A bit of this, a bit of that, and mostly a lot of me.

'Pooems', by Papa G

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Once again I am not disappointed by Papa G.’s quality of work. It’s funny and outside the box, and best of all it’s not sugar coated; there is no better author out there to highlight the dangers of crocodiles, and I mean it. The child in your life (if like me you pretend to buy these books to read to/with a child) will surely appreciate this, and what better way to get someone into poetry, than with poo-rhymes? They are funny, unique, and each one with a twist that will make them a joy to read.

This marvellous piece of modern literature contains four very entraining little pooems which will blow your mind with their simplicity, deep meaning, and teachings (I am not making this up, there is more to them than the laugh factor inspired by poo). To top it all, the drawings that accompany the stories are superb and compliment the pooems very well. What more do you want me say? Just go buy this nook and you won’t regret it. 

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Check out my other Papa G review: ‘Snotty Crocky’ - approved by the author [click here, or here].

'Perchance to Dream', by Peter Lukes

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This review does not contain spoilers.

If you are expecting the type of science fiction where everything is about politics, think again. This is the perfect mix between SF setting and fantasy adventure. According to Goodreads this is the 50th book I’ve read this year. Quite an achievement (considering I probably finished only 2/3 of the books I had to read for my uni course). I’m glad of it, for I could not think of a better book to symbolise the icing on the book-cake (for the love of all that is the written page do not put icing on books).  At first I was worried about writing this review, I had exchanged a few written words with Mr Lukes and found out that this is his first published book and I didn’t want to tear it apart, in case it was bad. Chance is the book is actually really good and I had to really force myself to find ways of antagonising it. This book is not about what it seems, in fact it is so much better; once again I refuse to waste time in giving a synopsis, I’m sure you can easily find it on-line (click here).

At first I was not entirely convinced about the way dreams are portrayed, but then again to represent dreams is always a tricky thing to do, and really he managed just fine. One definitely good point in this novel’s favour is how the premises of the story are set very early on, and the reader is able to get a good grasp of what is going on after just a few pages. When the first plot twist occurs, it leaves you hungry for more, giving you the feeling you’ve been catapulted into the story. This little trick is mainly achieved through the writing style: simple, clear, and concise; making the book a joy to read. There is no question that is nice, as in my experience SF writers often forget how hard it is for the readers to get to grasps with their written world. On the other hand, Mr Lukes is really good at creating an easy to understand, almost mundane, world, presented as a simple, clear flow of words.  

Another thing which is a super yes to me is the setting. Not set in the far future, where everything is literally alien to the reader and requires a good imagination, but it seems to be set in a spin off of contemporary times. This allows the readers to get a fuller understanding of the situation and without having to imagine things which are just too far from our imagination we can concentrate on the story.

Overall, it’s a great book and it combines fantasy and science fiction beautifully. I can’t wait for the others to be published (I believe it is the first volume in a trilogy), I can’t wait to get my hands on them and read them. 

Go and buy the book, now! You won’t regret it, and if you do you can insult me in my ask box as much as you like.

-Amazon is the place to buy the book from (click here)-

-This review can also be found on Goodreads-

Is there a supernatural entity sitting nearby anyone who is writing a book review that forbids them from warning the readers about the spoilers?

'200 Crochet Flowers, Embelishments & Trims', by Claire Crompton

A book for the crochet-er.

First of all, the book is a collection of patterns for flowers, leaves, trims, and stitches that can be added here and there to make everything look pretty, the best thing being that it gives you ideas on how to use them.

Each section in the book is colour coded for easy finding. It contains a very useful intro covering the basic stitched, yarn weights and textures, pattern reading, and generally useful ideas and information to stimulate crochet creativity. Despite this I would not really recommend it to the absolute beginners, I believe that a basic knowledge of pattern-reading can go a long way here and make it more enjoyable. 

The patterns are really easy to read, each of them consists of a colourful picture (it seems silly, but when you look at different rows the fact that each row is a different colour makes the pattern more clear), written instructions and a graph (before reading this book I found graphs to possibly be the scariest thing about crochet, but they make the patterns so much more clear it’s unbelievable). These three things together make it virtually impossible to make the pattern wrong because you have so many ways of checking and rechecking it. I of course managed to wrong a couple of times, but I know it’s my own fault for not liking to follow instructions: I’m a rebel you see.

Over all I can’t find any major fault with this book, but if I really wanted to I could say that it should have contained more patterns for the simple reason that they are so beautifully written that you get fantastic ideas on how to use them just by looking at the pictures  -cough, cough, yarnbombing, cough. All I can say, really, is go buy it NOW!

This review can also be found on  Goodreads [click].

'The Girl who Played with Fire', by Stieg Larson

-Might be considered to contain some minor spoilers, if it does they are really tiny, and it is all stuff that, if you read the book and have a bit of brains, you can figure out from the beginning-

This is the second book of the acclaimed ‘Millennium’ trilogy. The magic word for me is trilogy, it means that if I read one I need to read the others, no matter how bad I think they are, which is also exactly what happened for Twilight and The Hunger Games.

I read the first book about three years ago and mainly because it was a present. This is really not my genre, and if I had known that it was a huge advertisement for Apple products I would have never considered it in the first place. As you might guess I didn’t really enjoy it despite finishing it in a couple of days. Actually, I’d like to point out that just because a book is read fast it doesn’t mean it is a good book, there are many reasons why a book is read fast: you can be sitting at the beach for days and all you want to do is read (that is what happened to me); each chapter might leave you on a cliff hanger and you want to know what happens next (The Hunger Games); or it’s so badly written that you can’t keep your eyes of it in hope it gets better (Twilight); or, and this is I find to be the most common case, the writing is so simplistic that it feels like you are reading a children’s book but with adult content (Fifty Shades of Grey).

Back to the book then, I decided to read it because only having read the first one felt utterly incomplete, and I guess I was hoping it would improve… Boy I was wrong, the first one was fine literature compared to the second one. 

One of the things I truly disliked is Lisbeth’s description. She is one of the two main characters and she is described as being gifted with a photographic memory (as in: I-shut-my-eyes*click*I-have-taken-a-picture-with-my-XMen-power, this type of photographic memory); she is also a flawless hacker, possibly the best in the world, or why not, the universe; she is extremely gifted at whatever she does, she is a mathematical genius who picks up a degree-level astronomy book full of fucked up equations and she understand it perfectly. In short, she is described as every modern kid wanna-be. I personally dislike it when characters are portrayed as being the closest thing to perfection, and when their flaws are emphasised in a positive light. There is nothing, in the entirety of the book, that makes the reader think: ‘wait, this is not such a good trait to posses’; I mean, Lisbeth is a hacker and as much as I’d like to be a computer genius, there is no way that hacking can be justified as one of the best qualities a person can have; and when she, a 26 year old woman, has sex with a 16 years old, possibly virgin (as she makes a point to tell the reader), guy it is rape, there is no way around that one, and the fact that there is no consequence for her actions is a big no-no.

The book mainly follows the two main characters’ adventures in the land of espionage journalism and revenge. Mike and Lisbeth, the protagonists, rarely meet through the book so that the chapters are very distinct between them, following one or the other and focusing on each’s point of view; unfortunately  Larson fails at offering distinct points of view as the characters are totally interchangeable. When I say interchangeable I mean that, even though there is a sensation that, since they are different characters, they have different experiences, there is no substantial difference in the narration of the chapters; what I would have liked to see was for the single chapters to focus a bit more on the personal experience of the people due to their different traits -I hope this makes sense, it does to me, but I’m not sure it would to anyone else. A question of messed up interchangeability, to me could also be found in the descriptions of every other character that was not Lisbeth or was not Mike; for instance, apart from the big bad final boss, the smaller thugs could all have been numbered rather than named, I didn’t find them memorable in any way.

Another thing I did not appreciate very much, is that a lot of characters are very mysogenistic, which of course is a literary devise (since the original title of the first book is something along the lines of Men who Hate Women), but they are so badly written that their nasty comments against women seem to come from the author rather than them, making you question the author’s ideas. It is one thing to say out loud: ‘I believe in equality of men and women everywhere’, and it is one thing to truly believe it; to me Larson tried to hard to show that he believes in equality.

Of course the book is not all bad, it also has its nice moments and one of the best parts, for me, was the Pippi Longstocking reference, mainly because it was one of my mum’s favourite books growing up, I have read it, and my sister absolutely adores the old tv show: I guess you could say it’s a family thing. However this was not the only enjoyable moment, I appreciated the instances in which characters were compared to trolls, it gave it a very Northern European sense, as well as functioning as a very good description whilst spending just a few words.

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When I set off to write this review I didn’t mean to be so nasty, it kind of came of its own accord. I am sorry about it.

This review can also be found on Goodreads [click here].