04 April 2013

A Storm Of Swords ~ George R. R. Martin

**** RECOMMEND ****

Was this my favourite?  
I think the answer is : It is my favourite until I read the next one! 

But seriously I think that this was the best so far.  Unlike #2, which seemed to be a scene setter without much happening, this was non stop action and intrigue. Previously I have mentally groaned because I reached chapters about certain characters, but not so with this!  Each character, new and old, provided excitement.  This was full of plot development with suspenseful twist and turns, unexpected deaths, swordplay and suitors.

#3 Part 1 : Song Of Fire & Ice
#1 : Steel And Snow

03 April 2013

Life After Life ~ Kate Atkinson

*****  FAVOURITE  *****

Tournament of Books : 2014

A degustation of plotlines, a showcase of thoughts
Each a tasty course, each a contributing part to the whole 

wry, droll, warm humour and family relationships
write your own adventure 
sliding doors of what could be, what will be, 
a smart intellegent creation with multiple storylines full of subtle variations of "what if" or "this time"
requires a patient openminded reader

02 April 2013

The Burgess Boys ~ Elizabeth Strout

** OK **

A little tedious, a little flat, a little bland
Cursory rather than compelling

A big part of my problem with this is that I loved "Olive Kitteridge" and this didn't seep into my thoughts the same way.

The family dynamics seemed so false and manufactured, and we had to be constantly reminded (Bob = Loser, Susan = Bitter, Jim = Superior) without many more details or development, just a reiteration of character flaws.  It wasn't that I didn't "like" the characters (you weren't meant to!  they were rather unpleasant human beings), it was more that I found the writing of them superficial and contrived.

The plot twists were well done and helped maintain interest (though I cannot fathom how the socially inept, shy and immature Zach managed to get himself a passport so he could travel solo to Norway ... just defies imagination!!!)

01 April 2013

The Love Song Of Jonny Valentine ~ Teddy Wayne


Like being force fed a diet of mashed potato
"Voice" is good but has so little to say (or sing)

Perfect posting to bear the date of April Fool's Day ... must have been a joke whoever recommended this!  Mashed potato and no meat.

This was unrelenting schmaltz with all the emotional nuances of the pop songs sung by the main character. Where a plot might have a series of conflict/resolution episodes. the conflicts in this were mundane and seemed just a vehicle to allow more cardboard characters to be introduced.  Ohhh, we will have to replace that band or that manager or that whatever.  The climax with Jonny and his father was, yawn, boring.

The voice and point-of-view of the young narrator were well done (though he was too savvy too often) but really this just paraded social contexts past the reader (a child in an adult's word, a mother not acting her age, young sex, old sex, drugs, alcohol, cheesy pop songs) without developing an emotional connection.  I found this lazy storytelling, lacking true originality.

It was nothing more than a faux-bio : Jonny Valentine aka Justin Bieber.