Thursday, 22 April 2010

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Hamlet (Penguin Popular Classics) The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or more simply Hamlet, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601. The play, set in Denmark, recounts how Prince Hamlet exacts revenge on his uncle Claudius, who has murdered Hamlet's father, the King, and then taken the throne and married Gertrude, Hamlet's mother. The play vividly charts the course of real and feigned madness—from overwhelming grief to seething rage—and explores themes of treachery, revenge, incest, and moral corruption.

My thoughts: This was the first time that I've read Hamlet, I've heard it quoted so many times and I thought it was about time I read it.

Hamlet's mother is married to her dead husband's brother. And after seeing his father's ghost Hamlet decides to take revenge on his uncle/step-dad who apparently murdered his father. It's a kind of crazy story with lots of death, and there were some places where I didn't really understand what was going on, but I still got the overall jist of the story.

I enjoyed reading this but when reading a play as a book I find it a bit hard to keep track of the characters and the settings, I think I would like to see it performed so that I can really get a feel for the story.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Divas Don't Knit by Gil McNeil

Divas Don't KnitJo Mackenzie needs a new start. Newly widowed with two young sons and a perilous bank balance, she has to leave London to take over her grandmother's wool shop. They arrive in the pouring rain and Broadgate Bay is the kind of Kentish seaside town where the tide went out a long time ago and the dusty old shop is full of peach four-ply. Marmalade mohair, an A-list actress moving into the local mansion and a 'Stitch and Bitch' group will help, but it's not going to be easy. Very Large dogs, celebrity, small town intrigues, packed lunches and romance all loom large in Gil McNeil's funny and uplifting novel. "Divas Don't Knit" turns prejudices and assumptions upside down and tells it how it really is in the world of knit-one, purl-one. Knitting has never been so much fun.
This is one of those books that I want to live in. I loved everything about it; the people, the seaside town, the wool shop, it was all wonderful. This book was really enjoyable and funny, I didn't want it to end!

My favourite characters were definitely the two boys, Archie and Jack; they were so funny at times, and just adorable.

I’m definitely going to be reading the next book in the series, Needles and Pearls.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Blog Awards

Park Benches & Bookends were kind enough to pass these awards on to me.

For the Honest Scrap one I have to post 10 facts about myself, so here we go:
  1. For the whole of my teenage years the only books I read were the ones assigned for school. My mum had thrown away all my books when we moved house, and I didn't get back into reading again until I was 20 and lived in my own place.
  2. I started a college course in English Literature and hated it so much that I quit. I don't like to spend hours and hours analysing, I prefer to just read and enjoy.
  3. My two favourite foods are chocolate and pizza, so I once made a chocolate pizza.
  4. I have the craziest dreams.
  5. I never used to like hot drinks like tea and coffee, now I drink them all the time.
  6. I love homemade lemonade, and I love the way it makes my kitchen smell of lemons when I make it.
  7. I love doing laundry.
  8. I can have 10 pens on the desk and still not find one when I need one.
  9. I love cereal and eat it all times of the day (and sometimes at night...)
  10. I hate tomatoes. I mean really hate them.
I'm supposed to pass these awards on to ten bloggers, but I can't choose who to give them to, so I'd like to give them to everyone. There are so many great blogs out there!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

By Royal Command by Mary Hooper

By Royal Command (At the House of the Magician #2)Lucy has become a firm fixture in the household of Dr Dee, a real-life figure who was court magician to Queen Elizabeth 1. Lucy, in return for saving the queen's life, has been told that she is to work as a spy for Her Grace and that she is to remain with the Dee family and await further instruction ...And then Lucy hears unexplained cries in the Dee house, and finds a young girl imprisoned there. What is Dr Dee doing? Lucy means to find out. This is a thrilling historical story, full of intrigue and royal plots and counter-plots, from the acclaimed Mary Hooper.
The story in this book was not "full of intrigue and royal plots and counter-plots" as it says on the back cover. In fact I found it a bit dull, it just didn't seem to lead anywhere. I think I would have found this book very disappointing if the author hadn't done such a fantastic job of bringing the historical setting to life. The wonderful descriptions of the frost fair on the Thames and of the party at the Royal Court meant that I really enjoyed the book despite what was, in my opinion, a poor plotline.

This is the second book to At the House of the Magician. I haven't read the first book so I didn't get some references in this book to the first book. But it does work as a stand-alone book. I would definitely check out more by Mary Hooper because she's very good at bringing history alive.

Monday, 5 April 2010

The Cradle Snatcher by Tess Stimson

The Cradle SnatcherClare Elias has always known the risks of being married to a rich, handsome younger man like Marc. But when she gives birth to two gorgeous babies, she discovers motherhood isn't quite the cinch she'd expected, and Marc is better with them than she is. Desperate to regain her independence running a successful chain of boutique flower shops, Clare hires Jenna, a confident, efficient nanny keen to escape a relationship that is going horribly wrong.

Before too long, a deadly rivalry emerges, and as events spiral out of control, Clare finds herself forced to make wrenching decisions about love, loyalty and motherhood.
My thoughts: The Cradle Snatcher is about Clare and how her life changes after she gives birth to twins.

We see the story from several different points of view (Clare, the nanny, Clare’s husband, etc), which would be interesting if it wasn’t so repetitive. I hated seeing the same event from three different points of view.

There are some fun characters in this book, I especially liked Clare’s mum and brother who both made me laugh whenever they were around.

Overall it was a typical chick-lit book, a bit funny but a bit clichéd too. As usual with this sort of book I got really annoyed with the ending. A good relaxing read if you like chick-lit, but really nothing special.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Monthly Round-Up - March 2010 and Giveaway Winner

I don't know about anyone else, but March has been super busy for me. I'm really glad that it's Easter this weekend, hopefully it'll give me an opportunity to relax and catch up with some reading and some reviews.

My first blog giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Spav who wins a copy of Lily by Adèle Geras.

Books I reviewed in March
1. Double Stitch by John Rolfe Gardiner
2. Serial Killers by Brian Innes
3. Decision Most Deadly By Mark Turnbull
4. Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder
5. Mania by Craig Larsen
6. Montmorency by Eleanor Updale

My favourite book this month is a tough choice because I've really enjoyed all of the books I've read. But if I had to pick I'd say Double Stitch by John Rolfe Gardiner.

March blog news
  • The first blog giveaway was a success (I was worried nobody was going to enter!)
  • I've changed the layout to this purple one.
What's coming in April?
  • I must catch up on my reviews, I've read several books that I haven't reviewed yet.