The Handmaids Tale – Margaret Atwood


It has taken me much thought as to how to put into words how good this book is.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Margaret Atwood did not write historical romance, like I thought, but actually wrote thought provoking science fiction.  The Handmaid’s Tale is one of those rare books that was written in 1986 but showed some amazingly accurate insights into the future.

Some of the events that have occurred to create this world that Margaret Atwood wrote are strangely linked to the political climate at present.  The book tells the story of one main character who we never find out her name.  Through her reflections back we slowly learn what has happened to her and how the world that is described came about.  There is interesting visual references made to the colour of dress that main characters wear and this has left me thinking what the author was trying to tell us with the colours she used.

This is simply a beautiful tale that I urge anyone to pick up.  I thoroughly enjoyed this read and have added Margaret Atwood to my list of authors I would like to read more from.  A must read.

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.

Leave a comment

Filed under 5 Star, Science Fiction

The Silence of Six – E.C Myers


Overall this book was a thoroughly good adventure / mystery that was fast paced and intriguing throughout. The story starts with out lead character losing his friend in mysterious circumstances. Through the course of the book Max follows a number of clues left by his friend Evan in order to unravel the mystery of Evan’s death and life.

The book features around the topic of computers and computer hacking. There are times that the computer language can become very in-depth which I loved as a fellow geek but I was left wondering whether this would be too much for a technophobe. However, there is enough adventure and simple explanation I believe to keep anyone hooked.

Although this book has a quiet mid section typical to most books in this genre it is not as long as some novels. Overall this is an extremely engaging book that I was hooked on from the first page.

“What is the silence of six, and what are you going to do about it?”

These are the last words uttered by 17-year-old Max Stein’s best friend, Evan: Just moments after hacking into the live-streaming Presidential debate at their high school, he kills himself.

Haunted by the image of Evan’s death, Max’s entire world turns upside down as he suddenly finds himself the target of a corporate-government witch-hunt. Fearing for his life and fighting to prove his own innocence, Max goes on the run with no one to trust and too many unanswered questions.

Max must dust off his own hacking skills and maneuver the dangerous labyrinth of underground hacktivist networks, ever-shifting alliances, and virtual identities — all while hoping to find the truth behind the “Silence of Six” before it’s too late

Leave a comment

Filed under 4 Star, Young Adult

Through the Ever Night – Veronica Rossi


I have read mixed reviews about this book but, I have to say I simply love this trilogy.  I thought long about why I like it so much and others don’t.  I came to the conclusion that it is the romance I love throughout the book.  It is so tender and well written it also doesn’t shy away from the physical side of attraction that other YA novels do.

It has been a criticism with may trilogies that the second book can drop off and be the poor relation to the other two.  This is certainly not the case with Through the Ever Night.  In fact I would say that this book is better than the first.  The characters are well developed and engaging my favourite actually is one of the supporting characters.  Roar for me is someone that I wish was my friend he is loyal, funny and charismatic.  I have to also say that I love the two main characters although some have said they do not.

Another strength of this trilogy is that the books finish.  Both novels have a start, middle and end and do not rely on the other two books to complete part of the story.  There is also enough joy in reading them to make you want to continue with the series.  For me this is fast becoming one of my favourite YA trilogies and with competition such as The Hunger Games and Divergent that is quite a claim.

It’s been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don’t take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe’s precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

Leave a comment

Filed under 5 Star, Young Adult

Hollow City – Ransom Riggs


The mixture of photo’s and novel is one of the factors that led me to this series and this book is no different from the first.  The book picks up right where the last one left off and consists of the group continuing there journey.  The mix of humour, excitement and adventure is just right in this book, which makes the story progress and flow well.

Although this book has all the familiar characters from the first novel it also introduces enough new characters to keep the story refreshing and exciting.  I have to say if there was any criticism I felt there were not as many pictures in this book than the first.  However, this may have been my perception.  I have always wondered whether the author fits the story to the pictures of the pictures to the story.

The ending of the book is a real cliff hanger which means I am now counting down the weeks to the new one is released.  A very good second book in the trilogy.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children was the surprise best seller of 2011—an unprecedented mix of YA fantasy and vintage photography that enthralled readers and critics alike.

This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.

Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.

Leave a comment

Filed under 4 Star, Young Adult

Under the Never Sky – Veronica Rossi


This is the story of relationships in a strange dystopian world.  Not just the inevitable love interest which is brilliantly written but family relationships.  The relationship between the two lead characters is engaging and a good read.  The relationship I really loved was that between Perry and his nephew.  The strong character development from this author makes these relationships believable and you feel that you invest in all of them.

The story is thought provoking and warm in many places.  There is sadness, joy, laughter and anger all in equal parts.  I love this new strange land that Rossi has designed although I have to admit I hope in future novels we find out more of the history of this strange land.

The ending to this book is perfect.  It rounds the story of completely and could in fact be a stand alone novel.  However, with the excellent characters that have been described by the author I know I have to pick the next book up and spend some more time with all my favourite new fictional friends.

Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she’s never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He’s searching for someone too. He’s also wild – a savage – but might be her best hope at staying alive.

Leave a comment

Filed under 5 Star, Dystopian, Young Adult

Sherlock Holmes Hounds of the Baskerville Graphic Novel


This is a traditional black and white graphic novel.  The story is well known and as a graphic novel it sticks to the plot of the original novel well.  The drawings are basic and I have to admit to wanting a little colour.  Having said that the drawings are clear and concise with good consistency with the characters faces.

This is a short graphic novel which was a quick fun read.

The intrepid detective and his faithful assistant take on a supernatural challenge in one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s most popular mysteries. This graphic novel’s original illustrations accompany an easy-to-read account of Holmes and Watson’s investigation of a family curse. Readers will be irresistibly drawn into the search for a giant spectral hound that haunts the fog-shrouded moors.
This Dover Graphic Novel Classic offers readers ages 8 and up an exciting introduction to a time-honored tale. Expertly abridged and packed with dramatic illustrations, this version offers a streamlined narrative that retains all of the storytelling essentials.

Leave a comment

Filed under 3 Star, Graphic Novel

An Unofficial Guide to Adoptive Parenting – Sally Donovan


When I chose this book it was with a hint of concern as I am a parent of a foster child not an adopted child.  However, having read the book thoroughly from my perspective it relates well to all types of parenting.

When you read this book as with many like this you have to read it with the reality that not all theories work with all children.  Although the author is so experienced in this area there are several theories and ideas which can be adopted by parents.  Being an experienced foster parent there were enough ideas to add to my tool kit for this book to be a relevant read.  The author writes in an easy intelligent way.  You feel a friend is talking to you over coffee rather than preaching to you through a book.  The author’s strong voice and enthusiasm for the children she adopted comes through loud and clear.  In addition to this the book is well referenced and I now have an extensive list of other resources to look into.

The mixture of free flow writing, author knowledge and intelligent techniques makes this one of the best book about this subject I have read to date.  A brilliant read for all parents no matter what your circumstances.

This is not just another book about adoptive parenting. This is the real stuff: dynamic, messy, baffling adoptive parenting, rooted in domestic life.

Award-winning columnist and adoptive parent Sally Donovan offers savvy, compassionate advice on how to be ‘good enough’ in the face of both day-to-day and more bewildering challenges – how to respond to ‘red mist’ meltdowns, crippling anxieties about new routines and, most importantly, how to meet the intimidating challenge of being strong enough to protect and nurture your child.

Full of affecting and hilarious stories drawn from life in the Donovan household, The Unofficial Guide to Adoptive Parenting offers parents a refreshing counterblast to stuffy parenting manuals — read it, weep, laugh and learn.

Leave a comment

Filed under 5 Star, Factual