Review: Zodiac – Sam Wilson

How do I describe this book?

When I selected this book as my first audio book to listen to it, I knew that it was going to be a thriller, about death and murder. I first thought, with the title Zodiac, that this book was going to be about the infamous Zodiac murders, which was kind of my hope, but boy was I wrong. This book was about murder and the Zodiac star signs in another way.

The Zodiac system plays a key and an important role with the society within the structure and story of this book. People are divided up and slotted into the sign that they were born into, and that sign plays an important role in defining who they are and how society sees them. It plays such an important role, that people are planning the conception of their children to ensure the birth of their child falls into their desired zodiac sign, or if they happen to mess up, they are even willing to go into and have a premature baby to ensure that child’s place in society and to ensure their future is set. 

Throughout listening to this book, the whole time I felt like the author was using the Zodiac system as a massive metaphor for how society is today. How people in this book are divided up into their signs and are believed to be this way because that’s how that sign is meant to be and act, therefore judging and discriminating everyone else because of that. Now change zodiac signs to people discriminating other people because of their race, their ethnicity, their sexuality, beliefs and so on. You can divided the world up, or even just a small town up, and you will never have an identical group of people who believe or are the same, as everyone will have some differences. Maybe this wasn’t even the intention of the author, but this was a massive message that I definitely took away from this book and really hit me when I was listening to this audio book. Maybe more so with the immigration problems that are occurring, it just made me connect the two. 

Right from the beginning of the story, this book had me gripped, to the extent that I would listen to the audio book at any given time possible. I even swapped listening to music when doing certain tasks as I wanted to know what happened next, which is something I thought wouldn’t happen with an audio book. The story started off so perfectly, with a scene that can only be described as brutal, with the imagery that just makes every word so clear. My only problem, which may be because I was listen to it and not reading it, is that even though I could picture all of the scenes and the kills so vividly, I had a problem when it came to the characters. 

I couldn’t remember who certain characters were, especially if they were secondary characters. I think I only remembered who a few of the characters names were at the time, that’s if I was lucky, and kept having to pause it to think back, or carry on listening to hopefully get a clue from what was said. I don’t know if this was from the writing, or if it was because I wasn’t reading it, I therfore wasn’t able to get a better connection to the characters. I also wasnt able to get a better picture of the characters in my head, so chose my own when listening to the story, for some at least. But this is my first for both this author and an audio book, so I will have to actually read another book by this author and listen to another audio book to see which is which. 

I liked how the story worked out and how the structure all worked together, which was really unexpected at first. The more I was listening, the more I started to suspect and thought, “Oo, I wonder”, but it was a really good idea. From what I gathered from listening to this book, this book contains small chapters, which when reading a book, I must admit is something I definitely prefer.

I would highly recommend this book and I will gladly admit that I really enjoyed the audio book version of this book, including the voice narrative. I am giving this book 4 out of 5 stars!

Here is the Goodreads description:

“In a corrupt and volatile society where people are divided and defined by zodiac signs, status is cast at birth and binding forever. The line between a life of luxury and an existence of poverty can be determined by the stroke of midnight.
When a series of uniquely brutal murders targets victims of totally different signs, is it a misguided revolution or the work of a serial killer?
All eyes are on Detective Jerome Burton and Profiler Lindi Childs. They may disagree over whether the answers are written in the stars, but they are united by their belief that a grand plan is being executed…”

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

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Imagine receiving a package in the mail. You’d be happy right, imagining what it could be? So then you open it up and discover a box full of cassette tapes, each labelled from 1 through to 13. This parcel has no return address on it so you have no idea who sent you this random box of cassettes of all things. You hunt around you house for a cassette player, and if that was me I can tell you I wouldn’t have had one, but you manage to find one and insert the tape and the side that is labelled 1 and press play. That’s when you hear it. You hear the voice of the girl who has recently killed herself talking to you. Now what do you do?. . .

Now this is what happens to Clay Jensen, who arrives home from school one day and discovers a parcel with his name on it, which turns out to be a box of cassette tapes, which were recorded by Hannah Baker. In these tapes, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she has, or is going to (depending on how you want to look at it), kill herself, that’s why there are thirteen tapes. If you receive these tapes, then you are one of the reasons and one of the people that are to blame for her doing this, and now Clay has received these tapes.

I heard about this book from a Book Tuber after seeing a Book Haul video and I heard a brief sum up of what the book was about, I instantly knew that I had to read it. This book is told from  both Clay and Hannah’s point of view, but it is told from two different platforms, which was quite an interesting, especially as they are both the main characters. We have Hannah’s perspective, which is told through the thirteen tapes and more in the past tense, whereas we have we also have Clays perspective, which is his reaction to those tapes, with the world and interactions around him and is in present tense. So we have both of these timelines, these different medias and so on, all coming together and combined to tell this story, and it actually works.

When it comes to the story, suicide is such a sensitive subject, that it is always going to be received in either a positive or negative way, because people may be able to relate to this topic and is therefore a subject that is close to them. I choose to read this book, at what turned out to be a very sensitive time in my families life, which we had sadly already had to previously deal with at a previous time. So when I was reading this book, it was becoming more personal to me because of this. As I was reading this book I really was enjoying this story and appreciating what the author was trying to do with this book. The more I read, the more I really got into the book. I didn’t want to stop reading the book until I was finished, as I wanted to know every reason, who was next, every little detail.

I felt bad for Hannah, but even more so for Clay. I felt so bad for Clay and then I started to strongly dislike Hannah, because of her doing this to him, as he couldn’t do anything about it now as it’s too late. The more that I thought about it, the more I thought about why was Hannah doing all this? She kind of turned around and turned into the bully in the end, even though only a few people will know the truth, Hannah knows herself that it only takes a few people to make you start to fell horrible and for things to escalate. I know the intention was there for them to know the reasons behind why she did what she did, but why not write a letter to just that person, or send a tape to just that person? Because then they could still hide. They could still pretend they did nothing and not change, but if people know then you’re more inclined to change. Those are the only reasons I can think of. And then the amount of effort that’s gone into planning everything, the amount of time, just doesn’t speak to me realistic. I know people who have tried to commit suicide, both friends and family, who have all said that once they knew they knew, and they just went for it. They wouldn’t have spent time making and recording cassette tapes, making lists of people they were to be sent to and so on, but maybe this is just my personal experience. At the beginning, Hannah had decided everything and knew who the thirteen people, or thirteen reasons were, but towards the end it seems like the thirteenth person and reason got added on after this whole thing got started, and I don’t want to give away spoilers by going further into this by explaining to much.

This book does only look at a little closed up section of suicide, and I can understand some of the bad reviews I have read, because there is a much wider and broader area of suicide and depression. This is suicide from the angle of a girl who has had, what she classes as some bad times, which has been escalating and building, “snowballing” on top of each other, to the point where she sees no other way out. Where she feels like she has nobody left in her life that she can trust, or that she can confide and talk to. This book made me realise, even more so, how little things can be turned into something so gigantic and can escalate into something else. How a rumour that’s not true, when you laugh at something because everyone else laughs, but it’s at somebody else’s expense, can really have an affect on somebody. How simply saying something friendly to someone and saying hi to them can make a difference to them and how they feel and can benefit other people in a positive way. There are also several suicide warning signs explained in this book, which is a good idea when you know people in your life or come across people in your life who might be suffering. After reading this book, it makes you look at yourself a little bit more and makes you realise how much your actions do have an affect on people. Hopefully, more people will read this book and take a closer look at their actions and think about how they should change, because I know some people who definitely can change their attitudes and behaviour towards people.

Clays part of the story felt more realistic to me and his character made me feel way more emotional and I was able to relate more to him, than to anybody else. His reactions and how emotional he got at things that he couldn’t change, but so badly wishes that he could. He seems like the only person who would actually take anything from these tapes and will use them positively and benefit from listening. He will get answers and reasons behind why she did what she did, even if it’s upsetting and hurts emotionally at the time. He will get to know and have all of the answers he was desperately wanting, even if he can’t change anything that had happened and now has to live with that consequence.

I would definitely recommend this book, if nothing else, it will absolutely open your eyes and make you look at the world, at people differently and at yourself differently. I so wish that I could have given this book a full five stars but I just couldn’t, so I am giving this book 4 stars out of 5, which a definite recommendation.

Review: Red Queen (Chronicles of Alice, #2) – Christina Henry

2016-09-09_14-42-51*** (3.5 stars)

Red Queen is the second book and the continuation in the Chronicles of Alice series, that follows off from where the first book, Alice, left off. I read the first book not so long ago in another Book-A-Thon I had done, and I loved it!! So much so, that I had order the next book in the series, this book, the moment I had finished reading the book, so glad that it was already published and I only had to wait for delivery. I have posted a review for the first book, Alice, if you would like to check it out, just click here. Now, as I said before, this is the second book, so please be warned that there may be spoilers to the first book.

As I said, this book picked up from where the last book left off. Alice and Hatcher had headed down the hole, the same hole that the rabbit and the girls had gone down in search of a better life. Now Alice and Hatcher were off on their new quest, happier than before. But this doesn’t last for long! Their quest is soon interrupted as they have to try and fight to save their lives from unknown creatures and magicians, that could be even more powerful and stronger than Hatcher and even Alice herself.

First thing first, to get a better understanding of this book and the characters, I would definitely recommend reading the first book in this duology first, which is Alice (The Chronicles of Alice, #1). I will admit that I was a little bit disappointed after reading this book, as it didn’t live up to everything that just made the first book so great. The first book was so dark and it wasn’t afraid to be so disturbing and to include all of the imagery that just made me see and understand everything. Their feelings, what was going on, how grotesque the characters were, what they were doing and so on, including the tone of the book, were just so vivid and vile, but with this book, it was just gone. It was as though the author was trying to tame it down a little bit, but in doing so, it lost that bit of magic or spark, that made that first book so spectacular. There were events where the author could have included so much more, but the characters, Alice and Hatcher, always arrived afterwards, meaning that we just saw the after effects. So no action, at least at the beginning. I understand that they were not supposed to know what was happening at that point, but it felt like it was just a load of walking and talking, which made the beginning of the book drag a little. Plus, when they did discover certain things, they weren’t as expressive and vivid as Book 1, Alice.

What I found weird about this book was that this book had no chapters! I have never read a book which doesn’t contain chapters and this really shocked me and actually freaked me out a lot at first when I realised, which was until I was about 40 pages in. It was however separated into two parts. The fact that there was no chapters, was another reason why I think that this book dragged a little bit more for me. I hate leaving a book on an unfinished page, or what not, which is why chapters are extremely important to me, that way not only do I know exactly what page I’m on, but I can have a break exactly where the author had intended a break to take place. They create breaks in the story for readers, as I said where the author has intended, so you don’t feel bad stopping, and they act as a way to create tension and suspense for readers, building you up for the following chapter. With this book, and having no chapters, there was none of this. I felt guilty every time I stopped to have a reading break, there wasn’t that tension and suspense built up and there seemed to be a one level, until any action happened.

This story starts off with Alice and Hatcher setting off on another quest, the quest that they were about to start at the end of the previous book. As they set off, they soon discover that everything is not as it seems and how is should be and as more time moves on, they begin to realise that maybe somebody or something is behind this strangeness and that there’s the possibility that they may be being followed. They soon walk their way into another quest and their original one, seemed to have taken a back seat, and to be honest, I kind of forgot about it as the book progressed. I did enjoy this new quest as it did add to the book and to the story in a way that I wasn’t expecting, and also made the ending completely different to how I was expecting also.

There were parts in this book that I loved and there were parts that I just didn’t enjoy as much. I must admit that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first book, but maybe that’s because of how much I enjoyed the first book and then built up this book beforehand. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t that much Hatcher in this book, so considering these books are mainly Alice and Hatcher, by removing Hatcher, we were left with one mainly one main character for a chunk of the book, even though we did get some extra characters. Maybe this was one of the other reasons why this book felt like it dragged. But there were parts that just had me gripped to the book! I say that this book dragged, but I managed to read this book in a day, once I was committed on Day 1 of my Book-A-Thon, so it did have me gripped enough to be able to do this.

I would say be warned that there are no chapters, and it doesn’t have the same tone and overall feel of the first book, Alice. I would definitely recommend reading Alice (The Chronicles of Alice, #1) first, as this is a Duology. This book could be read by itself, as there are recap where it sums up certain events from the first book, but to get a fuller idea of this world, the story and the characters, I would definitely recommend reading the first book. I do sadly have to give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.

Final Day of my Book-A-Thon!

My week long Book-A-Thon has had its ups and downs, but my last day ended on high, well a success,  with me finally able to finish reading The Trap by Melanie Raabe. This meant I didn’t have to end my Book-A-Thon midway through a book, which is an added bonus ☺ 

So, how was my week long Book-A-Thon? As I said, there were some upsnand some downs, that may have included the start of a little slump, which thankfully I hope I’ve averted. I have managed to read three books in total and listen to one audio book, which makes four total books completed during this week :mrgreen:;) I am so pleased to say that I was able to listen and complete my first ever audio book this week, which is something I never thought I’d do, and have a new perspective and dare I say love, for audio books. I was able to read another book I received thanks to a Goodreads Giveaway Win and cross some more books off of my TBR list, as well as keeping on track with my Goodreads Reading Challenge for the year, which I was so afraid I was going to fall behind on. Another highlight of this week, for me anyways, is that I have purchased and now own the complete Harry Potter book box set!! A long time goal of mine crossed off my list ☺ and I’m not ashamed if that’s a sad goal to have a life. I’m a book Nerd and proud of it. Now all I want is the Roald Dahl collection and I’m in heaven 👼

I will be posting reviews of all of the books I’ve read as soon as possible. The sooner the better, while the books and all of my thoughts are all fresh in my mind and don’t get jumbled within each others world’s. So here are the books I’ve read and listened to during my week long Book-A-Thon:
Red Queen (The Chronicles of Alice, #2) – Christina Henry
Th1rteen R3asons Why – Jay Asher
Zodiac – Sam Wilson (Audio Book)
The Trap – Melanie Raabe (Goodreads Giveaway)
This isn’t as good as I would’ve like it to have been, but it isn’t as bad either, but I definitely could’ve and have done better. Maybe next time I won’t try to do a Book-A-Thon during a school summer holiday 😜 we shall see. 

Book-A-Thon: Day 6 (Friday 2nd September 2016)

Friday equalled Day 6 in my week long Book-A-Thon and out of all of my days, this would have to be my least successful reading day, which is sad when you think that it’s one of the last days I have left of reading. 

I did manage to read a little bit more of The Trap by Melanie Raabe making it to just over halfways through the book. This book is good, so I don’t know why it’s talking so long to finish it, especially as it’s not that long. And it’s definitely not the lo gesture book I’ve picked to read this week. So, I definitely need to finish this book on Saturday (Day 7) the finally day, as I don’t want to leave any uncompleted books at the end of my Book-A-Thon week. 

Oh, and I ordered books 1-6 of the Harry Potter books on Thursday, which arrived yesterday, so I finally own all the Harry Potter books!!! I refuse to re-buy book 7 to match this set, because I purchased Deathly Hallows when it first came out in hardback, which cost me £27.99. So regardless if it matches or not, I can’t re-buy a different book, just for the sake of it matchingthe rest of the set. However, I did re-buy Prisnor of Azkaban for that exact reason, but my orinial copy only cost me about a pound as I bought it second hand. Plus, my boyfriends Prisnor of Azkaban is missing some pages, so now he can have my extra copy, so win win 😀

So fingers crossed and roll on Day 7 and hopefully my reading finally picks up and I get out of this little slump before it has a chance to set it and become a real reading slump!! 

Book-A-Thon: Day 5 (Thursday 1st September 2016)

Yet another day with a goal in mind dedicated to reading and trying to finish at least one of the two books I have on the go, whether it be physical or audio. So, I started the day of by doing some of my daily physio exercises, while listening to my on going audio book, Zodiac by Sam Wilson. I am really enjoying this story, even more than I thought I would, as it’s an audio book, and I’m really into the story of it, listening to it at any opportunity that I can, even when typing up my daily Book-A-Thon posts.

With it being summer holidays still, the house was busy with kids, both siblings and nieces and nephews, so quiet was lost and so was the peace to think about reading or listening any more. So, that was replaced with playing with the children and amusing them instead. After a while, we were headed out, as even my physio sessions may be ended, my mum’s and brothers were not, and she didn’t want to go alone. This wasn’t all negative, as this was a perfect excuse to take a book with me and to read while I was waiting for them, and to ensure I would read as there was nothing else to do. Also, to read while driving down, as regardless of possible migraines or headaches, I needed a distraction and couldn’t listen to my audio book as this would’ve been ruder as my mum was trying to make conversation to calm her nerves. 

In the late afternoon, I was babysitting my sisters children, so no more reading or listening could be done, yet again, so why not have some fun and enjoy the weather. So off to the park we went. We spent a couple of hours in the park, and after not not wanting to leave, the kids finally went back home. I could finally wash and get some actual reading done for the day! So I continued reading The Trap by Melanie Raabe hoping to at least make a dent in the book. Maybe I shouldn’t have done this Book-A-Thon in a summer holiday when the house is so full of kids and I’m so relied upon to watch them. And to think that on Monday, they are back in school. I managed to get way over a third of the ways through The Trap, stopping before it got too good and starting listen to what was left of the audio book, hoping to finish what little there was left of it. Success! I can happily say that I have finished my first ever audio book Zodiac, something I never thought I would ever do ☺:D 

Now I must really push myself for the last two days. Let’s see what Day 6 has in store…

Book-A-Thon: Day 4 (Wednesday 31st August 2016)

Well, what can I say about Day 4. Day 4 makes the midway of the Book-A-Thon and should show where I stand with how I plan on going with the remainder of this week long solo reading challenge, of sorts. However, on this day, I will admit that my reading did take a knock, both physical reading and listening to my current audio book, because I can’t be one of those people who says that listening to an audio book is the same as reading it sorry, it is listening to it. 

As I went to physio yesterday, and with it being my last session, we went at it hard, which meant I was really feeling the results of at the following day. Now, I know by now not to sit around and do nothing as this only makes things worse, so I grab the kids (school holidays so siblings, nieces and nephews) and took them out. I took them for a walk up the park, to get all those muscles moving, up hills, and we took a ball to actually play some games. I wasn’t sitting around and couldn’t read or listen while doing this, so both books were out of the question. The energy that kids have can go on for hours and can be quite infectious, regardless of how I was feeling, it was a great workout and nice for everyone to be outside and away from tablets, phones, xboxes and so on, myself included.  

But I needed to keep that up and keep working out my muscles, so when I got back home, I started doing some house work, but this time I did it while listening to the audio book Zodiac by Sam Wilson. I listened for about an hour but then had to give up, both the audio book and the house work. I did start reading a new book in the night, The Trap by Melanie Raabe, a book that I had won in a Goodreads Giveaway that I had entered a few weeks, maybe months ago. This book has been starring at me for a while, so I finally decided to take it down from the shelves and begin discovering the story within. I honestly haven’t gotten that far into the book when I left it last night, but I can’t wait to delve further into it today and see what happens. However, my goal for today, or at least for this week now, is to finish my first ever audio book, Zodiac!!!! 

Let’s see how Day 5 will go. . .