Books · Reviews

December Reading – 100 Word Reviews


Lucy Gives It Up For The Boss by Jackie White (Pure Fantasy Books, Kindle Edition) ~ 1/5*

Opening Line:

Lucy hated to admit it, but Gary did look hot in a black suit.

~

I’m not sure I can manage 100 words about this book really. There isn’t much to say.

There is practically no storyline, the characters are all made of plastic, the sex is slightly too graphic to be anything but off-putting and cringe-worthy and it ended so abruptly I actually said ‘is that it?’ out loud. Not because I wanted to read more you understand, just because it was such a bizarre ending.

The whole story is effectively: ‘Enter pretty, shallow girl and stupidly attractive, high-powered man who should never have met. Wham bam thank you mam! BYE!’

And that’s it.

*

The Firework-Maker’s Daughter by Philip Pullman (This Edition: Corgi Yearling, 2004. Originally Published: Doubleday, 1995) ~ 5/5*

Opening Line:

A thousand miles ago, in a country east of the jungle and south of the mountains, there lived a Firework-Maker called Lachland and his daughter Lila.

~

I remember loving this when my teacher read it to us at primary school and was delighted to find that I still love it all these years later.

A fast paced adventure with all the fizz and colour of fireworks that highlights the importance of friendship, love and family in a way that isn’t sugar-coated or forced.

The characters are funny, the journey involves a volcano, lots of fire, some part-time pirates with silver-foil swords and a talking white elephant  – what is there to dislike?

Philip Pullman excels at writing for children in a way grown-ups can love too.

*

A Book Of Nonsense by Edward Lear (Kindle Edition) 2/5*

Opening Limerick:

There was an Old Man with a beard, Who said, “It is just as I feared!— Two Owls and a Hen, Four Larks and a Wren, Have all built their nests in my beard!”

~

I know this was supposed to be nonsensical but some of it was ridiculous.

A book of limericks is never going to be full of literary genius, but a lot of them seemed to be desperate attempts to make the rhyming pattern based only loosely on the opening line of each poem.

Also, it featured several instances of a pet hate of mine – ‘rhyming’ two words just because they are spelled the same. ‘Prague’ and ‘vague’ do not sound the same, regardless of the letter patterns they share.

Some were good, lots were not. At least it was short.

*

A Perfect Blood (The Hollows #10) by Kim Harrison (Harper Voyager Urban Fantasy, 2012) ~ 5/5*

Opening Line:

The woman across from me barely sniffed when I slammed the pen down on the counter.

~

There aren’t many books I religiously pre-order. In fact, since the end of Harry Potter, there is only one series – this one.

There’s always the worry that by book 10 in a series you’d be tired of the world and the characters, but Rachel’s  first person narrative is still intelligent and witty, the characters still make me laugh out loud, the story is fast paced and intriguing and I’m still scared witless by Al.

And I really, really want to know what Glen is up to and whether Trent’s plan is going to work – so, when is book 11 out…?

*

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Quercus, 2012) ~ 5/5*

Opening Line:

The decision to make hellhounds an endangered species was beyond asinine, but I expected nothing less from a government that had bankrolled not one, but two, endowed chairs in preternatural biology (one of them my father’s) at the University That Shall Not Be Named.

~

At first I found it hard to lose myself in the first person narrative. I wanted to love it, I was intrigued by the storyline and the idea of Kali, the main character, but I found it difficult to believe her. I’m not sure why, but it quickly wore off and I was utterly absorbed.

The story was a brilliant, clever twist on the supernatural world; a proper rollercoaster of emotions throughout – my adrenaline was pumping, heart racing and I cried at the end. Buckets.

Every time I thought I had it figured out, it went somewhere else. Pure genius.

*

The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder (Moyer Bell, 1992) ~ 5/5* (Finished on Christmas Eve, as always)

Opening line:

…perhaps the clock hands had become so tired of going in the same direction year after year that they had suddenly begun to go the opposite way instead…

~

I love this book. I have faithfully read it every December for many years and will ocntinue to do so for years to come.

With a chapter for every day between the 1st and 24th of December it’s a perfect alternative to an Advent calendar.

Essentially it’s the Christmas story but at the same time it’s an adventure, a history lesson, a story about family and love and a mystery about a missing girl.

If you took all the magic of Christmas, rolled it in ink and smeared it across paper, this book is how it would look.

Merry Christmas!

*

Caressed By Ice by Nalini Singh (Gollancz, 2010) ~ 5/5*

Opening line:

Mercury was a cult. That was what everyone said at the start.

~

I love how the adult-themed nature of these books is balanced by fast-paced murder mysteries and ever-intriguing politics between the Psy and Changeling races. It’s not just porn for the sake of porn, it’s a story that happens to involve some racy scenes.

The last two novels involved Changelings of the cat variety (Jaguars and Leopards) which were really good but the main Changeling in this one was a wolf. I don’t think it’s possible to get any further up my street to be honest – thrills, mystery, blood, danger, sexy men, wolves…

I may treat myself to Book 4 soon.

*

GOOD NEWS! I set myself the challenge to read 30 books in 2012 but I hit that total in Summer so I upped the target to 52 to see if I could average one a week. And I’ve done it!! I’ve read 54 in fact. Though two of those were so short they barely counted. But still, hooray for me!!

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