Books, General

February: It’s a Wrap

Yes, yes, I know, this is super late and we are way way into March. I am terrible. In my defence, I was on holiday for the first week of March, so, reallllllly, I’m not that behind. OK, so it probably isn’t true, but that is what I am telling myself to make this seem less late. I can’t believe we are nearly through a quarter of the year already. Time flies.

I had a really solid February that, sort of, continued on from a brilliant January. I, sort of, took part in the TBR Takedown this month, and that helped me look at my shelves and read some different types of books. I also went away this month, on a 2 week holiday to Fort Lauderdale and on a Caribbean cruise. Now, this left me with a lot of reading time on days off, but some days were also packed full of travelling and sightseeing, so it was a healthy mix.

So, here is a round up of everything I finished reading in February:

  • Sin City Vol#3: The Big Fat Kill Frank Miller | 26 Jan 17 – 01 Feb 17| Graphic Novel Paperback | 5 Stars

This graphic novel has all the grit and darkness expected from a Miller Sin City book, but for me, it has an extra level that wasn’t in the first 2 volumes.

In the previous stories, the protagonist has influenced how much I liked the volume, and the story is almost solely focused on their plight. In The Big Fat Kill, I feel like the dynamics and politics of Old Town, the prostitutes, the mob, the police, are at the forefront and make for a fascinating dimension to the otherwise stellar graphic novel.

I really need to actually buy the other volumes, I am going to struggle without them.

  • The Carnivious Carnival (ASOUE #9) Lemony Snicket | 03 Feb 17- 05 Feb 17 | Hardback | 4 Stars

A little like the Ersatz elevator that I re-read last month, I could remember liking this instalment in the unfortunate life of the Baudelaire orphans, but couldn’t remember why.

I feel like this book is where the series turns from being unfortunate, miserable, but adventurous stories, where the characters escape (however temporarily) the clutches of Count Olaf and his farcical attempts at murder/kidnap, to being unnerving, evil, and merciless.

The Orphans are starting to realise you have to do unpleasant things, lie, disguise themselves, assist villains, in order to complete their personal goals and stay safe. I feel like they grow up a lot in the course of the book, and that slight maturity difference makes a huge difference after some indifferent instalments.

  • Live and Let Die Ian Fleming | 21 Jan 17 – 07 Feb 17 | Paperback | 3 Stars

I really do like James Bond. I love the films, and I really enjoyed reading and re-reading Casino Royale. But there is something about Live and Let Die that just didn’t hook me.

It took me a while to get into what is a relatively short book. I felt like the first 100 pages dragged and had little content, and then suddenly the book went from 0-60mph in the space of a chapter. And you know what, once it got going, I really enjoyed it and flew through it.

I feel like the central plot that started the story didn’t really carry through the book, and was a weak premise to launch such a complicated mission on. I also feel like Bond got both un-necessarily and unrealistically carried away with the side story that is his relationship with the lady of the piece ‘Solitaire’, and that this actually became the main part of the book.

It may have been nice to see a slightly stronger female character, even if only initially, and it may have come to life during the latter stages, but I didn’t love this at all. If I didn’t love the films so much I would be slightly put off reading further into the series.

  • Sin City Vol#4: That Yellow Bastard Frank Miller | 04 Feb 17 – 08 Feb 17| Graphic Novel Paperback | 4 Stars

I am very glad that I impulsed bought this, and I am very glad that I finally decided to read this graphic novel set.

The Yellow Bastard is a solid entry in the series, and while not quite a 5 star read, is a decent story. I like the way it tracks a character through hardship, and gives a little more back story to the mysterious Nancy.

I don’t like the Yellow Bastard, however, and I think this is why I have scored it lower than two of the previous volumes. I don’t like the yellow artwork that accompanies him, and I can almost smell him through the pages. Yes, this is a great testament to the writing, but it left a bit of a bad taste in the mouth.

That said, another Miller must-read.

  • Sin City Vol#5: Family Values Frank Miller | 09 Feb 17 | Graphic Novel Paperback | 4 Stars

It is safe to say that I am addicted to this Graphic Novel series, and this is definitely a great edition.

I really love the change in perspective to little, deadly Miho. Her ruthlessness is mentioned throughout the other but is really shown in this novel. I also really really love the mob war angle in this one as well.

there was a little something, not quite sure what it was, that stopped it being a 5. It just didn’t work quite as well, maybe the change in viewpoints, or the slightly different art styles.

  • The Slippery Slope (ASOUE #10) | 05 Feb 17 – 09 Feb 17 | Hardback | 4 Stars

This is yet another of those ASOUE books that I know that I liked first time round, but couldn’t exactly remember why.

I like the reunion, or more the introduction of a character, that we were previously led to believe was deceased. I like the utilisation of characters that have already horribly featured. I like the geographical features (yes I am a geek.)

I really feel like the Baudelaire’s grow in this one. Sunny splits and is able to make decisions and act of her own accord. Klaus and Violet bond with another and come up with more detailed plans, and dare I say, flirt.

  • The Invisible Library Genevieve Cogman | 05 Feb 17 – 15 Feb 17 | Paperback | 4 Stars

I really feel like this book accessed the points in my brain that say ”oooo shiny” when they read an exciting buzz word on the back of the book, you know, like spy, and deadly, and library, and book.

And most of the time the book delivered in full. I expected very little from it, having picked it up in the local charity shop as a completely unknown title, and was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I shifted through it, how thoroughly readable and entertaining it was, and how much I liked all the characters (a very rare thing when I am reading.)

So why not a 5-star review I hear you wonder? Well, it has pacing problems for sure, info is randomly withheld at points and dumped in others, so that removes some of the suspense, and slightly hampers some character progression. That is fixable though.

I’ve already ordered the next two in the series…

  • Chew Vol#1: Taster’s Choice John Layman & Rob Guillory | 18 Feb 17 – 20 Feb 17 | Graphic Novel Paperback | 5 Stars

I read this solely to continue my binge on Graphic Novels based on a friend’s recommendation. It took a small amount of time to become accustomed to the style, but once I had, it was amazing.

It was a very different tone to the graphic novels I have read previously. Witty, clever, and brilliantly gruesome, the cannibalistic concept is simply genius, incredibly different, and executed brilliantly.

  • After the Crash Michel Bussi | 22 Feb 17 – 25 Feb 17| Paperback | 4 Stars

A solid suspense novel that was pretty well written, especially considering it is in translation. It’s a really good book, it’s just not quite brilliant.

I like the way the novel was constructed, with the dual timelines of the journal being read in the present day, and I like the actually short span the book is actually told over.

I think the reason I didn’t love it was the twist. The twist makes complete sense, even if you don’t see it coming, but I’m not really sure that I liked it?

I’ll let you make your mind up about it!

  • Nomad James Swallow | 25 Feb 17 – 27 Feb 17 | Paperback | 5 Stars

I saw someone reading this who said it was good, and it was in the supermarket in the paperback offer, and I thought ‘Oh go on then, for my holiday.” It was really good. I mean, really good. I read the whole thing in about 36hrs.

I like the fast paced thriller idea, I always have, and I feel like this throws it back to the likes of Ludlum. The plots, locations, characters are all well crafted and intertwined flawlessly, and even though you know they all have to link, how that happens, and when it will happen, remain a wonderfully constructed mystery.

I also like the main characters, who do not engage in the cliché affair, and who are also brilliantly written. They know themselves, which sounds odd but is often missing in books. They are true to their own characters.

Books Read: 10| Ave. Rating: 4.2

As you can see, I have had another pretty successful month. Had I listened to something less ambitious than Great Expectations, I am quite sure this would have been longer. As I finished last month by saying, it is nice to be enjoying reading again. Long may it continue.

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