Saturday, 22 October 2016

Welcome to the Universe

Many thanks go to NetGalley and the publisher for granting me access to a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My mind has just been blown! To come across a book about the universe, written by 3 popular scientists, as a read now on NetGalley is rare. The writers are Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard A. Struass and J. Richard Gott. You may have heard of them! I knew this book would be a challenge for me. I enjoyed physics at school, although I chose to study biology and chemistry instead, so I also knew it would be very interesting.

So, what is this book about? Well, quite frankly, it's about everything! How the universe formed, how it functions, everything we know and think we know is presented in this book which reads a lot like a series of university lectures, which is what it's based on. The future is also discussed. There are several chapters dedicated to Einstein and relativity as well. It is here that my mind started to melt!

A lot of the maths went over my head, which was not a surprise. What was surprising was just how much I did understand! I'm not sure I will ever get even a basic grip on string theory, but despite that I still liked the idea. One big problem was that I started to make jokes about relativity which drove my wife to despair at my terrible sense of humour...

All in all, this is a fantastic book for anyone considering studying astrophysics at university, but everyone should at least try it. Even if you don't understand everything, it's still a great collection of up to date information that is absolutely awe inspiring!

Star rating: 5 from 5

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Roald Dahl double feature!

My second double feature will look at two books by and about Roald Dahl,the famous British children's writer. As a child, I read many of his books, like The BFG, The Witches, and Fantastic Mr Fox, so now I decided to read some of his adult stories as well as a collection of letters which he sent to his mother between 1925 and 1965. This could be interesting!

Love From Boy

Many thanks go to NetGalley and the publisher for granting me access to a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

When I was a child, Roald Dahl was the greatest children's writer in the world. I also enjoyed his two autobiographical works, Boy and Going Solo; two amazing tales of growing up in Britain between the wars and then his work during the Second World War. This collection of letters, compiled and edited by Donald Sturrock, written to Dahl's mother, showcase his talented imagination from a young age.

This is something that is difficult to review. The letters are carefully recreated, including original spelling errors etc, and presented with a lot of photographs. It really is just one side of the conversation as his mother's letters have not been found, but you can really tell that she encouraged Roald to write and to use his mind.

I think it is a collection for any fan of Roald Dahl. It is interesting and enlightening to see the things he got up to whilst growing up.

Star rating: 4 from 5


Now, Dahl's children's books are not exactly positive in their view of some adults. All the bad guys are grown ups looking to cause misery or death to the main character...except in The BFG where you could argue that the grown giants were adults. However, these stories are rather sinister and dark, as well as sometimes fun and humourous.

The writing is clearly similar to that in the children's books, but the plots are all grim and paint a picture of the insanity of life and belief. They are both wonderful and horrifying at the same time! My favourites include a story called Pig, and another about the rather musical cat with similarities to a famous composer.

Overall, a great read, for fans and new readers alike.

Star rating: 4 from 5

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

DCI Erika Foster Double Feature

Here is the first of two double features, both including NetGalley and non-NetGalley books by the same author. This time it's the turn of Robert Bryndza's Erika Foster detective novels The Night Stalker and Dark Water.

The Night Stalker

Having really enjoyed th first book in this series, The Girl In The Ice, and having been granted book 3 on NetGalley as well, I bought the second book full of expectations. I was not disappointed!

Erika Foster is now settled with the Murder Investigation Team in Lewisham Row. It's been two years since the death of her Husband Mark and she is almost ready to move on with her life. However, there is a murder to solve and a promotion up for grabs. When the murderer kills again, Erika is one of only a handful of people to suspect that the murders are linked.

As in the first book, there are many twists which were unexpected, but also some which were a little predictable. I liked the unusual nature of the murderer, one which I hadn't come across before, but it was quite easy to guess who the killer was we first came across the character.

All in all, the plot is strong, the characters again well formed and you can easily feel for Erika with all her problems. Needed to be less predictable. The first book did that much better, but this was still it's equal in every other way.

Star rating: 3 from 5

Dark Water

Many thanks go to the publisher and NetGalley for granting me an advance readers copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Coming straight out of The Night Stalker, I decided to dive into Dark Water, the third book in this series. I already had a great understanding of the writer's style and his characters. Would this book be as good as the previous two? I was about to find out.

This was probably the best book in the series so far. It was much less predictable than the others while keeping the tension high. Again, the characters are superbly written and some really got to me, making me very angry in one case. This, for me, is a good thing!

Erika, having transferred to a new position in a new team finds evidence needed to close her case against a drug dealer, and at the same time finds a body which opens up an old case and many old wounds for her and her team. This time, solving it will be Erika's greatest challenge, one that will put the lives of those she loves at great risk.

Overall, this book had me on the edge of my seat, reading most of it in one day. I couldn't put it down, which is why I gave this book:

Star rating: 5 from 5

This book will be published on 20th October 2016

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Disney Manga Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas by Jun Asuka

Many thanks to TokyoPop and NetGalley for granting me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

So, my latest foray into the world of Manga sees one of my favourite seasonal films adapted for the page. I love The Nightmare Before Christmas. The story is great, the animation is wonderful and I can easily watch it again and again...and again...In fact, I now want to watch it again! So, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to read the Manga version when the chance arose.

I must confess to being a little disappointed by this. Yes, the graphics are what I expected, and are of course fantastic, the story is true to the movie and the characters are as bold as they should be. However, it just didn't feel the same to me. It didn't have as much of the magic and they attempt to put the songs in was just slightly strange, especially as they cut so many bits of them. Even one sequence was changed slightly (when Jack comes back to Halloween Town after his Christmas disaster to rescue Sally and Sandy Claws, it is described AFTER the rescue, not before) although this actually worked quite well.

Overall, I think for a newcomer to the story, this is good, and for collectors too, but for people who really love the movie this might not be quite what you expect. A good effort, but lacking the magic!

Star rating: 3 from 5

This book will be released on 8th November 2016