Thursday, 29 December 2011

Imperium, Robert Harris

Publishers: Hutchinson

Pages: 403 (Hardback 2006)

Main Characters:

Tiro, Cicero

Imperium is the brilliant political novel by Robert Harris. Set in the Roman Republic, it follows the early career of the Roman politician Cicero, looking through the eyes of his slave and secretary Tiro. The novel follows Cicero through each stage of the political hierarchy until he becomes First Consul, giving an insight into the dangerous world of Roman politics. This is the first book of a series. Its sequel Lustrum continues the story of Cicero and his exploits in the Roman government.
This was a good book packed full of excitement and danger and it was a very easy book to read. The detail Harris puts into his books is amazing. For instance, the way he explains the selection process of the minsters for the Roman senate is set out in a very simple way, which helps someone who doesn’t know that much about Roman politics (like me!) understand the plot of the book.
This was a good book I would suggest it to anyone who has read any of Harris’s other novels. I would also suggest it to any fans of the Marco and Cato series by Simon Scarrow. I think it shows another aspect to Roman society that isn’t just about soldiering and the army.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

1984, George Orwell

Publishers: Penguin

Pages: 311

Main Characters:
Winston Smith,

1984, is the surreal alternative history novel by George Orwell. Written in 1949, the book is set in the future year of 1984. It is an alternative history where after World War two the world is split into three spheres of influence, Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia. The story follows the life of Winston Smith, an outer party member who works in the Ministry of Truth. Winston’s main job is to enter past newspapers and articles so that they conform to the Parties ideology.
The society Smith lives in is a totalitarian one, where relationships and even free thinking is oppressed. After working in the Ministry of Truth, Smith starts to question the methods of the Party, which is further emphasised when Smith meets Julia. Smith and Julia start a romance which leads them to question the entire idea of the Party, but what they don’t know is that Big Brother is watching.
This was a great book full of excitement and betrayal. It was so fast paced that I read it in about two days. The detail of the society is un-believable, the idea of Big Brother and the Party is brilliant along with the stories of the three superpowers and of course the life and romance of Smith. The ending is so sad as well, and it makes you doubt about your ownreality, questioning if the decisions you make are really free, or are they forced on you by society.
I would recommend this book to anyone because it was brilliant. However I’d specifically suggest it to any fans of Fatherland by Robert Harris as it is a similar alternative history novel. It could also be a good book for anyone interested in North Korea since it has been in the news a lot lately. It would show how life might be like for the North Koreans living in a socialist state that is totally controlled by the government.
Offical Web-site of author:

Sunday, 18 December 2011

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon

Publishers: Vintage

Pages: 224

Main Characters:

Christopher Boone.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is the award winning book by the brilliant British author Mark Haddon. The story follows Christopher Boone, a 15 year old boy from Swindon, England. Christopher is every different to many boys his age, he has a love for Maths, but is not very good with social situations (he possibly has Autism or Asperger’s syndrome).
Christopher’s lives with his father Ed as his mother died two years before. They live in a quiet sub-urban street. One night, during one of Christopher’s mid-night strolls, he comes across the corpse of his neighbour’s dog, Wellington with a pitch fork sticking out of it. This prompts Christopher into looking into the murder of Wellington, as he is a big fan of Sherlock Holmes. During his investigation Christopher finds out secrets about his own mother and fathers relationship, and learns that his quiet sub-urban street is not so quiet. Taking Christopher on a journey to London in which he has to face his fears of been in social situations like taking a train and been in a crowd.
This was a brilliant book. Haddon does an extremely good job of portraying the world through the eyes of someone who is Autistic or has Asperger’s. The plot is very gripping as you first want to find out who murdered the dog, but then as the story goes on, you want to know about the secrets that Christopher’s street holds. The book is also funny in places where Christopher makes these social mistakes like punching a police officer, but at the same time is quite sad because Christopher does not understand why he gets into trouble for it because of his outlook on the world.
This was a great book, I’d recommend it to anyone. It may appeal to people who have an interest in psychology as it gives an insight into the mind of someone who has Autism or Asperger’s. I would also suggest it to any fans of Nick Hornby as it is written in a similar style.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Now Then Lad, The Tales of a Country Bobby, Mike Pannett

Publishers: Constable

Pages: 258

Main Characters:
Mike Pannett

Now Then Lad…Tales of a Country Bobby is the very interesting and funny book by Mike Pannett. Now Then Lad is based on the true story of Pannett. It tells the tale of Pannett as he moves from his busy, dangerous job as a Metropolitan Police officer, to a rural bobby in his home county of North Yorkshire.
The book tells the tales that Mike faces as a rural bobby. Tales such as a Bullock getting lose at a Cattle market, or his role in rustling up poachers in the North Yorkshire Wolds.  It also shows the darker side of crime that happens in North Yorkshire, which as a Yorkshire lad myself, I was surprised to read about. The story also introduces you to the many different characters from North Yorkshire, from the gossiping housewives, to the ever watchful farmers and the slightly flamboyant aristocracy, again been form Yorkshire I saw similarities between these characters and people I know!
This was a great book. It was really easy for me to enjoy it because most of it is set where I grew up. For people who aren’t from Yorkshire though, it is still a great read. Pannett is very funny in the book, really telling us what a Police Officer really thinks when he has to move on a slightly tipsy crown on a Friday or Saturday night.
As a say this was a great read. I would suggest it to anyone from North Yorkshire because you will really be able to relate to the book and find the characters really funny. I would also suggest it to people who have an interest in the Police force and enjoy a good, light hearted read.
For author's offical web-site,

Friday, 9 December 2011

Crackdown, Bernard Cornwell

Publishers: Penguin Books

Pages: 313 (Paperback 1994)

Main Characters:

Nick Breakspear,

Crackdown is the adrenaline pumping thriller based on drugs and money. You may be surprised to know that it is written by my favourite novelist Bernard Cornwell. During the late 80’s and early 90’s Cornwell wrote a series of books know as his ‘thrillers’ which are based on sailing. They are very different to any of his other novels but I think they are all great.
Crackdown is set in what was at the time of its publishing the modern Bahamas. It follows Nick Breakspear, Captain of the luxury yacht Wavebreaker.  Nick, a British ex-soldier, is getting used to ferrying multimillionaires around on Wavebreaker. It keeps him away from a father he despises and lets him spend his days doing the things he loves, sailing.  His life however takes a dramatic twist when he takes a job ferrying two young rich socialites around the Bahamas, as a favour to their rich Senator father.
Nick sees this job as a quick and easy way to make some money, just baby sit two 20 something’s for a few weeks, piece of cake. Nick soon finds out that it won’t be that easy and is plunged head first into the world of drugs and money.
This was a great read full of adrenaline which keeps you on the edge of your seat. As I said above it is something totally different to what Cornwell usually writes, but it is still brilliant and shows how diverse a writer Cornwell is.
I loved this book and would suggest it to any of you that is a Cornwell fan, or any of you that just likes a good thriller, if there are any questions about the book feel free to leave me a comment.
Link to author's offical web-site:

To have a Kindle, or not to have a Kindle, that is the question.

With Christmas coming up and my Birthday (1st Feb) I’ve been debating whether or not to ask for a Kindle.  I can see the great advantages of having a kindle, I would save a lot of space, be able to actually put clothes in my wardrobe instead of books. Have access to a huge store of books and be able to pick one up anytime a feel like it. But then again I am aware of the downside to having a Kindle. I could no longer be able to buy cheap charity shop books, I’m not sure whether reading from a screen would hurt my eyes, and of course whether the battery would run out on me.
So what do you think? Do you have a Kindle or e-reader? Do you love it? Or do you hate it? Would it be good for someone like me who reads a lot of books or is it just a waste of money. Please I need your help! If you own a Kindle and love it, or just see them as a waste of money, leave me a comment underneath or click on my Facebook link at the top and leave one there. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
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Monday, 5 December 2011

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J. K. Rowling

Publishers: Bloomsbury

Pages: 640

Main Characters:
Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger

You get the gist by now, I won’t say much about the story in the book because most of you will have seen the films. Again this was another great book by Rowling. It is also a bit different from the first three books because it doesn’t just cover Harry at the Dursley’s, at Hogwarts, playing Quidditch and fighting Voldemort. It is based around Harry competing in the Triwizard Cup. This makes a refreshing change because the books were becoming a bit predictable because they followed the points that I made above. This made the book much more interesting because we were introduced to many new characters as well as the story line becoming more developed.
This book is the coming of age for Harry (and the series). It sees the series moving away from just been a children’s series as Rowling adds many more adult themes such as murder, torture, betrayal and love. For me though (a 20 year old) it just made the book fascinating. The ending is also great, making you just want to read the next book as it marks the beginning of a new chapter in Harry’s life. The book was great, again if you think the Harry Potter series is just for children you should read this book and of course if you have seen the film you should definitely read the book, it’s great!
For Link to authors official web-site:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J. K. Rowling

Publishers: Bloomsbury
Pages: 320
Main Characters:
Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger

Again as with my other reviews of this series I won’t go into too much detail what happens in this book as most of you will have seen the movie. However like the first two books in the series this was a great read. It was funny, witty and exciting, which made me want to read on and on (which I did, I read it in one day!!).

The Prisoner of Azkaban was a bit more serious than the previous books as it sets the series up for the more adult themes when Voldermort returns. For me though, it just made this book that much better because it was a deeper mystery behind Harry’s life, which made him as a character much more real. A brilliant book I would recommend it to anyone who has seen the film and to anyone who thinks the Harry Potter series is just for kids because this book it has many more adult themes.
For Link to authors official web-site:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J. K. Rowling

Publishers: Bloomsbury

Pages: 250

Main Characters:
Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger.

Again another great read by Rowling. Like I said with Philosopher’s Stone I won’t say too much about what happens in the book because many of you will have seen the films.
Like I said it was a brilliant read which kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire 48 hours it took me to read it. Chamber of Secrets was witty, funny and very exciting, I can’t wait to read Prisoner of Azkaban. I would suggest this book to any Harry Potter fan especially if you have only seen the films.
For Link to others official web-site:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J. K. Rowling

Publishers: Bloomsbury

Pages: 223 (Paperback 2010)

Main Characters:

Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is a great book. I’m not really going to say what this book was about because most people will have seen the film and already know what the plot is. As I’ve said in some of my older posts, I prefer to watch the films before I read the books because it helps give me an idea of what the characters look and sound like.
The book for me was great. I really liked the films but I think the books really put meat on the bones because they have so much extra detail. I also was abit hesitant to read the books because I knew that they were originally aimed at younger people. Even though this is the case, I still found the book exciting and even shed a tear at a touching moment at the end. It was a great book and I would say if you have seen the films you should defiantly read the books.
For Link to others official web-site:
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