Book Review: Slade House

The Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ 

David Mitchell is one of my favorite writers, so when Slade House came out I had to pick up a copy right away and read it.  While I enjoyed the read, I can only give this book three hearts and not the usual five I would award for a David Mitchell novel.

Slade House is Mitchell’s take on the classic ghost story and is a good read for this time of year, when it gets dark early, seems to rain everyday, and a chill sets in early in the evening.  Slade House spans five decades from the 1970s to the present.  Every nine years a guest is either invited or happens to find Slade House on the same day late in October.  Every nine years, there are unexplained disappearances.

Slade House has a tie in with The Bone Clocks, which makes the book interesting for those readers that have read The Bone Clocks.  Slade House is a worthwhile read, but isn’t quite up to Mitchell’s usual standard.  The book uses the same plot over and over again, only changing at the end.  One feels a little let down at the end, the author could have done so much more with this.  It really could have been fabulous.

Book Details:  Published by Random House (October 27, 2015), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-0812998689.

Book Review: The Bone Clocks

The Bone ClocksThe Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Let’s start with the outside of this book — the cover is enticing and the title is subtle and wonderfully descriptive. The whole package makes you wonder what is inside. The book is written in five sections spanning several decades from the late twentieth century to the mid-twenty-first century. Each section is written from the point of view of different characters.  The story begins with teenaged Holly Sykes, the protagonist of the novel, finding her boyfriend in bed with her best friend.  Holly makes an appearance in each section in the middle of the book with the last section also told from her point of view.

David Mitchell is a superb storyteller and can take the reader to the scene like no other writer. This is especially exciting and interesting for the reader when Mitchell invents a post-apocalytic world as in the final section of The Bone Clocks or in Cloud Atlas or when Mitchell invents a place that exists only in his imagination and then takes the reader there. His descriptions are vivid and detailed.

The Bone Clocks is not my favorite Mitchell novel. That position is still held by Cloud Atlas. Although The Bone Clocks is probably the best book I’ve read thus far in 2014, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and The Bone Clocks are tied for second place in my personal ranking of David Mitchell novels.

My only gripe about The Bone Clocks is Mitchell’s propensity for sharing his personal viewpoints through his novel. (Note: Mitchell was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine in 2007.)  For example, the reader can surely glean his feelings about religion from the last section.  Or can they?  Does Holly consider the horologists gods when she says a prayer asking for salvation for her two charges?  Is her prayer answered?  You can decide when you read The Bone Clocks.  It is worth your time and your effort at over 600 pages.

Book Details:  Published by Random House (September 4, 2014), 640 pages.

The Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novels of All Time

There was a time when I read a great deal of fantasy and science-fiction, but in recent years I focused more on historical fiction and thrillers.  Right now I am reading The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer and just love the way the story is written from the viewpoint of different characters.  A great way to write a spy novel!

Business Insider has posted a list of the Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novels of All Time.  One of my favorite novels of all time regardless of genre is on the list.  Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell just might be my favorite book of all time, but is definitely in the top five.   Let me know if you have any favorites on the list by leaving a comment!

Goodreads Giveaways and Krissie’s Bookshelf

I joined GoodReads in March 2008 and have been VERY active on the Website since that time.  I love GoodReads and spend way to much time on their site.  Having said that I still have an one issue with GoodReads —the first reads giveaways!

Since March 2008, I have entered giveaways for approximately 330 books and have won books for four of those giveaways.  I enjoyed those books and was very happy to have gotten them.  I read at least three books that I probably would not have otherwise.  Krissie, another goodreads.com member, that frequently enters the same giveaways that I do has won 72 books since joining in March 2008.  Recent additions to Krissie’s first-reads bookshelf include:

I Curse the River of Time: A Novel by Per Petersen
Horns by Joe Hill
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Translyvania, and Other States That Never Made It by Michael J. Trinklein
The Devil’s Star by Jo Nesbo

I entered for each of these books and didn’t win any of them.  Krissie has great luck!  The GoodReads Giveaways page says that “Winners are picked randomly at the end of the giveaway” and I received a recent e-mail from ENC Press after a recent giveaway that advises that “GoodReads does the random picking,” however, I am beginning to wonder…

I did read 100% of the books that I won and rated all four of them.  I actually reviewed two of them or 50%.  I noted that Krissie has rated only 16.7% of the books that she has won from the GoodReads giveaways, but shows a review for 100% of the 72 books on her First Reads bookshelf.  Her typical review is as follows:

“First it has to arrive in the mail, and then I have to find the time and motivation to read the Others, and then I can read this one. I have a new plan for the Others. I’m not sure it’ll work out very well, though.”

Can someone explain what is going on with GoodReads giveaways?  How do so many First Reads end up on Krissie’s bookshelf?  Are the books given away randomly or is some other method used to give away the First Reads books?

One last thought, I sure hope that Krissie doesn’t enter for Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James, because I really want to win a copy of that book!

Book Review: Cloud Atlas

The Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is a fantastic book!  Reading this book was more interesting that anything I’ve done in a while (no comments about my boring life, please!).  I could hardly put it down, and it has been awhile since I’ve read a book that held my interest that much.

Cloud Atlas isn’t like a normal novel.  It has chapters in the sense that it is divided into sections.  Each section takes place in different time period beginning in the 1800s and going far into man’s future.  These sections then begin going backward and the book ends in the same time period in which it began.  The sections are connected by objects and thoughts through the years.  I really enjoyed this book!

The book begins with Adam Ewing, a notary in the Chatham Isles, who contracts a brain parasite.  He is treated by his friend Dr. Goose.  The first section ends abruptly and we then find ourselves in Belgium in the early twentieth century.  Time marches on through the 1970’s in Buenas Yerbas, modern day England, a future Korean corpocracy, and post-nuclear Hawaii.  The stories are fascinating!

I also want to comment on David Mitchell’s beautiful use of the english language.  This book was shortlisted for a Man Booker Prize in 2004 and deservedly so.  Cloud Atlas is worth reading for the writing alone.

I highly recommend Cloud Atlas as you can see from my rarely given award of five hearts!  Enjoy!  If you have read Cloud Atlas leave a comment and let us know what you think….

Book Details: Published by Random House Trade Paperbacks (August 17, 2004), 528 pages, ISBN-10:  0375507256, ISBN-13: 978-0375507250