Book Review: The Escape Book by Ivan Tapia

The Escape Book, I Tapia

Source: Goodreads

I had a bit of a struggle rating this book if truth be told. I couldn’t decide on my final rating for a while just because I had very conflicting views on the book. On the one hand, it was a lot of fun to complete, and I did enjoy the puzzles and the general novelty of an escape room in book form. On the cover it says it’s the “first book based on the puzzle of escape rooms” and I’m excited that this is now a thing. On the other hand, the writing wasn’t the best and the content of the book tended to jerk you out of tension of the situation. Please keep reading for my review and, as always, I’ve added the review to Goodreads so please add me there.

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Book Review: Firebird by Elizabeth Wein

Firebird, E Wein

Source: Goodreads

So I’m back! And I’m reading again! To ease myself into the new year and the three (THREE?!?) reading challenges I’m attempting, I went with a new novella from one of my favourite authors, Elizabeth Wein. I’m a bit of a WW2…kick? Lately? I really enjoyed this book. I also left my review on Goodreads, and feel free to add me there! Keep reading for my review and please don’t forget to leave a comment with your thoughts on the book or recommending any other similar books/authors!  Continue reading “Book Review: Firebird by Elizabeth Wein”

So Resolutions, Huh?

Like I said in my new years resolutions post – you can find it here – I’m pretty bad at keeping on track. I thought I might have an easier time staying on the straight and narrow if I checked in with myself occasionally to see how things are going. This probably isn’t going to be a monthly thing, but I’ll try to check in regularly and see if it helps. Feel free to use the comments as your own checking in page! How are you getting along? Have you broken any resolutions? Changed any? Are you smashing through them like the gods/goddesses you are? Let’s chat in the comments, and spur each other on!

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BOOK REVIEW: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

eleanor and park Image is from the Goodreads page

I read Eleanor & Park on holiday while tucked up in bed (yes, I’m so old!) and I read it in a couple of sessions flat. I really enjoyed it, actually. It’s the first Rainbow Rowell book I’ve read, but a few friends have recommended one of her other books, Fangirl. Maybe I’ll read that next – I definitely want to read more Rowell! This is a review so it may contain some spoilers re overarching themes and the like, but I’ll try to keep it relatively major spoiler free. This book tackles the topics of domestical violence, alcohol abuse, childhood abuse (including implied sexual) and bullying. If you are sensitive to any of those topics, you may want to skip this one.

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Update on my Reading and Writing Challenges 2015

Hey everyone. It’s roughly halfway through the year so I thought I’d update you all on my Reading and Writing goals. You can find the original post here.

I’m doing okay on the reading challenge. I’ve completed several of them (although I have yet to write reviews for most) and I have ideas for what I want to read for the others. I’ll get there. I still have half a year left.

As for the writing challenges…well. I haven’t written for at least half an hour every day – but I am determined to start, so hopefully I will be able to tick this one off. I started Camp NaNo but failed horribly. I am determined to do better on the actual NaNo in November though. Let’s see, shall we? I changed the “finish the first drafts of two books” goal to finish the first drafts of a book and a screenplay. I haven’t managed either yet BUT hopefully if I start writing every single day and kick ass in November then I will complete this one. There’s still hope!! And as for writing more fanfiction…I actually haven’t written any this year (although I have read a ton). I have a few ideas for fanfics though so I’ll definitely have written at least a few stories by the time the year is up.

So overall I’m not where I wanted to be in my goals so far, but I think that as long as I step up my game from now on, I can still complete most, if not all, of these goals. Wish me luck!

Book Review: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Okay, I finished the book MONTHS ago but just haven’t gotten around to writing and posting my review until now. It’s a good job I made notes straight after I’d finished! The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is about a woman, Mme Ramotswe, who opens a detective agency in Botswana, and follows both her interactions with other characters and the cases brought to her and how she solves them. This book was part of my Continent Book challenge (the Africa months). This review is spoiler free (I think, there might be a couple tiny ones but nothing that will spoil anything about the book for you in any way).

The book is structured so that in every chapter (near enough) there is another case for Mme Ramotswe to solve. There is also one overarching case that runs throughout the book (revolving around a missing child and a witch doctor – I didn’t find any of it too grim or overly descriptive though). Alongside Mme Ramotswe is a pretty large cast of supporting characters, from the people she is helping to friends who help her. The characters seemed well rounded and interesting – they all seemed 3d to me, with well-thought out reasons behind every decision. I don’t know much about African culture, but I imagine the way these characters talk and interact with each other would be pretty realistic.

The main chapters, as I’ve said before, are about Mme Ramotswe and the cases she is hired to solve. However, interwoven into the main story is chapters about Mme Ramotswe’s background, her disastrous marriage, and her now deceased father who’s money she used to set up her detective agency. Although these chapters do slow the story itself down slightly, they make Mme Ramotswe more solid and I don’t think I would have understood and rooted for her quite so much had those insights into her past not been there.

In all, the book was well written and entertaining. I liked the characters and was satisfied with the ending (although it didn’t leave me with any lasting feelings either way). Maybe I just went into it with my expectations set too high but it just wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. I can’t put my finger on anything WRONG with it, it just didn’t touch me, strike me, make me want to run back to the library and find all the sequels NOW. I mean, maybe if I saw the sequels in the library one day and was in a bit of a reading slump then I’d pick it up, but I wouldn’t go actively looking for it, nor am I particularly desperate to read it again.

I’m giving The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency 3 out of 5 – it was a pretty fun, pretty light read that was well written, but I’m not chomping at the bit to read more.

Library Haul, Currently Reading & ANOTHER Reading Challenge?!?

Hey everyone! This is a quick update on my current reading, and also to let you know about the new Readathon I’ve started. But first, my library haul:

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I’ve requested around 6 books from the library but only 2 were there today. These were:

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith – a novel set in Botswana about a rather unconventional female detective. The is apparently the first book in a series, so if I like it then hopefully I can find the others.

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin – this is about a man and his four wives, and their lives in Africa. I don’t know too much about this, but it looks pretty interesting so I’ll give it a shot.

This brings me to my next news – a new Readathon I’m participating in! It’s called the Continent Readathon and it was invented by TheBookJazz on YouTube (check out her channel or the Readathon page on Goodreads). Every month (or possibly every two months) the challenge is to read books from a certain continent. February’s continent is Africa! Obviously I’ll be reading the two books mentioned above, and I’ve also got 4 (I think) more due to be delivered to my local library. Hopefully they’ll come soon and I can get stuck into this challenge. You know, because I’m doing so well in my other challenge…

And finally, I thought I’d update you on the books I’m currently reading. Obviously there’s the two already mentioned that I’ll be reading this month, as well as (from top):

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Hogfather by Terry Pratchett – this was recommended to me, and is about Death, who has to take over the Hogfather’s job on (what amounts to) Christmas Eve, and Susan, Death’s granddaughter who has to try and put things right. It’s a bit weird, but good so far!

I Miss Mummy by Cathy Glass – this is a true story (or based on) about an emergency foster carer and the children she fosters. This book is about Alice, a little girl who is taken away from her seemingly loving mother and grandparents.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – a circus appears in towns with no warning and no advertisements. It’s open from dusk till dawn, not in the day. It’s a cool concept, but I’m not far enough into the book yet to tell if I like it.

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy – this is about a girl, Stephanie, who’s uncle dies and leaves her his house and his fortune. At the wake she meets Skulduggery, a rather mysterious detective, and gets drawn into a world of magic she never knew existed. I’m REALLY enjoying this so far!

So that’s all for now – I’ll be sure to do another library haul when the rest of my books get here. Have you read any of these? What did you think? Are you taking part in any readathons this year and, if so, which ones? Is anyone else doing the Continent Readathon? Let me know in the comments!