Friday, 25 March 2011

The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom

The Five People You Meet in Heaven is a story about life. Eddie's life in particular. But also yours and mine. Every single person's.

I adore this book, and can say right away that its 5 out of 5 stars.
To explain what this book is about, here's a passage from it:

' "There are five people you meet in heaven," The Blue Man suddenly said. "Each of us was in your life for a reason. you may not have known the reason at the time, and that is what heaven is for. For understanding your life on earth." '

So the book follows Eddie on his journey through the first step of heaven; making sense of your 'yesterdays'. As we walk through heaven with Eddie, as so look deeper into his life, I found myself looking at similarities with my own.

This is a story about many many things. There's Loss, Pain, Death and Shadows but also Love, Change, Stories and most of all Happiness.

Even if, like me, you don't believe in Heaven or God, this book is still about you.
Mitch Albom writes in such a way that you can't help but be drawn in, and to think about how it would reflect on your life.

It's simplicity and explanations of life will leave you quietly contemplating your own, and your version of a heaven, and also the people within your life.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld

The Interpretation of Murder tells the story of Sigmund Freud (the famous Psychoanalyst) and his first and only trip to America. Freud said that he had experienced a traumatic event there, and his opinion of America was not the same afterwards. It is this trauma that Rubenfeld plays out. And what a dramatic one it is.

If you're interesting in an American version of a Sherlock Holmes style Murder Mystery featuring Freud and his theories then this is the book for you.

But if you're not interested in Psychology I suggest you don't read it. Even I, a student partially studying psychology and fascinated by Freud and his odd ideas, found some theoretical conversations a little hard to chew.

Book Cover.
This book covers a little bit of everything: from Relationships and Love to New York history, and then to medicine and therapies, and then to Shakespeare's Hamlet? But most of all covering the murder mystery themes of crime and detection.

I found this book to be a little slow at the beginning, and a little too fast with the whole explanation of what had happened at the end, but that is usually how murder mysteries pan out anyway. The part where usually Sherlock Holmes would remind us of small things that his clever mind had picked up. Except the protagonist is more likeable than Mr Holmes.

The story, however, was told wonderfully. I'd say it was very, very clever. Of course having read this book before, I was not surprised at the twists and turns it was making, but originally remember being slightly shocked and very much enjoyed fitting all of the pieces together in my head.

So, owing to the fact that I enjoyed it, but that I expect quite a lot of people may not, I'm giving this book 3 and a half stars.

The wikipedia page for The Interpretation of Murder can be found HERE.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly.

First and foremost. I loved this book when I read it.
As a fan of fantasy and adventure, and also fairy tales, this captured my eye when I saw it in a charity shop. The dark red cover with black creepers edging their way around it told me it was a dark and powerful book. I was under it's spell.

My sister has already reviewed this book, and seeing as it's pretty much exactly what I would have said about it I think that I can safely say that you should visit her review HERE.

Saying this, after reading such books as Fire by Kristin Cashore and The Pact by Jodi Picoult, I would have to give it more of a 4 1/2 out of 5.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Fire by Kristin Cashore

This novel by Kristin Cashore is set in the same, beautifully detailed world that her debut novel Graceling was set in. But a different part. Fire is the writers second book and is a companion book to Graceling.
(by that way, Graceling is a wonderful book, do give it a read.)

But this book in a way was a little more sophisticated than the writers first novel.
It explores the life a woman named Fire.

Fire is a monster. This means that she possesses a beauty so stunning that it entrances peoples minds. They can't help but feel something for her.
This is an intoxicating tale of a woman's quest to uncover her purpose whilst battling against her own horrific beauty.

It explores many themes; Monsters, Beauty and Control, Power, Strength, Parental Influence, Grief and Loss, Individuality, Embracing Yourself and so on, all in a mix of wonderfully developed characters and a wonderfully ambitious setting.

Again, as with Jodi Picoults The Pact, at first I found the names and areas confusing, having to retreat to the map a few times, but I was completely into it from the start.
I just couldn't put it down. Which is always a sign of a good book. (Though I would say this book was particularly suited to me, as I adore fantasy adventures.)

Another minor downfall was that it was slightly predictable, although so many twists and turns arose that for the most part I was a little dumbfounded.
Quite an intense read (if you read it all at once like I did) and infused with such a comprehensive set of emotions it leaves the mind wondering what exactly just happened.

This book I would say is along the Lines of Cornelia Funke and Tolkien proportions.

Though through multiple twists Cashore kept me reading and wanting to know how it panned out, and she ties up the ends rather nicely.

A definite 5 out of 5. But not for the idle reader.

Another readers take on Fire by Kristin Cashore
A readers take on Graceling
Kristin Cashore's Blog

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The Pact by Jodi Picoult

Another masterpiece by the wonderful Jodi Picoult.

The Pact is a story that every one on us can relate to in some way. Even though the actual storyline is something which very few of us would ever have to go through, there are so many layers of thought put into it that you feel like you know each characters story personally.

And it goes like this:
Chris Harte and Emily Gold have known each other their whole lives so far. But today one of those lives has been cut short. Emily has died, and Chris is the prime suspect in her murder case. Is it murder, or is it suicide, or is it something completely different? What is the Truth?

Book Cover
This book immerses the reader into the lives of Chris and Emily and all those involved in the case. The sad thing is, Jodi Picoult tells Emily's story from so many loving points of view that you don't want her to be dead, even though she is. You see her through everybody else's eyes, very rarely her own.

It not only explores a large range of topics including: Loss, Prison, Trauma, Relationships, Expectations, How Well You Can Know A Person, Love, Family, Truth and so on, but also areas of research such as Crime, Law, Science, Psychology and Art. Which is always wonderful to see in a book.

Although it is at first confusing, noting who is who, and what their relationships are, soon you are entrapped in their world. This way you feel a great affinity for the characters. 
I also adore the fact that you don't know what happens until nearing the end. You're free to make your own assumptions on whether Chris did kill Emily or not.
I absolutely despise an ending that I can foresee in a book. Especially if I can foresee it a mile off. But in this book, although I had my theories, there was nothing telling me the true story until the point it was revealed. And that's just how I like it.

Perhaps the only real bad thing about it is that you can't read it lightly. (But I hardly think that's a deal breaker.) And that it took me a small amount of time to get truly into it. But once you are, you're in for a literary treat with this suspenseful, emotional masterpiece.

As this book gave the the heart-wrenching story I was looking for, albeit with a few bad things, I give it 5 out of 5 stars.
Another Review on The Pact.
Review #2 on The Pact.
Buy it Here at Amazon.

Friday, 4 March 2011

To Buy or Not to Buy? (And Where From?)

So while I'm reading and finishing my current book, I thought I'd tell you about where I get my books from. And how I go about which ones to buy or not.

Usually when buying a new book, I'll lovingly have a look around the local Waterstones and gaze adoringly at covers of new books and older books alike. Then make a mental note of which ones sound the most interesting.
Then, It's time to buy.

Firstly, there's the wonderful world that is Amazon, (or, depending where you live). The majority of books that I want come from there. Basically because it's a place where you can find any book you like, at a cheaper price. (usually).
I'll also have a good gander at before buying. Just in case.

Although sometimes when you wander into a good charity shop and browse the shelves for a while you can find some treasures. I found the first volume of Les Miserables by (Victor Hugo) in a charity shop not too long ago. And they'll always have Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella or Gill Mansell on the shelves (if you're into Chick-lit of course.)

Another good place I've found is Asda. They do newer and more popular books for a relatively small amount of money (in comparison to book shops) and I've frequently found a book I'd like to read there. Such as the new Rick Riordan book - The Lost Hero (in the Percy Jackson series - heroes of Olympus).

So yes, those are a few of my favourite haunts. Please use them well.