Two Nights – Kathy Reichs

Title: Two Nights28165010
Author: Kathy Reichs
Genre: Crime
Pages: 336
Category: 26. Read a book published under one of the Big 6 publishing houses
Format: Paper

If you’ve been with me since the start of this blog then you will know that I absolutely love Kathy Reichs’ books. I’ve read every Temperance Brennan book there is and kept going with those long after I stopped watching the Bones TV show. Two Nights is a standalone (possibly series?) that focusses on a new protagonist though, Sunday Night.

Rather than focussing on the forensic side of the investigation as she does with Brennan, Two Nights focusses on a more hands on investigation with Night acting more as a private investigator who used to be a cop.

I definitely still prefer the Temperance Brennan books over this one but I did still enjoy it because I do like Kathy Reichs’ writing style. If you’ve checked out any of her other books then this is also worth your time.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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A Christmas Prince (2017)

Title: A Christmas Princea_christmas_prince
Year: 2017
Director: Alex Zamm
Genre: Christmas/Romance
Category: #23 A Christmas Movie

Okay, it’s no secret that I absolutely love Christmas movies, you guys are lucky I didn’t complete this one way back in July except that no one is releasing Christmas movies in July and I’ve already seen the rest. Every year I make my fiancee sit through at least a few Christmas movies with me whether that be the Grinch, Elf and probably Love Actually, even though she really doesn’t like Will Ferrell and has an irrational dislike for all things British. So of course when I saw my favourite zombie (Rose McIver) starring in a Christmas movie on Netflix I was ready to crack out the popcorn.

If you like Christmas movie you’ll probably enjoy this, if you like trashy romantic comedies, you’ll probably enjoy it. If you don’t like either of those two things… run. Lucky for me. I love both of those things.

This movie is so predictable that it hurts and so sickly sweet but god it pulls at your heartstrings. Yes, of course she’s keeping a secret, of course someone is going to find out. Of course there’s a happy ending. But that’s what Christmas rom-coms are all about.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Shutter Island

Title: Shutter Islandshutterislandposter
Year: 2010
Director: Martin Scorcese
Genre: Thriller
Category: #11 A horror/thriller

I’ve seen bits of this movie before but never the whole thing. I’ve also loved Leonardo Dicaprio since I first watched Titanic when I was 7. Then I realised that it had Michelle Williams (possibly better known from her role as Jen Linley in Dawson’s Creek) and Mark Ruffalo (better known as the Hulk). They had so many great casting choices in this movie that even if you don’t love the storyline the acting more than makes up for it.

I love movies like this because you’re never quite sure what’s real until the very end and even then, there’s still a few questions. This one was filmed beautifully so if it sounds like the type of movie you love then this one is well and truly worth a look. Besides, what could possibly go wrong when there’s a thriller set in an insane asylum where a prisoner has escaped.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

 

 

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Title: The Wolf of Wall Streetmv5bmjixmjgxntk0mf5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjiyotg2mde-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_
Year: 2013
Director: Martin Scorcese
Genre: Drama
Category: #30 A long film (more than 3 hours)

Alright, this one is right on the edge of 3 hours but I’ve seen too many of the long movies so this is what we’re left with.

At any rate, Margot Robbie with Leonardo Dicaprio turned out to be a great combination for this movie. I’m not sure what I expected from this but it wasn’t the drug filled, sexually depraved film that I got.

Honestly, there were huge chunks of this film where I was incredibly frustrated with how women were treated by the guys in this movie. I have to hope that the people watching it are aware that it’s not an appropriate way to treat people.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Curvy Yoga – Anna Guest-Jelley

Title: Curvy Yogabook-1
Author: Anna Guest-Jelley
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 240
Category: 46. Read a book from the Self-Help, Health, Travel, or Guide category
Format: Paper

I love yoga but I can’t stand many of the women who prctice it. Particularly those who seem completely unaware that some people have different bodies or different abilities. Whilst this book is called Curvy Yoga it’s really a great read for anyone who wants to get into yoga and maybe isn’t all that flexible.

Curvy Yoga is part body positivity, part memoir, part yoga instruction. I could have done with a little less of the memoir and a little more of the yoga instruction but it’s a great instruction either way. I think the biggest problem with the memoir section for me was the way that it focussed so much on the body, which is obviously the way to show how much has changed.

It’s full of beautiful full colour photos and different practices to try. If you’re going to get this book it’s definitely worth getting the paper version rather than the ebook version.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Life Debt (Aftermath #2) – Chuck Wendig

Title: Life Debt (Aftermath #2)aftermath-life-debt
Author: Chuck Wendig
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 430
Category: 6. Read a book written by a man
Format: Paper

Okay, so I’m incredibly behind on my posts again so I’m going to leave out the dates that I read these just because it’s going to be quicker. For a rough idea I started this one mid September while on my cruise and finished it right after I got home.

You guys might remember way back at the start of the year I read the first book in this series. It’s a Star Wars series set between Episode VI and Episode VII. It largely features a cast that doesn’t appear much (or at all) in the movies but does occasionally touch on the lives of Leia and in this book Han.

This book takes place immediately after the first book and switches between the ongoing war on the Wookie homeworld and the political state of the Empire. Again, I don’t want to spoil too much of it for those who want to read but there’s those who alway ssay the middle book in t a trilogy is the worst but this is not the case for this trilogy. It was a great read and made me more excited for the next one not less.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Into the Water – Paula Hawkins

Title: Into the Water61oleghqzvl-_sx329_bo1204203200_
Author: Paula Hawkins
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 386
Category: 14. Read a book published this year
Format: Paper

Date Started: August 2nd 2017
Date Finished: August 4th 2017

I’ve been pretty excited to read this for a while after loving the Girl on the Train so much but I was just the tiniest bit disappointed in this compared to the Girl on the Train.

That being said. I really loved it despite not having quite such an unexpected twist at the end. I loved the character development in this one though, in part because I love books that are set in a small town where everyone knows each other so this town was perfect for me. Not just did everyone know each other but many of them had known each other as children as well. So there’s this feel of the past meeting the present and history repeating itself in a way.

I won’t give too much away, but the story follows a woman who’s estranged sister has died leaving her to look after a teenage niece she barely knows in the house they spent their summers in. At first the death seems to be a suicide in a popular suicide spot but it’s not that simple and of course there was some kind of foul play involved.

One of my biggest frustrations with the book though, is that the main character is painted as this ‘ugly duckling’ who lost some weight and grew up to be pretty. I’d love to see tv shows and movies that bothered to tell their story with a little more effort than this. I understand why it was done because it made her an easy target as a child for bullying and what not but there’s no reason it needed to be touted as some great transformation story.

But anyway, check out both these books because they really are great.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The Windup Girl – Paolo Bacigalupi

Title: The Windup Girl6597651
Author: Paolo Bacigalupi
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 361
Category: 35. Read a book labelled as dystopian
Format: Paper

Date Started: August 1st 2017
Date Finished: August 15th 2017

So this is the second book by this author I’ve read this year and the two books really couldn’t be much different if they tried. At least on the surface. This is actually the first novel he released way back in 2008. His novel Shipbreaker released in 2009 is kind of a companion book to this one aimed at a slightly younger audience. But it’s only when you consider these two in conjunction with his more recent novel The Doubt Factory that many similarities begin to emerge.

The Windup Girl (and Shipbreaker) are set in the not too distant future in a world that has suffered from both a rise in sea level leaving many major cities submerged, partially submerged or in the case on Bangkok (pictured above) surrounded by a huge sea wall. But this is only the start of the world’s problems. In bioengineering food horrible diseases have emerged killing many people and leaving many starving as well as many species of fruit and vegetables completely removed from the ecosystem.

The novel follows a white man in Bangkok trying to get access to the Thai seedbank under the guise of a factory owner. The novel switches between his story and that of his Chinese assistant, as well as government officials and a windup girl from Japan. A windup girl is essentially an engineered human who is highly prized in Japan but not so much in the streets of Bangkok where it is a struggle just to survive.

Slowly the stories of the characters converge leading to a huge climax. Though for me it was not the story that was a s compelling as the setting. Beyond the bioengineering and sea level rise there is also a huge step backwards in technology with the characters relying not on cars or fossil fuels but on the burning of calories. Though you’ll still see guns and ships as well as factories all of it is powered by people or animals rather than the traditional fossil fuels.

But to step back to the Doubt Factory and the similarities between the two. Doubt Factory took place in a society almost identical to our own but explored the dangers of huge companies telling lies to consumers and hiding behind ‘doubts’. For me, and I have to assume for Bacugalupi as well, this is like a precursor to the world we’re introduced to in the Windup Girl and Shipbreaker. What could happen if we don’t question companies and governments and engage with the world we live in as a whole. In essence, Bacigalupi’s works are a call for all of us to take responsibility for how we live and what our ambivalence could do to the world for our children and grandchildren.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami

Title: Kafka on the Shore41qubmy2pol-_sx309_bo1204203200_
Author: Haruki Murakami
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Pages: 615
Category: 1. Read a book originally published in a language you do not know
Format: Paper

Date Started: July 8th 2017
Date Finished: July 29th 2017

So this is my first experience with Murakami, I had no idea what to expect from it. It was an interesting read but definitely not what I was expecting. I’m not even sure how to describe this to someone who’s never read it.

The novel opens on a boy running away from home, he takes the name Kafka and ends up at a charming private library where he is helped by the people who work there. There is a secondary plot though which follows an older gentleman Nakata who receives a disability pension after an event in childhood left him unable to read. But, he can talk to cats.

Ultimately, at the conclusion of the book I’m left wondering how some things connect to one another and how much of what happened was actually real and how much was some kind of hallucination. And perhaps this is because apparently Murakami writes as if if a dream but also that he doesn’t have much of an idea of the bigger picture of the novel when he begins writing. This is kind of baffling to me as someone who has spent a lot of time writing. I’m not sure if I could ever write a book without knowing how it would end or what it meant. But perhaps that is part of the charm of Murakami’s work.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

4:50 From Paddington – Agatha Christie

Title: 4:50 From Paddingtoncover
Author: Agatha Christie
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 288
Category: 8. Read a book written by a woman
Format: Paper

Date Started: July 5th 2017
Date Finished: July 7th 2017

This is the third and final of my Agatha Christie reads today and focuses not on the famous detective Poirot, instead it is one of her Miss Marple novels.

Miss Marple’s friend Ms. McGillicuddy is on her way to visit when she saw a woman being strangled on a train that passed by her very close to the station. Naturally nobody believes this older lady could have actually witnessed a murder except Miss Marple. But, and here’s the weird part, no body shows up. So this murder mystery is part search for the murderer and part search for the dead body.

This book is so short that I really don’t want to spoil any of the greatness by telling you more than that. But in traditional Agatha Christie fashion there is a twist at the end. And for once I actually saw the twist coming.

At any rate, there’s a chance there will be more Agatha Christie to come next year. So, what are your favourite Agatha Christie novels that I should be checking out?

Rating: 3.5/5 stars