Sunday, 29 January 2012

Book Review: The Mountain of Gold by J.D Davies

The Mountain of GoldThis seventeenth century naval adventure is the second in the Matthew Quinton journals series, but I found this on Netgalley, was intrigued and read it without having read Gentleman Captain first. Matthew Quinton is an inexperienced young captain who is also brother of an Earl, and heir to the title. When he captures a  galley from under the nose of a Maltese Knight he discovers an Irishman, posing as a barbary pirate, who has tales of a mountain of gold. This tale stays his execution and maps out Matthew's immediate future. King Charles II sends him on a mission to find the mountain. The task is a hard one, without forces conspiring against the Captain and his men. Those who fear a Monarch with absolute power are determined to prevent the King becoming endlessly wealthy, but does the mountain even exist? As if Matthew doesn't have enough to contend with his brother, the Earl, is being pushed into a marriage of convenience with woman suspected of being involved in the deaths of her first two husbands.

While this novel contains some tense action and battles this wasn't the swash-buckling pirate romp I was expecting, but in a good way. It's clear from the information about the author and the notes at the end on the factual elements that this is well researched and grounded in fact. This is set in a different era to a lot of the historical fiction I have read before so I felt like I was learning something, but enjoyed the story and the moments of humour and warmed to Matthew and his colourful wife. In fact the Quinton family is quite a memorable cast and the subplot relating to the Earl's marriage is just as likely to get me reading the rest of the series as any other element.

The high paced action is broken up as the author shows the plotting, scheming and preparations that seem par for the course at the time, creating a nice balance and giving the reader a chance to catch their breath. I did feel slightly cast adrift in places, not being able to follow what was happening very well, but this was down to my ignorance of certain nautical terms rather than any fault with the writing. This book worked perfectly well on its own, and althought there are references to Matthew's previous sea-faring experience not having read the first book didn't seem to affect my appreciation for this novel.

All in all I found this an enjoyable, well written historical fiction action story.

Format: Kindle, ARC
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
My Rating: 3*

Friday, 27 January 2012

Very much TGIF

Whew, what a day! Monkey and I paid a visit to the National Marine Aquarium with friends and the little ones loved it so much we were out pretty much the whole day. I love it there so I'm always happy to while away some time admiring the sharks, turtle, eels et al. Reading this last week has been a bit slow, I started a rather long book and have found myself a bit daunted by my lack of progress so I started something else and am planning on coming back to it fresh soon. However I did review the following over the weekend.

Surviving the Fog by Stan Morris, a YA sci-fi survival adventure, and

The Girl in the Box by Sheila Dalton, contemporary fiction with some of my favourite elements.

Coming up on February 1st I have an interesting guest post as part of the Curiosity Quills 2012 blog tour so please keep an eye out for that.

Turning to GReads question of the week:

Buy or Borrow: Where do your books that you read come from? The bookstore? The library? Do you prefer to own a book, or have it on loan?

A lot of my books are now review copies or ARCs direct from the author, publisher or Netgalley. However outside of those I do tend to buy books rather than borrow them. I love to have a copy to go back to. For e-books I use Amazon and Smashwords. If I can find a good quality copy of a book I really want in a charity shop I still buy the odd tree book, and my family loan me a few now and then. I do try and make use of our library though, I think it's very much a case of lose them or use them, so I usually borrow books that are a bit of an unknown quantity where I'm not sure I'll like them, or books that are expensive or unavailable on Kindle. I also take Monkey there regularly and borrow lots for her as she has a worse book habit than me!

The bottom line is if it's readable I don't mind where it comes from.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Book Review: The Girl in the Box by Sheila Dalton

The Girl in the Box
Welcome to author Sheila Dalton and any readers visiting the blog as part of her Blog Tour.

Dr. Jerry Simpson brings a traumatised girl named Inez, who may be autistic, back to Canada from Guatemala as an act of compassion. He is unable to establish exactly what has happened in her past, but in a country torn apart by civil war it is clear the girl who lives in a box has seen or experienced terrible things. When Inez turns on Jerry and kills him partner Caitlin desperately needs to find out why this terrible incident occurred so she can forgive and move on with her life.

Inez becomes a cause celebre during her trial, provoking discussion about whether Jerry was right to remove her from her homeland and about what he must have done to provoke her fury. She exudes a compelling and innocent aura that draws people to her. Almost worse than being locked up in a bleak hospital in the north of the country Inez is locked within herself. Can Caitlin find it in herself to forgive and help the girl she once loved?

This book is beautifully written with some wonderful, atmospheric descriptions, particularly of Guatemala and the frozen land around the hospital Inez finds herself in. The subject matter was very interesting and with elements of psychological drama as well as a mystery to be solved, and some exotic locales it was a winning combination for me. I was slightly concerned that the way the girl had been living would be heavily dramatised and be the main focus but instead it was on discovering what was wrong with Inez, why and how to help her in order to discover the truth.

The majority of the story is narrated from Caitlin's perspective, in the first person, or from Jerry's viewpoint in the third person. This allows the reader to appreciate the struggle she is going through after her partner's death, as well as providing the full story of how Inez came to be in his home. I could totally appreciate her need to discover what had caused the fatal event, particularly with many people assuming Jerry provoked it by making an advance on the girl. The book was well paced and, while I wanted to read on to find out if my suspicions were right, there was time to enjoy the scenery on the way.

I found this a very enjoyable read with so many of the elements I like in a novel. Despite the subject matter I put the book down feeling uplifted and positive. If the description piques your interest then this is a book I would happily recommend.

You can buy the book from:

and find Sheila on Twitter:

Friday, 20 January 2012

Book Review: Surviving the Fog by Stan Morris

Surviving the Fog tackles a familiar theme but in a slightly different way from similar tales. A group of pre-teens and teens at a camp to teach the benefits of abstinence and birth control find themselves abandonded when all the adults (bar one who remained behind) fail to return from an outing. Initially they make the most of the freedom but as time passes some of the kids start to become concerned. The remaining adult is in denial and it is only when one of the boys decides to venture out that they discover a strange and lethal fog has blanketed the world, but has not reached the altitude their mountain camp is located at. The book documents their efforts at survival. Firstly they have to consider their food supply, then turn their attention to how to survive a harsh winter in a camp designed for summer vacationers. They have to be resourceful and toughen up if they are going to survive.

Surviving the FogThis book is about teens and their relationships as well as their quest to create a new society. This and the way the book is written pitches it to the YA audience more than adults. There is some sex and violence but brief and not particularly graphic. The language was uncomplicated and the writing was very matter of fact. There was a slight lack of demonstration of how the emotions the survivors went through affected them, and it almost had a diary quality about it. It certainly fitted with how one of the youths might have narrated what happened them. The story is narrated in the third person from a number of viewpoints. There are a lot of characters to follow, although they don't all necessarily have large roles and "Chief" Mike is the main protagonist. At times the book moved around so quickly I struggled a little to keep track of who was who and perhaps because of the above I didn't really find myself connecting particularly well with any of them.

What I did enjoy though was the way I found myself wondering how I might cope in their circumstances and whether I might have come up with the sort of plans and solutions they did. I appreciated the descriptions of the area they were stranded in and the wildlife they encountered. In places I had to suspend my disbelief at some of the things that the tribe did, but I found I was happy to roll with it. At points I did wonder why they didn't take some obvious courses of action, but in for a penny...  and the fortunate appearance of particular people from outside the group helped make some of it slightly less hard to swallow.

There were some issues with rogue apostrophes and commas, and with the action moving around so much a change to the formatting to aid the reader would be nice, but otherwise I found it a quick, easy read. The book has some positive messages the reader can take away, it had me thinking and I put it down feeling that despite the issues I had with it I liked this book.

Format: Kindle, review copy
My Rating: 3*


The festive season and a run of bugs and illnesses in our house have really hit my reading and blogging but now I'm a bit more human again it's time for a Friday meme. This week GReads is asking Which book from the last 10 you've read would you recommend to a friend?

The only one I have given 5*s of the last ten is The Demi-Monde: Winter by Rod Rees, so it makes sense to recommend that, my review is here. However thinking more about what I would most likely recommend to a friend, that book is probably a bit less mainstream. The House at Sea's End by Elly Griffith is a book I really enjoyed and can see a lot of people I know also liking it so that's the one I'd probably recommend. The review for that book is here.

In the last week I have read and reviewed:

Last Stop Freedom by Ann Nolder Heinz, historical fiction and romance set in 1850s America, and

Thomas Knapp and the Prophet of the Universe by David Daedalus, a sci-fi mystery

I've also finished Surviving the Fog by Stan Morris, and will hopefully have the review completed later. I've also got a review of The Girl in the Box by Sheila Dalton lined up tomorrow, as part of the author's blog tour.

Time to go, thanks for stopping by, have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Book Review: Thomas Knapp and the Prophet of the Universe by David Daedalus

In this sci-fi mystery mankind has gradually colonised other habitable planets. However the opening of inter-dimensional gates to allow this has had other strange effects. Since it first happened detective Thomas Knapp has been unable to sleep. Aisha Ali has left her small town and her husband looking for something more out of life. Moving to New Chicago has been something of a disaster, and finding herself alone and broke she is desperate for work. When Knapp takes her on as a sort of receptionist come assistant she gets more than she bargained for.

While the sci-fi element is set up at the start and genetic engineering and other changes from the present have a role in the story this feels more like a slightly noir crime novel. Knapp is asked to investigate the apparent suicide of a young woman who was a member of a cult. Her brother doesn't believe she would take her own life so the detective and Aisha travel to their compound to make the thorough investigation that the authorities seem to have neglected, possibly due to the influence of the cult's leader, the Prophet of the Universe.

Cover for 'Thomas Knapp and the Prophet of the Universe'I found Knapp enigmatic and everything a good PI should be, complete with a range of vices and a surrounding cloud of cigar smoke. We see events unfold through Aisha's eyes and our view of him is no doubt coloured by her perceptions as a slightly naive, somewhat lost individual. She is an interesting character, brave enough to leave her husband and family and still maintaining a strong Muslim faith.

The foundations of the story and the concept were promising, but the delivery let this book down. In places the pace lagged as Aisha described things that really didn't impact the plot or characterisation, and it was at times heavy on tell rather than show so I occasionally found my interest drifting. What was more distracting though was the typos. Confusing "whose" and "who's" and "your" with "you're" is one of my bugbears. There were mispellings, repeated words and other issues to the point I found it irritating. These issues could all be dealt with via a good edit, and the author tells me that he has now hired a second editor to go through it with a fine tooth comb.
I found myself left with a number of questions about elements of the story, which will no doubt be gradually answered in upcoming stories. Despite the issues I had with this book there was enough positive to tempt me to take a look at the next installment. 

Format: E-book, review copy
My Rating: 2*

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Book Review: Last Stop Freedom by Ann Nolder Heinz

Set in 1850s America this book tell the story of two women, one black and one white, who are both desperate to escape the ties that bind them. Julia is a Northern woman, raised by and assistant to her parson father. She is totally unused to the complexities of life in South Carolina. As the new wife of a plantation owner she is expected to conform to her role and keep her opinions about the slave trade to herself. Julia becomes attached to young maid Fanny who illustrates the reality of a slave's life and gives her the strength to cope with her new set of circumstances. Essentially the two have the same dream, to be free to determine their own lives.

I have read quite a lot of historical fiction in the past, particularly that set in places other than the UK, but I don't ever recall reading about the place and time this book is set. I have some awareness of the slave trade but this book was something of an eye-opener. In addition to the commentary on the prevalent attitudes to race it also embraces the role of women at the time. As well as providing a fascinating glimpse into how life might have been and the tensions between the North and the South it is also a tale of friendship and romance. I enjoyed the balance between the various elements and the tension in the latter part of the book as the two women make a bid for freedom.

Last Stop FreedomJulia is a slightly naive young woman who has expected to spend her life a spinster, devoted to serving her father and God. When Nathaniel Hamilton proposes marriage she envisions a wonderful new life in the bosom of a new family. Watching her dreams shatter was sad but I was pleased she retained a spark of optimism and found the strength to try and overcome her situation. Her life is a complete contrast to Fanny's, and although her problems seem trivial in comparison to that of a slave's she is just as much Nathaniel's property and equally at the mercy of his whims.

I found this a very enjoyable read, warming to several of the characters and appreciating the descriptive powers of the author. I was drawn through a range of emotions as the story progressed, particularly once we were introduced to the Underground Railroad and the work to try and liberate slaves. As a slight negative there were a couple of small typos in the form of spelling errors, and the book could have been formatted a little better to make it easier for the reader to identify where the point of view changed in the course of a chapter. However these were minor issues. I came away from this book very pleased to reflect on how far the world has moved on since then, even if things still aren't perfect.

Format: Kindle, review copy
My Rating: 4*

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Book Review: Head Games by Kevin Baker

Jordan Patrick is an aspiring actor who is struggling to fund his way through University. When another drama student sows the seeds of doubt about his future career he decides he has to get a part time job. The perfect role for him falls into his lap when a psychology professor hires him to take part in an experiment. He is inserted into the life of the psychologist's patients with the aim of staging situations and modelling behaviours that will advance their therapy and help resolve their issues. The role becomes a complicated one when he starts to develop a relationship with patient Julie who has issues with men.

I thought the concept behind the book was brilliant, if rather sinister. Jordan seems to fall for the reasoning behind Foster's interventions without questioning his motives too closely. After all as an actor the work is hardly a stretch for him. However he gradually realises there is far more behind what he is involved in and uncovers all sorts of potentially criminal and ethically dubious behaviour. As events accelerate Jordan is unsure who he can trust. The story was built up gradually and carefully, to then pull the reader along to a rapid conclusion. I found the latter part of the book rattled through and I got a little confused as new characters were introduced, some of them going by real and assumed names. However a little re-reading clarified things and in a way it served to mirror Jordan's confusion as he tried to unpick what was real and what was a product of Foster's illusions.

Head GamesI did enjoy the ideas behind this book but found myself a little indifferent as to the fate of the characters. Maybe the fact the chapters are dated by how many days they occured before Jordan got shot or references that seemed to indicate the outcome of said shooting removed the element of suspense and concern that I might have built otherwise. Foster, as a control freak from the start, was never likely to be a character I could empathise with and along with Jordan I was unsure about what sort of person Julie was until the end.

This was good read, I didn't spot any typos which is always a plus but it was missing a certain something.

Format: Kindle , review copy
My Rating: 3*

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Book Review: The House at Sea's End by Elly Griffiths

The House at Sea's End is the third in the author's Ruth Galloway series. Ruth is a forensic archaeologist, and for a fan of Patricia Cornwell and co the book description of this book on Netgalley sounded right up my street. It was especially interesting that the book is set in the UK which makes a nice change for me. (Just a note, this was meant to be a Coming Soon review but a combo of being ill and a nightmare with my web access it is now available!)

In this book Ruth has just returned to work after a period of maternity leave. She is finding it hard to get the balance between work and motherhood right, and her problems are further exacerbated by having to work with D.C.I Nelson - the married father of her baby daughter Kate.

The House at Sea's EndAfter a team of archeologists studying coastal erosion in Norfolk discover bones at the foot of a cliff Ruth is called in to advise the police. When she establishes the six skeletons are around 60 years old and that the deceased probably came from Germany the team are drawn into a wartime mystery and the secrets being kept by protective locals. As Nelson and his team investigate recent deaths begin to look less natural than they did at first glance. So who is still trying to protect a decades old secret?

I had absolutely no problem with this book standing alone, as there was enough reference back to what had happened earlier, and inferences about what had gone before, that I felt I understood the present situation the characters found themselves in. I loved Ruth. As the working mum of a toddler, the battle she is goes through wondering if she is a bad mother for trying to do both, and for not being the sort of person who wants to spend every waking moment with their offspring, was all too familiar. The situation with Nelson and his wife's interest in Kate made me squirm for her. Reading parts from his perspective I also actually managed to find some sympathy for him too, which surprised me a little. Around them are some colourful characters that give the book a real feeling of life and there were plenty of unlikely nominees for the role of murderer.

As mentioned I love this type of novel, but a lot I have read in the past are set in the US. It's always nice to read about more familiar locations and experiences etc. The small villages and bleak countryside depicted had an atmospheric feel that added nicely to the unfolding story. If I was to compare this with the work of another author it would have to be one of my favourites, Val McDermid.

The plot was a good blend of historical mystery and crime novel. As a subplot the relationship between Ruth and a visiting friend who worked together excavating mass graves in Bosnia, and the developing story what had happened some years ago while there, was also interesting. If I had any one complaint it would be that I would have liked a bit more about either the forensic archeology process or the police procedural elements included to balance the development of the various relationships and the personal lives.

I really enjoyed this book, Ruth is a character I warmed to so much and I'll definitely have to find time to go back and read the first two books.

Format: E-book, ARC
My Rating: 4*

Book Review: Shut Up: We All Have Issues by Corey Deitz

I picked this up as a freebie when it was randomly brought to my attention at the top of the list of humourous foreign language kindle books on I had never heard of Corey Deitz before (and am now waiting for comments enquiring about what rock I've been hiding under) The description read thus:

Shut Up: We All Have Issues"This book is one man's quest to rid himself of all his psychological demons by exorcising them with self-deprecating humor.

By day, Corey Deitz is a radio personality. By night, he's just another poor, neurotic slob curling up in a fetal position and sobbing like a little girl in the corner of a room. Deitz has issues and doesn't mind putting them on display in the hopes the reader will realize in comparison, he or she is not as bad off as previously thought.

This book is a landmark in understanding the human mind and the author should be commended for allowing his pathetic fears, mental ticks, and social anxieties to be put on display like a piece of salmon at Sigmund Freud's favorite delicatessen.

Deitz's philosophy is clear: why pay hundreds of dollars to a shrink with a fancy business card when this book is dirt cheap. In a world full of pretentious psychiatrists and expensive couches, Shut Up: We All Have Issues is a fresh look at getting your head straight at futon prices"

I think it was the title that caught my attention more than anything. I've been a bit of a grump lately over certain people I know who never stop moaning but don't really have anything to moan about!

What I got certainly wasn't what I expected. There was far more humour at the expense of others than self-deprecating humour, and maybe I need to check my sense of humour but I don't find mocking people who hoard dead animals in their freezers all that funny. Yes, in places I found myself agreeing with the author's rants and it raised a smile or two but most of it I found un-funny, and a lot of the American political humour went right over my head. I know a little about US politics but not enough to get the jokes in this book.

As far this book providing a way of getting your head straight at futon prices, up to 85% in the book was just a series of anecdotes that often rambled off on odd tangents. It was only after that point that there was any element of how the book might help the reader (and you need to bear in mind there were shedloads of footnotes so that 15% wasn't all advice)

I wasn't expecting much in the way of a self-help book but I was expecting something that might make me look at my life in a more positive light perhaps. This was a very odd read, and now I've reviewed it I will be deleting it from my kindle.

Format: Kindle, freebie
My Rating: 1*

Normal service is resumed...

Don't you just hate it when everything goes pear-shaped! My new year's resolution (if you can call it that, it was a bit half-hearted and more of a general aim) was to get fit and lose weight. I started well, using my new toy (X-Box 360 with Kinect) then last week I came down with tonsillitus. It must be some sort of mutant super-strain, I've never had it this bad before!

Anyhow, I now wonder how any mum with a pre-schooler ever manages to get over an illness when you have to amuse them but I did manage to a bit of extra reading so it wasn't all bad. However when I came to write my reviews I discovered my internet had gone haywire. It was totally random as to whether I could access sites or not. Twitter -yes, Facebook - no, RSPB - yes, Blogger - no. Somehow with a lot of patience and several fleeting moments where I thought I'd maybe just lob the stupid thing out of the window it now seems to be working again (well, I can access the web, Chrome has been sacrificed sadly)

I'm crossing my fingers as I type this but it should be back to normal now...wish me luck!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Book Review: The Demi-Monde: Winter by Rod Rees

What happens when the world's most advanced computer system goes awry? The Demi-Monde is the best simulation ever invented, designed to train the US Military in the most realistic way possible without any deaths. Programmers have created a world occupied by dupes based on real people including the world's greatest psychopaths. They have deliberately created friction by developing racial and religious tensions, with the aim of causing conflict. However the programme develops in an unforeseen way when one of the dupes is able to bring the President's daughter over from the real world to the Demi-Monde. The team in charge of the Demi-Monde bring in young singer Ella Thomas to go into the Demi-Monde to retrieve her. Once there Ella is stunned by what she finds and the threat posed to the real world.

Having completed the book I'm not quite sure how to classify it: fantasy,sci-fi, dystopian or steampunk. I'm not really fussed though because I loved this book. The author has created this amazing, detailed world based on a skewed version of the real world, including various historical elements and characters such as Robespierre, Henry Tudor and Nazi Reinhard Heydrich. The Demi-Monde is a dark place, reliant on Victorian technology, with fantastical spiritual and fantasy elements. Author Rees performs some fantastic linguistic gymnastics, creating new religions such as mysogynistic HimPerialism and the feminist HerEticals. I thought his use of language was brilliant.

The Demi-Monde: Winter (The Demi-Monde Saga)The plot moves at quite a pace and the main characters were well developed. Ella, as a woman and a "Shade" or as she prefers woman of colour, has to overcome her initial disgust with the world she has entered in order to focus on her mission. She is smart and resilient, and I enjoyed her developing relationship with faux psychic Vanka. The President's daughter was far from the prissy spoilt girl I was expecting, although not necessarily in a good way, and priviledged Lady Trixibell was an interesting character even if I found her pretty unlikeable as events unfolded. Meeting the real life historical figures added a different dimension and as a fan of historical fiction this aspect held a lot of appeal for me.

I don't think there is really much I can say about this book in the negative (apart from the overuse of the word ersatz perhaps) I'll definitely be looking out for the next book in the series to see where the author is going to take the Demi-Monde.

Format: Kindle, ARC
My Rating: 5*

Sunday, 1 January 2012

2012 E-Book Challenge

This year I have signed up to take part in the E-Book Challenge hosted by Workaday Reads I figured as I am aiming for Server level, reading more than 100 e-books in the year I needed a post to keep track of them. So this is it.

I was about to include the book I finished today but realised as I started it last year it probably shouldn't count, so the list will have to start some time very soon!

1) The Demi-Monde by Rod Rees

2) Shut Up: We All Have Issues by Corey Deitz

3) The House at Sea's End by Elly Griffiths

4) Head Games by Kevin Baker

5) Last Stop Freedom by Ann Nolder Heinz

6) Thomas Knapp and the Prophet of the Universe by David Daedalus

7) Surviving the Fog by Stan Morris

8) The Girl in the Box by Sheila Dalton

9) The Mountain of Gold by J D Davies

10) A Storm Hits Valaparaiso by David Gaughran

11) Renouncing the Future by Stephen Kata

12) The Fulcrum Files by Mark Chisnell

13) The Saintmaker by Mary Carroll Patrick

14) The Dead See by Marcus Gibson

15) Casino Shuffle by J. Fields Jr

16) Showstoppers by Helen Smith

17) Cedardale Court by Nathan Lee Chris

18) Animal Kingdom by Iain Rob Wright

19) All the Secret Things by Sheila Cragg

20) Illusion by Frank Peretti

21) A Summer in the High Sierra by Laurence Brauer

22) Dawns End Poisoned by Bonnie Ferrante

23) Enza by Kristy K James

Book Review: World Mart by Leigh M. Lane

Some time in the not too distant future the corporate world and government have become one and the same, antibiotic resistant diseases have wiped out many and global warming has wreaked havoc on the world we know. Society has been divided into the Corp elite and Mart underclass, ruled by the secretive Corporate. The lowest of the low are deviants, widely held to be inferior criminal types. 

George and Virginia, who have some memories of life as it is now, are fortunate to be part of the Corp, and in a way their American dream is still alive in so far as they hope that by spending most of their income on their children's education they might be able to obtain middle management jobs and improve their lot in life. However that dream is shattered when Virginia is hospitalised as a result of a terrorist attack. As a result they both have their eyes opened to a few things Corporate would rather the masses didn't know.

World Mart paints a bleak but all too plausible picture of a future where the climate is even more out of kilter than it is at present, where the failure of the present to deal with landfill and pollution has resulted in all sorts of problems and rationing, and where monopolistic corporations have gained a stranglehold on the world. As the book unfolded seeing George, and Virginia in particular, realise that they are being manipulated and controlled by the elite ruling class was a ray of hope. By contrast teen daughter Shelley, reeling from tragedy, despite seeing herself as rebelling chooses to believe the party line. I found the parents' actions  and feelings understandable, but found their daughter a bit inconsistent. She vacillated between wanting to make a stand and be a rebel, and being terrified by the outcome of her actions, but it seemed a sudden about face and she came over as more than just a confused teenager, I wanted to give her a slap at times.

There are incidents of violence and murder but the delivery of these events is matter of fact and the way the story moves quickly on makes it seem unexceptional, which I found a bit disturbing. Perhaps this is what the author intended in this dystopian future, but I'm not entirely convinced. 

I found the backdrop a scary possibility and liked the plot but found some of the elements didn't sit quite right for me. I also felt that the carefully constructed hierarchys that were set up in the first part of the book became almost redundant later on as it became much more of a personal tale, with the issues between the Corporate and the terrorists pushed to one side.

It was a reasonably good read but the characters weren't quite compelling enough to draw me back to it in the way some books do.

Format: Kindle, review copy
My Rating: 3*

Happy 2012

Just a quick post to say Happy New Year to everyone who reads the blog. I hope it's a happy, healthy, prosperous year for us all.

There are no real resolutions being made in my household, although I'm going to try and make better use of my time so I can fit in a bit of exercise. As much as I love reading sitting on the sofa with a kindle is doing nothing for my waistline! Good luck to everyone who is trying to tackle a resolution, or even a 2012 reading challenge.