Saturday, 30 April 2011

Joe is Online - Chris Wimpress

Title: Joe is Online
Author: Chris Wimpress
Genre: Thriller
Published: 2011
Formats: Ebook

Available at:
Amazon UK

The novel "Joe is Online" was passed on to me by the author, Chris Wimpress so that I could review it. I was rather intrigued by the premise of using email, internet chats, blogging, etc. to progress the story rather than using a standard narrative. At first it took a little bit of getting used to, but I found this format very compelling and I really enjoyed the way the story unfolded through the various online interactions.

The story itself spans several decades but starts in the 1990's when we get to see into the troubled mind of child named Joe as he learns to hack and manipulate the online systems. As the years pass, we see Joe building an online cult out of everyday people and then using them to unleash chaos and mayhem upon both the online and offline worlds. Finally, an International Terrorism Expert links all the death and destruction to Joe and so begins her attempt to hunt him down before he can get to her first.

I have to admit that I really enjoyed the various entries from the 1990's, it brought up so much nostalgia about those earlier days of the Internet. I couldn't help but smile to myself as I recognised so many of the thoughts and actions as being similar to my own back then. So if any of you made you first foray into the online world back in the 90's, you may also get a healthy does of nostalgia as the read the earlier portion of the book.

The characters are all well written and very diverse, in fact at first it is hard to see how all these different characters will be brought together. This however is one of the very things that makes the novel so enjoyable, they are brought together in a fascinating plot that keeps you guessing and trying to work out the links yourself.

The only slight issue I do have is with the ending. I found it very ambiguous and I had to read the last few entries a further time before I finally thought I understood what had happened. It was also a little bit of a let down, I just wish it could have been clearer and showed us more about what happened to some of the characters. This was a minor issue though and it didn't really detract the story.

A final note I have is that I want to clarify that there are some adult themes in the novel and some rather colourful language. It shouldn't be an issue for the demographic that I think the novel is aimed at but I thought I should mention in here.

Overall, I found "Joe is Online" to be a cracking first person thriller told in a novel and inventive manner that helped to keep it fast paced and moreish. I look forward to seeing what else Chris Wimpress may bring out in the future.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

The War is Language: 101 Short Works - Nath Jones

Title: The War is Language: 101 Short Works
Author: Nath Jones
Genre: General Fiction
Published: 2010
Formats: Ebook

Available at:
Amazon UK
Barnes & Nobel

When I was first asked to review this book by the author I was a little bit unsure, it did sound interesting but I was put off by the synopsis which used statements like; "Flash Fiction", "Anti-Authority Conformists" and "Prose Poetry". This all sounded a little bit too "arty" for me; however I decided to have a read anyway in the hope that I could expand my horizons and read something that I normally wouldn't have picked up.

The first section of the collection on memories is titled Breadcrumbs Ablaze and on the whole I found it rather enjoyable. Some of the stories made me grin, some made me think and others just plain entertained me. The imagery used by the author was impressive although I have to admit that some of the stories were possibly a bit "beyond" me and left me a little bit confused. My favourite two stories in this section had to be Poetry & AT-4.

The second section on dichotomy is titled Chimerical Pinwheels and I think this had to be my least favourite section of the collection. Firstly I need to admit that I had to look up dichotomy because I had no idea what it was, wikipedia told me that a dichotomy is any splitting of a whole into exactly two non-overlapping parts. I am not sure that really helped me understand what I was going to read but I made a go of it anyway. I just found I had to try and think a lot to understand what was being presented and reading it before I went to bed and was therefore tired was probably the wrong thing to do.

The third and final section about letters to a fake advice columnist was titled Letters When Gods Won't Do and this was my favourite section. Some of them were hilarious and I felt that I had to pass my Kindle across to my wife to let her read them, I think she started getting annoyed when I ended up doing it for nearly every letter at one point.

Overall, I didn't find this collection very different from many other short story collections I have read, in that I enjoyed some stories but there were also some that left me cold. I did feel that my brain had been given a workout by the end of the collection which is probably a good thing to do now and then. If you are after a thought-provoking and at times amusing read then you should give this collection a go, the final section alone I think is worth picking it up.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Mean Girls In Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish which I am taking part in. This weeks Top Ten was Mean Girls In Books.

I wouldn't say that all of the characters in my list below are either "Mean" or "girls" exactly, but they are the female characters that I want to slap around with a wet fish for various reasons.

Nynaeve al'Meara - Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan
To be honest I think Robert Jordan's female characters are all pretty annoying and I think this is down to the author himself. However, Nynaeve was by far the most annoying, she seems to moan and complain all the time about other people and then goes ahead and exhibits the exact same tendencies that she has been moaning about just a few minutes earlier.

Bella Swan - Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer
I hated this obnoxious, shallow, irelevant character in both the books and the films. The ways she messes around Jacob and Edward is rediculous and it is the type of actions that in many other stories would normally make you one of the villains, not the heroins.

Dolores Umbridge - Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
I suspect this nasty woman will make it onto many other lists. She just came across as being cruel and vindictive; I wish Harry had just punched her one.

Mrs Coulter - His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
This woman came across as a rather unfeeling mother, who didn't deserve the child she had.

Lady Macbeth - Macbeth by William Shakespeare
This ambitious and ruthless woman plans the murder of the King and belittles her husband until he is finally won over to her plans.

Veruca Salt - Charlie & The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
I think this is the first female character in a novel that I really disliked. She is conceited, bratty and I am so glad she gets her comeuppance in the novel.

Morriel - Wars of Light & Shadow series by Janny Wurts
This leader of the Koriani Order which was supposedly founded on Mercy is both manipulative and corrupt. She is probably one of the few unredeemable characters in this series, with her possession of another human being showing us what she is really capable of.

Cat - Commonwealth Saga by Peter F. Hamilton
This criminal woman, who helps save humanity in the first series of novels, shows her true colours in the 2nd Series. Her sadistic actions and her willingness to kill any number of people to achieve a goal is rather disturbing. She even destroys an entire planet, just to kill one person! She needs way more than just a slapping!

Astrid - Gone Series by Michael Grant
I am sorry but she is so self-righteous, it irritates me! She is bossy and besides being "smart" she has no real redeeming features.

Alexa - Die Softly by Christopher Pike
This attractive cheerleader is one pretty sick individual. She manages to set in motion a murderous plan that seems to end up killing everyone she knows. Nasty girl!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Chernobyl - Frederik Pohl

Title: Chernobyl
Author: Frederik Pohl
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: 1987
Formats: Hardback/Paperback

Available at:
Amazon (2nd Hand)
Amazon UK (2nd Hand)
Barnes & Nobel

I picked this book up after my interest in the Chernobyl accident was re-kindled by reading various information about the disaster that has been occuring at the Nuclear Plants in Japan. I have to admit that I struggled at first to find a label for this novel which was originally published only a year after the actual accident at Chernobyl. As I have read it in 2011 and it followed various fictional characters I think the best way to desrcibe it would be as historical fiction.

In regards to the storyline itself, this novel is a fictionalisation of the accident that destroyed the number four reactor at Chernobyl. The novel touches on various aspects of the accident, from the initial testing that caused the explosion in the reactor right through to some of the political outcomes in the Soviet Union. Along the way, we get to see the heroic efforts of those who tried to stop the accident getting worse alongside the evacuation and fears of the everyday citizen from the local town of Pripyat to the city of Kiev several hundred kilometres away.

I did note that some aspects of the disaster are not incorporated in this novel. This is due to the fact that Pohl wrote it so soon after the disaster and he did not have access to the information that came to light years later. I think, this additional information could have really added to the novel had it been available at the time. This was specifically in regards to some of the overall design flaws of the reactor design itself, which would have added to the political issues within the story.

The story was entertaining, especially in regards to the accident itself and the attempts to avert further disaster. However, I did find it could be rather slow later on as we got to spend large amounts of time reading about various discussions in hospital etc. I would rather have spent more time finding out about what was happening at Chernobyl in all honesty.

Throughout the novel, Pohl also explains some of the historical, technical and political aspects of what is happening to the reader. It is done in simple enough terms so that the reader can understand the basis of what is occurring. He also ties it into what is actually happening in the story at the time therefore he doesn't interrupt the overall flow of the novel.

In regards to the characters, I do feel that some of them did vary in terms of interest and quality. For example, I found that the characters originally introduced at Chernobyl prior to the accident were well-rounded and you honestly felt for them and their predicament as the events unfolded. Pohl also managed to use these types of characters well in making sure that we get to read about the actual events and acts of heroism that occurred. Whereas some other characters just seemed rather pointless, specifically I wonder if the American characters were included just to make the book appeal more to an American audience rather than add anything to the story.

Overall, Pohl has managed to mix the engineering and scientific details with some emotional human drama in a good way so that any type of reader interested in the accident should enjoy the book on some level. I myself found the book to be an interesting and enjoyable read, although as I said previously, it is a shame that some of the later information is not included as I think it could have enhanced the story, especially in regards to the later portion of the book.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Unsavory Delicacies - Russell Brooks

Title: Unsavory Delicacies
Author: Russell Brooks
Genre: Thriller
Published: 2011
Formats: Ebook

Available at:
Amazon UK
Barnes & Nobel

Unsavory Delicacies is a collection of three short stories written by Russell Brooks which probably best fit into the Thriller/Suspense genre. All three of the stories are high quality and revolve around some sort of "revenge" act. Another slight connecting line is that they all involve restaurants and food which was quite a nice little quirk.

These three short stories are all fast-paced and concisely written. There is no padding here, they are punchy and get straight to the point with some fun and entertaining storylines.

In regards to the stories themselves, two of them feature the character from Brooks' previous book "Pandora's Succession". Whilst you don't need to have read that book to follow them, I suspect these two stories will mean a lot more to someone who has read it. The other story in the collection called “To the Last Bite” came with a caveat from the author that I should make sure I didn't eat whilst reading it. I will pass that piece of advice onto all of you as well, what happens in the story wouldn't have bothered me if I was eating but I suspect I am just a sicko.

My one disappointment is that it was all a little too short and was over too quickly. Someone could easily finish the three stories during a half hour commute to work on the bus. I just feel that either the stories could have been that little bit longer or a few more could have been added to the collection. I basically wanted more, it felt like an appetiser without the main course.

In the end though I think this collection is a good introduction to the writings of Russell Brooks and I plan to make sure I now read his first novel, "Pandora's Succession". If you want to try a new author and are looking for a quick and enjoyable read then give this collection a try.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday rewind

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish which I am taking part in.

This week, is a Top Ten Tuesday rewind which means I need to pick a previous Top Ten Tuesday topic that I didn't get involved in. I have decided to go for Favourite Book Characters from August 3rd 2010.

Sirius Black from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
A good man, who has a little bit of rebel inside. I always found him to be my favourite Harry Potter character.

Angus Thermopyle from the Gap series by Stephen Donaldson
My all time favourite character ever, mainly because of the way Stephen Donaldson takes a down right cruel and evil man and makes you feel for him by the end.

Dr. Watson from Sherlock Holmes novels by Arthur Conan Doyle
Some people I know like Sherlock the most, but I love this good natured and sometimes humble man who is always there to act as a conscience to Holmes.

Pug from the Riftwar Series by Raymond E. Feist
This character starts out as a servant boy before becoming the greatest magician known. His humble beginnings and goodness of character are always there to be seen.

Samuel Vimes from the Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett
A down to earth copper who just wants to do his job who always seems to get dragged into the political world of Ankh-Morpork. Always amusing, and always doing his best, I think he is my favourite Discworld character.

Michael Olson from the Final Friends Trilogy by Christopher Pike
Michael is smart, kind, caring and actually gets the girl in this novel. I always liked to pretend as a teen that I was like him!

Dirk Pitt from the Dirk Pitt Novels by Clive Cussler
Dirk is a superb character; I always think he is similar to Indiana Jones in that he is smart, amusing and adventurous. I always find that any novel featuring him is exciting and fun.

Perrin Aybara from Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan
There are many interesting and varied characters in the Wheel of Time series but I always found Perrin to be one of the most likeable and believable.  I like how even with his powers, he doesn't actually want to be a dominant "alpha male" type person, he just wants to get on with things.

Duncan Idaho from Dune Series by Frank Herbert
I remember reading these books as a teen and I loved Duncan Idaho. I just, enjoyed his discovery of his memories and the way he became constant throughout the timeline.

Jack Ryan from Jack Ryan Novels by Tom Clancy
A great man, in some great political thriller novels. From being an on the ground analyst to being President of the US, he always seems to come out a winner and he has always the best intentions at heart.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Doomsday Book - Connie Willis

Published : 1992
UK Price : Paperback Version £9.87 Here
US Price : Paperback Version $7.99 Here

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis was a novel I had never heard of before, I read it because it is the April read for Dreams and Speculation's Women of Science Fiction Book Club . The synopsis didn't leave me that excited as the first thing that came to my head when I read it was that it looked like it could be similar to "Timeline" by Michael Crichton which wasn't that great. However, I am glad that I did read it as I really enjoyed it and it has restored some of my faith in time travel novels.

The novel is set in the near future with most of the world seeming very similar to nowadays, one of the major exceptions is that that humanity has mastered the ability to travel into the past. It is set at Oxford University where historians have been sent to the past routinely, although mainly to only the last couple of centuries. The medieval period had previously been deemed as to dangerous until some political maneuvering allows for a young female historian named "Kirvin" to go back to 1328. This novel follows both "Kirvin" in the past as well as the people who have stayed behind in the "present". In both the present and past, epidemics appear and we watch how in both times, some of the reactions are so very similar.

The science aspects of this novel are very light, we get no real explanation of how time travel works beyond some basic paradox rules that ensure anyone going back can not change the timeline. We don't get told how this happens, we just get told that time travel won't work if the person goes back could change something. At times it was more like a historical fiction book as the really interesting and enjoyable parts of the novel were in the way it showed some of the issues faced by people in the fourteenth century. It was nice to see Kirvin realise that the life in this period was as variable as ours and the text books missed out on so much.

One thing that did amuse me, was the many issues in the "present" as people tried to utilise the land line phone system. Poor Connie Willis didn't appreciate when she wrote this book, the huge growth in mobile phones and the mass use of them that we now have. This is of course nothing unusual when people try and write near future novels, technology always moves much quicker than they usually imagine.

I also found this novel very memorable, many of the issues occurring in the present had comic undertones, but  the events in the past were at times harrowing and sad. In regards to this, I have to admit I finished the book feeling like I had been through a very emotional journey. You really do feel for the various characters and the ending is heartbreaking.

Overall, I enjoyed Doomsday Book a lot and am already looking forward to reading some more novels from Connie Willis. I have even found out that she set at least one other novel in the same Universe so that will be my first point of call. I do think that this book may appeal more to fans of historical fiction than Sci-Fi but I think both  types of fan should give this book a read.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Freedom's Sword - J.R. Tomlin

Published : 2011
UK Price : Kindle £2.14 Here
US Price : Paperback $8.99 Here & Kindle $2.99 Here

"Freedom's Sword" by J.R. Tomlin was probably always going to appeal to me. I am Scottish after all and can't help but enjoy a good story about the Scottish Wars of Independence. This is especially true when it is about the "forgotten" man of Scottish Independence, Sir Andrew de Moray.

Basically, this book follows the life of Sir Andrew de Moray, who was one the Scottish leaders at the battle of Stirling Bridge alongside the more famous William Wallace. The story takes us from the initial English invasion of Scotland, through Andrew's incarceration in an English cell, before he returns and helps to build an army to re-take Scotland and defeat the English at Stirling. If you have seen the movie Braveheart or know your Scottish History then you should already know the basic premise to be honest.

I was a little bit worried at first, as some aspects of the Scottish Wars of Independence have had a little bit to much fiction added (The aforementioned Braveheart for example!). I didn't need to worry though because the book had obviously been well researched and the fictional elements were implemented in to the story well and don't contradict the "known" facts of the period.

As well as mixing historical fact and fiction well, the book is also quite simply, a very enjoyable and entertaining read. It captures the feeling of the age and the location well, with the use of Scottish dialect throughout the novel being a nice touch. Andrew and the supporting characters are also all developed enough to make them feel real and believable. Andrew himself actually draws in the reader as he grows from an inexperienced youth into a seasoned warrior.

The book can a times be violent, cruel and ugly, especially in it's portrayal of the various battles that occurred. However, it was a violent period and I think the author has kept the blood and guts to parts of the novel where it is actually needed and warranted.

One minor note that I will make is that there are some misspellings, missed words and grammatical errors in the text. However, it doesn't detract from novel, and some of these could be me just not realising it is an American spelling etc. I have to admit that I always feel a bit cheeky commenting about this type of thing as I have to get my wife to pre-check every post on here due to my terrible grammar etc.

Overall, the story is a great piece of historical fiction, it is entertaining and I don't think anyone who reads it will be disappointed. I am actually hoping J.R Tomlin decides to write some more Scottish History novels, something following on with Andrew's son and the 2nd War of Scottish Independence would be nice.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Books I Want To See Made Into Movies

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish which I am taking part in.

This week's listing was difficult because I must have read loads of books over my lifetime that I always think would make a great movie or mini-series. Anyway, I did have a go at cutting it down to a top ten.

The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman.
I really enjoyed the "His Dark Materials" trilogy and actually enjoyed the first movie they made as well even if they did cut to much of the religious aspects out. I wanted to see the story continued in the movie media but I think based on the receipts of the first one it won't be happening.

The Gone Series by Michael Grant
The story in these books can get dark and depressing, but yet the novel also has kids with super powers thrown in as well. I just think these books would make cracking movies as they have so much happening.

Raise the Titanic by Clive Cussler
This film has been made before but I want to pretend it didn't exist and have it re-made as it should have be done. I mean, how can you make a movie about re-floating The Titanic with fun and adventurous characters such as Dirk Pitt and make it suck?

Wicked by Gregory Maguire
I loved this book; it just opened up the world of Oz to be seen from another viewpoint. The musical also captured my heart so I think a movie would do the same.

Magician by Raymond E. Feist
The first book in the massive Riftwar saga and one of the most enjoyable fantasy novels I ever read. I could have picked loads of fantasy novels but I think this one just covers everything, especially if it led to more movies in the saga.

Under The Dome by Stephen King
I have recently read this book and I found it very clever and engrossing. I think that if you got a good ensemble cast involved, it could be made into a great film.

The Night's Dawn Trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton
I suspect these would need to be turned into more than just a trilogy of movies. These books have sci-fi, adventure & possession all rolled up together. We need a great Sci-Fi trilogy in the cinema sooner or later and this series has elements that could also appeal to non the Sci-Fi fans.

Ruled Britannia by Harry Turtledove
I think that people would also like to see Shakespeare the freedom fighter in a world where the Spanish Armada defeated the English and invaded. In all honesty, I have also longed to see a good old alternative history drama and this one would also appeal to the love of Tudor period England that is out there these days.

Debt of Honour by Tom Clancy
There has always been issues with making this into a film since the 9/11 attacks but I have always wanted to see the continuation of the Jack Ryan stories being made into films.

Armageddon The Musical by Robert Rankin
Quite simply, this is a funny novel and I mainly just want to see how a director would bring "Barry The Talking Time Sprout" to the screen.

Anyway, lets here what you all think! I suspect a lot of what you guys say may also be on my list but I did have to pick a limited 10!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

The Immortality Virus - Christine Amsden (ARC)

Published : 2011
UK Price : Kindle £2.28 Here
US Price : Kindle $3.25 Here
Chapter 1 Preview Available Here

"The Immortality Virus" by Christine Amsden is the first ARC I have ever read and I actually stumbled across it by chance. The author posted a brief synopsis of the book and an offer to anyone wishing to read and review it on the Book Blogs Website and I came across that post and responded. The reason I responded was that the synopsis peaked my interest as it appeared to be a dystopian sci-fi adventure and I was happy to find out that this is exactly what it was as I read it.

The storyline is this, in the mid-21st century, humanity stopped aging without any explanation which becomes termed; "The Change". For the wealthy and elite, this means long life and health, but to the ever increasing masses it means starvation and suffering. In order words, the world has turned into a dystopian society full of darkness and misery where everyone ages to around their mid twenties and then stops.

Four centuries after "The Change", the heroine of the novel, a PI named Grace Harper is given an assignment to hunt down the man who is probably responsible. This sets in motion a dark journey through society as she attempts find this man, whilst various different elements try and use her to capture him for their own means.

I am actually amazed at how quickly I read it, I started on a Saturday morning and had completed it by the Sunday night. I ended up engrossed in the story and filled any of my free time with reading it. Any book that can do that is a winner in my opinion.

I really liked was the way that the darkness and misery of society was woven into the novel. The author didn't just set a scene at the beginning, she continually enhanced your picture and understanding of the world as the story progressed.

The main character of Grace Harper seems to have a sense of basic goodness within her. It is easy therefore to like and relate to her, especially when you see the type of society she currently inhabits. She is also quite cyincal, which can be seen in some her thoughts regarding various people in need that she comes across, however she always seems to end up helping them.

I have to say though that at times I wish it had another ending. I do understand why it ended the way it did, I just wish there could have been a way to end it differently. However, the ending we do get is in line with the feel of the entire novel and is probably the most realistic outcome based upon the world created. I just hope that we get to see something in the future that continues in some way from the ending as I really want to see what happens to the various characters.

One issue I do have with the novel is the cover; I basically just don't like it! The graphics look like something taken out of a computer game from a few years ago and I think it detracts from the overall product. The thing that actually caught my eyes when I saw the cover was the size of the breasts on one of the women which isn't really the type of thing a book like this wants to capture in my opinion. I have spoken to the author about the cover and it may get changed but there is no guarantee on this as it does rely on the publisher. As it stands at the moment I just worry it may put some people off from picking it up and reading what is a superb story.

Overall, I can simply say that I loved this novel; it kept me hooked right up until the end and still has me wanting more. I want to know how the politics of this world progress, I want to know what happens to the characters, I want to know if the misery of the majority of the human race can somehow be ended. I don't normally put book ratings on my blog but I have to say that this one is getting a 5 star on goodreads anyway! So go and check out the chapter 1 preview at the top of the post and see if it appeals to you.

Update 18th April 2011
Just thought I would post an update here to say that from what I can see on Amazon, the cover for this book has been changed from the one I initially saw. The cover now in place is better and that is something I am happy to see.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Covers I Wish I Could Redesign

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish which I am taking part in.

Some of these covers I list below aren't actually badly designed, some of them I just want to change so I could hide what I was actually buying!

The Immortality Virus by Christine Amsden
This book isn't officially released yet but I have read the ARC and I loved the story, it was dark, gritty and enjoyable. The cover however is just plain horrid, I just hope that maybe this is just the cover being used for the ARC and it will be changed come final release.

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
What is this cover actually all about? Can someone out there explain to me what this cover actually has in common with the story?

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling
The cover itself is actually designed okay and I have no idea what the current covers are like. However, the one in the UK that I got was a pain. It looked like a kid's book and as a self-conscious late teen I really didn't want people to think I was buying a kids book.

Gone Series by Michael Grant
Why do publishers insist on putting up covers with photographs of characters as "they" see them? The moment they put images on the cover like this you can't help but see characters in this way. Stop ruining the chance for my imagination to create something based upon what the author writes. At least the paper books in the UK have different covers than this!

Monster by Christopher Pike
Thank god that they changed this cover in the end because it was horrendous. I am speechless nearly every time I see it. His face is the same colour as the sun for crying out loud!

Mills & Boon Books
Can you get anything cheesier and similar than these? I have zero intention of reading them but please stop assaulting my eyes in libraries with your covers!

Wonders of the Universe by Brian Cox & Andrew Cohen
The BBC TV series that this book acompanies is superb and Brian Cox is a good host. Why though did anyone feel the need to splash his big noggin on the front of this book? There are plenty of cracking images that could be used of space for the cover and instead we get this messy thing.

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
Going Postal had an okay cover at first, then a TV series was made and suddenly they felt the need to slap the actors faces all over it. The art on Terry Pratchett covers are part of the charm so stop ruining them once you make them into TV shows!

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
When I first heard someone tell me that this was a great Sci-Fi novel I had no idea because the one I saw had the most boring cover in the world. To be honest though, from what I have seen since of the other covers used, it may actually be best of a bad bunch.

Darkship Thieves by Sarah A. Hoyt
Now this may be fresh in my mind as I only recently read it, however when I first saw the cover I really didn't know if I wanted to read it. A Semi naked woman being manhandled by tree branches or something similar didn't appear to be a Sci-Fi novel I wanted to touch.

Anyway, I managed to make it to the full list of ten this week. So feel free to share your own thoughts, I mean some of you may actually like some of the covers I have listed above.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

His Last Bow - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Published : 1917
UK Price : Paperback Format £3.69 Here
US Price : Paperback Format $6.42 Here
Ebook available for free at Project Gutenberg Here

"His Last Bow" is a collection of eight Sherlock Holmes short stories and is Conan Doyle's penultimate Holmes book.  As always, the stories center around Sherlock Holmes, a consulting detective who uses his intellect and wits to solve various crimes and mysteries.

One thing I did note about "His Last Bow" is that all the stories seemed a little bit longer than those in previous short story collections.  I was glad of this as I felt it let Conan Doyle write more thorough stories. The stories themselves were typical of previous Holmes adventures with enjoyable adventures a and the superb Watson/Holmes pairing visible throughout. The various topics of the stories ranged between scaremongering, kidknapping, theft & treachery which again, is similar to previous collections.

I would have to say that my favourite story was "His Last Bow" itself, not for the actual story itself but the portrayal of Holmes and Watson. The story is set just prior to World War One and involves Holmes  capturing a German Spy. The whole thing did come across as being some rather obvious propoganda (It was written when WWI was underway) and I think this was why it felt quite basic compared to what we have read previously. However, in regards to Holmes & Watson, you can feel a real sense of loss when Holmes admits to Watson that this may be the last time they are together. It feels like an ending, as both of these men retire to a quiet life apart from each other.

Overall, this is pretty standard stuff from Conan Doyle and if you have enjoyed the previous Holmes stories then you will surely enjoy this collection.