Review: Snowdrops

Snowdrops
Snowdrops by A.D. Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ah, another one finished, my Man Booker 2011 pile is getting lower! This one, without a doubt, is my favourite yet. The writing is succinct and full of great descriptions: “With a boy-band fringe, a ten-thousand dollar suit, and a murderer’s smile. He was equal parts twinkle and menace.” I would’ve given it five stars, but the end it needed didn’t appear – it was clear where the book was going very early on, the characters did their part and stumbled towards their finales and as I put it down, I felt more of a “pfft” that an “aah”! That said, I haven’t enjoyed an authors voice so much since Anne Michaels’s “Fugitive Pieces”. A very impressive debut novel and, in my opinion, worthy of the praise, which is why I’m somewhat curious about the number of one and two star reviews on this site – different things for different people I guess…

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Review: The Sisters Brothers

The Sisters Brothers
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finished this book at the weekend, having only pulled it off of my Man Booker pile during the middle of the previous week. This says a lot; normally books take me weeks to complete, but this one got me hooked and kept the pages turning. It’s part road movie (on horses), part western (gold prospectors and saloons) and part buddy buddy (well, except the buddy is his brother). There’s also a touch of magical realism (Gabriel Garcia Marquez doesn’t have to get worried yet), double dealing and bad boss men, and all told with a unique and interesting voice. I liked it a lot, so much so, I finished it in a handful of days. I’ll certainly be looking out for other works by the author!

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Twisted Tales

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, so I’m pleased to say I’ve got something new for you all. The novel was taking up a large part of my spare time so I decided to take a little break and return to writing a few short stories.

‘Twisted Tales’ presents eight unique stories united by endings with a twist. It features three new short stories and edited versions of his existing five shorts.

This collection contains the following stories: ‘Wind in the Trees’, ‘Old House’, ‘The Man Who Could Replicate Himself’, ‘Dying With My Children’, ‘The Operation’, ‘To Kill the President’, ‘Extramarital’ and ‘Body Recyclers’.

Distraction over, it’s back to the novel. I hope you enjoy!

Review: The Moonstone

The Moonstone
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Moonstone is a who-dunnit, told through various people’s diaries and reminisces. I loved the start of the book. Betteridge’s descriptions were excellent, especially when he briefly talked about his wife, but once his voice was reduced, the story started to plod and I did find it quite a challenge to finish. That said, it is a novel of its time and is still worth reading.

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Review: The Sense of an Ending

The Sense of an Ending
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was poorly today so picked a novel off the shelf and curled up on the sofa with a Lemsip. Julian Barnes’s “The Sense of an Ending” probably wasn’t the lightest choice I could have made, but the writing, particularly in the earlier sections was beautiful to read. Like many things that win prizes, books or films, I’m curiously surprised that it has been so lavishly praised. Yep, gorgeous writing with a rhythmic lilt, but for such a short novel, the story did seem to drag as I headed towards the finale.

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Review: Plot & Structure: Techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish

Plot & Structure: Techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish
Plot & Structure: Techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish by James Scott Bell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I did love this book. I read it from cover to cover within a week of buying it, and am fairly certain I’ll be returning to it again in the future. The chatty style is entertaining whilst carrying solid tips on how to develop plot lines that keep readers hooked. Highly recommend.

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Review: Hostile Witness

Hostile Witness
Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I tried really hard not to like this book. I happened to stumble over it whilst searching for something else, noticed it was free and without expecting too much, decided to give it a pop. The first few chapters introduced cliches typical of the genre, harsh, abrasive sentences and off-the-shelf characters, all served with a very large splattering of grammatical errors. But … despite those faults, ‘Hostile Witness’ was very engaging. The writing was intelligent, the characters were well formed and Rebecca’s obvious knowledge of the legal process made it all entirely believable. It ended with a fizzle, rather than a bang, but even so, I’d recommend it, especially for those who like court room dramas.

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