Monday, April 18, 2016

Book Review #632 - Virgins by Diana Gabaldon (Outlander #0.5)


My Rating: 2.5/5

Source: Library


A young Jamie Fraser learns what it really means to become a man in this Outlander prequel novella. Featuring all the trademark suspense, adventure, and history of Diana Gabaldon’s #1 bestselling novels and the Starz original series, Virgins is now available for the first time as a standalone ebook.

Mourning the death of his father and gravely injured at the hands of the English, Jamie Fraser finds himself running with a band of mercenaries in the French countryside, where he reconnects with his old friend Ian Murray. Both are nursing wounds; both have good reason to stay out of Scotland; and both are still virgins, despite several opportunities to remedy that deplorable situation with ladies of easy virtue. But Jamie’s love life becomes infinitely more complicated—and dangerous—when fate brings the young men into the service of Dr. Hasdi, a Jewish gentleman who hires them to escort two priceless treasures to Paris. One is an old Torah; the other is the doctor’s beautiful daughter, Rebekah, destined for an arranged marriage. Both Jamie and Ian are instantly drawn to the bride-to-be—but they might be more cautious if they had any idea who they’re truly dealing with.

I read this story in a book I borrowed from my local library called Dangerous Women. It was edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.

I borrowed the book with the complete intention of reading all the stories but time got away from me and so I only read the only one I initially even borrowed the book for and that was this one.

This story is set before Outlander and begins just as Jamie escapes from Blackjack Randall after being severely lashed.

I loved the friendship between Jamie and Ian and this was probably my favourite aspect to the story.

The plot was interesting and even though I am not usually fond of religion in books, I rather enjoyed the inclusion of Judaism.

Even though this book was written by a woman, I didn't like the poor portrayal of women at times during this book.

For example, a woman gets brutally raped in front of a crowd of people and yet nobody does anything. Also, around 99% of the female characters in this story were prostitutes and the main plot of the story was Jamie and Ian transporting a young girl to a wedding against her wishes.

Overall, I loved being back in the Outlander world but without Claire, there was a huge void that nothing could fill.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Book Review #631 - Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas


My Rating: 4/5 

Source: Bought


Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly.
Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

I went into this book with a lot of expectations. I mean the hype surrounding this book is HUGE which is also probably the reason it has taken me this long to finally read it.

I loved this book immensely but overall I wanted more from it.

There were so many interesting things in this book for example the contest Celaena and the others were participating in and the mysterious creature that was killing them off one by one. Unfortunately though, I didn't feel like these blended that well together.

Celaena is definitely a strong, independent female protagonist but I felt that we were told that rather than shown it.

I lost count the amount of times Celaena was referred to as "the assassin" like we had to be constantly reminded of this fact.

The romance in this book was surprisingly well timed and developed (even though I found Dorian really dull). I am a bit worried though about a love triangle potentially developing.

The only negative thing I can say about the romantic aspect was that it was way too dominant and took focus away from some of the other stuff like the contests.

Overall, I really loved the tone of this book and am really excited to continue on with this series.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Book Review #630 - No! I Don't Want to Join a Book Club: A Diary of a Sixtieth Year by


My Rating: 2/5

Source: Book Club


Marie Sharp is heading toward sixty and is just fine with it. She’s already had plenty of excitement in her life: sex and drugs in the freewheeling sixties, career and children, marriage and divorce. Now she’s ready to settle into a quiet, blissfully boring routine. No Italian classes or gym memberships or bicycle trips across Europe, thank you very much! Marie just wants to put her feet up and “start doing old things.”

She’s even sworn off men! But as it turns out, life still has some surprises in store, the biggest of which is a new grandson on the way. What’s more, Archie, her old childhood crush, suddenly reenters her life, and her closest friend falls seriously ill. Armed with a biting sense of humor, Marie wrestles with a life that refuses to follow her plans—and may still offer more possibilities than she realizes.

I read this book for the book club that I attend.

First of all, almost all the members of my book club are around the protagonist's age which from the title is obviously 60. I, on the other hand am young enough to be her grandchild. So obviously I am not the target audience for this book.

Books written in diary format have not gone down too well with me in the past (just read my review of Bridget Jones's Diary) and so I went into this book not expecting to like it.

Marie (the narrator) was so self-absorbed and the book just consists of her rambling for almost 250 pages.

The lack of plot and direction made this book seem slow and if I  wasn't 'required' to read this I would probably still be reading it now.

The first part of the book contains Marie looking forward to turning 60 because it means she won't have to try new things anymore. It's more like she can use her age as an excuse, when really she is just incredibly self-absorbed and lazy.

The second half of the book is about Marie going on and on and on (I think you get the point) about her first grandchild whilst also having to deal with the impending death of a lifelong friend.

Overall, this book was a boring, pointless, rambling mess and is the blueprint of what I don't want to be when I am 60 years old.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Book Review #629 - It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini


My Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Traded via Twitter


Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life - which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself.

Craig's suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbours include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.

Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness.

I have very limited knowledge about depression and mental illness in general and so this book was a real eye opener for me.

The story started off so promising for me as I immediately loved Craig as the protagonist.

The book is rather slow paced and it lacks direction. There were times where I was just simply waiting for something to happen. It lacked the big spark that makes books memorable for me.

I thought Craig's description of depression as the tentacles and anchors was really helpful in understanding his condition more.

Overall, I can tell why some people absolutely love this book. For me though, it was an interesting just not life changing book.

I have also since watched the movie based on this book and found I had the same issues with it as I had with the book.