REVIEW: Room by Emma Donoghue

room-978144727636401Summary:

Synopsis from GoodReads.com:

“To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.”

Review:

An emotional book that deals with a horrifying topic from a different point of view, Room is about a boy called Jack who was born in captivity and his view on the world. This book is about those Josef Fritzl and Ariel Castro style crimes where a woman is kidnapped and held captive for years but it is told from the point of view of a 5 year old who has never seen the world outside because his mother is a victim of this sort of crime. This makes Room an interesting and sometimes difficult read.

This book was a bit more contemporary than books I normally read and that caught me off guard when I started reading it, but I still enjoyed it and I thought the dark subject matter of the novel would make it worthy of a review on this blog.

The book focuses more on Jack and his mother’s escape and how they adjust to life outside of the room they have been kept in for years, or in Jack’s case his entire life. Room is amazing written and uses language a five year old would use. This works brilliantly because the narrator is clueless to the more dark and serious events going on around him but it is told in a way that makes it perfectly clear to an adult reader what is happening.

I would recommend the book for anyone 16+. There is some bad language used by adult characters and hinted scenes of sexual abuse, but it is hinted so it isn’t shown graphically. If you can handle books like A Child Called It you might be able to handle this one.

Rating:

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads.com. Even though this book turned out to be a little different from what I expected it was still a heart warming read that dealt with a lot of heavy subject matter. It was also brilliantly written. It is also extremely addictive so once you get started it is a pretty quick read.

As always feel free to follow me on GoodReads and if you have read Room let me know what you thought of it below, and I am always open to book suggestions.

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REVIEW: Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell

91ruyhdsv4l-_sl1500_Summary:

Synopsis from GoodReads.com:

“Meet Ada Goth. She lives in Ghastly-Gorm Hall with her father, Lord Goth, lots of servants and at least half a dozen ghosts, but she hasn’t got any friends to explore her enormous, creepy house with.

Then, one night, everything changes when Ada meets a ghostly mouse called Ishmael. Together they set out to solve the mystery of the strange happenings at Ghastly-Gorm Hall, and get a lot more than they bargained for…”

Review:

With Frankenstein’s monster in her fridge, sirens in her parlor and a sword fighting vampire as her governess, Ada Goth’s life is a little strange.

I was not planning on reviewing many children’s books since relaunching this blog but I did promise to review all things creepy and horror themed. Also I loved this book so much that I couldn’t fight the urge to review it. Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse is a children’s novel about the odd life of Ada Goth and her adventures in her equally strange home. The book itself is beautifully illustrated with dozens of images drawn by the writer himself to help tell the story.

Personally I wish this book had been around when I was much younger. A lot of the stronger characters in the novel are female and I think it would have made a big impact on me if I was a little girl. It also deals with what it is like living with a parent with depression or in mourning, as her father is constantly mourning her mother’s death.

I think this book would make perfect Halloween reading for any child. It isn’t scary, but it has plenty of monsters and odd things to make a good Halloween book. The monsters are also treated like characters rather than being frightening. If your child can handle Roald Dahl they could easily read this. For adult readers, if you fancy a book that is not very serious and full of literary inside jokes, I recommend picking this up for fun. It is a very quick read, at around 200 illustrated pages. I polished it off in one sitting. Even if you love serious books sometimes you just need to pick up something quick and funny. It has the nonsensical humor of Roald Dahl’s novels and Neil Gaiman’s Graveyard Book, so if you like those books, you will love this.

Rating:

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads.com and I do not give out 5 stars that often. I recently bought the second book (there are 3 in the series) and I cannot wait to get stuck into it, apparently it features a parody of the Great British Bake Off.

As always feel free to follow me on GoodReads and if you have read Goth Girl let me know what you thought of it below.

REVIEW: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

american-gods-1Summary:

From GoodReads.com:

“Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.

Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.”

Review:

Yes, I am reviewing another Neil Gaiman book, but this one won my “What Book Should I Read Next?” poll so I have to fulfill my promise to review it. I am not complaining that I had to read this book though because like  most of Neil Gaiman’s work (See: Coroline, The Graveyard Book and many others) this novel was brilliant and more than a little unique.

The main concept of the novel revolves around gods that have been brought to America by their worshipers who have immigrated to the country over the years and now they are forced to contend the new modern gods who are things we worship today, like the internet or television. I never would have thought of those modern things as gods but the more I think about it the more it makes sense. The more traditional gods who appear in this novel are not only the sort you would expect, like Norse and Egyptian gods, but also lesser known ones that have you reaching for Wikipedia while you read so you can look them up.

As brilliant as this book was it did have its downsides. American Gods is considered a classic by many and it certainly reads like one. While the plot and characters are great, the writing can be a tad long-winded and drawn out, with characters giving speeches so long that if they were a real life person someone would tell them to shut up. There were also some scenes and exchanges that did not add anything to the overall plot or characters.

I would highly recommend American Gods to anyone who liked mythology and wanted a nice big book to read, but I will warn you that this is very much an adult novel. It has strong language, graphic scenes and a lot of sexual scenes and references.

Rating:

Overall I gave American Gods 4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads.com. It lost a point for being too drawn out.

Have you read American Gods? If so what did you think of it? Let me know down below.

REVIEW: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

2213661Summary:

Synopsis from GoodReads.com:

“After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family…” 

Review:

This is a stand-alone middle-grade to young adult novel, but don’t let the age genre put you off because you cant go wrong with Neil Gaiman and in this book he certainly delivers. The only thing childish about this novel is that the story is written from the point of view of a child. The rest of the story is rather dark and strange. In a lot of ways it is another version of The Jungle Book but instead of animals in the jungle, it is ghosts in a graveyard who raise a young boy.

This book is magnificently written and uniquely illustrated. I haven’t seen an unillustrated version of this novel yet but I have seen different versions with different artists doing the illustrations. Gaiman presents the story in his usual easy to understand and quirky writing style so you yourself get a sense of what it is like to grow up in a graveyard and you can easily put yourself in the main character’s shoes.

The characters in this book are fascinating and lively, even though most of them are dead, and when I finished the book I found myself missing a few of them. Due to the characters being ghosts they are from a variety of different periods in history and how they speak is even written to reflect the speech patterns from their time period. There are nods to Celtic mythology and old christian beliefs, such as having a section with unconsecrated ground in the graveyard. Also the main character is called Nobody, which is a fantastic name, and he is a very believable and realistically written little boy.

The only problem I had with this book was that there was not enough of it. It left me with a couple of unanswered questions, which I suppose added an air of mystery to some things but at the same time I want answers. I want a companion to this book that tells me the backstories of all of the ghosts and the organisations mentioned in this novel. I need more!

Rating:

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.com. (You can follow me on Goodreads by clicking here) I don’t care if you think you are too old to read this book you need to check this one out. I would highly recommend it to anyone, especially if you like The Jungle Book or ghost stories.

This will be the last time I share my “What should I read next?” poll so pick a book while you can and I shall review the winner.

REVIEW: Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

17026_413852478709121_1163712783_nSummary:

A dead man on the back seat of a car, and warm milk from a farmhouse, an ancient little girl, and an old woman who saw the moon being made; a beautiful housekeeper with a monstrous smile; and dark forces woken that were best left undisturbed.

They are memories that are hard to believe, waiting at the edge of things. The recollections of a man who thought he was lost, but now, perhaps, remembering a time he was saved…

Review:

I’m sorry for the rather strange and vague summary but this book is one of those books that are just better when you don’t know what to expect when you dive into it so I copied the summary from the back of my copy of the book.

This is an adult fantasy stand alone novel, and I absolutely loved it. It was dark, creepy and has that sort of magical realism that makes you think that it could all be possible. The best way to describe this book is, Coraline for grown ups.

I loved the characters, especially the Hempstock family. I actually hope that Gaiman writes another book about them because they were simply magical, in every sense of the word, and I need to learn more about them.

The only thing that disappointed me about this book was that I was told before I read it that it was really scary, but personally I didn’t find it scary at all. I thought it was more creepy than truly scary. There were a few scenes in it that made my skin crawl but nothing that I found really terrifying.

Unlike other adult books that I have reviewed lately I think this book is pretty safe for YA readers. It isn’t too graphic and it doesn’t contain strong sexual references or scenes.

Rating:

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads.com. If you love a good fantasy novel that is easy to read and sucks you up into it I would certainly give this book a go. The writing style is simple but gorgeous and everyone needs a book that will make their skin crawl now and then.

I’m still on the hunt for a book that can actually scare me. Any suggestions?

REVIEW: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

8df04aca135c75256c16d8118385e263 Summary:

Tana lives in a world where vampires have infected the world. In order to protect themselves the human race has built cities known as Coldtowns which are used as quarantine areas to keep the vampires and the infected separate from the general population. Dozens swarm to Coldtown every year in the hope to become vampires or protect their love ones from their growing infection. There is just one problem, once you enter Coldtown you can never leave.

After Tana wakes up after a party to find everyone slaughtered she finds herself on a journey to the depths of Coldtown.

Review:

I really enjoyed this book. I haven’t read a decent vampire book in a long time. It was nice to see vampires portrayed in a way that wasn’t in the teen romance way that seems to keep popping up now-a-days. There is a romantic subplot in this but it is very small and it isn’t the focus of the novel at all, which is a good thing.

The main problem that I had with this book is that it is a stand alone novel. It isn’t part of a series and I feel like this story and world could have been explored a lot better if it had more than one book covering it. It is clear that the writer is trying to fit everything into one book so it can be lacking in depth, character development and world building at points. It has a lot of potential. The lack of time and development means that the romance in the novel seems sudden and doesn’t have the time to develop the proper layers that romances need.

Other than that I found this book a lot of fun. The vampires are proper vampires. They were blood thirsty and dark. The female lead is independent and badass, just what I love to see in female characters. The world it is set in sounds beautiful and it novel does a brilliant job at showing how a world wide vampire outbreak would effect the world from dress sense to media.

The only other tiny complaint I have about it is the number of eye descriptions in the novel. “Wine eyes” , “Ember eyes” , “Carmine eyes”, “Ruby eyes”, “Pomegranate eyes”. We get it, they have red eyes.

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 Rating:

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves vampires. It is just a shame that it has all been limited to only one book. I gave this 4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

 I know that almost everyone has read this book because it was pretty popular when it first came out but I didn’t read it because I thought it seemed a little silly. I honestly didn’t plan on reading this book until I spotted a really pretty used copy of it that was only 50 pence (That is around a dollar to you Americans) so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I now regret thinking that it was silly before because this book was fantastic.

It took me two days to finish this novel and I spent an entire weekend being completely obsessed with it. I even found the movie and watched it, which I don’t recommend because the movie is horrible in comparison to the book.

It is a stand alone novel and it is about the life of Abraham Lincoln and his adventures as a vampire hunter. Basically after his mother killed by a vampire when he is a young boy Abraham Lincoln swears to kill every vampire in America and becomes a vampire hunter. The death of his mother isn’t really a spoiler since it is written on the back of the book so I didn’t really ruin it on you by telling you that. The book covers his entire life, including the events of the civil war.

I don’t know much about American history but I have been told that this book has been very well researched and it fits in well with the real Lincoln’s life story. I shall warn you though, this book is graphically gory. If you aren’t into books that have a lot of blood, guts and other things I suggest you avoid this book. If you like your books gory then you are going to love this one.

The only slightly negative thing that I have to say about this book is that I was sort of on the fence about the writing style in it. It switches between third person narration and a first person journal style of storytelling. It is well written but I just think it would have been a little better if they kept to one writing style.

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads and I would have given it more if I could.

If you have read Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter feel free to let me know what you thought of it in the comments.