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Preview: bart154ce's reviews from LibraryThing

bart154ce's reviews from LibraryThing

bart154ce's reviews from LibraryThing


Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin

Sat, 20 Feb 2010 14:58:33 -0500

(image) bart154ce's review: "Oh my, Willy Vlautin, why haven't I heard of you before? This book, is the heart-breaking story of fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson and a quarter horse called Lean on Pete. All Charley wants from life is stability, friends, to play football, and to stay at one school for a while. A place to call home, really. Denied this, Charley finds solace in his early morning runs. One day he passes by Portland Meadows, a run-down horse racing track. There he meets Del, an ageing trainer, who gives him a job, and Charley spends most mornings there, along with a couple of overnight trips to other tracks. (Overnight trips his father barely notices.) Charley finds a bond with one of Del's horses, the titular Lean on Pete. When something happens to his father, Charley steals Pete, and Del's truck and trailer and sets out across the country in the hope of finding his aunt, who he has not seen for years, but who is the only other family he knows. I maybe painting a picture of a horribly bleak read, but really it's anything but, and that is down to Charley's voice. Vlautin has managed to capture a teenage voice just right. There's a simplicity in the story telling (think of the "What I did on Holiday" stories you had to write at school), and the only times we really get to see what Charley is thinking or feeling is when he is talking to Pete. If they're as good as this, I'll be certainly searching out more of Vlautin's novels. Read the full version of this review at: Bart's Bookshelf."

Rocket Man by William Elliott Hazelgrove

Tue, 02 Feb 2010 16:02:51 -0500

(image) bart154ce's review: "Unfortunately despite a couple of attempts now I've not really been able to get into this one. Whilst I've not read enough to really comment on the writing, I think it's more of a case of this one not really being the book for me."

The Bird Room by Chris Killen

Sun, 17 Jan 2010 10:10:30 -0500

(image) bart154ce's review: "

This is not a book I would normally pick up off the shelves so I’m thankful to the publisher, Canongate and the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program for sending it to me.

Unfortunately I didn’t really enjoy it.

Whilst at times it is funny, but ultimately reading it is a fairly cold experience. Most of the characters are not particularly likeable or easy to care for and for someone like myself, who gets the best from a novel, when I love the characters I’m reading about, it’s always difficult connect with these ‘difficult’ characters.

Still, as I said earlier, there are moments, when the characters and the situations they get themselves in are quite funny, and the writing is sharp and easy to read.

There’s also a non-linear structure to the novel, which jumps about in time and storylines occasionally and I did think that this worked well and suited the story, using the two main plot-lines to contrast and reflect on each other, whilst never quite showing you the full picture.

For those that like to avoid such things, there’s a fair bit of sex going on in the book, but none of it particular titillating or sexy, for the most part there’s an comfortableness about it – for both the reader and the participants.

If you enjoy stylish explorations of obsession and dysfunctional relationships, and have less of a need to like your characters than I do, you’ll definitely get an awful lot more from this obviously cleverly written novel than I was able to.

Verdict: Decent – but not for me.

Bart's Bookshelf"

Slob by Ellen Potter

Thu, 07 May 2009 17:07:52 -0400

(image) bart154ce's review: "I wasn't sure what I was going to make of this one, when Ellen emailed me to ask if I wanted to review it, I've not read a lot of what is classed as middle-grad fiction, even though I have read tonnes of young adult stuff, but the plot intrigued me, and I thought the cover was fantastic, so I agreed to give it a go. I'm so glad I did. Owen, is a wonderful self-depreciating character, and I loved getting to know him and his sarcastic wit. :) while following his journey, as he finally starts to put the events of the last two years behind him, and regains the belief in himself to move forward... Read and comment on my full review at: Bart's Bookshelf"

Seventh Son (Tales of Alvin Maker (Paperback)) by Orson Scott Card

Wed, 07 Jan 2009 15:01:40 -0500

(image) bart154ce's review: "A relaxing, enveloping kind of read, and one I think most people would find hard not to enjoy. Read and comment on my full review at:"

Storm Catchers by Tim Bowler

Thu, 18 Dec 2008 17:26:14 -0500

(image) bart154ce's review: "After reading a few books by Tim Bowler now, I can say with some conviction, that he, like Marcus Sedgwick, is one of those authors that never talks down to his target audience, and in fact writes complex, intelligent books that challenge even the most sophisticated teenage reader and yet at the same time enthrall them with a gripping tale. And, Storm Catchers, is certainly that, a taut tightly written thriller that grabs you from the off, and mixes in mystical elements, as two seemingly separate storylines begin to converge, Bowler then throws the reader for a loop, with an fantastic ending, that while, if you’ve been following events carefully, it doesn’t come as a complete surprise, the effects on the family are breathtaking. Read and comment on my full review at:"

The Dead Girls' Dance (Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 10:26:59 -0500

(image) bart154ce's review: "It kept me gripped throughout, and I read it in a thoroughly entertaining two sittings. Read and comment on my full review at:’-dance-morganville-vampires-2-by-rachel-caine/"

The Lost Years of Merlin by T.A. Barron

Sun, 11 Jan 2009 17:24:00 -0500

(image) bart154ce's review: "While not perfect (for example, any reader, with at least some experience of reading fantasy novels will see most of the plot twists coming) but it is carried off with such charm, and so likable are the characters that any faults are totally forgivable. Read and comment on my full review at Bart's Bookshelf"

Bourbon Island 1730 by Lewis Trondheim

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 07:47:05 -0500

(image) bart154ce's review: "For the most part I did enjoy the novel, the characters were varied and interesting, and the story weaves in some nice interesting historical information, and it was most certainly an entertaining read. But, when the it was all over and done and the final page turned (at least of the novel itself). Something was missing. Looking back, nothing much seemed to happen in it, some of the plot threads promised more than they delivered. This was made up for a little bit by the appendix at the end, which explains some of the facts around which the story is based, and these really did add something to the experience. But, I was still left with the feeling, that whilst what was there was excellent, it could have been even better. Read and comment on my full review at:"

Zoe's Tale (Unabridged) by John Scalzi

Tue, 17 Mar 2009 19:08:22 -0400

(image) bart154ce's review: "We follow Zoë, as she makes new friends, settles in to the community and deals with the events as they start to unravel. Thankfully, Salzi chooses not to just rehash those events from a different point-of-view, but also flesh them out and give us new information. As I mentioned earlier, Tavia Gilbert, narration is amazing, she perfectly caputures Zoë’s snarky sarcastic attituse with her friends, but also easily gets across the characater’s intellegence and compassion, her voice creaks with emotion at one point (if you’ve read either this book or The Lost Colony, you’ll know where) and as the reader/listener your emotions will be seriously shredded. :) This is certainly going to be one of may favourite books of the year, and Zoë is one of my new favourite literary characters. Read and comment on my full review at:"

Apocalypse by Tim Bowler

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 14:28:31 -0400

(image) bart154ce's review: "It is everything a good young adult book should be, it is both intelligent and complex, and treats the reader as if they are too. Read and comment on my full review at:"

Marked (House of Night) by Kristin Cast

Fri, 06 Mar 2009 16:01:41 -0500

(image) bart154ce's review: "All in all Marked (House of Night) is a fast, light, and enjoyable read (particularly for those who enjoy The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Cain). Read and comment on my full review at:"

The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

Tue, 10 Feb 2009 10:57:27 -0500

(image) bart154ce's review: "Mixed feelings on this one. It’s often referred to as being “J.K. Rowling… Russian Style…” (There’s even a blurb on the front cover to that effect). I think that this is a completely unfair comparison to Rowling’s world just as it is to Lukyanenko’s. Yes both are, darkly epic tales, set in richly detailed, imaginative, worlds with a war waging between good and evil (and the duality of the grey areas in between), but where Rowling’s tale inspires a page turning frenzy, Lukyanenko’s is more one to settle into and wrap around you. Partly because of the JK Rowling comparsion, It took a little while for me for me to adjust my pre-conceptions and truely settle into the book, and partly because I don’t think this was helped by some clunky phrasings in the writing, I don’t know if this is down to the original Russian or the translation, but there were times when I had to skip back a paragarph or two, just to truely get a fix on what was being said or done.I suspect that if I could read fluent Russian then the original version would score a 4.5 at least. And I can easily see why the books are as big a success as they have are. As it is, I was just not as caught up in the, fantastic setting, plot and characters as I could have been. Still, now that I am settled into the world, I have high hopes for the next in the series: The Day Watch (Watch, Book 2). Read and comment on my full review at:"

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

Sun, 25 Jan 2009 13:34:35 -0500

(image) bart154ce's review: "A short book at just over 90 pages, and easily readable over a leisurely hour or two, but it is also manages to be utterly charming and amusing. Hanff’s very forward, friendly and wittily sarcastic style, quickly brings the professional and slightly conservative Frank Doel out of his shell and each and every letter is a delight to read. A lovely book and you wont be disappointed if you invest the few hours of your time it asks of you. Read and comment on my full review at:"

Vampire Knight: v. 1 (Vampire Knight) by Matsuri Hino

Tue, 27 Jan 2009 18:36:18 -0500

(image) bart154ce's review: "can’t say the plot blew me away, it feels like it is exactly what it is, a set up for the rest of the series (Hino, states as much at one point in the notes, explaining that the main purpose is to introduce the characters) and as such it felt a bit throw-away to me, instead of addiction forming. A shame because what I’ve read about the following books it does improve exponentially. But I’m not sure if I’m going to be picking up any future editions, too many other books calling out to me that are ahead of this series. I may not have loved the storyline, but I do have to say the artwork is great, and obviously had a lot of time spent on it, with individual characters all looking unique, and the detailing on the Cross Academy uniforms is impressive. Read and comment on my full review at:"

Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis (Canongate Myths) by Ali Smith

Tue, 10 Mar 2009 16:40:34 -0400

(image) bart154ce's review: "It’s the kind of book I’d love to enjoy more than I ever do, that is not to say I disliked the book, I didn’t but in the end I didn’t love it either. I did enjoy the writing style though, which switches the narration between the two sisters and plays with different styles of narration. But in the end it wasn’t quite as powerful or effecting as I initially thought it was going to be. Read and comment on my full review at: Bart's Bookshelf"

The Last Colony by John Scalzi

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 13:42:02 -0500

(image) bart154ce's review: "This is a slightly different book to the first two in the trilogy, with the bang bang action of the first to giving way to political maneuvering and much more time is spent on the characters and the sometimes minute of their lives. This works well, because when it becomes obvious the Colonial Union are playing with there lives, you care even more new colonists. And can I just say how great it is to have John Perry back! He has got to be one of my favourite characters of the last few years reading, and his sarcastic one-upmanship with his assistant Savitri Guntupalli, is a joy to read. John and Jane are also joined by their daughter, Zoe, who does her best to both mock & love her 90-year-old adopted dad. I can’t tell you just how much I am looking forward to meeting Zoe properly in her own book, Zoe’s Tale, which follows the events in The Last Colony from her teenage point-of-view. While, there is less action in this book, it is certainly not missed, Scalzi once again, excels at writing characters and their interactions and that is what makes his books so much fun to read. And this one is no different. Excellent, excellent read."

Circle of Flight: The Ellie Chronicles by John Marsden

Thu, 26 Feb 2009 17:56:26 -0500

(image) bart154ce's review: "I’ll be honest, it’s not my favourite amongst the ten books that make up the two series, and there are signs that ideas and enthusiasm were reaching their natural stopping point, however there was a high standard to follow in the series, and just because it doesn’t quite reach those dizzy heights does not mean, it is not an excellent read in itself. And it is an entirely appropriate ending for the series. Read and comment on my full review at:"

Parasite Positive by Scott Westerfeld

Mon, 23 Feb 2009 17:23:11 -0500

(image) bart154ce's review: "All, in all an excellent read, your skin will crawl and your blood will race, and the next time your cat looks oddly at you, you may just shudder a little! Most entertaining. Read and comment on my full review at:"

So Much to Tell You (Walker paperbacks) by John Marsden

Fri, 20 Feb 2009 16:15:03 -0500

(image) bart154ce's review: "A very well written and intelligent look at a teen recovering from a traumatic event, and I love the fact, that no blame is laid, and that there are no easy answers, or fluffy-bunny-hug instant cures, it’s all the more powerful (and realistic) a story, for the fact, Marina still has long journey ahead of her. Read and comment on my full review at:"