything that I ate.

So if you are one of those people who thought that this was a children’s book, then go and read ‘The Toymakers’ and then read ‘Gulliver’s Travels’, you may just get a different view of it.

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The Toymakers (book review)…

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When this book came up on Bookbub as a 99p deal i was immediately attracted to it. Yes, i do judge books by their covers, and also by their titles. So i went to Amazon to check it out and it stated that it would suit those who enjoyed reading ‘The Night Circus’.

So as i’d very much enjoyed ‘The Night Circus’ and it being only 99p i went ahead and bought it.

But to be quite honest, it’s nothing like ‘The Night Circus’. They’re 2 very different books, IMHO.

‘The Toymakers’ is, at the end of the day, a story very much about unrequited love, and sibling envy, whereas ‘The Night Circus’ is neither of those things.

While both are set in magical worlds, there are no other real similarities whatsoever.

But having said all that, i did very much enjoy reading this book. It is a fantastic journey through decades of 20th century London, including WW1 and WW2. It also delves well into PTSD and it’s affects on those who come back from the horrors of war and have to fit back into the lives they left behind.

And the ending…

…well, i never expected that. What a wonderful twist in the tale.

If you’re looking for a really decent read, then look no further than ‘The Toymakers’. I doubt many will be left disappointed.

Supurb!

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Red Queen (book review)…

Red Queen by Christina Henry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading ‘Alice’ and was expecting a bit more of the same, but this book feels quite different.

Whereas Alice had me feeling like i was reading the adventure of an escaped patient from a max security mental hospital who hasn’t had her meds and has gone into full blown psychosis, ‘Red Queen’ read far more like normal fantasy, probably due to Alice finding her magical abilities in this book.

Both books have been great in their own way and i’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading this wonderful new take on ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Red Queen’ is a good ending to Alice and Hatcher’s tale.

I look forward to reading more from Christina in the future.

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Alice (book review)…

Alice by Christina Henry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. This was awesome.

This can pretty much be read as the story of a paranoid schizophrenic who has escaped from a max security mental hospital and is rapidly withdrawing after being heavily medicated for years on anti-psychotics. It truly has the hall marks of full blown psychosis.

Of course, you can read it as a fantasy novel that bears no relevance to the real world if you don’t want to think about why people in full blown psychosis due to rapid withdrawal of anti-psychotic meds go around killing people.

Whichever way you want to read this, it’s a fantastic re-telling of the Alice in Wonderland story.

Straight onto Red Queen now. So looking forward to more of Alice and Hatcher.

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Septimania (book review)…

Septimania by Jonathan Levi
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Have you ever found yourself in a dream that is just totally fucked up and makes no sense, but you’re dreaming, you have no choice, and the dream just goes on until you finally wake up in a cold sweaty bed needing a change of sheets, a hot shower and mug of cocoa?

Well this is the literary version, and it’s someone else’s fucked up dream you’re stuck in.

I say ‘you’re stuck in’, like you couldn’t just delete it from your Kindle if you wanted to, but that’s the thing, you just don’t want to. Like the fucked up dream, you just seem to be stuck in it and you have to wait until the end when it releases you back to reality.

I won’t say more as i wouldn’t want to spoil it for any literary masochists out there, other than buyer beware. It will seriously disturb you that you wasted your time reading it, but once you start reading it you’ll be in it until the end – you have been warned!

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Lotus Blue (book review)…

Lotus Blue by Cat Sparks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the book right up until the end, which just didn’t seem to come up to the standard of the rest of the book. After a really enthralling adventure it really felt like the ending was rushed to its conclusion – hence only 4 stars.

It’s not too far fetched to imagine a future like the one depicted within this book, or the causes for it. The more we begin to rely on drones and augmented soldiers to fight wars, slowly but surely handing over more and more control to computer intelligence, the closer we get to the characters in the book and ultimately entities like ‘Lotus Blue’.

I’m hoping the ending in this book isn’t the end and that there’ll be more books in this dystopian future.

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The Night Circus (book review)…

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wonderful piece of fantasy writing, and certainly not the normal fantasy stuff that seems to be churned out a lot these days. I would put it on the shelf along side Neil Gaiman’s ‘Stardust’ – if you liked that then you’ll like this.

The Night Circus is a wonderful imagined space and would love to read more stories from within and around it’s fence. Erin’s currently working on her second book so who knows. There’s definitely a lot of space within the Night Circus for more fun and adventure to be played out in further novels.

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Waiting For Monsieur Bellivier (book review)…

Waiting For Monsieur Bellivier by Britta Röstlund
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of those books where you’re never quite sure what it is you’re reading or why but you just can’t put it down because it keeps grabbing your attention. After a short while, because you read it so quickly because, like i say, it keeps grabbing your attention, you get to the end, and then you’re left thinking…

…what did i just read?

I like it. Looking forward to Britta writing some more and me getting to read.

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Sourdough (book review)…

Sourdough by Robin Sloan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you like the ‘Penumbra’ books then throw this on your reading list and have at it – more of that Robin Sloan style for you to enjoy.

If, however, you’ve come across this book because you’re into sourdough baking and expect a story to read that reflects the real challenges and difficulties etc., of baking your own sourdough breads – then you’ll probably want to read something else….

….but, conversely, if you’ve come across this book because you’re into sourdough baking and can put aside your strict ‘sourdough nazi’ expectations for a while to read a fun story about a magical and strange starter and it’s journey and exploits, then you just might really enjoy a good read and become another Robin Sloan fan like the rest of us.

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The Keeper of Lost Things (book review)…

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A really enjoyable book.

The best thing about owning a Kindle is discovering ‘Kindle Daily Deals’ and ‘Kindle Monthly Deals’. For 99 pence including delivery you really can’t go wrong trying out book simply judged by their titles and covers. This one was a certainly a diamond in the rough.

Ruth’s treatment of Down’s Syndrome was a breath of fresh air in a world so full of ignorance and stigma, and her treatment of Alzheimer’s disease equally so. Ruth really isn’t afraid to delve into lives that few writers would fear to tread and does so with care and understanding.

Definitely a book for anyone wanting to read a lovely, well thought out, enjoyable story with great characters (Ruth even manages to include a likeable ghost) you can’t help but enjoy.

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