Category Archives: Book Reviews

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

I have tried to start this blog post 3 times already, and so far nothing has worked. So this will have to do.

A considerable amount of time has certainly passed between the last post and this but, like the father who went out for groceries 9 years ago and only returned today, let us all just carry on as if nothing has happened.

Honey, I’m home.

Today I shall attempt a short review of the latest Robert Galbraith novel, Career of Evil.

Career of Evil is the third instalment in Robert Galbraith’s  series, centering around private detective Cormoran (it’s kind of like Cameron, but isn’t) Strike and his extremely loveable (seriously) side-kick Robin Ellacott.

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I’ve never seen a book pose so hard in my entire life.

Without giving anything away, the story begins when a package by an unknown courier is delivered to my beloved Robin. Attached is a note containing lyrics by the band Blue Öyster Cult, which on its own could actually be a nice gesture, if it wasn’t sullied by a woman’s severed leg.

Strike (yes, we are on second name basis) is subsequently convinced that the perpetrator is one of four people, all of whom are from his past and with some reason to hate his guts.

What I loved about this book, which differed from the previous two, was that the narrative was split roughly 50/50 between both Robin and Strike. As we are taken through the case trying to whittle down the list of suspects, we are also taken back in time and given a large insight into the pasts of both protagonists. It feels as if the first two books introduced the characters whereas this third part has truly opened them up to us.

As an added feature, we are also shown parts of the story from the point of view of the killer. As gruesome as these sections were, I thought they were a brilliant touch to a great book.

Despite the fact that ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ and ‘The Silkworm’ set the bar very high in my mind, ‘Career of Evil’ not only met my expectations, but pretty much raised them even further for the next book. Good luck JK- I mean Robert.

If I was to criticise the book at all I would say that perhaps there could have been more twists added to the story, but then I would instantly retort by stating that the lack of a ‘twist at every turn’ added a realness to the novel.

At least I tried.

I am still struggling to decide whether this book or the first was my favourite in the series so far. If I were to go purely with my gut, the gut being the most literary-appreciative organ in the body after all, I would have to say that The Cuckoo’s Calling just about edges it. Nevertheless, Career of Evil is still a definite page turner.

It will make you miss your stop on the bus or the tube. It will make you laugh out loud at parts and may even break your heart at others. Simply put, It’s like an Adele song on steroids.

If you haven’t read the series yet then you should start questioning your life choices and maybe place me in charge of them.

Overall rating: 9/10.

Lastly, as the series will be undergoing a TV adaptation, I would like to formally nominate Greg Davies for the part of Cormoran Strike. Watch this space.

Thank you for spending your not-so-valuable time reading my blog post. Feel free to use the comment section to your fingers content. Discuss the book, discuss me, discuss global warming, discuss the sheriff but do not, I repeat DO NOT, discuss the deputy.

Happy New Year and good morrow.

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The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Book I shall attempt to share my thoughts on today is ‘The Rosie Project’; a novel by Australian author Graeme Simsion originally published in the glorious year of 2013 (as you can tell, I like to keep my blog VERY current).

Please note, coffee table not included

Please note, coffee table not included

For the first 50 (ish) pages I reeeeaally didn’t like this book. I must admit that my negative opinions may be based on the fact that it’s protagonist, Genetics Professor Don Tillman, reminded me too much of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory.

I hate the Big Bang Theory.

Well ok, ‘hate’ is a strong word but, let’s put it this way, if I flicked onto E4 and BBT was on…. I’d change the channel. That’s how serious I am about this. I don’t mess around. Come at me.

I even considered giving up and reading something else but the term ‘giving up’ isn’t a phrase that is in my vocabulary. Actually it is, but I see no reason to share that here as that’s a whole other blog post waiting to happen (The truth is that I did actually start writing that post but, needless to say..). Nevertheless, giving in and heeding the advice of my inner-farmer/conscience, I ploughed on.  And what did I find? My opinions began to evolve.

The basic synopsis of the book is that of a socially inept but brilliant-minded Genetics professor by the name of Don Tillman, seemingly with Asperger’s syndrome, and his experiment to locate the ideal wife. This said experiment eventually leads him to Rosie, who he labels ‘the world’s most incompatible woman.’ Charming.

Personally I felt that the plot was somewhat predictable but, just in case you weren’t already aware, I am a sucker for a clichéd love story. I began to warm towards Don and, not only like him, but I also came to root for him in his quest to find his perfect woman. I joined him on his journey, feeling happy for him at his high points as well as short pangs of sadness whenever the author dictated I should.

So all-in-all, I am not sure what to make of the book at all. I’m not sure if I didn’t like it simply because of my predetermined dislike (‘hate’ was a strong word after all) of The Big Bang Theory OR if I only ended up liking it due to my predilection of clichéd love stories. My gut is ordering me to give it a rating of 3 Stars, but is that because I’m just a nice guy, or because I had too much to drink at breakfast??? Pondering my own opinion on the matter has me reconsidering the very essence and purpose of my being.

I hate this book for confusing me, but I shall lend an ear to my gut, become grossly disfigured in the process, and give The Rosie Project 3 Stars (rounded up from 2.75) out of a possible 5. After all it was an easy-to-read novel, not completely lacking in funny moments, and it was my paperback companion during the tumultuous times of the London Tube strike last week.

So if you’ve read the book; do not be shy, feel free to use the comments section and share your opinions with the World! And if you’re looking for a book to read this summer that was originally published two summer’s ago, The Rosie Project may be just what you were looking for.

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2014 – A Year in Books

2014 is almost coming to a close, and I think I can speak for roughly.. 80% of you when I say:
When did it even start????

This time last year I made a pledge! And that pledge, between me and my 12 goodreads friends, stated that I shall read a whopping 20 books this year! Originally I’d aimed for 30 but just to ‘play it safe’ and to make sure I definitely hit the mark… I stuck with easy figure of 20.

Yeah….. I didn’t make it.

I did, however, get 70% of the way there with a GRAND total of 14! Now even though this isn’t the highest of numbers, (seriously, off the top of my head I can think of like…… 7 higher numbers!!!!) it’s still high enough for me to do a……

TOP 5 BOOKS OF THE YEAAAAAAAR – the two sugars fairly strong dot WordPress dot com edition !!!

The name might need a little tweak but let’s just roll with it…

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I shall sit here and await the payment from Converse for this free advertising....

So Behold!

TOP 5 BOOKS OF THE YEAAAAAAAAR – The Two Sugars Edition 

5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Coming in at last pla-
No, at number 5, coming in at number 5 we have ‘The Alchemist’. Having already written a review of the book, a post or 3 ago, I don’t feel the need to add a whooole lot more except that I really enjoyed it. The Alchemist wasn’t a hard read in the slightest and thinking back at it, what stands out to me most was the beauty in the language. Especially the personification of the various components of nature, adding an enticing touch to a fairly simple story. But at the end of the day what I have taken from the book and carried with me ever since is simply… Maktub.

4. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Apparently it goes by the name ‘Midnight Riots’ in the US but either way I had never heard of this book, or series of books, until it was gifted to me by a friend, and I am sooooo glad I read it! An ‘urban fantasy’ set in London follows the life of Constable Peter Grant as he goes about his mundane day to day business until suddenly coming into contact with the last wizard in England. #Casual.

If you’re in the market for a humorous fantasy book which also happens to throw shed-loads of London-based trivia your way, I know JUST the thing. This. Enjoy.

3. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Only Robert Galbraith could do this. Write a story with; no wizards, no witches, no noseless villains and no Alan Rickmans, yet still be magical! Although I found that it started off fairly slowly, once I got into the thick of it, it was a real page turner. It’s been a while since I’ve read a good 60-70 pages only to look up and realise that it’s 3am and Oh crap I’m meant to be revising what is my life! But that’s what a great storyteller can do aye! They make you deprioritise your whole life with hopefully no lasting ramifications (fingers crossed!)

In case you don’t know, The Cuckoo’s Calling is a crime novel centering around private detective Cormoran Strike and his, simply perfect, assistant Robin (who incidentally I fell slightly in love with) as they try and solve the case of a deceased model who seemingly flung herself from her Mayfair balcony.

I only bought this book because of a 3-for-2 sale and boy am I glad that I did. In fact I liked it so much that I picked up it’s sequel ‘The Silkworm’ just yesterday. So what are you waiting for???

2. 1984 by George Orwell
It had to take something special to beat The Cuckoo’s Calling and 1984 is just that. I’d heard of this one long before reading it, but I never thought it would interest me in the slightest… It always seemed so grey… So dull…. How wrong I was.

Written in 1948, this novel is George Orwell’s dystopian vision of the future. A country, or even world, put under the watchful eye, and ruled by Big Brother. Luckily for all of us though, due to a large decline in average views, Big Brother recently got bumped to Channel 5, where it still silently clings on for dear life. Phew!

But seriously there was so much more from the George Orwell novel that I wasn’t expecting in the least! I don’t want to spoil any of it so I’ll tread on eggshells.. But I never expected such a gripping relationship nor did I expect to feel empathy towards the fictitious situation and it’s, majorly proletarian, inhabitants. But most of all I never expected the ending. Wow. I shall leave it there before I utter any more words that may end up in the post requiring a ‘Spoiler Alert’ tag.
Big Brother is watching.

That only leaves room for one more book! What will it be! Find out.. on the next expiso-
Or I could just tell you now. Technically my number 1 slot won’t go to a single book, but rather a trilogy of books I read right at the start of the year so, since I warned you, don’t sue me.

I’m (surprisingly, actually quite) proud to announce, the number 1 book(s) that I’ve read in 2014 is/are!!!!…

The Hitchhiker’s Guide The Galaxy (books 1-3) by Douglas Adams

Where to even begin with this one… Quite simply these books are the most random, most bizarre, and the funniest (actually ‘LoL’ worthy at parts) set of books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. There is a fine line between insansity and genius as they say (confession: I don’t actually know who says this or, in fact, if it is even said) but I think Douglas Adams must have had a bit of both.

We start our journey with Earthling Arthur Dent, as he tries to stop the demolishing of his house, by the council, for the building of a by-pass. Pretty intense stuff. When put into perspective, however, by his strange companion, Ford Prefect, it isn’t all that dramatic after all. The Earth itself, our beloved planet, our home, is literally minutes away from being blown to smithereens to build, yes, a bypass.

I can’t do the story any justice whatsoever so I won’t even try but I think it’s simply a must read for everyone, including you!! I mean, who doesn’t want to read about The Vogons, who rank #3 in a list of the Universe’s worst ever poets. Why on Earth (bad choice of words) would you not want to meet Marvin, the borderline suicide Robot, try a Pan Galactic Gargle blaster orrrrr find out ‘The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything’ ????

If you learn anything in 2014, let it be this:
Don’t panic. Read the Hitchhiker’s Guide. Oh and also RIP Douglas Adams.

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So there you have it, my Year in books… If you liked or, probably more likely, disliked anything I said… Or if you’ve read any of these books yourself then let me know what you thought of them too in the comments below (you don’t have to be a blogger to comment) Orrrrr you can give your own top 5 books of the year. Whatever floats your wee little boats. Whatever you do just comment it can get lonely out here you know!!! *exhaled deeply*

Either way: follow, comment and shaaare away

Have a Happy New Year! and thanks for reading 🙂

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The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

It’s past midnight, I’m lying on my bed….. Exam in the afternoon #PrayForDan ! What a perfect time to write a blog post 😀

BEHOLD My first ever book review, on this blog anyways  :O .. Naaaaaah!! Mental!

So as it says in the title, today I shall be reviewing ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho and I’m going to start off the review by breaking the rules a wee bit, just because I like living life on its very edge.

So here goes.

Judging a book purely its cover, I’d say, this book is bloody brilliant !! I mean, just look at that sillhouetted church submerged in the mysterious orange-tinged fog and the attractive backdrop of mountains in the distance, all behind the unmistakable letters reading ‘THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER’

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Ooft.

If that doesn’t tickle your curiosity then you need serious help my friend. Professional help.

In essence the story is a simple one. It centers around a Spanish sheperd, Santiago (aka ‘the boy’), who spends his days with his sheep.. as you do.. in complete peace and tranquility until he is disturbed by a slight recurring dream.

Getting his dream interpreted by a gypsy woman in the nearest village.. also as you do… The boy is then told about a treasure which awaits him and is subsequently led onto the path of his ‘true destiny’ travelling vasts amount of land and making acquaintances along the way.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – Paul Coelho, The Alchemist

When I started reading this book, I slowly began to treat it as if it was a fairy tale of sorts. And in many ways I believe it is so, the story has a clear moral (Chase your dreams!!!) and it  constantly sticks to it. But in actual fact The Alchemist is much more than that.

Though it is an easy read and not very long (177 pages), the book is filled with beautiful language. From the general descriptions of places and people, to the personification of nature itself. This book will have you turning pages faster than you can say ‘oh my days this book is literally forcing me to turn this page somebody help!’ And this is after having been translated.

The book is also rather philosophical, although you may not agree with all of it, I bet there’s definately something in there that can relate to anyone.

An unexpectedly deep book which, not only makes you think, but helps you appreciate the wonder all around us in our seemingly ordinary day to day lives.

Not sure how good of a review this was but if you want an inspiring, feel-good and easy to read yet deep book, then look no further than The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Also I gave it 4 Stars on my goodreads … Which you can follow here 🙂 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/19847070-daanyaal-nurgat

Thanks for reading! Like, Comment and Share away Bob’s yerr uncle.

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