Diary of an Ordinary Woman by Margaret Forester. I'd give this 3 stars. It was a very interesting story about the life of an unusual woman and her family from the 1st World War right up to modern times. She'd written her diary over 94 years. Although very interesting I was disappointed when the story just stopped when she became unable to write. Ends weren't tied up or answers given in the way an author might have done in an novel.
I don't know what to award The Dark Road by Ma Jian. It is an extremely interesting story about a peasant family in China who are trying to escape the powers of the One Child Policy Police. I suspect much of what is written is true so it is a shocking tale and some of the imagery it conjures up is gruesome and disgusting. The author's books are permanently banned in China.
It is about a girl named Carrie White, her mother is extremely religious and locks her in a prayer closet when she's been bad. As well as this she is bullied by the people in her school. She soon discovers that she has psychic powers which she first uses to her own benefit but soon uses them to get revenge against her mother and classmates.
I liked the book because of Stephen King's gripping descriptions and his confidence in describing the horrors and feeling of Carrie's physic ability.
Writerly writer writing about the First World War, but others have done it better.
Northanger Abbey – Val MacDiarmid
One of a series of updates of Jane Austen – insubstantial – Catherine Morland’s Gothic novels become modern day vampires but the complexities of marriage among the upper classes doesn't translate easily to the present day setting
A Room with a View – EM Forster
Set in 1908 Lucy is a New Woman learning to break through Edwardian convention and be true to herself in an atmosphere of repression and overwrought emotion .
More Dandy Gilvers;
Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses - Catriona McPherson
Dandy as a teacher in a girl’s school – quite touching in a very silly way
Bury Her Deep – Catriona McPherson
Set among witches in Fife – as silly as it sounds
The Winter Ground – Catriona McPherson
A resting circus is an excellent setting
After the Armistice Ball – Catriona McPherson
First in the series and the tone is not quite even
The Burry Man’s Day – Catriona McPherson
I was amazed that I’d never heard of the Burry Man – set in South Queensferry and very good fun
Dandy Gilver and the Reek of Red Herrings – Catriona McPherson
Set among the fisherfolk of Gaimrie in the North East – lots of local and historical interest although the most ridiculous plot yet involving taxidermy and a dissected corpse in a herring barrel
Love Story with Murders - Harry Bingham
A police procedural with a detective who for one is not a middle aged male divorcee - Fiona Griffiths is young. Welsh & mentally ill. Well written and tightly plotted – not that common in crime thriller
Dead Girl Walking – Christopher Brookmyre
Really disappointing installment of the long running Jack Parlabane series– a thriller which needs three chapters of exposition at the end really needed a better plot. His recent Jasmine Sharp novels are much better.
Black Eyed Blonde - Benjamin Black
Atmospheric pastiche Philip Marlowe novel – very well done,no false notes
The House of Silk – Anthony Horowitz
Pastiche of Sherlock Holmes is suitably dark but not as convincing as the Moriarty book
After I’m Gone – Laura Lippmann
Shifts in time between the 1960s, 1980s and present day Baltimore can’t help disguise a duff plot (woman disappears – no one cares) an uninvolving cast and an extremely clichéd cop character
The Way of the Panda – Henry Nicholls
China’s political animal – an overview of panda history, biology and use as a diplomatic bargaining chip. Interesting but feels like a magazine article with heavy padding.
To Rise again at a Decent Hour – Joshua Ferris
A book about an insomniac dentist , but funnier and more insightful than that sounds
4. As You Wish by Cary Elwes ***
I love the Princess Bride and Elwes tales of his experiences making the movie made for an enjoyable and diverting read.
5. Fonduing Fathers by Julie Hyzy ***
I love this Whitehouse Chef series. The story is that Oli is the head Chef at the Whitehouse and ends up getting mixed up in murder and crime solving in between serving amazing food to the US President. I didn't like this story as much as previous books in the series (I think because it wasn't in the White House so much and was less about cooking though it did tell you more about Oli and her partners back story) but it was still a fun read.
6. Quantum and Woody vol.1: The World's Worst Superhero Team by James Asmus and Tom Fowler ***
I liked this graphic novel, bits made me smile and I liked the two unlikely heroes. Two brothers get zapped and find themselves with superpowers but it's not all happy families. I would happily read more of the series.
7. Supernatural: Bobby Singer's Guide to Hunting by David Reed ***
Set around season 5 its a entertaining read for a fan of the show. It sees Bobby losing his memory due to some attack he can't remember, as he tries to work out what happened he is trying to get as much information about his life and knowledge on paper while he still has any.
8. Wonder Woman/Superman vol.1: Power Couple by Charles Soule and Tony Daniel *
This is one of this years Stan Lee Excelsior books. The story see Wonder Woman and Superman in a romantic relationship facing off against the gods, aliens and other things bent on destroying Earth. I wasn't crazy about this imagining of the famous pair as a couple, I rather liked the idea that they mixed with us regular plebs. What bugged most was reference to action in other series in the All New 52 leaving me with the feeling I missed a page of text. The All New 52 series has changed the back stories of characters and Wonder Woman has had a pretty big change but obviously that isn't covered here, I don't think it should have been, but the odd throw away line referencing things like that she is now the god of war did leave me unclear about what the heck had happened. I think this comic collection would read better if read along with the All New Wonder Woman and Superman comics.
9. Calvin and Hobbes: Weirdos From Another Planet by Bill Watterson *****
I adore Calvin and Hobbes and this could well be my favourite of the comic strip collections. The short strips about a boy and his toy tiger sound simple but they are wonderful. I loved reading this again as a mum, it opens up a whole new layer to the strips I'd missed as a kid.
10. 1411 QI Facts to Knock You Sideways by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson ***
As always a quite interesting read, it's a bunch of facts that you may or may not have known. I read it as an ebook as a filler for when I had a few minutes free.
11. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexis ***
It is a collection of short stories which follow a few key people on a Native American reservation, often their lives cross over, impacting on each other. It is an interesting read and reveals the reality of a culture and community often neglected in fiction.
12. I Told You I was Ill: The Last Words of the Rich and Famous by Maria Pritchard **
This was a fun bathroom read. It is exactly what you'd expect from the title with some interesting additional trivia on the very wide mix of people quoted.
13. Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen ****
I loved this memoir. It was interesting not just as you followed Maya try and follow a 1950s teen popularity guide but also to see the wider world she inhabited - makes JYHS seem like a very safe place!
Allegiant by Veronica Roth ****
In this book Tris escapes her city and sees what the world is really like. I thought it was quite a good book, yet I still missed hearing more thoughts from Tris and Tobias.
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins ****
It's a love story of a girl who goes to a boarding school in France. There are a few ups and downs as she finally gets together with the boy she's forever had a crush on. It was a good book as a distraction from depressing book, but it was a bit of a predictable story. Still really cute though!
More Than This by Patrick Ness *****
The story is about a boy who dies and enters another world, but doesn't know if it's the afterlife or even hell. It's a beautiful, philosophical book, and I really liked it, as in every story I have recently read, the main character always dies, but this book didn't need a plot twist like that to make it a good story. Really loved it! Very recommended.
The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle by Kirsty Wark. I would award this book 2 stars. It was disappointing for I admire Kirsty Wark and expected greater things from her. The novel explores the lives of 2 women. Elizabeth bequeaths her house on Arran to someone who once admired her house and wanted to buy it. (How believable is that?) Alternating chapters detail the events of Elizabeth's life and that of Martha, the daughter of the woman who inherits. Elizabeth's life is interesting up to a point and then I just lost interest. Maratha's life reads like Mills and Boon. Arran is well depicted.
The "Mortal Instruments" series has been very popular with our readers. This is the second of six bestselling books in the series. Have a look at the author'swebsitefor more excellent information about the Mortal Instruments and read our pupil review here: "The City Of Ashes" is the second book in the Mortal Instrument series by Cassandra Clare. In this book, Jace has been kicked out of the Institute because he is suspected of being a spy for Valentine. Even though Clary is with Simon, she still can't get over the fact that she and Jace are still in love. I enjoyed this book because it was a lot more mysterious than the first book.I would recommend this book if you have seen the film and enjoyed it and I would recommend seeing the film if you enjoyed the book. By Clary S.