06 December 2018

Review: Absolute Proof by Peter James

* Copy courtesy of Pan Macmillan *

Ross Hunter, Investigative Journalist learns there may be absolute proof of the existence of God and decides to investigate. Under serious threat from several organisations who seek the evidence Ross is gathering, Absolute Proof has been compared to The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I loved The Da Vinci Code so decided to give this a go, however the only connection I could see was the concept of Jesus Christ's DNA being passed down to the present day. Despite the hieroglyphics on the cover, there are no puzzles or riddles to solve here. In fact, Ross's trip to Egypt was brief and hieroglyphics didn't factor in the story at all so I have no idea why they grace the cover.

Peter James is a bestselling author who has written a tonne of books but this was my first time reading his work. I found Ross's character to be a little irritating at times and I soon grew weary of wading through the endless descriptions of scenery and mundane tasks. Ross's ruminations also took up too much space and only served to recap his thoughts on the goings on; which is boring if you're the sort of reader able to keep up with what's happening.

And the ending? Where do I start? The ending left far too many unanswered questions. It was ambiguous and anti climactic and I expected more from an award winning author who has sold more than 19 million books. Absolute Proof was a meandering novel with some interesting points about religion but the unresolved ending left me underwhelmed and unlikely to seek out any of his other novels.

My rating = **

Carpe Librum!

04 December 2018

Review: It's All A Game - A Short History of Board Games by Tristan Donovan

RRP $24.99 AUD
Published by Allen & Unwin
* Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin *

Roll the dice. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. I love playing board games and It's All A Game - A Short History of Board Games by Tristan Donovan was a good read.

All the expected games are there: Chess, Backgammon, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, Cluedo, Pictionary and Monopoly and much more. I appreciated reading the history behind the formation of these games and learning about new - to me - ones.

The section on war games was interesting, however I was surprised and secretly excited to hear mention of The Ungame and Scruples.

I enjoyed reading about the evolution of my favourite game Monopoly, however was embarrassed to learn it was created in the USA first. I played the British version and ignorantly believed the American game board was the 'inferior' version. Whoops!

"By 2016 [Monopoly] had sold more than 250 million copies worldwide. It is, by far, the bestselling branded board game ever created and no other game, except maybe chess, has so imprinted itself on the world's collective consciousness." Page 95

I also enjoyed learning about the formation of Simon & Schuster on page 155:
Richard Simon was at his aunt's house for dinner in 1924 and she asked if there was a collection of cross words she could buy for her daughter.
"Together with his friend Lincoln Schuster, Simon founded a publishing company called Simon & Schuster" to publish a collection of cross word puzzles. The book became a sensation and "Simon & Schuster was on its way to becoming one of the biggest book publishers in the United States."

I read It's All A Game during Non Fiction November (hosted by A Book Olive) and it left me wanting to play boardgames again. Unfortunately I don't have any willing participants close by so now I'm playing Backgammon on Board Game Arena. My profile name is Carpe_Librum (naturally) if anyone wants to play.

Roll the dice.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!