Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone

Friday 22 July 2016

No more reviews!

I'm afraid that I have made the difficult decision to suspend my reviewing activity indefinately. As many of you will know, my review rate has been slowing down more and more over the last few years. Life has been getting busier and I have realised that my commitments are getting in the way of reading for pleasure.

Please do not send me any more review requests! I will not be replying to these.
If you have already sent me a book to review then please let me know if, despite the substantial delay, you still want me to review it and I will (of course) make an exception.

Sunday 24 April 2016

Review: Hearing Thoughts by Anthony Diffley


Daniel Burke is a young New York City Assistant DA currently prosecuting a man for the murder of his wife. Even though her body was never found, there is enough circumstantial evidence to bring him to trial. Danny has his own doubts about whether or not this man is guilty of the crime but he knows because of the oath he took, he must follow through and perform his duty as assistant prosecutor.

When the trial is unexpectedly put on hold for a week, he and two of his friends decide to take a short getaway vacation to their cabins up in Lake George. All is going well for him and his friends until he is suddenly and discreetly abducted by an alien vessel from outer space.
The aliens are very friendly and peaceful and have come here to test and observe humans. When they feel that the time is right, they will make their presence known to all mankind. While on board, they give Danny the ability to communicate with them via thought transmission or through the ability of hearing their thoughts. He becomes good friends with one of the aliens who in turn gives Danny some good lessons on life.
Trouble hits their ship just as they are returning him back to earth and while in the process of removing the thought hearing capability. Danny is safely returned, but he is unintentionally left with the talent to hear other people’s thoughts. When he finally realizes he can hear other people’s thoughts, he starts to question himself as to how he can put it to good use. Should he use it on his job? For romance? To beat his friends at cards? To know what the world thinks of him? Or more importantly, after having lost his wife on 9/11, use it to help the government stop another terrorist attack? These choices, plus many more, are all at his disposal but will he choose wisely?

My review
The story starts slowly (the first 4 chapters could probably have been covered in one) but by the middle of the book I was truly ingrigued.

Daniel was an interesting character and I liked to see how he developed throughout the book.

Individual chapters were good reads in themselves and I liked the way in which the author attempted to mix genres. However, the overall plot seemed unoriginal and was too scattered with irrelevant religious overtones.

I think this author shows good promise, but is not quite there yet. My reading was also hampered by frequent typos and grammar mistakes, which I have tried to ignore whilst writing this review.



I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review


Saturday 16 April 2016

Review: The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

Foundling Jennifer Strange 15 is an indentured manager for Kazam, a house of sorcerers. As magic dwindles, so do their jobs. Drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets deliver pizzas. But the Last Dragon is set to die this week, and Big Magic is coming.

My review
Whilst not as gripping as the Nursery Crimes or Thursday Next stories, I fonnd Ther Last Dragonslayer and enjoyable read.
 Kazam was a very intriguing world. To some extent it reminded me of Terry Pratchett's world, only with less adult humour. I liked the comparisons and contrasts with our own world, and really felt like I was exploring new territory together with Jennifer Strange.
The idea of the founlings was also fascinating. I won't go into detail here, as I don't want to spoil it for readers, but their relationship with the world is something I would like to hear more about. 
There was much I enjoyed about this book but, unfortunatly, I felt that it was slow in gaining the depth that I wanted. I think that maybe now I know the characters and setting better I might enjoy the next book more.
I super read for older children/young teenagers and an enjoyable quick read for adults who enjoy the Discworld sereis. 


Saturday 9 April 2016

Review: Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell

 Everyone thought we were dead.

We were missing for nearly two months; we were twelve. What else could they think?

They were glad to have us back, of course. But nothing was the same. It was as if we had returned from the dead, as if we were tainted somehow. We were not the same.

And it was true, though not in the way they thought.

Lois and Carly-May are just twelve years old when they’re abducted and imprisoned for two months.

That summer, under the watchful gaze of their kidnapper, they form a bond which will never be broken…

Decades later, both Lois and Carly-May have built new lives and identities for themselves.

Lois and Carly-May are drawn together again to face the truth of their beautiful, terrible story.

My review
A pychological book that's not quite a thriller, this book was chosen for me by my local book club.
This book asks a lot of questions, framed in the mind of the two girls (now older) who were abducted.
After a slow start in Part One, I felt more connected with Part Two and really wanted to enjoy it. The characters in this section were rounded and it felt ike a story on its own. However, this failed to be carried through to Part Three.
In Part Three a lot of different plot ideas and lines of thought were raised. Possible solutions kept presenting themselves, only to disappear again.
I wanted to enjoy this book (and I did like parts of it), but it failed to live up to my expectations. Overall it seemed more like an exploration of traumatised minds and what life is really about than a full-fledged work of fiction.

Thursday 7 April 2016

I'm in Top 1% of Reviewers on Goodreads!

Picked up an e-mail this morning with this in it:

Anyone else get one?

Saturday 2 April 2016

Review: MARTians by Blythe Woolston

Last girl Zoë Zindleman, numerical ID 009-99-9999, has just been graduated. Early. Her options: wait for her home to be foreclosed and stripped of anything valuable now that AnnaMom has moved away, or move to the Warren, an abandoned strip-mall-turned-refuge for other left-behinds—a safe place, and close to AllMART, Zoë’s new employer, where “your smile is AllMART’s welcome mat.” Zoë may be the last girl, but her name means “life,” and Zoë isn’t ready to disappear into the AllMART abyss. Zoë wants to live.

My review
An easy to read science fiction, with a consumerist message.
I felt quite sorry for Zoe and was intrigued by the way she coped with a world almost as strange to her as it is to the reader. The world itself is at times just a little too bizarre to be believeable, at others all too familiar. This means that, overall, it creates a very atmospheric sense of unease that reflects well the characters' emotions.
It only too me one day to reade this book and that's a real shame because I felt that there were many issues that deserved being tackled more indepth. I would definatly read any sequels that came out.
One to read when you want something quick and easy between more seriousl reads.



Friday 19 February 2016

Review: The Chosen by William Hatchett


One man. One planet. One destiny. Frederick Frater leads a hum-drum existence working in a Victorian bookshop. But one day an apparition walks into the shop – a beautiful young woman. Her father's extraordinary invention changes Frederick's life. The adventure that follows takes us back to Roman-occupied Britain and into the future, in which magic has become science. It is a future that Frederick can influence through his interventions – for he is one of the Chosen, a select and privileged group with the fate of the world in their hands.

Author: William Hatchett was born in 1958. He is the editor of a professional magazine Environmental Health News. He lives in London and has a daughter and two delightful grandsons. He has been named housing journalist of the year, in 1998, and editor of the year, in 2012. His main hobbies are messing around with canoes and guitars. He is the author of the Dragon Rising trilogy and has also published books of non-fiction and poetry. The Chosen is his fourth novel. He is available for interview.

My review

An intriguing and interesting start set the scene for this unusual story. The initial character of Frederick caught my attention, as did his early relationships. At times I was also memorised by the novel worlds and historical settings. 

However, overall this long novel read more like a selection of shorter stories strung together than a coherent plot. I was left puzzled by the conclusion and feeling like I had missed something important.

3 out of 5 stars

disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Review: An African Diary by Bill Bryson

Was a quick and easy read. I enjoyed this book, although I would have liked more detail about what he saw.

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