Saturday, 21 May 2011

Zambesi by Tony Park

I read Zambesi on the recommendation of my friend, whose husband adores these books.
The Story is about Jed Banks whose daughter Miranda is apparently eaten by a man-eating lion. Jed, an American soldier, goes off to Zimbabwe to investigate the incident. On the way he of course encounters great danger and meets many people, who both hinder and help him. He teams up with Christine Wallis his daughters boss and they attempt to resolve the mystery, having many shocking discoveries along the way.

I am really in two minds about this book. I loved the idea and the plot, the story was great. Fast paced with lots of action, many twists and turns it really kept me glued to the end. Although I had kind of guessed some parts of the ending there were enough surprises that it didn't really matter.
What I found difficult about the books was the way he wrote. I wouldn't like to say it was a badly written book, because I really don't think it is. He keeps the story going, there is not too much extra stuff happening in the book and the pace is excellent. It is more the feelings I got when reading the book. I really didn't like any of the characters, there was nobody who stood out. The hero came across as the typical arrogant American*, come to save the world. Christine Wallis was even worse, I wanted to give her a slap, she refuses to co-operate at all, even when being secretive and difficult very obviously makes things worse. Obviously you can't like the bad guys, lol. Maybe I am a romantic, but I find that I can identify with the book more if there is at least one character I do like. Also, having read that the author was an Australian who had spent some time in Southern Africa I thought he would have more of an understanding about the area. He painted it in a very bad light and didn't seem to like it at all. It was full of stereotypes and seemed to only scratch the surface. I know that South Africa has an extremely high crime rate, but the parts set in Johannesburg made me laugh. He makes it out to be the Wild West, I have spent a lot of time in Johburg and never seen people behave the way he made it out. I just wondered why if he seemed to dislike a place so much you would bother to write a book about it? In the interests of fairness, he was writing from the perspective of a newcomer to Africa, so it could be that he was trying to bring that out.
Having said that I did enjoy the book and did finish it, and will definitely read more of his books.

*(Please don't anyone get offended about me talking about the "typical American" I know that 99% of Americans are not like that, I was just talking about the way they tend to be portrayed in a lot of movies and books)


Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Here is my teaser:

"The message on the capstone was suddenly crystal clear. Its meaning had been staring him in the face all night."
 The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown pg 571

Monday, 9 May 2011

It's Monday , what are you reading?

This week I have only managed to finish two books, but I guess that is better than none! You would think that by not reading as much I would get more studying done, unfortunately that is not the case either, I am not sure what exactly I have spent my time doing, lol.
Finished this week:
  • The solitude of Emperors by David Davidar - found this slow going, but thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • Spud by John Van der Ruit - second time reading this book and I found it even more funny the second time around. I was in stitches.
This week I have no definite plans as such but books on the go are:
  • The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
  • Jane Eyre
  • The two towers
For more reading inspiration pop over to Sheilas blog

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Mothers Day by Kirsty Scott

I started reading this book when I was in need of a quick, light read and it definitely hit the spot. I must admit that the first line starts with something like: "Have you got the money for the prostitutes?" and I did wonder what sort of book I had picked up, needless to say it really was not pornographic, lol.
It tells the story of 3 mothers who meet in the playground of a posh primary school. There is Alison, the working mum who is doing everything she can to keep her child there, following some trouble at a more normal school. Katherine, the beautiful trophy wife, who everybody thinks is just perfect, but really is a mess inside. And lastly, Gwen who seems to have the perfect life, a happy marriage to Rob, with three gorgeous children. Of course, surrounding all of this are the snobby mothers at the school.
I really enjoyed this book, it was lighthearted and funny, but despite that it dealt with some pretty serious issues. Bulimia, unemployment, divorce, prostitution, rape, are just a few. This book is however, not about those issues as such, just that they are touched on in the book. It is really about the blossoming friendship between the three mums and how their lives play out. As a mother I could really relate to the characters, you see them every day hanging out outside the school. There were times when I laughed out loud, but there were a few tear-jerking moments at all. I will definitely be looking out for more books by this author.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Wuthering Heights

Okay, okay I am finally getting around to doing a book review on this. I first read this book when I was 16. We had been on holiday and somehow I picked up the book at the holiday place, I didnt actually know anything about the book when I started reading it, or about the authors at all. I started reading on the morning that we left and by the time we got back home I had finished the book! I have not read it again, until the Wuthering Heights Readalong came along.
The basic story line is like this. Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw grow up together after Heathcliff is found and adopted by Catherines father. Unfortunately the father soon dies and Catherines brother banishes Heathcliff to work on the farm. Catherine and Heathcliff become very close, however it is an obsessive kind of love. Cathering subsequently marries somebody else and all sorts of disaster follows! Heathcliff tries to win Cathy back, but that doesnt work and he sets out for revenge on the whole family.
What I found amazing this time was how differently I viewed the book reading it at this age as I did when I was 16.When I was a teenager I viewed Heathcliff as the little poor boy, misunderstood who if he was just accepted and loved would have been perfect. Very much the "bad boy persona" who all girls think they are going to change. As an adult I can see just how disfunctional and evil he is. What I also didn't pick up the last time was just how much of his revenge was planned rather than a lucky break, if that makes sense.
As for Catherine, I found her to be a real little cow, spoiled and just wanting her own way. Most of the bad things that happen can be brought back to just how spoiled she was.
Edgar and Isabella Linton I think were the nicest characters although both were real wimps. But there was no harm in either of them, and they at least showed some signs of taking responsibility for their lives.
Hindley is the other person who I viewed differently as an adult. I had a much softer view of him this time. Before, I viewed him as the evil older brother, this time I realised fully how much he was actually wronged by Heathcliff.
Cathy Linton (Catherine and Edgar's daughter) was also very spoiled and did exactly what she wanted, however I did make allowances for her in that I didnt feel that there was any malice in her. Also, everything she did she was really trying to keep others happy.
Lastly, perhaps the only person that I felt any feelings for was Hareton Earnshaw. I really felt like he was actually the nicest person in the book and the most wronged. He really didn't stand a chance from the beginning and it was almost like all of Heathcliffs revenge just worked out to his disadvantage.
As for the book itself, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but wow is it dark and gloomy. Not a light read at all!

Monday, 2 May 2011

It's Monday what are you reading?



I have had quite a productive week this week, although there were a lot of things that got in the way.
Finished this weeK:
  • The silver chair by C.S. Lewis
  • The way we were by Marcia Willett
  • Too good to be true by Sheila O'Flanagan
  • Zambesi by Tony Park
  • Mothers day by Kristy Scott

Unfortunately this week I need to start seriously studying and of course, all the holidays are over, so I doubt I will get as much done, however these are the books I have on the go:
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 
  • The two towers by J.R.R Tolkien
  • The solitude of emperors by David Davidov
I hope everybody manages to have a good reading week! For more inspiration pop over to Sheila's blog

Sunday, 1 May 2011

April Wrap up post

Ok, since I have done a fair bit of reading I thought it was time to reintroduce the wrap up post.
Books read in April:
1. Prince Caspian by C.S Lewis
2. Lessons in Heartbreak by Cathy Kelly
3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
4. The Messiah Code by Michael Cordy
5. Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan
6. The guide to the people of South Africa by Simon Kilpatrick
7. The Lizards bite by David Hewson 
8. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
9. Star Spangled Bride by Iris Johansen
10. Mothers Day by Kristy Scott
11. Zambesi by Tony Park
12. Too good to be true by Sheila O'Flanagan
13. The way we were by Marcia Willett
14. The silver Chair by C.S Lewis

I cant believe that I managed to read 14 books!

Outstanding reviews:
1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
2. Mothers Day by Kristy Scott
3. Zambesi by Tony Park
4. The silver chair by C.S Lewis

Status on my challenges:
100 books challenge - 44/100
Mystery & suspense challenge - 9/12
Bronte Sisters Reading challenge - 1/3
Lord of the Rings Readalong - 1/4
Chronicles of Narnia Readalong - 6/7
New Author challenge 10/15
Read me baby one more time - 13/20
Support your local library - 18/30
Birth year challenge - 0/7
Chunkster challenge - 1/6

All in all I think April was a fairly constructive month.

Spring Serenity Readathon Wrap up post and mini-challenge

I just havent had much time to do regular updates on this readathon, however, I have managed to do a fair amount of reading. Not as much as I could have, but a decent amount.
Reading done:
175 pages of Mothers Day by Kirsty Scott (book completed)
560 pages of Zambesi by Tony Park (book completed
58 pages of Jane Eyre
266 pages of The silver chair by C.S. Lewis (book completed)
442 pages of Too good to be true by Sheila O'Flanagan (book completed)
300 pages of The way we were by Marcia Willett (book completed)
8 pages of The Solitude of Emperors by David Davidar

Total: 1809 pages
Books completed: 5

So far that means that I have read 43 books this year and according to goodreads am 10 books ahead YAY! I wont be doing too much in May since I seriously need to study, so being ahead is good.

Michelle also has a mini-challenge going where you have to take the first sentence from a few books and make a paragraph. I thought this would be quite fun, so here is mine:

 They are the invisible ones, the ones who are too small, wealk, poor or slow to escape the onrush of history.There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. It was a dull autumn day and Jill Pole was crying behind the gym. To the west.A dead place.
Sentence 1 - The solitude of emperors.
Sentence 2 - Jane Eyre
Sentence 3 - The silver chair
Sentence 4 - The way we were
Sentence 5 - Zambesi

I am amazed that it actually makes a bit of sense.