29 January 2009

Review: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer book coverIt serves me right for jumping on the Twilight bandwagon, but with the astronomical book sales, new release movie and vampire theme, I couldn't resist. I knew going into this that it was 'teen fiction' but I hoped it would work well for adults the same way the Harry Potter series of books do but I was sadly disappointed.

A great majority of the 500+ pages in Twilight is taken up with the teenage thoughts and actions of two people who like each other and want to be together. Not that I couldn't relate at all. I can remember being like that when I was a teenager, but I grew out of it soon enough and was bored to tears with this book. It was so dull and the main character got on my nerves!!

It also annoyed me that the basic vampire rules weren't followed in this book, and the main character left a lot of unanswered questions about his vampire history and that of his family. This was the only portion of the plot I was interested in and I was left unsatisfied.

I can understand why this book is so popular with the teens of today and I can certainly recognise the well publicised issues of sexual tension and celibacy here.

If you're over 20 and have read any Anne Rice books, you won't enjoy this one.

My rating = *

Carpe Librum!
24 January 2009

Review: Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

This American classic by Mark Twain has been on my list of books to read for many years, primarily to find out why it is so popular and highly regarded. I had high expectations going in but unfortunately they weren't met.

I can certainly appreciate the literary accomplishment in reproducing the dialogue of the times for both Finn's character and that of the main negro character Jim. This was done exceptionally well and there were certainly some laugh out loud moments.

I thought it was interesting that although this book is set in the time of slavery, Huckleberry Finn wants to 'steal his nigger' friend Jim and set him free, but feels guilty at the same time and believes he will go to Hell if he carries it out.

I also found Finn's ability to hastily weave such convoluted lies quite amusing, however my interest started to wane when Tom Sawyer joined the adventures towards the end of the book.

I'm glad I finally got around to reading this American classic, but I couldn't say I enjoyed it all that much.

My rating = **

Carpe Librum!
12 January 2009

Review: The Resurrectionist by James Bradley

The Resurrectionist by James Bradley book coverI was really excited to read this book for two reasons: it's written by an Australian and is about the trade in stolen bodies used by anatomists in the 1800s.

I was really impressed that an Australian author could conjure the essence of London in the 1800s and was captivated by his writing early in the book. I'm fascinated by the topic of resurrectionists (grave robbers who steal recently buried bodies and sell them to anatomists who dissect them for science) and I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of this book.

I was disappointed in the direction in which the author decided to take the main character, and was confused when he appeared in Australia with a different name many years later. This part of the plot seemed disjointed and I felt unsatisfied by the conclusion. I understand the author was exploring the themes of death, murder and rebirth, but I just didn't like where he chose to take the plot.

James Bradley is certainly an accomplished author and if he publishes another book I'll definitely want to check it out!

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!
06 January 2009

Review: Just After Sunset by Stephen King

I received this book for Christmas, and it was definitely high on my wishlist. This is the latest book from horror guru Stephen King and is a collection of short stories. Some of the short stories are from early in his career and some are new, but all here are published for the first time in a book.

When reading several of the stories I found myself wishing he'd developed them into stand alone novels as I wanted to remain in the story for longer. The beauty of the short story though is that it packs a punch and doesn't need a plot to sustain a 300 page novel.

If you're a Stephen King fan, you'll love Just After Sunset, and if you're not, it could be a good introduction. Stephen King fans will especially enjoy his comments at the end briefly touching on the inspiration for each of his short stories. He certainly has a great sense of humour!

My rating = *****

Carpe Librum!
02 January 2009

Review: Judge & Jury by James Patterson

Judge & Jury by James Patterson book coverI purchased this e-book based on the involvement of the co-author Andrew Gross, as I've enjoyed previous books he's co-authored with Patterson.

I enjoyed the first half of the book involving the capture of the big mafia boss and his subsequent trial. However the last half of Judge & Jury is typical Patterson, rollicking read with a very basic plot line.

I'm glad this one won't be taking up precious space on my bookshelf, however I'm glad I read it.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

Review: Watchers by Dean Koontz

Watchers by Dean Koontz book coverThis was the first electronic book (e-book) I downloaded to my new Iliad - the best gadget ever, given to me by my loving husband for Christmas!

This is an old book by Koontz, and the main character is a very smart golden retriever dog. I enjoyed this book much more than his novel published last year The Darkest Evening of the Year also featuring a unique dog.

This is Koontz at his best and this was a great thriller. I really enjoyed getting to know the main character 'Einstein' the dog, and found his ability to communicate with people both fascinating and heart warming. Of course there is always a dark side to a Koontz novel, and this book was no exception. The polar opposite of Einstein is the 'Outsider' who pursues them across the country leaving carnage in its path.

Highly recommended for any Koontz fan or anyone who is a dog lover and enjoys a good thriller.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!