Wednesday 28 December 2016

Book Review: Straight White Male by John Niven

I wonder if Niven and I will die at the same place too.

Kennedy Marr is a novelist from the old school. Irish, acerbic, and a borderline alcoholic and sex-addict, his mantra is drink hard, write hard and try to screw every woman you meet.
He's writing film scripts in LA, fucking, drinking and insulting his way through Californian society, but also suffering from writers block and unpaid taxes. Then a solution presents itself - Marr is to be the unlikely recipient of the W. F. Bingham Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Modern Literature, an award worth half a million pounds. But it does not come without a price: he must spend a year teaching at the English university where his ex-wife and estranged daughter now reside.

As Kennedy acclimatises to the sleepy campus, inspiring revulsion and worship in equal measure, he's forced to reconsider his precarious lifestyle. Incredible as it may seem, there might actually be a father and a teacher lurking inside this 'preening, narcissistic, priapic, sociopath'. Or is there.

I read this book almost a year ago and due to mysterious internet reasons I can't find the actual review that I started writing for this then. Which means I will be writing this review on the random things I remember from it. I think they're word document somewhere, but I can't find it so... this what we have.

Kenald is the cliché alcoholic middle age writer wishing for better times before he became a rich selfish arsehole, so super likable as he tries to sleep with women only a few years older than his daughter (that summary does involve sarcasm and the choice to call him Kenald for some reason). He's self aware and is doing a lot reflecting on how he end up this way. Kennedy an arsehole, but realistic so he comes off as a flawed character that's spent too much time in Hollywood.

This book deals with Hollywood and academia bullshit as well as the up and downs of life such as addiction and family issues that can't be fixed with money. Kennedy behaviour is often cringe worthy.

Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars for Cocaine Wanderings. This is a funny books that fleshed out stereotypes and clichés while being funny and poignant so basically it the sort of thing I love and therefore recommend to people who like like their comedy to come with a punch in the gut. 

Book Review: Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama

I don't think the British police would care about a protest.

The Japanese crime sensation that sold a million copies in six days.

For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter's kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. They would never see their daughter again.

For the fourteen years that followed, the Japanese public listened to the police's apologies. They would never forget the botched investigation that became known as 'Six Four'. They would never forgive the authorities their failure.

For one week in late 2002, the press officer attached to the police department in question confronted an anomaly in the case. He could never imagine what he would uncover. He would never have looked if he'd known what he would find.

This is a very slow book for something that comes technically under the thriller genre.

Our protagonist Mikami is an outsider, working in the hated media department in Administer, while having previously been a detective. Office Politics is big part of this book, with the police officers and Admin going up against each other. Mikami also has personal stuff that effects where he lies in this 'war' and this does goes in a circle while Mikami is trying to find out what they all up to, especially as he thinks its vital for him to know.

The mysteries presented are mostly solved, a big one is left to wonder about. I go on the pessimist side of what is hinted about the one that isn't.

The writing is odd sometimes, obviously this is a translation (translated by Jonathan Lloyd-Davies) so that might come from what is the usual in Japanese. Mikami just starts listing things, which is especially odd as this book is written in third person. This book is quite long and the plot drags on sometimes.  

They were some culture barriers in this book for me. A big early plot point is the Journalist threatening to put in a written compliant to the police and I honestly don't get why anyone would care as they were complaining about something Mikami was ordered to do. The police have no respect/like for the Journalist so why was a big deal if they complained. I know Japan does have a big thing about honour and shame so maybe because its a shamefully thing to happen, or the whole disconnect they have with their bosses. It doesn't really matter I guess if you understand why, it is important for plot reason and then what that leads to.

I listened to the audio book of this and I don't think I would recommended that. I didn't really like the actor's, Richard Burnip, voice. He also made the female character kinda whinny and didn't like a lot of the choices for the other characters either. I also found it confusing since I'm not familiar with Japanese names it was hard for me to remember character's by the sound of their names and would have been better reading it, but ar last I did not have the time to do that and got used to both these issues eventually.

Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars for Irritable Reporters. While I enjoyed this book, a lot things are left unresolved and everything that is resolved is done very quickly compared to the size of the rest of this book.

Discamilar: I listen to book on Audio book from the library, but I had also received a ebook version off it from NetGalley and
Quercus Books when it came out in Hardback over here.

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Book Review: Unrest by Michelle Harrison

You think a teenage boy would be happy about a girl in his room. 

Seventeen-year-old Elliott hasn't slept properly for months. Not since the accident that nearly killed him. Sometimes he half-wakes, paralysed, while shadowy figures move around him. Other times he is the one moving around, while his body lies asleep on the bed. His doctors say sleep paralysis and out of body experiences are harmless - but to Elliott they're terrifying.

Convinced that his brush with death has attracted the spirit world, Elliott secures a job at a reputedly haunted museum, determined to discover the truth. There, he meets the enigmatic Ophelia. But, as she and Elliott grow closer, Elliott draws new attention from the dead. One night, during an out of body experience, Elliott returns to bed to find his body gone. Something is occupying it, something dead that wants to live again . . . and it wants Ophelia, too . . .

This is the story of a boy who died and rises again so now the Dead hounded his dreams. Or more like they make him astral project, giving him unrestiful nights.

Elliott makes an likeable, appealing protagonist.The supporting characters are okay, there is a sprinkle of stereotypes as minor antagonists. The romance is somewhat decent. The mythos of the ghosts was done well. It took from a lot of things to have realistic rules that worked for the plot.

I liked the plot mixed with the setting. While it is set at museum, its actually a collection of old buildings making more a fake tour from different time periods. Elliot chooses to work there as they have started during ghost tours at night as the buildings are meant to be haunted. There's also mystery that comes from working at the museum. I enjoyed the journey of this and the solution was fulfilling.

It also deals with grief, Elliot having lost his mum before his accident and his dad failing to cope after she gones.

I listened to the audio book version narrated by Paul Chequer. He did a good job of bringing Elliot to live, this book being in first person.

Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars for drawing henna. This was a decent YA with supernatural stuff.

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Book Review: Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz

James Moriarty is gay.

Sherlock Holmes is dead.

Days after Holmes and his arch-enemy Moriarty fall to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls, Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase arrives in Europe from New York. The death of Moriarty has created a poisonous vacuum which has been swiftly filled by a fiendish new criminal mastermind who has risen to take his place.

Ably assisted by Inspector Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard, a devoted student of Holmes's methods of investigation and deduction, Frederick Chase must forge a path through the darkest corners of the capital to shine light on this shadowy figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, a man determined to engulf London in a tide of murder and menace.

This is Horowitz second attempt at at Sherlock Holmes novel. Sherlock Holmes does not appear (spoilers or whatever you baby). I was not that impressed by his first attempt "The House of Silk". It was okay, the concept made sense since the events in it would have not been publishable in Victorian times. This was em...Holmeless. This is was about Moriety's crew after the events of his death and hapless Detective trying to be Sherlock Holmes with side kick and all.

The twist in this book is some bullshit. One, it should be obvious when you stare at the title long enough. Some people might enjoy the twist, but my policy is that lying to the reader is not a twist. It is bullshit. If you ignore that twist, the plot aright. Just kinda sad.

The writing style is nice. Horowitz can write. I just don't like the plot outcome that much.

Overall, I give this book 2/5 stars for dead servants. It was okay, fine even till the twist. I don't think I would recommend this book to anyone. I got it from the library and I was still annoyed. The idea of book exploring Moriety is great idea, this didn't really do and thus the title was just riding on the popularity of BBC Sherlock's portrayal recently and just general Sherlock Holmes love. I don't know, just read the complete stories of Sherlock Holmes again in Publication order and read the free fanfict online.  I recommend J.M. Barrie's crack fic (yes, the writer of Peter Pan wrote a Sherlock Holmes parodies. There's like three and the little shit that he is, he predicted the Sherlock Holmes would rise from the dead. He was also called James...and BBFs with Conon Doyle. Hm...I will not write Crack fanfic about dead writers. I will not.)

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Book Review: I'll Be Home for Christmas by Various

My recent interaction with the Homeless was two of men swearing people out. Ar...Scotland.

The UK’s top Young Adult authors join together in this collection of new stories and poems on the theme of home.

Contributors include: Tom Becker, Holly Bourne, Sita Brahmachari, Kevin Brooks, Melvin Burgess, Katy Cannon , Cat Clarke, Juno Dawson, Julie Mayhew, Non Pratt, Marcus Sedgwick, Lisa Williamson and Benjamin Zephaniah.

£1 from the sale of every book will be donated to Crisis, the national homelessness charity. To find out more about Crisis, see

Before reading this book I was concerned that this would be an anthology where the stories didn't match at all with each other. Christmas,  Home and Homeless are the themes I'm guessing the writer were given. This book does contains some writers I really like, one I studied in school and one I have yet to find anything likable about. I wasn't going to request this book, until I realise Cat Clarke was in it and I must read everything she ever published.

Home and Away by Benjamin Zephaniah: This a poem and despite being taught several times how to citizens and write poems I don't feel confident on the matter,  but I still have a  jotter full of Face's quote. It's about how you could become homeless.

Ghosts of Christmas Past by Non Pratt: There are no actual ghosts and this is just a standard contemporary Sam is dealing with now living with his Nan and being awkward with girls. 4/5 stars for Tree Cravings.

If Only in my Dreams by Marcus Sedgwick: returning to the tradition of horror at Christmas and Space. Bit of a cliché plot. Also Also the British don't care about American poems about Christmas. It's written well as always by Sedgwick. 4/5 stars for darkness dreams.

Family You Choose by Cat Clarke: Queer fun. With a character that doesn't speak.  Very nice. Unusual Christmas dinner. Hinting at bigger life. Birthday blues. 5/5 stars for silent cake.

 The Associates
by Kevin Brooks: The day in the life of two Homeless men who mainly hassle people. I don't know if I'm missing the point or if Brooks is missing the mark in trying to humanise homelessness. I think this story needs to be fleshed out a bit more, especially as for a day in life, big gaps are hinting at being missing.  Also have no clue by what is meant by the title. 3/5 stars for cliché needles.

The Afterschool Club by Holly Bourne: Rich Boy, Poor Girl, spending time together to avoid going home and do their homework together. I liked the characters in this one and the writing, as well the hinting at the deep issues at play as well as the ones on the surface. 4/5 stars for Coat swapping.

Homo for Christmas by
Juno Dawson: The lesson in this story is to use private mode. We also have another uni age character dealing with their sexuality similar to Cat Clarke's story. These two fit together at least, but these one did feel a little more mature than the ones before it.  5/5 stars for Skinful.

Amir and George by Sita Brahmachari: This story deals with the series and current topic of refugee. Its also write in the style of someone whose not good at English (as though it was foreign language to them) which was interesting stab at realism. 5/5 stars for found lemons.

The Letter by Tracy Darnton: Darnton won a contest to be included in this book.
This doesn’t feel like a short story and more like the start up of a novel as the eventful stuff has either happened or about to happen.There's interesting story there, but this glimpse into Amber's life is a small catalyst that hints at several possibility. Though, I can tell from this that Darnton is a skilled writer. 4/5 stars for Bowling shoes.

Claws by
Tom Becker: Everything I have ever read before by Becker has been insultingly terrible, at least this was just insulting, but I feel like that Becker liked the title of Claws and was gonna force that to make sense. It was alright, its the "someone does something stupid" version of horror therefore you don't care about the main character which is unsuccessfully. 2/5 stars for fishhooks ribbons. 

Christmas, Take Two by Katy Cannon: Heather is being forced to spend Christmas with her Father's new shorty and her monstrous children. Its mostly be grateful and its Christmas so be happy that no one takes you into account when making important decisions, learned all from a romantic encounter. 3/5 stars for forced stockings.
When Daddy Comes Home by Melvin Burgess: Nothing says Christmas like a dystopia of Politic Corruption. Interesting in that it comes in the form of a monologue. 4/5 stars for Christmas Tricks.

The Bluebird by Julie Mayhew: A modern fairy tale told in the form of a fairy tale, but modern setting. I enjoy writing confusing sentences. Parents holding their kids captive and a romance that might be a lot more alarming than its meant to be. 3/5 stars for burning chips.

Routes and Wings by Lisa Williamson: I really liked this one and does a good job of humanizing Homelessness. 5/5 stars for Bus Fare.

Overall, I give this 4/5 stars for multiple themes. Okay, I get why this book was done and that it for a good cause, but in terms of a coherent anthology most of the stories don't go together. Some of them fit and there could all be sketched to have a theme of home, or at least have the setting of Christmas. I'm probably just way over thinking of this, especially as I'm someone who reads all these genres about the same (except Poetry) within YA. I would recommend this if you're a general YA lover. 

I got this book off Netgalley for review and it is published by Stripes Publishing.

Book Review: Lost Bodies by David Manderson

This is frankly just a weird reversal that I won't explain.

In an ordinary suburb, a seemingly ordinary man tends his garden and tries to impress his neighbours as a heat wave clamps over the city. But all is not as it seems, and as death begins to stalk the city's streets and parks he finds himself caught up in a game beyond his control that brings terror to his very doorstep, and nothing about him or the place he lives will ever be the same again

To start this review, let me criticize the fail of cover that this book has. The biggest issues being that the summary on the back is hard to read because its white font on the pale sky. I can't even make out the first two words of the generic blurb. Then there's the awkward red chunks on it. I don't want to address the other issues of me reviewing this book because it weird, but I have to review it because British Book Challenge.

The big thing is that this book in the POV of a serial Killer, that might be a spoiler but without that information why pick this book up. I have read several books completely from Serial Killers/murderers and ones where the POV pops up. This just didn't do anything new or interesting for me. The only thing that separates is that there's no gory detains, so if you want serial killer but no graphic violence, here you go.

There were confusing jumps throughout the novel. I think this was intentional to reflect the character's inner mind (and I scrim read major parts of this book).

I think my biggest issues that the serial killer is kinda dumb. He not obvious about his killings but he also has no real chance of getting away with it in the long run. Therefore, I lost interest. It could be argue he's meant to be dumb, in contrast to his low estimate of everyone around him.

I give this 3/5 stars for buses to noway. It was okay, its a serial killer in Glasgow. I just didn't care that much about this book and I took way to long to read it.