Flashback Friday – The Princess Diaries

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Hi Everyone,

I have decided to do something a little bit different for the blog. I am going to be going back to my childhood book loves and reading them again – or trying new material from these authors. I will still continue to love my crime and horror but I want to see if the tone is appropriate for the age group etc

The first book I started with was the Princess Diaries and I just read the first one – there is a whole series.

These were some of my favourites. Mia Thermopolis is 14 years old and lives with her scatty mum in a Manhattan loft. She has a normal live until she finds out she is a Princess.

Read this book reminded me very much of my teenage self Mia is extremely self absorb and emotional. She is scared to assert herself and is totally in love with Josh Richter the best looking boy in the school. Her best friend is Lilly and she has a TV show on public access TV. This book is fun and fluffy and although there are some hints of sex and innuendo in there it is not inappropriate. Some of the scenes are actually genuinely really funny.

This book allows girls to fantasize about being a Princess in a normal setting.

Due to the references this is probably not appropriate for children below 12.

Format: I own this on the Kindle

Pages: 234

Goodreads Score: 3.7 (I scored it a 4)

Book Review: The Colorado Kid by Stephen King

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Hi Everyone,

I am sorry to follow up with another Stephen King book review so quickly but I have a huge backlog of books I need to review and this is one of them.

Colorado Kid is one of Stephen King’s crime books and also happens to be a novella. I like both the his books with a crime strain and also his shorter books. I was so excited to read this one as it had been sitting on my kindle for ages.

This story follows Stephanie who is currently interning at a small paper and she is talking to the two owners/editors. They begin to tell her a story about how a man was found washed up on the beach and noone had any idea where he had come from or how he got there. Some deduction at the time meant that they discovered the man’s name but how he got there was still a total mystery.

I liked this. It had a noiresque feel to it, which I can really connect to. It does not finish all wrapped up like a number of crime books and that made me like it even more. This includes some of the slight glimpses into the future that Stephen King does so well and again (like in The Cycle of the Werewolf) he manages to scale his descriptive work back. This has encouraged me to discover more of these titles and I think the next stop for me is Joyland!

Format: As always for me Kindle

Approx Pages: 184

Goodreads Rating : 3.18 ( I gave this a 4)

Book Review: Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King

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Hi Everyone,

If you have read this blog before you will be aware of my love for Stephen King. I just have one issue with his work – his books seem to be too long and strung out. Sometimes irrelevant details are added  and the stories can take a long time to get off the ground.

This why I wanted to try a novella.

This book follows the story of Tarker’s Mills a small town in Maine where every full moon someone is being found killed. There is a joke throughout the town that there is a Werewolf but soon this joke starts to look very real. Later on in the year and a local disabled boy has taken some fireworks out into the back garden when the werewolf comes for him. Quick thinking means that the throws a firework in the beasts face as and a result the creature loses an eye. There is just one person in the town wearing an eye patch and it is hard to believe it could be him committing these murders…

This book is almost a horror and crime mixed in one and it is nice to see that Stephen King has not swayed from his typical setting (I kind of like the small town in Maine stuff). The books’ chapters are set up into months and there is great a funny afterword written by the author.

His usual descriptive flair is present here but it is scaled back, the reader can really enjoy the story without being bogged down by the details. I believe this is book number 11 I have read by King and it is the only one like it. This book would be great to read around Halloween and I don’t think it is too gory or scary for 11+ children.

Probably my favourite thing about this book is that the one person quick witted enough to not be killed by the werewolf (and to ultimately stop him) is the young boy in the wheelchair. This is not done in a patronising way either. I would certainly recommend it to people who are new to this author or the genre in general.

Format: Kindle ( I have something like 56 Stephen King books on there!)

Approx Pages: 128

Goodreads Rating: 3.58 (I gave it a 5)

The Body Farm by Patricia Cornwell

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Hi Everyone,

So yes I finally got a little further along with Kay Scarpetta Series and I am here to review the fifth book in the series. When we join the series Kay appears to be only a year older but Lucy has just turned 21. I did read somewhere that she doesn’t age quite the way she should but hey why shouldn’t Cornwell take some artistic license?

This time Kay is working on the case of a child murder in a small town called Black Mountain. There are certain similarities between this case, and the case of a young boy find dead with bites taken from him. There is also a grieving mother who has lost a child before and also a husband who Marino falls quite easily in love with. His attitude also suddenly changes and he becomes something of a problem. Kay’s niece Lucy is now interning at the FBI in Quantico and having problems of her own. Alongside her own love affair and her forever terrible relationship with her mother and sister will she be able to cope and solve this one?

As always I enjoyed this book this is truly a great series with a great set of characters that all pull together well. Lucy is going through an almost rebellious and totally private time in her life – which is probably very accurate for a 21 year old – and we see a bit more from her mother Dorothy than we have in other books.

When we find  out who killed poor Emily it isn’t a surprise as Kay figured it out two chapters before, but the fact the explanation was hidden behind a possible mental illness doesn’t really work for me. There is also a caretaker in the book who we are made to believe may be some sort of peadophile, but again some of his actions are not clearly explained. I know not everybody wants a totally wants chapter and verse when it comes to the ‘why’ but this is partly why I love crime novels.

This was still a great book and I will continue to read the series but it felt that maybe this was not quite on the same level as the others.

Format: Kindle for me!

Approx Pages: 400

Goodreads Rating: 3.98 (I gave it a 4)

Book Review: The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

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Hi Everyone,

I have seen this book hanging around book shops and supermarkets for months now and for a long time I have wished to give it a try. My concern was that it was YA. I have no problem with adults reading YA books – I just don’t like YA fiction I find it patronizing and very difficult to read. It just does no interest me.

This book is definitely not for children there are a number of violent and sexual references in what is described as an urban fantasy.

Here is the Goodreads Description:

THE GIRL WHO WOULDN’T DIE HUNTS THE KILLER WHO SHOULDN’T EXIST.

The future is not as loud as war, but it is relentless. It has a terrible fury all its own.”

Harper Curtis is a killer who stepped out of the past. Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future.

Kirby is the last shining girl, one of the bright young women, burning with potential, whose lives Harper is destined to snuff out after he stumbles on a House in Depression-era Chicago that opens on to other times.

At the urging of the House, Harper inserts himself into the lives of the shining girls, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He’s the ultimate hunter, vanishing into another time after each murder, untraceable-until one of his victims survives.

Kirby is determined to bring her attacker to justice and is certain he is a serial killer after speaking to a number of victims and their families she starts to realise that she might be right.

This book was really good I don’t normally go for fantasy style novels but this was done is such a discreet manager that it didn’t confuse or get out of hand. The killings were also sympathetic to the times and I got the feeling that this book was incredibly well researched. The book is written in not too dissimilar a manner to Gillian Flynn books and so it mainly reads like a crime thriller.

There were a few issues I would have liked addressing though throughout the book, such as why is it this house it happens in? Why was Harper chosen? How does Kirby’s mum get out of prostitution?

I really felt that some of the questions needed to be answered. If you like crime and tragedy though, this is the book for you.

Formats: I bought on the Kindle but this is also available on a number of other formats including paper.

Approx Pages: 375

Goodreads Rating: 3.49 (I gave it a 4)

Have you read any of Lauren Beukes’ books if so what did you think?