26 April 2017

Review: Guinness World Records 2017: Blockbusters!

* Copy courtesy of Pan Macmillan Australia *

Guinness World Records (GWR) books are a household name and almost need no introduction at all. GWR continues to move with the times and their latest book Guinness World Records 2017: Blockbusters! is proof of that and a collection like no other.

With entertainment categories that include: Watch, Browse, Read, Play, Go and Consume, there is definitely something for everyone. Obviously I enjoyed the Read section the most, particularly the most expensive children's book sold at auction (the handwritten copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling bound in leather and mounted with silver and moonstones). I also enjoyed finding out the highest earning author and Top 10 kids' book villains.

I always enjoy seeing other people's collections and there is plenty to satisfy in Guinness World Records 2017: Blockbusters! The Browse chapter has a bunch of online stats and info including memorable memes, most viewed videos and most viewed wiki pages. I will say that some of the coloured font boxes were too dark and made reading the text inside them a little difficult at night. 

Other than that, there is a variety of information in Guinness World Records 2017: Blockbusters! to pique the interest of any reader regardless of age. Recommended for kids, libraries, schools and more.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!
19 April 2017

Review: The Possessions: A Novel by Sara Flannery Murphy

* Copy courtesy of Scribe Publications *

Edie works at the Elysian Society and meets grieving clients for a one-on-one consultation. In the consultation she takes a lotus pill which enables her to channel the client's loved one from 'the other side'. Edie remains completely oblivious during the process, while the spirit of the deceased takes over her body and is able to communicate with their loved one in a bizarre reunion of sorts. Think husbands connecting with wives, mothers connecting with sons and so on.

The concept is unique and exciting, however The Possessions is about the impact Edie's work has on her and the consequences when she becomes obsessed with Patrick, a distraught widower.

I was desperate to know more about what happens during the consultations but instead it's left to the reader's imagination. This was akin to a 352 page tease although I recognise that the magic could have been lost had the author decided to lift the curtain on what happens between the parties during the consultations.

Instead we are left to unravel the mystery of the death of Patrick's wife Sylvia and enjoy the author's stunning writing style. Her prose often made me stop in my tracks just to enjoy the beauty of her words.

The Possessions is a haunted love story with themes of grief, memory and sense of self interwoven through the pages and you will be left wanting more. Recommended.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!
11 April 2017

Winner of A Presence of Absence by Sarah Surgey and Emma Vestrheim announced

Thanks to those who entered my giveaway last week to win a print copy of A Presence of Absence by Sarah Surgey and Emma Vestrheim. Entries closed at midnight on Friday 7 April and the winner is....
Carol @readingwritingandriesling
Congratulations Carol, you'll receive an email from me today and will have 7 days to provide your mailing address. Your prize will be mailed directly to you from the authors.

Carpe Librum

06 April 2017

Review: Rattle by Fiona Cummins

* Copy courtesy of Pan Macmillan Australia *

Rattle by Fiona Cummins is a solid debut with an original premise, a great cover and a catchy tag line. Unfolding from several character perspectives, Detective Sergeant Fitzroy is investigating a missing child case in London and soon realises it's more complex than she first suspected.

Having three characters with surnames all beginning with the letter 'f' was a little confusing in the beginning. I wasn't sure whether it was intentional or coincidence (in which case it should have been changed) or an 'in joke' which should have been explained in the author's acknowledgements etc.

Almost every character was overtired and needed a shower - which was understandable given the circumstances they were in - but chapter after chapter it became repetitive and same/same. What did interest me and kept the pages turning quickly was the pathology of the killer and his collection.

I don't agree with the promo that the killer in Rattle is a psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter, but he was certainly unique; which is often difficult to accomplish in this crowded genre. A great debut and an author to watch.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!
04 April 2017

Guest review by Grace Harris - There May be a Castle by Piers Torday

Reviewer Grace Harris
Today I have the pleasure of welcoming 8yo bookworm Grace Harris to Carpe Librum. She loves books (including the Harry Potter series) and enjoys reading all kinds of stories. 

Grace recently read There May Be A Castle by Piers Torday and was kind enough to review it for us.

Review By Grace Harris
This is an interesting book, which you would not want to put down!  

There May Be a Castle is about how a boy named Mouse who after a terrible car accident, uses his imagination to get into a world of wonder. A world of imagination where he has to find the castle before the pink knight destroys him. A world of MAGICAL CREATURES and more.

Mouse is scared, but he will have to do his best and rely on his friends Nonkey and the robot dinosaur to get through. So begin a quest with Mouse and his friends in a world of wonder. 

Available from Hachette Australia
I really liked this story, it was easy to read and funny, even silly in some parts. I recommend this book to children. You could read it to younger children, from 4-8 or let the older kids read it. 4 out of 5 stars from me.

Grace's rating = ****

Carpe Librum!

Thanks so much for your review Grace, hopefully other readers will enjoy this one as much as you did.