29 November 2008

Review: Death and the Arrow by Chris Priestley

Death and the Arrow by Chris Priestley book coverThis book was part of a series known as the Tom Marlowe series, but is a stand alone novel and a great little read. Based in London 1715, it is a medieval 'whodunnit' and was very enjoyable to read.

Similarly to P.C. Doherty, Priestley conjurs up the smell and feel of the city during this period which was what attracted me to read this book.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

Review: The Servants by Michael Marshall Smith

I read this book in one day, but was disappointed that it wasn't all I'd hoped for. I was attracted to the plot line that the main character discovers the ghosts in the old servants quarters in his home. While this was the case, the author didn't really take the plot in the exciting direction I would have liked.

The main character was a young boy dealing with the breakup of his parents, and his ill mother marrying an American and moving to Brighton. There is a lot of skateboarding out in the cold weather that begins to take its toll on the reader, and not enough about the boy's discovery in the old ladies' flat in the basement.

The end was abrupt and the 'twist' that I thought was coming never arrived, which made this a disappointing read.

My rating = **

Carpe Librum!
20 November 2008

Review: False Impression by Jeffrey Archer

False Impression by Jeffrey Archer book coverThis is the first book by Jeffrey Archer I've read and I'm happy to report that I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed that the main character was an art expert who used to work for Sotheby's and there are plenty of references to artists and artworks throughout the book. If you didn't know your art or Impressionists then I could understand why some readers could feel like Archer is name dropping, but I really enjoyed this angle on the art world.

The incorporation of the events of September 11 were also very interesting and I enjoyed how Archer used this as part of the story but it didn't dominate the plot. The unfolding of events from the point of view of the main character were captivating and I think he achieved a perfect balance here.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys action/crime novels and I'd certainly keep my eye open for another book by Jeffrey Archer in the future.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!
13 November 2008

Career Change in 2009

Well, it's time for a change, and I've resigned from my job after almost 6 years. My resume is ready to go and I'm looking forward to a career change in 2009!

I'm going to take a well earned break over Christmas and then it's full steam ahead and I'm really looking forward to it. There's so much I want to do in December, my list is h-u-g-e!! Oh yeah, and I'm sure I'll enjoy some extra reading time of course :-)

That's my four bucks!

Review: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson book coverI bought and read this book based on the fact that it was the winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. This book has received endless accolades, but I'm sad to say that I didn't enjoy it at all.

I was intrigued by the premise of this novel, in that Reverend Ames is writing a letter to his son with the knowledge he is dying. The book almost reads like a series of diary entries with entries from the current day and reflections from the past. The entries flipped forwards and backwards in time without any order and I felt like I was being jerked around without any firm destination.

I can see how so many readers were moved by the reflections of the Reverend, but I'm disappointed to say that the deeply profound moments were lost on me for some reason. I'm not quite sure whether it was the writing style, or the religious references or a disbelief that human beings reflect the way he does.

Nevertheless, I won't be recommending Gilead to anyone, and to be quite honest, I found it a chore to read.

My rating = **

Carpe Librum!
08 November 2008

Review: Spider Light by Sarah Rayne

Spider Light by Sarah Rayne book coverThis is the third book I've read by this author, and I really enjoyed it. This time the creepy building was a disused mill and there was also the inclusion an asylum called 'Latchkill'. I enjoyed the unfolding sub-plots and and learning how various deaths occurred in the mill over different generations.

Rayne doesn't attempt to disguise the fact that her plot construction is the same in each book, although this recipe always delivers a thrilling read. Deviating from this recipe would be exciting for the reader for a change but at the same time a risk to the success of the novel. I guess the only way to know if she's done this is to read her other books.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a thriller and uncovering a web of secrets from the past.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!