Wednesday 26 October 2016

Haunted: Anthology by Various

Not all of these stories have ghosts.

No Summary was given with this book. Spooky.

I found this random Anthology in the library. Yes, it was in the kids section but as always that is not a excuse for the level of bad in these the stories. Most of these authors are unknown to me and none of the stories have made me motivated to go out to find more about the authors I wasn't already aware of before. As always I have review each stories, though this time I didn't review each one straight after listening.

The Castle Ghosts by Joseph Delaney - Spooky castle I saw the ending coming for miles. 3/5 stars for mysterious contents.

The Caretakers by Susan Cooper - This story was ruined for me straight off the bat by the protagonist describing her brother James as "not being autistic but something that has no name". He's autistic. Unless you actually going to give a diagnosis of something else then don't bring up the fact that the character with clearly autistic traits is not autistic. Maybe because an autistic person will be listening to the audio book adaptation of your story and be done with your shit. I don't really rate much besides the 'not autistic thing'. It's your
standard creepy haunted house/island story. The title doesn't work, it's just a straight up misdirect and think this would have been more interesting from James POV instead of someone with no character traits at all. 2/5 stars for Lake screaming. 1/5 stars for Ableism.

 Good Boy by Mal Peet -  I liked this one. It's  not obvious in execution and creepy concept that would be terrifying. 4/5 stars for dog paws.

The Blood Line by Jamila Gavin - This story contains two actual creepy things: Mirrors and Work houses. Except has really complicated and convoluted way of getting the main character into the story and distracts from everything else. This story could worked, but didn't for me. 3/5 stars for monkey thief.

The Ghost in the Machine by  Eleanor Updale - This one really works as an audio book (story?), though I was promised pictures. I did actually think something had went wrong with my phone when this came on, like it was really weird virus I was listening to while in Waterstones. I also actually felt for the character in this one as well. 4/5 stars for high-tech ghosts.

Songs the Dead Sing by Derek Landy -This is a lot of darker than the other stories (except maybe the first one) in that involves Cult Murder and appropriately I was listening to it while trying to find the toilet in an old building  4/5 stars for lying leaders.

The Beach Hut by Robin Jarvis - This one was okay, it tried, but felt rather cope outy, probably due to this being aimed at kids and adults like to think  kids can't handle the extreme. I found the main ghost in this to be too annoying to deal with and therefore that end the ghostly experience there for me. 2.5 stars for mouthfuls of sea water. Also the voice actor is really whinny sounding.

The Praying Down of Vaughan Darkness by Sam Llewellyn - The framing of this story is unnecessary and doesn't stick to it well. There's a good idea in here but is not done well. 3/5 stars for cheesy breath. 

The Ghost Walk by Matt Haig - This story takes a lot of clichés and doesn't do much with them. Not at all creepy and an bad attempt to tell the Hitchhiker ghost story. What happens in this story could just be someone messing with them. 2/5 stars for pointless umbrella. 

The Ghost Wood by Philip Reeve - Meh. Another featuring dreaming about dogs. 3/5 stars for wood stones. 

The Little Ship's Boy by Berlie Doherty - Dumb and obvious. 1/5 stars for drowning. 

Overall, I give this 3/5 stars for dog clichés. I don't know if the writers were given prompts for this, but the similarity between these stories actually made the worse ones worst. There were some decent stories in here; the majority were just meh. The voice actors varied from good to terrible. I wouldn't recommend this book as a whole but there are some decent stories buried here. A library pick up sort of book.

Thursday 6 October 2016

Book Review: Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher

Parents are sadly not tradable.

'I have a voice but it isn't mine. It used to say things so I'd fit in - to please my parents, to please my teachers. It used to tell the universe I was something I wasn't. It lied.'

Fifteen-year-old Tess doesn't mean to become mute. At first, she's just too shocked to speak. And who wouldn't be? Discovering your whole life has been a lie because your dad isn't your real father is a pretty big deal. Tess sets out to find the truth of her identity, and uncovers a secret that could ruin multiple lives. But can she ask for help when she's forgotten how to use her voice?

This is an interesting book in that the main character doesn't stop speaking straight after the 'traumactic event' and develops an imaginary friend or a Tulpa I guess. I went into this book basically blind. I must have read the summary of this book where I request it for review and brought it (the cover is really cool) so mostly went on the fact that Annabell Pitcher is award winning writer who has really interesting titled books. I think that worked for this book, but I'm not the person to advocate for that (I intentionally spoil myself all the time to find out if something is worth investing the time in).  Still nothing I considered a spoiler is in this review.

Tess is a typical awkward teenager who's relationship with her parents is secretly stained. Major secrets on both sides. There were times where I wanted to shake Tess but I'm certain that was intentional. Tess has bad decision making skills, so generally a realistic teenager. Her relationships with the other characters are complex and the important one all have some form of lie attached to them.

Tess also spends a lot time of arguing and lying to herself in a form of Mr Goldfish. While this done mostly well, there were times where Tess described communication would have been noticeable to the people around her.

I think the silence that Tess develops is done well. That mainly comes from the fact it does develop and immediately after the cause. Its starts with Tess not wanting to say anything for spoiler plot reasons. Then from this she trapped in continuing not to say anything as the book goes on. I have Select Mutism so I have dealt with being unable to talk in awkward situations myself and found Tess emotions and reactions to this to be realistic. Her interaction with teachers (especially one near the end) were very reminiscent to my own. This is definitely the best book I've read so far where the main character is mute for most of the book.

That being said I declared that Main characters that don't talk was going to be a trend and I think I can say safely say it is a trend now so I might keep an on going rank with books that try the whole Selective Mutism experience on for size. I'm going to write why that problematic in another post and not side track this review for a book that does a good job of it to criticize the ones that don't (that being said I found a book that can only be pigging backing on this one). For those unaware of Selective Mutism, this is not nor is it meant to be a portrayal of it. Selective Mutism would come into play if it was long-term issue and she did talk in situations she was comfortable in. Still successfully captures some of the things you experience if have Selective Mutism.

A big part of the book relies on Tess making big leaps and doing stupid stuff. I know people can be blinded by what they want to be true, other realitity but Tess is meant to be a teenager and
often she would have a complete disregard for reality. We have Mr Goldfish to prove that she does see the reality, it just she talks about her fantasy as though they could actually become reality. She also seems to live in a world where no one else has complicated families e.g. step dads. I mean if somehow not in her own life, this stuff is on TV and various other media now.

There was also a bit of a rush to resolve everything in the book. I would have liked more time spent on her friend Isabell. She mostly just a plot device than a character and her ending is bit unsatisfying.

Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars for Redundant Taxis. This was an interesting book that deals with realistic issues with uncommon ideas. Some parts could have been executed better, but as a whole it was good read with complicated life issues in it.

I have now did a Video Review:

I got this book for review of NetGalley for review (though, I might of brought it before then) and it is published by Orion Children's Books.